If you’re looking for drinks of the alcoholic variety, try guaro, a liquor made from sugar cane that’s best enjoyed in a guaro sour (with lime, simple syrup and soda). The craft beer scene is growing quickly here as well; look for microbrews from Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Co., Lake Arenal Brewery, Treintaycinco and Volcano Brewing Co. In addition to being the hub of craft beer in Costa Rica, San Jose also has an up-and-coming food scene. Head to Barrio Escalante for the best gastropubs and hip restaurants.
Food: Get off the beaten path to eat whenever possible. Our best-value meals came at independently owned restaurants in Liberia. One place, basically a lunch counter serving authentic Costa Rican cuisine, set us back about $5 per person for a lunch big enough to skip dinner on. The area’s touristy restaurants cost triple that. If you’re renting, make sure your place has a kitchen, and hit the grocery store as soon as you get settled. We visited a Walmart in Liberia and a Super Compro in Tilaran; both had excellent meat counters and solid produce sections.
Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish as the "ticos" have a dialect that is easy to understand and digest for someone just starting to learn the language. There are many language schools that provide intensive instruction with group classes lasting 4 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Almost all Spanish schools will also offer host family accommodations and possibly some alternative such as a student residence or discounted hotel rates.
Topping out well above 12,000 feet, Cerro Chirripo is Costa Rica’s highest peak. Along with surrounding high peaks, it harbors rare high-altitude ecosystems: supermontane forests, dwarf forests, and paramo, among others. Above the treeline, it’s harder for wildlife to hide, so you’re more likely to see rare mammals like Dice’s rabbit, charismatic carnivores like cougars (known locally as pumas), and – of course – colorful birds like quetzals. The high slopes and summit boast unusual vertical rock formations called crestones, which resemble the pinnacles and spires found in the badlands of North and South Dakota.
Adventure tours aren’t your only options when visiting this amazing country! While a common perception of Costa Rica involves untouched jungles and deserted white-sand beaches, there are areas of the country that delight in providing a combination of romantic experiences, adventure tours, and 5-star hospitality.  A visit to the Arenal Volcano, for example, might involve a stay at the splendid Tabacon Thermal Resort, where a series of natural hot springs and incomparable service are delightful after a day zip-lining above the forest canopy! Do you dream of a personal balcony Jacuzzi, champagne in hand, with stunning views of Pacific Ocean coastline? How about heading out to watch the sunset from a luxurious sailboat? Eat a romantic private dinner, prepared by a personal chef, just steps from the rainforest, or enjoy a couples’ massage in a casita on the beach – the possibilities are nearly endless! Our Costa Rica Travel Experts are dedicated to creating an itinerary that will leave you with a lifetime of memories. It’s all up to you!

From your very first call or reply to your online request, you will experience a warm welcome from Costa Rica.  Your request will be tailor made to your desired travel plans, needs and special interests.  We are committed to provide you with the best products, highest service standards and lowest possible price.  It’s not just a trip but an unforgettable experience!
Weather Appropriate Outerwear: If you’re sticking to the beach, you can get by with beach wear: shorts an dresses, short-sleeved shirts, bathing suits. At altitude, including in San Jose, expect chilly evenings and mornings. At certain times of year, stiff winds contribute to the chill, especially in the mountains. I got by with a windbreaker and warm jeans, though we didn’t venture above 6,000 feet. At higher altitudes, you may need a heavier jacket.
An estimated 30,000 Americans have retired in Costa Rica, with another 50 nationalities represented among the expatriate population. Stop and take a deep breath if you hear yourself uttering the words: “Honey, that nice real estate agent we met in the hotel lobby told us how easy it would be to move down here. Let’s do it.” As happens to countless other visitors, the sunshine syndrome has snuck up on you. Before you sell the farm and make the move here, the experts suggest doing a trial rental of a few months to see if day-to-day life in Costa Rica is for you. Living here—with all the mundane, attendant tasks of grocery shopping, banking, and making doctor’s appointments—is much different than being on vacation.
