Costa Rica


cahuita, Costa Rica
Dreadlocked Costa Rica
Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero
The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea
After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park
The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
miravalles, Costa Rica
The volcano that Miravalles
At 2023 meters, the Miravalles stands out in northern Costa Rica, high above a range of pairs that includes La Giganta, Tenório, Espiritu Santo, Santa Maria, Rincón de La Vieja and Orosi. Inactive with respect to eruptions, it feeds a prolific geothermal field that warms the lives of Costa Ricans in its shadow.
Caño Negro, Costa Rica
A Life of Angling among the Wildlife
One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Montezuma, Costa Rica
Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma
It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
The Ecological Refuge the Quakers Bequeathed the World
Disillusioned with the US military propensity, a group of 44 Quakers migrated to Costa Rica, the nation that had abolished the army. Farmers, cattle raisers, became conservationists. They made possible one of the most revered natural strongholds in Central America.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
A Night at the Nursery of Tortuguero
The name of the Tortuguero region has an obvious and ancient reason. Turtles from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea have long flocked to the black sand beaches of its narrow coastline to spawn. On one of the nights we spent in Tortuguero we watched their frenzied births.
cahuita, Costa Rica
An Adult Return to Cahuita
During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.
Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica, Caribbean, Punta Cahuita aerial view
cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica, public boat
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Tombolo and Punta Catedral, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica
PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
Suspension Bridge, Cabro Muco, Miravalles volcano
miravalles, Costa Rica

The volcano that Miravalles

At 2023 meters, the Miravalles stands out in northern Costa Rica, high above a range of pairs that includes La Giganta, Tenório, Espiritu Santo, Santa Maria, Rincón de La Vieja and Orosi. Inactive with respect to eruptions, it feeds a prolific geothermal field that warms the lives of Costa Ricans in its shadow.
Fishing, Cano Negro, Costa Rica
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Montezuma and Malpais, Costa Rica's best beaches, Catarata
Montezuma, Costa Rica

Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma

It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.
Monteverde, Costa Rica, Quakers, Bosque Nuboso Biological Reserve, hikers
Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Ecological Refuge the Quakers Bequeathed the World

Disillusioned with the US military propensity, a group of 44 Quakers migrated to Costa Rica, the nation that had abolished the army. Farmers, cattle raisers, became conservationists. They made possible one of the most revered natural strongholds in Central America.
Newborn turtle, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

A Night at the Nursery of Tortuguero

The name of the Tortuguero region has an obvious and ancient reason. Turtles from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea have long flocked to the black sand beaches of its narrow coastline to spawn. On one of the nights we spent in Tortuguero we watched their frenzied births.
Cahuita, Costa Rica, Caribbean, beach
cahuita, Costa Rica

An Adult Return to Cahuita

During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.

Map


How to go


VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES

Portuguese and Brazilian citizens only need a passport valid for one month after the date of entry into the country. Passport is stamped on arrival.  

HEALTH CARE

Costa Rican authorities may require a yellow fever vaccination certificate to passengers over 9 months of age who come from countries at risk of contracting this disease or who have traveled for more than 12 hours through airports in these countries. The only vaccine that is always recommended is the Hepatitis A vaccine, as it is for most countries. 

Visiting Limon province still poses a year-round risk of contracting malaria. Protect yourself from mosquito bites also to avoid getting Dengue fever. 

For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical and Traveler Medicine Clinic. In FitForTravel find country-specific health and disease prevention advice (in English).

TRIP TO COSTA RICA

Fly from Lisbon to the Costa Rican capital San José with the KLM and Copa Airlines, via Amsterdam and Paraná city (two stopovers) from €700. THE Iberia fly to San José from Madrid but tickets tend to be substantially more expensive, possibly double the price.

Must Do's


  • Arenal Volcano
  • Tamarindo Beach
  • Monteverde and Santa Helena National Parks
  • Montezuma
  • Barra del Colorado
  • Tortuguero
  • Poás Volcano National Park
  • Old Port of Talamanca
  • Chirripó National Park
  • Corcovado National Park

Explore


INTERNAL FLIGHTS

Two companies operate domestic flights from Costa Rica and cover most of the country. They are the Nature Air and Sansa, the latter associated with the TACA group. Both fly from the airport in the capital San José in relatively small planes with a maximum capacity of 20 passengers. 

