What makes Costa Rica Unique

Costa Rica is a nature lover's paradise, offering an unparalleled experience that blends breath-taking landscapes and unique wildlife encounters. As a haven for biodiversity, this Central American country is home to an astounding array of rare and exotic species, including toucans, sloths, and howler monkeys. Visitors can explore a range of national parks and wildlife reserves, such as Corcovado National Park and Tortuguero National Park, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness evolution in action.

Costa Rica's lush rainforests and pristine beaches offer visitors the chance to engage in a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, surfing, and zip-lining. With crystal-clear waters and stunning white sandy beaches, visitors can also enjoy a range of aquatic adventures, including snorkelling and scuba diving.

Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, Costa Rica has something for everyone. With its commitment to conservation, this Central American gem is the perfect destination for anyone looking to experience the wonders of the natural world.

Top Highlights in Costa Rica

Cultural Experiences

Costa Rica has a rich cultural heritage, with influences from indigenous tribes, Spanish colonialism, and African diaspora. Visitors can explore the country's museums, art galleries, and historical sites to learn about its fascinating history and culture.

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Adventure Activities

Costa Rica is a popular destination for adventure seekers, with activities such as zip-lining, white water rafting, canyoning, bungee jumping, and mountain biking. These activities allow visitors to experience the country's natural beauty and thrill-seeking opportunities.

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Coffee Plantations

Costa Rica is famous for its high-quality coffee, and visitors can take a tour of a coffee plantation to learn about the history and cultivation of coffee beans. Some of the most popular coffee tours include the Doka Estate Coffee Tour and the Britt Coffee Tour.

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Costa Rica has over 200 volcanic formations, with some of the most popular including Arenal, Rincón de la Vieja, and Poas. Visitors can hike to the top of these volcanoes or explore the surrounding areas, which are often rich in hot springs, waterfalls, and natural wonders.

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National Parks and Wildlife Reserves

25% of Costa Rica's landmass is designated as protected areas, with a network of over 30 national parks, wildlife reserves, and biological reserves. These protected areas offer stunning biodiversity, with a wide range of wildlife, including toucans, sloths, monkeys, and jaguars. Visitors can explore the parks by hiking, birdwatching, and taking guided tours.

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Costa Rica has an abundance of beautiful beaches, with both Pacific and Caribbean coasts. From secluded coves to popular surf spots, visitors can enjoy a variety of water activities such as surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, and fishing.

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Top Animals in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a biodiversity hotspot and home to an incredible array of wildlife. Here are some of the top animals to see in Costa Rica.


Costa Rica is known for its sloths, which can be found in many national parks and wildlife reserves. These adorable animals can be seen hanging from trees or moving slowly on the ground.

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Four species of monkeys can be found in Costa Rica, including howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, and squirrel monkeys. Visitors can often see them swinging from tree to tree or grooming one another.

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With their brightly coloured beaks, toucans are a popular bird to spot in Costa Rica. They can be found in many forested areas throughout the country.

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Scarlet Macaws

Another colourful bird that can be seen in Costa Rica is the Scarlet Macaw. These birds can be found in areas such as Carara National Park and Corcovado National Park.

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Although rare to spot, jaguars can be found in some of the more remote areas of Costa Rica. These large cats are the third-largest cat species in the world and are considered an apex predator.

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Sea Turtles

Several species of sea turtle nest in Costa Rica's beaches, including Olive Ridley, Leatherback, and Green turtles. Visitors can take part in turtle conservation efforts and witness these amazing creatures laying their eggs or hatching.

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Costa Rica is home to a variety of brightly coloured frogs. These small but striking creatures can be found in rainforest areas throughout the country.

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The Tarcoles River, located between San Jose and Jaco, is home to a large population of crocodiles. Visitors can take a boat tour to see these prehistoric-looking creatures up close.

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Travel Ideas for Costa Rica

Rescue Station for Sloths, Monkeys & Birds in Costa Rica (18+ years)

This rescue centre in Costa Rica receives approximately 500 to 600 injured animals each year, brought in by firefighters, police, and civilians. Wild animals are vulnerable to injuries or becoming orphaned due to accidents. At this centre, they receive proper care from veterinarians and dedicated attention from a team committed to their well-being. Once fully recovered, the animals undergo rehabilitation and are reintroduced into their natural habitats. For 3 weeks or more, as a participant, you will assist in various tasks, including the maintenance, cleaning, and feeding of the sloths, monkeys, and birds residing at the centre. Depending on your experience and training, you may also contribute to providing veterinary care for the animals. Everyone will play a role in maintaining the living spaces by taking part in cleaning, cooking, and laundry duties. In the final week of the project, volunteers will actively participate in the process of releasing the animals back into the wild. Joining this project allows you to make a direct impact on the lives of injured and orphaned animals, helping them recover and return to their natural habitats. By supporting the daily operations of the centre, you will contribute to the well-being and successful rehabilitation of these remarkable creatures. It is an opportunity to gain hands-on experience, work alongside dedicated professionals, and contribute to the conservation efforts in Costa Rica.

