10 Best Things to Do in Costa Rica in March

Published on January 12, 2022 by Brittany Sawyer

If you’re visiting Costa Rica in March—you’re in good company.

March is one of the most popular times to visit Costa Rica since the warm sunshine and clear skies provide the perfect environment to explore the country’s natural beauty.

Before you travel to Costa Rica this spring, here’s everything you need to know—including the best things to do in Costa Rica in March.

Warm, sunny weather

Fortunately, March offers warm, sunny weather in Costa Rica, with highs ranging from 85°F to 95°F and lows between 75°F and 85°F. 

March falls in Costa Rica’s “dry” season (or “high” season) that runs from December through April. This means you can expect perfect beach weather and clear skies during your March visit.

A beach with golden sand, turquoise water, a clear sky, and lush green trees
You can enjoy clear skies like these every day when traveling to Costa Rica in March.

High season means higher prices

March is one of the most popular times to visit Costa Rica, primarily due to the warm weather and spring break travelers. The country also draws large crowds during the week of Easter if it falls in late March.

You may be dismayed to discover that hotels, resorts, flights and activities are more expensive than if you were to travel to Costa Rica during the “green season” from May to November. However, when you visit Costa Rica in March, you’re paying for a lively atmosphere and great weather that allows you to experience the best of everything this beautiful country has to offer—which is totally worth it, if you ask us.

Best things to do in Costa Rica in March 

1. San José 

If you’d like to venture into Costa Rica’s capital city for proximity to the activities in March, San José offers plenty of cultural activities to enjoy while you’re there, like the Jade Museum and Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. You can also enjoy the city’s photo-worthy architecture in Barrio Amón or the restaurants, bakeries, and bars in Barrio Escalante, two of the city’s most popular districts.

The city of San Jose in Costa Rica with a colorful sign that reads "SJO Vive!"
San José has tons of unique places to explore, from museums to restaurants.

If you’re planning to base your trip in San José and still want to explore the country’s beautiful beaches, rainforests and famous landmarks, you’re in luck. You can book tons of Costa Rica tours and excursions with tour companies based in the capital city so that you can experience Costa Rica to the fullest during your trip.

2. Arenal Volcano 

Arenal Volcano is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and as you can imagine, it’s a must-see spot for all first-time travelers to Costa Rica.

This volcano, standing at over 5,000 feet, is usually covered with a layer of fog. However, from February through April, you’re likely to have the best views of the volcano—making March the ideal time to visit.

While you’re exploring this famous landmark, you should also consider paying a visit to La Fortuna, a quaint town located at the base of the volcano. Here, you’ll find unique shops, hot springs, colorful parks, and beautiful views of the towering volcano.

3. Tortuguero National Park 

Located on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, Tortuguero National Park is an excellent location to experience the country’s tropical climate. Plus, if you’re hoping to do some wildlife spotting while you’re in Costa Rica—you’re in luck. Tortuguero National Park is teeming with exotic animals, like white-faced monkeys, toucans, exotic birds, jaguars, bright lizards, red-eyed frogs and blue morpho butterflies.

A colorful toucan sitting on a branch
In March, you’ll see toucans and other wildlife at Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica.

One of the highlights of visiting Tortuguero National Park during March is the chance for a sea turtle encounter. The park is a major nesting ground for sea turtles that make seasonal appearances, including green, leatherback, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles.

4. Pacific Coast 

March brings beautiful weather to Costa Rica, and one of the best ways to enjoy the warm temperatures is to soak up the sun exploring the outdoors on Costa Rica’s west coast—spanning over 600 miles.

Here’s a look at some of the best beaches and recreation opportunities on the country’s west coast, categorized by region. 

Northern Pacific Coast 

5. Playa Flamingo

Located in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province, this beach location offers an upscale, relaxed, family-friendly environment due to the area’s wide variety of hotels, luxury homes and entertainment.

Here you’ll be able to explore secluded beaches and lagoons, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can go scuba diving—this area is well known for its abundant marine life.

6. Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa means “beautiful beach”—and it’s easy to see why. This gorgeous, secluded location is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and offers plenty of shade trees—ideal for warm, sunny days.

Five people snorkeling in Playa Hermosa, one of the best things to do in Costa Rica in March
Playa Hermosa is a popular spot for snorkeling and spotting aquatic life.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Costa Rica has three other beaches named “Playa Hermosa?” The others are located near Jaco, Santa Teresa and Uvita if you want to explore them all.

7. Playa Grande

Playa Grande is a laid-back, beautiful beach in the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas with exquisite sunset views. It’s also internationally recognized as one of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica—making this the perfect spot to visit if you’re ready to ride the waves.

8. Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula is known for its scenic beaches and is an excellent location for surfing and wildlife spotting. Located on the peninsula’s tip, Santa Teresa Beach and Isla Tortuga are two must-visit areas.

