This idyllic location is situated just above the rushing Coronado River with outstanding views of the tropics. Take a swim in the Pacific Ocean at one of the pristine beaches nearby. Wander along the seaside and converse with the friendly Ticos. Return to your grand villa after a long day of exploration. Sit on your lovely terrace and watch the sky turn to a painted pink and orange sunset. Enjoy a natural environment like no other at The Mango Trees Villa and Spa.
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus
Due to its rich bio-diversity, pure beauty, and close proximity to Mother Nature in unison with its small ecological footprint, Costa Rica offers an experience like none other. Whether diving or snorkeling the crystal clear offshore protected waters, to zip-lining hundreds of feet above a giant old growth rainforest, you’ll be surrounding yourself with tropical beauty. Marveling at sunsets and sinking your feet in the warm sand, you’ll likely experience a complete detoxification, ultimately feeling the embrace of a carefree state of mind.
When you’ve had your fill, take a respite in the nearby seaside town of Tamarindo. Have an early dinner and watch the sun set from the patio at Langosta Beach Club, then wind down with a tropical cocktail at the open-air bar at Occidental Tamarindo, an ever-popular all-inclusive property with amazing beachfront, secluded hacienda rooms, and a pool that has to be seen to be believed.
Ticos enjoy long weekends or a day trips from San Jose to relax in the variety of hot springs and thermal baths that rush along the verdant landscape. The natural volcanic activity heats the waterways that course through the tropical trees and underbrush to populate the foothills beneath the smoking volcano. Luxury travelers, honeymooners, and backpackers alike will enjoy the variety of activities the region offers while taking advantage of the rejuvenating waters. Local activities include cave tours, horseback riding, zip lining, fishing, hanging bridges, chocolate tours, cultural experiences, river rafting and whitewater rafting, rappelling, canyoning and day and night treks.

Visiting chocolate plantations is a fun and informative experience and offers new views to the tediousness of drying the beans and the seductive aromas produced as the beans roast. The country produced nearly 700 tons of dry grain in 2013, but it was not enough to cover the domestic demand. Many chocolate tours will allow you to grind the beans yourself for a better insight into the process of crafting smooth, velvety chocolate mixed with a small amount of sugar to make 70 percent dark chocolate. 
For our 2017-2018 High Season Print Edition, we brought together a group of long-time Costa Rican residents – and our favorite urban tourism guru – to discuss their tips for a successful visit to Costa Rica during its busiest time of year. This week, we’re presenting more of their do’s, don’ts and secrets. To download our full print edition, pick up a copy, or learn more about distributing or advertising in The Tico Times, click here.
The coasts of Costa Rica are known for strong currents and rip-tides in some areas but most of them are great to be with the family. Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in the world. The Atlantic coast is just five hours away from the Pacific one and both offer completely different views and landscapes. There are no signs indicating an unsafe beach due to riptides, so take precautions and listen to the locals on where it is safe to swim. The public beaches do not have life guards. A traveler should learn how to swim out of a rip tide and not swim alone. There are some active volcanoes in Costa Rica and they are dangerous, so follow the warning signs posted. The slopes of the Arenal volcano invite visitors to climb closer to the summit, but there have been fatalities in the past with unseen gas chambers. Also be wary of the climate of Costa Rica. It is very hot in the daytime, but in the morning and evening it becomes very cool, so you should bring a light weight jacket.
It’s worth noting that anytime you eat out whether it be at a cafe, soda shop, or restaurant there will be a 10% service charge and 13% tax added to every bill. So don’t be surprised if your bill is 23% more than what you thought it was going to be. This also means that there is no need to leave an extra tip for your server unless you want to (looking at you Americanos)

The beautiful National Theatre of Costa Rica is located on the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura in San Jose and is one of the city’s most notable buildings – a must-see for all lovers of art and architecture. The theatre was built in 1897 in the neo-classical style and features an elaborate marble lobby and auditorium decorated with paintings depicting 19th-century life in Costa Rica. Your entrance fee entitles you to a free guided tour (every hour, on the hour), which will greatly enhance your visit. If you can spare the time, you can attend one of the many scheduled performances at the theater, which has excellent acoustics.


