Costa Rica

About Costa Rica

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Have an incredible vacation in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is actually an isthmus. As an island is surrounded on all sides by water, an isthmus is a landmass with water on two sides. The Caribbean Sea is on the country’s eastern side, and to the West is the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the North, and Panamá to the South. There are two international airports, one in the capital city of San José and the other in Liberia, in the Guanacaste Province.
 

The Republic of Costa Rica’s official language is Spanish, although many residents, especially in the tourism sector, have a good understanding of the English language. The population of 4.5 million inhabitants resides primarily in the Valle Central (Central Valley) and capital city of San José. Nearly four-fifths of the population is of European descent, primarily Spanish descent. Mestizos (people of mixed indigenous and European ancestry) make up nearly one fifth of the inhabitants. There is a small indigenous population mainly residing in the Talamanca region on the Caribbean side. People of African ancestry live mostly in the Caribbean province of Limón. They are descendants of workers brought from the West Indies (mainly from Jamaica) in the 19th century to build the Atlantic Railroad and work on banana plantations.

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Costa Rica enjoys a stable and democratic government

The official religion is Roman Catholicism. The President is Luis Guillermo Solís and elections are held every 4 years. The local currency is the Costa Rican Colón, however US Dollars are widely accepted. The current exchange rate is 535 colones for 1 US Dollar
 
Costa Rica enjoys a stable and democratic government. Its constitution of 1949 abolished the country’s army, gave women the right to vote, and provided other social, economic, and educational guarantees for all of its citizens. It has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere and a solid educational system from the primary grades through the university level.

Over 1.3 million tourists from North America visited Costa Rica in 2015, most of who come to enjoy its rain forests, beaches and volcanoes. Nowhere else in the world are so many types of habitats squeezed into such a tiny area. In terms of number of species of animals per every 3,861 square miles, Costa Rica tops the list of countries at 615 species, compared to the United States with a mere 104.
 
Over 1.3 million tourists from North America visited Costa Rica in 2015, most of who come to enjoy its rain forests, beaches and volcanoes. Nowhere else in the world are so many types of habitats squeezed into such a tiny area. In terms of number of species of animals per every 3,861 square miles, Costa Rica tops the list of countries at 615 species, compared to the United States with a mere 104.

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Costa Rica has everything for your adventure vacation

Costa Rica has established the largest national park system relative to its size, of any country in Latin America. They cover a sweeping range of tropical ecosystems, such as tropical rainforest (Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park ), cloud forest (San Gerardo de Dota , Monteverde), and dry tropical forest (Rincón de la Vieja National Park). Humpback whales migrate up and down the Pacific Coastal waters (Marino Ballena National Park) and (Dominical).
 
Surfers from around the world descend upon its Pacific and Caribbean coast lines to surf such spots as “Salsa Brava”, “Witches Rock”, Playa Hermosa, Pavones and Mal País. Costa Rica’s varied life zones make it attractive to biologists, one can expect to see mammals such as sloths and monkeys, a wide array of amphibians and reptiles, as well as tropical birds such as the toucan and scarlet macaw.
 
These factors, along with an established ecotourism industry, have attracted foreign investment, which shifted the country’s once agriculture-based economy to one dominated by services and technology by the late 20th century Costa Rica’s primary exports are electronic circuitry, bananas, pineapple, surgical devices, and coffee.

Costa Ricans are passionate about soccer

Soccer or fútbol is the most popular sport here. Costa Rica’s national soccer team is referred to as “La Sele” and is the country’s pride and joy. Their success as quarter finalists in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 saw people pack the streets in celebration. Costa Rican Keylor Navas is the goalie for Real Madrid where they call him “The Green Octopus” for his ability to stop goals even by the likes of famous players like Lionel Messi.
 
Costa Rica has a vibrant art scene. Local musicians have performed in Grammy-winning recordings, filmmakers, writers, painters, architects and sculptors have drawn international acclaim. The Costa Rican Philharmonic Orchestra draws packed theaters and auditoriums with their contemporary renditions of classic bands like Pink Floyd and Queen.

The best places to visit in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s most popular destinations for travelers include: the Guanacaste Province ( ), the Central Pacific Coast (Jacó, Manuel Antonio , Dominical), Monteverde, the San Carlos Region (Arenal Volcano ), the Central Valley (San José), the Southern Pacific (Osa Peninsula), the Limón Province (Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo ) and the Southern Nicoya Peninsula (Mal País).
 
Favorite adventure travel activities include: Zip line canopy tours, white water rafting, deep sea fishing, birding, hiking, parasailing, waterfall rappelling (canyoning), surfing, Stand Up Paddle boarding, whale watching, scuba diving, snorkeling and mountain biking.
 
Customized packages can combine a variety of these activities and destinations with hotels, houses, rental cars and drivers.

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Testimonials


  • Amanda and Chaz Roth warmed up after a cold winter in Northern Arizona, and celebrated their honeymoon with a John’s Picks trip on a budget, staying at reasonably priced hotels and packed with fun tours such as horseback riding on the beach in Manuel Antonio, a visit to a Vanilla farm, a zip line canopy tour, and dinner and entrance into Arenal Volcano’s best hot springs resort.
    The Roth Family
  • The best thing about having you plan our trip John was definitely that you took away all of the little nuances that just stress you out when it comes to planning a vacation and getting to where you need to go. We got to every location seamlessly, at the airport our bags were loaded into the car by the driver, the rental car was dropped off by you, you referred us to hospitals in each region for our child, you gave us a cell phone, it was clutch. Thank you, you made it a true luxury vacation for us.
    Patty Calvano, Phoenix, USA. March 2016.
  • John's Picks made our trip seamless and effortless! It was our first time in Costa Rica, and he helped us with travel arrangements, hotel choices, and excursions to fit our budget. It helped having someone who knows the culture show you around! We could count on him for anything, as he was super responsive and so supportive during our time there. As far as vacations go, I'd highly recommend him!
    Amy Berrafato, USA. February 2016.
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