Dozens of people surfing and swimming in the ocean
You can learn to surf at one of Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches in the Guanacaste Province.

Central Pacific Coast 

9. Manuel Antonio National Park

This small, protected national park includes secluded coves, beautiful white-sand beaches, and thick rainforests filled with hundreds of birds, iguanas, and monkeys. 

Southern Pacific Coast 

10. Corcovado National Park

This expansive tropical rainforest on the Osa Peninsula is known for its picturesque hiking trails, diverse wildlife and gorgeous beaches. If you’re trying to spot some whales during your trip in March, this park is an excellent location to watch for humpback whales.

Two people hiking on a trail in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica
You can hike and explore the natural beauty of Corcovado National Park while visiting Costa Rica in March.

Bonus things to do in Costa Rica in March: Costa Rica events

Día del Boyero 

Día del Boyero is an annual event that occurs every second Sunday in March in San Antonio de Escazú, a town located on a hill just outside of San José.

During the event, local farmers and Costa Ricans parade their ornately painted oxcarts around the town. If you’d like to gain a deeper understanding of Costa Rica’s culture and history, this event is one you can’t skip. Plus, the colorful oxcarts aren’t hard on the eyes, either.

Oxcart drivers preparing the colorful and decorated carts for Dia del Boyera, an event that occurs in March in Costa Rica
Witnessing the colorful oxcarts at Día del Boyero is one of the highlights of visiting Costa Rica in March.

International Festival of the Arts 

The International Festival of the Arts is a ten-day event that usually takes place in San José towards the end of March. It features first-class literature, music, theatre and dance presentations by artistic groups from around the world.

National Orchid Show 

In early March, the Costa Rican Orchid Association holds a flower festival that celebrates hundreds of species of orchids—featuring both common and rare varieties. You’ll have to visit to see which orchid takes home the first-place ribbon this year.

Colorful pink, orange, yellow, and red orchids in a greenhouse
You can see gorgeous orchids, like these, at the National Orchid Show in Costa Rica.

Semana Santa 

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a week-long celebration that occurs the week leading up to Easter in Costa Rica and most of Central America.

Catholic churches in each town organize religious festivals and colorful processions, specifically on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, for each city to partake in. Additionally, many Costa Rican residents spend Easter weekend with their families at the beach, so this can be an extremely busy (yet fun) time to visit Costa Rica.

However, you should note that a “dry law” is enforced in certain parts of Costa Rica, with  no alcohol sales allowed, typically on the Thursday and Friday before Easter. If your ideal vacation is lounging on the beach with a drink in hand—you may want to rethink visiting Costa Rica during Holy Week.

A gathering of people for Semana Santa, or Holy Week, in Costa Rica
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a fun time to celebrate with the locals in Costa Rica.
 

 

Playa Hermosa on the Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica

From International Living Magazine!

Playa Hermosa, which translates to beautiful beach, is located in the northern Guanacaste province, on the Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica. At a short 25-minute drive from Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, Hermosa is one of the closest beach communities to an international airport in the entire country. The Costa Rican capital, San Jose, is approximately a five-hour drive away.

Retire in Hermosa

Hermosa is a place strongly worth considering if you desire living in warm temperatures, with high 80s F to low 90s F by day, and high 70s F to low 80s F at night, nearly year-round. Add in frequent sunshine—the rainiest months being August to October, with only a few stray showers and occasional downpours—and, you have in this little piece of the tropics, one of the driest places in the country.

Situated in a protected cove, the town of Hermosa resides between lively Playas del Coco to the south, and Playa Panama to the north. Approximately one mile long, Playa Hermosa is lined with almond and palm trees, with the beach in the shape of a horseshoe. As the sand is volcanic in origin it has a salt and pepper color and a fine, soft texture. A path meanders around the beach for easy walkability and features shaded picnic tables, benches, and a children’s playground.

Since the cove is protected, the waves are small and without riptides or undercurrents. This makes conditions for swimming and water sports ideal. SUP paddleboarding, skimboarding, and snorkeling are popular water sports here. Playa Hermosa also consistently holds a bandera azul (blue flag) status, the highest rating a beach can acquire for cleanliness and water quality.

The Papagayo Peninsula is prolific for deep sea fishing for varieties such as mahi-mahi, tuna, rooster fish, marlin, and other catch and release big game fish. These seas are especially good during “green” season because the rains wash dead wood from the hills into the ocean. This natural wood creates a multitude of nutrients for sea life and hiding places for fish to spawn and nest. Therefore, the fish are closer to the shore and to the surface making it an angler’s dream.

