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Check out this Ultimate Costa Rica Vacations Travel Guide with information about Costa Rica activities, hotel recommendations, best day tours, and Costa Rica travel & safety tips.

Capital City: San José

Currency: Costa Rican Colón

Official languages: Spanish

Neighboring countries: Panama and Nicaragua

Interesting places to visit include: Tortuguero National Park, Poás Volcano, Corcovado National Park, Arenal Volcano, Puerto Viejo, Manuel Antonio National Park

Time Zone: Central Standard Time (UTC -6)

Largest City: San José

Some interesting and fun facts about Costa Ricans: Locals call themselves Ticos (for male) and Ticas (for female). As a foreigner, you are called Gringo (for male) and Gringa (for female).

Destinations in Costa Rica

MONTEVERDE

MANUEL ANTONIO

LA FORTUNA ARENAL VOLCANO

JACO BEACH

TAMARINDO

TORTUGUERO

SANTA TERESA

PUERTO VIEJO

TORTUGA ISLAND

SAN JOSE

CENTRAL VALLEY

RINCON DE LA VIEJA

PUERTO LIMON

PAPAGAYO PENINSULA

CORCOVADO

Things to do in Costa Rica

ZIP LINE AND CANOPY TOURS

WATERFALLS

VOLCANOES

SURFING

RAINFORESTS

NATIONAL PARKS

MOUNTAIN BIKING

KAYAKING

HOT SPRINGS

HORSEBACK RIDING

HIKING

FISHING

CANYONING AND WATERFALL RAPPELLING

BEACHES

Why Visit Costa Rica?

1. Costa Rica has amazing beaches – Costa Rica has one of the most beautiful beaches that I have been to, and the best part is that the beaches are not as crowded as at most other tourist destinations.

In fact, I have been to white sanded beaches without any other people!

2. Costa Rica is a tropical paradise – Costa Rica is dramatic in every corner. It is where pristine beaches collide with green rainforests, forming a travel destination like no other.

If you desire to be surrounded by wildlife and nature, a visit to Costa Rica will not disappoint you. A wide array of animals and plants call its forests their home, delivering a sense of pure charm and unassuming beauty.

One minute you’re casually greeting a sloth as you pass by; the next thing you know, you’re conquering class IV rapids, riding majestic waves, and crossing hanging bridges.

3. Rainforests and cloud forests – Specifically, six types of forests can be found in Costa Rica.

Its numerous rainforests and cloud forests stand out, though, and the local government widely protects all.

Some of the greenest rainforests in the country are found inside the Manuel Antonio National Park, the Corcovado National Park, and the Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Cloud forests, on the other hand, are situated within high-altitude areas such as the ones in Monteverde and the Cerro Chirripo National Park.

4. Costa Rica offers great adventures – Costa Rica is heaven for all adventure travelers.

You can go White Water Rafting, do Canopy Tours, Mountain Bike Tours, hike at Volcanoes, Rain- and Cloudforests, go surfing, kayaking, and much more.

5. It is a sustainable tourism destination – Costa Rica is all about green tourism.

You can see it in the way it protects its national parks, in its beaches that are Blue Flag holders, and in the tour operators that practice responsible tourism.

The government of Costa Rica ensures that policies and procedures are met and understood not only by locals but, most importantly, by visitors.

For you, as a tourist, to take part in Costa Rica’s sustainable tourism initiatives, be sure to take every briefing by heart and behave in the country’s well-protected environment accordingly.

What is Costa Rica Known For?

Costa Rica is well known for its “Pura Vida” lifestyle.

Its people and how they live their lives are great indications of how relaxed this country is.

Set a fraction of your time to go people watching and witness the locals happily going about their days, mingling with newcomers, and greeting acquaintances.

They make do of what they have and share it. Once you set foot in Costa Rica, it will be hard not to fall in love with its natural beauty and its laid-back charm.

Adventures call in every corner, unearthing the explorer that you never knew you were. Be mesmerized by its amazing beaches and biodiversity that is unparalleled.

It is hard not to talk about food when you discuss what Costa Rica is known for.

Read full article: INTERESTING FAQ’s ABOUT COSTA RICA.

When is The Best Time to Visit Costa Rica?

There are only two seasons in Costa Rica: Dry Season (December to April) and Green Season (May to November).

It is fascinating to know that when one side of Costa Rica is drenched in the rain, another side is basking in the sunshine.

This leaves you with choices of activities to book and provinces to discover whichever month you decide to go on your Costa Rica vacations.

Read the full blog post: BEST TIME TO VISIT COSTA RICA.

