Tag Archives: Costa Rica vacation

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve – For Absolute(ly) Fab Costa Rica Adventure Vacations

Planning an adventure vacation in Costa Rica? Then don’t hike past Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve…the hub of truly wild experiences in the Nicoya Peninsula

Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Park covers an area of almost 3000 acres: essentially the entire southernmost region of the Nicoya Peninsula. It comprises luscious semi-dry tropical forests inhabited by a host of wildlife. The wilderness cascades onto the sapphire-hued Pacific Ocean, at a cape defined by its blinding white rocks. At the southern tip is where you’ll find the aptly named Playa Cabo Blanco, one of Costa Rica’s best and remotest beaches.

Start planning your Cabo Blanco Vacation Today!

The park itself is mostly impenetrable, so a visit is usually a one-day hike affair. Yet this entire area has a lot to offer adventure-seekers so you can easily spend a few days near the entrance of the park, exploring all this wonderful area has to offer.

Cabo BlancoA cluster of small villages near the entrance to Cabo Blanco offers the necessary infrastructure for an enjoyable visit, and the array of exceptional adventures is simply fantastic. If you’d love to step off the well-trodden tourist trail and indulge in a Costa Rica adventure vacation with us this year, pin this magical place on your map.

It may just be the most idyllic adventure springboard of all…

Cabo Blanco was Costa Rica’s first-ever nature reserve and has enjoyed protected status since the early 1960s.

Start planning your Cabo Blanco Vacation Today!

About Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve

Cabo Blanco, or white cape, is named after the spectacularly bright rocky cape at its southernmost tip. The reserve is not quite as lush as your ‘average rainforest’ but plenty of animals still thrive within its boundaries.

White-faced capuchin and howler monkeys have the run of the place and, if you visit with a naturalist guide, you’ll also have better chances of spotting butterflies, iguanas, coati, armadillos, anteaters, plenty of exotic birds and bats galore. Brown pelicans surf the waves of the beach, and frigate birds patrol the shores for easy feedings. The park was originally protected because it is a prominent nesting site for various species of birds.

Cabo Blanco is revered by hikers and nature-lovers and offers a fabulous chance for a day out in pristine wilderness, one that’s far removed from crowded, touristed hubs.

Start planning your Cabo Blanco Vacation Today!

The main entrance and info center are on the north-eastern corner of the park, at the end of Carretera Montezuma. This is the continuation of the road which leads south from famous Montezuma Beach, on the eastern coast of Nicoya.

Costa Rica tropical coveThe park is open Wednesdays through to Sundays only, from 8am until 4pm and costs just USD12 to visit.

Interestingly, Cabo Blanco has the infamous reputation for being the ‘hottest park in all of Costa Rica’, so you’ll want to visit as the gates open in the morning. This way, you can spend the hottest hours of the day on the dreamy beach and hike back to the car park by closing time.

Start planning your Cabo Blanco Vacation Today!

What can you do at Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve?

From the main entrance, there are a few walking trails, the longest of which (the Swedish Trail, 6 miles long) leads you to the Playa Cabo Blanco beach. Most visitors choose the longer trail because it gives them ample chances to spot wildlife and just enjoy the unique wilderness, aside from the fact that soaking up the sun on Cabo Blanco Beach is awesome and undoubtedly the best enticement for a visit.

The beach trail leads you up and over the highest point of the park. It is a moderately strenuous 2hr (minimum) one-way hike and not just because of the heat: the trail is wild and there are some challenges (rocks, high steps, tree roots) you must tackle. Make sure you pack plenty of water and a few snacks to keep your energy levels in check, and don’t forget the sunblock. Oh, and wear sturdy hiking shoes!

Start planning your Cabo Blanco Vacation Today!

Once you reach Playa Cabo Blanco, however, it’s all about relaxing on the glistening sandy beach and swimming in that postcard-perfect turquoise sea. One the other side of the cape is even more desolate Playa Balsita, which you can reach via a trail that’s about 2-miles long.

The beaches at Cabo Blanco are blissfully pristine and deserted, as the only way to reach them is by hiking through the park. Naturally, you’ll see a few fellow visitors on any day during the tourist reason, but the beach is expansive so you’ll still have a ridiculous amount of pristine beach all to yourself.

The sweet little hamlet near the entrance of the park is called Cabuya and hosts cafés, restaurants and a cluster of gorgeous lodges.

What adventures can you enjoy in the Nicoya Peninsula?

Costa Rica beachThe Nicoya is the largest of Costa Rica’s peninsulas, easily reached by road from the Liberia International Airport or road + ferry from the capital, San Jose.

Revered by water sport enthusiasts, the over 80-mile-long coastline of Nicoya is framed by gorgeous sandy beaches and dotted by several super quaint seaside villages. This is the wild beachside of Costa Rica, the one that’s a little harder to get to but also the one that lacks mass tourism and oversized resorts.

Adventure lovers come to Nicoya to enjoy the wilderness at its most pristine, to explore off-beat villages, outstanding reserves and pristine beaches. Stress-free and crowd-free, the Nicoya is about exhilarating and relaxing adventures in a totally tranquil environment.

Start planning your Cabo Blanco Vacation Today!

The most popular springboard for Nicoya adventures is Santa Teresa, on the western side of the peninsula. Here, you’ll find a charming array of accommodation options. A mecca for yoga and surfing enthusiasts, Santa Teresa is a delightfully laid-back beach town that offers something for everyone. Santa Teresa is an absolute dream-spot and one of Costa Rica’s most underrated treasures. Actually, we could easily say that about ALL of Nicoya.

Despite the impenetrable wilderness and beach-heavy accolades, the Nicoya actually offers a wealth of adventure sports for active visitors.

Our Nicoya bespoke tours can include all the most iconic Costa Rica adventures, including excellent ATV excursions, outstanding hiking and fantastic fishing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding, ziplining and SO.MUCH.MORE.

Nicoya and its startling Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve prove what we know to be true: every corner of Costa Rica is a magnificent playground for active explorers.

See our Costa Rica Week of Adventure tour package and contact us for private, bespoke itineraries designed with only your wishes in mind.

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Costa Rica Adventure Vacations – How to Travel RIGHT NOW

Costa Rica Adventure Vacations reopened its borders to the rest of the world on November 1, facilitating the rehabilitation of the country’s tourism sector. Although the COVID-19 is far from over, anywhere, people’s resolve to live ‘around’ the pandemic, safely, is stronger now than it’s ever been. Of course, since the introduction of multiple vaccine options, the situation is becoming increasingly more manageable.

Naturally, you can expect there to be some entry requirements and a few essential restrictions – these have mostly to do with social distancing measures and mask-wearing in public indoor spaces. But, by and large, you are welcome to come to visit this exceptionally beautiful country RIGHT NOW.

Why now, you ask?

Because we are entering the very best travel season of the year!

The months between January and April promise bright blue skies, luscious forests and jungle, an abundance of wildlife and adventures galore. Our wonderful whitewater rivers are prime for rafting and kayaking, the mountains and volcanoes excellent for hiking and those crystalline waters enticing for snorkelers and scuba divers alike.

Ready to schedule your unique vacation?  Let’s go!

How can I fly to Costa Rica RIGHT NOW?

Costa Rica has two major international airports: the centrally located San Jose (capital city) and the northern Liberia International Airport, which is convenient for visiting Puntarenas and the northern Pacific beaches.

These are the airlines currently offering return flights to Costa Rica RIGHT NOW:

  • Air Mexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Copa
  • Delta
  • Lufthansa
  • Edelweiss
  • Iberia
  • Jet Blue
  • KLM
  • MN Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Thomson Airways
  • United Airlines
  • Volaris Costa Rica
  • Westjet

Your trusted travel agent will advise you on the best connections depending on your place of origin.