Lifestyle in Hermosa

lifestyle in hermosa costa rica
© iStock/Manila Ridolfi

Although this quaint and peaceful community itself is small, with the population fluctuating seasonally from high 100’s to the low 1000’s, it is well developed and boasts all the basic amenities you would need to live comfortably with high-quality boutique hotels, bars with live music, and international open-air restaurants dotting the oceanfront. The population consists of an equal mix of expats, mainly North Americans and Europeans, ticos (Costa Rican natives), and vacationers.

The residents here are generally tightly knit and are willing to donate money for various fundraising efforts to make the community a better place. In fact, Hermosa has a recycling program and residents routinely volunteer for beach clean ups. There is also a Salve Monos (Save the Monkeys) program in place, working in conjunction with the University of Costa Rica to preserve, document, save, and enhance the dwindling Howler Monkey population in Hermosa.

Hermosa town is situated in a valley with much of the real estate development in the surrounding hills. It is one of the few Costa Rican towns with a miniature golf course, and also has a pharmacy, a spa, a hair salon, an ATM, plus a grocery store in the center of town to satisfy shopping needs from fresh produce to imported wines. As Hermosa is fairly concentrated and on the bus line, you do not have to own a car here.

However, if you do have a car, you will open your world to the nearby restaurants, bars, and bigger grocery stores of Playas del Coco and to the provincial capital, Liberia. Many coastal-loving expats prefer to call this area home because of the nearby amenities in Liberia such as the private Hospital San Rafael Arcángel, and the central hub of commerce including shopping, banking, attorneys, a migration and fingerprinting office for residency, a COSEVI driver’s license office, as well as car dealerships and big-box stores like Pricemart, Walmart, Universal, and Pequeño Mundo.

Many of Costa Rica’s national parks and tourist attractions are within an hour’s drive from Hermosa, including Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Palo Verde National Park, and Santa Rosa National Park. These parks provide a great opportunity to see wildlife and experience a few of Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems, including an active volcano. The Papagayo Peninsula also boasts multiple 5-star luxury resorts near to Hermosa, such as the Four Seasons, Andaz, Secrets, El Mangroove, and Planet Hollywood.

Real Estate in Hermosa

Like anywhere in the world, the price of real estate varies greatly based on whether the property  has a view, distance from the beach, and the square footage. Given the small size of the community here, there are a surprising amount of choices, from condos to single-family homes, in Hermosa.

For example, a small, two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a community pool, but without a view, can be found for under $200,000. With a better view comes a higher price, so if you want a view, you would need to double that price and increase it as you move up the hill. These houses serve up more spectacular views and increased square footage. Lots and gated, planned communities can be found in the $80,000 range.

Long-term rentals are becoming more challenging to find because most owners want the big dollars associated with short-term vacation rentals. However, there are still places available to rent long term-often they are found in the local community by asking around, not advertised on websites. Hermosa’s accommodation mainly caters to mid- to high-end. Rents for a modest two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo can be found for $800 a month. If you are looking for something a little larger like a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home, you are likely to pay around $1,500 and upwards.

Cost of Living in Hermosa

Below is an example of a monthly budget for a couple renting in Hermosa, including groceries transport, and day-to-day expenses. These numbers can vary widely depending on the lifestyle you choose to live.

Rent $800
Utilities (Electricity, water) $110
Cable/Internet $60
Cell Phones $25
Groceries (including alcohol) $400
Car/Transportation $120
Health Insurance/Medicine (private policy) $400
Dining Out/Social Activities $400
Misc. $100
 Monthly total: $2,415

If you’re a seeking a small, safe, and tranquil piece of beach paradise with plenty of sunshine, stunning views, and proximity to big city amenities, Playa Hermosa may be the perfect place to start your new expat life.

Yearly Obligations and Duties Before the Tax and Municipal Authorities in Costa Rica

January 12, 2022

Thank you Dentons Munoz for the friendly reminders. 

     
 
 
 

All entities registered in Costa Rica either as active or inactive must comply with yearly obligations and duties before the tax and municipal authorities. These obligations impose filings that must be conducted in certain times during the year.

Some mandatory obligations to remember for all entities during 2022 are:

31st January. Payment of Corporate Tax & Education Stamp.

15th March. Filing of Income Tax Declaration (form 101) Income Tax Payers and Simplify Income Tax Statement (form 101) for inactive entities.

30th April. Filing or renewal of the Ultimate Beneficiaries Declaration.

Additionally, on December 2021, the tax authority issued a new resolution indicating that all entities registered in Costa Rica as inactive must file a Simplify Income Tax Statement (form 101), instead of the Patrimony Declaration that was enacted by DGT – R-075-2019, but its entry into force was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.This new declaration requires all entities to update their business domicile, legal representatives and contact information before the tax authority.All entities must file such declaration by March 15th, 2022.

Other obligations to take into account:

March 30th.Payment of Real Estate Taxes.