The Best Way to Travel Around Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a relatively small country. You can reach almost every place within a few hours from the capital city San José.

Public transportation is reliable and safe. If you want to see more of the country quickly, you can also take domestic flights.

If your time and budget allow it, I highly recommend exploring Costa Rica by car.

This way, you can stop wherever you want, you are independent of bus or flight schedules, and you can get to places that are off the normal touristic routes during your Costa Rica Vacations.

Read the full article: The best way to travel around Costa Rica.

How to Stay Safe in Costa Rica

1. Ask your hotel/ locals about the area

In almost every city in the world, there are neighborhoods that you should better avoid as a tourist. Whenever I go to a new place, I ask my hotel or locals which places are safe to go to and which areas I should better not visit.

2. Take a taxi or Uber home at night

It is never a bad idea to take a taxi back to your hotel at night, especially in cities like San Jose. Places that are safe during the day might become more dangerous at night when the streets are empty. Don’t risk it to save a few bucks.

3. Avoid walking alone at night

While getting a taxi or Uber in cities like San Jose is easy, it might be more difficult or impossible in small villages. In this case, avoid walking around alone. The chances of getting robbed are significantly smaller if you are in a group.

4. Ask at hotels/ restaurants to call a taxi for you and only take official red taxis in San Jose

You might have heard stories of tourists being robbed in fake taxis. Be safe and only take the official red taxis in San Jose and ask at the reception of hotels or restaurants if they can call a taxi for you.

4. Don’t carry large sums of money (and hide it in different locations)

I guess this one is also pretty much self-explaining. Only take the amount of money that you really need.

When you have to move with all your luggage from one place to another, hide your money in different locations, for example, in your big luggage, day pack, and pockets.

Depending on where I travel, I hide some emergency dollars in my shoes.

what to do in puerto viejo costa rica

5. Leave your passport at the hotel (and carry only a photocopy)

Never walk around with your passport! Leave it in the safe in your hotel or hide it in your room.

If someone steals your phone, you can easily buy a new one; however, losing your passport is something you really want to avoid!

6. Take a flashlight at night in rural areas

Always take a flashlight with you in rural areas. You really want to avoid stepping on something that might want to bite you!

7. Keep an eye on your bags in busses

Always keep an eye on your bags in busses. Put your Passport, money, and other valuables in a daypack and always have them next to you. Avoid putting this bag in the overhead bins or on the floor.

8. Trust your instincts

This one is the most important safety tip: Trust Your Instincts! If you have a bad feeling about a person, a place, a situation, then get out of it as soon as possible.

A beautiful view of Tortuga Island from the to

A beautiful view of Tortuga Island from the top

More Frequently Asked Questions about Costa Rica Vacations

What is The Currency in Costa Rica?

The Costa Rica currency is called colón. In the plural, it is regarded as colónes. Have a quick look at pictures of Costa Rica money, and you will find six banknotes. These come in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000. Their coins come in 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500. For a quick way to calculate money exchange – Costa Rica currency to USD – you can say 500 colónes is equivalent to 1 dollar.

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How to get from Santa Teresa to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

If you are looking for a place that is full of natural beauty and activity, this is it! La Fortuna is a charming spot to unwind, kick back, and enjoy your daily life without the hustle and bustle of the big city. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Santa Teresa …

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How to get from Tamarindo to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Are you thinking about taking a trip to Costa Rica? There is no better place to go in Costa Rica if you’re looking for adventure than La Fortuna! Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Tamarindo to La Fortuna. Are you ready for some of the best outdoor adventures of your …

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How to get from Tamarindo to Monteverde, Costa Rica

If you love nature and adventure, then Monteverde is for you! Take a memorable visit to the unique and beautiful Monteverde cloud forestand and discover one of the rarest habitats on Earth. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Tamarindo to Monteverde. Monteverde is a tiny village nestled in the cloud …

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How to get from Montezuma to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo is a bustling beach town and gathering place for surfers from around the world. Want to join in on the fun in this magical paradise? Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Montezuma to Tamarindo. Tamarindo, Costa Rica is often called “Little California.” It has a small-town feel with its …

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How to get from Liberia to Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde is the perfect destination for anyone looking for an unplugged Costa Rica adventure. Escape the crowds and discover some of Costa Rica’s hidden gems! Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Liberia to Monteverde. Located in the heart of the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range, Monteverde is a small town …

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How to get from La Fortuna to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo is a world apart from the rest of Costa Rica. This Caribbean village is a countercultural breath of fresh air for those looking to get away from corporate sorting and package tours. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from La Fortuna to Puerto Viejo. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica is …

