COSTA RICA

DESTINATION GUIDE

As the world leader in travel experiences since 1947, you’ll connect to the real Costa Rica in a way like no other. A peace-loving pioneer in ecotourism, Costa Rica is a glorious tribute to the planet. Over a quarter of its lands are protected areas and with half a million species, it’s one of the world’s most biodiverse countries. Walk along the treetops in the Monteverde Cloud Forest to find the Resplendent Quetzal, or canoe the lagoons and beaches of Tortuguero to find sloths, toucans, rare ocelots and sea turtles. Our Costa Rica tours will take you through these wondrous landscapes in ways you could never imagine, from trekking the slopes of Arenal Volcano, to ziplining through the rainforest. While it’s a country where nature rules, we’ll also introduce you to the wonderful culture of the easygoing Costa Ricans. You’ll meet a master chocolatier and taste the world’s best cacao beans, and enjoy lunch on a traditional working ranch. Wherever you go, you’ll hear the phrase ‘Pura Vida’, and it won’t take long before you melt into the relaxed and happy lifestyle of Costa Rica. Travel with us and unlock the infinite possibilities thanks to our exclusive Triploves Highlights.

"From beaches to jungles to volcanoes, and all the weird and wonderful wildlife in between, I could never choose just one favourite place in Costa Rica. Relax and enjoy the pura vida, mae!"

Travel Director

Costa Rica at a glance

Currency

Costa Rican colón

Winter avg temp

22°C

Summer avg temp

25°C

Time Zone

GMT -6

Capital City

San José

Language

Spanish

Good Morning

Buenos días

Good evening

Buenos tardes

Walk the treetops of Monteverde, canoe the lagoons of Tortuguero to find sloths, trek the slopes of Arenal Volcano and meet a master chocolatier. Join your expert Trafalgar Travel Director and discover one of the world's most biodiverse countries and the 'Pura Vida' pioneer in ecotourism.

Our top 3 things to do in Costa Rica

From hiking up volcanoes to walking through treetops, our Costa Rica guided holidays take you to the heart of the country in ways you could never imagine.

Visit Tortuguero National Park

A spectacular wilderness of rainforest, beaches and lagoons, Tortuguero National Park is filled with incredible wildlife. We’ll take you through the canals on a river boat to spot caimans, howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans, crocodiles and scores of bird species, plus endangered ocelots, river otters, manatees and six species of sea turtles.

Indulge in gourmet chocolate from the best cacao beans

Dive into Culture with Trafalgar, as we journey to San Isidro de Heredia, where you’ll meet master chocolatiers, Julio Fernandez and George Soriana. You’ll learn about the history and production of chocolate in their workshop, and sample some of the sweet delicacies made from the world’s best cacao beans.

View Arenal Volcano

One of the most active volcanoes in the world, rising to 1,670 metres over the lush rainforest, Arenal Volcano is a magnificent sight. Our Costa Rica holidays will take you up close to the volcano, from guided treks through old lava rocks, to ziplining on the slopes of the volcano.

Best museums in Costa Rica

Our Costa Rica tour packages delve deeper into the history and culture of Costa Rica through their wonderful museums.

Museo de Jade

Founded in 1977 by Fidel Castro, the Museo del Jade is an archaeological museum with a massive collection of pre-Columbian items. Located in San José, you can discover the world’s largest collection of American jade, along with ceramics, stone tables and ceremonial heads.

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

The National Museum of Costa Rica is set in the Bellavista Fortress, built in 1917 with bullets still lodged in the exterior walls from the country’s civil war. The building became a museum in 1950, and today has an excellent collection of colonial furniture and pre-Columbian artefacts like ceramics and stone tables.

Museum of Costa Rican Art

With more than six thousand pieces of art, the Museum of Costa Rican Art holds one of the world’s largest collections of Latin American art. You’ll find pieces from artists like José Sancho and Max Jiménez, with paintings, sculptures and pieces dating back to the early 19th century.

Best food in Costa Rica

Full of fruits, vegetables, rice and beans, Costa Rican food is fresh and filling, and we’ll show you all the best places to taste the country’s most-loved dishes.

Tamales

The tamale is a quintessential Costa Rican dish, made from dough filled with a mix of meat (like chicken or beef), corn flour and broth. The tamales are then wrapped in banana or plantain leaves, and although they are traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, our Local Specialists will show you where to taste tamales all year round.

Casado

A classic staple of Costa Rican cuisine, casado is a dish of rice, black beans, salad, plantains and a tortilla, with an optional serving of meat like beef, pork, chicken or fish. The dish comes in many variations with added flavours like corn, eggs and avocado, and you can mix and match as you please.

Gallo Pinto

A beloved dish of rice and beans, Gallo Pinto is the pride of Costa Rica. The name translates as ‘spotted rooster’ and the local saying ‘mas tico que el gallo pinto’ means ‘more Costa Rican than spotted rooster’. It’s usually eaten at breakfast, but can be enjoyed throughout the day.

Spanish phrasebook

Learning a few Spanish phrases is highly appreciated and will make it easier to connect with the locals. The first Costa Rican saying to learn is ‘pura vida, mae!’

An adaptor plug

Voltage in Wales is 230V and the sockets are of Type G, with standard British 3-pin plugs.

Waterproof coat

No matter where you go, it can rain at any time in Costa Rica. Pack a waterproof jacket and keep it in your day bag on your daily adventures.

Mosquito repellent

Costa Rica has plenty of mosquitoes, so to avoid any nasty bites from mosquitoes or other insects, bring a strong repellent with DEET (diethyltoluamide) and apply it regularly.

Reef-safe sunscreen

Protect yourself from the harsh sun with SPF 30 or higher and protect the environment with reef-safe sunscreen. It’s recommended to bring your own, as sunscreen is expensive in Costa Rica.

What to pack for Costa Rica

Other things to know before you go

Depending on your nationality, you'll need a valid passport and may also need visas to enter. Please check this well in advance of your trip departure date here. Some countries also require passports to have 3-6 months left on them before the given expiry date, so be sure to double check this before booking your travels.

Road Trip Adventures

Slide into your seat, grip the wheel, start the engine, and hit the open road. From Norway to South Africa, the tundra to the rainforest, there is no limit to what you can reach with four wheels and an adventurous spirit. The road trip is no longer a means to get from point A to point B in your country; it crosses borders into new places, allowing for pure freedom in exciting destinations. Measure your next journey in viewpoints, road signs, and the people you'll meet along the way!

Guide to Costa Rica Visa Application

Learn about the types of visas and the step by step process of obtaining a visa for Costa rica and quarantine regulations in this comprehensive guide.

  This includes types of visa applications, what to declare, and what is prohibited.

Keep in mind these handy tips for a smart, stress-free, and on-time visa application experience! 

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