Ready to schedule your unique vacation?  Let’s go!

What are Costa Rica’s entry requirements RIGHT NOW?

To be allowed entry to Costa Rica, all visitors must fill in an Online Health Form and purchase comprehensive health insurance that explicitly covers COVID-19, as demanded by the local government. Sagicor is a respected local insurance company that’s authorized by the Costa Rican Government but there are others too. Remember that most of the ‘usual’ travel insurance companies just don’t make the cut so make sure you go with a company that does.

Also, note that your allowed length of stay in Costa Rica is (for the time being) tied to your travel insurance policy. You cannot extend your visa in the country and, if you wanted to stay longer, you will need to exit Costa Rica, purchase another travel insurance policy and re-enter.

To enter Costa Rica, you must hold a valid passport AND a return ticket out of the country, within 3 months of entry. Yes, even US citizens.

For more detailed and updated info, please refer to the official Costa Rica Tourism Website. This can change quickly, as you might know, so it’s good to keep abreast of the latest happenings.

You will no longer need to do a COVID-19 test before arriving and you will not need to quarantine once you arrive.

DO NOTE your own State/County/Country’s requirements for returning home because they may well demand you take a COVID-19 test before flying back. If you’re coming on one of our tours, we can help you sort out all this once you’re here, don’t worry.

Ready to schedule your unique vacation?  Let’s go!

What travel restrictions are there IN Costa Rica RIGHT NOW?

Mask wearing is mandatory throughout the country in certain circumstances and you probably already know what these are, right? Yes, all indoor public spaces and outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained for whatever reason. Pretty simple, really.

It might also comfort you to know that Ticos embraced mask-wearing from the get-go. This is undoubtedly what has helped the country face and combat the pandemic so well. Ticos see the wearing of a mask as an altruistic sacrifice and everyone is more than happy to wear them if it’s to keep the most vulnerable of people int heir country safe and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

As such, you’ll see locals wearing masks a lot more in Costa Rica than anywhere else. They even wear them outdoors and in uncrowded places if they feel they should. Fines for non-compliance are steep and tourists are certainly not exempt so understand this before you plan your trip.

Many hotels, eco-lodges and ever excursion companies have taken to taking guests’ temperatures so this is also something you should expect. Also expect high levels and frequency of disinfection in all public and private-owned spaces, vehicles and so forth. A marvelous new addition has been the installing of outdoor sinks in all sorts of places (from offices to restaurants etc) that allow you to dutifully wash your hands before touching doorknobs and handles.

Costa Rica’s national parks introduced a cap on the number of daily visitors allowed. Most are running at 50% capacity although all hiking trails and adventure activities are open for business. This means that during this quite idyllic tourist season – you get HALF the crowds and DOUBLE the fun. If you’ve enjoyed a Costa Rica Rios adventure vacation in the past, you will know that we meticulously plan our day’s outings to dodge tourist crowds at this time of year. Well, come play with us RIGHT NOW and we won’t have to – you’ll feel like you have the who country to yourself. Magic!

The bottom line: Costa Rica had a swift and harsh response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s not about to let that slip. Ticos suffered through some of the strictest restrictions of anyone, anywhere. They’ve done a fantastic job in keeping infection and death number impressively low and the whole country would appreciate all tourists complying.

THIS is what will make YOU feel safe and comforted on your Costa Rica adventure vacation!

Ready to schedule your unique vacation?  Let’s go!

What can you do in Costa Rica RIGHT NOW?

Just about everything! While we continue to hold off on our group tours, for now, we are honing in on bespoke private tours that are tailored to our guests’ wishes and budget. This means you get all the fun and adventures as always, except you get to enjoy a PRIVATE tour with your loved ones only. Follow our established (tried & tested) itineraries if you’d like a hassle-free plan or feel free to tell us everything you like, dream and wish to do and we’ll plan a unique itinerary just for you.

Really. It’s all THAT simple.

Here’s what one of our treasured guests had to say about their recent adventure vacation with us here at Costa Rica Rios:

Costa Rica reviewReady to plan your unique vacation?  Let’s go!

US & Canada: 888 434-0776 | UK: 0800 612 8718 | International: +1 920 434-7485

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Laid-back Costa Rica Beach Vacations – Spotlight on Playa Samara

If you’re looking for a blissfully laid-back beach destination to add to your Costa Rica adventure vacation itinerary, Playa Samara might just fit the bill. Stunning and uncrowded, with waves gentle enough to entice families, Playa Samara is one of the top choices along the western coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s perfect if you’re craving a low-key stint of R&R way off the beaten path, but offers plenty of options for when your energy levels spring back up.

Playa SamaraRevered as a beginner surfer mecca and home to a plethora of surfing camps, Samara is one of our favorite family beaches in the whole country. A nearby river, where you can kayak and paddle, makes for even more relaxing fun-in-the-sun adventures.

Here’s all you need to know about beautiful Playa Samara – the Guanacaste gem that’ll steal your heart with its gentle waves, wonderful warm seas and sensational sunsets.

Ready to plan your Playa Samara vacation?  Let’s go!

Where is Playa Samara?

The beach stands at the epicenter of the half-moon-shaped Samara Bay, half-way between Cangrejal and Torito on the western coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. You can reach the beach directly from the Liberia Airport (about a 2hr drive) or, if you’re flying into San Jose, expect a leisurely 4hr drive.

Most adventure seekers exploring Nicoya will simply add a few days at Playa Samara at the end of their itinerary, after a week of adrenalin-packed activities. If you like rustic, off the-beaten-path adventures, this unassuming town with a stunning beach is absolutely ideal.

What’s so special about Samara?

If you’ve ever met anyone who visited Costa Rica, fell in love with a ridiculously beautiful beach, and decided to move there permanently, it’s highly likely that beach was Samara. This is the tropical Costa Rica of postcards and one of the most highly-coveted spots in the entire country. Although the town does have a taste of the ‘Americana’, it isn’t overdone at all.

This side of Costa Rica, the wild west of the Nicoya, is outstandingly dramatic which means it’s also a hard place in which to build exorbitant resorts and hotels. Plus, the country’s commitment to preserving its wilderness means that commercialization is kept away from pristine forests and jungles.

In Samara, you get great food, services and activities (which are only found in well-touristed places) yet the place isn’t overrun with foreigners (expats and tourists alike) the way other places are. This perfect balance is what gifts Samara its authenticity and enticement: enough tourism and expat-living to make it comfortable and enjoyable but not so much that it makes you forget you’re Costa Rica.

Just a tranquil beach beauty that’s somehow remained true to its essence.

That’s the Costa Rica we love!

Ready to plan your Playa Samara vacation?  Let’s go!

What’s there to do on Playa Samara?

Get to know the town – Samara is totally walkable and it won’t take you long to get a gist of the place and the sweet little shops, cafes and restaurants.

Channel your inner beach-bum – Between Samara, Carillo and Buena Vista, your beach-bumming choices are extensive. This is the best place to perfect the art of doing ‘sweet, sweet nothing’, except you can do in a palm-fringed beach with cocktail in hand. If you choose Carillo, just a few miles out of town, do bring your day’s supplies with you as the beach is devoid of infrastructure. Heavenly!

Surfing at Playa SamaraLearn how to surf – Surfing is Samara’s most iconic activity and if you don’t think you could ever learn to stand on a board and catch a wave, you NEED to take a lesson (or 5) here. The local schools and guides are outstanding and this is, by far, one of the best learning beaches so give it a go!

