One of the top things to do in Costa Rica to admire wildlife is going on a guided night tour. Most animals are night creatures, and go out of their nests after sunset. This is a great time to spot frogs, snakes and – for the lucky ones – even jaguars. Night walks are offered in Tortuguero Natioanal Park, in Arenal and in Osa Peninsula. Needless to say, you will need a guide for this – first so that you don’t get lost, and secondly because unless you are an expert, you’ll need someone pointing the animals to you, and following their tracks.
On the Pacific slope, the river with the largest volume, El General, is famous for multi-day adventures and for being an incredible playground for kayakers. The Coto Brus River is also part of this watershed. Further north, on the central Pacific coast, are the Savegre and Naranjo Rivers. In this area you have the opportunity to enjoy both half-day trips on the Naranjo River and 1-to-2-day trips on the Savegre River.

Price is per person, based on double occupancy, and includes hotel rates, hotel taxes, roundtrip airfare, and gov't taxes/fees applicable to airfare based on specified departure city. Price may vary for other departure cities. Price shown is sample price found 11/10/15 on jetblue.com/vacations for travel departing BOS on1/4/16 - 1/28/16 and may not represent current savings. Package/price subject to availability; may change without notice; valid for new bookings only; capacity controlled; may not be available on all dates or with all flights; and may be restricted to certain hotel room categories.


Land use: This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: agricultural land, forest, and other; agricultural land is further divided into arable land - land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest, permanent crops - land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest, and includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, and permane . . . more

Costa Rica historically managed to stay away from the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It has also managed to be the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 oldest democracies, paying homage to its stance as a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has also consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.
Green and life are everywhere, from the 1200 species of orchids that garnish our trees to life sprouting on the beaches every year when millions of green turtles, leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles reach the Caribbean coast at the National Park Tortuguero to lay their eggs, traveling from miles away. Similarly, at Ostional, in the Pacific thousands of Lora turtles (Kemp's Ridley) reach the beach every year.
There is an extensive network of bus routes within the country with reasonable fares. Departures are very punctual, though routes often take longer than expected. Stop by the Tourist Office downtown (underneath the Gold Museum in the Plaza--ask anyone and they'll be able to help you out). The bus system is a safe and even fun way to see a lot of the country cheaply and not have to worry about car rentals. Getting around without Spanish is no problem.

Hi Chayanne, thanks for your kind words and glad the blog is helpful! I don’t know where your house is in Ojochal but many of the houses in that area are up in the mountains and the road into Ojochal is not paved, so a 4×4 is a good idea especially for that area. A lot of roads in the Costa Ballena up in the mountains are steep and unpaved so they do require a 4×4.

Pay Attention to Travel Advisories: Before you get too deep into the planning process, the check State Department’s travel advisories and adjust your itinerary accordingly. You shouldn’t have too much to worry about in Costa Rica. When we visited, only Liberia was on the State Department’s radar, and the advisory was pretty standard stuff: avoid certain areas at night, keep close watch on your valuables, and don’t expect the cops to help you. We took that advice to heart and encountered no trouble.