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How to get from Jaco to San Jose, Costa Rica

Does your heartache for adventure and exploration? Would you like to visit one of the most diverse cities in Costa Rica? Then, check out our guide for the best options to travel from Jaco to San Jose. Costa Rica is the perfect country for adventurers and nature-loving travelers seeking to explore lush landscapes, stunning views, …

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How to get from Montezuma to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Experience an exotic getaway in beautiful Santa Teresa in Costa Rica, a popular ecotourism destination. It is far away from stressful daily life. To witness all its beauty, check out our guide on the best ways to travel from Montezuma to Santa Teresa! With a population of 3000 people, this town is part of Puntarenas …

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How to get from Tamarindo to San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose offers a vibrant culture and some of the country’s best restaurants. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Tamarindo to San Jose. Want to know how to spend the best time while in San Jose? Get some fantastic recommendations while getting a private tour of the city by a local, …

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How to get from Tamarindo to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

A visit to the Manuel Antonio national park is a must during your visit to Costa Rica. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Tamarindo to Manuel Antonio. The Manuel Antonio national park is one of the most biodiverse places on earth and a popular tourist destination in Costa Rica. While …

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How to get from Jaco to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo is one of the top tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Jaco to Tamarindo. Tamarindo is well-known for its amazing beaches and a popular surf spot. However, Tamarindo offers much more than only surfing. How about a sunset cruise with an open bar? During …

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How to get from Monteverde to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo is well known for its beaches and as a hotspot for surfers. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Monteverde to Tamarindo. Tamarindo has developed into the most popular tourist destination in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. It is well known for its beautiful beaches and recognized as a …

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How to travel from Arenal La Fortuna to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Santa Teresa sits on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica’s North, away from airports and city lights. It may be a jungle-backed beach town, but it is anything but boring. Check out our guide on the best ways to travel from La Fortuna to Santa Teresa! Young ex-pats, hip restaurants, and shared workspaces make Santa …

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How to get from Monteverde to La Fortuna Arenal, Costa Rica

La Fortuna is one of the top destinations to visit in Costa Rica. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Monteverde to La Fortuna Arenal. La Fortuna is one of the most visited destinations in Costa Rica and is especially popular amongst adventure travelers. Therefore, La Fortuna is well connected and …

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How to travel from Manuel Antonio to San Jose, Costa Rica

If you’re looking for the quintessential Costa Rica experience, you’ll find it in San Jose. You will find some of the country’s best restaurants and vibrant culture in this city. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from Manuel Antonio to San Jose. There’s so much to see and do in San …

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How to travel from Monteverde to San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose is a vibrant city filled with history, life, and nature. Despite its small population, it is an incredibly beautiful, modern, and vibrant city. To witness all its beauty, check out our guide on the best ways to travel from Monteverde to San Jose! The Central Valley is the geographic heart of Costa Rica, …

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How to travel from Puerto Viejo Talamanca to San Jose, Costa Rica

There are few options to get from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San José. Rent a car, private shuttle, public bus, taxi, or uber. Another option is to go by plane, but from Puerto Viejo, you must go to the closest airport in Limon, which is about an hour’s drive. Check out our guide for …

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How to travel from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Central Valley is home to San Jose, a bustling urban landscape. Check out our guide for the best options to travel from La Fortuna Arenal to San Jose, Costa Rica. Since it is the capital of Costa Rica, it may not be as pretty as its beaches or jungle destinations. Even so, if …

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How to get from San Jose to Quepos, Costa Rica

There are different ways to travel from San Jose to Quepos. From public buses to shared shuttle vans to private transfers or even Uber. I will share the best ways to travel from San Jose to Quepos. To make your trip stress-free, I recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance! How far is Quepos from …

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Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica

The ultimate list of the best places to visit in Costa Rica for extreme adventures and luxurious relaxation. Costa Rica is perfectly located between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, with volcanoes and rainforests completing the whole tropical package. It is the happiest place on earth and contains 5 percent of the world’s bio diversity! …

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Fly To Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica At Peninsula Papagayo

A special offer from Netjet awaits guests booking a Private Retreat stay at the award-winning Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. Get a one-time round trip flight to this Forbes Five Star Costa Rica resort at an exclusive NetJets member rate without the long-term commitment. General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica …

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What makes Costa Rica the greenest and happiest country in the world?

