Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a Central American country known for its stable democracy and highly educated workforce. Not surprisingly, they consistently rank high on every happiness and ecological scale.

Tourists enjoy a remarkable array of ecotours and adventure packages in the mountains, while the coasts offer idyllic seaside towns, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing.

Price point levels scaled for a 7-day visit for a couple and anchored on research and personal experiences.

$ - up to $1500
$$ - $1500 - $3000
$$$ - $3000 -$5000
$$$$ - $5000+
Price Point
Array
Language(s)

Spanish is the official language, but many people speak English as well.

Currency

Costa Rican Colón (CRC)

Reported for the US traveler with foreign countries rankings based on the US State Department's travel advisories.
Safety
Exercise Normal Precautions

Reported for three representative cities within the destination via Weather Spark.

Climate (°F)
Summer (°F) Winter (°F)
Liberia 96 75
La Fortuna 93 72
San José 81 63
Outlets
Type-A
Type-B

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Costa Rica is from mid-December to April (the dry season). This peak tourist season boasts plenty of sunshine making it an ideal time for exploring rainforests and lounging on beaches. That said, the dry season is the most popular (and expensive) time to visit.

  • Wet Season: May – November
  • Dry Season: December – April

Fun Facts

  • According to the Happy Planet Index, in 2012 Costa Rica held the top position as the happiest country in the world
  • Costa Rica is the most biodiverse country in the world, with a whopping 500,000 species of wildlife — many of which are classified as rare or endangered
  • Costa Rica is part of the Pacific Ring Fire Circle and has over 200 volcanic formations traced back over 65 million years
  • Costa Rica boasts an average life expectancy of 80 years
  • The Ostional Wildlife Refuge protects millions of turtles that nest there
  • 100% of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from renewable resources

Bucket-List Activities

  • Zip-line through the tree tops of Tortuguero National Park (Limón Province)
  • Relax in the hot thermal pools (Orosi)
  • Go Canyoneering on a volcano (La Fortuna)
  • Hike to the base of the Catarata del Toro waterfall (Bajos del Toro)
  • Rainforest canoe tour in Tortuguero National Park (Limón Province)
  • White water raft down the Sarapiqui River (Sarapiquí Canton)

Natural Wonders

  • Monteverde Reserve (Monteverde)
  • Poas Volcano (Alajuela Province)
  • Tortuguero Canals (Limón Province)
  • Celeste River (Guatuso)
  • Chirripo Mountain (San José, Limón and Cartago)
  • Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna)
  • Catarata del Toro waterfall (Bajos del Toro)

Major Attractions

  • Nicoya Peninsula (Guanacaste Province)
  • Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna)
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve (Monteverde)
  • Corcovado National Park (Puntarenas Province)
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens (Sarapiquí Canton)

Native Foods

  • Gallo Pinto (traditional breakfast consisting of rice and beans)
  • Casado (rice, beans, protein, salad, tortilla bowl)
  • Tamal (corn masa with filling)
  • Arroz con Leche (rice pudding)
  • Sopa Negra (black bean soup)
  • Olla de Carne (beef stew)
  • Chifrijo (fried pork belly and beans)

General Travel Tips

Common Phrases

  • Pura Vida – Translates to pure life but it’s an idiomatic expression of everything good about Costa Rica
  • Gallo pinto – ‘spotted rooster’ in Spanish and a staple food in Costa Rica
  • Tico – A native of Costa Rica
  • Más Tico que el gallo pinto –  More Costa Rican than spotted rooster
  • Orinar fuera del tarro – Literally “To pee outside the can” but used when something is completely off
  • Mae – How you say ‘Dude’ in Costa Rica

Major Cities / Airports

  • San José / Juan Santamaria International Airport  (SJO)  – The capital city and major international gateway
  • Liberia / Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) – A shortcut to the Nicoya Peninsula

Local Currency

Tipping Customs

  • Restaurants – Costa Rican restaurants will automatically add a 10 percent gratuity to your bill before it’s given to you and tipping beyond that is optional.
  • Cabs – If you’re taking a cab a short distance, rounding the fare up to the nearest dollar is usually the norm. A tip of between $1 and $5 is sufficient for longer cab rides.
  • Tour Guides – a tip of between $5 and $15 / day is considered polite
  • Sport Fishing – It’s customary to tip the crew! The customary tip is 15% to 20% of the charter.
  • High-end Resorts – it’s customary to offer bellhops a tip of around $1 per bag and housekeepers a tip of around $2 per day.
  • Bartenders – $1 / drink
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Meet Ed & Jenn

Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman, and together we are Coleman Concierge. It is our goal to inspire you to get out, expand your world, and to seek adventure, even in your own backyard.

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