This unofficial motto helps explain many other facets of Costa Rican culture. Costa Ricans (or Ticos and Ticas) are known for their laid-back demeanour, happy outlook and conflict-averse nature. In fact, peace is so highly valued here that they have no standing army. It was abolished in 1949 with all funds reallocated to create an “army” of teachers instead. It follows that education is also highly valued here. Primary and secondary school is mandatory and free for all, resulting in a 97% literacy rate.

In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services.[65] This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestation, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e., carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).[65]
Our Adventure Costa Rica Vacations create the perfect balance of fun-filled outdoor activities and natural habitat exploration. Well known as a paradise for eco-tourists, Costa Rica’s rainforests, beaches, mountains, and cloud forests, full of abundant wildlife and natural beauty, provide an unforgettable setting for satisfying your thirst for adventure.

Costa Rica is famous for its beaches. Imagine visiting the entire Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica while staying at some of the finest hotels and enjoying a variety of pristine beaches and untouched rain forests. This is one of our more popular packages at CRV and includes stops at the local favorite, Jaco beach and its incredible nightlife. Only a short 1.5 hours from San Jose, Jaco has plenty offer just about anyone.


Costa Rica is an adventure-seeker’s paradise. Although relatively small in size, the country offers an extraordinary range of activities. There are diverse landscapes to discover and exciting ways to explore them. People of all ages can enjoy these safe and thrilling activities. And if one adventure is not enough, there are plenty of other ways to experience the...
Many trails in Costa Rica come with entrance fees but there are some that don’t.  It can be difficult to find the access points and to be certain you’re not trespassing so we don’t list many of them here.  Instead we suggest you take a look at (and post questions on) some of the facebook pages dedicated to hiking in Costa Rica.  Two good ones are Ruta la Cima and Picoaventuras Talamanca.
It is not realistic (or enjoyable) to be traveling a minimum of 7 hours for a day trip. If a week is all you have, come to terms with the fact that you won’t see it all and treat it like a little sneak preview. If you do have a limited time and want to make the most of it, check out our Costa Rica articles for loads of ideas. The Top 10 things To Do in Costa Rica will give you the ‘must-do’s’ for your trip and you can take your pick.
Hi Jim, I have seen a couple of ATM’s around the Flamingo Beach hotel and most of the North American Cards works here, just make sure to ask your bank about international withdrawal fees and all that. In the worst case scenario you will have to go to Tamarindo downtown where you will find many banks and ATM’s people from all over world use them without any problem.
The park also offers a great habitat in which to view the endangered great green macaw and Fin whales that are found swimming off of the coast. The average rainfall reaches 200 inches annually, making it the wettest in the country, and the humidity is palpable throughout the year, allowing the plant life to flourish in the thick, tropical heat along the marshlands, swamps, lagoons, and slow-moving rivers. 

You can’t leave Costa Rica without experiencing its two most famous and delicious exports: coffee and chocolate. Costa Rica’s government allows only high-quality Arabica beans to grow on coffee plantations, meaning you should get yourself to a cupping session (read: coffee tasting) to taste this famous export and learn all about coffee growing, roasting, and brewing.
Some of our best tours combine a little of this and a little of that, to create Costa Rica vacation packages like no other. Take to the thrilling zip lines of a canopy tour that winds through a monkey and sloth-studded forest; sail out to snorkel Pacific reefs and witness an unforgettable sunset; and hike a volcano before settling in for Mother Nature’s massage in steamy, thermal hot springs. With these tours, Costa Rica is at your fingertips.

“The sights were absolutely fabulous! We visited both coasts and many places in between ... all the places we were interested in seeing. I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit Tortuguero, but it turned out to be one of my favorite destinations! This was an exceptional tour at an exceptional price. The guides were very eco-minded. We received a good education from them and their passion for preserving their environment was contagious. We totally get it. Your Costa Rican tour was awesome.”