January 15th. Declaration of the Luxury Homes Tax applicable to houses worth over USD 205,000 (approximately).

15th day of each month. Monthly payment of Value-Added Tax for services and sales.

March 2022.Yearly mandatory shareholders meeting approving balance and results of each entity.

Please kindly advise whether you will need help from Dentons Muñoz to complete the above listed obligations. Our team could help you and ensure deadlines are met avoiding potential penalties.

In the future, we will send reminders to ensure that you company completes de tasks successfully.

If you have any queries regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact our Corporate Compliance team at [email protected]

New Tourism Route To Launch Between The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Panama

 

Hoping to attract more visitors and strengthen their ties, The Dominican RepublicCosta Rica and Panama are due to launch a brand new tourism route that will make it easier for American travelers to visit all three highly popular destinations.

The countries, which have chosen to maintain open borders in light of the recent Omicron spike, albeit with varying degrees of restrictions, hope a new so-called “tourist circuit” will prove attractive to visitors keen on exploring the region further.

Woman Relaxing At An Unspecified Beach

The New Tourist Circuit And What It Could Mean For Americans Visiting The Three Countries

Although not much is yet known about the endeavor, Pablo Javier Pérez Campos, Ambassador of Panama to the Dominican Republic (DR), recently disclosed that an agreement was reached last December at the Summit Alliance for Development in Democracy, held in Puerto Plata.

According to Campos, the three nations will develop a “circuit” between them, in order to provide visitors from the United StatesCanada and all around the world a “unique experience” when traveling the region.

The New Tourist Circuit And What It Could Mean For Americans Visiting The Three Countries

Although not much is yet known about the endeavor, Pablo Javier Pérez Campos, Ambassador of Panama to the Dominican Republic (DR), recently disclosed that an agreement was reached last December at the Summit Alliance for Development in Democracy, held in Puerto Plata.

According to Campos, the three nations will develop a “circuit” between them, in order to provide visitors from the United StatesCanada and all around the world a “unique experience” when traveling the region.Streets Of Santo Domingo In Historic Colonial District, Dominican Republic

American travelers, who have recently been once again facing more stringent testing requirements at European borders, and have turned to the Caribbean and Latin America for sunny getaways, will surely welcome the news.

Elaborating on the topic, Campos highlighted the “tourism potential” of The DR, Costa Rica and Panama, and stressed that deeper regional integration will improve the quality of life of the local population.

Women And Men Playing Football At Sunset In Espadilla Beach, Next Manuel Antonio National Park, In Costa Rica's Pacific Coast

The new strategy is also sure to benefit vacationers, with Campos hoping that “a person who comes from another continent or other regions can visit the three countries and learn about the ecological diversity that Costa Rica offers, the supply of the logistics and shopping hub, the beaches that Panama also offers, and the excellent and beautiful beaches that the DR has (…)”

Does This Mean A More Relaxed Approach At The Borders Or Simply New Routes?

Wild Beach Bocas Del Toro In Panama

As previously stated, we still do not know yet what a “tourist circuit” between The DR, Costa Rica and Panama will mean for visitors in the short-term.

Whether this means the opening of new state-funded sailing routes, strengthening of cross-country public transportation, relaxation of visa regimes or even a free movement zone, its nature is still up for speculation.

Beach In The Dominican Republic

Interviewed by National Awakening, Campos reasserted all three nations are “dialoguing reciprocally” and “exchanging ideas”, with the aim of facilitating travel in the zone so visitors “can go to the three nations and share their experiences”.

When Will It Be Implemented?

As Campos has only just raised the topic, no official announcements have been made by The DR, Costa Rica or Panama’s tourism representatives.

Aerial View Of Jaco Beach In Costa Rica
 
Additionally, no implementation date has been set yet, meaning it is still difficult to assess when the “tourist circuit” could come into force, whether in 2022 already or in upcoming years.
 

Currently, all three nations involved are battling a surge in Covid infections, driven mostly by the new Omicron variant.

What Are The Current Rules For Entering The DR, Costa Rica And Panama From The U.S.?

Dominican Republic Flag Flying On A Beach

 

The Dominican Republic

U.S. passport holders are allowed to travel to The DR with few Covid-related restrictions. They do not need to present a vaccination card, negative PCR or rapid antigen test upon entry, but may be selected for a quick, aleatory breath test when landing.

Being fully vaccinated for no less than 3 weeks, or presenting a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of arrival normally exempts travelers from the random test.

Aerial View Of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

All international tourists are permitted to enter Costa Rica by air, land and sea, with no vaccination status, nor pre-departure testing being relevant to border authorities.

Unvaccinated travelers must still provide proof of a medical insurance policy covering any Covid-related medical treatment or quarantine expenses while in Costa Rica.

