Costa Rica – practical information for tourists

Practical information about Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that and is one of the most-visited international tourist destinations. Trips to Costa Rica are very popular due to nature, which is extremely rich in this country.

If you go on a trip around Costa Rica, you will certainly notice that it is a country with a very large diversity of landscape and climate.

Costa Rica – basic information

Costa Rica is a small country, its total area is only 51100 km2. Costa Rica stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and the distance between them is only 500 km. Country is known for its beaches, volcanoes and biodiversity.

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Costa Rica – basic information

About a quarter of Costa Rica’s area is protected and full of wildlife. The official language is Spanish, but an increasing proportion of the population speak English.

Costa Rica – location

Costa Rica is neighboring with two countries. From the north there it is Nicaragua, and from the south there is Panama. The Caribbean Sea is on the east side and the Pacific Ocean on the west side.

The length of the coast on the Caribbean side is 255 km, and the Pacific coast – 1003 km. On both coasts there are plenty of beautiful beaches and lush vegetation.

Costa Rica currency and credit cards

Costa Rica has the local currency named ‘colon’. You can exchange it at the bank or at the airport. If you do not want to exchange currency, you can also pay with US dollars, which are readily accepted in most places.

Credit cards

Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants. Even in small stores payment terminals are available and you can easily pay by card.

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Costa Rican currency

It should be remembered, that in small towns or in places where there is no coverage, only cash will be accepted. It’s worth having some amount of cash with you.

Safety in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a very safe country compared to other Latin American countries. You must use standard caution, especially in San José. The most common crime that can happen is pickpocketing and breaking into a car.

Therefore, do not leave anything in the parked car and do not carry a lot of money with you. It is good to leave your passport in the hotel safe and only have a photocopy of your passport with you.

Costa Rica – weather and climate

The climate in Costa Rica varies greatly depending on the place and altitude above sea level. There are as many as 12 climate zones in this small country. If you thought that Costa Rica was just tropical heat, then you were wrong.

You will definitely find places where it can be cold! Costa Rica is in the extremely humid equatorial climate. The Costa Rica mountains have a humid equatorial climate. Thanks to mild climatic conditions prevailing in the interior of the country, it is called “the land of eternal spring”.

The climate is heavily influenced by oceans and winds that transfer oceanic humidity. This humidity condenses in the mountains in the middle of the territory, where beautiful rivers flowing to the coasts.

Among the largest rivers that end their journey in the Pacific, we can mention:

  • Tempisque River, which crosses the Guanacaste region and flows into the Bay of Nicoya;
  • Tárcoles River, which irrigates the Central Pacific region and whose tributaries originate in the Central Region itself,
  • Grande de Térraba River, which crosses the Osa region, at the estuary of which there are Sierpe mangrove forests, which are the largest in Costa Rica;
  • On the Caribbean coast, the rivers Reventazón and Pacuare
  • In the north, the San Carlos and Sarapiquí Rivers are the main rivers and flow into the San Juan River, a natural border with the country of Nicaragua.
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Costa Rican river

Costa Rica – temperature

Temperatures depend on the location and height above sea level. The warmest period is the months from December to April. This is when country has the largest tourist season.

Temperatures on the coast are higher than in the center of the country and can reach up to 40 C. On the highest mountain peaks and volcanoes, temperatures can drop even below 0 C.

Day length

Due to the geographical location, the length of day and night is basically the same. It fluctuates slightly throughout the year. The sun rises around 5 in the morning and sets at 6 in the afternoon.

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Costa Rica – history

This country was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 during his fourth trip to America. His ship reached the Caribbean coast, near today’s city of Limón.

Columbus, surprised by the richness of vegetation and the richness of jewelry and golden decorations worn by indigenous natives, called this land a “rich coast.”

In 1989, the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of the democracy. In 1948, an army was liquidated by drafting a new constitution. Costa Rica is still a country without an army.

Despite this, there are no political or social fears that would keep the country in a state of fragility.

Ecology, nature, flora and fauna of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known all over the world for its natural beauty and huge biodiversity. In recent decades tourism become one of the important sources of income for their residents.

