Enjoy an exciting 2-hour ATV tour as your guide takes you on an exiting trip across the dry forest and part of the beach with a wonderful lookout point in the mountains of Conchal beach. $89.00 USD 2 hours
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White Water Rafting
Volcano Arenal & Hot Springs
Southern Caribbean Coast
Monteverde Cloud Forest
Chocolate & Coffee Plantations
Black Sand Beach
And much more
Cahuita, a tiny town situated right next to a stunning national park with the same name, is about an hour north of Puerto Viejo. Cahuita is a place to relax, home to playa negra and playa blanca. There’s one bar in town that gets lively (sometimes it’s half full!), but for the most part, after a day of hiking, animal spotting, swimming, or surfing, most people just sit around and read.
Best sights in Costa Rica
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Planning a solo or family vacation is a lot of work, we know. Allow us to do the work for you. The only thing you need to do is relax, show up and have the best experience on your adventure in Costa Rica.
Zipline Horseback River Tubing ComboThe best all day adventure combo on Rincon de la Vieja Volcano that includes zip lining, horseback riding, river tubing...
$155.00 USD 12 hours
NATIONAL PARKS - MANUEL ANTONIO PARK - POAS VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK - IRAZU VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK - TORTUGUERO AREA - BALEEN NATIONAL MARINE PARK - CAHUITA NATIONAL PARK - ARENAL VOLCANO PARK - RINCON DE LA VIEJA PARK - SANTA ROSA NATIONAL PARK - CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK - BEACHES - Playa Negra - Manuel Antonio Beach - Tamarindo Beach - Conchal Beach - Flamingo Beach - Nacascolo Beach - Dominical Beach - Costa Ballena - Santa Teresa & Malpas Beach - Nosara Beach - Optional Beach - Manzanillo Beach - Punta Uva Beach - Playa Cocles - Playa Blanca - WATERFALLS -
Viento Fresco - Llanos de Cortés - Moctezuma Waterfalls - Cataratas Nauyaca - Catarata Manantial de Agua Viva -
Cascada Verde - Las Cataratas de Los Chorros - Catarata Río Fortuna - Baru Waterfall Tours - La Paz Waterfall Gardens - Celeste Waterfall - La Fortuna Waterfall - Nauyaca Waterfall - Savegre Waterfall - La Cangreja Waterfall
Experience the meaning of ‘Pura Vida’ as this guided trip takes you to the forest in the hills above Jaco Beach to a majestic setting of pure Costa Rican natural harmony. $104.00 USD 4 hours
Visit the Caribbean side – Costa Rica is pretty expensive. There are few ways around that fact. But visiting the cheaper Caribbean side will let you see the beautiful country without the high prices of the popular Pacific destinations.
Eat at Musmanni – Musmanni is a bakery found all over the country. They offer a great lunch special. For 1,000 CRC, you can get a sandwich and a soda. Most of their pastries are only 300 CRC. I ate at this place whenever I found one because it helped keep my food costs down.
Avoid the tourist buses – While local buses are a lot slower than the tourist buses, they are also about half the price. If you aren’t rushed for time, take the local buses.
CRC = Costa Rican Colon / USD = United States Dollar
1.00 USD = 564.97 CRC Exchange Rate subject to change.
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Articles About Costa Rica
Flying into San Jose Airport code. (SJO)
Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose. Experience Costa Rica’s world-renowned Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs on this exciting full-day trip from San jose, CR.
$157.00 USD 15 hours
Experience the adrenaline-charged thrill of whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River! The scenery, tropical vegetation while rafting is simply unique. $125.00 USD
Travel insurance is something you will need on the road. It’s the MOST IMPORTANT thing you need. You never know what could happen, and most health insurance plans don’t cover you when you travel. Not only does travel insurance cover any injuries or illnesses but it also covers the stuff you take on the road, any accidents that might happen, or trip cancellations that might occur. It’s not just about being able to see a doctor on the road — it’s about making sure that if you fall into an ocean (like I did), your camera can get replaced at no cost. Here is why I never leave home without travel insurance:
It covers you when you get sick and need to see a doctor.