If you want to use a local Costa Rica number, you can rent cell phone service, and of course anyone can buy a cell phone. You used to have to be a documented resident of the Costa Rica to own your own cell phone number, and even then you only got one if there are numbers available. You still have to be a resident if you want monthly billed service to an address (such as in the U.S.). But since the passage of the CAFTA treaty in 2009, the government cell phone monopoly has been broken and service is now provided by many operators, including Grupo ICE [5] under the Kölbi brand, TuYo Movil (reselling the ICE service), Movistar and Claro (the latter two also providing service throughout Latin America). Currently coverage on Kölbi is best because the network is the oldest and most built out (e.g. there is no Movistar service in Monteverde. Update: 2014-11-2 There is now HSPA+ Movistar service in Monteverde).
So where does all this wildlife live? In an effort to protect the beauty over 25% of Costa Rica’s land has been turned into protected parks and reserves. According to Go Costa Rica, there are actually 27 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, 15 wetland areas/mangroves, 11 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, as well as 12 other conservation regions that protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country. Wowza!
Eating Costa Rican food is a great way to learn more about the culture and history of the country. Staples at meal time include black beans and rice known as gallo pinto, a favourite for breakfast. Dinner brings delectables like sopa negra (black bean soup) and casado which highlights rice with an array of side dish like fried plantains, vegetables, fish, beef or chicken. For dessert, try the Costa Rican rice pudding known as arroz con leche and quench your thirst with a traditional shot of guaro which is a liquor made of sugar cane.
Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. Many people from U.S, Canada and Europe go there to be treated, not only because the quality of the service but for the cost. First class Hospitals can be found in the capital. There is a public/private hospital system. There is excellent care in each. The public system has much longer waits, while the private system has shorter waits. If you are unfortunate enough to have a very sick child requiring hospitalization, the child will be transferred to the only children's hospital in CR, located in the capital. This children's hospital is public.
If you intend to hike around Corcovado (or anywhere in Costa Rica, really) make sure to wear the appropriate gear. Things to keep in mind when setting to hike are the high humidity levels of this part of the world, and the bugs that will feast on you unless you wear long sleeves and pants, and apply bug repellent. I suggest reading my post on what to pack for the jungle to have an idea of what to wear and pack for an adventure trip to Corcovado.
Playa Hermosa is a comely, uncrowded gray sand beach on the Papagayo Peninsula. The beach itself fronts a deep cove that’s sheltered from the open Pacific, moderating local wave action. Even if you’re not staying at one of the four- or five-star properties near the cove, or at one of the upscale condos just over the ridge on the Pacific side, you can access Playa Hermosa without paying at the public beach along the area’s main paved road. Get the full local resort experience for less at Papagayo Golden Palms Resort, just off the beach: we spent less than $150 per night there and got as nice a five-star resort experience as I’ve ever had.
The Gulf de Papagayo is a well established dive location with three major diving options. Local diving, the Catalinas, and the Bat Islands are the options within the Gulf. Diving centers are mainly located around Playas del Coco and Playa Flamingo. Out of the three options, Bat Islands is probably the most exciting as this national marine park is home to the often feared bull sharks. The dive site "Big Scare" allows divers the chance to dive face to face with these sharks and is also home to other large pelagics such as manta rays and the occasional whale shark.

Major urban areas - population: This entry provides the population of the capital and up to six major cities defined as urban agglomerations with populations of at least 750,000 people. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the boundaries of the city. For smaller countries, lacking urban centers of 750,000 or more, only the population of the capital is presented.


Costa Rica and Nicaragua regularly file border dispute cases over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island to the International Court of Justice (ICJ); in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region

Warning: taxi drivers await incoming bus passengers at almost all terminals in San José. Many of them focus on foreigners and try to rip you off. They claim it is necessary to make a detour to reach your hotel or they offer to call your hotel and call a friend who says it is full. Then they offer you another hotel. The standard rip off fee is 50 USD or an invisible commission from another hotel. It is now (March 2017) almost a standard practice in San José. The police are aware of the problem, but do not address it effectively. Often hotels send warnings after you booked.

Generally speaking, Costa Rica is a safe destination for LGBTQI travellers. Same-sex relationships and same-sex sexual acts are legal. In 2015, Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to recognize gay relationships, however, recognition of same-sex marriage is currently pending government approval. In many places in Costa Rica, public displays of affection might attract unwanted attention, but there are a few places in Costa Rica with a thriving LBGTQI scene. Quepos has long been known as the LGBTQI capital of Costa Rica, and the actual capital, San Jose has a good number of gay bars, clubs and saunas.
The La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the top waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica. There are multiple ways to get to the hiking trail, one being via horseback, where you will then walk down 500 steps to the basin of the waterfall; La Fortuna Waterfall is 230 feet (70 meters) high! The raw power of this waterfall is mesmerizing. After hiking down, you can swim in the pool beneath the cascade of water, which is an incredible experience in and of itself. The surrounding forest is stunning and it is likely that you will see toucans, butterflies, monkeys, and sloths.

One of the most important details parents have when travelling is how to give to the whole family some unforgettable vacations without spending a fortune. With our affordable family vacation packages, every member of the family will have an amazing experience for the best price. No matter if you prefer an all-inclusive resort or a small cozy hotel; the beach or the forest…Costa Rica is one of the most family-friendly destinations of the world.


