COSTA RICA  |  Costa Rica Travel Guide
Monday, July 22, 2024

Costa Rica


The HeliconiusDorisLinnaeus, Costa Rica's butterfly (cc)

Costa Rica is a magical land known for its beautiful scenery and appealing people. Geographically close to the US yet far different, its historic political stability and intriguing Spanish culture make it an important draw for all kinds of vacationers.

Costa Rica is a cosmopolitan country blessed with an exotic landscape and an uncommon landscape perfect for eco-tourism. It is not as inexpensive as the rest of Central America, or even as cheap as it was before eco-tourists discovered its beauty. One often hears the remark that Costa Rica is a “third-world country with first-world prices.” While in some ways that is true, your vacation dollars will still go a long way here, and even the higher-priced itineraries offer tremendous value. In addition, thousands of expatriates and retirees have settled here for the climate, culture and lower cost of living, making Costa Rica a very North American-friendly destination.

But it is the host of natural wonders and ecological diversions that draws most visitors – and vacation adventure opportunities abound.


Destinations in Costa Rica (11)

  • Arenal Area, Costa Rica

    Arenal is the most active volcano in the western hemisphere and its presence dominates the northern town of La Fortuna. If Poás and Irazú have only whetted your appetite for volcanoes, Arenal will make you drool. The farmland...

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  • Cartago, Costa Rica

    Cartago lies about a half-hour by bus (less by car) and 23 km/14 miles east of San José via the Inter-American Highway. It was the original capital of Costa Rica for 300 years until it lost the power struggle to San José. An additional obstacle...

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  • Grecia, Costa Rica

    Grecia's unusual name has inspired its residents to call themselves Greeks (Greigos), and many of them have added columns to their porches in an imitation of Greek architectural styles. But what distinguishes the village of Grecia most is its...

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  • Heredia, Costa Rica

    Heredia (hair-REY-dia), nicknamed the City of Flowers, is a pretty city by all measures. It is also Costa Rica's fourth-largest city, with a population of around 45,000, and home to one of the country's largest colleges, the...

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  • Liberia, Costa Rica

    The capital of Guanacaste Province is the growing city of Liberia, now complete with an international airport that accepts occasional charter flights. Overlooked as a tourist destination, the dusty colonial town is a center for the many ranches...

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  • Monteverde, Costa Rica

    Monteverde, which in Spanish means "Green Mountain," could not have been more aptly named. For here is Costa Rica's ecotourism central, smack in the middle of one of the country's most pristine and lush regions, home to the...

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  • Northern National Parks, Costa Rica

    Nestled down in the Tempisque River Valley is one of the most important bird paradises in Costa Rica, the Palo Verde National Park. The park was once a massive ranch that was used – and still is – by the Organization for Tropical Studies to...

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  • Pacifica, Costa Rica

    Costa Rica's Pacifica region takes in the Central Pacific coast from Puntarenas, a major shipping port and gateway to the Nicoya Peninsula, down to Dominical, a surfer’s paradise that eco-tourists are beginning to discover. Inland, the soaring...

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  • San José, Costa Rica

    San José has been the capital of Costa Rica and the seat of its democratic government since 1823. Nestled high in the Central Valley (1,253 meters/3,770 feet), between green volcanic mountain ranges, the metropolitan city of about one million...

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  • Santa Cruz & Nicoya, Costa Rica

    The cities of Santa Cruz and Nicoya, for Costa Ricans, are traditional farming and cattle ranching centers for the surrounding agricultural areas. But for tourists, these cities are central gateways to the beaches of western and southern Nicoya...

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  • Zona Sur, Costa Rica

    Zona Sur, the southwestern corner of Costa Rica, is the least populated, and by far the least visited, area of the country. It borders a largely unpopulated part of Panama; consequently, large sections of primary rainforest have been spared from...

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