Costa Rica Travel Guide - Travel Insights and Tips

Traveling to Costa Rica? Our detailed Costa Rica insights, blogs and travel tips will help you plan the best trip.

Nature has blessed Costa Rica with beautiful beaches, lush jungles teeming with exotic fauna, misty volcanoes, and roaring rivers. Here, you will find a different energy, and a different way of life that you won’t find in any other Latin American country. Life in Costa Rica is more relaxed. ‘Pura Vida’, they call it, or ‘pure life'.

And if you are on a quest for Pura Vida, our tours to Costa Rica will lead you there. In Costa Rica, you can choose to get lost in the cultural hub of San Jose, go spot toucans, jaguars, and many other bird and animal species in Monteverde, or zip-line the canopy of the cloud forest. Perhaps, you will enjoy La Fortuna’s natural hot springs, sunbathe on the pristine beaches of Santa Teresa, trek the steep slopes of Arenal Volcano, or surround yourselves with graceful butterflies at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Why not go spot sloths live their best lives in Manuel Antonia National Park and bathe in the emerald waters of Guanacaste instead, or ride in the back of a pickup truck to the small town of Brujo or Puerto Viejo and enjoy tasty traditional Tico cooking?

If you are looking for the best places to visit in Costa Rica or the top things to do, we have got you covered.

First-time vacationers and planning a trip to Costa Rica? Do not despair. We have addressed some of the most common and frequently asked queries about Costa Rica tours. Get started by learning how many days to spend in Costa Rica and the best time to visit Costa Rica. If you want to find out what is the best month to visit Costa Rica, we recommend that you visit Costa Rica in December. Traveling to Costa Rica in November is also not a bad idea, if you do not mind getting a little wet, that is.

Top Destinations in Costa Rica

Discover the highlights of Costa Rica.

Wander in the magnificent San Jose

Wander in the magnificent San Jose

The vibrant and bustling capital, San Jose, is a melting pot of commerce and culture. Tour the city’s iconic National Theater, explore the Metropolitan Cathedral, and try the local produce at Central Market. Then, unwind at the Municipal Rose Garden, head for a stimulating adventure at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. Essentially, experience the whole of magnificent San Jose through our multi-day trips to Costa Rica.

Visit Arenal Volcano and Soak in Hot Springs

Visit Arenal Volcano and Soak in Hot Springs

Renowned as Costa Rica’s most active volcano, with around 41 eruptions happening per day, the Arenal Volcano is a must-visit destination. With our multi-day tours in Costa Rica, you'll hike on lava from previous eruptions, ride the Tarzan swings over the rainforest and refresh in the Arenal or Tabacon hot springs. You can also bike along Lake Arenal and greet wildlife while exploring the Arenal Volcano National Park.

Spot wildlife in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Spot wildlife in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Immerse yourself in the enchanting Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and embark on a wildlife adventure like no other. Traverse the misty trails, where vibrant orchids and towering trees create a haven for countless species. Catch a glimpse of elusive jaguars, resplendent quetzals, playful monkeys, and a myriad of exotic birds. Allow the amazing biodiversity of Monteverde to awe you.

What to do in Costa Rica

Top things to do in Costa Rica.

Top Things to Do in Costa Rica

Top Things to Do in Costa Rica

Featuring lush rainforests, active volcanoes, hot springs, and endless stretches of pristine beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, a trip to Costa Rica offers an unparalleled experience. Traverse misty cloud forests in reserves like Monteverde,...Read more

11 Adventure Activities in Costa Rica

11 Adventure Activities in Costa Rica

With the greatest density of biodiversity in the world and a focus on environmental conservation, Costa Rica is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and enriching places to be. The focus this country puts on tourism further provides an unmatched landscap...Read more

13 Best Things to Do in San Jose, Costa Rica

13 Best Things to Do in San Jose, Costa Rica

Located in the very heart of Costa Rica, the bustling and vibrant capital city San Jose opens up like a surprise gift if you know where to look! The warm climate, bustling activities, friendly locals, rich culture, and spectacular Victorian mansions make...Read more

Arenal Volcano Hike: 8 Best Trails

Arenal Volcano Hike: 8 Best Trails

Arenal Volcano is one of the most spectacular sights to see on a Costa Rica tour. This giant stands at an impressive 1,657 meters tall and has been one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes in the past half-century. But this doesn’t keep visit...Read more

5 Things to do in Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

5 Things to do in Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

Costa Rica — the Rich Coast — is awash with phenomenal beaches, and those on the Pacific Ocean at Santa Teresa are no exception. Located at Nicoya Peninsula in the Puntarenas province, the surf here attracts board-lovers from across the globe,...Read more

7 Things to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

7 Things to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

For years, La Fortuna in Costa Rica has been one of the top tourist destinations. It is the hub of outdoor adventuring with its impressive landscape and variety of activities. In this natural oasis, anyone can find plenty of options to satiate their need...Read more

When to visit Costa Rica

Read the below travel guides to find the best time to visit Costa Rica.