If you’re not much of a surfer but still want to get out in the water, SUP is one way to go. It’s a good workout for your whole body and a fun way to enjoy the ocean. Some of the best spots are at Playa Mantas, Playa Panama and Playa Platanares for their very calm waters. You can sign up for classes or rent boards in destinations like Playas del Coco, Tamarindo, Jaco and Golfito.

Thanks to the variety of things to do in Costa Rica, visitors to Costa Rica have the benefit of being able to do so many different things in a single trip! A simple charter flight or ground transfer (just a few hours) can bring you somewhere completely new – with all different options! You want to go sport fishing, and then spend the rest of the vacation relaxing in geothermal hot springs and horseback riding? We can plan that! A rafting trip down the Pacuare River, then surf lessons for you and the kids? Done! With so many things to do in Costa Rica, the choice may be tough, but we’ve got over 30 years of experience just ready to help you out!
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
Soaring over low-hanging clouds and lush rainforests is exhilarating. Breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the birds eye view. Out of all the adventure activities in this list, we’d say zip-lining is the most tame. While the initial jump can be scary if you’re afraid of heights, this activity is extremely safe and can be a good way to get over a fear.
Costa Rica is in Central America. It is bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north. The country's total area is 19,730 square miles (51,100 sq km), which is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia. Costa Rica's terrain varies between coastal plains and rugged mountains. The highest point is Cerro Chirripo, which rises to 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) in the Chirripó National Park.
Don’t be turned off by popularity. No two travelers will ever have the same experience on the trails, see the same wildlife, have the same guide, etc. Our popular packages are still uniquely yours. Furthermore, they can be customized to be exactly what you want them to be. Scared of heights? Pull the canopy zip line tour out of your trip. Have to swim in a rainforest waterfall during your visit? Add it on! Hotel and resort upgrades are available and highly encouraged. This is your trip. Do it your way!
Exploration doesn’t need to be exhausting, and Costa Rica has much to offer for those who want to recharge and enjoy the country at a leisurely pace. Whether you choose a sunset cruise, an aerial tram, a walk through the rainforest on a suspension bridge, or an afternoon soaking in a volcanic hot spring, there are many relaxing ways to experience Costa Rica’s diverse...
"I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time in Costa Rica.  We were very impressed with the tour which your organised for us.  The hotels were very good, the drivers were punctual and courteous and the guides were amazing - their knowledge and command of English was fantastic. I have already recommended your company to friends who are planning a trip to Costa Rica"
Accommodation – Hostel dorm beds are between 5,500 to 10,000 CRC (10-15 USD) per night. Private rooms in hostels are usually around 15,000 CRC (25 USD). Free WiFi is standard, and most hostels also include free breakfast. The majority of hostels around the country also offer self-catering facilities, too. Budget hotels begin around 17,000 CRC (30 USD) per night for a double/twin room and go up from there (breakfast is often included). For Airbnb, shared accommodation usually begins around 15,000 CRC (25 USD) per night. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay around 25,000 CRC (40 USD) per night. For those traveling with a tent, camping is an option. Most campgrounds usually charge 5,500 CRC (10 USD) per night though you’ll pay up to double that for camping in national parks.