Rising to an elevation of 2,194 meters, one of the top things to do in Costa Rica is a trip to the Talamanca Mountains. The journey is worth it, especially as you step into a paradise filled with the lyrical humming of more than 170 bird species. Spot a quetzal, or take snapshots of other remarkable birds as you wander into a cloud forest blessed with the crisp mountain air.
San José’s Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) sits smack-dab in the middle of the country and makes a convenient, centrally located arrival and departure point for most visitors. But if you’re spending all your time in northern Costa Rica, say, lazing on a north Pacific beach with a trip to the Arenal volcano, you have a second option: Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) lies just outside the small northwestern city of Liberia and receives flights from all the major airlines too. Fares do skew slightly higher to Liberia, but you’ll save a lot of overland hours to and from San José. Both airports are capricious places—upon departure, you might breeze through check-in and security in 15 minutes, or you may encounter lines stretching out the door. Whether or not you abide by the recommended three-hour advance check-in depends on your aversion to risk.
The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rica Colon, though the United States dollar is widely accepted.  The conversion rate hovers between 500 – 550 Colones to $1 US dollar.  Most tourist related businesses list their rates in US dollars.  Prices in Costa Rica are generally a little higher than other Central Amercan countries due to the higher standards of living.
Rio Celeste is one of the only places on the planet you can relish magical, turquoise waters. It is created by a natural chemical reaction when waters from two rivers, Rio Buena Vista and Rio Quebrada Agria, filled with sulphur and carbonate collide together at Tenidores. The short 6 km hike starting from the entrance to the national park, all the way to Tenidores is ideal for viewing these pristine blue hued waters as you hike through the lush tropical scenery and native wildlife. Hike a little further and you reach the Blue Lagoon where you can really admire the water’s blue hues.

With such a vast amount of avifauna, it is important to know what types of birds you would like to find during your time in Costa Rica. For the tropical rainforest species, you can explore La Selva Biological Station and Reserve. Carara National Park hosts the largest population of remaining scarlet macaw while Tapanti National Park and Cerro Silencio host tanagers, barbets, ornate hawk-eagles and a plethora of hummingbirds. With stunning colors, interesting calls, and fascinating characteristics, it is no wonder that more than 30 percent of all travelers to Costa Rica visit to see the birds. 
Fares vary widely by destination and demand, but you can expect local journeys (under two hours) to cost less than $10 one-way and longer trips to cost less than $20. Be mindful of the difference between directo (direct) and colectivo (multi-stop) buses; the latter might be a few bucks cheaper, but it’s also really slow. Pay close attention to bus stop locations: central bus terminals are unheard of in Costa Rica, even in San Jose, and virtually every company maintains its own hubs in towns served. It’s distressingly easy for non-Spanish speakers to get on the wrong bus.
For a water-adventure equivalent, white-water rafting is also one of the most popular things to do in Costa Rica. The Pacuare River is a favorite rafting spot for its proximity to eco-lodges and stops at waterfalls and swimming holes along the way. Suit up and row your way through class four rapids in between sandy coves and rocky ledges where you can jump into the river’s calmer spots. The Pacuare Lodge staff leads guests on white water rafting expeditions often—rafting is the easiest way to get to and from the property.

"We felt great joining the Costa Rica tour. The tour guide was fun and extremely accommodating and the hotels are superb in service and uniqueness. The activities in Hacienda Guachipelin were fantastic and and the Villas Playa Samara is truly a beach paradise. All the sceneries on the tour were beautiful, the wildlife were also astounding. We got more than what we bargained for. We had a great experience and we will definitely do it again."


