Sandwiched between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and packed with an intense array of majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, and gorgeous beaches, Costa Rica is an adventure lover’s paradise. More than a quarter of the country is protected rainforest and the rest is jaw-dropping combos of bubbling volcanoes, Pacific surf beaches, and laid-back towns like Quepos and Sarapiqui. Nowhere else in the world can you experience such a variety of spectacular landscapes and activities as well as delicious food and friendly people. With over 500,000 plant and animal species, Costa Rica has more biodiversity than the USA and Europe combined. Scientists have estimated that close to four percent of the Earth’s species live here.

Costa Rica is all about getting off the beaten path and getting outside of your comfort zone. The country may be firmly on the tourist trail, but that doesn’t make this country any less amazing.

Costa Rica Tours

Costa Rica Jungle

Costa Rica Jungle Adventure

12 nights/ 13 days  Explore wildlife-rich rain forests, experience rafting world class rapids, jump from cliffs and rappel down waterfalls, and have your best night’s sleep in a cave behind twin waterfalls.
5.00 / 6 reviews
per person

Costa Rica Tour Reviews

Paulina

Costa Rica Jungle Adventure

Stacey is such an effective leader and communicator. I felt I was in great hands during the entire trip planning process, and appreciated her caring and attention to our family’s special logistic needs. The trip was a blast and beyond my expectations in every way! I’m making it a personal mission to be able to attend as many trips that she plans as possible.

Ilana

Costa Rica Jungle Adventure

I love Adventure People! Stacey is an amazing organizer and really great person to be around. My trip to Costa Rica was endless fun, full with activities that are hard to find in day to day life. Hiking through the jungle in the rain, milking a cow, making sugar, staying with local families, tree climbing, white water rafting, sleeping in a cave, waterfall rappelling, swimming under waterfalls and cliff jumping, but MOST IMPORTANT is meeting a great group of people and enjoying their company. In every trip the same experience: you come home with great memories and new friends. It is priceless!!! Thank you Stacey for organizing such great activities and I am looking forward for new adventures!!!

Kyle

Costa Rica Jungle Adventure

I just wanted to let you know that the Costa Rica trip was by far the best vacation and experience I have ever had. Before going on the trip I was a little nervous and not 100% sure what to expect since I had never been on a trip like this nor knew many of the people going. What I found was that all the people were great and we all had so much in common and consider everyone I met true friends who I am staying in contact with far after the trip is over. Our guide was awesome and I could not have planned a better more exciting trip. I would have to say my favorite part was the white water rafting, playing in the waterfalls, staying with the local families and the caves. Thank you so much Stacey for putting together such a great trip and I am looking forward to many more!

Posts About Costa Rica
whitewater rafting

Whitewater Rafting 101

On many of our trips, we participate in whitewater rafting, which is a lot of fun (my favorite adventure activity), but can be dangerous....

Read More

Costa Rica Travel Information

san jose weather chart

Year-round tropical warmth means there really isn’t a bad time to visit Costa Rica. January through April are the dry “summer” months and May through December are typically the rainy “winter” months. However, Costa Rica’s diverse topography and blanket of rainforests suggest that you should be prepared for at least some rain year round – a very small price to pay for such incredibly lush scenery. The good news is that even during the rainiest of seasons, the rainfall tends to be limited to a couple of hours a day… just enough time for you to enjoy a cup of Costa Rica’s world-renowned coffee in one of its many cafes. Temperatures vary with altitude, with San Jose’s temperatures ranging between 15C and 21C and the coastal areas experiencing much warmer climes.

Costa Rican cuisine features many types of foods you’ve probably never heard of, let alone actually tried. While you may find variations of it in other Latin American countries or specialized restaurants, there is a uniqueness to Costa Rican cuisine. Below are five of the top foods to try while in Costa Rica.

  1. Gallo pinto. In essence, rice and beans. Gallo pinto can be found at just about any restaurant or soda in Costa Rica and while it’s often served throughout the day, it’s considered a breakfast dish. Gallo pinto is a mixture of rice and black beans, sometimes served also with fried or scrambled eggs, plantain, and/or a meat.
  2. Casado. Also, rice and beans, but with a subtle difference. If gallo pinto is the typical breakfast dish of Costa Rica, then casado is the typical lunch dish of Costa Rica. However, the main difference between gallo pinto and casado is that while gallo pinto is a mixture of rice and beans, the rice and beans are separate with casado. There are many different variations of casado, which may include plantain, tortillas, cabbage, cheese, and/or a choice of meat. Many local restaurants will serve casado with several different options of meat and seafood to choose from.
  3. Plantains. Plantains have the same general look as bananas, but are typically cooked, rather than eaten by themselves. Plantains are often fried and served as a side dish in Costa Rica, such as alongside casado or gallo pinto. There are other variations of plantains that you may find in Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America called tostones, which are twice fried and have more the consistency of french fries or homemade potato chips than the fried plantain that is often served with gallo pinto and casado.