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Jewels of the Jungle in Costa Rica

Explore the wonders of Costa Rica, a country known for its diverse birdlife with approximately 900 bird species. During this journey, you will have the chance to meet the resplendent quetzal, toucans, parrots, hummingbirds, and many more. Be prepared to be amazed by the colours and sounds of the tropical birds. But it’s not just about the birds: we will also explore the lush flora and fauna of this beautiful country. Sloths, alligators, coatis, apuchin and Howler monkeys are just some of the creatures we might encounter.

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Costa Rica Dream

Looking for a unique and unforgettable adventure in Costa Rica? Look no further than our two-week self-drive tour, where you'll stay in the most extraordinary lodges, off the beaten path and immersed in nature. From rafting to treehouses to an eco-farm, each lodge has its own charm and offers a unique experience. Start your journey near San José and make your way through the Pacuare Reserve, Sarapiquí, and the Arenal volcano region. Then, finish your trip in style with a glamping experience on a small island in the Gulf of Nicoya, where you can even witness the glowing sea at night. Don't settle for a typical tourist experience. Choose adventure and luxury with our Costa Rica Dream tour.

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Wild Costa Rica

Experience the thrill of wildlife like never before. In Costa Rica, you can spot animals even if you don't leave the bus for 14 days, but to see rare and abundant wildlife, you need to explore the wilderness with us. Our group walks on the secluded sandy beach of Corcovado, palm trees stretching to the shore, as we follow strange tracks in the warm sand. Suddenly, our guide stops, excitedly pointing towards a small bush. This Costa Rica wildlife tour is designed for nature lovers and adventure seekers looking for something new and exciting. We'll visit the most beautiful and least explored regions of Costa Rica, focusing on the natural beauty of the land. From the fascinating birdlife to exotic mammals, reptiles, and rare plants, we'll be sure to explore every corner of the country. Join us on this unforgettable journey and discover the true wonders of Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica Jungle Luxury Tour

Discover the best of Costa Rica with our Jungle Luxury self-drive tour. Explore the country's remote south, lush rainforests, stunning volcanoes, and picturesque Pacific coast while staying in unique boutique hotels. Enjoy adventures on land and water and uncover natural hidden gems off the beaten track, while staying in luxury accommodations that offer relaxation and excellent service.  You can choose to add a private guide for a personalized experience, or to extend your trip with a beach stay in the North Pacific.

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Golf Tour of Costa Rica

Costa Rica, the natural wonder between the oceans. On this exclusive private tour with a chauffeur and private guide, you will experience spectacular landscapes and play at the 5 most beautiful golf resorts in the country. Discover volcanoes, the rainforest with hanging bridges, and the Skywalk tour. The finale takes place on the Papagayo Peninsula on the Pacific coast with a golf holiday by the sea.

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Best Time to Visit

The rainy season in Costa Rica, also known as the low season, typically falls in July and August. Despite the increased chance of rainfall, this is still a great time to visit as the rainfall is generally periodic and there are fewer crowds. Visitors can still enjoy activities such as visiting volcanoes, relaxing on the beach, or exploring the rainforest. However, some areas may become inaccessible due to higher rainfall during this season.

The dry season in Costa Rica occurs in December through February, with January and February being the most popular time to visit. During this high season, crowds are at their peak and the tropical heat can be intense without an afternoon rainshower. However, central regions and the Pacific coast offer plenty of adventure opportunities during this time, and vibrant festivals add to the festive spirit of Pura Vida.

The shoulder season, which occurs in April, May, September, and November, offers a great time to visit Costa Rica. During this time, the landscape is green and alive with wildlife. September and November are also great times to explore the country's diversity, especially around the Caribbean coast. While rain is a constant factor throughout the year, visitors can usually expect clear skies in the morning and showers in the afternoon, providing an opportunity to plan excursions and activities accordingly.

Important Information for Your Travel Plans

Special Travel Tips from our Experts

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Where to Stay

There are various accommodation options for tourists in Costa Rica, catering to a wide range of budgets and preferences. Here are some popular choices:

  • Hotels and Resorts: Costa Rica offers a wide range of hotels and resorts, from budget-friendly to luxury options. They offer amenities like swimming pools, spa services, and on-site restaurants.
  • Eco-lodges: These are typically located in natural settings, such as rainforests and near beaches. Eco-lodges aim to minimise their impact on the environment while providing comfortable accommodation and unique experiences.
  • Vacation Rentals: There are many vacation rental options, including apartments, villas, and houses. They are a great choice for families or groups, providing more space and privacy than hotels.
  • Camping: There are camping options available in national parks and on beaches for those who prefer a more rustic experience.

Getting Around

Travelling by air is the most convenient and efficient way to get around Costa Rica. The country is well-connected with small regional airports, making it easy to explore different parts of the country quickly and efficiently.

By taking short-distance flights and using private cars, you can customise your travel itinerary and avoid the inconvenience of waiting for public transportation. This allows you to maximise your time and explore more of what Costa Rica has to offer.