Costa Rica is an amazingly diverse country, unlike anywhere else in the world.  The country features a wide array of attractions including scores of beautiful beaches along both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, rainforests teaming with exotic wildlife, cloud forests that seemingly disappear into the sky, and active volcanoes with hot springs.  Within Costa Rica, there are twelve distinct climate and life zones.  These zones provide habitat for nearly 4% of Earth's species making it one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet.  The people of Costa Rica are just as beautiful as the country, ever warm and welcoming.
Located approximately 45 miles east of San Jose, Turrialba Volcano National Park protects one of Costa Rica’s least visited active volcanoes. The Turrialba Volcano reaches an elevation of over 10,000 feet and is covered in verdant montane rain forest. Prior to 2016, the last time that a major eruption occurred was in 1866, and it was possible to hike to the summit along a variety of scenic trails. Along the way you could explore various lava flows and at the apex you were rewarded for your efforts by brilliant 360-degree views. Since 2016 Turrialba has produced several substantial eruptions, some of which caused the closure of the airport and deposited ash as far away at San Jose, and the national park remains closed to visitors until further notice.
The country may look small, but there are so many amazing activities in Costa Rica. There are hundreds of beaches to explore, two dozen national parks, half a dozen of volcanoes and an immense number of activities to take part it during your visit. Many travelers ask whether it is possible to see Costa Rica in a week and our answer is, it really isn’t.
Your Passport: Though it’s fairly easy for North American travelers to reach and lacks a standing army, Costa Rica is indeed a sovereign nation. Don’t forget your passport and passport card. If your passport is expired, apply at least three months in advance to avoid bureaucratic delays. A new or renewed U.S. passport and card costs $140, per the State Department.
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 

The park, one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica, is a crucial sanctuary for wildlife and serves as a bridge between the Northwest’s dry, tropical forest, and the wet rainforest of the southern Pacific. As such, it supports a wide variety of waterfowl and other species, including woodpeckers, toucans, manakins, jacamars, and hundreds of other birds. Even the scarlet macaw can be found here, with an estimated 450 birds living within the park. This makes it the only area in the north Pacific to be home to a significant population of the endangered bird.
Explore Costa Rica from coast to coast on this active 10-day multisport vacation. From river rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, and canyoning to relaxation time, you'll enjoy the best that Costa Rica has to offer while staying in sustainable eco-lodges and reserves. Cahuita National Park, La Tirimbina Reserve, the Pacuare River, & Arenal volcano await.
Insurance on car rentals is mandatory in Costa Rica, but be aware that it’s not included in the price listed on many car rental websites online. Typically the additional cost is around $10/15 a day for mandatory third party insurance and unfortunately in 9 cases out of 10 it’s not something that can be covered by your travel insurance or your credit card insurance, so budget accordingly.
Southwest Airlines offers routes that fly into both San Jose (the capital, smack-dab in the middle of the country, close to popular tourist areas like Punta Arenas) and Liberia (a small town in the north that offers a quick means of getting to the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula). Both are non-stop flights, both take around three-and-a-half hours, and both cost around $350 round-trip. And once you're here, lodging can be found at every price point, from tidy hostels for $30 a night, boutique hotels for $90, or flat-out luxury resorts where you're treated like royalty for $200.
The traditional flavors of Costa Rica are typical of Central America and utilize rice and beans for the most common dish known as gallo pinto.  A customary breakfast consists of fried eggs or meat paired with the rice and beans while gallo pinto is often used as a side dish at lunch or dinner as well, accompanied by a small salad, meat or fish, and possibly fried plantains. The latter combination of dishes is known as casado, referring to the marriage of ingredients. Casados and gallo pinto are known in Costa Rica as “typical food,” comida tipica.
“I am still impressed that the large Caravan Tours has scheduled almost-daily departures from January through March of its escorted tour of the beaches, volcanoes and rain forests of Costa Rica. It’s a sign of how firmly tourism has taken hold of that Central American republic, and a tribute to the appeal of unsullied nature, which Costa Rica represents. However, it’s also because of the brilliant, affordable pricing of this tour by Caravan.”