According to the latest Happy Planet Index of Costa Rica by the New Economics Foundation or NEF, the country has bested 139 others regarding the efficient use of resources to live happily. Costa Rica is then followed by the nations of Mexico and Colombia, respectively. Among the categories being ranked are life expectancy, wellbeing, ecological …

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Best things to do in Puerto Limón Costa Rica

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How to get from Liberia Airport to Tamarindo

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Car Rental Liberia Airport Costa Rica

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Best things to do on Tortuga Island, Costa Rica

Despite its small size, Isla Tortuga has a lot to offer to nature lovers and curious adventurers. Plenty of things to do on Tortuga Island, Costa Rica, await you. Tortuga Island is more of a place to tour around rather than to stay in. One full day on the island promises an adventure full of …

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Rio Tarcoles – Crocodile Bridge Costa Rica

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How to get from Jaco to Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

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Ultimate List of Best Things to do in Tortuguero

All the best things to do in Tortuguero Costa Rica involve being one with nature, stepping out of your comfort zone, and enjoying the lush surroundings that the region is most proud of. Are you ready for Tortuguero? The majority of your Tortuguero things to do will have you paddling through a maze of canals, …

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10 Best Things to do in Monteverde Costa Rica

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Best Canyoning and Waterfall Rappelling Tours in Costa Rica

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Best Things to Do in the Central Valley Costa Rica

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Best Things to Do on the Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica

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4 Costa Rica Volcanoes that you have to visit

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Traditional Costa Rican Food That you have to Try

Costa Rican food is healthy, comforting, and flavorful. If there is one cuisine that efficiently blends the three, it is definitely Costa Rican cuisine. Traditional Costa Rican food is composed of rice, vegetables in season, fresh fruits, choice meats, and various beans. Thanks to its thriving environment and hardworking farmers, Costa Rican dishes are always …

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How to get from Jacó to Montezuma & Santa Teresa

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How to travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde

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How to travel from San Jose to Santa Teresa

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How to travel from San Jose to Los Chiles, Costa Rica

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How to travel from San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City, Panama

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How to travel from San Jose, Costa Rica to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

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How to get from San Jose to Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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The 8 Best Costa Rica All Inclusives Resorts

The ultimate list of the best Costa Rica All-Inclusive Resorts. Enjoy your luxury Costa Rica holiday without having to think about where to eat or which activities to do. Who wants to be bothered by the tiniest of details when on a serene destination? Surely, no one! The best resorts desire to release the burden …

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How to Get from San Jose to Corcovado, Costa Rica

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15 Best Things to do in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo is a paradise for surfers and beach lovers. But aside from surfing, there are plenty of other exciting things to do in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Don’t let the laid-back vibe fool you once you set foot in this place. The town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in Limon Province is most known …

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Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

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Ultimate List of Best things to do in Jaco Costa Rica

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How to get from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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How to get from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro, Panama

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Best Adventure Tours in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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Best Things to Do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

What is there to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica? Surfing, rappelling – quite a lot, we must say. The best things to do in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, are all in this article. Located in the Guanacaste Province on the northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Tamarindo enjoys a prime location for nature exploration and water …

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Best San Jose Activities and Day Trips from San Jose

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How to get from San Jose to Jaco Costa Rica

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Interesting FAQ and Facts about Costa Rica

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Best Things to Do in Corcovado, Costa Rica

There are plenty of awesome things to do in Corcovado – both within the Corcovado National Park and outside its boundaries. Corcovado is located on the Osa Peninsula, the rich shelter of many plants and animals that make the country’s ecosystem thrive. Aside from it being a true ecological gem, Corcovado and its surrounding waters …

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Ultimate List of Best Things to do in San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s capital city San José shouldn’t be missing from your itinerary. Check out my ultimate list of best things to do in San Jose, Costa Rica. Most people see Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, only as of the gateway to the different adventure destinations within the country. However, San Jose is more than …

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Luxury Adventure Multi Day Tour Costa Rica

This is the ultimate way of living the Pura Vida! Go on a luxury adventure tour and visit all the top places in Costa Rica in the most extravagant way possible. From 5-star hotel accommodations to meticulously planned tour itineraries, this Multi-day Luxury Adventure Tour in Costa Rica is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Day 1: …

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How to get from San Jose to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano are some of the most visited destinations in Costa Rica, and therefore it is straightforward to get from San Jose to La Fortuna. You can choose between different means of transportation. La Fortuna is one of the highlights of every vacation to Costa Rica and is especially well-known for …

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Best Things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica

The ultimate list of best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Plan your trip to one of Costa Rica’s most popular adventure travel destinations. Costa Rica is an absolute paradise and offers so many amazing places to visit. View full blog post: TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN COSTA RICA One of these popular …