  4. Tres leches cake. Tres leches cake is for those who have a sweet tooth and want dessert to cap off their meal. Tres leches cake is actually a dessert that can be found throughout Central America, as it’s origin is unclear. Tres leches, or three-milk, cake is just that, doused with several different forms of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. This is one dish you’ll find in Costa Rica that you’ll also be able to find in other destinations and even possibly in your own hometown at a local bakery.
  5. Ceviche. Ceviche is another one of those Latin American dishes that you’ll find in multiple destinations and not just Costa Rica. Nonetheless, you’ll find it prepared in different ways depending on the destination. In Costa Rica it’s often prepared with tilapia, cilantro, lime juice, and finely diced vegetables. While many restaurants serve it, you’ll sometimes find roadside carts also freshly preparing and serving ceviche.

Wedged between the mighty Pacific Ocean and the picturesque Caribbean, Costa Rica is best known for its incredible beaches and magical rainforests. While Costa Rica’s name (meaning ‘Rich Coast’) suggests that Costa Rica’s beauty is limited to its golden beaches, the backbone of this coastal nation consists of some truly stunning mountain ranges, many of which contain active and dormant volcanoes. For this reason, adventure sports such as zip-lining, whitewater rafting and cycling are popular in inland destinations such as La Fortuna and Montverde. Geographically, Costa Rica shares borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, serving as a perfect starting point for exploring this fascinating part of the world.

Apart from being a beach lover’s paradise, Costa Rica is renowned for its incredible biodiversity. Over half of the country is blanketed in forest, and those seeking to spot local wildlife will be enthralled by Costa Rica’s unique species of plants and animals. Scuba diving is another popular activity, with Costa Rica boasting some of the most beautiful bays, beaches and reefs in the world.

Costa Rican culture is a vibrant blend of indigenous heritage and Spanish colonial influence, with a dash of Jamaican, Chinese, and other immigrant cultures lending character and customs. The result is a nation of laid-back, friendly, and happy people. A nation whose official language is Spanish, but where large portions of the population speak English, Bribri, creole Mekatelyu, and Mandarin Chinese as their first languages.

A nation proud to be without an army (Costa Rica disbanded their armed forces in 1949). A nation with a long history of public services, including education and healthcare, available to all. A nation proud to share it cultural riches.

1. Tortuguero National Park

One of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets, this national park is the unspoilt paradise you’ve been searching for. Will you slip effortlessly into Tortuguero’s warm turquoise waters or simply relax on its idyllic shores? The choice is entirely yours.

2. Manuel Antonio

Leave the hassles of modern life behind and discover an eco-playground surrounded by unlimited coastal delights. Spend a day exploring misty rainforests before cooling off on one of Manuel Antonio’s delightful beaches, or head into town for some famous, fiery nightlife.

3. Jaco

Once a sleepy beach town, Jaco’s proximity to San Jose has made it a one-stop shop for those seeking big waves and even bigger parties. Not exactly a remote oasis, but there is no denying Jaco’s uber-cool surf-town vibe.

4. Playa Tamarindo

An upmarket alternative to Jaco’s backpacker bliss, Playa Tamarindo is an elegant town that delivers a ton of truly exquisite beaches. Pristine blue waters meet a backdrop of bottle green forests – it’s no wonder that Playa Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s most famous destinations.

5. Corcovado

Well off the tourist trail, Corcovado’s ebony sands are not your average beach-going experience. Boasting diversity in colour, landscape and wildlife, Corcovado is perfect for those seeking beaches with character and charm.

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Things to See and Do in Costa Rica

Coffee Plantation

Visit a Coffee Plantation in Copey de Dota

Located in the heart of the Los Santos Forest Reserve, home to Los Quetzales National Park and Cerro Las Vueltas Biological Reserve, is a picturesque valley of almost 500 inhabitants. It gets its name for the copey tree (Clusia Rosea), which is common along the countryside roads. This area is known as the coffee growing region of Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

If wildlife viewing is your thing, this place should not be missed. While it is very touristy, it is still home to many of Costa Rica’s endangered species and is internationally recognized as being one of the most bio-diverse parks on the planet. Lush tropical forests, lagoons, mangroves, and pristine white sandy beaches make up one of the most divers ecosystems imaginable.

rappelling

Diamante Verde Waterfalls

One of the hidden gems of Costa Rica is located about 35 minutes from the beach town of Dominical. Here there are a set of ten waterfalls hidden deep in the jungle. Much of the land here is still primary rainforest, which means it has never been cut down. Take an ATV tour into the jungle, spend the night in a cave behind twin waterfalls and experience some of the most spectacular descents in the country as you rappel down waterfalls, floating through pristine pools and steep canyons along the way.

