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 deals in Costa Rica

Departing Days Price AUD
16 Dec 2014 Costa Rica & Panama Discovery 13 $1270

All our Costa Rica trips

Costa Rica Experience

9 days from
USD $985
CAD $1,015
AUD $995
EUR €685
GBP £575
NZD $1,110
ZAR R9,960
CHF FR830

Encounter the natural beauty of Costa Rica, from La Fortuna’s volcano to Monteverde’s cloud forest to the pristine...

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Classic Costa Rica

15 days from
USD $1,510
CAD $1,535
AUD $1,590
EUR €1,055
GBP £950
NZD $1,885
ZAR R14,470
CHF FR1,300

Travel to Costa Rica and discover a tropical playground of immense natural beauty. Visit Arenal Volcano, Monteverde...

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Costa Rica & Panama Discovery

13 days from
USD $1,205
CAD $1,230
AUD $1,270
EUR €885
GBP £760
NZD $1,510
ZAR R11,555
CHF FR1,090

From the mountains to the sea, this Costa Rica and Panama tour is a real adventure from go to whoa. It's the perfect...

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Costa Rica Express

9 days from
USD $1,550
CAD $1,600
AUD $1,445
EUR €1,080
GBP £905
NZD $1,750
ZAR R15,715
CHF FR1,305

Costa Rica will reveal itself as a true gem of Central America on this fun, diverse and exciting adventure tour.

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Costa Rica Turtle Extension

7 days from
USD $1,265
CAD $1,305
AUD $1,280
EUR €880
GBP £740
NZD $1,425
ZAR R12,810
CHF FR1,065

Experience Costa Rica's exalted flora and fauna on a week-long adventure through San Jose, Puerto Viejo and...

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Costa Rica Family Holiday

15 days from
USD $2,170
CAD $2,240
AUD $2,195
EUR €1,495
GBP £1,280
NZD $2,445
ZAR R21,970
CHF FR1,830

This family trip to Costa Rica has been crafted to balance organised activities and travel with loads of free time...

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Natural Magic - Costa Rica Family Holiday

15 days from

This family trip to Costa Rica has been crafted to balance organised activities and travel with loads of free time...

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Family Costa Rica Adventure

9 days from

Travel to Costa Rica on this tailored family tour and discover pristine beaches, lush mountains and dramatic volcanoes.

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Costa Rica Jungle Adventure

5 days from
USD $946
CAD $1,007
AUD $1,045
EUR €727
GBP £627
NZD $1,240
ZAR R9,517
CHF FR897

Travel to Central America's Costa Rica, trek into the jungle and relax in a lodge on the Pacuare River. Taste...

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Cycle Nicaragua Costa Rica and Panama

15 days from
USD $3,150
CAD $3,150
AUD $3,150
EUR €2,375
GBP £1,799
NZD $3,955
ZAR R25,585
CHF FR2,880

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama on a Central American cycling tour. Travel to Latin America and visit La...

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Beautiful Costa Rica

14 days from
USD $2,465
CAD $2,545
AUD $2,495
EUR €1,715
GBP £1,440
NZD $2,780
ZAR R24,975
CHF FR2,080

Wander the plazas of San Jose, discover the cloud forests of Monteverde and experience natural wonders in Tortuguero...

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San Jose to Panama

17 days from
USD $3,350
CAD $3,455
AUD $3,390
EUR €2,330
GBP £1,960
NZD $3,775
ZAR R33,935
CHF FR2,825

Discover the verdant national parks, cool mountain towns and supreme beaches of Costa Rica and Panama that passes...

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Costa Rica Express - Independent Journey

9 days from
AUD $2,835

Costa Rica will reveal itself as a true gem of Central America on this fun, diverse and exciting adventure tour.

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Guanacaste Beach Break

4 days from
USD $345
CAD $357
AUD $350
EUR €240
GBP £202
NZD $390
ZAR R3,502
CHF FR292

Discover picturesque Playa Hermosa on a snack-sized beachside break.

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Costa Rica trip reviews

Our Costa Rica trips score an average of 4.53 out of 5 based on 154 reviews in the last year.

Classic Costa Rica, May 2014

Classic Costa Rica, May 2014

Articles on Costa Rica

Move over Mexico: 7 awesome foods from Central America

Posted on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 by Louise Burton

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

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Leaping to life in Costa Rica

Posted on Mon, 19 Aug 2013 by Sue Elliot

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 [...]

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A birthday to remember

Posted on Tue, 23 Apr 2013 by Sue Elliot

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

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Unforgettable and unbeatable Costa Rica

Posted on Mon, 23 May 2011 by Sue Elliot

"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

Trips Available: 18
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

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: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/costa-rica/public-holidays
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

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?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

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