Normally, Americans visitors do not need a visa for short-term visits to Costa Rica, with direct flights serving the Central American destination from several U.S. cities.

Visitors should keep in mind that Costa Rica has lunched an internal vaccine passport in order to visit public venues such as restaurants.

Unspecified Location In Panama

Panama

Vaccinated arrivals to Panama must present a digital or physical full Covid certificate, indicating they received all required doses of an approved vaccine by the WHO, FDA or EMA at least 14 days before travel. They are exempt from any further testing and quarantine requirements.

On the other hand, unvaccinated visitors are required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken at most 72 hours prior to traveling, or, if unable to produce it, be tested on arrival at their own expense.

When arriving from a high-risk country, even in possession of a negative Covid test, the unvaccinated are required to quarantine for 72 hours and then be tested again at the end of this period. The quarantine is extended to a further 10 days when tests return positive.

Costa Rica Myths: Top 10 Misconceptions

Published on December 22, 2021 by Karl Kahler

Last Updated on January 3, 2022

Costa Rica is an island in South America that’s cheap but dangerous, yet at least it doesn’t rain from December through April, and it’s never cold…. These and other Costa Rica myths and misconceptions are widely believed but (in most cases) flat-out wrong. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the wrong-headed things that people tend to believe about Costa Rica. Here’s our list of the top 10 Costa Rica myths and misconceptions.

 

1. Costa Rica is an island.

Startled researchers discover Costa Rica is, in fact, an island,” blared a Tico Times headline last year, noting that a previously undiscovered network of rivers and lakes comprise the entirety of the country’s borders with Nicaragua and Panama. Yet this story was published on … wait for it … April 1, and of course it was an April Fools’ joke. 

The idea that Costa Rica is an island probably arises mostly from confusion with Puerto Rico, not to mention the appalling ignorance of geography of many people in the Great North. Costa Rica does, in fact, have oceans on both coasts, but it’s part of the isthmus that connects North and South America, and no, it’s not an island.

topographic map of Costa Rica
No, Costa Rica is not really an island.

 

2. Costa Rica is in South America.

Costa Rica, of course, is actually in Central America. But here’s an even trickier question: What continent is Costa Rica on?

Since there are only seven continents in the world (Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia/Oceania), Central America is not a continent. The northernmost countries in South America are Colombia and Venezuela, so all of Central America, including Costa Rica, is actually part of the continent of North America. 

Costa Rica is also not south of the Equator, which last we checked runs through Ecuador. However, Costa Rica is a tropical country, as it’s between the Tropic of Cancer (which runs through Mexico) and the Tropic of Capricorn (which passes through Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil).

aerial view of a green rainforest, blue ocean and sandy beach
Costa Rica is a tropical country, but if you look for it in South America, you’ve gone too far.

 

3. Costa Rica is cheap.

Not so fast. Some people come here expecting the beauty of Hawaii and the prices of Sudan, but it’s not quite like that. The beauty, yes, but Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in the region. In fact, one list ranks San José as the fifth most expensive city in all of Latin America, which includes both Central and South America.

Sure, you can find bargains here. But generally speaking, the prices of restaurant meals, groceries, consumer goods and real estate are comparable to anything you’ll find back home. 

One noteworthy exception: If you come from a really pricey area like Silicon Valley or Manhattan, you may find the prices of buying a home or renting an apartment much lower here – and that’s almost surely going to be your biggest expense.

A pie chart of a budget in Costa Rica, including airfare, food, drinks, guides, lodging, transportation, tips, and entrance fees
You can expect a lot out of Costa Rica, but don’t expect it to be cheap.

 

4. Costa Rica is dangerous.

Says who? One list, based on the 2020 Global Peace Index, ranks Costa Rica the safest country in all of Latin America – No. 1 with a bullet.

There is crime here, of course – mostly property crime like theft of poorly guarded belongings. Violent crime against tourists is extremely rare. But occasionally, horrific and fatal crimes do occur here, even against tourists (as they do virtually everywhere). These crimes tend to generate a huge amount of press coverage, leading to the impression that Costa Rica is a dangerous place to visit. But by taking a few reasonable precautions, you should have no trouble here.

By comparison, the United States is ranked by one survey as one of the 20 most dangerous countries in the world for foreigners to live in. 

 

5. Costa Rica has terrible roads.

Yes, Costa Rica has some terrible roads, but they’re usually at, well, the end of the road. Washboard dirt roads with bone-jarring potholes and unbridged creek crossings do occur in rural areas throughout the country, but these aren’t the norm. 

Costa Rica’s newest freeway, between Liberia and Cañas, is as fine a road as you’ll find anywhere. The “Costanera Sur” (southern coastal highway) that leads to Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Uvita and Palmar Norte is a dream to drive. Highway 27, the toll road between the capital and the coast, is also almost perfectly paved, though often lacking in passing lanes. 

