Travel Notes: Latin America - Costa Rica Travel Notes - Updated 24 May, 2023.
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Find Costa Rica Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Costa Rica. Tweet
Costa Rica is a popular travel destination known for its stunning natural beauty, including tropical beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes.
Some top tourist attractions include climbing active or dormant volcanoes, visiting national parks, exploring wildlife reserves, and enjoying outdoor activities like surfing, hiking, and zip lining.
Costa Rica is a National Park, or at least that's what it seems like once you get out of San Jose.
Countries neighbouring Costa Rica: Nicaragua and Panama.
Costa Rica Travel Guides
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Costa Rica Overview
Costa Rica is a small Central American country known for its stunning natural beauty, eco-tourism, biodiversity, and commitment to conservation.
Located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, Costa Rica is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
Costa Rica's culture is heavily influenced by indigenous traditions and its Spanish colonial history.
Costa Rica has a stable democracy and is often cited as a model for political stability and economic development in the region.
The country's economy is primarily driven by agriculture, tourism, and technology industries.
Costa Rica is home to several volcanoes, including the Arenal Volcano, as well as numerous national parks and protected areas that provide habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal species.
The country is known for its beaches, rainforests, and cloud forests, as well as its eco-tourism industry, which attracts visitors from around the world.
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish.
Costa Rica has a population of around 5 million people and its capital and largest city is San Jose.
Costa Rica is a popular destination for travellers seeking natural beauty, adventure, and a laid-back lifestyle.
Costa Rica Tourism
Costa Rica is a beautiful country located in Central America, known for its diverse ecosystems, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture.
Costa Rica is home to several national parks, including Corcovado National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park.
These parks offer incredible opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.
Costa Rica has several natural hot springs, including those near Arenal Volcano, that offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Costa Rica has a rich cultural heritage, with influences from indigenous peoples, Spanish colonizers, and African slaves.
You can learn about this history at museums and cultural centers throughout the country.
This reserve is known for its stunning views of the cloud forest and its diverse wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and butterflies.
Costa Rica has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Playa Conchal and Playa Manuel Antonio.
Whether you're looking to swim, sunbathe, or surf, there's a beach in Costa Rica for you.
Costa Rican cuisine is delicious and varied, with dishes like gallo pinto (rice and beans), ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice), and casado (a traditional dish with rice, beans, and meat or fish).
Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica's most famous landmarks, and it's worth a visit for the stunning views alone.
You can hike to the top of the volcano or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.
Costa Rica is a popular destination for whale watching, with humpback whales and other species often spotted off the Pacific coast.
If you're feeling adventurous, consider going ziplining through the rainforest canopy.
There are several companies that offer this activity throughout the country.
There's no shortage of things to see and do in Costa Rica, and it's a destination that's sure to leave a lasting impression.
Visitors to Costa Rica enjoy lovely tropical beaches, grand adventures, the wonders of nature and scintillating culture; all the necessary components of an ideal vacation.
No wonder thousands have made Costa Rica their top travel choice.
Cheap Hotels and Hostels in Costa Rica.
The capital of Costa Rica is on the central plateau of the country, at an altitude of 1,170 m. Founded in 1736 as Villa Nueva, the new town became the country's capital in 1823.
San Jose contains an 18th-century cathedral and some Spanish colonial buildings, but most of the city looks scruffy.
The National Museum holds exhibitions of art and natural history. If you've been to Paris you may note that the National Theatre bears a resemblance to the Opera.
On August 2 of every year, Costa Ricans celebrate the Day of Our Lady of Angels, the Patron Saint of Costa Rica. Thousands of Costa Ricans take part in a huge procession, that ends up in the Basilica of Los Angeles; a cathedral in Cartago, 20 kilometres from San Jose.
If you intend to take a bus in Downtown San Jose, it is recommended to have the exact amount for the bus fare, before you go out of your hotel. Do not take your money out of your pocket in the streets, and do not stand on the stairs of the bus for long. If you do, the bus driver may be rude with you because you are delaying him.
Costa Rica Schedules:
Find bus, train and ship connections in Costa Rica. The 'List of Stopping Points' button lets you easily select your departure and arrival points; automatically filling them in on the main form for you.
Southern Costa Rica
The Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica is the country's richest and most diverse area. Its national parks are pristine, offering unparalleled opportunities to observe and enjoy nature.
Lush tropical forests, majestic peaks, rolling hills and a wealth of marine habitats are among the its many geographic attractions.
Hotel La Mariposa: Manuel Antonio Beach.