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Best Adventure Tours in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

La Fortuna is one of Costa Rica’s most popular adventure destinations. I put together the ultimate list of best Adventure Tours in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, so that you don’t miss anything. Sitting quite confidently in the northern part of this lush country is one of Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destinations. La Fortuna stands …

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The Best Costa Rica Multi Day Tour Packages

Costa Rica is one of the best destinations for every Luxury Adventure Traveller! During the day, you can join breathtaking adventure tours like White Water Rafting, Volcano Hikes, and Night Walks in the Jungle, and Diving Tours to some of the world’s best spots. You can relax at Costa Rica’s most luxurious, small hotels at …

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How to get from San Jose Costa Rica to Tamarindo

Tamarindo is one of the most visited destinations in Costa Rica, so it is straightforward to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Tamarindo. You can choose between different means of transportation. Tamarindo is a small town in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. It is located on the Pacific coast and is well known …

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How to get from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

There are different ways to travel from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. From public buses to shared shuttle vans to private transfers or even Uber. The national park of Manuel Antonio is one of the most bio-diverse parks in the world. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and …

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How to get from San Jose Costa Rica to Monteverde Cloud Forest

Traveling from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Monteverde Cloud Forest by bus is the most economical way. However, you can also book a shared van, a private transfer, or drive with your rental car. The Cloud Forest of Monteverde is one of the absolute highlights of the Central American country Costa Rica. It is voted …

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Bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo + Alternative Travel Options

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo is the most economical way. However, there are more ways to travel to Puerto Viejo, depending on your budget and travel style. Puerto Viejo is a small Caribbean town on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica. It features some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and …

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Ultimate List of Best Luxury Hotels in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a small country but has so much to offer. Volcanoes, the amazing Caribbean and Pacific Coast, lots of nature and national parks, tasty food, friendly people, good music, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, which you will most likely have for your own. Although all the huge hotel …

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Duran Sanatorium – The Most Haunted Place in Costa Rica

The Duran Sanatorium was founded by Dr. Carlos Duran in 1915 and operated as a hospital for tuberculosis patients and as an asylum for the mentally ill. The mountains in Cartago near the Irazu Volcano with its fresh, cold air was considered as optimal for those suffering from consumption. In 1963 when tuberculosis was no …

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Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs Costa Rica

From Costa Rica´s capital city San José we have made a day tour to the impressive Arenal Volcano, visited the famous city of Sarchi, and relaxed in the natural Tabacon Hot Springs. Located north of Costa Rica, the impressive Arenal Volcano is a natural phenomenon that attracts thousands of tourists for its beauty. We get …

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Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo and Cocles Beach

Puerto Viejo – A mix of Caribbean-Jamaican atmosphere, small hidden palm beaches, breathtaking nature, and good restaurants and bars. Manzanillo and Cocles for the ones who are looking for beautiful, calm beaches. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca or simply Puerto Viejo is a coastal town in the province Limón on the Caribbean Side of Costa Rica. …

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La Sabana Metropolitan Park San Jose, Costa Rica

La Sabana Metropolitan Park San Jose – Costa Rica’s biggest and most important urban park. It is a nice place to meet up with friends, to do sport, go for a walk, rent a paddleboat or visit the national stadium or the art museum. The La Sabana Metropolitan Park in San Jose (Spanish: Parque Metropolitano …

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Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago, Costa Rica

Legends say that a young girl once found a small statue on a rock and took it home. The next day she found the statue back at the rock. Many people wash themselves with the water and drink the healing water from this rock; it never stops flowing and is very clean. The “Basílica de …

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Ruins of the Temple of the Santiago Apostol Parish

The Ruins of the Temple of the Santiago Apostol Parish are located at the city square of Costa Rica’s old capital city Cartago, about 22 kilometers east of the new capital San Jose. After several earthquakes, time after time, destroyed the temple, the city made the ruins into a garden. “Since the beginning of the evangelism …

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Border crossing from Costa Rica to Panama

I already did many border crossings, but this one was by far the worst one—border crossing from Costa Rica to Panama. Long waiting time, flight ticket to country of residence, 500 USD in cash, or proof that you have enough money in your bank account as well as a $7 tax document required. It is Thursday night, …

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Costa Rica Independence Day in Hojancha

The Costa Rica Independence Day takes place every year on September 15th. Read here how the Ticos celebrate their separation from Spain. Parade of lanterns (desfile de faroles) on September 14th The Costa Rica Independence Day starts with the parade of lanterns (Desfile de faroles) the evening before Independence Day. With the parade, people want to remember …

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