By The Non Fiction Author
Published by The Non Fiction Author
Copyright ©2017 The Non Fiction Author
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All pictures are held by commercial license and may not be duplicated by anyone without express permission.
Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
The information provided in this book is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. The author’s books are only meant to provide the reader with the basics travel guidelines of a certain location, without any warranties regarding the accuracy of the information and advice provided. Each traveler should do their own research before departing.
It’s a place where rainforest hikes, rushing white water-rapids, world-class surfing, and beachside relaxation all come together to embrace the country’s motto of “pura vida” or the pure life. Welcome to Costa Rica, the small Central American country that certainly makes up for its lack of size with plenty of adventures, beautiful beaches, and warm, friendly people who are ready to welcome travelers from all walks of life to their little slice of paradise.
Located in Central American and bordered by the Pacific Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is a fairly small country with a total area of around 51,100 square kilometers (19,730 square miles). It shares its northern border with Nicaragua and its southern border with Panama. While it may be lacking in size, the country more than makes up for it with its impressive biodiversity, including lush rain forests and over 500,000 plant and animal species! In fact, Costa Rica is known to be one of the most biologically dense places in the world.
Adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts flock to this Central American country every year, and with the wide array of various terrains, there’s definitely something for every type of traveler looking to explore the various beautiful landscapes. Here you’ll find three mountain ranges running through the country, as well as over one hundred volcanic cones, some of which are major active volcanoes. Because the geography in Costa Rica can vary from coastal plains, to rugged mountains, to thick rain forests, there’s plenty to keep even those adrenaline seeking travelers content.
If you’re a fan of outdoor activities that bring a sense of fun and adventure to your vacation, then Costa Rica also has plenty to offer. Try zip-lining through the rain forest canopy, hiking one of the many brisk, high-altitude trails, or stroll along one of the national parks and take in all of the amazing wildlife. Since the country is considered to be the adventure –tourism and eco-tourism capital of Central America, chances are that eager travelers are going to find plenty of things to see and do while spending time in the country. Travelers who are fans of wildlife will marvel at the sheer number of eccentric species found in Costa Rica as well. Keep a look out for the keel-billed toucans as they perch from the treetops as well as the beautiful scarlet macaws. Perhaps you’ll be able to spot the shy sloth hiding on a branch or hear the loud, shrill calls of the howler monkey. And don’t forget about the marine life when you venture to the shores of the country. Here you’ll find a wide range of tropical fish, dolphins, sharks, whales and stingrays, making for a perfect day of snorkeling or scuba diving.
Adventure, culture, and a huge, diverse realm of wildlife and jungles await the Costa Rican traveler…not to mention some spectacular beaches. In this guide, you’ll find a comprehensive look at the country, it’s popular tourist destinations, it’s culture, and even a few places to travel “off the beaten path” for those looking for a thrilling trip to remember. So now it’s time lace up your hiking boots, put on your sunscreen, grab your adventure gear, and dive into all of the wonders and excitement Costa Rica has to offer!
When it comes to planning your exciting trip to Costa Rica, there are many things you’re going to need to know before you arrive in the country, such as what region you’ll want to visit, what the currency is, and if there are any sort of cultural traditions that you should take note to respect while staying there. This section of the guide will help you get more of a general insight as to the basic things you should know about Costa Rica in order to be able to plan a successful, safe, and exciting trip.
Regions of Costa Rica:
There are six general regions of Costa Rica to consider when it comes to planning what part of the country you want to see, as well as what activities you want to do. The regions will be covered more extensively in an upcoming section, so this is just a brief overview of where the regions are and what you may find if you go there.
• Caribbean Costa Rica- This area of the country covers the entire length that borders the Caribbean Sea. It tends to be the least visited area of Costa Rica due to its remote locations and thick jungles. However, further south there are some great, typically uncrowded beaches and some coral reefs for snorkeling.
• Central Valley- This is where you’ll find the capital city of San Jose as well as the majority of the Costa Rican population. The outlying areas outside of the capital are known for their lush landscapes and rolling hills and it’s also the country’s primary agricultural region. There are also plenty of national parks as well as four volcanic peaks in the Central Valley region.