The demand for flights is very strong, especially during the high season when both Costa Ricans and visitors compete for the few available seats. The main destinations are Bahía Drake, Barra del Colorado, Golfito, Liberia, Coto 47/Neily, Palmar Sur, Playa Nosara, Playa Sámara/Carrillo, Playa Tamarindo, Puerto Jiménez, Quepos, Tambor and Tortuguero.

CAR RENTAL

Most agencies rent-a-car they are located in San José and in other tourist places in the country such as Tamarindo, Jacó, Quepos and Puerto Jiménez. San José airport agencies usually charge around 10% commission for each rental.

Costa Rica is a country of strong communion with nature. Even if many of the roads are paved, the ideal is to rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive, so that you can leave the asphalt and face muddy roads and other problems and obstacles.

The rental is not exactly cheap. Count on a minimum of €400 per week for a 4WD, with free mileage and to which you should add around €10 a day for a basic insurance that only covers collision, but no incidents or accidents caused by natural events. 

The value of rentals fluctuates substantially depending on whether it is in low or high season. A driving license from the country of origin is accepted for up to 90 days of driving in Costa Rica. Fuel can cost between €0,55 and €0,90, depending on market fluctuations

TRUCK

If you're on a tight budget, even if they're not very fast or sophisticated, buses are one of the best ways to travel around Costa Rica, given that you won't be able to stop to enjoy the best scenery you see along the way. There are buses to practically the entire country with travel prices that are just over €10 for longer routes. In San José there is an ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Institute) desk that provides copies of the itinerary, timetables and updated prices. It is also usually available in visitCostaRica.

Some of the cities operate their own local bus networks. These are the cases of San José, Puntarenas, San Isidro, Golfito and Puerto Limón.

OTHER

There are more than 200 ICT-accredited tour operators in Costa Rica, each with their own paths and experiences. Many are Europeans or North Americans. They are a valid alternative for those who want to explore the country with guides and as part of a probably international group. 

When to go


Much due to the relief and simultaneous influence of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica has a very complex climate. The ideal time to visit is from December to April (summer) when it rains less than usual. From December to the end of February, schools close and many ticos are on vacation which makes booking accommodation and travel more complicated.

The rainy season (winter) fills the remaining months. In May and June, rainfall periods are usually less frequent and shorter than thereafter. This height causes an increase in the flow of the rivers and the slow muddy of the unpaved roads. By July and August, many of them become impassable. 

These months coincide, however, with the holidays of Europeans and North Americans and, despite the rains, concentrate the second peak season of the destination.

Also keep in mind that in the jungle and mountain areas, it can rain with great abundance at any time of the day and year. Scenarios such as Monteverde and Santa Helena parks, for example, are frequently irrigated by heavy rains. In fact most of the country can receive heavy rains without warning.

 

Money and costs


The local currency is the Colón (CRC). International surveys are possible in major cities and towns, as are credit card payments in more sophisticated establishments.

ACCOMMODATION

There is a bit of everything in Costa Rica, with a strong emphasis on truly ecological eco-resorts and others that only claim to be such. A double room in a guest houses backpacking with shared bathroom and only cold water can cost you only €8 to €10 per night. At the opposite pole, the best eco-resorts in the country charge many hundreds of euros a night. In between, there's a bit of everything, from San José's commercial-style hotels to family-friendly inns set in small farms with rewarding settings.

DINNERS 

The dish of the day in common Costa Rican restaurants is called Casado. It combines meat or fish with rice and beans and is served with salad and fried banana. It is guaranteed to cost less than €5 and can also include a glass of juice. 

More sophisticated and expensive meals are served in restaurants aimed at Costa Ricans and wealthier visitors, especially those at the country's most renowned eco-resorts and eco-lodges

INTERNET

Wi-fi is easy to find and often free in all tourist sites and infrastructures in Costa Rica whether hotels, guest houses, bars or cafes in the main tourist cities and towns. If you have a smart phone, tablet or laptop, you can purchase a local SIM card to access the internet throughout the country. The card will have a symbolic price – around €1 to €3 – while navigation and traffic can cost as little as €1 a day, depending on the tariff chosen. As a rule, it can be charged via SMS or cards available nationwide. Only the big cities and the most touristic places have a 3G signal. Outside of these “centers”, the normal will be to get EDGE or lower.

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