Parque Nacional Guanacaste protects Costa Rica’s northernmost volcanoes, Orosi and Cacao. Like some of the other parks on this list, it encompasses a wide range of altitudes and ecosystems: from the Pacific dry forests near sea level to the premontane cloud forests above 3,000 feet, to the true cloud forests above 5,000 feet or so. It’s well worth the $10-per-adult price of admission.
Our Sport Fishing Adventures will cast you into waters where numerous record billfish have been caught off the Pacific side and huge tarpon regularly reeled in off the Caribbean coast. Lake Arenal provides a freshwater hot spot for the elusive (and delicious!) Guapote. Costa Rica is home to some of the best sport fishing in the world. We utilize only the best captains plus top of the line equipment and boats for our famed fishing expeditions.
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!
Many trails in Costa Rica come with entrance fees but there are some that don’t.  It can be difficult to find the access points and to be certain you’re not trespassing so we don’t list many of them here.  Instead we suggest you take a look at (and post questions on) some of the facebook pages dedicated to hiking in Costa Rica.  Two good ones are Ruta la Cima and Picoaventuras Talamanca.
volcanism: Arenal (1,670 m), which erupted in 2010, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica; a 1968 eruption destroyed the town of Tabacon; Irazu (3,432 m), situated just east of San Jose, has the potential to spew ash over the capital city as it did between 1963 and 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Miravalles, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, and Turrialba
Costa Rica was an early innovator in eco-tourism, a breed of travel that gives back to the local environment and community by minimizing negative impacts of travelers. Numerous eco-lodges opened and offered tours of the rain forest with local guides that not only explain the value of the rainforest to travelers, but instill value of the rainforest in the minds of locals to avoid further deforestation by local populations. Over 25% of Costa Rica's land is protected, mostly by their excellent system of National Parks.
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.
This quiet – often deserted – stretch is known for the distinctive “window” formations that punctuate an otherwise nondescript headland jutting out into the waves. At low tide, it’s safe to walk through the window, pausing only to marvel at little critters temporarily marooned in tidal pools. At high tide, stand back and admire the ocean’s awesome power as the waves tear through the waning void.

Located just 10 miles (16 kilometers) off of the Osa Peninsula, the Cano Island Biological Reserve is an amazing place to spend the day and go snorkelling. The waters are warm, crystal clear, and teeming with marine life. The coral reefs here are home to a wide variety of tropical fish, rays, and turtles. Just off the reef, it is common to see bottle-nosed dolphins and humpback whales. Violines Island, which is part of the reserve, is a beautiful white sand- and palm tree-lined island where you can kick back and relax after you are done snorkeling.
San José, August 20, 2018 The U.S. Embassy has received information about a possible immigration protest today at 4:00 PM in downtown San Jose in the areas of Parque La Merced, Central Park, Plaza de la Democracia, and/or Parque Nacional.  The Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to monitor local media for updates. The majority of protests in Costa ...

As I mentioned in the beginning, we created this list of activities in Costa Rica with budget travelers in mind. However, there are plenty of other amazing things to do in Costa Rica that will be a bit of a splurge on your budget. For example, we think that zip lining in Costa Rica is a must do activity, but it is not so budget friendly. If you are interested in zip lining we suggest going to La Fortuna or Monteverde for the best views.
No matter how well you intend to keep yourself covered with insect repellent, mosquitos are elusive and an inescapable part of the travel experience, whether visiting the lowlands, coastlines, and valleys across Costa Rica. It is important to wear long pants, long sleeves, a hat, shoes, and fresh repellent, most notably at dusk when the mosquitos are their most active.

Caravan's vacation packages include complimentary departure transfers from your hotel in San José to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica on the day the tour ends, scheduled to arrive at the airport at 5:00 a.m, 7:00 a.m, 9:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. These transfers are only available on the day the tour ends. If you wish to extend your stay in Costa Rica, you will need to transfer on your own, at your own expense. Please ask the hotel bellman to arrange a taxi. Expect to pay $25.00 U.S. Dollars per taxi, plus tip. The driving time from the hotel to the airport is approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Please advise the Tour Director if you will be taking your own taxi separately.   
The boutique Tambor Tropical Beach Resort offers guests the opportunity to relax and explore during their tropical beach getaway. You may enjoy the golden beaches and deep blue waters just a few steps away from your luxurious suite. Your room is complete with a private balcony granting spectacular views of Whale Bay. Keep an eye out for the charismatic marine life on the horizon. Recenter yourself with a relaxing massage or an outdoor yoga class, certified instructors are even available to teach yoga on stand up paddle boards in the bay. Embark on an exciting adventure sea kayaking, horseback riding, or sport fishing. This dazzling beach resort beautifully showcases the best of the Nicoya Peninsula.
It should be easy to see all of Costa Rica in two weeks—the country is only the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, after all—but what’s that they say about the best-laid plans? Once you arrive, you’ll see how mountainous the center of the country is, and that the highway system leaves something to be desired. It takes a lot longer to get from place to place than you realize. Map out a couple of locales for a week or three or four stops in two weeks and get to know them well. You’ll appreciate that slower pace. And if you’re like many visitors, during your flight home, you’ll start planning ways you can get back to Costa Rica. What you didn’t see on your first trip, you’ll catch the next time around.