Never miss a single sunset – Unless an asteroid is about to crash into our planet and you have something urgent to do, you’ll want to be ON the beach, cold drink in hand, to see the sunset in Samara every single day. Actually, scrap that: if an asteroid is coming, a Samara sunset is definitely the last thing you’ll want to see. Pure magic.

Ready to plan your Playa Samara vacation?  Let’s go!

Explore the Werner-Sauter Bio Reserve This was once a cattle farm and the family who owned it was so inspired by the government’s environmental protection plan that they set aside a large swath of their property so it could revert back to wilderness. Wildly successful, the reserve is now home to a host of amazing wildlife. Take a guided tour and enjoy the stunning experience.

Turtle nesting Playa SamaraCatch turtles nesting (seasonal) – Just half an hour out of Samara is where you’ll find Ostional, home to a dozen miles of protected beachfront. The beaches here are favored by nesting Olive Ridley, leatherback and other sea turtles and they head here to nest, all year long. From August to December, however, Ostional hosts mass nesting events (called arribadas) that sees turtles arrive in their thousands, every single night. Visit in October and November for the best chances to catch glimpses of jaw-dropping arribadas.

Yoga – Samara is a yoga-haven and here you can indulge in week-long dedicated retreats or simply take occasional classes when you get in the mood for a stretch.

Nourish your body and soul – Samara’s yoga, surf and chillax crowd has helped create a very organic vibe in town. Here, you’ll find vegan and vegetarian cafés, lost of juice bars and a local cuisine that’s all about wholesome, delicious, locally-sourced food.

Enjoy quiet and restorative nights – Samara is not a party town and although a few bars are open a little later, this is not THAT kind of beach town. It’s the other kind: the kind where you sip a sundowner on the beach, have a gorgeous dinner at a local joint and then retire early to read, chat or enjoy a glorious rest.

Where can I stay in Playa Samara?

Samara town offers plenty of budget and mid-range options although all around Samara you’ll find stunning eco-lodges that are perfect for honeymooning couples. Hacienda Barrigona is one of our favorite remote lodges to visit in Costa Rica.

We can help you find your ideal accommodation place in Samara: just tell us your budget and desires and we’ll send you a list of suitable options.

Ready to plan your Playa Samara vacation?  Let’s go!

Best time to visit Playa Samara

Given most people only want to visit Samara Beach when blue skies are guaranteed 100%, the ‘best time’ to visit is during the dry season, between December and May. If you ask us, however, we think the shoulder season is ideal – you feel like you have the place to yourself and, at most, you can enjoy a refreshing downpour after lunch. And what’s not to love about that?

Plus, the second half of the year sees Samara enjoy much cooler temperatures. If you’re in the habit of getting up early and filling your morning with activities, the wet season will suit you just fine.

Learn more about Costa Rica’s best beaches way off the tourist radar.

Contact us to know how we can incorporate a visit to Playa Samara into your Costa Rica Adventure Vacation tour.

US & Canada: 888 434-0776 | UK: 0800 612 8718 | International: +1 920 434-7485

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Bespoke Family Vacations in Costa Rica – Adventure with Peace of Mind

In desperate need of a family vacation? We hear you! We also understand the hesitation many families are feeling, right now, when it comes to travel.

To adventure or not to adventure?!

Well, a family adventure vacation in Costa Rica is always the answer, of course, although planning a trip that’ll give you thrills, relaxation, quality time and peace of mind in COVID times may seem a bit more challenging.

But it needn’t be.

 

Private & Bespoke Family Adventure Vacations – What Are They All About?

At Costa Rica Rios, we’ve loved nothing more than to bring people together, from all walks of life and every corner of the planet, to enjoy a mind-blowing adventure together in the wilds of Costa Rica. Yet given the current pandemic we’re all living with, and the various travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, we’ve had to shelf our group package tours. At least for a little while, until our planet heals.

Instead, we’ve intensified the experiences we love best and created a bevy of bespoke, private family adventure itineraries.

When you travel solely with your family, you keep your social bubble mostly intact and, right now, this is the best way to ensure an adventure with peace of mind. Plus, you are placed squarely at the wheel, which means we plan an itinerary that’s tailor-made for you: your desires, levels of activity, children’s ages and vacation budget.

With private ground transfers and private guides ready to show you the time of your life, and striving to keep you as safe as can be, there’s simply no reason to miss out on all the fun.

Plan Your Trip

Costa Rica Is Open For Family Adventure Vacations!

As of September, Costa Rica will be welcoming back tourists with open arms. Citizens of various countries will be allowed to enter, as well as residents from (so far) 11 US states, namely:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont / Virginia
  • District of Columbia

Although any new chance to travel is an exciting prospect, you’ll no doubt have many questions in regards to family adventures in Costa Rica. We’ve surprised potential guests these last weeks, who were astonished to learn that, in Costa Rica:

  • adventure activities are available,
  • national parks are open,
  • eco-lodges are operational and
  • restrictions are few and far between

Costa Rica has been implementing openings since May and, in effect, never enforced a complete, country-wide lockdown. The localized restrictions we’re seeing other countries adopt now, Costa Rica has been doing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – which means that restrictions in the various cantons have been ebbing and flowing.

Here’s why Costa Rica has been winning plaudits for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On bespoke family adventure vacations, we have the freedom to redirect you to the safest and least-affected areas, so you won’t suffer any restrictions once you arrive. All our national parks have reopened and, given tourist crowds are at a minimum, they are all blissfully uncrowded.

You may want to steer clear of all-inclusive mega-resorts, mind you, but that’s not what we offer here at Costa Rica Rios anyway. To really immerse yourself in nature and soak up the essence of the country, we’ve always preferred smaller, family-run lodges, the kind that are nestled in pristine jungles, teeming with wildlife. Kids love waking up to howling monkeys and protecting their breakfasts from pesky exotic birds. They cherish space, nature, animals and thrilling adventures like kayaking, rafting, ziplining, ATV riding and horseback riding.

Most of all, they cherish quality family time, in peace and quiet and an overcrowded, oversized resort simply can’t deliver the same level of family intimacy.

Plan Your Trip

 

What Kind Of Adventures Can Your Family Have In Costa Rica?

With decades of experience planning fantastic family vacations in Costa Rica, we believe we’re in the right place to offer an incredible array of planning inspiration.

We’ve planned adventure trips for families with active teenagers and smaller kids; for families who want to get way off the beaten path and those who’d love to splurge a little. Itineraries chock-full of adrenaline-pumping sports and others which balance the fun with incredible wildlife spotting and relaxing beach days.

Costa Rica offers her magnificent canvas and we partner with you to create the most unforgettable picture.

Something, just like this, perhaps…

Here are three of our most popular itineraries which are currently offering amazing deals:

Family Favorite Adventure Vacation – 7 nights, from $ 1,175 per person

The two most popular destinations in Costa Rica in one totally exhilarating bundle!

Our Arenal and Manuel Antonio adventure is perfect for families visiting Costa Rica for the first time. Family Favorite includes visits to the two megastar-national-parks, overnight accommodation in two gorgeous lodges and a bevy of active sports, including a hanging bridges and aerial tramway tour, whitewater rafting, canopy zipline, horseback ride, waterfalls, surfing lesson and guided wildlife-spotting hikes. The days can be as jam-packed or laid-back as you like and for every activity we suggest, you’ll have at least half-a-dozen more from which to choose.

 

Wildlife & Beaches – 7 nights, from $2,100 per person

For a fully immersive wilderness experience, we take you to the remote and spellbinding Osa Peninsula, amongst the wildest corners of Costa Rica. This is the most wildlife-enriched region and one of the most biodiverse on earth. For lovers of unique animals and pristine jungle, the Osa is simply perfect. This tour includes an internal flight, a snorkeling trip to Caño Island and a naturalist-guided hike in the world-renowned Corcovado National Park.

