We’ve never received a consistent response to the question: “How long must my passport be valid to travel to Costa Rica?” The official answer is “for the duration of your stay in the country.” We’ve heard reports, however, of airlines refusing boarding to anyone with less than 30 days, 90 days, or six months remaining before their passports expire. We recommend you err on the side of caution. Before you travel to Costa Rica, renew your passport if you’re getting down to the six-month mark. (That’s the requirement for entry to many countries anyway.)
The Barcelo San Jose Palacio Hotel is located 1 mile from downtown San José, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in a quiet residential area. This five star hotel features two indoor restaurants, two bars, a casino, a large swimming pool and pool bar and restaurant, spa with Jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, tennis and squash courts, massage therapists, hairdresser, and gift shops. Your hotel is fully air-conditioned. Internet access is available in the lobby internet cafe for a fee.
LIR has direct service to about a dozen major U.S. cities: New York, L.A., Charlotte, Miami, Houston, Minneapolis, and others. Virtually all other major cities and regional hubs have one-stop service through one of LIR’s direct destinations. Pricing is, unfortunately, very seasonal: a weekend-to-weekend itinerary will set you back anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000, round-trip, during peak travel times. During the summer, expect to pay as little as $300 or $400 round-trip. Check airline schedules before you book, as some carriers fly to LIR only during the North American winter and spring.
Prices include airfare, fuel surcharges, airport taxes and fees. Air & land tour prices apply from the gateway airport or city specified in the Package Highlights. Prices will vary from alternative gateway airports or cities and may be higher. The total price will be clearly displayed prior to any deposit being required. Additional baggage charges may apply. CST#: 2051249-40
Costa Rica has a large number and variety of beaches on its two coasts. In the North Pacific, the Gulf of Papagayo, Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, Playa Dominical, Sámara and Nosara are extensive beaches with important tourist developments ideal for family holidays with many attractions for children; Near the Central Pacific you will discover beautiful beaches such as Playa Blanca and Manuel Antonio where couples will find the perfect setting for their honeymoon. Towards the south the beaches of Dominical, Uvita and Ballena are important ecotourism destinations. On the Caribbean coast you find white sand beaches such as Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Gandoca where the sea is crystalline.
A money belt with your passport, cash, credit/debit cards and ticket (bus or plane) is a good way to carry your travel documents. Even if all your other belongings are stolen, you would still be able to get to your next destination. The waist belts are best; a neck pouch can be lifted while you are asleep. A thief would really have to disturb you and your personal space to get a waist belt.
Along the pristine South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica lies an oasis that remains relatively untouched. El Castillo's preserved location offers guests a sanctuary where they can explore the diverse nature surrounding the property, experience many of the activities on site or simply relax in a slow-paced lifestyle. This boutique resort offers guests panoramic ocean views, lush jungle surroundings and is near some of Costa Rica's finest restaurants. With fewer than 10 rooms and suites, guests can expect a more intimate level of service for a truly memorable experience.
“My family and friends could not believe how wonderful the accommodations were. Everywhere we stayed the staff was nice and treated us very professionally. At Tortuguero, the staff treated us from the minute we arrived to the second we left as family. I cannot wait to take another Caravan tour, and tell all my friends about this one. Please do not change a thing, you have got it right.”
Climate: This entry includes a brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year; in the Word entry only, it includes four subfields that describe climate extremes:ten driest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and inches for selected countries with climate extremes. ten wettest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and i . . . more
Year-round tropical warmth means there really isn’t a bad time to visit Costa Rica. December to April are normally the driest months; however, Costa Rica’s diverse topography and blanket of rainforests suggest that you should be prepared for at least some rain - a very small price to pay for such incredibly lush scenery. The good news is that even during the rainiest of seasons, the rainfall tends to be limited to a couple of hours a day… just enough time for you to enjoy a cup of Costa Rica's world-renowned coffee in one of its many cafes. Temperatures vary with altitude, with San Jose's temperatures ranging between 15C and 21C and the coastal areas experiencing much warmer climes.
