Costa Rica Travel Information
A Brief Tourist Guide to Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the ideal right choice for travelers looking for beautiful landscapes, outdoor adventures, delicious local foods, and a profound culture. This magnificent country has cloud forests, rainforests, beaches, and coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, with each region and ecosystem presented by the warm, welcoming, knowledgeable, and passionate people of Costa Rica.
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is a relatively small country. It shares border with Nicaragua to north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
The country is situated between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. The total area of Costa Rica is 51,100 sq km. It also has 589 sq km of territorial waters. Its total coastline area is 1,290 km, of which 1,016 km on the Pacific and 212 km on the Caribbean coast.
The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) protects almost 25% of Costa Rica’s national territory. In fact, this organization supervises all the protected areas of the country.
Costa Rica is a small country that is divided into seven provinces, eighty-one cantons, and four hundred and sixty-three districts. The provinces are San Jose (located in Central Valley), Cartago (located in East Central Valley), Alajuela (located in Central-North), Limon (located in Caribbean Coast), Guanacaste (located in North Pacific), Heredia (located in Center-North), and Puntarenas (located in Central and South Pacific).
All the capitals of the provincial cities, except Guanacaste’s Liberia, have the same name as their province.
The climate of Costa Rica is Tropical throughout the year. However, it can vary from region to region depending on topography, elevation, geography, and the rainfall of each individual area. The seasons are mainly defined according to the amount of rainfall. The country has mainly two seasons – the dry season or the summer and the rainy season or the winter.
December to April is considered the summer while May to November is the time to enjoy the rain a.k.a. winter season. The place that experiences the highest rainfall in Costa Rica is the Central Cordillera mountains located along the Caribbean slopes.
The prime industries contributing to the the economy of Costa Rica in recent times are Eco-tourism, pharmaceuticals, software development, and financial outsourcing. Tourism is a profitable sector that earns a huge amount of foreign investment. In fact, since 1999, the earning in this sector was more than the combined exports of the country’s three main cash crops – coffee, pineapples, and bananas. Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in the Central American region.
Ecotourism is another sector that brings a lot of foreign investment to the country. A huge number of tourists visit Costa Rica to enjoy the beauty of the protected areas and national parks around the country.
The Costa Rican way of life can be expressed through the phrase ‘Pura Vida’ that means ‘pure life’ or ‘plenty of life’. It is a way of greeting or response to greeting but it also reflects the essence by which the Costa Ricans lead their life.
The Costa Ricans are music loving people who love guitar playing and different types of dances like salsa, cumbia, bachata, soca, and merengue. Folk dances are also popular and enjoyed by both older and younger people.
Apart from providing a clean environment, the country offers a high standard of health by providing quality medical care and healthy diet.
The place is a heaven of a wide variety of tropical fruits like mangoes, bananas, watermelons, pineapples, papaya, guava, avocadoes, cantaloupe, etc. Apart from fresh, tree-ripened fruits, fresh fishes of various types are also available here at an inexpensive price. You will get the finest quality sea foods and fishes like lobster, shrimp, tuna, marlin, red snapper, mahi-mahi, etc. in the local restaurants.
Costa Rican people are very conscious about cleanliness and potable water is available in most of the regions of the country. So, it is safe to dine out at bars, restaurants, and sodas dotted across the country.
Nature & Wildlife
Almost 25 percent of Costa Rica’s land areas are either protected areas or national parks. In fact, the government has a goal to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. The country’s geographical features are diverse including volcanoes, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and islands. The country is pregnant with a wide variety of flora (various types of orchids) and fauna (from sloths and monkeys to reptiles, fishes, and birds).
With massive trees and dense foliage, the lowland forests of the country are like multifaceted biological communities. The diverse ecosystem of Costa Rica is a dream to any naturalist. It has mountains, tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps, and coastal beaches. The wildlife in Costa Rica is abundant. The prolific presence of animals and birds has made them easier to spot. In the protected areas and parks, you can spot monkeys swinging on branches; vibrantly colored tree frogs and lizards; sloths loitering on the curves of trees; and jaguars and tapirs mingling along with other exotic creatures.
The birdwatchers can consider this place as a paradise because the number of birds here is more than twice than the number of bird species found in the whole USA. Quetzal, toucans, scarlet macaws, parrots, humming birds, etc. can be easily seen perching on tree branches. Costa Rica is the habitat of many butterfly species including the giant morpho butterfly. In fact, it contains more butterfly species than found in the Africa continent.
Costa Rica provides abundant sources of thrilling and fun activities. The activities that you can enjoy on land are rainforest and volcano trekking, horseback riding, bird watching, canopy zipline, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, rappelling, and many more.
Notable water activities that you can enjoy are swimming, surfing, windsurfing, whitewater rafting, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, etc. The activities can be arranged according to whether you want one-day or multi-day adventures.