Travel to Costa Rica

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 All our Costa Rica tours


PRESENTATION

Costa Rica flagCosta Rica is Central America's special jewel. It has a reputation for being an oasis of calm among its turbulent neighbours, but there's more to Costa Rica than a stable statusquo. The country's natural attractions, wildlife and reputation for enlightened conservation draw tourists from all over the world, and the ticos know it. Successive governments have made a real effort to preserve the country's image as an ecotourism heaven, making Costa Rica one of the best places to experience the tropics naturally and with minimal impact.

But if trudging through knee-deep streams for hours on end to catch a glimpse of some lazy three-toed tree-hanger isn't your idea of a goodtime, don't write Costa Rica off as a waste of 51,100 sq km (19,929 sqmi). Not surprisingly for a country which is mostly coastline, Costa Rica has some of the region's best surfing, beaches galore and a climate that encourages slothfulness in all species.


FACTS

Full country name: Republic of Costa Rica
Area: 51,100 sq km (19,929 sq mi)
Population: 3.8 million
Capital city: San Jose (pop 340,000)
People: 96% Spanish descent, 2% African descent, 1% indigenous Indians, 1% Chinese
Language: Spanish, Creole English and Indian dialects
Religion: 85% Roman Catholic, 14% Protestant
Government: Democracy

GDP: US$16.6 billion
GDP per head: US$4300
Annual growth: 1%
Inflation: 11.6%
Major industries: Tourism, electronics, coffee, bananas, sugar, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products,
Major trading partners: USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Visas: Visa requirements for Costa Rica change rapidly so check with your consulate before leaving. Currently citizens of the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama, Romania, South Korea, Uruguay, the UK, France and most other Western European countries do not need a visa for a 90-day stay. Citizens of Australia, Ireland, Iceland, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Vatican City and most of Eastern Europe and Latin America can stay 30 days without a visa. If you do need a visa, it will cost approximately US$20 from a Costa Rican consulate.
Health risks: Dengue fever, malaria, low risk of cholera and hepatitis
Time: GMT/UTC minus 6 hours
Electricity: 110V, 60 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

When to Go
As far as climate goes, the late-December to mid-April dry season is the most pleasant. But of course, this is when everyone else goes to Costa Rica, so prices are up and hotels are full. Although some roads are impassable in the wet season, it's still worthwhile to visit at this time, and things are much quieter. April, May and mid-October to mid-December should give you the best of both worlds.


LAND & CLIMATE

Region: Central America

Neighbours: Costa Rica is bordered by the Caribbean Sea on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the south and west. Nicaragua lies on the northern border, and Panama is on the southeast border.

Size Comparison: Less than half the size of Guatemala

Physical Features
Rugged highlands cover most of Costa Rica, with several mountain ranges extending nearly the entire length of the country. These are the Cordillera de Talamanca, Cordillera Central, and Cordillera de Guanacaste. An active volcano, Volcán Irazú, is one of the highest peaks (3,432 metres/11,260 feet). At 3,819 metres (12,530 feet), Cerro Chirripó is the country’s highest point. A plateau, the fertile Meseta Central, lies between the ranges. Wide lowlands extend along the almost unindented Caribbean coast. The narrower lowlands along the Pacific coast are broken by a number of bays, including the large Bahía de Coronado.

Major Rivers and Lakes
Costa Rica’s only large river is the Río San Juan, which forms part of the country’s border with Nicaragua before emptying into the Caribbean.

Weather and Climate
The climate of Costa Rica ranges from tropical on the coastal plains to temperate in the interior highlands. Average annual temperatures range from 31.7°C (89°F) on the coast to 16.7°C (62°F) inland. The long rainy season lasts from April or May to December. Annual precipitation in the country averages from 3,000 to 3,500 millimetres (from 120 to 140 inches).