Enjoy elegant romantic, honeymoon and wedding accommodations in tropical gardens on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
One of the best-in-class hotels situated in one of the most magical places in the world, Hotel La Mariposa offers spectacular views overlooking turquoise waters, landscaped gardens and unforgettable scenery.
Hotel Villas Rio Mar: 800 meters north-east of the Dominical entrance.
Located on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just outside the small village of Playa Dominical.
Thatched roof bungalows, landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, tennis court and Palenque style restaurant are on offer at the Hotel Villas Rio Mar.
Unspoiled and virgin, the Osa Peninsula is one of the most biologically diverse natural reserves in the world. A land where the outstanding scenery of the tropical rainforest mixes with the richness and calm beauty of the Golfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean.
Stay at luxury villas strategically located on the Golfo Dulce Forestal Reserve, Peninsula de Osa; between the Corcovado National Park and Las Esquinas and Piedras Blancas National Parks.
Costa Rica National Parks
Cahuita National Park is unique in Costa Rica for its close relationship with the community, an example of shared management between the community and government for sustainable development at a community level.
The Carara National Park, which in indigenous Huetar language means “River of lizards”, has the only transition forest in the Central Pacific.
The satisfaction of reaching the highest point in Costa Rica is not the only reason that visitors are attracted to Chirripó National Park.
Stunning views, exotic bird watching, and a tour across moorland and glacial lakes are part of the experience you can live in this park.
Located northwest of the city of Turrialba, Guayabo National Monument is the most important place with archaeological structures preserved in Costa Rica.
Within its 233 hectares, this wilderness area protects a remnant of the pre-montane evergreen rain forest.
Located south of the capital, San Jose, Los Quetzales National Park is a special area for bird watching, like Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) a species almost threatened according to the IUCN list.
The Manuel Antonio National Park is just south of Quepos, on the Pacific Coast, 132 km from San Jose.
It is so popular perhaps because of its expensive white sand beaches backed by an evergreen forest that grows right up to the high-tide line.
If it's whales and dolphins you want to see, the Marino Ballena National Park has four official access routes for the enjoyment of visitors. All are located along the South Inter-American Highway: Uvita, Colonia, Ballena, and Piñuela.
Scene of the historic Battle of March 20, 1856, the Santa Rosa National Park is the only Protected Wilderness Area that has a historical museum within its territory.
Both Playa Grande and Playa Langosta are protected nesting areas for the giant leatherback turtle and are part of the Costa Rican National Park system.
The turtles arrive to lay their eggs from October to March.
Tortuguero National Park was declared on September 24th, 1970 and its limits have been modified on three occasions (1980, 1995, and 1998) in order to incorporate more territory.
One of Costa Rica's major provinces includes the entire Caribbean coast up to the Talamanca mountain range.
Christopher Columbus apparently visited the Native American village of Cariari in 1502, upon which Puerto Limon was built in 1871. The railway was built 20 years later to speed up the shipping of Costa Rican bananas.
The city is the second largest in Costa Rica and is differentiated from the rest of Costa Rica by its heavy Caribbean influence.
In October, Puerto Limon plays host to a huge carnival that attracts visitors from all over the world.
Visitors can relax on the nearby beaches or take a walk in Vargas Park and view the botanical gardens.
Puerto Limon is also an ideal gateway for visits to other beautiful towns and areas:
The canals at Tortugero, for the green sea turtle nesting grounds.
Cahuita, home to a National Park bearing the name and Costa Rica's largest coral reef.
Puerto Viejo, a lively tourist town with great restaurants.
Manzanillo, where the national park is home to freshwater dolphin, manatees and other natural sites.
Parismina is a village in the Limon province of Costa Rica, located about half way between Tortuguero and Limon on the Tortuguero canals. Ecotourism and sport fishing opportunities abound in this untouched beachfront paradise.
Blessed with the same abundance of sea turtles found in Tortuguero, the village of Parismina is a great (and more affordable) alternative to visiting Tortuguero.
Attractions in Puntarenas province include:
Puerto Jimenez, on the Osa Peninsula, and home to the Corcovado National Park.
San Vito, near the Panama border, where Italian immigrants settled 50 years ago with some of the best pizza recipes in Costa Rica. Here you'll also find the country's largest concentration of indigenous peoples and primary rainforest.
There's great scuba diving on this coast, to islands such as Isla de Cano; off of luxurious Drake's Bay.
Costa Rica Tours
Specialized in customized itineraries, Costa Rica Expeditions advise to plan and book a Costa Rica adventure early and think about travelling between May and November to secure some of the best lodges, most interesting sites and best logistics at lower prices.
You'll enjoy Costa Rica more if you can speak Spanish and you'll enjoy learning Spanish more while immersing yourself in the culture of Costa Rica.
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