As previously mentioned many Costa Rican roads are dirt and mud so if you add in a little rain to that they will quickly become impassable. We visited at the beginning of the rainy season in May and had absolutely no trouble driving. Although it did rain a bit more than we liked the lush jungle scenery was gorgeous, prices were cheaper, and it was indeed less busy than in the dry season.
I have a bottle of 100% Deet and when I use it, it works like a charm. Granted it’s a lot of chemicals but it really does the job so if you plan to use that, then you should be pretty ok. If you’re really scared or paranoid about getting bit, make sure you’re always wearing long sleeves and pants as that gives the best protection. The mosquitoes in the Guanacaste area are bad, but dengue fever has gone down a lot in the past couple years and it’s quite rare (not impossible) for people to get it, you’d have to be really unlucky. But it seems you are taking the necessary precautions so just make sure always have a bottle handy.
“And what a tour it is: Usually, travelers have to choose from among Costa Rica’s beaches, volcanoes and rain forests. This tour goes to all those places and includes every major sight, as well as three meals a day on all but two days, and excellent hotels and lodges. The cost is a remarkable $995 per person for everything other than airfare to the capital city of San Jose.
We all had a great time. Our tour guide, Manfred, was great. All our needs were anticipated. I loved all the things that we did in nature. I loved learning about the country and culture of Costa Rica. I have already recommended this trip to others. The places that we stayed were beautiful and the food was so good. I was able to eat and drink everything, and not have any problems. What a terrific vacation!
Make sure to check the car carefully before you sign off on the damage sheet. Check the oil, brake fluid, fuel gauge (to make sure it's full) and that there is a spare tire with a good air pressure and a jack. Look up the Spanish word for "scratches" (rayas) and other relevant terminology first, so you can at least scrutinize the rental company's assessment. Ask them to write down all the minor damages, not just check on the drawing, and keep a copy of this document on you.

“On my Sunday radio program, I’ve several times mentioned the attractive price of $995 per person plus airfare for a 10-day, fully-escorted trip to Costa Rica offered thoughout the year by the distinguished Chicago tour operator called Caravan Tours. The price includes all accommodations, all meals, and all motorcoach sightseeing and transportation...highly affordable vacations. ” ‘The Travel Show with Arthur Frommer’
Bus – The cheapest and easiest way to get around Costa Rica is by bus. The public bus system runs frequently throughout the day, including the harder to reach areas. Short bus trips (under 3 hours) are around 2,000 CRC (3 USD) while longer trips will cost closer to 5,500 CRC (10 USD). The Costa Rica tourism board has a really comprehensive schedule and guide.
We’re not suggesting a career.  It might be something as simple as swapping language lessons with someone for a couple of hours.  You help with their English and they repay you with Spanish tutorial.  Hostels and other budget lodgings are usually trying to save money by working on projects themselves.  If you ask they might put you to work setting bricks for a walkway, repairing chairs or even helping out with a website or facebook page.  Pay might be in the form of free lodging or beer but you’ll be busy and not spending money…
The Real InterContinental Hotel is located in the heart of San José's trendy Escazu area, adjacent to the Multiplaza, a large upscale shopping and entertainment complex. The hotel has three restaurants, two bars, gift shops, an outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, a tennis court, a fitness center, and a full service spa and beauty salon. The hotel is fully air-conditioned. High speed internet access is available for a fee.
Nowhere else in the world can you find a concentration of wildlife like that of Central America – in particular Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rica alone has over 840 identified species of birds and with over a quarter of the country identified as national parks. Famous for its manmade canal, Panama is also home to 940 avian species, as well as 125 mammal species endemic to this country.

The government helps to regulate industry and development to keep the biodiversity intact and rewards eco-friendly hotels, tour providers, and those that implement green business practices to help sustain the awe-inspiring beauty of the celebrated biodiversity. This allows Costa Rica to stay on track to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world, meeting its energy needs through a combination of hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal power.