Environmental Issues
Costa Rica's land is protected by one of the most ambitious conservation programs in Central America: 13.7 percent (1997) of the country's total area is protected in parks and other reserves, compared with 7.4 percent (1997) in Nicaragua and 9.9 percent (1997) in Honduras. Costa Rica was one of the first, and most active, countries to participate in debt-for-nature swaps, which cancel some national debt in exchange for the protection of a specified amount of land from environmental degradation. In an effort to bolster its economy while remaining responsible to the environment, Costa Rica has also established a booming ecotourism business. This form of tourism encourages travelers to learn more about the country's natural wonders and to respect the environment in the course of their exploration.

Despite Costa Rica's efforts to protect its valuable forest resources, much of what lies outside the country's protected reserves is subject to deforestation. Land is cleared for cattle ranching and for harvesting valuable tropical timber for export. In addition, because some of Costa Rica's protected lands are privately owned, their protection from future deforestation is not guaranteed. Although Costa Rica was once almost entirely covered in tropical forests, forests now make up only 24.4 percent (1995) of the country's total land area. The annual rate of deforestation is 3.02 percent (1990-1996)—the second highest in Central America, after El Salvador.

Deforestation places Costa Rica's rich biodiversity in danger. The country's location on the cusp between North and South America, and its abundance of tropical forests, make it home to a great variety of species, many of them rare and threatened. Deforestation also contributes to the country's problematic rate of soil erosion.

Costa Rica is party to international treaties concerning biodiversity, climate change, endangered species, hazardous wastes, marine dumping, and wetlands.


LINKS DIRECTORY

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES
We propose you 6 adventures (4 to 15 days) throughout the nation and the year.

Écotourisme au Costa Rica
A true eco-adventure! Discover face to face the fauna and the flora of Costa Rica: a small country, home to a welcoming and friendly people, sheltering the most significant biodiversity in the world: 10% of the world's butterflies, 830 bird species, ocelots and jaguars, monkeys, tapirs, frogs, heliconias and bromeliads, 1300 orchid species, 2000 tree species... What a nature! Here, you'll have the chance to see, feel and hear nature more than anywhere else on the globe. In a typical trip, the traveler encounters at least: a 150 different birds and 8 to 15 species of mammals including three species of monkeys; not to mention the trees and plants per tens and hundreds! Ecotourism is not only about fauna and flora, but also about people, culture, history and pleasure of the encounters and active adventures. Ecotourism is about "all living things" and humans are indeed part of this!
In the company of our naturalist guides, come see, feel and hear Costa Rica!
Tour: San Jose > Poas > Monteverde > Monteverde/Arenal > Arenal Volcano > Private preserve > Primary Forest > San Jose > NP La Amistad > NP Corcovado > San Jose > Airport.
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Eco-Adventure in Costa Rica, Volcanoes & Reserves - CRB 8 days
Circuit guidé au Costa rica Throughout this journey we explore the cloud forests of Monteverde, active volcanoes and protected National Parks and reserves.

An ecotour towards the beauties of Costa Rica, a small country sheltering one of the worlds greatest biodiversity!

