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
5 Mar 2017 Cycle Central America 16 $3247
9 Apr 2017 Cycle Central America 16 $3377
1 Apr 2017 Classic Costa Rica 15 $1584
10 Dec 2016 Classic Costa Rica 15 $1687
11 Feb 2017 Classic Costa Rica 15 $1525

All our Costa Rica trips

DAYS
17
FROM
USD $1,498
CAD $1,746
AUD $2,085
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,075
NZD $2,245
ZAR R19,245
CHF FR1,425
Discover tropical paradise and ancient wonders on this tour of Central America, featuring Guatemala, Honduras, El...
DAYS
16
FROM
USD $3,247
CAD $3,938
AUD $4,619
EUR €3,002
GBP £2,362
NZD $4,967
ZAR R53,011
CHF FR3,319
Ride across the many and varied landscapes of Central America on a cycling tour of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
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15
FROM
USD $1,448
CAD $1,576
AUD $1,692
EUR €1,160
GBP £868
NZD $1,824
ZAR R15,608
CHF FR1,196
Travel to Costa Rica and discover a tropical playground of immense natural beauty. Visit Arenal Volcano, Monteverde...
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9
FROM
USD $1,080
CAD $1,197
AUD $1,420
EUR €945
GBP £730
NZD $1,530
ZAR R13,100
CHF FR970
Encounter the natural beauty of Costa Rica, from La Fortuna’s volcano to Monteverde’s cloud forest to the pristine...
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9
FROM
USD $1,665
CAD $1,822
AUD $2,165
EUR €1,500
GBP £1,110
NZD $2,285
ZAR R19,980
CHF FR1,535
Costa Rica will reveal itself as a true gem of Central America on this fun, diverse and exciting adventure tour.
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13
FROM
USD $1,134
CAD $1,282
AUD $1,495
EUR €1,035
GBP £775
NZD $1,635
ZAR R14,055
CHF FR1,035
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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29
FROM
USD $2,601
CAD $2,844
AUD $3,380
EUR €2,345
GBP £1,735
NZD $3,640
ZAR R31,195
CHF FR2,395
Head from the forest to the beach on this amazing Central America tour visiting Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador,...
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32
FROM
USD $2,700
CAD $3,276
AUD $3,395
EUR €2,500
GBP £1,965
NZD $4,135
ZAR R44,125
CHF FR2,765
Ruins, volcanoes and beachside playgrounds await on this awesome Central American adventure, journeying through...
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8
FROM
USD $2,370
CAD $2,775
AUD $2,915
EUR €2,060
GBP £1,515
NZD $3,200
ZAR R27,430
CHF FR2,110
Travel to Costa Rica on this tailored family tour and discover pristine beaches, lush mountains and dramatic volcanoes.
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15
 
 
This family trip to Costa Rica has been crafted to balance organised activities and travel with loads of free time...
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58
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USD $5,346
CAD $5,850
AUD $6,955
EUR €4,935
GBP £3,535
NZD $7,480
ZAR R64,145
CHF FR4,935
This captivating adventure through Central America travels through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador,...
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44
FROM
USD $4,005
CAD $4,378
AUD $5,210
EUR €3,610
GBP £2,675
NZD $5,605
ZAR R48,060
CHF FR3,695
Have the ultimate Central American adventure on this classic tour from Mexico to Panama. Enjoy beaches, volcanoes,...
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46
FROM
USD $4,230
CAD $4,635
AUD $5,510
EUR €3,815
GBP £2,800
NZD $5,930
ZAR R50,800
CHF FR3,905
Escape on a Central American odyssey through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa...
DAYS
4
FROM
USD $1,095
CAD $1,285
AUD $1,350
EUR €955
GBP £695
NZD $1,480
ZAR R12,692
CHF FR975
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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55
 
 
Jump onboard this exciting Central American trip that takes you from the vibrancy of Mexico City through the hearts...
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16
FROM
USD $3,155
CAD $3,825
AUD $4,040
EUR €2,625
GBP £2,065
NZD $4,345
ZAR R46,360
CHF FR2,905
Explore the sultry streets of Havana, visit beautiful Cienfuegos and enjoy sizzling salsa in Trinidad on this exotic...
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30
FROM
USD $8,130
CAD $9,953
AUD $10,514
EUR €6,830
GBP £5,361
NZD $11,306
ZAR R120,658
CHF FR7,558
Marketplaces, waterfalls, Maya ruins – there's a wealth of excitement and beauty to be found in Mexico. Then explore...
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11
FROM
USD $2,241
CAD $2,718
AUD $3,190
EUR €2,070
GBP £1,630
NZD $3,430
ZAR R36,605
CHF FR2,290
Discover why Costa Rica is made for adventure seekers with a trip that journeys through this country's incredible...
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207
FROM
USD $16,280
CAD $21,310
AUD $22,500
EUR €14,610
GBP £11,235
NZD $24,190
ZAR R258,200
CHF FR16,270
Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...
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18
FROM
USD $4,085
CAD $4,950
AUD $5,230
EUR €3,395
GBP £2,675
NZD $5,625
ZAR R60,015
CHF FR3,760
Be captivated by Costa Rica on an adventure that combines thrill-seeking with the country's natural beauty
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53
FROM
USD $4,730
CAD $5,735
AUD $6,055
EUR €3,935
GBP £3,100
NZD $6,510
ZAR R69,485
CHF FR4,350
Adventure through Central America's vivacious Mexico on an enthralling journey from the beats of buzzing Mexico City...
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65
FROM
USD $7,690
CAD $9,507
AUD $10,042
EUR €6,525
GBP £5,107
NZD $10,797
ZAR R115,246
CHF FR7,218
Adventure through Central America's vivacious Mexico on an enthralling journey from the beats of buzzing Mexico City...
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29
FROM
USD $3,199
CAD $3,883
AUD $4,555
EUR €2,960
GBP £2,330
NZD $4,895
ZAR R52,270
CHF FR3,275
Get ready for an adventure through Mexico and Costa Rica's wild heartlands, passing through Mexico City, Guanajuato,...
DAYS
21
FROM
USD $2,218
CAD $2,691
AUD $3,160
EUR €2,055
GBP £1,615
NZD $3,395
ZAR R36,260
CHF FR2,270
Encounter the cloud forests and shimmering Caribbean waters of Central America on an immersive adventure through...
DAYS
8
FROM
USD $1,593
CAD $1,930
AUD $2,265
EUR €1,470
GBP £1,160
NZD $2,435
ZAR R25,990
CHF FR1,630
Be captivated by Costa Rica on an adventure that combines thrill-seeking with the country's natural beauty
DAYS
24
FROM
USD $5,280
CAD $6,400
AUD $6,995
EUR €4,390
GBP £3,460
NZD $7,270
ZAR R77,575
CHF FR4,860
Encounter the rich cultural heritage, exploding flavours and friendly people of Mexico and Costa Rica, stopping in at...

Costa Rica trip reviews

Our Costa Rica trips score an average of 4.54 out of 5 based on 445 reviews in the last year.

Classic Costa Rica , August 2016

Valerie Siddiqui

Classic Costa Rica , August 2016

Catherine Berteau Lacoursière

Articles on Costa Rica

How to spot sloths in Costa Rica

Posted on Tue, 12 Jul 2016

If you want to get off your computer and spot sloths in the wild, one of the best places by far is Costa Rica. But there are some things you should know before you go.

Read more

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

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

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

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