White, gold, tan, and gray sand decorate the hundreds of beaches found along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica for incredible surfing. Surfers have flocked to Costa Rica for decades in search of the perfect waves and to soak up the laid-back lifestyle of Pura Vida. Whether an experienced surfer or one eager to learn while under the guidance of a supportive instructor, Costa Rica offers an abundance of celebrated spots, including Matapalo and Jaco Beach on the Central Pacific, Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast.
Located well off the beaten track in the Amarillo Valley of the Central Highlands, Bajos del Toro is a relatively undiscovered paradise for nature lovers and all outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers in particular are drawn to the area to explore the many rugged trails through the pristine rain forest and up the back of Poas Volcano. Other exciting activities include trout fishing, mountain biking, river rafting, and horseback riding. Avid adventure seekers can try the thrilling 300-foot waterfall rappel into the crater of an extinct volcano. The extremely scenic drive from San Jose to Bajos de Toro takes around 90 minutes and you can stop along the way to admire lovely wooden crafts in the town of Sarchi.
Many foreign companies (manufacturing and services) operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.[10] Well over half of that type of investment has come from the U.S.[79] According to the government, the zones supported over 82 thousand direct jobs and 43 thousand indirect jobs in 2015.[80] Companies with facilities in the America Free Zone in Heredia, for example, include Intel, Dell, HP, Bayer, Bosch, DHL, IBM and Okay Industries.[81][82]
Costa Rica has numerous private international K-12 schools where students are taught in either English or a mixture of English and Spanish. Education standards in these schools are comparable to that of private schools in countries such as the United States, at around a third of the cost. Lincoln School is one of the most highly regarded international schools in Costa Rica and Central America. Some of these schools also offer Spanish lessons for those who wish to learn.
Planning a vacation to a foreign country, especially in Central America, can be stressful and time-consuming, especially when you don’t know the language or where to go. We help make it easy for you by creating custom Costa Rica travel packages to fit your interests and budget. We will work with you to make your travel itinerary perfect. Best of all, we charge NO FEE for our services and can help you SAVE MONEY while getting the most out of your time here. We hope you enjoy our Costa Rica Travel page and perhaps we’ll see you in tropical paradise. Get your custom itinerary today!
For those who want to spend more time in the Arenal area – one of the nicest places to visit in Costa Rica – Sky Adventures also operates a Sky Walk. This experience involves walking across a series of suspension bridges and trails, and allows travelers to be introduced to the flora and fauna of the forest canopy in a more relaxed way, and from a fresh perspective.
Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country's abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country's most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan.[74] The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).[75]
Costa Rican culture is often summed up in two words: ‘pura vida’. It literally means, ‘the pure life’, and it is often said as a greeting, farewell or to show appreciation. The concept of ‘pura vida’ is better experienced than explained, but essentially, it is both an attitude and a feeling. It means being friendly and polite, taking it easy, relaxing, and being thankful for what you have.
Bird Watching - One of the most wonderful activities for people who love nature is bird watching. You can enjoy bird watching in many areas of Costa Rica. Due to the great diversity of climates, temperatures and forest types in Costa Rica, there is a wonderful variety of birds, with over 800 species. Some helpful books available on bird watching are Birds of Costa Rica by F. Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch (Cornell University Press) or An Illustrated Field Guide to Birds of Costa Rica, illustrated by Victor Esquivel Soto. These books can be found at certain bookstores in San José or before coming to Costa Rica. They are both heavy books; many people tear out the plates of the Stiles & Skutch book to carry into the field and leave the rest of the book in their car or room. Plastic cards with the most common birds are available for many areas and are sold at gift shops.