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  • SepAvg Daily: 23 ° CAvg Nightly: 16 ° C
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  • NovAvg Daily: 23 ° CAvg Nightly: 15 ° C
  • DecAvg Daily: 23 ° CAvg Nightly: 14 ° C
Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica

The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season (verano), which stretches from December to April. This season coincides with the peak tourist season, where December is the most crowded month, followed by the school vacation season that stretche...Read more

Costa Rica in January: Weather, Tips & More

Costa Rica in January: Weather, Tips & More

The weather in Costa Rica in January is sunny with little rainfall, making it one of the best times to visit this country. You can virtually cover every part of Costa Rica during this month, including its incredible rainforest regions. The first week of...Read more

Costa Rica in February: Unforgettable Adventures, Amazing Weather

Costa Rica in February: Unforgettable Adventures, Amazing Weather

A few months into its dry season, a trip to Costa Rica in February offers plenty of sunshine. Sun lovers will find this month to be the perfect time to visit the country whose beaches and rainforests are the main draw. In addition to this, a flurry of fes...Read more

Costa Rica in March: Weather, Tips & Wildlife

Costa Rica in March: Weather, Tips & Wildlife

March is the middle of the dry season in Costa Rica, which means that the country sees the mercury rise to its highest level during this time. And although the scorching sun and little rainfall leave locals and tourists scampering for places to cool off,...Read more

Costa Rica in April: Weather and Wildlife Ventures

Costa Rica in April: Weather and Wildlife Ventures

A trip to Costa Rica in April is the perfect time to experience the country’s epic religious festivals and enjoy warm weather conditions along with action-packed fiestas. This month marks the end of the dry season in Costa Rica, and the central and...Read more

Costa Rica in May: Rainy Weather and Lush Greenery

Costa Rica in May: Rainy Weather and Lush Greenery

May in Costa Rica is the time when nature comes to life with lush greenery. It is when animals rejoice as the rainy season kicks in. Despite the country making a gradual transition to the wet season during this time of year, you still have plenty of sunny...Read more

Costa Rica at a Glance

Quick facts about Costa Rica.

CAPITAL CITY

San Jose is the capital and the largest city of Costa Rica. Located in the Central Valley, the city serves as the focal point for all national political and economic activity. Founded in the first half of the 18th century, the city has multiple five-star hotels, world-class museums, theaters, and landmarks.

SIZE

Costa Rica is the third-smallest country in Central America with a land area of 51,179 km2. One can traverse it with ease through the excellent and low-priced public bus system. Domestic flights are one of the quickest ways to travel around the country.

COUNTRY CODE

You can make international calls to Costa Rica using the country code 506 of that nation. An area code comes after the international calling prefix of 506.

CURRENCY

The Costa Rican Colon (international code – CRC, symbol - ₡) is the official currency of Costa Rica. Major credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted at ATMs in the main towns. Though US dollars can be easily exchanged in banks and many hotels, exchanging other currencies might be quite difficult.

MAIN AIRPORT

The Juan Santamaria International Airport is the primary international airport serving San Jose, Costa Rica. It is situated in the city of Alajuela, 20 kilometers west of downtown San Jose. COD: SJO. Closest City: San Jose.

VISAS

US nationals and citizens of member countries of the European Union do not require an entry visa to Costa Rica and can stay for 90 days. However, they need to have a valid passport and an exit ticket. People from some other visa-exempt countries are only allowed to stay for 30 days. We recommend checking your country’s travel advisories before planning a trip to Costa Rica.

LANGUAGE

The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, which has a unique national accent and unusual usages. Other languages spoken here include English, some Indian languages, and Creole. Although English is frequently heard in tourist hotspots, official business and the majority of the media are only published in Spanish. To be able to get around comfortably, start by learning "Abrazo" before moving on to a few other words and expressions like "por favor."

EMERGENCY CONTACT

Dial 911 for all types of emergencies, including medical situations, police, and fire. You can also dial 128 and 118 for ambulance service and fire department respectively.

WHAT'S UNIQUE

Costa Rica has been proudly claiming that it has no military since 1948, when it was disbanded after winning the civil war. Nicoya, on Costa Rica's western coast, is also one of the top 5 Blue Zones in the world. Here, people live active lives on average past the age of 100.

How long to stay in Costa Rica

Read about the ideal duration to stay in Costa Rica.

Great Costa Rica Itineraries: How Many Days to Spend?

Great Costa Rica Itineraries: How Many Days to Spend?