If you choose to rent a car, you’ll find that most of Costa Rica is easy to drive. But having said that, you may need nerves of steel to drive in the helter-skelter capital of San José, which we wouldn’t necessarily recommend. Driving at night is not recommended either, virtually anywhere. 

In many places, you’ll have to get used to one-lane bridges where signs indicate which side has the right of way. Also, don’t be shocked if you sometimes encounter cows on the road.

a small heard of cows walking down the street
The roads in Costa Rica are not all terrible, though in places you may encounter cows on the road.

 

6. It doesn’t rain from December through April.

The best myths are wrapped around a core of truth, and this is one of them. The great majority of Costa Rica’s population lives on the Pacific side of the country, most of which indeed experiences a dry season from November/December through April. The rainy season on the western side of the country starts in May and reaches a crescendo of downpours in September and October.

Yet on the Caribbean side of the country, rain patterns are totally different, and almost reversed. In the Limón Province, September and October may actually be the driest months of the year. There’s a saying on the Caribbean that there are two seasons here: the rainy season and the very rainy season. 

Costa Rica is a land of many microclimates, and no two are exactly the same. Nor does every year deliver the same weather. One rule that’s generally true is that in any season, it tends to rain mostly in the afternoon, allowing people to do whatever they want to do under clear skies in the morning. 

rainstorm in the rainforest
It takes a lot of rain to make a rainforest, and it can fall anytime of year.

Also worth noting: The dry season is not “better” than the rainy season, and in fact many people prefer the rainy season for the cooling effect, the earthy smell of rain and the way it turns all the foliage so green. Plus, downpours tend to be brief, so one rainfall is not going to ruin your day. 

 

 

7. Most Costa Ricans speak English.

Tourists who deal with bilingual shuttle drivers, hotel clerks, tour guides and other tourism professionals may come to the conclusion that almost all Costa Ricans speak English. But in fact, these people get these jobs in part because they speak English, and they are the exception, not the rule. 

According to one statistic sometimes cited (though of uncertain sourcing), 10.7% of Costa Rican adults speak English. That percentage would be much higher on the Caribbean coast, where there’s a thriving Afro-Caribbean culture that mostly originated from the British colony of Jamaica near the turn of the 20th century.

a table with a Costa Rican flag, cup of pencils and pens, books, and chalkboard that says "Hablas Espanol?"
It’s not a bad idea to brush up on your Spanish before coming here, because most Costa Ricans don’t speak English.

 

8. Don’t drink the water or eat fresh produce.

Tap water is actually safe to drink in almost all of Costa Rica. You may like the taste of bottled water better (and some Costa Ricans do too), but generally speaking there’s no reason to avoid tap water for safety reasons. One tip: Wherever you’re staying, ask the management and staff if they drink the water. With rare exceptions, they’ll say yes.

A spout with running water into a person's cupped hands
The tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink almost everywhere.

It’s also nonsense that you shouldn’t eat fresh fruit or vegetables. Whether you buy these at a grocery store or a farmer’s market, produce is generally safe, though of course you should wash (or peel) fruits and vegetables first.

 

9. It’s always hot in Costa Rica.

Just wait until you visit Monteverde or the Los Santos region, where you’ll be grateful for a fireplace, wool blankets and a warm jacket. Costa Rica ranges in elevation from 0 at sea level to 12,533 feet (3,820 meters) on top of Mount Chirripó. 

Or drive the highway over the Cerro de la Muerte sometime in shorts and a T-shirt, and you’ll find out that it’s called “the Hill of Death” because in the old days people froze to death trying to cross it on foot. 

Costa Rica does have very consistent temperatures year-round, but the averages in each place depend entirely on elevation. In other words, in hot places it’s usually hot and in cold places it’s usually cold. Because Costa Rica is only 8 to 12 degrees north of the Equator, temperatures vary little throughout the year in each place. So don’t expect winter to be cold and summer to be hot. 

According to weather-and-climate.com, the average temperatures in Tamarindo, typical of beach towns on the Pacific coast like Flamingo and Playas del Coco, range from 78°F in September to 84°F in March. But the Central Valley, where most of the population lives, is considerably cooler year-round.

A rainforest with a waterfall, lush trees, and a sky filled with purple clouds
Costa Rica has multiple microclimates, so don’t expect it to be always hot.

Also worthy of note: Weather reports in Costa Rica are both rare and unreliable, and television news normally doesn’t include any weather report. This is because all TV news is national, and it’s nearly impossible to predict what the weather will be like everywhere. 

10. Costa Ricans love their government, especially the free health care.

This one is a bit tricky, as Costa Rican do love their country, but that doesn’t mean they love their government. In fact, bashing the government is a national pastime, and you’ll find many Costa Ricans happy to opine that the politicians running this country are all a bunch of crooks. 