• Central Pacific- This area is one of the more touristy parts of the country with ample beaches, accommodations catering to tourists, and national parks. Here you’ll find the country’s highest peak, Mount Chirripo.
• Guanacaste- Located in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua, this area has some of the most popular beach destinations in the country. Here you’ll find plenty of beach accommodations as well as pristine surfing conditions and plenty of national parks.
• The Northern Plains- Lying to the north of San Jose, this inland region is the most sparsely populated area of the country, yet has plenty to offer. Here you’ll find hot springs, rainforests, cloud forests, and the two most active volcanoes in Costa Rica, Rincon de la Vieja and Arenal.
• South Pacific- This is the most remote part of the country, as it’s primarily undeveloped and known for its hot, humid weather and dense rainforests. There are plenty of national parks and rugged coastline, as well as nature lodges for those travelers who are up for an eco-tourism adventure.
When to Visit:
Aside from the drier region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica can see rains all year round since it’s a tropical climate. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more ideal times to travel to the country. The actual dry season lasts from mid-December until April. This is when peak tourist season is, as travelers will find plenty of sunshine and the perfect weather conditions for lounging at the beach or trekking through a rain forest. Those looking to save a bit of money and avoid the crowds should plan their travels between May and November, as this is the rainy season. So as long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet, the prices for accommodations and just about anything else related to local tourism is going to be low. The months of June and July tend to see a slight break in the rain, however, and if you plan a trip during those months you’ll get to see the forests come alive with vibrant green foliage from the summer rains.
It’s also important to keep in mind that temperatures and climate can vary from region to region. If you’re heading for the thick forests of the Caribbean Sea Coast or the Northern plains, expect high humidity and temperatures that range between the 70s to 80s (Fahrenheit) or about 21 to 31 Celsius. Lower humidity levels can be found in the North Pacific region, but there the temperatures have been known to soar into the high 90s (Fahrenheit) or up to 37 Celsius.
Although some travelers may want to risk avoiding the crowds by opting not to travel during the peak tourist season, there are actually quite a few advantages to being in Costa Rica during the dry season if you don’t mind busy beaches and other tourist destinations. Not only will you see abundant wildlife in its natural habitat, but there are plenty of fiestas, live music shows, dancing, and activities such as bullfights held around the country, but especially in the San Jose area.
• Travel Tip: If you plan on going to Costa Rica during the busy dry season (December-April) be sure to plan on booking your accommodations several months in advance. If not, you may find that most places will be fully booked due to the amount of tourists that do visit the tourist hot-spots each year.
There are several airports located in Costa Rica, so it depends really on what airline you’re flying with and where your final destination inside the country will be. The major airport in the country is Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO), which is located close to San Jose as well as the nearby cities of Heredia and Alajuela. Many major carriers have flights daily to this airport, but keep in mind that when leaving the airport upon you exiting the country, there is a 32 USD exit fee. Another airport to consider, especially if you intend to travel to the Pacific Northwest coast is the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR). A few major airlines fly through here, and if you’re coming from the US or Canada, there are connecting flights to LIR through Los Angeles, Charlotte, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Newark, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary, and also through London in the UK. Another airport option is the Tobias Bolanos International Airport (SYQ) located about fifteen to twenty minutes from San Jose. This airport is more of a domestic one, however, and is a good choice if you’re looking to fly to certain destinations within the country.
Requirements to Enter Costa Rica:
Travelers from most countries will not need a visa in order to enter Costa Rica; however it’s still important to check to make sure that you’re country’s passport enables you to go without needing to apply for a visitor’s visa. If your country of origin does not need a visa to enter the country, there are a few requirements to still keep in mind. Be sure that your passport is current and will not be expiring before you intend to leave Costa Rica. Also, if you are traveling from a South American country or a sub-Saharan country of Africa, you’ll need to have a Yellow Fever vaccination as well as proof of your vaccination with a Yellow Fever certificate. Be sure it’s been at least ten days since you’ve had the shot in order for the vaccine to be effective. At risk countries for Yellow Fever include: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, and Venezuela. If you’ve traveled to or are coming from any of those countries, or any others that may appear on a more updated list and do not have proof of a Yellow Fever vaccine, you won’t be allowed to enter Costa Rica.
Religion and Culture:
Costa Rica is a country rich in culture and history. Religion also plays a role in the culture of the country, although it tends to be a bit more relaxed as far as the traditions of a religious culture and practices.
You’ll find that the national religion of Costa Rica is Catholicism, with around seventy-six percent of the population belonging to the Catholic Church. Although you’ll find that most tend to go to church mostly during major holidays like Easter and Christmas, there are still those who also practice a devout following as well. You’ll find a Catholic church in almost every town in the country, and many communities are named after patron saints, including the capital of San Jose, which is named for Saint Joseph. Ceremonies honoring these saints occur usually once a year Here are a few of the religious celebrations you’ll find in Costa Rica for those travelers who are interested them or who are followers of the Catholic faith and would like to take in some of the cultural ways another country celebrates their faith:
• Day of San Jose (March 19th) – This is the celebration for Saint Joseph and is held in all neighborhoods and towns named after him.
• San Isidro Labrador’s Day (May 15th) – This a celebration honoring the saint of farmers and farm animals where blessings are given for the prosperity of livestock and crops.
• La Negrita Day (August 2nd) – Costa Rica’s patron saint, La Negrita is honored on this day, typically with a pilgrimage to the Basilica in Cartago.
• San Ramon Day (August 30th) – Held in the city of San Ramon, this day’s festivities include a parade of saints, music, and dancing.
Although Costa Rica was once occupied by the Spanish, the country was not as exploited as say Peru or Mexico, where Spanish Conquistadores were looking for gold and silver. Those who remained in Costa Rica left behind the hard worth ethic and relatively humble lifestyle you’ll find in the country today. Costa Ricans have managed to life peaceful lives for most of the country’s modern existence with little civil uproar or unrest. In fact, Costa Rica has been without an army or military presence since the 1940s, giving it a sort of neutral Switzerland type status in a region where neighboring countries have had their share of political and civil turmoil. The country has also topped the list of the happiest nation in the world as well and the “greenest” country in the world several times, so there is definitely a positive vibe to be found while visiting here and taking in all of the culture the country has to offer.
Although Costa Rica doesn’t have too much of their own creative music scene, locals do love traditional Latin music like Bachata, Meringue, and Salsa. The younger crowds gravitate more towards genres like Jamaican Reggae or Latino rhythms mixed with reggae, techno, and other dance music types. There is also a heavy Afro-Caribbean musical influence on the eastern side of the country. Here you may find styles such as Calypso, Rumba, Soca, and of course, Reggae. A popular traditional instrument of Costa Rica is the marimba, which is a member of the percussion family. It consists of a series of different sized wooden key struck with mallets. These mallets produce different notes, and you’re likely to see this traditional instrument at local festivals.
Because farming and agriculture plays an important role in everyday life in Costa Rica, travelers will find that there are plenty of rodeos or Topes. They are especially popular in the Guanacaste region, where much of the country’s farming is located. Almost every small town in the area hosts a rodeo, usually in February through April. There’s also a larger scale rodeo held in San Jose with events such as calf-roping, horse maneuvering, bullfighting, and milking and herding competitions. So as far as the local culture goes, if you’re looking for a day off from sunbathing at the beach of trekking through the rainforest, there are still plenty of fun cultural activities to experience in Costa Rica too.
Key Holidays and Festivals:
While there are plenty of celebrations and festival happening year round in Costa Rica, here are a few of the more important or larger celebrations travelers can check out while visiting the country:
• Santa Cruz Fiestas (Week of January 15th) – This celebration is to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas. It’s held in the town of Santa Cruz in the Guanacaste region and usually offers a wide variety of entertainment, including folk dancing, bullfighting, and traditional music.
• San Isidro del General Fiestas (First Week of February) – This is an agricultural fair held in San Isidro del Genreal in San Jose. There are livestock competitions, flower shows, and bullfighting activities.
• Dia de Los Boyeros (Second Sunday in March) – This celebration is more famously known as the day of the oxcart driver. Usually there are traditional parades full of vibrant colors and art, including beautifully painted oxcarts.