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Few tourists make it this far down the peninsula, so you’ll have whatever beach or trail you choose to explore to yourself. Just don’t expect any true stunners: the closest broad beach is Playa Carmen, up the road a few miles. Stay the night at Hotel Vista de Olas or Hotel Moana, both rustic but comfortable properties within walking distance of the shore.
Not a beach person? Costa Rica is rife with waterfalls and hot springs. Arenal Volcano’s La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the best things to do in Costa Rica for a reason—this visitor-favorite offers an easy hiking path to a massive blue pool at the base of chaotic, 270-foot falls. About 90 minutes outside San Jose, Bajos del Toro cloud forest is home to a 300-foot waterfall accessible by foot—but rather than swim, you can get up close and personal on a foot path to get soaked by the falls’ mist.
For much of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the Arenal volcano terrorized the predominantly agricultural communities at its base with frequent belches of caustic smoke, ash, and lava. A major eruption in the late 1960s killed scores and seriously damaged local infrastructure, but things have quieted down significantly – the volcano hasn’t seen much activity since 2010.
* The "Starting at" or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare; additional fees/charges are not included. If a price is crossed out, the new price shown includes a limited time promotional offer(s) – please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Some tours require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Globus).
Ticos speak a number of indigenous languages, such as Bribri, Maléku, and Cabécar. However, the country’s official language is Spanish. Linguists enjoy traveling through the various topographies to see the variety of languages still in use, including the Limón Creole English created by Jamaican migrants who settled in Limón in the mid-19th century. Jewish travelers to Costa Rica enjoy finding Yiddish speakers brought from Indo-European and Germanic immigrants who constituted two major waves of migration, after the first initial wave dating back to the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish. In areas populated by tourists or international schools, English is commonly spoken. It is easy to find someone who speaks English well, even if they only respond to your question of “Do you speak English?” by saying, “A little.”
English was more prevalent in the touristy areas we visited, notably the northwestern beaches and the Monteverde area. We had the most trouble in the least touristy areas. In Tilaran, the couple who ran our hotel relied for English-language help entirely on a younger employee who’d previously worked at a call center. The Rincon de la Vieja area was more remote than Tilaran, of course, but our resort catered mostly to English-speaking tourists and most staff communicated accordingly.
One of the reasons Costa Rica has so many varied activities is thanks to the variety of the country itself! Costa Rica is considered a tropical country, but it features its own plethora of microclimates. Each of these destinations – which might be separated by only a few hours of driving – feature their own unique and unforgettable adventures. There are hot springs tucked away in lush rainforests, hanging bridges over misty cloud forests, palm-tree studded white-sand beaches, dramatic seaside cliffs, the arid rolling hills of Guanacaste – there’s no end to the experiences! Visit Arenal Volcano and wonder at a massive volcano and surrounding verdant rainforest, and then the next day you might find yourself only a few hours away relaxing on Papagayo’s white sand beaches, watching the kids stand-up paddleboard, or kayaking among the mangrove jungles of Tortuguero. When asked about favorite activities, each of our Travel Experts’ has a different answer – or multiple! Picking and choosing what to experience in Costa Rica can be a trial just thanks to the number of options, but our Travel Experts are happy to help you plan your perfect escape!
If you fancy swimming under a genuine rainforest waterfall, you need to add the Nauyaca Waterfalls to your Costa Rica itinerary. Located in the South Pacific area of Costa Rica, the Nauyaca Waterfalls are pretty impressive – the main fall drops over 140 feet into a large water-carved pool, complimented by a second 60-foot tiered waterfall. In addition to the enormous main pool at the base of the falls, there are several other smaller pools where you can relax and enjoy the warm waters of the Rio Barucito. However, getting to the falls can be something of a challenge – you need to hike in and out –about 4miles each way or sign up for a horseback tour, which includes a genuine Costa Rican lunch.