Kathryn, you definitely don’t need hiking boots (over the ankle) for Costa Rica. Trail runners or even just regular running shoes will suffice. The only reason why we recommend having something other than chacos, is because you will need closed toe shoes for some activities like ziplining, horseback riding, etc. Parts of San Jose can be a bit dangerous, so depending on where you are staying running alone may not be the best idea, but outside of San Jose it’s pretty safe, especially during the day. Hope you enjoy your time in CR!
This morning, head through Costa Rica's Central Valley. Stop at the artisan village of Sarchi, nestled on the slopes of the Central Mountain Range. Here you can shop for colorful, traditional Costa Rican handicrafts. Visit an oxcart factory where oxcarts are hand-painted with elaborate designs. Considered the national symbol of Costa Rica, oxcarts were historically used for the transport of coffee beans and supplies. Continue through Costa Rica's famous coffee growing region. Lunch. Enjoy a guided tour at a coffee plantation. Sample locally grown coffee. Costa Rica's climate and rich soil help create exceptional coffee. Visit a butterfly garden. Then, return to Costa Rica's capital, San José. Dinner. BLD
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Costa Rica’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
The scenic landscape offers surprise and adventure, luxury and wonder across less than 19,800 square miles, and the country also supports nearly four percent of the world’s total species. Whether backpacking through the volcanic ridges north of the Central Valley or reveling in luxury on a secluded resort nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a protected rainforest, taking the time to tour Costa Rica will bring unparalleled experiences for both active adventurers and enthusiastic idlers. The country hosts more than 500,000 plant and animal species across 11 Conservation Areas. Local communities help to protect the wild lands and ensure the safeguard of natural resources and natural beauty based on grassroots, sustainable efforts.
Costa Rica has a thriving cash economy. If you plan to use taxis, hire guides, or patronize street or beach vendors, you’ll want cash on hand. Skip the airport currency exchange bureau, which charges north of 6% to convert your money, and head to an ATM operated by Banco de Costa Rica (a popular state-owned bank) or another legitimate financial institution. You shouldn’t have trouble finding one at larger hotel properties or in sizable towns.
The local newspaper, La Nación, has an extensive jobs listing every Sunday and Monday. You must be a resident or be sponsored by a company to work legally in Costa Rica. ESL teachers can find work in Costa Rica with Bachelor`s Degree and a TESOL certification. ESL teachers can expect to earn 226,700 - 566,750 CRC (monthly) and will usually teach 8 – 15 hours in a week. Contracts will usually not include accommodations (the employer may help), airfare, and health-care.
In November 2017, National Geographic magazine named Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world.[146] The article included this summary: "Costa Ricans enjoy the pleasure of living daily life to the fullest in a place that mitigates stress and maximizes joy".[147] It is not surprising then that one of the most recognizable phrases among "Ticos" is "Pura Vida", pure life in a literal translation. It reflects the inhabitant's philosophy of life,[148] denoting a simple life, free of stress, a positive, relaxed feeling.[149] The expression is used in various contexts in conversation.[150] Often, people walking down the streets, or buying food at shops say hello by saying Pura Vida. It can be phrased as a question or as an acknowledgement of one's presence. A recommended response to "How are you?" would be "Pura Vida."[151] In that usage, it might be translated as "awesome", indicating that all is very well.[152] When used as a question, the connotation would be "everything is going well?" or "how are you?".[148]
Insider's advice: Monteverde is home to the best canopy hanging bridges tours and canopy zipline courses in Costa Rica and perhaps the world. If you are planning on enjoying one of these activities, save in for Monteverde! Birdwatchers will like to know that the best time to observe Resplendent Quetzals is during their breeding season from February through May. Three-Wattled Bell Birds breed in Monteverde March through June. 
Christianity is Costa Rica's predominant religion, with Roman Catholicism being the official state religion according to the 1949 Constitution, which at the same time guarantees freedom of religion. It is the only state in the Americas which established Roman Catholicism as its state religion; other such countries are microstates in Europe: Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Vatican City and Malta.