A once-in-a-lifetime adventure for discerning, wildlife-loving families.

sloth

 

Best of Both Worlds – 9 nights, from $ 2,300 per person

The most popular family adventure vacation in our midst, our Best of Both Worlds really packs in a crazy punch although, as with all our adventures, can be customized to suit.

We start this adventure on the right note, by catapulting you down the thrilling Pacuare River, on the kind of whitewater rafting adventure that has afforded us a National Geographic nod of approval. Our adventures just keep on comin’ as the week progresses and, meanwhile, we’ll still serve up the most spectacular scenery in the country: the breathtaking peak of Arenal Volcano and the incredible delights of Manuel Antonio. For an extended family vacation that includes it all, this adventure is unsurpassed.

waterfall

The above three phenomenal itineraries are just a taster of everything possible in Costa Rica. See our full range of family vacations and start planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure of your own.

Want to know more?

Call us: we have all the answers you need.

 

costa rica rios

US & Canada: 888 434-0776 | UK: 0800 612 8718 | International: +1 920 434-7485

Plan Your Trip

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COVID Update – Costa Rica to Welcome Back US Tourists!

The Costa Rican government has just released details on its latest wave of border openings and the news is looking GOOD for US tourists! The country’s Tourism Minister announced that US tourists will be welcomed back to Costa Rica as of 1st September – however, restrictions do apply.

Read on to find out more!

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The world’s most beloved eco-tourism and adventure hub, Costa Rica is internationally praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic

PHOTO TAGLINE: The world’s most beloved eco-tourism and adventure hub, Costa Rica is internationally praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic

Adding to the ever-growing list of allowed tourists (namely citizens and residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Uruguay, and several Asian countries) Costa Rica is preparing to welcome back US tourists in September, as long as they are from 6 select States.

They are:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Vermont

Tourists will be required to show their valid driver’s license to prove residency (or government-issued ID equivalent) and authorities will also need license-plate verification. According to the government, these measures are needed to ensure only genuine residents of States with (currently) the lowest COVID infection rate are allowed entry into the country.

*We’re currently waiting on a go-ahead to also be given to residents of Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – we hope this will be announced shortly

All US tourists wishing to travel to Costa Rica will have to:

  • Fill in an online health form – you can select to view it in English from the drop-down menu on the top, RHS. The form is to be filled out no sooner than 48hr before traveling. You’ll get a QR code upon completion, which you are to show at the airport on arrival. You can also print out the confirmation

 

  • Present a negative COVID-19 test – the only accepted test is the RT-PCR test, taken no sooner than 48hr prior to traveling

 

  • Present COVID-specific travel health insurance – which covers all medical assistance should test positive for the virus whilst in the country. If you prefer to play it safe, you can purchase insurance directly from Costa Rica. The government has nominated a few agencies and pre-approved their policies, so you know you’ll be getting the right one)

Costa Rica, right now, is not placing any quarantine restrictions of tourists who satisfy the above-mentioned requirements and enter from approved countries/States.

Needless to say, we would love to announce a full reopening of Costa Rica to every resident of every country, as that would mean this COBID-19 nightmare would be well and truly behind us. But alas, we’ll take the small wins when we can get them and, right now, this is already amazing news.

 

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Plan Your Trip

 

Flights to Costa Rica are expected to increase, both in frequency and points of departure. New York is tipped to be the main springboard for Costa Rica flights and, on our end, we expect both the San Jose and Liberia International Airports to be fully operational. See the official San Jose Airport Website for details on expected incoming flights.

Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister said the 6 States in question have shown a “positive evolution of the pandemic” meaning they are making great strides forward and handling the current level of infection, keeping it at a manageable level. Given that US-based tourism is such a critical component of Costa Rica’s economy, it’s wonderful to see the authorities taking a logical approach: reopening the country but doing so slowly and safely.

According to the Health Ministry, the country has recorded just over 33,820 COVID-19 cases as of August 23.

See the Website of the Ministerio de Salud for daily COVID updates.

It is also important that you know what restrictions your place of residence has introduced for tourist returning from Costa Rica.

We expect more concrete details about these latest developments to be announced shortly. Usually, the government makes a general announcement and then follows with greater details after a few days.

We’ll endeavor to keep you informed as news comes in.

 

What’s life like in Costa Rica, right now?

This month, we’ve seen a reopening of outdoor restaurants and cafés, as well as beaches, in so-called yellow zones. Of course, we’re all required to wear masks in indoor public places, except eating establishments where social distancing restrictions are in place (but staff still must wear them.

By and large, everyone seems to be getting used to the new normal: whipping on the mask, dabbing hand disinfectant when going out and keeping distance. The latter is arguably the hardest part: Costa Ricans are warm and huggy people. Like all Latinos, not being able to hug and give a peck on the cheek when meeting is the most painful part of this whole messy ordeal for Ticos.

During the month of August, more and more businesses opened although we had a short hiatus of shut-downs in the middle of the month. This gave businesses a chance to reboot the country’s economy whilst taking a short pause, half-way through the month, in case health services needed to catch up. Daily infections did increase, as expected, but this latest easing of border restrictions means the increase is still under control.

 

Costa Rica adventures await!

The best news of all, however, is that outdoor tourist activities have also recommenced and here at Costa Rica Rios, we’ve been busy planning and booking our most popular Week of Adventure Package starting from September. We’re meticulously planning for our tours to comply with all the directives, ensuring our valued guests have the time of their life and still keep safe.

All the country’s most beloved areas are open for tourists and given the cap on daily visitors (down 50% from the usual) it means you can come and explore world-famous sites like Arenal, Manuel Antonio and Turrialba and experience an uncrowded, unblemished paradise.

 

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At the moment, we are only running private & bespoke adventure tours for couples and families travelling within their own social bubble. We recently blogged about the benefits of bespoke tours, especially in COVID-times. Creating your own social bubble means you can double up on the fun and leave the stresses of 2020 behind you, as you kayak, raft, zipline and mountain bike in our pristine, unspoiled Costa Rican backyard.

Remote adventure vacations are what we’re all about here, at Costa Rica Rios, and we think our usual adventure style will fit post-COVID tours to perfection. The country is chock-full of exquisite remote lodges for that romantic getaway you’ve been waiting all year for, and insanely thrilling wild rivers and mountains for those high-adrenaline sports you can’t wait to get back into.

 

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Even though we don’t really expect everything to get back to normal until 2021, this further reopening step and the welcoming of US tourists is a heaven-send for everyone involved in tourism here. Traditionally, September and October are low-tourist months in the country so the opening is indeed very well-timed. Turning the country into a free-for-all, like we’ve seen happening in Europe, will likely just prolong the lockdown-agony and no-one wants to see that happening.

With this tentative, staggered opening, we’re hoping Costa Rica will be ready to welcome bigger numbers, and deliver bigger adventures, by the time high-season starts in December.

Ready to start planning your return to travel-freedom in the most exhilarating country on earth?

You know what to do! Call us or use our live chat and let us help you plan your own private and bespoke adventure tour to the incredible, nature-filled adventure playground that is Costa Rica. Because if there’s ever been a year when we need a once-in-a-lifetime, totally unforgettable adventure vacation in Costa Rica, this is surely the one!