• Holy Week (Week Before Easter) – Costa Ricans are serious about their Holy Week, but not necessarily in the religious sense. This is when most locals travel and go on holiday, so if you plan on visiting the country during this time, be sure to book your hotel well in advance, as even the smaller, lesser known hotels tend to get fully booked.
• Juan Santamaria Day (April 11th) – This day honors the nation’s national hero, Juan Santamaria. Celebrations are typically held throughout the country and include things like parades, fireworks, music, and dancing.
• Mango Fiestas (Late July) – Those travelers who love mangos will want to check out the various activities in Alajuela, which is known as the “City of Mangos.” It’s an annual celebration with plenty of music, craft shows, parades, and of course, all things mango.
• Independence Day (September 15th) – This is when Costa Ricans celebrate their independence from Spain. There are various celebrations held throughout the country.
• Dia de los Inocente (November 2nd) – Must like Mexico’s famed “Day of the Dead,” this is a day where Costa Ricans honor and pay respect to lost loved ones.
• Festival de las Luces (First Week of December) – The month-long celebration of Christmas begins with this celebration held in San Jose. You’ll find plenty of Christmas lights, fireworks, and live concerts throughout the week.
There are plenty of other celebrations and festivities held throughout the year in Costa Rica. The best way to determine which ones to experience is to first figure out what month you’re going to be visiting the country, then research any of the numerous fiestas that may be held during that month.
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. Travelers will find that Spanish is used in most local newspapers as well as to conduct business. However, English is also widely used in most areas, especially in tourist destinations. Even though most Costa Rican can understand and speak English, it’s always a nice gesture trying to speak Spanish to them, no matter how bad you are at it. They will appreciate the effort, and may even try to help you with your Spanish. Also, even if they know English, most tend to be shy about it, afraid to speak in English because of being afraid of how they may sound or say something the wrong way. So it’s just an overall good idea to know at least some simple Spanish phrases before heading for the country. The Costa Ricans (Ticos) also have their own dialect version of Spanish, so learning a few of the differences between Costa Rican Spanish and the language as it’s spoken as say in Spain can come in handy as well. It’s easier than it may seem, however, because Costa Rican Spanish is considered to be one of the more simple dialects to learn. Here are a few tips when it comes to Costa Rican Spanish:
• “Tiquismos”- These are the unique words used by Costa Ricans due to adding the suffix of “ticos” to the end of a typical Spanish word. For example, instead of saying “blanquito,” which means small or white, Costa Ricans would say “blanquitico.” The meaning of the word is the same, it just has “tico” added to the end of it.
• Non-Castillian Spanish- This means that Costa Ricans don’t lisp their C’s and Z’s like Spaniards, nor do they use the “vostros” person. Instead, they use the older, more antiquated form of “vos” as well as the more formal “usted.”
Visit: http://www.Shakespir.com/books/view/718121 to purchase this book to continue reading. Show the author you appreciate their work!
It’s a place where rainforest hikes, rushing white water-rapids, world-class surfing, and beachside relaxation all come together to embrace the country’s motto of “pura vida” or the pure life. Welcome to Costa Rica, the small Central American country that certainly makes up for its lack of size with plenty of adventures, beautiful beaches, and warm, friendly people who are ready to welcome travelers from all walks of life to their little slice of paradise. Located in Central American and bordered by the Pacific Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is a fairly small country with a total area of around 51,100 square kilometers (19,730 square miles). It shares its northern border with Nicaragua and its southern border with Panama. While it may be lacking in size, the country more than makes up for it with its impressive biodiversity, including lush rain forests and over 500,000 plant and animal species! In fact, Costa Rica is known to be one of the most biologically dense places in the world. Adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts flock to this Central American country every year, and with the wide array of various terrains, there’s definitely something for every type of traveler looking to explore the various beautiful landscapes. Here you’ll find three mountain ranges running through the country, as well as over one hundred volcanic cones, some of which are major active volcanoes. Because the geography in Costa Rica can vary from coastal plains, to rugged mountains, to thick rain forests, there’s plenty to keep even those adrenaline seeking travelers content.