Name: Republic of Costa Rica
Population: 4.8 million
Capital: San José
Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time Zone: UTC -6
Pura vida (“real life”) has become the unofficial motto of Costa Rica. And for a reason. Costa Rica is, in essence, a slice of tropical paradise in Central America, and its inhabitants, AKA “the ticos”, are justifiably proud of it. Perfect waves for surfing, breath-taking sunsets, misty crater lakes, waterfall-filled hiking trails, white-water rapids, sun-kissed beaches, adventure-filled paths and wildlife that includes howler monkeys, capuchins and other friendly-looking animals await you in this small, yet magnificently varied country.
Costa Rica has a reputation for being a tropical paradise, and rightly so. However, due to its diverse terrain, the country boasts a range of different climates.
Costa Rica has no real summer or winter due to its proximity to the equator, and the average temperature ranges from 21°C to 27°C. However, a rainy season does exist, and takes place between May and November.
The central valley is often cooler than the coastal areas.
The Pacific coast tends to be hot and dry all year-round, especially the northern part (known as the Gold Coast), while the highlands (around Monteverde) are filled with mist during much of the year, due to the high altitude. The Caribbean coast is quite hot and moist, and receives rain during most of the year. The lowlands have quite a warm climate, with an average temperature of 26°C, and the Central Valley, including San José, is said to have the best climate in the country.
Costa Rican culture, as in most Latin American countries, is heavily influenced by Spain, as a result of colonization. However, parts of the country have other strong influences, such as that of Limón, which has more of a Jamaican feel to it. There are also several indigenous areas throughout the country.
A great part of the music and folklore of Costa Rica comes from the north of the country, where Mayan culture mixes with Afro-Caribbean trends. Costa Rica has a distinctive musical genre known as punto and most of its music can be easily distinguished by a very unique rhythm known as tambito.
Costa Rica goes by the motto Pura Vida, which means “pure life” and the phrase can be used as a greeting or a farewell, or just to say “that’s great” or “all’s good”. The phrase was originally from a Mexican film, but was soon adopted by Costa Ricans, and is used in several contexts to express a positive outlook on life.
The cuisine of Costa Rica relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meat. Rice and black beans are traditional and included in most meals. Potatoes are another staple of Costa Rican gastronomy as wells as plantain, a member of the banana family.
Due to the tropical location of the country, you will be able to find many exotic fruits that you might have never heard of before!
Due to the amount of tourism that Costa Rica boasts, international food is offered in many sites – from Japanese to Mexican to Peruvian.
Two domestic airlines (NatureAir and Sansa) connect major tourist towns
By Shared shuttle
Shared shuttles are available to popular destinations on a daily basis and they will pick you up from your accommodation and return you, making them the most stress-free option.
Traveling by public bus is the most affordable way to get around Costa Rica. It can be time-consuming for many Costa Ricans, as many routes are based in and out of San José. However, Esparza is 1.5 hrs away from San Jose by direct bus, and Puntarenas has access to much of the Pacific Coast by bus, so Esparza is well situated for bus transport to the whole country and beyond.
For more information on Costa Rica check out the Costa Rica Tourism Board website here.