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Small in size and big in attributes, Costa Rica in South America offers visitors a tropical holiday destination with immense diversity.
Wet habitats of clouds and rainforests are home to hundreds of species of wildlife that will wow nature lovers. Warm turquoise waters offer idyllic scuba diving and surfing; the more adventurous can explore waterfalls or hike an active volcano.
If holidaying in one of the most biodiverse places on earth appeals to you, Costa Rica should be on your list of destinations.
We found that driving is the most convenient way to get around Costa Rica for freedom and flexibility. However, car rentals are costly, and you must establish whether you need a 2wd or 4wd. Reserve your car rental well in advance due to limited availability and high demand.
There are shuttles available for those who do not want to drive. They offer door-to-door service, and it's faster than taking a bus. Shared shuttles have up to 15 passengers. Private shuttles are for your group's exclusive use.
Taking a bus is the cheapest way to get around Costa Rica, but it's also the most time-consuming. Bus transportation is perfect if you visit popular tourist destinations and major areas. However, if you deviate from the main routes, you may have to take more than one bus to your destination.
Flying on a domestic flight is a quick and easy way to get around the country, but it is expensive. There are a couple of local airlines that fly countrywide.
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The currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón ₡.
The official national language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and it has been since the Spanish colonization in the 16th century. English is widely spoken but not all Costa Ricans speak English.
There are also five indigenous languages spoken in Costa Rica as part of the Chibcha language family.
Costa Rica has natural reserves with a great diversity of endemic and migratory birds. (Photo via Provided by Collette).
Costa Rica is an equatorial country and experiences a tropical climate with little difference in temperature between summer and winter.
Temperatures are warm, averaging between 73 and 90 °F (23 and 32 °C), and there is slight variation in daylight hours.
Costa Rica typically has a dry season from the end of December through the end of April and a rainy season from May to November.
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We’ve found that any time is a good time to visit Costa Rica. However, note that there are two distinct seasons.
If you’re visiting Costa Rica to escape a dull winter, December through the end of April are your best months. This is the Costa Rican “Summer.” It is also peak tourist season so expect crowds and high prices. Book accommodation, car rentals, and tours at least 2-3 months before your trip.
The dry months are the best for scuba diving and catching sight of the giant oceanic manta rays. It is also the best time for bird watching - especially in the cloud forests such as Monteverde.
Costa Rica’s rainy season, or “winter,” is from mid-May to the end of November. Visitor numbers and tourist prices drop. We discovered that planning outings during the rainy season was no problem. Rain typically falls at the same time every day so it’s fairly predictable.
In our opinion, it is well worth experiencing some rain to see the rivers run higher and even the dry forests turn lush green!
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