And to be fair, with the national political scandals that have rocked this country recently (see: cementazocochinilla and diamante), many of the rich and powerful politicos with their sticky fingers in the public pie have given the country little reason to trust them.  

Foreigners, actually, are more likely to praise the Costa Rican government as a model for its excellent education, health care and lack of an army. It is true that Costa Rica has historically been the most peaceful country in a war-torn region, and it’s the most stable democracy in Central America.

Costa Rican flag in front of the National Theater
Costa Ricans love their country, but they do sometimes gripe about their government.

But speaking of the universal (but not free) health care offered by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, many Ticos will tell you that it’s a dysfunctional bureaucracy where it takes forever to get an appointment and you still have to sit in the waiting room for hours. But there’s no denying that Costa Rica has first-world health care, especially at private hospitals. 

If we left out your favorite Costa Rica myths, let us know in the comments. Otherwise, come on down to South America to enjoy the island life soon, but don’t bother bringing much money or a raincoat!

Costa Rica is the second best place to retire in 2022, according to International Living

Global index measures 10 categories, including cost of living, governance, retiree benefits, weather and healthcare, among others

By Marvin Barquero from La Nacion
January 4, 2022, 11:51 AM

Costa Rica ranks as the second best place to retire in 2022, on a global scale, according to the InternationalLiving.com list, published this January 1 by the firm specialized in rating places for retirees to live. 

For this year, Costa Rica was only surpassed by Panama, according to that publication, which evaluates 10 categories, including cost of living, governance, retiree benefits, weather, health care and more. In the 2021 ranking, Costa Rica ranked first in the index and in the 2020 ranking it was third.

The Global Retirement Index 2022 is number 31 of the magazine, which is carried out annually. Its goal is to offer retirees safe and value-for-money destinations beyond the United States or Canada, the publication states.

After Panama and Costa Rica, among the 10 best places are, in their order, Mexico, Portugal, Colombia, Ecuador, Malta, France, Spain and Uruguay.

In addition to being based on indicators and the situation of services, such as health, financial and real estate, this index has correspondents based in each of the countries, who also contribute information to prepare the final ranking.

Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of International Living, noted that the index is designed to be a kind of roadmap, to help point people to places abroad that might make the most sense to them. For that reason, she added, the qualification reasons for each country are broken down in such a way that the interested party chooses the most appropriate to her claims.

Costa Rican charm
Recognizing that Costa Rica’s popularity on a global scale has long been built, the publication says visitors are drawn in by its special charm, the country’s tropical climate, lower cost of living, friendly locals, affordable healthcare, vast real estate options and, of course, its natural beauty.
It highlights the abolition of the army and how the savings achieved with this measure are used in the areas of education and health. Next, it highlights a first world literacy rate and access to health care for all citizens and legal residents with one of the best-rated public health care models in Latin America.
It adds to the elements with which Costa Rica highlights the legalization of same-sex marriage, the mandatory nature of women’s rights and the strict legal control of the carrying of arms.

According to the index, Costa Rica also stands out for its tranquility and commitment to environmental protection, since approximately a quarter of its land is protected as national parks and wildlife refuges.
Access to the public health system and private medicine options are also among Costa Rican strengths to qualify as one of the best destinations for retirees to live.

The variety of microclimates, the way of being of Costa Ricans, that the country has one of the five “blue zones” of the world, the official rejection of racism and discrimination, the connotation of “pure life” and the many possibilities of having a healthy lifestyle, are included among the good qualifiers for Costa Rica.

The post estimates that a couple can live comfortably in Costa Rica, but not necessarily extravagantly, at around $ 2,000 to $ 2,500 a month. He adds that with $ 3,000 a month they can find a relaxed lifestyle with most of the amenities.

Costa Rican food and drink: Save room for seconds

Thanks to Special Places Property Management 

What amazes me most about Costa Rican food and drink isn’t San Jose’s burgeoning culinary scene. Sure, the gastropubs, hidden food stalls and fresh market fare in the capital were delicious, but the best meal I’ve ever had within these borders was not in a restaurant. It was a simple meal in a simple kitchen, prepared by a family that knows nothing beats a home- cooked plate of chicken and rice.

Traditional Costa Rican food is immensely popular to locals and visitors alike. Take one bite of a breakfast favorite like gallo pinto or sip a batido and you’ll immediately agree. When you ask, “What is Costa Rican food?” you may get different answers, but all responses will have one thing in common: The most popular foods in Costa Rica are the ones that make you feel like you’re back at your family’s kitchen table. These are the traditional Costa Rican food and drinks you must try during your visit.

Costa Rican food and drinks to try

a metal bowl with a chef stirring the contents inside
You bring an appetite, and Costa Rica will supply the chefs.

