Costa Rica Travel Guide
The Republic of Costa Rica is located in Central America and is an amazingly beautiful country. Costa Rica has been a popular destination for travelers around the world due to the country uniqueness and amazing natural wonders. This article provides the travel guides and useful tips for traveling to Costa Rica including its three of Costa Rica’s best destinations you do not want to miss while you are visiting this beautiful country.
Costa Rica Overview
Costa Rica covers an area of 19,730 square miles. The capital is San Jose, which has a population of 2.1 million people. The terrain is rugged and tropical with dormant volcanoes, a rain forest in the south and immaculate beaches. Rainfall is heavy during summer months, but temperatures are consistently in the 70 to 90 degree range.
Costa Rica is both a hot tourist and relocation destination. The country is simply beautiful and the people are friendly. The people of Costa Rica are known both as “Ticos” and “Costa Ricans.” They speak Spanish as the main language.
There has been a lot of construction and expansion over the last 15 years. Places like Tamarindo are no longer sleepy little coast towns. If you want to see the sleepy Costa Rica of old, now is the time to go before it is to late.
Costa Rica Attractions and Must-see Places
Costa Rica is full of fascinating things to see and do. When you visit Costa Rica the first thing that you will notice is the friendly environment that permeates every aspect of the society in Costa Rica. And there are not many places on earth that are as beautiful all year round as Costa Rica. In Costa Rica you will be able to sit on the beach and luxuriate under the sun or choose from a variety of adventures that you just cannot find back at home.
If you are staying in Costa Rica you will want to check out all of their fabulous museums. There are over 30 different fantastic museums in Costa Rica and each of them will take your breath away with their amazing artifacts. You will find some of the most fantastic finds in Costa Rica at their museums. These museums are a great way to spend the day when you need a little break from the sun and the beach.
The sun in Costa Rica is powerful so be sure to bring some good sunscreen and a hat, getting sunstroke in Costa Rica is no way to enjoy your vacation.
There are many other gorgeous sites to see in Costa Rica besides the sun and the museums and one of them is the variety of trees. If you love the outdoors then Costa Rica is the place for you. Rica is full of so many natural treasures, hikes and treks that will thrill your senses. The followings are top three must-sees while you are visiting the Costa Rica paradise.
- Nauyaca Falls and the Don Lulu Tour
This amazing set of waterfalls are located in between the surfing village of Dominical on the central Pacific coast and the bustling little city of San Isidro de General. The falls are privately owned and the best way to tour them is by taking the Don Lulu tour, which consists of a horseback ride to the falls and includes breakfast and lunch. The falls consist of two levels with the upper falls towering over 500 feet and the lower falls consisting of a wide cascade of over 100 feet that plummets into an idyllic 30 foot deep pool. Your guides on the tour will be more than happy to help you climb up into the lower falls for a once in a lifetime leap of faith into the refreshing pool below.
- Volcano and Lake Arenal
Volcano Arenal towers over Lake Arenal in the north central region of Costa Rica. It is the most active volcano in Costa Rica with daily eruptions, and vibrant glowing lava shows that can be enjoyed at night. The volcano last had a major eruption in 1968 when it buried the old town of Arenal in ash and soot. The Costa Rican government has since flooded the area where Arenal used to be to create Costa Rica’s largest lake, and submerging this once lively village in hundreds of feet of water. The lake is home to some of the best rainbow bass fishing in the entire world and windsurfing. The Arenal area is truly an amazing piece of paradise where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of an active volcano looming over a picturesque lake. photo credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker
- Manuel Antonio National Park
The crown jewel of Costa Rica’s national parks, Manuel Antonio is without a doubt a must-see on your visit to Costa Rica. Located just south of Quepos on the central Pacific coastline, the park is only a few hours from San Jose making it very accessible. Manuel Antonio is a very small park in relation to the other parks in the country, but it attracts more visitors per year than any other park. The park has pristine powder sand beaches back dropped by lush emerald green mountains that plunge into the deep blue Pacific. Manuel Antonio has become so popular and they limit people to enter into the park, so people are lining up to get in to this amazing place, as on any given day you can spot 3 different species of monkeys, sloths, marmosets, ocelots, river otters, pacas, and speckeled caimans as well as, 200 species of birds. The beaches at Manuel Antonio are often considered the most beautiful in all of Costa Rica. photo credit: stevendepolo
These places will leave you breathless and with unforgettable memories about the beauty of Costa Rica. A definite must-see on your visit to paradise.
Getting Around Costa Rica
- Bus – You can catch one to most parts of the country. There are a few places where the bus comes only once a day though…
- Cab – There are red cabs throughout the country. If the cab driver tells you the meter is broker, just get out. First it is illegal for a cab driver to drive with a broken meter in Costa Rica; secondly he might just be trying to rip you off.
- Renting a Car – You can rent a car, but to me personally I would find driving in Costa Rica difficult, since I’m not from the country and it seems there are a lack of street signs. Also the prices for a car rental can be pretty expensive.
- Local airlines – You can catch local flights to places throughout Costa Rica. They are regularly scheduled and reasonably inexpensive.
When to Visit & Weather
Costa Rica has two seasons – the dry season and the green season (or rainy season). The dry season is from December to March. The dry season is the busiest time in Costa Rica. Prices are much higher and it is harder to find a place to stay. Now in the green season you will find much cheaper prices. The green season is from April to November. During the rainy season it generally rains for a few hours and then clears up.
Costa Rica currency is called colons. You can change dollars into colons at the airports in San Jose and local banks. Although you can buy or pay in US dollar in most places, but I think it is cheaper if you pay in colons. You might get change in colons when you pay for something in US dollars.
1- Bring unfolded and not torn US$ Bill as some local banks and businesses do not accept torn US dollars.
2 – Beside US$ bills, you may want to bring your credit cards or debit cards.
Costa Rica is a great place to visit either on your own or with others. This country is unique in its own way, and traveling to Costa Rica is sure to provide an unforgettable experience that you will always remember.