Costa Rica is one of the countries with the largest number of national parks and protected areas in the world. This country has something to protect, because it lives as much as 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

Flora

The fact is, that this country has the largest variety of plants in the world. Due to the large diversity of habitats and ecosystems, nearly 30% of areas are protected, such as national parks, biological reserves, wetlands, and forest reserves.

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Costa Rican flora

Thanks to this, there are plenty of aquatic or terrestrial plants, flowers and other plant species that are unique on a global scale. Watching these plants is not only an attraction for tourists, but even experienced biologists can be surprised.

Of course, protected areas are not only forests, but many other interesting places. You can find here islands, mountain rivers, beautiful lakes, active volcanoes and high mountains. There are also coral reefs, hot springs and caves.

Costa Rica also has several wetlands of great global importance that have been classified as RAMSAR. At the border with Panama is the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve.

This area is one of the most important biological corridors between the north and south of the American continent. Wetlands are also a world heritage for all endemic species of flora and fauna.

In fact, 9,000 species of flowers were found in Costa Rica, representing 5% of all species in the world.

Fauna

The animal world in Costa Rica is very rich and unique. 220 species of mammals, 220 species of reptiles, 850 species of birds and 165 species of amphibians have been found throughout the country. 360,000 species of insects were also found here, including about 1,300 butterfly species.

Mammals include monkeys, sloths, agutis and other large animals. Costa Rica is a real paradise for bird lovers. You can find many species of parrots, toucans, hummingbirds, buzzards, herons and pelicans. Of the amphibians and reptiles, the most common species are crocodiles, alligators, geckos, and frogs.

This country is also a place where several species of turtles lay their eggs, which is an interesting tourist attraction. You can also find here as many as 100 species of snakes. Most of them are not dangerous to people.

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Costa Rican fauna

The great attraction is the period when whales can be found. Each year, these large animals migrate from the cold waters of Alaska to the Costa Rica. This is where they give birth, and meeting them is a great tourist attraction.

All in all, this country is one of the best places on earth to discover wildlife. A high concentration of species on a relatively small area, is the perfect way to experience true nature.

Economy of Costa Rica

Costa Rica currently lives mainly from tourism. This industry is already ahead of banana and coffee production, which was recently a leading branch of the economy.

In the past, the country developed the agricultural, textile and food industries. However, in the 1980s, investment and production slowed down.

The other strong branch of the country’s economy is agriculture and the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. Many of the products grown here are exported to Canada, the United States, Europe and even to Japan.

This is a good way to introduce other sources of income into the economy, independent of tourism.

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People in Costa Rica

Costa Rican are known as “ticos”. The name comes from the habbit of using diminutive, such as “momentico”. Tico are peace lovers and are very hospitable to visitors. If you can win their trust, you will have good friends. 88% of the country’s population declares Catholic faith.

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People

The remaining percent are Protestants, Jews and other religions. The official language is Spanish, but many people speak English.

Interesting facts about Costa Rica

National Flower of Costa Rica

Country did not have its national flower until 1939. At that time, a garden called “Peace Garden” was established, and Costa Rica has been asked to send its national flower to plant in this garden.

For this reason, a national flower competition was organized in the country. The winner turned out to be an orchid, popularly called “purple guaria”.

In June 1939, it was officially announced that the orchid was becoming the national flower.

National Tree

In August 1959, President Mario Echandi Jiménez announced that the Guanacaste tree would be the national tree of Costa Rica.

This species was chosen as a tribute to the province of Guanacaste and its attachment to Costa Rica. These trees also give a large shadow that symbolizes the protection country gives to its citizens.

National bird of Costa Rica

Costa Rica also has its national bird species, which is Yigüirro. His singing heralds the arrival of rain.

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Costa Rican national bird – Yigüirro

National Labor Symbol

The cart was proclaimed the national symbol of work in 1988. In the last century, the cart was the most used means of transport, because only this allowed the terrible condition of the roads.

Today, the colored car is a national symbol and this graphic element is often used.

Costa Rica – summary

Costa Rica is a unique country that attracts many tourists each year. There is so much to do in such a small country!

If one of the attractions that interests you is diving in Costa Rica, you’ve come to the right place! In our center, every customer is treated like a VIP. We are happy to help you organize your trip and answer all your questions. Please contact us.

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