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
In 1996, Allan Weisbecker sold all his worldly possessions and set out in search of his long-time surfing friend, Patrick, who had went missing somewhere in Central America. Traveling with only his dog, his surfboards, and his truck, Allan’s journey from Mexico to Costa Rica is a memorable one, filled with scarier moments (like evading bandits) and warmer ones (like befriending the locals). It’s really the tale of ultimate friendship.
A morning boat transfer begins your journey to the Sarapiqui area. Tour a PINEAPPLE FARM, owned by a local family, and learn about the history, cultivation, and industry of pineapples. Continue to your hotel in the lush town of Arenal, located in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. After settling in, experience the magic of the resort’s pool and hot spring-fed jacuzzi, or consider a walk in the nearby nature trail in search of 300- to 400-year-old trees, poisonous frogs, monkeys, birds, and possibly small animals native to the area.
With so much nature and so many volcanoes, it’s only obvious that one of the unmissable things to do in Costa Rica is hiking. I love volcano hikes (my favorite to date has been that of Mount Bromo, in Indonesia), and hiking in Arenal and La Fortuna is one of the top activities in Costa Rica. However, I also recommend heading to Corcovado National Park for more adventures.
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

Costa Rica is very safe and often touted as one of the most enjoyable, relaxed destinations to which visitors like to travel. Normal precautions should always be considered in any country, including paying attention to theft, including pickpockets, and petty crimes while in large crowds within big cities. You should also maintain safety standards on the beach to protect from riptides.


Had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. Very well organized every step of the way. The tour director, Gilbert was simply awesome. He is very knowledgeable about Costa Rica -on history, bio diversity and all kind of interesting tidbits. He was always available to address any of our problems and made sure we enjoyed the trip and did not worry about anything else. Kudos to Gate1 for having employees of such caliber.
A lot of the adventure activities in Costa Rica are expensive, but if you want a more local and cheap experience, just be really selective about the things you want to spend money on. One really nice thing about Costa Rica is that by law all the beaches need to have public access. This means every beach is free!!!!! Yeay for lots of beach days! If you need some activity ideas check out our list of favorite activities including many things for the budget savvy traveler in mind.

Many roads are unpaved, and even the paved roads have lots of unpaved sections and washed out or unfinished bridges. Bridges are often only wide enough for one vehicle; one direction usually has priority. Do not expect to get anywhere quickly; supposed three-hour journeys can turn into five or more hours easily: there are always slow cars/buses/trucks on the road. This causes a lot of crazy driving, which you begin to emulate if you are in-country for more than a day. The government does not seem to be fixing the infrastructure well (or at all!); 50km/h is good over unpaved roads. Some hotels located in the mountains require a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the destination. Call ahead. This is more for the ground clearance than the quality of the road. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are widely available at the car rentals near the airport, but call ahead.

The Butterfly Conservatory is located in El Castillo at the east end of Lake Arenal and has the biggest collection of butterflies in Costa Rica. There are six different atriums that mimic the natural habits of the variety of butterflies that live here. The beautiful and giant blue morpho butterfly can be seen here. There is a fabulous educational tour that takes you through the atriums where you will learn all about the different moths and butterflies of Costa Rica, along with the frogs and insects, too. This is a lovely afternoon activity; who doesn’t want to be surrounded by butterflies?


The My Costa Rica team has traveled extensively in Costa Rica and we know our tour providers well. We conduct periodic site inspections of the properties and tours that we represent so that we can guarantee their quality. Our office is located in the capital of San Jose, Costa Rica, so we meet our guests at the airport when they arrive and are on call for them during their entire vacation.

Parque Nacional Tapanti protects part of the high Costa Rican cordillera, which extends south and east from San Jose into western Panama. Thanks to its position on the windward side of Costa Rica’s highest mountain ranges, it’s the wettest place in the entire country: a teeming rainforest that’s more likely to be shrouded in mist (or pelted by torrential rain) than not. The highest elevations harbor paramo, a relatively rare (in Costa Rica) high-altitude grassland ecosystem characterized by tough, deep-rooted grasses and knotted shrubs. The paramo is home to dozens of rare and endemic bird species.