It covers you if you need to get helicoptered out of somewhere.
It covers you if you need to be sent home.
It covers electronics that break or stolen.
It covers if you have to cancel your trip.
It covers you if your goods are stolen.
It is affordable and offers peace of mind!
It is easy to get (and renew online).
It is a no brainer – because if something goes wrong, it saves you thousands!
For only a few dollars per day, making sure you won’t be out extra money when something goes wrong is the smart and frugal move. After all, a good budget traveler is a smart budget traveler. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. I once had a friend break her arm and had to pay thousands of dollars because she didn’t buy insurance. Don’t let that happen to you!
When to go and weather
High Season (Dec–Apr) - Dry’ season still sees some rain; beach towns fill with domestic tourists. Accommodations should be booked well ahead; some places enforce minimum stays. -
Shoulder (May–Jul & Nov) - Rain picks up and the stream of tourists starts to taper off. There may still be crowds, because students in Europe and North America are on holiday. Roads are muddy and rivers begin to rise, making off-the-beaten-track travel more challenging. -
Low Season (Aug–Oct) - Rainfall is highest, but storms bring swells to the Pacific and the best surfing conditions. Rural roads can be impassable due to river crossings. Accommodations prices lower significantly. Some places close entirely; check before booking!
CRC = Costa Rican Colon / USD = United States Dollar
1.00 USD = 564.97 CRC Exchange Rate subject to change.
Accommodation – Hostel dorm beds are between 5,500 to 10,000 CRC per night. Private rooms in hostels are usually around 15,000 CRC. 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 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 per night. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay around 25,000 per night. For those traveling with a tent, camping is an option. Most campgrounds usually charge 5,500 CRC per night though you’ll pay up to double that for camping in national parks.
Food – By eating at local restaurants you can expect to pay around 535-1,600 CRC for meals. These are a local favorite and will save you from paying tourist prices in other establishments. Typical meals like the traditional casado are 2,670 CRC. Most restaurant meals will cost around 3,900 CRC or more. A very nice meal in a tourist area will cost around 9,000 CRC. For cheap food, eat from the street vendors where snacks and light meals can cost as little as 265 CRC. If you plan on cooking for yourself, a week’s worth of groceries will cost around 15,000-20,000 CRC.
Transportation – Public transportation is cheap here. Short bus trips (under 3 hours) are around 2,000 CRC while longer trips will cost closer to 5,500 CRC. There are a number of private coach operators who go directly between major cities and tourist attractions. Those buses are about triple the price of the local public bus, so stick with the local buses if you’re on a budget. Trains are virtually non-existent and flights around the country are quite pricey.
Activities – Entrance into most national parks is usually around 5,500 CRC with discounts available for students. Canopy tours and day trips are around 24,000 CRC. A two tank dive can be between 32,000-53,325 CRC. Surf lessons start around 11,000 CRC per hour. There are also lots of surf camps where you can spend the week learning how to surf (or honing your skills if you already know how to). Prices vary widely, though expect to pay at least 23,000 CRC for a week.
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Travel off-season – Late April-November is considered the rainy season, and as a result, prices tend to be less expensive and the region less crowded.
Avoid tour activities – There are a lot of great but expensive group activities and tours in the area. Skip them, and do the free activities such as hiking the park, the La Fortuna waterfall, and a few of the hot springs.
Eat at the sodas – “Sodas” are small family run restaurants which specialize in inexpensive local meals, usually costing around 1,065 CRC including a drink. These hole-in-the-wall restaurants offer the best value in the country.
Go camping – Most of the resorts and hostels in many places will let you camp. If you don’t have your own tent, you can rent them, this is the best way to keep your accommodation costs down. Also Stay in dorms or Couchsurf.