 

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US & Canada: 888 434-0776 | UK: 0800 612 8718 | International: +1 920 434-7485

 

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Stellar Highlights of Costa Rica’s Gulf of Papagayo

Gulf of PapagayoCosta Rica’s Gulf of Papagayo has enjoyed a swift rise in popularity in the last few years and is now considered the poster-child not only for luxury wilderness travel, but for sustainable tourism of the highest order. This wonderful hybrid of travel experiences is something for which the country is renowned and given the sheer wilderness of this special region, it certainly makes for an unrivaled combination. A major highlight of the Gulf is its namesake Papagayo Peninsula, home to just a handful of 5* resorts, world-class courses, stunning holiday villas, beach clubs and luxury yacht marinas.

Whether you wish for an indulgent stay in the peninsula resorts or prefer seeking more rustic accommodation in laid-back beach towns nearby, the Gulf of Papagayo’s stellar highlights will be right at your fingertips. This incredible corner of Costa Rica has always been ideal for adventure vacations, a place where nature reigns supreme and adventure is offered at every turn.

Where is the Gulf of Papagayo?

The Gulf of Papagayo lies on the north-westernmost Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, stretching from the Santa Teresa National Park in the north to just past Coco Beach in the south.

Merely an hour’s drive from the International Airport of Liberia, the Gulf of Papagayo is super easy to reach (you can get off your plane and be soaking up the rays on a long stretch of sparkling beach in no time!) and its ongoing but subtle development means that you’ll find everything you need for a rewarding, varied and adventure-filled Costa Rica vacation.

The Best Highlights of the Gulf of Papagayo

Papagayo Peninsula – Developed as a 5* luxury destination, the Papagayo Peninsula is home to just a few exquisite resorts that offer outstanding stays totally entrenched in pristine nature.

The peninsula juts out like a finger at the half-way mark of the namesake gulf and, at its tip, is where you’ll find the Four Seasons, one of Costa Rica’s most luxurious resorts. There’s an abundance of sea-based activities on offer in the peninsula, including snorkeling and diving, sport fishing, sailing, paddle boarding and surfing as well as resort-based golfing and tennis. Every resort offers active excursions to nearby national parks and, because the peninsula is protected (at least 70% must remain undeveloped) it really does offer the best in luxury and remoteness.

Beach Resort Towns – South of the Papagayo Peninsula – which boasts quite a few stunning beaches of its own accord – you’ll find several idyllic beach towns to while away a few days. Panama, Hermosa and Coco Beach are the three main resort towns, stretching from north to south. You’ll find plenty of accommodation and fabulous foodie options here, as well as a multitude of beach and seaside activities. Travel to the Gulf of Papagayo during high season (December to April) and you won’t just see tourists descending on this startling gulf: this is prime whale-watching season with northern humpbacks visiting during this time. Southern humpbacks don’t usually arrive here until July and tend to linger until the end of the year, which actually means that January-Aril is the only period where the Gulf doesn’t offer much in terms of whale-watching. Do note that there are MANY beaches all along the gulf, it’s just that services are limited so places like dreamy Playa Naranjo in the Santa Rosa National Park, are usually only visited on day-trips. Just north of Naranjo is Nancite, one of the most prolific turtle-nesting beaches in this region, which can receive upwards of 70,000 turtles during the nesting season, between July and November.

National Parks – There are several excellent national parks you can visit when you base yourself in the Gulf of Papagayo, the best being Santa Rosa (for outstanding hiking) Rincon de la Vieja (for exceptional volcano climbing) and Guanacaste National Park, one of the very best national parks in all of Costa Rica.

About the Guanacaste Province

The Gulf of Papagayo is only one of the many delights served up by the Guanacaste Province, one of the most varied in the country. On the east, the province is framed by a necklace of stunning mountains and volcanoes and, on the west, the magnificent sapphire waters of the Pacific. Endemic wildlife abounds in its national parks, as does marine life in its crystalline waters. The drmmatic and varied wilderness is a prime base for a myriad of adventure sports – from ADV riding to ziplining, white-water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding and so much more. There’s literally a ton of fun stuff to do here, which makes this province quite ideal for anyone, be it families, honeymooning couples and even solo travellers looking to join group activities. For more on this sensational province, go ahead and read our Guanacaste Guide.

Best time to visit the Gulf of Papagayo

High-tourist season in Papagayo is between mid-December and April, a period that coincides with winter in North America and the dry season in this region. Beaches, towns and resorts can get quite crowded during these months so if you’re making plans for next year, try to come just before the high-season starts (November is ideal) when the wilderness is at its most luscious, rain sporadic and highlights blissfully uncrowded.

There’s no denying that the Gulf of Papagayo is one of the most rewarding and unspoiled destinations in Costa Rica, coveted for its soft sandy shores and rugged hinterland landscapes. Given the sheer variety of adventures on offer and its proximity to Liberia airport, this makes for a stellar option if you’ve been to Costa Rica before and already visited the southern highlights or if you simply wish for an off-the-beaten-path travel experience.

Contact us, right here, if you’d love to include a stint of exceptional fun in the Gulf of Papagayo, on your next adventure vacation in Costa Rica.

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Top Tips for Costa Rica Vacations on a Budget

Costa Rica continues to be the destination of choice for anyone looking for unique adventures in pristine nature. Read on to discover our top tips for Costa Rica vacations on a budget

A Costa Rica vacation has always been renowned for offering an exceptional value for money, with a two-week stint filled to the brim with fun and exhilarating activities costing about as much as a long weekend in Vegas. Yes…including return flights! Having said that, Costa Rica isn’t nearly as inexpensive as it used to be, back when the country enjoyed some kind of anonymity. Nowadays, the country rated as one of the world’s top holiday destinations (certainly the top adventure destination capital) has made giant leap forwards and although the value-for-money aspect of a Costa Rica vacation has remained consistently high, prices have risen overall with an improvement of infrastructure and consequential heightened exposure. All of this, of course, doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy an excellent Costa Rica vacation, for less!

Looking for excellent ways to save some hard-earned funds on your next adventure tour of Costa Rica?

Here’s how you do it!

Skip the busiest periods

When many people think of ‘high tourist season’ they usually tend to consider international school holiday times, say, during the winter months between December and April. Yet Latin Americans in general, and Ticos in particular, are big travelers and you’ll find a very distinct tourist peak even during the usual low season months, between May and November if there happens to be a religious holiday. Major Catholic holidays (including Christmas, Holy Week, Easter and the Virgin of the Angels Day) attract a huge number of visitors to Costa Rica and even in the odd long-weekend – set to coincide with a public holiday – you’ll find many flights and hotels increase their prices. Steering well clear of peak times will go a long way in keeping your Costa Rica vacation costs as low as can be. Aside from saving some serious holiday funds, traveling to Costa Rica during Green Season has many benefits. Read more about them here.

Skip all-inclusive resorts and choose smaller eco-lodges instead

Costa Rica vacationAll-inclusive resort holidays in Costa Rica are a very popular, however, they are only great value for money if you take advantage of everything the deal offers. That’s something most guests never actually achieve. Want to save money on a Costa Rica vacation? Then skip the large resorts offering everything under the sun and choose to stay in smaller and cheaper lodges where you only pay for what you need. Besides, the best Costa Rica lodges are immersed in wilderness and offer guests a stunning array of activities and delights, making them an all-encompassing Costa Rican experience in their own right. Gems like the Pacuare Lodge offer the unrivaled chance to completely disconnect from the modern world and indulge in a nature-filled adventure, complete with romance, privacy and authenticity, things that much larger and modern resorts lack. Enjoy all of this AND spend less…what more could you desire?

Bring all your essential toiletries from home

It may seem trivial to some but those who have been to tropical countries know that buying imported sunscreen and insect repellent can cost a small fortune. Bring yours from home and save a small bundle.