Planning a vacation abroad is exciting, but let’s face it: it can be overwhelming. There is so much information on line that it’s hard to know what is current and what sources you can trust, not to mention what is useful and what is just wasting your time. That’s where we come in! Not only can you find everything you need right here, but we can assure you that our expert travel consultants are a fountain of information and willing to help when you decide it’s time to start planning.
Pura vida! (That's how Gilbert told us to respond) Anyway, the trip was great. I saw more wildlife than I expected, and all of the accommodations were nice, as usual. Gilbert was an awesome guide. He was personable yet professional, and he was so knowledgeable about Costa Rica's biological aspects. Max was a true professional in his driving, so no complaints there. Overall, I give it a 10/10! I'm currently editing all of my bird and wildlife pictures, and I can't wait to share them! Awesome experience.
The trip was amazing! We had such a great time. Gate1 had everything organized and ready to go down to the rest stops! Loved it! Our guide Ricardo was so fantastic! He had so much knowledge about all the places we visited, made jokes, and really just took an interest to his job and we could tell he wanted us to have a great experience. We enjoyed the optional excursions (we did all) and also the planned trips (coffee plantation and school visit). Amazing trip, met amazing people. Will travel with Gate1 again!
It’s also one of the few places in Costa Rica where English is the de facto language. That’s down to the area’s unique Afro-Caribbean pedigree, which shows in local cuisine and culture too. The best way to experience the unique flavors (literally) of this distinctive corner of Costa Rica is to spring for Wolaba Tours’ 3.5-hour Food and Culture Tour. It’ll set you back $65 per person, but you won’t walk away hungry.
We love the chocolate tour with Rainforest Chocolate tour in La Fortuna. This tour not only teaches the history of chocolate and how chocolate is made but also allows you to eat as much fresh chocolate as you want. You can then infuse your chocolate with a variety of tasty ingredients. Yum! There are several chocolate tours throughout the country, but if you are heading to La Fortuna I recommend Rainforest Chocolate Tour.
If you plan on driving in Costa Rica it’s best to know that the roads can be pretty awful, some of the worst in all the Americas to be exact. It all depends on where you travel, but almost any road not part of the national highway we found to be pretty meh. The worst we personally traveled on was from Nicoya to Santa Teresa (I may or may not have had back spasms from the constant crater-like potholes).
Food: Get off the beaten path to eat whenever possible. Our best-value meals came at independently owned restaurants in Liberia. One place, basically a lunch counter serving authentic Costa Rican cuisine, set us back about $5 per person for a lunch big enough to skip dinner on. The area’s touristy restaurants cost triple that. If you’re renting, make sure your place has a kitchen, and hit the grocery store as soon as you get settled. We visited a Walmart in Liberia and a Super Compro in Tilaran; both had excellent meat counters and solid produce sections.
A common, and overlooked health risk to remember during your Costa Rica tour is the sun, especially when visiting the beaches, rainforest, or cloud forest. Protect your skin from the midday light with a wide-brimmed hat and ample sunblock of SPF 15 or higher. Use sunglasses to keep from bleaching your eyes and drink plenty of water, especially during long walks or hikes. The thinner atmosphere of the Central Highlands allows for cooler weather, making people think the sun is less harsh. However, the same precautions should apply traveling the trails through the summits in the higher altitudes.
Telephone system: This entry includes a brief general assessment of the system with details on the domestic and international components. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Arabsat - Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia). Autodin - Automatic Digital Network (US Department of Defense). CB - citizen's band mobile radio communications. Cellular telephone system - the telephones in this system are radio transceivers, with each instrument having its o . . . more
National anthem: A generally patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.
Located in the heart of Santa Elena, the Monteverde Orchid Garden offers visitors the chance to feast their eyes on a huge collection of over 460 species of orchids against the backdrop of their natural forest habitats. The collection is on display all year round and regardless of when you visit you can be assured that at least a quarter of the collection will be in flower. You can join a guided tour in either English or Spanish, which will introduce you to the history of the magnificent blooms and teach you how to care for them at home. The garden boasts wide paved pathways that are wheel-chair and push-chair friendly so that everyone can come and enjoy the beautiful collection.