Manuel Antonio National Park Day Trip from San JoseSpend a day exploring one of Costa Rica's most beautiful attractions on a guided full day tour from San jose, CR.
$145.00 USD 12 hours
Flying into Libera Airport code. (LIR)
The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Costa Rica, our most comprehensive guide to Costa Rica, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less traveled.
Located on the Caribbean coast, this city is popular with young people and backpackers because of its great beaches, surfing, and party atmosphere. The town is very lively, and you’ll find something going on every night. It’s probably the most popular destination on the Caribbean coast. There are also many quiet beach hotels around for those who are looking for some peace and quiet.
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Welcome to Costa Rica
Centering yourself on a surfboard or yoga mat, descending bat-filled caves or misty volcanic peaks, hiking, biking or ziplining – your only limit is your return date.
The Peaceful Soul of Central America
If marketing experts could draw up an ideal destination, Costa Rica might be it. The 'rich coast' has earned its name and stands apart from its Central American neighbors on the cutting edge of so many trends: surfing, farm-to-table restaurants, and sustainable tourism. One of the world's most biodiverse countries, with half a million species – from insects to the giant anteaters that devour them – it also protects one-quarter of its wild lands through law. Developing infrastructure is balanced by green energy like wind and hydro, and while there's no standing army, you almost always feel safe.
Rainforest hikes and brisk high-altitude trails, rushing white-water rapids and warm-water, world-class surfing: Costa Rica offers a dizzying suite of outdoor adventures in every shape and size – from the squeal-inducing rush of a canopy zipline to a sun-dazed afternoon at the beach. National parks allow visitors to glimpse life in both rainforest and cloud forest, simmering volcanoes offer otherworldly vistas, and reliable surf breaks are suited to beginners and experts alike. Can’t decide? Don’t worry: given the country’s size, you can plan a relatively short trip that includes it all.
The Wild Life
Such wildlife abounds in Costa Rica as to seem almost cartoonish: keel-billed toucans ogle you from treetops and scarlet macaws raucously announce their flight plans. A keen eye will discern a sloth on a branch or the eyes of a caiman breaking the surface of a mangrove swamp, while alert ears will catch rustling leaves signaling a troop of white-faced capuchins or the haunting call of a howler monkey. Blue morpho butterflies flit amid orchid-festooned trees, while colorful tropical fish, sharks, rays, dolphins and whales thrive offshore – all as if in a conservationist’s dream.
The Pure Life
A recent study showed that many Costa Ricans live longer, healthier lives than people on the rest of the planet, and it all comes down to pura vida (pure life), a term you'll hear everywhere. Before you dismiss it as marketing banter (and it is a big marketing phrase), listen to how it's used. It means hello, goodbye, everything's cool, same to you. It never has a negative connotation. You may enter the country not believing it, but after a week you'll be saying it, too, unconsciously: pura vida, mai. Relax and enjoy the ride.
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Top experiences in Costa Rica
6 Activities & Tours
Costa Rica is one of my favorite countries in the world.
I love the never-ending activities, gorgeous beaches, a plethora of wildlife, delicious food, and friendly people. The country may be firmly on the tourist trail and expensive by regional standards but that doesn’t make this country any less amazing. The beaches feel like paradise, there’s great surfing, diving, and plenty of places to get away from the hoards of retired Americans that live here. There is always a quiet spot to be found if you look. Moreover, the local food uses a variety of spices and flavors that excite your mouth. I really can’t say enough good things about this country. It’s a place I happily revisit often!
MY FAVORITE DESTINATIONS IN COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in Central America. American tourists have been flocking to the country for years, and it’s become a hot spot for retirees and expats due to its cheap living, great weather, amazing beaches, and friendly locals. I’ve been to the country twice and have absolutely loved it both times. It’s actually one of my top five favorite places in the world. Because it’s not as cheap as its neighbors, many budget travelers skip over Costa Rica. But in my opinion, the beauty of the destinations below is worth the extra price: