Costa Rica is a very advanced country; they abolished the death penalty in 1881, don't have an army and emphasize health and education. What's more, the country pays a lot of attention to the practice of sustainable development in all areas. There are several farms experimenting with permaculture (non-intensive, pesticide free). The government makes it a point of honour to protect its natural species.
Costa Rica has 27 national parks of which 3 are UNESCO World Heritage sites. It also has the most varied plant life of any Latin American country. Just to give you a few figures - there are 850 bird species, 205 animal species, 10,000 plants and trees, 35,000 insect species...It's obvious you are going to be dazzled by the abundance of the biodiversity during your trip to Costa Rica.
One of the things you absolutely must see during a trip to Costa Rica is Corcovado National Park, on the Pacific coast of the Osa peninsula. It will leave you with some unforgettable souvenirs: crossing the thick mangrove, walking through impressive tropical forest and discovering the numerous insects, animals and birds. This park is Costa Rica just like you imagined it to be - paradisaical beaches, wild nature and abundant wildlife.
When it comes to beaches Costa Rica really does have something for everyone! One side of the country borders the Pacific and the other the Caribbean Sea. There are fine sandy beaches in white, yellow or black, coconut trees, hammocks, the sea in the background...you're bound to find something you like! There are also some great surf spots and superb coral reefs.
Some beaches of Costa Rica are among the rare ones in the world chosen by the famous Leatherback turtles for laying their eggs. From September to March on the Pacific coast, and from April to November on the Caribbean coast, it's the ideal spot for observing this famous creature. Of course, in Costa Rica this activity is strictly protected and regulated. Some places are only accessible with a guide and a lot of beaches are closed at night in order to protect the species.
Chocolate lovers - this is for you! You can volunteer on a chocolate farm or you can take a guided visit to tell you all about it. In this way you can understand, or practice, every step in turning cocoa into chocolate during your trip to Costa Rica. From collecting the cocoa pods to forming the chocolate paste, via the fermentation and drying of the beans and the separation of the powder and the cocoa butter. Sometimes you can even make soap, salves or cakes from this precious plant.
Costa Rica's inhabitants, the "Ticos" will welcome you with warmth and friendliness. Their conversations punctuated with happy cries of the national motto "Pura Vida" really reflect their character and zest for life. Go and talk to the locals who will be happy to learn about you and to tell you lots of stories about their magnificent country.
Discover all our travel ideas for a trip in Costa Rica.
Top places to discover.
If you are staying less than 90 days you do not need a visa. Your passport will need to be valid for at least one day after the end of your stay and evidence of return or onward travel is all that is required for a stay in Costa Rica.
If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic then you will need a vaccination certificate for a trip to Costa Rica You are also recommended to ensure your DTP vaccination is up to date. Others, such as typhoid, and hepatitis A and B are also recommended.
You should also protect yourself against insect bites by wearing long clothes and using protective sprays.
Finally, drink bottled rather than tap water.
If you would like more information consult the NHS website.
The international telephone code for Costa Rica is 506.
In the towns there is no problem getting onto the internet. There is wifi in most hotels, youth hostels, restaurants and cafes. On the other hand, if you are going into the jungle, it may be more difficult to get a connexion.
British Embassy in Costa Rica
Edificio Centro Colon
- San José
Costa Rican Embassy in UK
14 Lancaster Gate London W2 3LH
Emergencies: 911 (police, fire brigade, ambulance, Red Cross)