Tour: San Jose > Poas > Monteverde > Monteverde / Arenal > Volcano Arenal > Rara Avis or Selve Verde reserves> Primary jungle > San Jose .
The Costa Rica Tour (for birders only!) - CRC 12 days
Ornithologie au Costa Rica
AWith only 51 000 km2, Costa Rica comprises twelve life zones, four mountain ranges (reaching 3820 m.) and coasts on the Pacific and the Caribbean sea, all under the tropics where the marine currents and winds meet; truly a "diversity manufacture"! More than 830 bird species inhabit this territory nearly 200 times smaller than Canada. All the major groups and families are represented: the jays, thrushes & robins, pigeons, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, woodcreepers, hunters and kingfishers, ibis, egrets and herons, toucans, macaws and motmots, boobies, petrels and terns, orioles, warblers & tanagers, the resplendent quetzal, the magnificent frigates... The tree wattled bell bird you say? An incredible avifauna in a territory one fifth the size of UK! Our birding guides, true specialists of this Costa Rican avifauna, will amaze you while sharing their knowledge of the species and the habitats where they will find, identify and imitate the birds you have been dreaming of! From the capital to the coasts, through the high mountains and most ecosystems in the nation, come see and hear the birds of Costa Rica on an adaptable journey filled with encounters and cultural discoveries!
Tour: Liberia > Rincon de la Vieja > Monteverde > Arenal > Selva Verde > San Jose > Cerro de la Muerte > Corcovado > Durika > Carara.
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Scuba diving and Volcanoes of Costa Rica - CRD 8 days
Plongée sous marine au Costa Rica
The Gulf of Papagayo is widely recognized as the premiere diving destination in Costa Rica. With its sun swept beaches and rocky offshore islands, this area offers a variety of diving adventures for all levels of scuba divers. Diving on volcanic pinnacles offers white-tipped reef sharks, bull sharks, giant Manta Rays, eagle rays, diamond stingrays, octopus, and huge schools of tropical fish. With over 40 dive sites to choose from, the diver will enjoy this area many days in a row without diving twice in the same site. The gulf is also home to many types of dolphins often seen playing in the wakes behind the boat. During whale calving season (Jan. Feb. & Mar.) the piercing calls of humpback whales and pilot whales can be heard under the water. This great tour will also bring you to explore the most active volcanoes in the country for very interesting hikes, on and around them, to observe an abundant and often typical flora and fauna accompanied by a naturalist guide. From the fires of Arenal, glowing red at night, to the clear waters of the Papagayo Gulf, witness the geological and natural beauties of Costa Rica.
Tour: Liberia > Playa Del Coco four days diving tour > Rincon de la Vieja Volcano > Arenal Volcano > Poas Volcano > San José.
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Rafting in Costa Rica, an active tour! - CRR 6 days
Rafting au Costa RicaWhite-water rafting is the ultimate combination of beauty and thrill, an ideal way to savor Costa Rica's natural splendour, diverse ecosystems, and exotic wildlife alternating from the tranquility of drifting lazily to the sheer excitement of hurtling through exploding white water. Among the most scenic class III-IV rivers in the world, the Rio Pacuare offers an adventurous ride filled with stunning natural beauty and exciting rapids. This is the best river for an in-depth immersion in nature. Rio Sarapiqui (class III) runs along the eastern flank of the Cordillera Central and drops to the Caribbean lowlands in a crystal-clear water, variable terrain and exciting rapids. Running from Mt. Chirripó, the Rio General offers exciting white-water in a rich tropical environment, one of the finest white-water rivers in the world with over 100 class III and IV rapids in its first sixty kilometres. Waterfalls cascade into the river and the beauty of the wide tropical canyon and pasture lands is unsurpassed. On the Rio Reventazon, non-stop thrills and action await you as you plunge through twists, turns and drops down challenging rapids. These rivers offer a great variety of wildlife, from tropical birds to multicoloured iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and trees. Different departure dates offer different programs depending on the water level of the various rivers. Each program allows you to discover two or three of the rivers above mentionned.
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Tortuguero National Park of Costa Rica - CRT 04 days
Tortuguero au Costa RicaExplore Tortuguero, land of incredible biological diversity where, at night, from July to September, impressive Green Sea Turtles nest on the beach. A tropical sanctuary for more than 300 different species of birds and a natural habitat for an amazing array of wildlife; such as monkeys, crocodiles and iguanas, among many others. Discover the lush vegetation that abounds in the midst of the Rainforest. Tortuguero is a navigable network of lakes and canals that cross the National Park from Southeast to Northwest accessible only by boat or air - there are no roads to get there. Daily departure tour packages from San José, the capital, include land & boat transportation, lodging in a beautiful lodge nestled in the lush rainforest, on a sand bar between the Tortuguero Canals, and the Caribbean Ocean, all excellent meals, boat tours on the Canals and walks in the National Park lead by a professional naturalist guide. During your stay, enjoy a pool surrounded by exotic gardens and relax in the ranchos with hammocks. Comfortable rooms with ceiling fans provide tranquil garden views. Stroll through the nature trails or take a leisurely walk on the pristine beach in front of your lodge.


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