There are many exciting outdoor activities in this compact and diverse tropical paradise. Where else can you climb an active volcano, swim in a cloud - an overcast rainforest - or climb a mountain? Beach - visitors spread powdery sand and it is hard not to admire the splendor of the rich coast.
For others, however, the small Latin American country has another appeal - it is a relaxed way of life. The inhabitants, known as Ticos, often use the catchphrase "pura vida" (pure life). This guiding philosophy has been observed in Costa Rica for many years, from the early 20th century until today.
To truly immerse yourself in the good life, sit and admire the awe inspiring landscapes and sit in a hammock just below the palm trees of the Nicoya Peninsula. Hike to the monumental Arenal Volcano, mingle with the locals of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and you will have no doubt that you will discover pure life. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Costa Rica and its beautiful beaches, you can have it all in one place with nothing more than a few simple pleasures.
Fortunately, the US dollar is very popular in Costa Rica at this time of year, but the dry season is the most popular and expensive time to visit. The sun is particularly good at this time of year, making it an ideal time to relax on the beach and explore the rainforests. With the exception of the rainy season, it is also the best time to travel, especially in the summer months.
In June and July, the showers pause briefly, and Costa Rica's forests burst out of the green foliage. If you don't mind getting a little wet, visit between May and November when prices are at their lowest. To get a seat, you must book your room or tour at least three months in advance or at least two weeks before your trip.
If you plan to visit Costa Rica during the dry season (December to April), you should expect the sun to continue to shine. In the North Pacific, however, one has to adjust to a lower humidity, which often reaches into the 90s during Costa Rica's driest months. When planning your trip, remember that the weather varies from region to region, so expect different weather patterns in different parts of the country and at different times of the year.
Showers can occur all year round, but in some parts of the country it is more common during the dry season (June to July) than in other regions.
The US dollar is widely accepted in Costa Rica, and it is advantageous to bring a small amount of cash, such as $1,000, $2,500 or $3,200.
To ensure that you hire a professional tour guide, ask for an ICT card issued by the Costa Rican Tourist Office. If you are approached by a tour guide offering his services for less than $1,000 or $2,500, please make sure you get this guide, which has been reviewed by the government.
The best way to reserve your car is with a company located in the heart of the city and not at the airport. You can also sign up for a free taxi to ensure you are led by a professional driver, but they charge a 13 per cent surcharge on the price.
The exchange rate in Costa Rica is generally better than the American dollar, and while you might want to take a few Costa Rican colons with you on arrival for small purchases, you can withdraw the local currency from the ATM and exchange the bulk of your cash at a local bank.
Before you board a taxi, check that the meter is running and negotiate a flat rate with the driver to avoid scams. Taxi drivers tend to pay extra if you don't turn on the meter, so make sure they're running.
Don't let goodwill and willingness to please your guests bother you; be friendly and accept their positive philosophy. They are known for their pleasant and carefree nature and are not afraid to accept you for who you are.
The official language is Spanish, but if you want to discover more of Costa Rica's diverse cultural diversity, such as art and culture, pack casual clothes that fit the relaxed Costa Rican lifestyle. Apply sunscreen and insect repellent before you leave as the humid rainforests are teeming with mosquitoes and other critters.
You will also likely discover coffee plantations in the Central Plains, and many travelers enjoy touring here. Coffee beans are commonly associated with the Gold Coast, but high quality coffee beans can be difficult to obtain as they are often exported and not sold locally.
The official currency is the Costa Rica Colon (CRC), but check the exchange rate for your local currency, such as the US dollar (US dollar), Euro or Peso (Euro).
Most restaurants and shops accept credit cards, and guides and drivers receive a daily rate of $10. When it comes to food, travelers should note that some restaurants add a tip to the bill. Service is excellent and extra tips are not uncommon, but not usually necessary.
Costa Rica's official religion is Catholicism, and while locals flock to the streets and churches to dance, listen to music and enjoy delicious food, the Catholic Church's presence is often not readily visible to unsuspecting travelers.
In crowded San Jose, however, you should pay attention to your belongings and car rental. There are few security concerns in Costa Rica, but pickpocketing or car theft are common in busy tourist areas.
Costa Rica is famous for its coffee beans, although much of it is exported, so don't miss a cup. Black beans and rice are an integral part of almost every traditional meal, but it all depends on which parts of the country you are in. Costa Rican cuisine is tropical in temperature, and the menu often features fish marinated in lemon juice, curry, meat and onion batter, rice and beans.
If you visit San Jose, don't miss the Central Market, which opened in 1880 and is the largest market in the city. A culinary tour of San Jose is a great way to get a taste of the unique flavors of the market. The best way to get around Costa Rica is by bus, as it is reliable, navigable and inexpensive. It runs every day, hourly or so, from the main bus station of the capital to other cities and towns.
Driving on your own is not recommended, as the roads are tricky, with potholes and unclear junctions. A better alternative to renting a bike is to rent a car or car service that your hotel recommends to enjoy the beautiful countryside of the country without having to navigate difficult roads with confusing signage.
If you are travelling around the country on your own, you should definitely book one of the best tours in Costa Rica. Take a taxi if you want to explore the city of San Jose, the capital city or any other major city in the region. The official taxis at the airport are orange, but you can also take taxis to other cities, such as San Pedro Sula, San Juan and San Cristobal.
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