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Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. Generally tourist services have employees who speak English.
Area-51.100 sq km. Costa Rica has seven governmental divisions Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas and the Capital San Jose. Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The converging land and water makes this region a great bottleneck, which is rich in ecological diversity.
Temperature approximately 27º C
Currency & Exchange Rate-
The national currency of Costa Rica is the Colon. Most international credit cards, (Visa/Master Card/American Express/Diners Club), are accepted.The larger cities and tourist destinations of Costa Rica provide 24/7 Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
Electricity 110V, 60 Hz. Usually restaurants include a 10% service charge to the receipt. Taxi drivers generally do not need tips, but if you are satisfied with the service, everybody will appreciate a tip.
Suggested clothing and accessories: Pants, shorts, T-shirts, hiking shoes, socks, bathing suit, sandals, waterproof, sunscreen, sunglasses, travel dictionary, light-weight hat, day pack, light rain jacket, flashlight, insect repellent, casual attire for evenings, binoculars, camera and film.
Generally the tourist Visa is for 90 days but ask to your consulate just in case of special requirements.
When Christopher Columbus made his 4th and final journey to the new world he discovered Costa Rica. Costa Rica was first colonized by Spain in 1561 and gained independence in 1821. During the colonial period, Costa Rica was a tough and unpopular place to reside with few easily exploited resources and lack of labour force. The Spanish were much more interested in living in Peru or Mexico, where vast amounts of silver and gold were being obtained by hundred thousands of slaves. Soon after the 1948 revolution, the military was abolished and a new constitution was adopted. In 1987 the Costa Rican president Oscar Arias Sanchez gained world recognition as he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Costa Rica has approximately 4 million people and an estimated annual growth rate of about 2%. Most of the population is of European / Spanish descent, more than any other Central American country.
Costa Rica spends about 20% of the annual budget on education to maintain a 95% literacy rate, (Highest in Latin America). Elementary school is free and obligatory. Approximately 70% of secondary education is provided by public high schools, the other 30% by accredited private schools. The University of Costa Rica in San Jose was founded in 1843, with an enrolment of 29,000 and increasing yearly.
The Arenal Volcano National Park is part of the Arenal Conservation Area. The Arenal volcano was dormant from roughly 1500 AD until July 29, 1968. When it erupted it triggered massive lava flows destroying two entire villages, while maintaining its almost perfect conical shape.
The 54,539-hectare Corcovado National Park has with its staggering biological diversity attracts world wide ecologists interested in studying the complex rainforest. This park is considered unique, with miles of solitary beaches and rain forests it is known as the best remaining Pacific Coastal Rainforest in Central America.
One of the popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica is Monteverde. Famous for its cloud forest reserve, Beautiful quetzals and bellbirds. “Monteverde” (Spanish for “Green Mountains”) is a community in Puntarenas, which was founded by North American Quakers in 1951.
The beautiful warm-water beaches in the Papagayo Gulf will make your visit an unforgettable experience. This area of Guanacaste, on the Nicoya Peninsula has some of best beaches in the gulf, including the friendly Panama Beach at Culebra Bay, which is one of the area’s best spots for swimming, the quieter Hermosa Beach, the best scuba diving at El Coco Beach, which has more nightlife than most beaches along the peninsula, and the small and quiet Ocotal Beach.
Manuel Antonio & Quepos
Manuel Antonio National Park is also one of the most popular due to the combination of sun, lovely forest-backed tropical beaches and impressive rocky headlands with ocean and island views.
Surrounded by a lush jungle and marine wilderness captures the Southern Caribbean atmosphere of Costa Rica. Within an accessible and relatively small area you can visit the Cahuita National Park, Scuba dive or snorkel to see the famous live coral reef and marine species. The Gandoca – Manzanillo Biological Reserve tropical rain forest has an abundance of vegetation, which is ideal for ecological tourism.
Tambor beach is located in Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay). The largest bay on the southern peninsula coastline. Engulfed by waterfalls, woodland and parks makes this beach ideal for families, couples or single travellers seeking a relaxed, private vacation.
Flamingo Beach & Conchal Beach
The clear waters and calm sea make this ideal for a famous destination due to its stunning beauty. Conchal Beach got its name because of the wealth of seashells (“conchas”) that pile up along the shores. The clear water makes these favourite beaches great for swimming and snorkelling. The breathtaking Flamingo Beach is located about 4 km north of Brasilito.
Tortuguero National Park is the most important breeding ground for the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) in the western half of the Caribbean. Tortuguero, means “the land of many turtles”, explains how this area arrived at its name. This peaceful park tucked away in the lush rain forest with an impressive natural network of scenic navigable lakes and canals has a coast line of 19,211 hectares plus around 52,000 hectares of marine area. The national park offers great opportunities for observing wildlife such as three species of monkeys, sloth, anteaters, kinkajous, manatees, peccaries, tapirs, lizards, caimans, crocodiles, snakes, frogs and toads. Approximately 400 bird species, 400 species of trees and at least 2,200 species of other plants have been recorded.
Guanacaste – Northern Pacific
Tamarindo Beach is the most beautiful 2K beach in Costa Rica. Most of the area contains all six of the different types of mangroves that exist in Costa Rica, White, Tea, Red Buttonwood, as well as 2 species of Black mangroves. Nearby towns and beaches are Avellana Beach, Grande Beach, Huacas, Matapalo, Salinas and Villarreal.
Central Pacific-The Central Pacific area comprises the area from Puntarenas (100,000 inhabitants) to Quepos. To the south are Doña Ana Beach, Mata Limon Beach, Tarcoles Beach, the white sand beach of Punta Leona, Herradura Beach, which is home to a marina, Luxury hotel, Condominium complex and the popular Jaco Beach that is only two hours from San José.