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Costa Rica the land of mountains carpeted with lush tropical flora and fauna ascending from miles of pristine Caribbean and Pacific coastline. Costa Rica, (Rich Coast)  is located in Central America. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the east and south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The country is ranked the 1st among the Americas, in terms of the 2008 Environmental Performance, around eight hundred species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. The official language is Spanish, and unlike other Central American countries where the standard response to How are you is "Muy Bien", (very fine), in Costa Rica you will more often hear "pura vida" (pure life), which more than adequately describes the environment as a whole.  The Costa Rican  currency is the colón.
 
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Adventure Inn in San Jose

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bullet Hotel Rossi  Arenal

La Maripos in Manuel Antonio
bullet La Mariposa / Manuel Antonio

Hotel Karahe in Manuel Antonio
bullet Karache Hotel & Villas Sport Fishing Manuel Antonio

Villa Roca serving the Gay Community in Manuel Antonio
bullet Villa Roca  Manuel Antonio

Coco Palms in Playa Cocos
bullet Coco Palms in Playa Cocos

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bullet Domincal
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Choose Your Costa Rica Area of Interest from the Map below
by clicking on the star in the place you wish to visit.


 

Currency

The unit of currency is the colón, which trades around 548 to the U.S. dollar; currently about 800 to the euro. On October 16, 2006, a new currency exchange system was introduced, allowing the value of the CRC colón to float between two bands as done previously by Chile.  Since that time, the value of the colón against the dollar has stabilized.

Costa Rican billetes (bills) are printed in four denominations: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 colones. Coins are available in six denominations: 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 colones. New coins are gold in color, old coins are silver. Coin-operated telephones accept only the old silver coin. On February 15, 2009 the exchange rate was 558 colones per US dollar. To make a quick and rough conversion to US dollars, simply move the decimal point three places to the left and multiply by 2. One thousand colones equals about $2.00 USD

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Manuel Antonio

Papagayo Cliff overlooking inlet of Sailboats
 

National Parks

Costa Rica hosts a rich variety of plants and animals.  Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas.

Protected areas
bullet Corcovado National Park
bullet Ballena National Marine Park
bullet Piedras Blancas National Park
Caño Island Biological Reserve
Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve
Carate Wildlife Refuge
Donald Peters Hayes Wildlife Refuge
Golfito Wildlife Refuge
Osa Wildlife Refuge
Rancho La Merced Wildlife Refuge
Agua Buena Wildlife Refuge
 
Hacienda Copano Wildlife Refuge Lagunazul Wildlife Refuge
Pejeperro Wildlife Refuge
Preciosa Platanares Wildlife Refuge
Punta Rio Claro Wildlife Refuge
Quillotro Wildlife Refuge
RHR Blancas Wildlife Refuge
Rio Oro Wildlife Refuge
Rio Piro Wildlife Refuge
Lacustrino Pejeperrito Wetlands
Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands

Arenal Volcano National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal)
Location: Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area,

Arenal Volcano National Park is in the central part of Costa Rica, forming the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area. The park encompasses the Arenal Volcano, the most active in the country,  dormant until a major eruption in 1968.

There is a second volcano in the park, Chato, whose crater contains a lagoon. It ihas been inactive for around 3500 years–coinciding with the creation and growth of Arenal itself. This area has the Arenal Observatory Lodge and also the Museum of Vulcanicity, as well as a ranger station.

The park lies within the 2,040 square kilometres (790 sq mi) Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area, protecting eight of Costa Rica's 12 life zones and 16 protected reserves in the region between the Guanacaste and Tilarán mountain ranges, and including Lake Arenal. You can access the park from La Fortuna, Tilarán and the north shore of Lake Arenal.

Corcovado National Park
Location: Osa Peninsula
Internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs). You can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. Here you will find all four Costa Rican monkey species.  White-headed Capuchin
Mantled Howler
Endangered Geoffroy's Spider Monkey
Squirrel Monkey, found only on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica 2008 its status was upgraded to vulnerable.
Main Website

Piedras Blancas National Park is a National Park part of the Osa Conservation
Location: Puntarenas Province
In  southern Costa Rica near the town of La Gamba. It protects rainforests and beaches near the Golfo Dulce on the Pacific Coast. It

The rugged mountains and watersheds of both the Esquinas and Piedras Blancas rivers are covered in dense evergreen forest that is home to a number of rare tropical trees and the habitat of many species of birds, mammals and reptiles.