Mangrove Forest

Mangrove Boat Tour

The National Wetland Terraba-Sierpe, the largest virgin mangrove on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica with more than 24,00 hectares is highly diverse in terms of biodiversity since it has four families of mangrove: Rhizophoraceae, Combretaceae, Pelliciera and Avicennieaceae. A world hidden, accessible only by water, this flooded forest is home of almost 100 species of birds, including the mangrove Hummingbird Amazilia Boucardi, which is endemic to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

eco lodge

Stay in an Eco-lodge at Bahia Drake

Bahia Drake (drah-kay) is one of Costa Rica’s most isolated destinations, bordered by Parque Nacional Corcovado to the south. In the rainforest canopy, howler monkeys greet the rising sun with their haunting bellow, while pairs of macaw’s soar between the treetops, filling the air with their squawking.

dominical

Visit the Beach Town of Dominical

Dominical is a beach-front town in Bahia Ballena de Osa District in the province of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, approximately 45km south of Quepos. It is well-known for large, year-round waves and is popular among surfers in Costa Rica.

Stacey

Extreme Forest Park Adventure

Located in Providencia de Dota, an environmentally friendly town just two hours away from San Jose and 13km from the Pan-American Highway, there is an adventure park. Here, there are six different adventures to awaken your senses, including climbing a strangler fig tree from the inside, crossing a monkey bridge, swing through the jungle like Tarzan, try your balancing skills on a slackline, ziplining, and rappeling 50 meters back to solid ground.

whitewater rafting

Whitewater Rafting

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Costa Rica is known for it’s world-class rafting. There are 14 major river systems that begin in the volcanic mountain ranges and flow out towards the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the San Juan River, or Lake Nicaragua — with plenty or waterfalls along the way.  There are a range of options when it comes to rafting adventures, with both single day and multi-day excursions available, and river difficulties varying from the calm stroll of Class I to the extreme thrill of Class V.

Uvita

Ballena Marine National Park in Uvita

Ballena Marine National Park in Uvita is one of the most special and unique parks in Costa Rica, with a Whale Tail formed by the union of two beaches. It is also one of the best places to go whale watching when the Humpback whales are passing through the area between August and October.

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park, which National Geographic has described as the most biologically intense place on earth, is the last lowland rainforest remnant of the Pacific Coast of Central America. It is estimated that the area has about 10,000 species of insects, 2,418 species of plants, 124 species of mammals (over 50 are bats), 375 species of birds (of which 18 are endemic), 71 reptiles, 46 amphibians, and 40 species of freshwater fish. There are large mammals in danger of extinction here, such as the jaguar, puma, white-lipped peccary, and tapir. This is also the only place where you can find all of the monkey species from the country: Howler, Spider, White-Faced Capuchin, and Squirrel Monkeys.

tortuguero national park

Tortuguero National Park

This park, located in the Limon Province on the Caribbean Coast, is a protected wilderness area on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast. It is regarded as one of the most important breeding grounds for the endangered green turtle. The park’s freshwater creeks and lagoons, which can be navigated by boat or canoe, shelter spectacled caimans and river turtles. The surrounding dense rainforest is also rich with wildlife, from monkeys to many bird species.

monteverde

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde is probably the most famous cloud forest in the world. Located within the Puntarenas and Alajuela provinces and named after the nearby town of Monteverde, the reserve consists of over 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres) of cloud forest and is the perfect place for hiking or a canopy tour.

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Responsible Travel

Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards the local people we encounter, their culture, local economies and the environment. It’s important to remember that what may be acceptable behavior, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while traveling.

Top responsible travel tips for Costa Rica

  1. Be considerate of Costa Rica’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
  2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
  3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It’s meant to be fun!
  5. Learn some local language and don’t be afraid to use it – simple greetings will help break the ice.
  6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
  7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
  8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
  9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
  10. Admire coral while diving and snorkelling, but never remove coral from a reef or buy coral items from markets. Coral belongs in the sea.

FAQ

We take the safety and security of our travelers seriously and we take every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for the latest travel information before departure.

From US? http://travel.state.gov/ (If you’re from the US, we also recommend that you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you are kept up to date with important safety and security announcements.)

From Canada? http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From Australia? http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand? http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From UK? http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

Adventure activities and water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in activities when accompanied by guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any of our planned activities, and we take all prudent measures in relation to your safety, but please use your own good judgement. Participating in adventurous activities is always at your own risk. Please note that any optional activities you undertake that are not part of the itinerary, are at your own risk. We offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.