The lodge’s tranquil location offerers guests a true oasis from their busy lives, while the owner’s of the lodge, Federico and Vanessa, personally emphasize ecotourism and have participated in important local ecological projects such as creating a bridge for wildlife to roam freely. To depart from stress and to experience serenity, harmony and peace, come and experience why Bosque de Paz continues to be one of Zicasso’s favorite Costa Rican lodges.
For the more active traveler, Costa Rica is a country full of thrilling and exciting adventures. Choose from activities like zip lining above the rainforest canopy, rappelling down waterfalls, horseback riding through the jungle, hiking around a volcano, strolling across high-up hanging bridges, white water river rafting down roaring rapids, floating through the jungle marsh, kayaking, ATVing, mountain biking, and surfing some of the most famous breaks in the world.
Costa Rica’s economy also faces challenges due to a rising fiscal deficit, rising public debt, and relatively low levels of domestic revenue. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the government’s strong social safety net has eroded due to increased constraints on its expenditures. Costa Rica’s credit rating was downgraded from stable to negative in 2015 and again in 2017, upping pressure on lending rates - which could hurt small business, on the budget deficit - which could hurt infrastructure development, and on the rate of return on investment - which could soften foreign direct investment (FDI). Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances - which represented just 1 % of GDP in 2016, but instead relies on FDI - which accounted for 5.1% of GDP.
Want more dives? If you can’t imagine traveling to Costa Rica and only diving once or twice, then you might want to look into a liveaboard diving trip. You’ll get to dive 3 to 4 times a day and spend anywhere from 3 to 10 days on the boat! All your meals are catered for you and when you’re not diving you can relax on the top deck and sun bathe. Sound pretty great right? Check out the best deals on LiveAboard.com.
Most people go to Costa Rica during the dry season, which takes place from mid-December to April. Although it’s peak season and tourism is at its highest, there’s almost non-stop sunshine ideal for enjoying the country’s beaches and rainforests (and everything in between). It’s the most expensive time of year to visit, though – you’ll want to make all your reservations well in advance.
Such wildlife abounds in Costa Rica as to seem almost cartoonish: keel-billed toucans ogle you from treetops and scarlet macaws raucously announce their flight plans. A keen eye will discern a sloth on a branch or the eyes of a caiman breaking the surface of a mangrove swamp, while alert ears will catch rustling leaves signaling a troop of white-faced capuchins or the haunting call of a howler monkey. Blue morpho butterflies flit amid orchid-festooned trees, while colorful tropical fish, sharks, rays, dolphins and whales thrive offshore – all as if in a conservationist’s dream.

Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica and can be a destination for those looking for more than sun and surf on their vacation. San Jose and Jaco are hot spots for this activity. As with any other sex destination, there are some tourists that hire minors. Prostitution with minors (less than 18 years old) is considered a crime in Costa Rica. The majority of sex tourists in Costa Rica are from the United States, and, if they engage in prostitution with a minor, are prosecutable by the Protect Act of 2003. This act gives the US government the power to prosecute US citizens who travel abroad to engage in sex tourism with children under the age of 18. Several other countries including France, Canada, the UK, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, and Australia have similar laws. Arrests, warrants and prosecutions are being made under these laws.

Another important factor behind Costa Rica's poverty was the lack of a significant indigenous population available for encomienda (forced labor), which meant most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work on their own land, preventing the establishment of large haciendas (plantations). For all these reasons, Costa Rica was, by and large, unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The circumstances during this period are believed to have led to many of the idiosyncrasies for which Costa Rica has become known, while concomitantly setting the stage for Costa Rica's development as a more egalitarian society than the rest of its neighbors. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class. It was not long before Spanish settlers turned to the hills, where they found rich volcanic soil and a milder climate than that of the lowlands.[39]
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