Costa Rica

Golden beaches, lively cities and emerald green forests, Costa Rica is a classic combination of rich Latino culture and jaw-dropping natural beauty. The world’s first ‘carbon neutral’ nation, this is a destination for the conscientious and the curious – a friendly, laidback slice of sun-drenched Central America.

Costa Rica Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Costa Rica

Departing Days Price USD
16 Jul 2016 Costa Rica Family Adventure 8 $1908

All our Costa Rica trips

USD $1,600
CAD $1,795
AUD $1,930
EUR €1,340
GBP £995
NZD $2,080
ZAR R17,820
CHF FR1,370
Discover tropical paradise and ancient wonders on this tour of Central America, featuring Guatemala, Honduras, El...
USD $1,625
CAD $1,895
AUD $1,995
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,035
NZD $2,190
ZAR R18,755
CHF FR1,440
Travel to Costa Rica and discover a tropical playground of immense natural beauty. Visit Arenal Volcano, Monteverde...
USD $1,125
CAD $1,230
AUD $1,315
EUR €910
GBP £675
NZD $1,415
ZAR R12,130
Encounter the natural beauty of Costa Rica, from La Fortuna’s volcano to Monteverde’s cloud forest to the pristine...
USD $1,740
CAD $1,895
AUD $2,035
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,045
NZD $2,195
ZAR R18,760
CHF FR1,445
Costa Rica will reveal itself as a true gem of Central America on this fun, diverse and exciting adventure tour.
USD $1,215
CAD $1,330
AUD $1,420
EUR €995
GBP £730
NZD $1,530
ZAR R13,120
From the mountains to the sea, this Costa Rica and Panama tour is a real adventure from go to whoa. It's the perfect...
USD $2,775
CAD $3,040
AUD $3,255
EUR €2,255
GBP £1,670
NZD $3,500
ZAR R29,995
CHF FR2,305
Head from the forest to the beach on this amazing Central America tour visiting Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador,...
USD $3,095
CAD $3,390
AUD $3,630
EUR €2,515
GBP £1,865
NZD $3,905
ZAR R33,470
CHF FR2,575
Ruins, volcanoes and beachside playgrounds await on this awesome Central American adventure, journeying through...
USD $1,908
CAD $2,088
AUD $2,236
EUR €1,548
GBP £1,143
NZD $2,358
ZAR R20,605
CHF FR1,584
Travel to Costa Rica on this tailored family tour and discover pristine beaches, lush mountains and dramatic volcanoes.
USD $2,615
CAD $2,915
AUD $3,120
EUR €2,160
GBP £1,520
NZD $3,290
ZAR R28,770
CHF FR2,210
This family trip to Costa Rica has been crafted to balance organised activities and travel with loads of free time...
USD $5,710
CAD $6,250
AUD $6,690
EUR €4,745
GBP £3,435
NZD $7,195
ZAR R61,680
CHF FR4,745
This captivating adventure through Central America travels through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador,...
USD $4,280
CAD $4,680
AUD $5,015
EUR €3,470
GBP £2,575
NZD $5,390
ZAR R46,210
CHF FR3,555
Have the ultimate Central American adventure on this classic tour from Mexico to Panama. Enjoy beaches, volcanoes,...
USD $4,520
CAD $4,950
AUD $5,300
EUR €3,670
GBP £2,720
NZD $5,700
ZAR R48,845
CHF FR3,755
Escape on a Central American odyssey through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa...
USD $1,095
CAD $1,285
AUD $1,350
EUR €955
GBP £695
NZD $1,480
ZAR R12,692
Travel to Central America's Costa Rica, trek into the jungle and relax in a lodge on the Pacuare River. Taste...
USD $4,370
CAD $5,905
AUD $5,630
EUR €3,930
GBP £2,921
NZD $6,050
ZAR R45,295
CHF FR3,770
Jump onboard this exciting Central American trip that takes you from the vibrancy of Mexico City through the hearts...
USD $15,205
CAD $20,545
AUD $19,600
EUR €13,680
GBP £10,165
NZD $21,080
ZAR R183,070
CHF FR15,235
Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...

Costa Rica trip reviews

Our Costa Rica trips score an average of 4.53 out of 5 based on 409 reviews in the last year.

Costa Rica & Panama Discovery , May 2016

ian sterling

Classic Costa Rica , June 2016

Nick Bush

Articles on Costa Rica

Move over Mexico: 7 awesome foods from Central America

Posted on Fri, 12 Sep 2014

Move over Mexico, your neighbours have some pretty sensational tastebud pleasers of their own.

Read more

Leaping to life in Costa Rica

Posted on Mon, 19 Aug 2013

Oprah Winfrey once said “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” But maybe the bigger adventure is living a life that’s beyond […]

Read more

A birthday to remember

Posted on Tue, 23 Apr 2013

"For my birthday my husband and I went to Cost Rica for a week-long party..."

Read more

Unforgettable and unbeatable Costa Rica

Posted on Mon, 23 May 2011

"There have been two things I have always wanted to do - take a surf lesson and walk at the base of live Volcano!..."

