election results: Carlos ALVARADO Quesada elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Fabricio ALVARADO Munoz (PRN) 25%; Carlos ALVARADO Quesada (PAC) 21.6%; Antonio ALVAREZ (PLN) 18.6%; Rodolfo PIZA (PUSC) 16%; Juan Diego CASTRO (PIN) 9.5%; Rodolfo HERNANDEZ (PRS) 4.9%, other 4.4%; percent of vote in second round - Carlos ALVARADO Quesada (PAC) 60.7%; Fabricio ALVARADO Munoz (PRN) 39.3%
Don’t think that your phone plan from back home is going to give you a good deal on cell/data service here. Other than T-Mobile, which offers a good international data/call plan, most visitors find that they end up paying a lot for extras. Stop at a tienda and get a local SIM. Download both Waze and WhatsApp on your device (Waze for directions, WhatsApp to communicate).
Adventure vacations are one of the best reasons to go to Costa Rica!  If you’re going to visit somewhere new, why not get as many fun experiences out of it as possible?  If you haven’t tried surfing, head on over to Tamarindo and take a few lessons.  Any adrenaline-junkie will love the rush of canopy zip lines – what could be better than a bird’s eye view as you glide over the rainforest?  The Pacuare River has some of the best whitewater rafting in the world, and rafting adventures can be planned for just the day or for the next three.  When it comes to getting your heart racing, you can’t beat Costa Rica!

PK: Don’t believe that it won’t rain in the ‘dry’ season. Don’t leave all your reservations until the last minute-especially if you have your heart set on one particular place. Things fill up fast. Don’t worry if people don’t e-mail you back; call your hotel or tour operator instead. Make sure you have enough space on your phone for taking photos and videos; Use the plane ride to delete unnecessary space. Call your hotel before you arrive to ask about road conditions. Don’t follow the weather apps; in our area they are useless.
Costa Rica also comprises several islands. Cocos Island (24 square kilometres or 9.3 square miles) stands out because of its distance from the continental landmass, 480 kilometres (300 mi) from Puntarenas, but Isla Calero is the largest island of the country (151.6 square kilometres or 58.5 square miles). Over 25% of Costa Rica's national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country's protected areas. Costa Rica also possesses the greatest density of species in the world.[58]
Simply stated, if you’re not used to this kind of driving, be very careful and always drive defensively. You might be cut off and tailgated. There’s a good chance you’ll see cars jump the line, not heed to stop signs and not use blinkers. Of course not all Costa Ricans drive this way but generally, their driving culture is not quite as structured and the infrastructure is not the best. Once you get out to the rural areas, it’s much more relaxed since there are less cars but you still need to drive defensively.
Don’t come here expecting to have a bug-free experience. Even the most expensive hotels are going to have insects (this is a rain forest). Rooms here can be quite nice if you pay up, but they do not come with central heat and air. It is cool enough at night that AC is not needed, but if you want airflow you will likely have your windows, and perhaps some of the doors, open. If you have strong aversion to bugs make sure in advance that the windows in your room have screens (seems like this would be a given, it is not). We have screens at our house but I awoke at 1:00 a.m to a spider walking across my face. Be prepared to roll with it.
Welcome to the “rich coast,” friendly land of democracy and rare natural beauty. With naturalist guides, see exotic birds and wildlife, hike in jungle rainforests, view volcanoes, soak in hot springs and cruise through biological reserves. Caravan provides transfers from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica to your hotel for a two night stay. Rooms are available for check-in after 4:00 p.m. Join Caravan for an 8:00 p.m. welcome briefing. Dinner is served until 9:30 p.m. at your hotel. D
We could use some advice on getting From Dominical to Sierpe. We want to travel on a Sunday. I expect we can catch a bus from Dominical to Palmar Norte then a cab from there to Sierpe. However a lot of places Sunday is a family day, might we have a problem finding a cab in Palmar Norte? Or should we try to get private transportation from Dominical. Renting a car is not an option as we are going on to Drake bay and then flying out from there. Thanks Jim
Another Costa Rican tour highlight is the Arenal Volcano, considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. You may witness the red lava streaming down the sides as you hear the volcano’s grumbling. Relax as you soak in the ecothermal hot springs and perhaps watch the lava flow down the volcano—a spectacular sight! In Monteverde, visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, home to forest fauna such as jaguars, resplendent quetzal, monkeys, ocelots, and many species of birds—not to mention the large diversity of plant species.
Hi Mickey, I recommend reading this post: Best places in Costa Rica for first timers to help decide which destinations to go to (I list how long it takes to get there from both airports, things to do and convenience). Costa Rica is very family friendly and there’s a lot to do everywhere but for your specific requests, I’d look into Gulf of Papagayo (families love Playas del Coco and Playa Panama) as you’re close to beaches, volcanoes and hiking and there’s great seafood of course.
There is a section of Rio Tárcoles that is especially famous for its abundance of very large American crocodiles. You can walk out onto a bridge and look down to see dozens of massive crocodiles laying on the embankment or just floating at the surface; a view that is straight out of a nightmare! You will pass this bridge when you are driving from San Jose toward Jaco Beach. You can’t miss it because you will see plenty of people on the side of the bridge admiring these ancient beasts.

