Costa Rica – Travel Deals WorldWide

Costa Rica

Countries
Costa Rica

Pura vida (pure life)

Peaceful and laid back, with stunning beaches, lush cloud forests and simmering volcanoes, Costa Rica is the perfect destination to discover exotic wildlife, trek high mountain peaks, seek out adrenaline-fuelled adventures and relax on golden sands.

Overview

Costa Rica may be small but it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. This tiny Central American country, with coastlines on both the Pacific and Caribbean, is simply stunning; thick forests, copious flora and fauna, monkeys, sloths, turtles, toucans and quetzals all vie for attention. Explore active volcanoes, marvel at lagoons and discover cocoa plantations – so many adventures await the curious visitor; Costa Rica certainly lives up to its name!

Top Cities San Jose (capital), Puerto Limon, Alajuela, Heredia, Liberia Languages Spanish is the official language with Jamaican patois along the Caribbean coast. English is understood in the tourist areas. Currency Costa Rican colón although US dollars are also widely accepted, particularly in tourist areas. Time Zone Time zone is (GMT-6 hours), making Costa Rica 6 hours behind London during the winter (GMT) and 7 hours behind London during British Summer Time. Drinks Imported beer: £3.30/$4.00
Domestic beer: £2.15/$2.65
Water: £1.15/$1.40

Meals Inexpensive restaurant: £5.70/$7.00
Meal for 2, mid-range, 3-course: £35.60/$44.00
Hostels Hostels start from around £8.00-£10.00/$10.0-$15.00 Hotels Mid-range (3-star) accommodation starts from approximately £45.00/$55.00 up to £450.00/$550.00 or more for top-end 5-star luxury hotels. Tipping A 10% service charge is usually added in restaurants and tipping is not mandatory. For taxi drivers, £0.80-£4.00/$1.00-$5.00 and for an all-day driver about £8.00-$10.00 is a good figure, although it is not expected. It is possible to tip in US dollars.

Taxi Taxis are red and use a meter system - expect to pay around £0.90/$1.10 per km. Taxis are a good option if you want to avoid public transport, which can be slow, or if there is no other transportation option. Public transport Buses are cheap and good for point-to-point travel with many of the routes needing to pass through San Jose. However, some destinations can have an infrequent service. Another option is to use a shared shuttle service - these run between popular destinations. The average bus fare is usually not more than £4.00-£5.70/$5.00-$7.00.

In addition, there are boat and ferry services available around the coast. For example: from Golfo de Nicoya to Peninsula de Nicoya or Puntarenas to Naranjo. There are also water taxis on the canals that run along the coast from Moin to Tortuguero - but take your passport as the waters are disputed territory by Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The cost is about £28.50/$35.00.
Highlights The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is perfect for nature lovers and a trip to one of the many national parks has to be on the agenda. From monkeys to macaws, caimans to turtles, the sights and sounds provide a unique experience. Explore the Monteverde cloud forest trails for the ultimate in biodiversity or visit Tortuguero (only accessible by plane or boat), Carara or Cano Negro. Look out for sloths and bright yellow toucans!

Visit the Irazu Volcano where, on a clear day, you can see both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Peer into the crater and the lagoon where the colour of the water changes according to the level of minerals present.

For another volcano fix, visit the Arenal Volcano, next to La Fortuna. Head into the rainforest and take in a tour to find out more about cocoa and chocolate production.

Costa Rica is perfect for adventure-seekers with white water rafting, zip wires and hiking the forest trails. Afterwards, head to the beaches to chill out with sunbathing iguanas.

San Jose, the capital, can appear too busy and chaotic for many visitors but there are many museums and markets that are worth strolling around if the itinerary permits, such as the Gold Museum or Artisan’s Market.

Interesting Facts

There are over 120 volcanoes in Costa Rica and 7 of them are active. The Poas Volcano has the second-largest crater in the world (almost one mile wide) and the Arenal Volcano is one of the most active in the world.

Chirripo Mountain is the highest point at 3,800m and the lowest point is 240m below sea level in the Barra Honda National Park.

Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though it only takes up 0.03% of the world’s surface.

Over 25% of Costa Rica is dedicated to national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserves.

During the ‘arribada’, as many as 100,000 turtles can visit the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge beaches in a single day to lay their eggs.

Costa Rica is regarded as the hummingbird capital with over 50 species found here; it is also home to 10% of the world’s butterflies.

The Tempisque River Bridge which connects the mainland to the Nicoya Peninsula was funded by a gift from the Taiwanese government.

Costa Rica has built its reputation on coffee and this remains an important source of income today.

Costa Rica enjoys 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night time- sunset only varies by 15 minutes through the year.

“Pura vida” (pure life) is the Costa Rican motto – which is probably why Costa Rica tops the Happy Planet Index!