Read more

About Costa Rica

At a glance

Capital city: San Jose (population 315,000)
Population: 4.5 million
Language: Spanish
Currency: CRC
Time zone: (GMT-06:00) Central America
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)
Dialing code: +506

Best time to visit Costa Rica

Year-round tropical warmth means there really isn’t a bad time to visit Costa Rica. December to April are normally the driest months; however, Costa Rica’s diverse topography and blanket of rainforests suggest that you should be prepared for at least some rain - a very small price to pay for such incredibly lush scenery. The good news is that even during the rainiest of seasons, the rainfall tends to be limited to a couple of hours a day… just enough time for you to enjoy a cup of Costa Rica's world-renowned coffee in one of its many cafes. Temperatures vary with altitude, with San Jose's temperatures ranging between 15C and 21C and the coastal areas experiencing much warmer climes.

Costa rica weather chart

Geography and environment

Beautiful Beach Sloth
Wedged between the mighty Pacific Ocean and the picturesque Caribbean, Costa Rica is best known for its incredible beaches and magical rainforests. While Costa Rica’s name (meaning ‘Rich Coast’) suggests that Costa Rica’s beauty is limited to its golden beaches, the backbone of this coastal nation consists of some truly stunning mountain ranges, many of which contain active and dormant volcanoes. For this reason, adventure sports such as zip-lining, whitewater rafting and cycling are popular in inland destinations such as La Fortuna and Montverde. Geographically, Costa Rica shares borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, serving as a perfect starting point for exploring this fascinating part of the world.

Apart from being a beach lover’s paradise, Costa Rica is renowned for its incredible biodiversity. Over half of the country is blanketed in forest, and those seeking to spot local wildlife will be enthralled by Costa Rica’s unique species of plants and animals. Scuba diving is another popular activity, with Costa Rica boasting some of the most beautiful bays, beaches and reefs in the world.

Top Picks

Manuel Antonio beach in Costa Rica Tortuguero National Park beach, Costa Rica

Top 5 Beautiful Beaches in Costa Rica

1. Tortuguero National Park

One of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets, this national park is the unspoilt paradise you’ve been searching for. Will you slip effortlessly into Tortuguero’s warm turquoise waters or simply relax on its idyllic shores? The choice is entirely yours.

2. Manuel Antonio

Leave the hassles of modern life behind and discover an eco-playground surrounded by unlimited coastal delights. Spend a day exploring misty rainforests before cooling off on one of Manuel Antonio’s delightful beaches, or head into town for some famous, fiery nightlife.

3. Jaco

Once a sleepy beach town, Jaco’s proximity to San Jose has made it a one-stop shop for those seeking big waves and even bigger parties. Not exactly a remote oasis, but there is no denying Jaco’s uber-cool surf-town vibe.

4. Playa Tamarindo

An upmarket alternative to Jaco’s backpacker bliss, Playa Tamarindo is an elegant town that delivers a ton of truly exquisite beaches. Pristine blue waters meet a backdrop of bottle green forests – it's no wonder that Playa Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s most famous destinations.

5. Corcovado

Well off the tourist trail, Corcovado’s ebony sands are not your average beach-going experience. Boasting diversity in colour, landscape and wildlife, Corcovado is perfect for those seeking beaches with character and charm.

FAQs on Costa Rica

Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
USA: Not required
While tipping isn't mandatory in Costa Rica, rounding up the bill and leaving spare change at restaurants and cafes is generally standard practice. 500 colones should be sufficient.
Costa Rica's cities and tourist centres have internet access available in internet cafes and hotel lobbies. Internet access is less available in rural and remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Costa Rica's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone while in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica's toilets are a mixture of flushable toilets and squat toilets, so be prepared to encounter both. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap as these aren't always provided.
Coconut drink = 250 CRC
Can of soft drink = 450 CRC
Bottle of beer = 1000 CRC
Basic lunch = 2000 CRC
Sit down dinner in a restaurant = 5000-7500 CRC
Although tap water is considered safe to drink in Costa Rica's cities, it's probably a good idea to avoid drinking tap water in Costa Rica. For environmental reasons, try to avoid bottled water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this. Remember to peel fruit and vegetables before eating and avoid ice in drinks.
Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops, hotels and restaurants, although smaller vendors and market stalls often only accept cash.
ATMs are easily found in the large cities and airports, although are less common in rural and remote areas. When travelling out of the city, come prepared by having enough cash as ATMs aren't always an option.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Apr 6 Easter *
Apr 11 Juan Santamaria's Day
May 1 Labour Day
Jul 25 Guanacaste Annexation Day
Aug 2 Virgin of Los Angeles, Feast of Patroness of Costa Rica
Aug 15 Mother's Day and Assumption
Sep 15 Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
* This is week-long holiday

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to:

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

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From New Zealand?

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From Canada?

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From US?

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From UK?

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The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to:

Responsible Travel

Costa Rica Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Costa Rica

1. Be considerate of Costa Rica’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

10. Admire coral while diving and snorkelling, but never remove coral from a reef or buy coral items from markets. Coral belongs in the sea.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa RicaWilliam Allen
The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa RicaMavis Hiltunen Biesanz
Off the MapDorien Kelly
The Costa Rica Reader: History, Culture, PoliticsSteven Palmer and Ivan Molina

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