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Although Costa Rica is just 51,1000 square kilometers, this small country is famous and internationally recognized for its great diversity and concentration of natural resources, as well as its inhabitants’ proverbial cordiality: which is what distinguishes it as far as a special attractive destination for foreigners.
Costa Rica is a land of volcanoes, rain forests, waterfalls, and rivers. Adventure travelers can choose from a variety of activities such as rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, sport fishing, surfing, and lots more. The most challenging activity will be choosing what to do!
Costa Rica occupies a privileged spot in the heart of Central America. While its territory of 19,652 square miles touches both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the country is surprisingly accessible - one can travel from coast to coast in just three hours by car (or 45 minutes by plane).
The Caribbean region of Costa Rica stands out for its variety of aquatic ecosystems and its beautiful white and black sand beaches, providing an ideal setting for activities such as sport fishing, snorkeling, and sun bathing. The Pacific coast concentrates big tourist centers and its beaches are very popular for surfing, for example Esterillos, Jaco, Hermosa, Boca Barranca. In the Golfito region, near the Marino Ballena National Park, surfing fans can find the famous "long lefthander wave."
Considered one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, Costa Rica is divided in 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves, and a series of protected areas that captivate ecotourism lovers. The variety of activities includes horseback riding, hiking mountainous paths in the cloud forests, and guided bird-watching tours.
Heritage and Culture:
Costa Rican culture is in many ways a reflection of its racial diversity. The predominant influence has long been European, which is reflected in everything from the official language -- Spanish -- to the architecture of the country's churches and other historic buildings. The indigenous influence is less visible, but can be found in everything from the tortillas that make part of a typical Costa Rican meal, to the handmade ceramics sold at roadside stands.
An important aspect of Costa Rica's cultural legacy is their love for peace and democracy. The Ticos like to stand out that their nation is the exception in Latin America, where military dictatorships have long dominated politics.
They take pride in having more than one hundred years of democratic tradition, and almost half a century without an army. The army was abolished in 1948, and the money the country saves by not expending in military issues is invested in improving the Costa Ricans' standard of living, which has fostered a culture of social peace that makes it such a pleasant place to visit.
What to Expect in Costa Rica
Banks hours depending on whether they are public or private. Generally, hours are Monday – Friday from 9am – 3pm. Credit cards and U.S. Dollars are widely accepted. ATM’s are available in most towns, but can be difficult to locate.
The Costa Rican currency is called Colon. US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are available but can be difficult to locate.
The climate in Costa Rica varies depending upon elevation and location. The coastal plains are warm and tropical. Mountainous regions are much cooler and the Central Plateau has a spring-like climate year-round, with little variation in temperature from month to month (the average daily temperature is 75 F or 25 C).
Departure tax is $29 U.S. Dollars, payable only at the airport when you check in for your flight home. Acceptable forms of payment include cash (Colones or U.S. Dollars), Visa, American Express and MasterCard.
The water is potable in most areas; however, it is highly recommended that visitors drink bottled water during their stay.
A U.S. Driver’s License is acceptable for up to three months.
Outlets are 110-V, with standard US two prong plugs.
A valid passport and a round trip ticket are mandatory to enter Costa Rica. Depending on your country of origin, you may enter Costa Rica without a visa. USA, Canada and most European countries have this privilege.
December through April is the dry season, when rain is quite uncommon. May through November is considered the rainy, or "green", season, although mornings are usually quite sunny, with most of the rain falling in afternoon showers.
No vaccinations or preventative medications are recommended for travel to Costa Rica. However, we always suggest that you speak to your family physician for a personal recommendation.
WATER TEMPERATURES AND WETSUITS:
Water temperatures generally range between 75 – 80°F. Most people find wearing a 3mm – 5mm wetsuit keeps them comfortable.