We offer exciting Costa Rica vacation packages for the active soul who is planning to travel to a tropical destination. See all of Costa Rica. Visit beaches. Visit a rainforest. Visit a volcano. Vacation packages give you plenty of time for activities as well as time to relax. We also have eco tours for a sustainable vacation while fully immersed in nature.
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.
Looking for standard street addresses? If they exist, folks here generally don’t know them or use them. Costa Rica relies instead on a charming, exasperating system of describing places in reference to landmarks, where “100 meters” denotes the distance to the next cross street, regardless of the actual measurement. “200 metros al norte y 50 metros al oeste de la iglesia” means your destination is two blocks north and a half-block west of the church. Modern Costa Rica uses anything—a gas station, a McDonald’s, a mango tree—as a reference point. As you can imagine, getting a pizza delivered here is a challenge. There is a bright side: Costa Ricans are amazingly helpful. Keep asking. You’ll get where you’re going eventually.

Dive sites abound on both sides of Costa Rica, though the Pacific coast is more heavily trafficked. There, the area around Herradura Bay and Jaco has a number of relatively shallow, high-visibility sites that are appropriate for novices. On the Caribbean side, the area around Cahuita National Park is a hidden gem that sees just a fraction of the dive traffic of Pacific alternatives, and has sites appropriate for all skill levels. If you’re not already scuba-certified, enroll in a certification course through a local resort. These can be found for $200 to $400, depending on the location and nature of the course.

So when you’re trying to get your money together, don’t stress too much about exchanging it all beforehand as it’s not 100% necessary if you live in the US. You can use dollars in pretty much every touristic destination and they will give you your change back in colones. If you are Canadian however, it will be better for you to have colones due to the Canadian dollar and USD exchange rate. Ask the hotels or tour companies if you can pay in colones instead.
Marijuana traffic, distribution and commerce is illegal in Costa Rica, despite recreational marijuana use being quite popular among locals, as there is absence of law when you carry marijuana for personal use quantities only (a few joints) although police could try to get money from you or keep you in the local commissary for up to 12 hours. The United States DEA is also present in Costa Rica and they have been known to disguise themselves as tourists. There is a Costa Rican equivalent of the DEA as well. It is not advised to do illegal drugs in Costa Rica. It is also not advised to bribe a police officer. Do so at your own risk.
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 Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of Costa Rica, located in the town of Cartago. The church was built on the spot where the small statue of the famous Black Virgin was discovered in 1635 and is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics from all over Costa Rica. The basilica was built between 1912 and 1924 and is an impressive structure in the neo-Byzantine style. You can visit the cathedral to admire the architecture and acoustics, see the stained-glass windows, and perhaps dip your fingers in the famous holy water font. The famous statue of the Black Virgin is not on display however – it is kept locked away at the altar.
“The hotels were an outstanding value. Each was clean, comfortable and had a special charm of its own. The meals were ample, excellent choices wide enough to satisfy a picky eater like me. It ranged from excellent to superb. Mexico’s Ancient Civilizations last year rated ten out of ten with our tour director. This tour director made Costa Rica fifteen out of ten. I will schedule Tikal, Copan sometime next year.”
"We felt great joining the Costa Rica tour. The tour guide was fun and extremely accommodating and the hotels are superb in service and uniqueness. The activities in Hacienda Guachipelin were fantastic and and the Villas Playa Samara is truly a beach paradise. All the sceneries on the tour were beautiful, the wildlife were also astounding. We got more than what we bargained for. We had a great experience and we will definitely do it again."
Once in Costa Rica, distances traveled are relatively short in this small Central American country. In a few hours from the capital of San Jose by car, van or bus, one can get to both the Caribbean coast and the Pacific coast. The Panamerican highway runs from Nicaragua in the north to Panama in the south where you'll find the remote Osa Penisula & Corcovado National park.
There are also miles of quiet coastline and pristine beaches to explore (some of them are among the best beaches in Costa Rica), plus activities like mountain bike riding, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and horseback riding. Birdwatchers can find much of interest in this part of the country too. Easy to see why this part of the country is among Costa Rica attractions.
Rio Celeste is one of the only places on the planet you can relish magical, turquoise waters. It is created by a natural chemical reaction when waters from two rivers, Rio Buena Vista and Rio Quebrada Agria, filled with sulphur and carbonate collide together at Tenidores. The short 6 km hike starting from the entrance to the national park, all the way to Tenidores is ideal for viewing these pristine blue hued waters as you hike through the lush tropical scenery and native wildlife. Hike a little further and you reach the Blue Lagoon where you can really admire the water’s blue hues.
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.
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.
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.
Costa Rica was an early innovator in eco-tourism, a breed of travel that gives back to the local environment and community by minimizing negative impacts of travelers. Numerous eco-lodges opened and offered tours of the rain forest with local guides that not only explain the value of the rainforest to travelers, but instill value of the rainforest in the minds of locals to avoid further deforestation by local populations. Over 25% of Costa Rica's land is protected, mostly by their excellent system of National Parks.