There are several opportunities to engage in volunteer work in Costa Rica. Volunteer projects range from turtle conservation, building houses, teaching English and community development work. Some schools offer visits to Costa Rica as part of the World Challenge activity, which combines a Trekking expedition with some of the students time assigned to helping local people on community projects.
After a minivan pickup from your hotel in San Jose, your day trip begins with the 35-minute drive northwest to Sarchí, a Central Valley town famous for its crafts, particularly wood and leather furniture and decorated oxcarts. Pick up a souvenir or two from a local artisan before making the 2.5-hour drive further north to the town of La Fortuna, which sits below Arenal and offers an unobstructed view of the volcán on clear days. On arrival in La Fortuna, head to a local restaurant for a typical Costa Rican lunch of rice, beans, chicken or steak, and plantains, accompanied by a great view of Arenal. Then, continue your tour about 20 minutes down the road to Mirador Arenal 1968, a trail system on the edge of Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) named for the 1968 eruption. Walk along the paths to find the best photo spots of the volcano and Lake Arenal (Lago Arenal), and watch for glimpses of bright orange lava flowing down the volcano. Finally, head a few miles back toward La Fortuna to the Tabacón hot springs — officially Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort — one of Costa Rica’s biggest and most luxurious hot springs resorts. Enjoy roughly 3.5 hours here to soak in the various pools, which range in temperature from 77 to 102°F (25 to 38°C).The resort is beautifully landscaped with waterfalls and lush vegetation and offers many ways to relax, from secluded pools to a swim-up bar (drinks at your own expense), so sit back and enjoy it until dinner is served. The resort’s buffet dinner lasts about 30 minutes and offers a selection of Costa Rican cuisine, similar to lunch. After dinner, head back to your hotel in San Jose (about 2.5 hours), where your tour ends.
If there is one thing that killed us (and our electronics) it was the humidity in Costa Rica. We found the humidity in Costa Rica particularly bad in the south, along with the coast, and pretty much anywhere away from the cloud forest. It was particularly hard to dry our clothes and keep them from not smelling and molding, but the real problem was with our electronics going haywire.
Judicial branch: This entry includes three subfields. The highest court(s) subfield includes the name(s) of a country's highest level court(s), the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing j . . . more
Costa Rica is home to six active volcanoes, a few of which are safe enough to be widely popular for hikes. Trek to Poas Volcano’s steaming blue crater pool, visible from a lookout point at its namesake national park; or explore Arenal Volcano’s biodiverse foothills formed by lava flows. The most accessible volcano, Irazu, is ringed in a cloud forest that’s accessible by car–it’s also the most visited national park in Costa Rica.
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.
Never participate in adventure sports alone. Always carry identification and let others know where you are at all times. Before kayaking and rafting, check river conditions and wear a life jacket and helmet. Even popular rafting locations such as the Rio Naranjo near Quepos can become extremely dangerous in flash flood conditions. When hiking, rappelling, or climbing, carry a first aid kit and know the location of the nearest rescue center. Observe all local or park regulations and exercise caution in unfamiliar surroundings.
Sanitation facility access: This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved sanitation facilities available to segments of the population of a country. Improved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush to a piped sewer system, septic tank or pit latrine; ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine; pit latrine with slab; or a composting toilet. Unimproved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush not piped to a sewer system, septic tank . . . more
Government type: This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.): Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition. Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority. Authoritarian - a form of government in whic . . . more
That is a primary reason why the major credit rating agencies – Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch – have downgraded Costa Rica's risk ratings. For example, Moody's Investors Service in early 2017 reduced the rating to Ba2 from Ba1, with a negative outlook due to the "rising government debt burden and persistently high fiscal deficit, which was 5.2% of GDP in 2016" and the "lack of political consensus to implement measures to reduce the fiscal deficit [which] will result in further pressure on the government's debt ratios". The country is currently debating major fiscal reform legislation to cut the budget deficits and stop the growth in debt, one of the highest in Latin America.