MEET COSTA RICA


Location and Climate

Costa Rica is located in Central America, in the middle of the Americas

Bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. The deep blue Pacific Ocean lines the west coast, while the crystal clear Caribbean Sea flanks the east coast. Because of its tropical location near the equator, you can enjoy a great climate all year long in most parts of the country. Costa Rica is crossed by mountain ranges from northwest to southeast and this formation acts as a meteorological divide, creating distinct Pacific and Caribbean climates.

Why can you come to Costa Rica all year round? The reason is because the two different climate zones behave in exactly opposite ways. For example, the driest months on the Pacific Coast are from December to April, with the rainy season generally from May to November. On the Caribbean side of the country, which stays green from consistent rainfall, you can enjoy a respite “summer season” in September and October. The rainier months, fittingly called “green season”, experience a lower occupancy rate for lodging, which usually means lower prices. Rains tend to come in the afternoons and evenings, so you still have plenty of sunshine to enjoy attractions, and the best part is the landscape everywhere is beautifully green!

Air Flight Connections

Juan Santamaría Airport, San José

2 International Airports

Because of its strategic location in the middle of the Americas, Costa Rica has excellent flight connections. From Panama and USA hubs, you can easily find flights to Costa Rica from most everywhere. The country has two international airports – the San Jose international airport (SJO) in the center of the country, and the Liberia international airport (LIR) in the north Pacific region of Guanacaste.

Costa Rica also is well connected with Europe, since several European airlines offer direct flights from Madrid, Switzerland, France, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich and London, giving you the ability to fly much more comfortably.

About Costa Rica

Biodiversity

Costa Rica occupies an area of 51,100 km2 (19,730 sq. mi.), making it about the size of Denmark. The country might occupy only 0.03 percent of the Earth’s surface, but it contains almost 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity. It is recognized for having one of the largest protected areas in the world – 25.6 percent of Costa Rica’s territory is preserved by land and marine national parks, biological reserves, and other wilderness areas.
Its biodiversity is extraordinary, both in species and ecosystems. This is because the country’s geographical position has served as a bridge for countless species of animals and plants for thousands of years.

This small country has 500,000 species of invertebrates and 175 types of amphibians, 85 percent of which are frogs. There are approximately 225 kinds of reptiles, and nearly 250 species of mammals, including wild cats like jaguars, ocelots, pumas, jaguarundis, margays, and little spotted cats called oncillas. Almost 900 bird species have been recorded in Costa Rica. More than 600 of these avian species are permanent residents, while more than 5 billion birds migrate through Costa Rica every year. Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species can be found in Costa Rica on both coasts. For six to seven months of the year you can go whale watching along the Pacific Coast, leading National Geographic to call Costa Rica the “seventh most important whale watching hotspot in the world”.

So, you don’t need to go too far in Costa Rica to see the wonders of nature, because this small country is full of everything you could want to satisfy your interests all year long.

Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Costa Rica has one of the best health systems in the world. In addition, according to the 2014 International Life Index, Costa Rica ranks fourth in the world for health services of better quality. About the Human Development Index (HD) prepared by the United Nations to measure the progress of the country and the standard of living of its inhabitants, Costa Ricans occupy the 69th place. Infant mortality has decreased, while life expectancy is increasing. The life expectancy at birth corresponds to 79.6%, 77.1% for men and 82.2% for women. For American and European tourists, vaccines are not required to enter Costa Rica, however, if you enter Costa Rica from a country declared as a country at risk of yellow fever by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is mandatory to be vaccinated against this disease. If the traveler has been in a country at risk in the last 6 days, he must show that the vaccine has been applied. In the WHO list, the following countries are considered risky:

  • Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kamerun, República Democrática de Kongo, Gabun, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leona y Sudán
  • América del Sur: Bolivia, Venezuela, Perú, Colombia y Ecuador
  • Caribe: Guayana Francesa

Each city has one or more hospitals, and there are always clinics or other medical services in small towns. Private medical clinics in San Jose meet global health standards.

Food & Drink

Costa Rican cuisine is part of the nation’s identity. Food is an important aspect of Costa Rican culture, and family gatherings and celebrations often center on meals. Additionally, in more urban areas you can find many other cuisines from around the world, besides traditional Costa Rican food.

Traditional Costa Rican cuisine mainly involves rice and beans. For example, the Casado for lunch or dinner consists of rice, beans, vegetables, salad, a type of meat (beef, pork, chicken or fish), and oftentimes also fried or scrambled eggs. A typical breakfast is called Gallo Pinto, which is a delicious mix of black beans with white rice and natural spices, served with fried or scrambled eggs, white farmer’s cheese, corn tortillas, and of course a steaming cup of Costa Rica’s famous coffee.

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Costa Rica

Central Valley

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Monteverde

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North Pacific

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Northern Plains

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Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí

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Caribbean

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