Combine adrenaline and relaxation as you view Arenal Volcano and soak in Baldi Hot Springs on this rejuvenating day trip from San Jose! Your expert local guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Arenal Volcano National Park. En route to La Fortuna, stop for approximately 30 minutes in the artisan town of Sarchi, where you’ll have an opportunity to admire the colorful oxcarts or shop for souvenirs.When you reach the park, experience the thundering Arenal Volcano from a safe viewing area. Since a major eruption in 1968, this stratovolcano has been one of the most active in Costa Rica, with mild and nearly continuous explosive activity from the conical crater, whose summit reaches an elevation of 5,436 feet (1,657 meters). As you watch for any lava flows, clouds of smoke or ash, your guide will share information about the park’s thermal features.After your thrilling show, enjoy a complimentary lunch at the Arenal Volcano Inn Resort or La Perla Restaurant. Spend your afternoon soaking in the region’s rejuvenating thermal baths and mineral pools at Baldi Hot Springs Hotel and Spa. This family-friendly spa consists of several therapeutic pools of varying temperature, allowing people of all ages to steep in relaxation.Later, enjoy a gourmet dinner under the stars at the hot springs and continue admiring one of the world's most active volcanoes!
PK: Don’t believe that it won’t rain in the ‘dry’ season. Don’t leave all your reservations until the last minute-especially if you have your heart set on one particular place. Things fill up fast. Don’t worry if people don’t e-mail you back; call your hotel or tour operator instead. Make sure you have enough space on your phone for taking photos and videos; Use the plane ride to delete unnecessary space. Call your hotel before you arrive to ask about road conditions. Don’t follow the weather apps; in our area they are useless.
Keep in mind that most banks and credit unions charge not only fees to get money out of an ATM in a foreign country, but also a foreign exchange fee (usually 2% or 3%) for the amount of the transaction. So to withdraw USD100 worth of colones with your ATM (debit) card you could pay a fixed fee to the ATM operator (often USD3 or more), a fixed fee to your bank (USD2 or more), and then 2% to 3% of USD100, so you end up paying USD108 for USD100 worth of colones. Paying a merchant directly with your card only incurs the foreign exchange fee.
The Pacific region of Costa Rice enchants visitors from around the world, along with Ticos taking a break from the bustling streets of San Jose. White sand beaches sparkle against the indigo waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the breeze accentuates the relaxing coastal ambiance. The pristine beaches border Costa Rica’s smallest national park, which encompasses three square miles of protected land that harbor unparalleled biodiversity.
Many travelers who enjoy nature vacations have scuba-diving experiences at the top of their list. Among the coolest places to visit in Costa Rica there are lots of amazing spots to explore under the water. One of the top picks is Drake Bay. Located in the northern part of the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, one of the most remote regions of the country, Bahia Drake, as it’s called in Spanish, was named after Sir Francis Drake. He discovered it in the 16th century, during his voyage around the globe.

I mean, who doesn’t love dinner with a nice sunset view, am I right? One of our absolute favorite places to enjoy dinner with a view is in Manuel Antonio. we like Manuel Antonio because there are a lot of restaurants up on the hills. This means you get the perfect sunset viewing spot. Just a warning though, bring plenty of bug spray. The second the sun goes down it gets super mosquito-y.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is a privately owned nature sanctuary close to San Jose. There are five waterfalls, cloud forests and rainforests, a snake, frog, orchid, and heliconia exhibit, a petting “zoo,” a hummingbird garden, and an animal sanctuary with over 100 different species including jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, and pumas. This is an exciting attraction for the whole family and a perfect way to experience some of the natural wonders of Costa Rica all in one convenient and beautiful place.
The sovereign state of Costa Rica is a unitary presidential constitutional republic. It is known for its long-standing and stable democracy, and for its highly educated workforce, most of whom speak English.[9] The country spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%.[9] Its economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, corporate services for foreign companies, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism. Many foreign manufacturing and services companies operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.[10]
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