For the best beaches, we suggest the North Pacific Coast. Tamarindo is one of the most popular beaches in this area. It can get pretty crowded, but it has lots of restaurants, shops, and other facilities. Alternatively, we love the quiet area near Playa Avellanas (just south of Tamarindo). It’s more rustic down here and less developed, but easily accessible by car and a great place to relax and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle!
“Born in San José, I developed an interest in knowing the different attractions, customs and traditions across beautiful Costa Rica. I have always enjoyed at the fullest what I do, so I share my passion with everyone. I like making new friends, being helpful, leading groups, sharing my knowledge of my home country, and always having a smile for people around me.”
La Paloma Lodge is situated on a dramatic clifftop providing outstanding views of the Pacific and emerald jungle below. Drake Bay’s natural wonders provide opportunities for endless exploration. Snorkel through the crystal waters at Caño Island and discover the verdant rainforest and wildlife of Corcovado National Park. This boutique ecolodge is the perfect destination for any nature lover.
“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’

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.

Another way to get to Costa Rica that many people are unaware of is travelling by car and driving the Pan-American highway that stretches from Alaska all the way to Southern Panama and passes right through Costa Rica. If you enter Costa Rica by car, crossing the border with Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, expect it to take 3-6 hours. All passengers have to leave the car with their luggage and pass it through a scanner, the car and driver goes through a different scanner, you line up for passport control, fill in several forms for the car, find an official who stamps and signs every form etc. Everything is chaotic, totally inefficient and obviously corrupt. The procedure is repeated on the other side of the border. Take note that a car insurance, written in Spanish and mentioning explicitly that it is valid for Costa Rica, will not be accepted, you have to buy a new one and pay 37 dollars.
On the Pacific slope, the river with the largest volume, El General, is famous for multi-day adventures and for being an incredible playground for kayakers. The Coto Brus River is also part of this watershed. Further north, on the central Pacific coast, are the Savegre and Naranjo Rivers. In this area you have the opportunity to enjoy both half-day trips on the Naranjo River and 1-to-2-day trips on the Savegre River.
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).
“NO paper at all in toilets, NOTHING. Use the barrel provided alongside every toilet, yup, you got that right, that’s how it’s done here so do not clog the toilet. Excepting high end hotels in SOME places. The law requires public toilets in most all stores including grocery stores. Some roadside tourist spots want you to buy or pay maybe C1000 ($1.67) for the privilege.”—CaptBrad617
Costa Rican is not known for the best road conditions.  This is attributable to the mountainous terrain and extreme climates.  While primary roads are generally paved, many side roads are not or are in poor condition.  Distances that may appear like a short drive when looking at a map, may take much longer to traverse than expected.  In some cases, roads are seasonal depending on river levels.
“Be careful where you put your hands while walking in the rainforest. There are fire ants and other nasty stuff in the jungle. While hiking in La Fortuna, we had a guide who showed us lots of spiders and caterpillars and tarantulas and other nasties. One boy in our group kept putting his hands on everything, and at one point, the guide suddenly stopped him, because he was about to put his hand on a deadly caterpillar.”—Tony Baloney
Are you looking for the ultimate in Costa Rica vacations? Our team of local experts will design your custom, vacation package. We do NOT sell cookie-cutter trips. Instead, we take the time to get to know your unique “travel personality”. Then we match you with a hand-picked selection of hotels, tours & transportation. The result is a tailor-made Costa Rica journey that will fit you like a glove.
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.
You say you're more of a thrill seeker? Costa Rica is a nature lover's playground, and no matter what your mood, you'll find a great adventure to suit it. While here, you can fly through the canopy in Selvatura Park, hike to thunderous waterfalls or hot springs next to Arenal Volcano National Park or go white water rafting down the thrilling Pacuare River.

This sustainable Costa Rica hotel is typical of San Jose colonial hacienda architecture and offers spacious, comfortable guestrooms and suites with the latest amenities. Enjoy total convenience in its location, personalized services, delicious cuisine, and facilities like the pool and fitness center. Let the friendly staff help you relax while catering to your needs and helping you see all that Costa Rica has to offer.


The population includes European Costa Ricans (of European ancestry), primarily of Spanish descent,[2] with significant numbers of Italian, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, and Polish families, as well a sizable Jewish community. The majority of the Afro-Costa Ricans are Creole English-speaking descendants of 19th century black Jamaican immigrant workers.[126][127]
Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.03% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity.[61][62] Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas,[63][64] the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%).[65][66][67] Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005.[65]
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