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Costa Rica travel guide

Anything is possible in Costa Rica. With tropical rainforests, laid back surfer beaches, moody volcanoes and bustling cities, it's hard to beat a Costa Rican adventure. Ride rapids in La Fortuna, hike through lush cloud forests in Monteverde or laze on jungle-fringed beaches - Costa Rica is the perfect destination for adventure seekers.

Discover Pura Vida in Costa Rica

Get down with nature and take on the jungles and adrenaline filled atmosphere of Costa Rica! From ziplining through the rainforest and white water rafting to plunging into hot volcano springs and relaxing on idyllic beaches - Costa Rica will get you enjoying the very best of the great outdoors and allow you to embark on your very own tropical adventure! Discover the ins and outs of the country and immerse yourself in its vibrant local culture.

 

From boho beach hangouts and invigorating surf to Caribbean cuisine and colorful local wildlife, Costa Rica is the perfect destination kick back and leave the hectic behind... Check out some of our favorite spots in Costa Rica below, and contact an STA Travel Expert for all of your Costa Rica travel needs!

A view of Arenal Volcano a lake and a palm tree

Arenal Volcano & Hot Springs

Highly active until 2010, Arenal Volcano is picture perfect with its conical shape and lush surrounding greenery and wildlife. Its many trails are popular with visitors, and rightly so with their richly exotic feel. Nearby are volcanic hot springs, perfect for taking a dip into after a long trek and winding down amidst an idyllic rainforest setting.
A surfer carrying a surfboard along the coast with ships dotting the sea while the sunset casts pink and purple shadows

Costa Rica's Coast

From the rugged Pacific to the balmy Caribbean, Costa Rica bridges two seas and is home to incredible jungle lined beaches. From catching waves and chilling under palm trees to turtle conservation projects, Costa Rica's coast pleases all. Hit Pavones and Playa Grande for renowned surf, Dominical and Montezuma for laidback beach towns, and Cahuita and Puerto Viejo for vibrant Afro-Caribbean vibes.
a laying sloth with a large tree leaf behind it

National Parks & Reserves

You can't help smiling at those happy sloth faces! Costa Rica is home to a host of amazing wildlife with numerous national parks and gorgeous countryside. From the coffee plantations of the Central Valley and the lush greenery of Guanacaste, to the incredible Nauyaca waterfalls and protected marine life of Marino Ballena - for lovers of the great outdoors, Costa Rica is a paradise.

Costa Rica fast facts

stacks of coins of different currencies

Currency

Name: Costa Rican colón
Code: CRC
Symbol: ₡

A man reading from a book

Languages Spoken

The official language is Spanish. A regional dialect of Jamaican Creole English called Limonese or Mekatelyu is spoken in Limón Province on the Caribbean coast.

a clock

Time Zones

Central Standard Time
UCT-6

The arenal volcano surrounded by lush vegetation

Costa Rica Travel Essentials

A man and woman sitting in an orange hammock on a wooden deck looking towards a lush green forest

Costa Rica Hotels & Hostels

From cheap & cheerful beachside hostels to luxurious all-inclusive resorts, Costa Rica has all kinds of fantastic places to stay. 

Costa Rica Tours

As Central America's capital of adventure, Costa Rica is the sort of destination that lends itself to group tours. Our tour packages will have you zip lining through rainforests, rafting down world-famous rapids, trekking to volcanoes and taking a dip at the foot of waterfalls.

Central America Bus Passes

Hop-on hop-off bus travel is a great choice for transport around Central America, so you can use Costa Rica as you starting point to explore Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and beyond!

When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has a tropical climate, so it has rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season runs from mid-May to the end of November, with the highest amount of rainfall between August and November. It's still good to visit the coastal and touristy areas during the early part of the low season but off the beaten track travel becomes harder. The best surfing can also be found on the Pacific coast during this time.

Dry season between December and April still sees some tropical showers but this is the peak time to travel. Book your accommodation well in advance if traveling during this time.

Do US citizens need a visa to go to Costa Rica?

US citizens don't need a visa enter Costa Rica for trips less than 90 days in duration. However, US travelers must have a valid passport and a flight or bus ticket to depart Costa Rica within 90 days of arrival. Find out more information from the Costa Rica Embassy in Washington DC.

Need a little more inspiration? Visit our travel blog!

STA Travel Blog

Costa Rica Adventure - The Tour

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STA Travel Blog

High Five Costa Rica!

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STA Travel Blog

Top 8 Costa Rican Adrenaline Rushes

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