Local Cuisine

Costa Rica is known for its delicious cuisine, which features a mix of Spanish, African, and indigenous influences. Some of the top local foods that tourists should try in Costa Rica include:

  • Gallo Pinto - A classic breakfast dish made with rice and beans, usually served with eggs, cheese, and sour cream.
  • Casado - A traditional lunch or dinner dish consisting of rice, black beans, salad, and a choice of meat (usually chicken, beef, or fish).
  • Chifrijo - A popular snack made with rice, beans, pork, and pico de gallo, usually served with tortilla chips.
  • Arroz con Pollo - A flavorful dish made with chicken and rice, often cooked with vegetables and spices.
  • Tamales - A savoury dish made with corn masa, filled with meat, vegetables, and spices, then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
  • Ceviche - A refreshing dish made with raw fish marinated in lime juice, cilantro, and peppers.
  • Olla de Carne - A hearty beef and vegetable stew, often served with rice and beans.
  • Sopa Negra - A black bean soup seasoned with cilantro, onion, and garlic, often served with a poached egg and corn tortillas.
  • Plantains - A starchy fruit that is a staple in Costa Rican cuisine, often served fried or mashed as a side dish.
  • Patacones - Fried plantain slices, often served as a snack or side dish with beans and rice.

These dishes can be found in many local restaurants and food stands throughout Costa Rica, and are sure to provide a delicious taste of the country's rich culinary heritage.

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Festivals & Public Holidays

Costa Rica has several holidays and festivals and holidays that tourists should be aware of, as they may impact travel plans, opening hours of businesses, and availability of tours and activities. Here are some of the major festivals and holidays:

  • New Year's Day (January 1st) - A national holiday, often celebrated with family gatherings and fireworks-
  • Holy Week (Semana Santa) - The week leading up to Easter Sunday, a major religious holiday in Costa Rica. Many businesses close, and popular tourist destinations can be crowded-
  • Labor Day (May 1st) - A national holiday, often celebrated with parades and speeches-
  • Guanacaste Day (July 25th) - A regional holiday celebrating the province of Guanacaste, with parades and festivals-
  • Independence Day (September 15th) - A national holiday celebrating Costa Rica's independence from Spain in 1821. Celebrations include parades and cultural events-
  • Christmas Day (December 25th) - A national holiday, often celebrated with family gatherings and traditional foods-

In addition to these holidays, there are several popular festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Envision Festival (February/March) for music and art enthusiasts, the Fiestas de Zapote (December/January) for bullfighting and carnival rides, and the Palmares Festival (January) for street parties and live music.

When to Start Planning your Trip

Currency & Payment

The Costa Rican colón (₡) is the official currency used in the country, so it's recommended to have it with you, especially if you plan on visiting smaller towns or villages.

While larger restaurants, accommodations, and establishments like souvenir shops usually accept major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, it's still advisable to have some cash to hand. ATMs and electronic banking are also widely available in areas with more consistent tourism infrastructure, making payments more convenient and easier to manage.


Costa Rica is a very safe country to visit, with friendly locals who are eager to welcome visitors. While it is important to be mindful of local culture and keep a watchful eye on your belongings in busy areas like San Jose, your overall safety is not in jeopardy. To ensure the best service and experience, your Tripedeo travel expert partners with trusted and experienced tour companies.

However, there are still important safety considerations to bear in mind when travelling in Costa Rica. For example, some beaches along the Atlantic coastline are known to have crocodiles and are not suitable for swimming. During the rainy season, certain rivers may have rapids that are too dangerous for rafting, especially in September and October. It is important to be aware of these potential risks and plan your activities accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Visa & Immigration Rules

As of March 2023, the entry requirements for EU tourists to Costa Rica are as follows:

  • Passport: EU tourists must have a valid passport that is not expiring within 6 months of their arrival date in Costa Rica.
  • Visa: EU tourists do not need a visa if they plan to stay for up to 90 days. However, if the visit is for longer than 90 days, a visa is required and must be obtained before arrival in Costa Rica.
  • Health Pass: All travellers to Costa Rica, regardless of their nationality, must complete a digital Health Pass 72 hours prior to their departure to the country. This form includes a COVID-19 questionnaire and requires travellers to purchase travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical expenses and quarantine lodging.
  • COVID-19 Testing: Fully vaccinated EU tourists do not need to show a negative COVID-19 test result to enter Costa Rica. However, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated tourists must show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure to Costa Rica. Children under 12 years of age are exempt from this requirement.

It's essential to check the latest entry requirements before travelling to Costa Rica, as they can change at short notice. Your Tripedeo travel expert can advise you.

Health & Hygiene

Travellers to Costa Rica should be up-to-date on routine vaccinations such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and flu shot. The CDC also recommends Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines for most travellers.

Additionally, the CDC recommends travellers to Costa Rica get vaccinated against Hepatitis B and Yellow fever, depending on the length of their stay, planned activities, and destinations within the country.

It is important to note that the risk of malaria is present in certain areas of Costa Rica, particularly in rural areas at elevations below 1,500 metres. The CDC recommends taking antimalarial medication and protecting yourself from mosquito bites to prevent malaria.

Travellers are advised to consult their healthcare provider at least four to six weeks before travel to ensure they are up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations and to discuss any additional health concerns they may have.

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