Choose a lodge with in-house hot springs

Costa Rica vacationMany budget travelers know that the best way to save some money is to forego expensive visits to some of the country’s most famous attractions. In Costa Rica, this would mean skipping day visits to some of the most luxurious hot spring establishments. Yet there are many hidden and cheaper treasures here, even in the famous area of Arenal Volcano. Choosing a lodge with its own hot springs means you need not miss out on the country’s most famous – and blissful – indulgence. The Volcano Lodge & Springs, for example, is an affordable 3* hotel in La Fortuna, set in luscious surroundings right at the base of Arenal. It boasts sensational views, excellent service and amenities and the added bonus of private hot springs. Granted, The Volcano Lodge may not be as luxurious as the coveted Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort but at less than half the daily rate, it’s an excellent choice if traveling on a budget.

Eat local

Costa Rica’s largest tourist spots boast an array of international eateries and, nowadays, you can find almost everything your taste buds desire. However, foreign meals using imported ingredients are inevitably more expensive, especially when compared with local fare made from locally-grown ingredients. The country boasts rich regional cuisines and we’ve previously blogged about the Slow Food Movement that is emerging in every corner of this great nation. Eating local won’t just save you a few dollars; it will open up a whole culinary world most tourists simply aren’t privy to.

Spend your money on experiences rather than souvenirs

Take all the money you’d normally set aside for souvenir shopping and use it on experiences and activities instead. Will this save you money? Probably not…but it will certainly ensure you have an unforgettable journey and it will offer you a much greater (intangible) value for your money. Costa Rica rates as one of the world’s best for immersive travel experiences and this is one country where experiential travel beats shopping. And that’s priceless.

Opt for adventure tours that bring you the best, for less

Organized, adventure-filled tours are extremely popular in Costa Rica and it’s easy to see why that is. Pooling resources and joining a great group of like-minded explorers makes the whole experience cheaper for everyone whilst offering exceptional logistical benefits. If you were to try booking a journey comparable to our 8-day adventure package for example, complete with airport transfers, accommodation, all meals, private transport between spots as well as days filled with kayaking, whitewater rafting, snorkeling, surfing, canyoning ,mountain biking and canopy tour, not to mention private guides for the whole trip,  you’ll soon realize how prohibitively expensive it would be to pay for each one individually. An amazing 7-day hot springs and wildlife adventure honeymoon for less than $1,700? Pretty hard to beat!

Organized adventure Costa Rica vacations offer you all the benefits of an all-inclusive vacation whilst focusing on the exhilarating stuff you love most. Forget the 5* bling you could find anywhere and save money by enjoying a thoroughly rewarding active vacation in the country that inspired it all.

For more info on unique group and private tours, family adventure vacations and honeymoons in Costa Rica, contact us here. We’ll help you stretch your holiday funds further and show you how priceless a Costa Rica vacation can be.

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10 Great Tips to Help You Make the Most of your Costa Rica Adventure Vacation

Here at Costa Rica Rios, specialists in adventure vacations in Costa Rica, we are frequently asked a number of questions about Costa Rica by our customers in advance of either booking their vacation, or prior to their arrival.

As a consequence, we decided that you might appreciate this short and handy downloadable eBook which provides some really useful facts about the country and some additional snippets of information to help you make the most of your trip once you are here.

Of course, we know that each of you may have your own personal questions you need answers to, and we’ll be glad to provide them, just send us a message and we’ll get straight back to you with the answers.

Languages Spoken in Costa Rica        

Costa Rica vacation foodThe official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, though it is a Costa Rican Spanish. English is spoken by approximately 10% of the population, and all Costa Rican guides who work alongside Costa Rica Rios are fully bilingual.

Along the Caribbean coastline a Creole-English language, Jamaican patois (also known as Mekatelyu), is spoken.

There are five indigenous languages spoken depending on what region you are in, including Maléku, Cabécar, Bribri, Guaymí, and Buglere.

To reassure you, with the importance of ecotourism to Costa Rica, English is spoken by the majority of those who work in the tourist industry, and a good number also speak German and French.

Currency and Money in Costa Rica

Costa Rica vacation currencyThe main currency of Costa Rica is the colón (pl. colónes) or CRC. As of February 2018, the exchange rate for the colón was approximately US$1.00 : CRC570.00, UK£1.00 : 810.00 and euro/€1.00 : 710.00. You can check the current conversion rate here.

U.S. dollars are readily accepted in most larger establishments and often in smaller ones. Canadian dollars, the U.K. pound and the Euro are not accepted as currency in Costa Rica. If paying in U.S. dollars, expect change to be in colónes.

To make life as easy as possible for everyone, it is best to have colónes handy to pay for taxis, drinks in bars or food from sodas, and of course tips. Most major credit cards are accepted in hotels, hire car companies, larger restaurants, etc. but check with the establishment first.

A friendly piece of advice – if you have forgotten to exchange some money before heading off to the airport, don’t panic and change a load of currency at the airport as you will get a terrible rate of exchange. Get enough colónes for a taxi at the other end, a drink and a few tips, but go to any bank in Costa Rica to exchange your money once you have arrived. You need to take your passport with you, but you will get a far better rate of exchange than at the airport.

The Cost of Regular Items in Costa Rica

The cost of living in Costa Rica is roughly 23% lower than in the USA and the U.K.

As this eBook is intended to provide quick answers to your questions, we found this brilliant website that provides a regularly updated list of 40 of the most common purchases made by vacationers in Costa Rica – Numbeo.com

The list ranges from the cost of a bottle of water or a bottle of beer, the price of a meal for two, to the average cost of taxi fares, car hire and the price of petrol. It will help you budget for ‘spends’ on your vacation…

The website also includes some additional information for those of you who are a little more curious, such as the cost of property rental (in case you decide you don’t want to go back home!), property purchase prices, the cost of clothing and the cost of utilities.

Time Zone

The time in Costa Rica is based on Central Standard Time, but it does not change for daylight saving, unlike the U.S. or U.K.

Excluding daylight saving, the time in Costa Rica is the same as the Central North American states.

Internationally, the time in Costa Rica is GMT-6.

The Climate and Seasons in Costa Rica

Owing to its proximity to the equator, there are no major distinctions between the seasons in Costa Rica, and the average daily temperature ranges between 70oF and 80oF. Consequently, there are only two seasons in Costa Rica, the ‘Green Season’, which is the rainy season running from May through to November, and the ‘High Season’, which runs from December through to April.

Though having average temperatures, the country also has numerous microclimates,having coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and also the Caribbean, while changes in elevation also affect the weather and temperature. For example, visit the highland town of Monteverde and you’ll be surrounded by a cool mist and fog at least part of the day for most of the year. Alternatively, the Pacific coast around Guanacaste is hot and dry, absolutely perfect conditions to enjoy many of the beaches in the area.

In the rainy season from May to November, the average rainfall in Costa Rica is roughly 100 inches, though in some areas in Costa Rica’s mountains annual rainfall can be as much as 25 feet!

The Caribbean coast has its own microclimate thanks to continual trade winds that keep the climate hot and humid, with rain (not continual!) throughout the year.

 

Emergency Telephone Numbers

Ambulance – 128

Fire – 118

Police – 911  If you need to contact the police for a non-emergency, dial 2222-1365 or 2221-5337

Medical Insurance, Medical Assistance and Vaccinations

If you are coming to Costa Rica on an adventure vacation, then check with your travel insurer. Many insurance companies are very good at having a list of exclusions in the contract small print which may exclude activities such as ziplining or whitewater rafting. Tell your insurer what you intend to do on vacation to ensure you have adequate insurance cover.

The standard of healthcare in Costa Rica is very good, to the point where medical tourism (predominantly cosmetic procedures) accounts for 15% of international visitors to the country.