Tortuguero National Park ( "Full of Turtles")
Location: Limon Province
Home to spider, howler and white-throated Capuchin monkeys, the three-toed sloth, 320 species of birds, and a variety of reptiles.
The park is most noted for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle and is the most important nesting site for the species. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest there.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve ("Green Mountain", not a National Park)
Location: Puntarenas
iThe reserve is host to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchards, bromeliads, ferns, vines, and mosses. Truly a magical adventure where over four hundred types of birds and over one hundred species of mammals exist.

Costa Rica is also home for many reptiles and amphibians, like the world's fastest living lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana

 

Papagayo

Jaco, Costa Rica Beach

 

Traveling in Costa Rica
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Traveling by Car or Bus
Although there is no better way to see it all in Costa Rica then by car, traveling is slow going due to the road conditions. The pavement is strewn with many potholes from very small to large enough for a garbage can with a small palm tree growing out of it imbedded in the hole to alert you to it's existence.

On any given highway or road traffic traverses back and forth from lane to lane in an attempt to avoid hitting the potholes. This is not a country where high speeds on the roads is common, unlike Mexico.  Fortunately your average speed will be about 35 mph, yet the accident rate is high and rental cars are not the budget way to go.

Mountain passes like the access to San Jose from either coast can be extremely slow going to absolute halts during some hours of the day, due to the heavy traffic including numerous semis. Passing is difficult as these roads are narrow and normally do not have any shoulders most of the way.

In the cities street signs are not adequate, yet the people, known as Ticas (female) and Ticos (males) are quite friendly. They do not speak a lot of English so studying up on some simply Spanish words/phrases would be very helpful.
If you need to ask for directions, ask in Spanish (direcciones). Please note that it is more common to give directions by neighborhoods, rather than by numbered addresses. Very few buildings are numbered and you will receive directions in meters based on the number of city blocks (100 meters) to your desired destination.

The existing bus system in Costa Rica will take you to beaches, national parks, cities, small villages, and other Central American countries at minimal cost. You can sit back, relax, and observe the passing beauty. Of course traveling by bus will not give you the freedom to explore the numerous dirt roads where incredible adventures and discoveries await.

Many towns have duplicate names in Costa Rica, make sure before purchasing a ticket (boleto) and/or  boarding any bus, you are headed to the right Province.

The fleet of buses found throughout the country range from a few old Blue Bird school buses on local routes to luxurious Mercedes and Volvos with reclining seats.
Click here to  find current fares published on the official government document.

Coming Soon.

  • Food
  • Health
  • Safety

 

Jaco Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

 

Weather

Costa Rica has primarily two seasons, the dry season also the high season ( December - April) and green season when it rains (May - November with September - October being the rainiest). The sun shines throughout the year with no real winter due to it's close proximity to the equator. The sun rises at 5 a.m and sets at 6 p.m. consistently all year long. The average annual temperature is around 21 to 27 degrees Celsius or 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, with the coolest time of the year in November, December and January. During the months of  March through May the temperature can be quite uncomfortable with extreme heat and humid during this period.

The climate varies from area to area. View map to locate specific areas.

Guanacaste in the lowlands, at sea level is a dry arid climate, with26 degrees Celsius or 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monteverde, at a higher elevation is misty and foggy most of the time averages 13 degree Celsius.

San Jose, in the central valley appears to have the finest weather, with 22 degree Celsius and 72 degree Fahrenheit.

Current Weather in Costa Rica
 

Tamarindo

Dominical Beach Surfing

Dominical

 

Costa Rica Provinces

Provinces of Costa Rica, Cantons of Costa Rica, and Districts of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, thendivided into 81 cantons ("cantón" in Spanish, plural "cantones"), each of which is directed by a mayor.  The cantons are further divided into districts (distritos).
The provinces are: 

1. Alajuela
2. Cartago
3. Guanacaste
4. Heredia
5. Limón
6. Puntarenas
7. San José



Map of Costa Rica

Map of Costa Rica
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