Costa Rica Travel Facts

By | March 31, 2022

Costa Rica is located in Latin America and borders the countries of Nicaragua and Panama. The country has two magnificent coastlines, one facing the Pacific and one facing the Caribbean. Full of natural beauty, it not only offers its visitors a lush flora, but also a wonderful variety of animals – above all, of course, the turtles should be mentioned here.

Capital City San Jose
Size 51,100 km²
Resident 4,775,000
Official Language Spanish
Currency Colon
Time Zone UTC-6
Telephone Area Code +506

Fast facts to know

  • Name Costa Rica means “Rich Coast”.
  • Considered the most progressive country in Latin America.
  • Is referred to as “the Switzerland of Central America” ​​due to its declared neutrality since 1983.
  • Poor in mineral raw materials and precious metals.
  • Prostitution is legal in the country, which is why it is also known for sex tourism.
  • Obtains more than 90% of its energy needs from renewable sources.
  • 27% of the country’s area is under nature protection.
  • Turtle paradise: every year they lay their eggs on the beaches of Costa Rica.

Exciting cities in Costa Rica

  • San Jose
  • Puerto Limon
  • Alajuela
  • Liberia
  • Cartago
  • Puntarenas
  • San Isidro

History of Costa Rica

  • Oldest finds from 12,000 and 8,000 BC.
  • Conquest by the Spains in the 16th century.
  • Independence from Spain followed in 1821.
  • Democracy in the country developed very well, only 2 short periods of violence until today.

Climate & travel weather in Costa Rica

  • Tropical climate with little seasonal variation in temperature.
  • Clear distinction in climate between the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.
  • Rainy season between May and November (tropical showers in the afternoon).
  • Caribbean coast of Costa Rica rather humid all year round.
  • Northern Costa Rica dry from January to April.
  • On the Pacific coast it can get as warm as forty degrees in the north.
  • Rainy season makes traveling in Costa Rica difficult when roads are impassable & many hotels and restaurants are closed.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • Dry season December to March / April.
    • Surfers will find good conditions during the rainy season.

Ideas for trips in Costa Rica

  • Spot sea turtles in Tortuguero National Park.
  • Worth seeing protected areas:
    • Santa Rosa National Park.
    • Guanacaste National Park.
    • Ostional Wildlife Refuge.
    • Las Baulas Marine National Park.
  • Monteverde rainforest.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park.
  • Village of Montezuma.
  • Tortuguero National Park.
  • Surfing at Santa Teresa & Mal País.
  • Celebrations at Puerto Viejo.
  • Hiking on Cerro Chirripó.

Food & Drink in Costa Rica

  • Melting pot of French, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, North American cuisine.
  • Rice, beans and corn are staple foods.
  • Often found: grilled beef or chicken.
  • Traditionally lots of fruit like pineapple, papaya and bananas.
  • Fish very high on the menu.
  • Popular side dishes: carrots, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, onions, yucca, cassava roots.
  • Desserts: Granizado con fruta, ice cream and fruits on crushed ice.
  • Costa Rican coffee famous and loved.
  • Residents love American cuisine, so you’ll find many fast-food chains (especially in San Jose).
  • Popular drinks:
    • Cebada (made from barley flour).
    • Pinolillo (made from roasted corn).
    • Horchata (made from rice flour and cinnamon).
    • domestic beer Imperial.
    • Ron Rico (rum).
  • Typical dishes:
    • Casado (rice, beans, pot roast, plantains and cabbage).
    • Gallo Pinto (Mixture of rice and black or red pan-fried beans plus onions, sour cream, cornmeal tortillas, cheese, or scrambled eggs.
    • Olla de carne (beef, plantain and vegetable soup).
    • Arreglados (bread stuffed with meat and vegetables).
    • Picadillo (potatoes, carrots, onions and peppers pickled in chili peppers and vinegar water, very spicy!).
    • Gallos (stuffed tortillas).
    • Rundown (meat and vegetables cooked in coconut milk).
    • Chicharrones (crispy baked pieces of pork rind).
    • Sopa Negra (Black Beans with Poached Egg).
    • Chorreado (corn pancakes with sour cream).
    • Tortas (with meat and vegetables).
    • Empanada (rolled corn pancakes with beans, cheese, meat, potatoes).
    • Olla de Carne (stew with meat, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, corn, yucca, plantain).
    • Tamal (corn patties steamed in banana or corn husks, stuffed with meat and peppers).

Particularly scenic

  • Arenal Volcano.
  • Rincon de la Vieja.
  • Coral reef Gandoca-Manzanillo.
  • Numerous national parks and the tropical rain forests.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Talamanca Mountains.

Costa Rica Travel Facts