If you are taken ill during your vacation and need to see a doctor, contact your local embassy to obtain a list of approved physicians. If you have booked your vacation through Costa Rica Rios, get in touch with us straight away and we can advise you on who to see locally.

In general, a local health clinic or EBAIS offers free treatment for minor vacation accidents, while a trip to a doctor with an appointment may cost somewhere around US$50.00 / £30.00 / €35.00

It is advisable to keep details of your travel insurance with you at all times.

As of 2014, no inoculations are necessary for North Americans to travel to Costa Rica. However, the CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines for Costa Rica: typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and influenza. We would suggest you discuss which vaccinations you should have with your physician or doctor and arrange to be vaccinated eight weeks before your vacation begins.

Dengue fever and chikungunya, two mosquito-borne diseases, are also present, though very rare in Costa Rica. Take proper precautions to avoid mosquitoes and mosquito bites by using insect repellents and netting.

If you are going on an activity vacation, it makes sense to put together a basic first aid kit for those inevitable bumps and scrapes – band-aids, pain relievers, tape, scissors, bug spray, sunscreen, and diarrhea medicine may come in handy.

Drinking the Local Water and Eating Local Food

In general terms, tap water in urban and well-populated places is safe. However, in more rural areas of Costa Rica caution is advised.

In ‘out of the way’ rural places, drink only bottled water or beverages from cans or bottles. Always ask for bottled water to remain unopened so you can check for yourself that the seal is intact. Local beer is safe to drink. Avoid asking for ice!

Food is generally safe to eat in Costa Rica, mainly because so much of the produce is local and fresh. Local sodas (small cafés/restaurants/snack bars) are great to eat at and food hygiene good. Best advice to follow is eat where other people are eating, that’s usually a good sign!

Car Hire in Costa Rica, Driving and Road Conditions

To hire a car in Costa Rica you will need your current driver’s license. Most car rental companies have a minimum age requirement of 25, but a few will accept drivers who are 21 and over.

A substantial deposit is usually required – use your credit card for this as then the payment will be ‘held’ but the transaction not completed. If you use a debit card, your account will be immediately debited, and you will have to wait a month for the deposit to be returned.

Many major credit cards offer free car hire insurance. However, check the small print or contact your card provider to ask about car hire in Costa Rica. Because many of the roads are only paved single track or gravel, insurance from your credit card company may be invalid.

Insurance is obligatory and there is only one insurance company in Costa Rica that covers car rental insurance, making collision coverage (CDW) and liability coverage mandatory in Costa Rica for all drivers.

Because of the generally poor condition of roads, your best bet is to hire a 4×4 vehicle, unless you only intend to do a little sightseeing during the High Season when it is dry. Distances may look short on a map, but when you are traveling at only between 30 and 45kph, everywhere takes a little longer to get to, especially on winding country roads.

Car hire may seem costlier than you might expect, but remember that because of the state of the roads in Costa Rica, vehicles have to be replaced more frequently.

The drink/driving limit in Costa Rica is 75mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. There are heavy penalties which include a big fine, invalidation of insurance and possibly jail time, so our advice is not to think that you’ll be okay as you are vacationers. Don’t drink and drive, take a tax instead so you can all really relax and enjoy yourselves.

Seat belts should be worn at all times, it is the law.

Make sure that you always have you driver’s license with you. Though not compulsory, it will put you in a better position if you are stopped by the police if you also have a copy of your passport with you, your car hire documentation and clear evidence that you are insured by the car hire company.

In more rural areas, if you are stopped by the police for an infringement, you may be asked to pay a cash fine to make the charge ‘go away’. This is normal for Costa Rica, so don’t make a fuss, just pay up and put it down to another memorable experience while you were on vacation!

Personal Safety in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country in Central America, so do not expect the same levels of police presence. Opportunistic theft is always going to be something you should guard against, and use plenty of common sense – you may be on vacation, but those of a less benevolent nature are not.

Crime is certainly not a problem in Costa Rica, so do not get the wrong idea!

The following is a list of standard precautions to take:

  • Never carry your valuables around with you, keep them locked in your resort or hotel safe
  • Only take as much cash as you need with you
  • Pack copies of your passport and any other important documentation, you can prepare before your trip
  • Advise your credit card company that your card will be used in Costa Rica
  • Lock anything of worth out of site in the trunk of your rental car when going out and about, especially to the beach
  • Keep smartphones and tablets out of sight when not in use – take your photos, but then tuck your phone safely away in a bag rather than carry it around in your hand

Tipping in Costa Rica

There is no expectation of tips in Costa Rica. While in many restaurants the taxes and tips are usually included in the price. If you see “taxes not included” or “impuestos no incluidos” then expect the bill to be higher than expected and to leave a tip.

Wages are not high in Costa Rica and many workers are dependent on tourism, so we tend to suggest that if you have received good service, a tip will always be welcome and appreciated, as opposed to expected.

We hope this information has been helpful to you, answered any of the most pressing questions you have about Costa Rica, and also answered a few that you hadn’t even thought of asking.

Of course, there may well be a number of other questions you may want answering before traveling for a Costa Rica vacation, hopefully to enjoy an action-packed adventure vacation with Costa Rica Rios. Just send us a message with your inquiry and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Jane and Fraser Tyrrell
Costa Rica Rios
Apartado 43-7150
Turrialba
Costa Rica

www.CostaRicaRios.com

US & Canada Freephone: 1-888-434-0776
International Tel:: ++1-920-434-7485
UK Freephone: 0800-612-8718
Costa Rica Office: 2556-8664

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Why Costa Rica Rates Among the World’s Best for an Immersive Travel Experience

Spending more on experiences rather than souvenirs, coming home with a more enlightened vision rather than just a suntan, and gaining a deeper understanding of a foreign culture – instead of being on the lookout for recognizable hints of ‘home’: this is the kind of immersive travel experience Costa Rica offers. As more and more people seek out the unique, the different and the experiential, Costa Rica is swiftly rising in popularity, thanks to a bevy of unique traits that attract those who want to fully experience their holiday destination.

For those wanting to steer clear of Disneyland-type tourist traps and all those who want a cultural experience along with plenty of adventure and R&R, Costa Rica is ideal. The sheer diversity of the country, the ancient history, culture and incredibly organic essence, means vacations here are never superficial.

Costa Rica has a way of capturing the heart of all those who visit, so go ahead and discover more of this incredible country and come see for yourself why Costa Rica rates among the world’s best countries for truly immersive travel experiences.

Each of Costa Rica’s regions offers very distinctive experiences

Homogenous landscapes, cities besieged by international fast-food chains and glitzy hotels are the usual calling cards of mainstream travel destinations, the kind you could just about interchange. Costa Rica, however, showcases the kind of distinctiveness that’s revered among discerning travelers looking for a multi-dimensional vacation. Want to have an incentive to not just travel to a new country but travel through it, too? Then Costa Rica is for you!

Unique volcanic travel experienceEverything about Costa Rica is unique and unmistakable: from the country’s volcanic peaks framed by luscious primordial rain forests to its exceptional wildlife, its gorgeous authentic villages, cuisine and architecture and the unparalleled friendliness of its people.

Moreover, every corner of the country displays its own distinct flavor and offers its own specific attractions and, given its compact size, even on a short Costa Rica adventure vacation you can soak up an array of different sights: hike up an active volcano, search for sloths and jaguars in the jungle, surf and snorkel its turquoise waters and have the option of remoteness and modern luxuries, depending on where you go. So leave the same-same destinations behind and come discover a country that’ll blow you away with its diversity.

