Costa Rica Travel Information
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General Travel Information
Costa Rica, located in Central America,
is an isthmus where life seems to have created its roots.
Covering only 0.03% of the surface of our planet, Costa
Rica has approximately 6% of the world's biodiversity.
Costa Rica is characterized by impressive scenic beauty,
a consolidated system of protected areas, social and
political stability, high educational levels, and efficient
infrastructure and services. All of this offered in
a territory of only 51 thousand square kilometers, surrounded
by both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, at a distance
from each other of only three to four hours by land
or 45 minutes by air.
Costa Rica's territory extends 31,620 square miles
and is bordered by Nicaragua on the north and by Panama
in the south. It has a Caribbean and Pacific Coastline
and the capital city of San Jose lies in the center
of the country at elevations ranging from 2,000 to 3,5000
feet. The country is divided into seven provinces: San
Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas,
In the Central Valley around San Jose, the average
temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. During
the rainy season from June to October, temperatures
oscillate between 59 degrees Fahrenheit in the higher
regions and 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower ones.
During November to May when there is hardly any rainfall,
temperatures increase slightly.
During a visit to Costa Rica, you will most likely
arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport located
about 20 minutes by taxi from downtown San Jose. You
should take advantage of your stay in San Jose by visiting
some handicraft stores the National Theatre, the National
Museum or the Gold Museum. Many tourists choose to stay
at little hotels around San Jose and visit the nearby
volcanoes Irazu, Barva and Poas, enjoy coffee plantation
tours, a visit to the oxcart factory in Sarchi or excursions
to the aerial tram and butterfly farms nearby.
For many foreigners, San Jose is a somewhat chaotic
city with no street names and terrible rush hour traffic,
but on the other hand it is worth the time to explore
and to observe the Ticos in San Jose and trying to feel
the energy that this Central American Capital radiates.
The trendy Escazu district is a popular spot for nightlife
featuring international restaurants such as TGIF Fridays
and Outback Steakhouse as well as local and ethnic cuisine,
bars and theatres.
What to Bring:
- Passport and driver license.
- Currently the US CDC does not have any vacination
- US cell phones don't work in Costa Rica even though
guests said they have international calling , but
yours just might?
- Lap top if you must be connected. Parrot Bay Village
has wireless service as do some hotels in San Jose.
- When traveling to Costa Rica or any other destination,
make sure to always have on hand a list of emergency
telephone numbers such as person or transportation
company, hotel or friends you will be visiting.
- Camera, charger and cable to download pictures.
- Hat and sunglasses for shore.
- A light, long sleeved shirt.
- Sneakers, hikers or what you like best for soft,
- Deck shoes if fishing
- Sunscreen and bug replellent
- Personal gear: International airline carriers weight
limit on luggage is now two 50 pound suit cases and
$20 more for 20 more pounds.
- National airline company Nature Air, allows one
30 pound bag and a small carry-on and charges $1 per
- US money is accepted everywhere and current exchange
rate, Sept 2006, is $1= 550 colon.
- Fishermen: Fly fishing gear if you Fly, a favorite
rod is nice to have but if you do not care to bother
carring a rod just bring the reel and we will fit
to one of our rods.
- 911 from any telephone in the central
valley (San José, Cartago, Heredia, Alajuela).
While this service is not fully operative in the provinces
of Guanacaste, Limón and Puntarenas, dialing
it will redirect your call to the nearest hospital or
police station. The service offers a bilingual operator
24 hours a day.
Clinica Biblica (257-5252, 257-0466)
also in downtown San José
US. Embassy San Jose, Costa
Telephone Number: (506) 519-2000
Embassy Business Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am- 4:30pm
Emergency After Hours Assistance for U.S. Citizens:
(506) 519-2280, (506) 519-2279 or (506)220-3127
Costa Rica's socialized medical system has been extremely
successful at keeping the diseases that plague most
tropical countries. Through a system of education and
preventive medicine, Costa Ricans enjoy a life expectancy
comparable to that of North Americans. Such health standards
is one of the reasons that visitors feel so comfortable
in Costa Rica.
If you do happen to need medical attention,
first rate care is available at any of Costa Rica's
public hospitals and private clinics. You can even pay
with your credit card at private clinics in San José.
Entering Costa Rica
Citizens holding valid passports from the following
countries are permitted to stay in Costa Rica for 90
days without a visa:
There is no entrance tax but there is a $27 pp exit
tax that is paid at Santa Maria International Airport
in San Jose.
||France and dependencies
|Holland and dependencies
|Trinidad & Tobago
||United States of America
For more than 12,000 years, different indigenous groups
such as the Chorotega inhabited the lush territory, which
now makes up Costa Rica. In 1502, during his fourth voyage,
Christopher Columbus arrived in the village of Cariari
(now Puerto Limon) and encountered natives swathed in
Gold Jewelry. It is said that he named the land Costa
Rica (translated in English: Rich Coast) because of the
promise of gold. However, it was not until 1560 that the
first Spanish settlement, consisting mainly of adventurous
pioneers, was established.
in 1821, along with the rest of the Central American
countries, Costa Rica declared its independence from
Spain. Coffee and banana cultivation became the countries
most important economic activities and main source of
income. In 1948 the country abolished its military,
investing its scarce resources in education and public
health instead. This contributed to the country's remarkable
social indicators, especially literacy rates and life
expectancy. Today, more than 25 percent of the country
territory is protected as National Parks and a main
attraction for visitors from all over the world. Eco
tourists, adventure tourists, nature lovers, birdwatchers
and researchers come to Costa Rica to enjoy its great
biodiversity and natural beauty. Furthermore, the country
has beautiful beaches and active volcanoes and hot springs
that attract tourist looking for relaxation.
Costa Rica Today on the Osa
The Osa Peninsula is home to the famous Corcovado National
Park and the Golfo Dulce that have been described as
some of the world's most biologically intense places
in the world. On the Osa Peninsula, you will most likely
see more wildlife and rainforest than in any other place
in Costa Rica. And besides rainforest adventures, you
can engage in dolphin and whale watching excursions
and experience some of the world's best Sport fishing.
Use Puerto Jimenez as your base to explore this exciting
Costa Rican destination. Puerto Jimenez can be reached
by rental car, public bus, and ferry and daily domestic
flights. The reservations department at Parrot Bay Village
will be happy to assist you with your travel arrangements.
Just send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Costa Rica Facts