Best sights in Costa Rica
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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!
For a safe and pleasant trip to Costa Rica:
1. Costa Rica offers a wide variety of hotels for all budgets, from boutique hotels, villas, lodges, bungalows, bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels and all-inclusive; however, most of these hotels are small and tend to have limited space availability, especially in the peak tourist season (December to March). Plan your trip in advance, at least two months during low season and six months during high season. This will ensure that you can count on lodging that will make your holiday unforgettable.
2. It is always best to travel light. Try to pack only what is necessary, cool clothes that are easy to dry and wash by hand in case of an emergency. Some airlines and tour operators have weight restrictions on luggage, and you will probably have to move with your luggage from one place to another, so we recommend you only travel with necessary luggage.
3. Include in your luggage all the medication you may need in the event that you have a medical condition, since some medications in Costa Rica require a certified prescription.
4. Costa Rica requires a visa for some countries, so it is advisable to check the list of countries before you purchase your ticket to verify the entry requirements. It is important to check visa requirements according to the country in which the passport was issued, and not necessarily the place of residence.
5. Anyone who enters the country as a foreigner will be prompted for a return ticket; the time allowed for visiting varies by country of origin as well as the discretion of immigration officer that attends you upon arrival. Once in the country, it is advisable to make a photocopy of the passport with the entry stamp to carry at all times during your stay in Costa Rica instead of carrying your original passport during tours and other activities.
6. Taxes account for 13% of the purchase and are always included in the final price. In restaurants and hotels, taxes and services are included in the final price; however, if you were happy with the service and would like to leave a gratuity, it would be welcome. Since 2016, the country's departure tax is included in most of the inexpensive airline tickets. For those plane tickets where it is duly stipulated that they do not include the departure tax, you must oay $29 per person, either in dollars, colones, credit or debit card.
7. Costa Rica is a safe country, but there are cases of theft in several parts of the country, especially in tourist areas, so it is advisable to be alert at all times, do not leave your belongings unattended, avoid walking down the street late at night without company, and avoid entering sites that seem unsafe. As a general rule, do not bring valuable belongings or of high sentimental value that can be lost or stolen. The Costa Rican Tourism Board, in conjunction with the police, have created a subdivision titled tourist police with more than 250 officers, whose primary purpose is to maintain order and security in tourist areas. If you have any questions or concerns, you can seek them.
8. The health care system in Costa Rica is very good, both private and public. The general health conditions of the country are very good although they have seen small pockets of dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Basic vaccines for hepatitis A and B are recommended, as well as rabies and tetanus, before making the trip. The government of Costa Rica requires the yellow fever vaccine when traveling from countries in Africa, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. The vaccine must be administered at least 10 days before the start date of your trip.
9. Tap water is potable across the country. However, it is recommended that visitors drink bottled water while in the Caribbean to avoid motion sickness, which can affect the quality of your trip.
10. In Costa Rica it is easy to find restaurants, sodas, cafes and bakeries. The cuisine is quite extensive and includes both national and international options. Lunch is usually between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. and dinner between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.; therefore, some restaurants close their kitchen between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.
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)
Airlines Flying To Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a wide range of flight offerings for arrivals and departures.
Its two main international airports receive hundreds of flights per month from major cities, allowing constant mobilization of passengers through safe and modern ports of entry. Juan Santamaría International Airport (Code: SJO) is the country's main airport, located in Alajuela.
The modern Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia (Code: LIR) mainly receives specific flights for tourists visiting Guanacaste, Monteverde and La Fortuna. This comfortable airport connects with beautiful beaches in one of the largest and most important tourist areas in the country. Costa Rica has several local airports with two airlines that fly domestically: Nature Air and Sansa.
For more information on itineraries, visit each airline's website.
Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, Air Panama, Alaska Airlines, Albatros Airlines, American Airlines, Avian British Airways, Condor, Copa, Cubana, Delta, Edelweiss Air, Lberia, Interjet, JetBlue, KLM, Lacsa, Nature Air, SouthWest, Spirit, Sunning Airlines, Thomson Airways, United Airlines, Volaris, West Jet
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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
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:
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.
