Costa Rica

A Visitor’s Guide To Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of several countries in Central America that was once a Spanish colony, but it has seen significant development and was actually the first of the Latin American countries to become a democracy. It is also one of the most successful countries in Central America, with its population enjoying a good life expectancy and achieving a 96 per cent level of literacy. The country plays a largely peaceful role in international diplomacy, and is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t employ a standing army.

While there are no specific terrorist threats identified in Costa Rica, visitors to the country are advised to be cautious and to be aware of the threat of violent crime and theft. There has also been an increase in the country of dengue fever, while there is a potential to come into contact with crocodiles along the Pacific Coast.

Top Sights To See In Costa Rica

San Jose – The beautiful capital of Costa Rica is a city with colonial influences that is a thriving and interesting place to visit, with a wealth of museums, and offers a tremendous base for a range of outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Cartago – This town in central Costa Rica was the country’s first capital, and today is a lovely place to visit with a nice central park where the ruins of the Santiago Apostol Church can be seen, while the amazing Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels is a stunning church built in the twentieth century.

Cocos Islands – A beautiful archipelago of islands that are around three hundred miles off the coast of Costa Rica, the area is a protected national park and is a wonderful destination for scuba diving and exploring the natural beauty of the area.

Guanacaste Conservation Area – This area is one of the most beautiful in the country with several impressive volcanoes, while it also enjoys an amazing biodiversity, and is a great place to go off the beaten track and to explore some of the most remote parts of the country.

La Fortuna – Located near the impressive Arenal Volcano where some great walking tours are to be enjoyed, the area also has some attractive waterfalls and the chance to go canyoneering in a nearby valley.

Dominical – Located on the pacific coast this pleasant town developed as a popular surfing spot, but has now grown into a lovely destination with a wonderful beach to enjoy.

La Amistad National Park – Popular for hiking and covering territory in both Costa Rica and Panama, this park is a lovely area of pristine cloud forest and offers a wild experience that is best enjoyed with a local guide, with a wide range of native species that can be spotted.

Turrialba – This town is located near a volcano with the same name, and has developed a reputation as being one of the best destinations in the country for white water rafting, with some great thrills on the Pacuare and Reventazon rivers.

Mal Pais – Another popular surfing destination that is off the beaten track on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Mal Pais also has a few celebrity homes hidden in the hills, and is growing in popularity as a quiet and pleasant place to visit.

Tortuguero National Park – At the northern end of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, this lovely area is a great place to see sea turtles hatching in September and October, while it also has some amazing canoe tours around the coast available.

Where To Stay In Costa Rica

San Jose

TRYP San Jose Sabana Hotel – A stylish and modern hotel where a lot of attention has been paid to the design details, rooms have large deep beds with luxury bathrooms along with wireless internet access, while those traveling with children can also use the dedicated family rooms.

Cocoon Hotel – The bright and quirky nature themed design of the hotel makes for a very interesting experience as a guest, with pleasant rooms and a stylish bar, while being in a great location for the city’s transport links.


Coca Beach Hotel – Offering great facilities such as a lovely outdoor swimming pool and games room, guests can enjoy the welcoming rooms within easy reach of the beach, before trying their luck at the on-site casino.

Villas Acacia Beach And Garden Hotel – Set in a superbly designed garden with a great outdoor pool, guests can enjoy great access to the nearby beach, and then relax in the tastefully decorated and well priced rooms.


Casitas Sollevante Hotel – Providing guests with simple and well designed accommodation, guests are just yards from the beach and the outdoor pool, while the rooms are comfortable and enjoy wireless internet access and wall mounted televisions.

Hotel El Tajalin – Those looking for an affordable hotel within easy reach of the beach will find this hotel to be very tempting, with clean and spacious rooms with nice bathrooms and a communal area with hammocks to relax in.

Puerto Viejo

Caribe Town Resort – The brightly colored rooms are comfortable and nicely furnished, while the rustic style is attractive and provides a relaxed backdrop to a great area, while the outdoor pool and spa help to aid the relaxation.

Casa Moabi Guest House – This pleasant hotel offers welcoming rustic accommodation with simply designed rooms that are a welcoming retreat after exploring the wonderful natural beauty of the surrounding area, with wireless internet being an useful facility in such a remote location.

Costa Rican Cuisine

While many countries in Central America are known for their spicy food, Costa Rican cuisine is fairly mild on the whole, and makes some very good use of local ingredients. The national dish is known as casado, and is a simple yet fulfilling meal of rice, black beans and meat that is served with a salad and a tortilla. Arroz con pollo is another common dish across Latin America, but is served with a Russian-style salad in Costa Rica, while salsa lizano is a side dish that is included with many meals in the country.

Costa Rica is famous for its great coffee, and there is no better drink to start with than a cup of the local blend.

Currency And Visa

The local currency in Costa Rica are the Colones, named in honor of Christopher Columbus, with around 550 Colones per US Dollar. Visitors from the United States will also be pleased to know that the dollar is widely accepted throughout the country alongside the local currency. For those staying in Costa Rica for up to ninety days, there is no need to arrange a visa in advance.

Further Reading