costa rica volcano

Costa Rica is one of the world’s most heavenly locales when you want to vacation in a lush, tropical destination. The country is famous for its dazzling beaches, abundant wildlife, verdant rainforest, and welcoming people.

Accommodations and Travel Around Costa Rica

Here are some practical travel tips to make the most of your Costa Rican holiday. Plan to book your trip six months in advance for the peak season and two months ahead for the off-season. You’ll find an array of accommodations including:

  • Luxury hotels
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • Ecolodges
  • Resorts
  • Vacation rentals
  • Homestays
  • Villas
  • Educational and research facilities

Most of the hotels known around the globe offer accommodations near major airports. Some of the top hotels in Central America are located in Costa Rica, including a charming, Victorian-style mansion close to many excellent restaurants, and trendy, boutique hotels in the rainforest. Ecolodges must adhere to certification standards and may consist of bungalows in the rainforest, cabins on a riverbank where white water rafting is a favorite activity, or near a volcano.

Puntarenas and Guanacaste are famous for their luxurious beach resorts, including several that are all-inclusive. Some are specialty golf, spa, or family resort hotels. Most of the vacation rentals are in the seaside town of Tamarindo and near Manuel Antonio National Park. The rentals are in private homes or in condo complexes. Reserving a homestay is an outstanding way to learn Spanish, cook Costa Rican cuisine, and spend time with local families. Enjoy activities like visiting a coffee farm, guided tours, or horseback riding.

Most of the homestays are in more rural areas, so it’s a perfect option for travelers that have rented a car. Make sure when you’re planning your vacation to check auto insurance quotes to get the best rate. The Costa Rican Organization for Tropical Studies is a composite of scientific facilities and universities that conduct research projects. Visitors don’t take part in the research but may attend lectures and go on nature walks or hikes. Dorm-style rooms are available, and meals are included.

Things To Do and Places To See

In Costa Rica, a soda is a small, family-owned restaurant, and you’ll find them throughout the country. The cuisine is diverse with international and regional options. Bakeries and cafes are abundant and are another excellent option. Lunch is usually served between noon and 3 p.m., and dinner is served from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. You’ll find that some of the restaurant kitchens are closed between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The country is one of the biggest producers of coffee and cocoa beans and bananas, and a visit to a farm can show you how chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla are made.

One of Costa Rica’s most spectacular attractions is the volcanoes. Arenal erupted periodically until 2010. There are nature trails to hike that is close to the volcano. Irazu is famous for the amazing lake in hues of blue and green that’s within one of the craters. Another crater lake is located in Poas Volcano. Monteverde offers tours of the rainforest, coffee plantation, and cloud forest; and is one of the best places in the country for coffee.

Tortuguero National Park is on the Caribbean Coast and is one of the loveliest and most peaceful places in the country. The jungle is the habitat of sloths, monkeys, and tropical birds, and manatees are found in the coastal waters. Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula is a remote spot with hiking trails, lush jungle, and excellent dive spots. Puerto Viejo is a fashionable location for backpackers and expats. The surf, gorgeous beaches, and festive atmosphere attracts tourists as well as locals.

A surfing vacation isn’t complete without a visit to Saint Theresa, a small town with a few places to eat, some surf shops, and hostels. Most everyone comes for the surfing, and usually for an extended stay. Baru National Wildlife Refuge has walking trails, incredible beaches, and walking and canopy tours. The La Paz Waterfall Gardens is home to big cats and reptiles and features an aviary and hummingbird and butterfly gardens.

Rainmaker Aerial Walkway was the first of its kind to be constructed in Central America. Part of the walkway takes visitors 20 stories above the trees. The tour features two meals. A trip to Costa Rica isn’t complete without a zip line tour of the rainforest. A variety of companies around the country offer tours of the rainforest canopy. Jaco is the place to head to for adventurous daytime activities and nighttime party atmosphere. The town was once known as a prime surfing location, but now is famous for deep sea fishing, ATV tours, rafting, horseback riding, and boating.

Tips For Travelers Visiting Costa Rica

Weight restrictions apply to some airlines so only take what you need. Pack enough prescription medications to last for the duration of your trip. Check with your doctor about any necessary vaccinations you may need before you depart. Make sure your passport is up-to-date and check the visa requirements before you leave home.

You’ll have to show proof of a return ticket when you arrive at the airport, since the length of time you’re allowed to stay in the country varies. Making a copy of your passport to carry with you when you’re traveling around the country is an excellent suggestion.

The tax rate in Costa Rica is 13 percent for each purchase, including restaurants. However, gratuities are appreciated for excellent service. A departure tax is included with some airline tickets. If the tax isn’t included, each visitor must pay $29 at departure.

Although Costa Rica is a safe country to visit, you should take precautions that you would when traveling. Leave items that have sentimental value of expensive items at home, so you don’t run the risk of them being lost. Don’t leave luggage and other belongings unattended, and don’t venture into isolated areas alone. A special force of tourist police is available to assist visitors.

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