Resting in paradise
If you are looking for the ideal place to improve your mental and physical well-being, adopt healthy habits and activities into your lifestyle, liberate your soul and return like a new person, then Costa Rica should be your next travel destination. (Read More)
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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.
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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.
Costa Rica The Country
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. wikipedia.org
Capital: San José
Currency: Costa Rican colon
Population: 4.1 million
GDP (PPP): $86 billion (2017)
Area: 51,100 km²
6 Activities & Tours
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.
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
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Sustainability is not a practice in Costa Rica; it is a way of life.
With a goal to be the first carbon neutral country in the world by 2021, sustainable practices are observed in every region of the country, across all industries, adopted by all citizens and embraced by visitors. From local Costa Rican cuisine to artisan crafts to traditional customs and celebrations, sustainability is embedded deeply in the culture and traditions of Costa Rica.
Costa Ricans are proud to live among and protect their country’s rich environment, as this small nation holds five percent of the world’s land-based biodiversity and 3.5 percent of its marine life. Costa Rica produces nearly 93 percent of its electricity from renewable resources and 30 percent of its territory is protected natural land. A pioneer in the area of sustainability, Costa Rica is a model for sustainable practices for many industries within the region and around the world.
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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!
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Car Rental companies in Costa Rica
Economy Rent A Car, Discount Service Car Rental, Thrifty Car Rental, Avis Rent A Car, Toyota Rent A Car, Hertz Costa Rica Rent A Car, A-1 Rent A Car
Budget Rent A Car, Apache Rent A Car, Six Rent A Car, Payless Car Rental, Tricolor Car Rental, Hola Rent A Car, Alamo / National ( ANC) Car Rental
Paradise Car Rental, Dollar Rent A Car, Sol Rent A Car, Adobe Rent A Car, Pops Rent A Car, Solid Rent A Car, Europcar
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
Although Costa Rica is a small territory, it makes up about 5% of the earth's biodiversity. Fortunately, this natural treasure is protected by the National System of Conservation Areas, preserving a total of 25% of the national territory.
Visitors can enjoy the country's majestic volcanoes, Pacific and Caribbean beaches, tropical dry, wet, and rain forests, as well as exhilarating jungle landscapes, all without traveling long distances.
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Travelling with responsibility
Costa Rica is a lush country where nature is on display in all its splendor thanks to extraordinary biodiversity. This product is based on studying and observing salient features of nature, and ecological, geological and other processes, such as bird watching, observation of flora and fauna, volcanoes, hiking, trails and national parks.
The territory is divided into 29 national parks, 19 wildlife refuges, 8 biological reserves, and a series of protected areas that captivate lovers of ecotourism activities. Excursion offerings and tours are varied, including: horseback riding, hiking mountain trails, guided tours for bird watching, forests, landscapes and natural heritage sites, as well as aerial trams, lakes and rivers full of flora and fauna.
This tourism product not only aims to provide beautiful natural experiences for tourists, but also to educate visitors about the importance of protecting natural resources.
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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.
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
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.
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.
To visit Costa Rica there are some requirements which must be met.
Your country of origin determines the amount of days available to stay in Costa Rica as a tourist.
In some cases, the Immigration official may request you show economic solvency for your stay in the country.
Even with a 90-day tourist visa, the immigration official determines the duration of your stay as allowed by your passport.
Visitors to Costa Rica must have a valid passport as well as proof of their intent to exit the country before their visa or entry stamp expires, usually within 90 days.
All non-resident travelers must possess a return ticket or a ticket as proof of when they intend to exit the country, commonly referred to as an outbound exit or onward ticket. An onward ticket is required of non-residents who are:
Traveling on a one-way ticket
Entering the country with a return ticket dated more than 90 days after arrival
Flying into Costa Rica and flying out of another country
By law, an onward ticket includes any of the following on approved, commercial transport:
A pre-purchased bus ticket out of the country
A pre-purchased flight out of the country
Proof of passage on a cruise ship
What inoculations do I need before entering Costa Rica?
Starting on July 30, 2007, all travelers coming from the following countries must possess a yellow fever vaccination certificate before entry into Costa Rica will be allowed: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the Republic of Guyana.
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