First, check on international flights—sometimes you will be able to find some very good deals on airfare flying to either San Jose or Liberia. San Jose usually offers the best options, and it’s a great place to start your vacation if you are interested in seeing the Arenal Volcano, Monteverde or the Central Pacific. If, on the other hand, you are able to find a good deal to Liberia (which are becoming more common), it’s perfect for a beach vacation as Liberia is much closer to all the beaches in the North Pacific of Costa Rica. Even if you wait to get flights until after you plan your trip, it’s good to know what to expect for availability and cost. And if you find an amazing deal, don’t sleep on it—they don’t last long!
- Shared Shuttles are available on a daily basis - Morning and afternoon departs (depending on the destination) - Door-to-door service (We will pick you up at your hotel and leave you at your next destination hotel) - From/to most popular destinations in Costa Rica, including Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Tamarindo, San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR) airports. Please check the complete list of Shared Shuttles Destinations. - Insurance for each passenger - Prices are per person.
There is a USD29 exit fee at the Juan Santamaría Airport. This must be paid in cash, or by Visa (in which case it will be processed as a cash advance). The fee can also be paid in advance at some hotels or banks (Banco Credito Agricola de Cartago and Banco de Costa Rica). Some airlines already have this tax included in their ticket price - travellers can check the Juan Santamaría Airport website to find out what airlines already have the fee included.
I mentioned above that zika is of significant concern for pregnant and planning-to-become-pregnant visitors. Zika infections are often mild (low fever, chills) or entirely asymptomatic, so you won’t necessarily know that you’ve been afflicted. And it’s not just women who have to worry: though more research needs to be done, it appears that sexual transmission is possible.

Costa Rica is a country with an extraordinary wealth of things to do, but regardless of your travel interests, you're going to want to spend time at one of the country's great beaches. The lion's share of beach tourism is concentrated on the Pacific side, in the Central Pacific region near San José, the Nicoya Peninsula, and in the dry tropical forests of Guanacaste. Less touristed, but no less beautiful are the beaches in the tropical rainforest of the southern Pacific coast near Corcovado National Park, or on the exotic, rastafarian, eco-tourism paradise of the Caribbean side.


Costa Rica is one of the world's most popular destinations for eco-tourists because of its biodiversity. Costa Rica possesses the greatest density of species in the world, and around 25% of its national territory is protected by a system of conservation areas and national parks. It has been stated in various places that Costa Rica may contain as much as 6% of the world's plant and animal species. Both tropical plant and animal species abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids. The animals are equally as impressive, whether it's a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish.) The amphibians are also quite impressive; the poison dart frogs with their bright colors are bound to catch your attention, or the giant cane toads.
Our Wildlife Safaris, with the very best bilingual naturalist guides, can escort you into a variety of protected natural habitats, such as pristine rainforests, coastal canals, tropical dry forest, wetlands, and cloud forests to name just a few. Whether you are wanting to travel way into the wilderness or prefer being led into easier areas for mountain birdwatching and lowland river cruises, we offer excellent wildlife observation opportunities to choose from.
For Americans, tipping is a part of daily life and therefore follows travelers to countries around the world. Tipping might not apply to all Costa Rica customs, but there are moments when a tip is considered appropriate. Restaurants already add a 10 percent tip to any bill. As a rule, Costa Ricans do not tip servers in restaurants unless they feel the service went above and beyond the percentage attached to the bill. Cab drivers do not receive tips, but hotel attendants who help carry luggage to the rooms should receive a tip between one and two dollars per bag. Naturalist, local, and river guides could receive ten percent of the service or between five to 10 dollars per person, depending on how you feel about the tour, guide, and the service provided. 
Of the GDP, 5.5% is generated by agriculture, 18.6% by industry and 75.9% by services.(2016)[76] Agriculture employs 12.9% of the labor force, industry 18.57%, services 69.02% (2016)[83] For the region, its unemployment level is moderately high (8.2% in 2016, according to the IMF).[76] Although 20.5% of the population lives below the poverty line (2017),[84] Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in Central America.[85]
×