Located in Central America, Costa Rica has coastlines on the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The tropical coastal plains rise to mountains, active volcanoes, and a temperate central plateau where most people live, San José, the capital, is here. The only country in Central America with no standing army, it enjoys continuing stability after a century of almost uninterrupted democratic government.
Arenal National Park Visit the third most active volcano in the world surrounded by beautiful scenery and rich agricultural countryside This impressive perfect conical shaped volcano is has been erupting continuously for more than 50 years.
Corcovado National Park
Known as the most biologically intense place on earth with wildlife including scarlet macaws, tapirs, jaguars and squirrel monkeys.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Enjoy ziplining, nightwalks, canopy tours and explore family run plantations including sugar cane, coffee, bananas, arracache, avocado and macadamia nut.
Tortuguero National Park Cruise jungle fringed canals admiring the amazing flora, fauna and colourful birds. Visit the local people to learn about their lifestyle and culture. The highlight of Tortuguero National Park is watching the turtles that come to nest between July and September.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Discover walking trails, wildlife, rugged rainforest, beautiful beaches and coral reefs. Known for a huge diversity of plants and wildlife including the three-toed sloth wildlife, white-faced capuchin monkeys and hundreds of bird species.
Costa Rica’s dry season runs from late November to late April. If you want time on a tropical beach and a little less rain during your rainforest experience, this is the time to come.
Locals often call the tropical rainy season (May through to mid November) the “green season”, at this time of year even brown and barren Guanacaste province becomes lush and verdant.
Costa Rica is one of the best countries I have visited, and an all-time favourite of mine! It truly has something for everyone, from vibrant cloud forests and national parks teeming with exotic wildlife, to beautiful coastal beaches and several active volcanoes that serve as the perfect base for adventure activities.
Number one on my bucket list was seeing the infamous three toed sloth. Although it was these fascinating creatures that drew me to the country, I soon discovered there was so much more to see. A well-established system of national parks covers more than 25% of its territory, and despite its small size, the country is home to around 5% of the world’s biodiversity, ranking first as the ‘greenest country’ in the world.
Arenal Volcano is the third most active volcano in the world which can be heard rumbling several times an hour, located on the stunning Arenal Lake. I would recommend a volcano hike or a scenic bike ride around the lake. In the evenings, a visit to the local hot springs is a must.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of the most scenic places in Costa Rica. Enjoy ziplining, night walks and canopy tours. If you are after something a little more relaxing, there is a beautiful botanical garden, a butterfly garden, and a frog pond you can visit to meet some of the local flora and fauna.
Corcovado National Park is off the beaten track, but while it does involve a little effort to get to, the excellent wildlife opportunities makes it more than worthwhile. National Geographic has named Corcovado the ‘most biologically intense place on earth’ and they are not wrong! Walk the many trails and look out for monkeys, crocodiles, caimans, sloths, and tapirs, all regularly spotted in the park! If you are very lucky you may even see a jaguar, puma or ocelot. The park is also excellent for bird enthusiasts.
There is something for everyone in Manuel Antonio National Park, which is home to a number of walking trails and a wide array of wildlife, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is an excellent place to relax at the end of your trip, where you can enjoy monkey sightings as they scutter across the road in the afternoon before a beautiful sunset.
Currency Costa Rican Colon (CRC)
Language Spanish is the official language. English is commonly spoken in tourist areas.
Why we love it Costa Rica is the adventure-travel destination in Latin America, a place rich in natural wonders and biodiversity. The country boasts a wealth of perfect beaches that stretch for miles, small lodgings that haven’t attracted hordes of tourists, jungle rivers for rafting and kayaking, and spectacular cloud forests and rainforests with ample opportunities for bird-watching and hiking.
When to go Costa Rica’s dry season runs from late November to late April. If you want time on a tropical beach and a little less rain during your rainforest experience, his is the time to come. Locals often call the tropical rainy season (May through to mid November) the “green season”, at this time of year even brown and barren Guanacaste province becomes lush and verdant.
Social customs & quirks The majority of Costa Rica really does function without street names and ample signage. Instead, landmarks are key in giving directions. In towns throughout the country, you’ll see security guards stationed outside clothing and goods stores armed with shotguns or rifles. Some fast foods such as Burger King and McDonald’s have incorporated Tico cuisine into their menus. You can order gallo pinto (rice and beans) for breakfast, or try a cheese pie instead of an apple pie at McDonald’s. Costa Rican women are proud of their figures, whatever their size or shape. You’ll often see ladies dressed in tight, provocative clothing complete with stilettos! Finally, family dominates Costa Rican life. It’s not rare to see homes full of multi generations.
Festivals and events The International Arts Festival for two-weeks in March has been running since 1992. The event is based mainly in San Jose’s La Sabana metropolitan park, but takes place in several locations across the nation and features plays, street theatre, pop and folk music, modern dance, and plenty of live entertainment.
Health* Currently, there are no compulsory health requirements for visitors to Costa Rica. You must seek advice from your Travel Health specialist or GP prior to departure.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.