While most of the cities we visit are generally safe, there can be risks when wandering through a major city at night and it is our recommendation that you stay in small groups and take taxis to and from restaurants or other night time excursions. We also advise staying away from any protests and demonstrations. Even those that are well intended have the potential to turn violent with no warning.

Most countries do not require a visa for Costa Rica. Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements. It’s your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. If you require a visa for Costa Rica, they need to be arranged ahead of time, BEFORE your trip, as the processing time varies, and they may not available upon arrival. When obtaining your visa, you should allow at least 3 weeks for processing.

Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes – in advance
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
USA: Not required

Yes. Travel insurance is mandatory to participate on any of our trips – not just by us, but by many of the tour operators we work with. You will not be permitted to join a trip until evidence of travel insurance has been presented. The minimum requirement must provide coverage of $200,000USD for medical expenses including repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some credit card companies offer travel insurance, but proof of coverage will be required. Contact your provider for details.

Inoculations may be required or recommended for Costa Rica. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure. The World Health Organization also provides useful health information: http://www.who.int/en/

We also recommend that you carry a First-Aid kit and hand sanitizers/antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Diarrheal illness is common, but travelers can diminish risk through scrupulous washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers, especially before food preparation and eating. The greatest risk of traveler’s diarrhea is from contaminated food. Eat only food that is cooked and served hot; avoid food that has been sitting out on a buffet. Eat raw fruits and vegetables only if they have been washed in clean water. Drink only beverages from factory-sealed containers, and avoid ice because it may have been made from unclean water.

We have adventures for people of all ability levels and each itinerary is given a rating to help adventurers get a general idea of the physical activity level required for each trip. The rating system should help you in choosing a trip that is appropriate for you and one that you will enjoy. Some adventures are definitely a bit more difficult than others and require a higher level of fitness. Others are designed for beginners or those looking for a more leisurely holiday. It is important that you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake any of our trips. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, be able to climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage, at a minimum. You must inform us at the time of booking if anyone in your party has a disability, medical or behavioral condition which could affect their participation in the trip or other people on the trip.

Trips rated difficult and travelers with pre-existing medical conditions are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen adventure. While your organizer and guides work hard to make sure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided.

Although tap water is considered safe to drink in Costa Rica’s cities, it’s probably a good idea to avoid drinking tap water in Costa Rica. For environmental reasons, try to avoid bottled water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this. Remember to peel fruit and vegetables before eating and avoid ice in drinks.

The Costa Rican Colon (CRC) is the main currency used in Costa Rica.  There’s no reason to change money in advance because US dollars are commonly used in Costa Rica. The taxis in front of the airport, restaurants, and hotels all accept dollars. Bring $20 bills or smaller (larger denominations are hard to spend because there are problems with counterfeit 50’s and 100’s) and make sure they are in good condition with no tears or markings.

While tipping isn’t mandatory in Costa Rica, rounding up the bill and leaving spare change at restaurants and cafes is generally standard practice. 500 colones should be sufficient.

ATMs are easily found in the large cities and airports, although are less common in rural and remote areas. When travelling out of the city, come prepared by having enough cash as ATMs aren’t always an option.

Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops, hotels and restaurants, although smaller vendors and market stalls often only accept cash.

Costa Rica’s cities and tourist centres have internet access available in internet cafes and hotel lobbies. Internet access is less available in rural and remote areas.

Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Costa Rica’s cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone while in Costa Rica.

power plugs

In Costa Rica the power sockets are for type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. We recommend bringing a universal power adapter, but be sure to read the instructions before plugging your appliance into it. Most adapters are not capable of running power hungry appliances, such as hair dryers. For more information, click here to see our blog post for Essential Travel Gear.

Coconut drink = 250 CRC
Can of soft drink = 450 CRC
Bottle of beer = 1000 CRC
Basic lunch = 2000 CRC
Sit down dinner in a restaurant = 5000-7500 CRC

Costa Rica’s toilets are a mixture of flushable toilets and squat toilets, so be prepared to encounter both. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap as these aren’t always provided.

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 11 Apr Juan Santamaria Day / Battle of Rivas
  • 13 Apr Maundy Thursday
  • 14 Apr Good Friday
  • 1 May Labor Day
  • 25 Jul Annexation of Guanacaste Day
  • 2 Aug Patron Saint Day / Our Lady of Los Ángeles
  • 15 Aug Mother’s Day / Assumption Day
  • 15 Sep Independence Day
  • 16 Oct Cultures National Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Costa Rica go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/costa-rica/public-holidays