While you are in the country, our customer service team is on-call 24/7 throughout your stay. If you need a restaurant reservation, a travel tip or would like to make an adjustment to your vacation plan…just give us a call.  No other Costa Rica travel agency can match our commitment to guest happiness, and we have over a decade of satisfied clients to prove it.
While you are in the country, our customer service team is on-call 24/7 throughout your stay. If you need a restaurant reservation, a travel tip or would like to make an adjustment to your vacation plan…just give us a call.  No other Costa Rica travel agency can match our commitment to guest happiness, and we have over a decade of satisfied clients to prove it.

Languages: This entry provides a listing of languages spoken in each country and specifies any that are official national or regional languages. When data is available, the languages spoken in each country are broken down according to the percent of the total population speaking each language as a first language. For those countries without available data, languages are listed in rank order based on prevalence, starting with the most-spoken language.


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.
Instead we paid about $35 each to stay at Heliconias, walk out the door of our cabin to the bridges whenever we wanted day and night, and used their private trail to cross the reserve to Tenorio National Park and continue up to Lago Danta (which you can’t even reach from the main paid park entrance).  A total of $280 for two nights lodging plus $0 for activities for the four of us.
Disputes - international: This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State. References to other situations involving borders or frontiers may also be included, such as resource disputes, geopolitical questions, or irredentist issues; however, inclusion does not necessarily constitute . . . more
With all these different climates and landscapes, it’s no wonder that this Central American jewel is also one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet. With just 0.03% of the earth’s surface within its borders, the country has an estimated 5% of the world’s species. In Costa Rica, this natural world surrounds you, putting the country on the forefront of eco-tourism and eco-living. Sloths, capuchin monkeys, toucans, and scarlet macaws will be your new neighbors.
Costa Rica is the most visited nation in the Central American region,[106] with 2.9 million foreign visitors in 2016, up 10% from 2015.[107] In 2015, the tourism sector was responsible for 5.8% of the country's GDP, or $3.4 billion.[108] In 2016, the highest number of tourists came from the United States, with 1,000,000 visitors, followed by Europe with 434,884 arrivals.[109] According to Costa Rica Vacations, once tourists arrive in the country, 22% go to Tamarindo, 18% go to Arenal, 17% pass through Liberia (where the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport is located), 16% go to San José, the country's capital (passing through Juan Santamaría International Airport), while 18% choose Manuel Antonio and 7% Monteverde.[110]
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