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Costa Rica

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Revision as of 04:44, 5 July 2005

Flag
Cs-flag.png
Quick Facts
CapitalSan Jose
Governmentdemocratic republic
CurrencyCosta Rican colon (CRC)
Areatotal: 51,100 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
water: 440 sq km
land: 50,660 sq km
Population3,834,934 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageSpanish (official), English spoken around Puerto Limon
ReligionRoman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, other Protestant 0.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%


Costa Rica is a country in Central America. In the north it borders to Nicaragua and in the south to Panamá. To the west there is the Pacific and to the east the Caribbean.

Map of Costa Rica

Regions

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

Get in

By plane

Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) is located close to the cities Alajuela, Heredia and the capital San José.

Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) is near Liberia in the Guanacaste province. This airport is closest to the Pacific Northwest coast.

By car

The Interamericana (Panamerican highway) runs through Costa Rica and is the main entry point by car. The border post in the north (to Nicaragua) is called Peñas Blancas and in the south (to Panamá) Paso Canoas.


By bus

There are bus services from the neighboring countries of Panamá, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.


By boat

Get around

Rental Car For 350-700 USD a week you can rent a econocar/mid size 4WD. Insurance is the majority of this cost and it is not optional. 4 wheel drive is good for extensive traveling outside the Central Valley, especially in the wet season. In the dry season going from La Fortuna to Monteverde via a direct route was over a boulder strewn 15-30 MPH road. 4WD was also useful on the Nicoya coast. (above based on 2001 roads)

Talk

Spanish is the language used in Costa Rica, but in the tourist business, most people also speak fairly good English. If you look like a foreigner (most tourists do) people will usually address you in English.

Some Costa Rican expressions:
Pura vida means something like ok, cool, great, ++ and is used in every conversation, and usually also as the ending phrase of a conversation.


Buy

The local currency is Colón(es) named after Columbus (Spanish: Colón). The rate of change is about 450 Colones for 1 US Dollar (August 2004), but note that there is a growing inflation. You may find the current value at this currency conversion site. Also note that the use of US Dollars is quite common, in fact, in the tourist setting, almost everything is priced in Dollars.
You can find ATMs most places.
The most common souvenirs are made from wood.
You might get a discount (usually around 10%) when paying in cash.

Eat

Gallo pinto is mostly rice and beans. You can get it to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Casado, which means married, is the typical lunch in Costa Rica, containing rice and beans with meat, chicken or fish, always served with salad and fried bananas
Fresh fruit

Drink

The national drink is called guaro, which is made from fermented sugar cane. It is similar to vodka, and is usually drunk with water and lemon.

The most popular beers in the country are Bavaria, Imperial, and Rock Ice.

Sleep

Hotels in Costa Rica are more expensive than in its neighboring countries to the north.

Las Caletas, Drake Bay

How to get there: By bus to Palmar Norte, Taxi to Sierpe, from there you will be picked up by boat (there is no road) and taken directly to Drake Bay. The Lodge is situated on a small hill overlooking the whole bay. The owners (Swiss and Puertorican) will look after you as one of the family. What to do: You can just relax or enjoy swimming, snorkling, scuba diving or make a visit to the close by national park of Corcovado. The owners will be pleased to arrange a trip for you.

www.caletas.co.cr


Learn

You can learn Spanish in Costa Rica, but probably a lot cheaper in other countries, like Guatemala. Also be aware that the Costa Ricans have adopted a slightly us-English pronunciation on a lot of words, so you run the risk of getting that too, even if you're from some place else.


Work

A lot of the eco-projects are seeking volunteers.


Stay safe

The traffic is dangerous, so take care.
The coasts of Costa Rica are known for strong currents and rip-tides. Take precaution and listen to the locals on where it is safe to swim.
Active volcanoes are dangerous, follow the directions given.

Stay healthy

Respect

Contact

The international calling code/country code for Costa Rica is 506.
A postage stamp to Europe is 125 Colones.


External links