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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Choose Your Costa Rica Area of Interest from the Map below
by clicking on the star in the place you wish to visit.
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
Piedras Blancas National Park Caño Island
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
Copano Wildlife Refuge Lagunazul Wildlife
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,
Volcano National Park is in the central part of Costa
Rica, forming the
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.
Endangered Geoffroy's Spider Monkey
Squirrel Monkey, found only on the Pacific coast of
Costa Rica 2008 its status was upgraded to vulnerable.
National Park is a National Park part of the Osa
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")
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)
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
Costa Rica is also home for many reptiles and
amphibians, like the world's fastest living lizard, the
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
7. San José