From sunning yourself on the alluring Caribbean and Pacific coasts, trekking through the central American jungle in search of exotic native wildlife, or paddling some of the best whitewater in the world, there’s a Costa Rica trip for everyone with...Read more

5 days in Costa Rica: Top 4 Itinerary Recommendations

5 days in Costa Rica: Top 4 Itinerary Recommendations

5 days in Costa Rica may not seem like much, but it is enough time to explore the top highlights of this small country best known for its national parks, wildlife, and beaches. For luxury travelers looking to experience the best of Central America in a fe...Read more

7 Days in Costa Rica: Our Recommended Itineraries

7 Days in Costa Rica: Our Recommended Itineraries

Costa Rica is a veritable nature wonderland, largely regarded as one of the world's last unspoiled wildernesses. The Costa Rican government has led the world in the protection of this natural paradise, designating a quarter of the country's landmass to be...Read more

10 Days in Costa Rica: Top 3 Recommendations

10 Days in Costa Rica: Top 3 Recommendations

10 days in Costa Rica gives visitors a chance to really get to grips with this astonishing country. Nestled within the rainforests of Central America, with tropical beaches stretching along two coasts, warm azure seas, and incredible wildlife to boot, the...Read more

Two Weeks in Costa Rica: Top 5 Recommendations

Two Weeks in Costa Rica: Top 5 Recommendations

Lush green forests are full of wildlife, pristine beaches on two coastlines, gently smoking volcanoes and warm turquoise seas that are home to turtles, rays, whales, and dolphins. Whether you’re seeking out much-needed R&R on a tropical beach, l...Read more

FAQs for Costa Rica

Read the most frequently asked questions and answer about traveling to Costa Rica below.

  • What is the best month to visit Costa Rica?
  • How many days should I spend in Costa Rica?
  • Are credit cards accepted in Costa Rica?
  • Do I need to visa to travel to Costa Rica?
  • Do people in Costa Rica speak English?

Sustainable Travel – How to Travel Through Costa Rica Responsibly

In line with Bookmundi’s vision, we wish to provide our travelers with a sustainable travel experience through Costa Rica. As part of this effort, we carbon offset any Costa Rica tour that you purchase through us. You can read more details about our carbon offsetting efforts here.

Here is what you can do to travel to Costa Rica more responsibly:

  • Carbon-offset your transport to Costa Rica by traveling in the state-run electric buses or by choosing to fly via NatureAir Airlines or Costa Rica Green Airways. The moment your tour starts in Costa Rica and if you have purchased your tour through Bookmundi, we will carbon-offset your tour from its starting point to its ending point.
  • While you are in Costa Rica, you can make a small donation to the Tropical Science Center, the Monteverde Conservationist Association, or other NGOs working for environmental conservation and promotion of sustainable tourism in Costa Rica.
  • Travelers can choose eco-destinations and stay in green hotels to minimize pollution. You can also reduce your carbon footprint in Costa Rica by avoiding single-use plastics and eating locally-grown organic produce.
  • When hunting for souvenirs, avoid buying anything made of leather, shell, fur, or feathers because they might have come from an endangered species.

Costa Rica Travel Tips and Insights

  • In Costa Rica, you will not have trouble finding natives who speak excellent English but learning a little Spanish can go a long way. Not only will you be welcomed by locals, you can also use your Spanish when haggling for souvenirs.
  • The people of Costa Rica, often known as "Ticos," are very hospitable and always delighted to welcome you to their lovely nation, assist you as needed, converse with you, and show you about their slice of paradise.
  • Costa Rica has a variety of microclimates, and some places experience extremely cold temperatures due to the high elevation. Places like Monteverde, Vara Blanca, Poas, Chirripo, San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón, and San Gerardo de Dota, for instance, can encounter extremely strong winds and chilly nights.
  • Pickpockets and minor theft are problems in Costa Rica. When on the beach and in crowded areas like bus terminals and markets, always keep an eye on your valuables. Never leave anything visible inside a parked car, and avoid venturing into isolated, dark areas.
  • No matter how blue the skies appear at dawn, always be sure to have waterproof gear and dry bags for valuables on any excursions into the rainforest. And if the rain is bringing you down, you can always turn west to the sun-kissed grasslands of the Pacific side.
  • Numerous bumpy and pothole-riddled roads are common in Costa Rica. So, a driving experience in Costa Rica can be difficult. Traffic in Costa Rica is also chaotic due to the poor quality of the country’s infrastructure. So, drive carefully, especially in urban areas.

Ready to customize your Costa Rica Vacation

Book your trip when it is perfectly designed and customized, just for you.

Verónica Medina
Verónica MedinaTravel Expert in Costa Rica
Olman Romero
Olman RomeroTravel Expert in Costa Rica
Yuliana Valverde
Yuliana ValverdeTravel Expert in Costa Rica
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