Costa Rica spearheaded the ‘eco-friendly tourism’ movement

The environmental impact of travel is fast becoming a real concern for a lot of people and it’s in this regard that Costa Rica shines resplendent. Considered the poster child for ecotourism, Costa Rica made environmental preservation a priority before the concept became a worldwide trend.

Responsible tourists love knowing their impact, on their planet, is kept at a minimum when they visit Costa Rica, a country that rates its lodges and resorts on the merits of their eco-friendliness. The commitment to preserve its unique wilderness and wildlife is what has created a country that is, for the most part, a natural playground. Immersive travel experiences in Costa Rica mean you can dive into stunning forests, unspoiled nature reserves and pristine waters that lack the kind of pollution found elsewhere. Celebrated the world over for offering very organic travel experiences, Costa Rica boasts luxurious and rustic eco-resorts that are discretely built in glorious wilderness, offers eco-friendly adventure sports aimed at enjoying the startling nature (without spoiling it) and serves up fresh local produce at every turn. One of the most bio diverse nations on earth, as well as one of its most conscientious: Costa Rica personifies the best of ecotourism and you can indulge here guilt-free, knowing your own outstanding adventure makes but the tiniest of impacts.

Costa Rica is safe and peaceful – you can travel extensively

Latin America, as a whole, has suffered greatly over the past few decades due to a few countries making headline news for all the wrong reasons. Yet among political and social unrest in the region, Costa Rica has always remained a beacon of peace and stability. Unlike many other countries worldwide, the whole country is free and safe for you to visit: there isn’t a corner of Costa Rica that’s out of bounds for foreigners due to lack of safety. You can visit Costa Rica and not worry about a military coup (the country has no army!) or social revolution. This is one of the safest and happiest countries on earth, so you needn’t lock yourself up in some swanky resort and shut out any domestic problem but are free to explore far and wide, meet locals and discover the most remote corners of the country.

Costa Rica offers seclusion, remoteness and adventure – at one with nature

Immersive travel, nowadays, is synonymous with experiential travel in natural surroundings. Today’s modern adventurer wants to ‘do’ stuff rather than just admire it from afar and local travel specialists agree that this recent change in travel focus is not just restricted to the young generation: specialty adventure travel is fast becoming Costa Rica’s most sought-after highlight, for young adventurers, multi-generational families and honeymooners alike. Tourists head here to hike and bike and whitewater raft, to zip line, snorkel and SCUBA dive. They come here for wildlife spotting and volcano climbing and, above all, they come here to escape the hectic routine of their everyday and very modern lives. They want to feel at one with nature, they want to fall asleep to the call of howler monkeys and toucans and want to partake in activities that will revitalize their souls and inject some heart-thumping adventure into their lives.

Want an immersive and interactive travel experience that’s totally out of the mainstream tourism? Costa Rica is it! Visit our adventure travel page for inspiration and contact us to know more about unique, action-packed adventures in one of the world’s most spectacular countries.

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A Costa Rica Vacation: The Best Time to Do What, When, and Where

Glorious surfing and snorkeling, incredible wildlife watching and the best adventure sports makes for an incredible Costa Rica vacation.

A Costa Rica vacationPlanning a fabulous adventure vacation in Costa Rica can seem a bit overwhelming at first. A quick research soon revealing that the sheer variety in micro-climates in the country, as well as superb destinations, serves up a head-spinning array of options.

Yet in reality, the best way to think of it is like this: no matter what time of the year YOU can travel to Costa Rica, it will always be the best time somewhere in the country. This spells great news for the many who don’t have a lot of leeway in when they can take their yearly vacation. Should your trip be restricted to, say, school holidays or your company’s scheduled yearly closing time, then rest assured you can always find an idyllic corner of Costa Rica where the weather is at its best, leaving you excellent options for wildlife spotting and adventure sports.

Yet should you have more freedom to choose ‘the right time to travel’ and wish, instead, to hone in on your favorite activity or destination, then read on and find out the very best time of year to travel to Costa Rica and what you can see and do when you get there.

Best time for beach vacations

Crystal clear skies, calm seas and manageable temperatures: that’s the usual criteria one considers when planning a beach vacation, anywhere. In Costa Rica, the best months to bag all three are between December and April on the Pacific Coast and September and October on the Caribbean coast. The northwest Guanacaste province, in particular, just about guarantees dry days in January, February and March so if it’s ‘postcard perfect’ beach days you’re after, you’d be well advised to plan your trip for the beginning of the year. And when it comes to the eastern Caribbean side, do note that this is, generally speaking, the much rainier side of the country, so you should expect some rain even during the driest months.

Best time for wildlife spotting

There isn’t a single month in the year when you won’t be able to admire Costa Rica’s exceptional wildlife, the only differences depending on specific species and locations. Turtle nesting starts in earnest in many spots throughout the country in June and will continue until mass arribadas, phenomenal and mesmerizing affairs, occur between October and November. July and August sees pods of humpback whales take up residence in the Golfo Dulce, as they migrate from the freezing waters of Antarctica during the southern hemisphere winter although northern humpback whales can be spotted in January, a month when the Pacific coast showcases its four turtles species too: hawksbill, Olive Ridley, green and leatherback. By and large, rain season (July-August) is the best time to explore the luscious rainforests of Costa Rica in search of wildlife. As the rains bring the wilderness to life, the animals come out in astronomical numbers.

Best time for adventure sports

Rivers start flowing rapidly from June and the subsequent months are considered the best for rafting, continuing towards the end of the green season, all the way to December. The second half of the year really is ideal for adrenaline-pumping river action and, considering wildlife spotting is also prime at this time, it is perfect for comprehensive active vacations, in general. Scuba diving and snorkeling are best done during the driest months, for maximum visibility, whilst canyoning, rappelling and kayaking are also sought-after between June and December, when rivers are flowing just right. Too much rain, or not enough, can affect river based sports here although there are spectacular areas, especially the river system on the Pacuare in the Limon Province (considered the best rafting river in the country) that facilitate active vacations all year long.

Best for smaller crowds

Whilst the Caribbean dries up in September and October, the Pacific side – the most visited in Costa Rica – enjoys its wettest and quietest season. If you wish to have the most popular attractions seemingly all to yourself, this is definitely the time to go. Yes, you’ll have to contend with some heavy (yet short lived) rainfall and you may have restricted access to some of the more remote regions (like Corcovado, for example but if you’re willing to wait out the rains for a couple of hours a day, you will enjoy an unrivalled tranquil vacation in some of the luscious wilderness of all, both on the Pacific coastline and the central mountain range. The other upside of travel in rain season (also called green season) is that the wildlife is out in force so you’ll see plenty more monkeys and birds than you would in dry season.

Best time for less expensive vacations

Rain season is considered off-tourist time in Costa Rica, however, this is still a very rewarding time to travel here and this is now reflected in the prices. Price differences nowadays between peak dry season and rain season (in July and August) are not nearly as dramatic as they used to be, although you will still find better last-minute deals and smaller crowds if traveling here mid-year. What does make a huge difference, instead, is traveling to Costa Rica outside local holiday times, which are at Christmas and Easter week. The best value for money months tend to be in the shoulder season (May-June, and again Sept-November) a time when the climate can still be more than perfect yet crowds, and prices, are still quite low.

Summary: One of the most amazing aspects of Costa Rica is that, despite its relatively small size, it boasts such a variety of landscapes and ecosystems that creates a very complex countrywide climate. The upside is that, generally speaking, you can travel here at any time of year, remembering that the Pacific side is dry and busy during the winter and that the Caribbean is, also generally speaking, the much wetter side at any time. This idyllic tropical country enjoys dreamy temps all year long and offers so much for the curious and active explorer that makes traveling here simply magic no matter when!

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