Breakfast

What are three typical breakfast foods in Costa Rica? Rice, beans, and tortillas. Granted, they’re three typical foods found in nearly every meal, but eggs, salsa, fresh fruit, and a cup of coffee combine with this tasty trifecta to start your day off the right way. You won’t regret waking up to these two breakfasts:

Gallo pinto: Fair warning to travelers: If you come to Costa Rica, you’ll be spending a lot of time getting to know gallo pinto, a popular traditional Costa Rican dish. It’s one of the most popular foods in the country and it’s the preferred way to start the day. The mix of white rice and dark beans gives it the name “spotted rooster,” though you won’t find any chicken on this plate. A fried egg, though? Chances are high.

A plate of gallo pinto - a traditional Costa Rican dish for breakfast
“Gallo pinto,” which means “speckled rooster,” is a universal Costa Rican breakfast dish of black beans and rice, usually served with eggs, sausage, fruit, orange juice, coffee and toast.

Gallos: Got a hankering for breakfast tacos? Then get yourself a heaping helping of gallos. This savory morning meal is basically what tacos are to Mexico: tortillas filled with good stuff like cheese, eggs, sausage, bacon or veggies. Consider it a build-your-own breakfast and don’t forget to put a squirt of hot sauce or a dollop of sour cream on top.

Costa Rica food fact: Looking for the best Costa Rican coffee? You’ll have to travel internationally. Most of the top coffee beans harvested from the country are exported to the United States and Europe. 

Lunch

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lunch is definitely the biggest. You’ll have no trouble finding a restaurant ready to refuel you for whatever afternoon adventure awaits. The biggest problem with lunch in Costa Rica? You’ll want to take a nap afterwards! 

Casado: Ask anyone what the three most popular foods in Costa Rica are, and casado will be tied with gallo pinto. But where gallo pinto is a standard dish, a casado is not tied down to any one set of ingredients. Casado, meaning “married,” is a mix of many foods that will usually include rice, beans, a meat like beef or chicken, salad, tortillas, and a range of side dishes. We have a feeling you’ll be married to this dish as well and celebrate your “anniversary” every time lunch rolls around. 

Chifrijo: Looking for a different kind of lunch? Let us introduce you to the chifrijo. Go ahead: Try to name a better trio than fried pork rinds, beans and rice. This meal is typically served with a side of pico de gallo, a mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime and salt. It’s also a popular pub grub, so don’t be surprised if you find it with chips and guacamole at the bar.

Chifrijo with avocado slides, tomatoes, onions and sauce
“Chifrijo” comes from the words “chicharrón,” meaning pork rinds, plus “frijoles,” and you already know what that means. It’s one of the most delicious dishes Costa Rica has ever thought of, and if you don’t believe us, just order your own.

Tamal: The tamal in its many variations is found all over Latin America. In Costa Rica, these tortillas full of pork, rice and vegetables are steamed in a banana leaf as opposed to a corn husk. The tamal is usually a special dish reserved for the holidays, so you won’t find it on abuela’s kitchen table on any old Thursday. But if and when you get a chance to chow down on this delightful dish, don’t pass it up. 

Snacks

Patacones: Plantains. Fried. Not once, but twice. Yes, my friends, patacones are as snackable as they sound and we know you’ll devour a plate of them the moment one hits your lips. This food can almost be considered a healthy snack; it is a fruit after all. Some restaurants will offer it as an appetizer, others may have it as a side dish. All we know is that you should order a plate with salsa or pico de gallo.

Patacones - a traditional Costan Rican food
“Patacones” are deep-fried green plantains. Yum! They are served everywhere, and there is no record of any person anywhere who doesn’t like them.

Dinner

What is a typical dinner in Costa Rica? Honestly, you’ll find many of the same plates placed in front of you for lunch and dinner. Not unlike hamburgers and fries or chicken fingers and salads, there are a variety of dishes that make a good meal anytime after breakfast. You’d be wise to remember these three: 

A dinner table in Costa Rica featuring bowls with guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, tortillas, and other ingredients
Try some appetizers before the “plato fuerte” – pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa, ceviche, mariscos and tortillas.

Rondón: How’s a cup of run-down soup sound to you? Unless it’s your first time in Costa Rica, you’ll probably ask for a bigger bowl! Reduced coconut milk is poured into a pot, then loaded with whatever seafood and veggies are on hand. That’s why it’s called rondón – it’s made of whatever the cook can “run down.” Mackerel, snapper, chilis, plantains, conch, tomato, mussels  you name it, you can throw it in and watch it swim.

Sopa negra: Now here’s a soup you’re likely more familiar with: black bean soup. Sopa negra is a traditional soup with black beans as the star ingredient. The rest of the ensemble is usually made up of peppers, tomatoes and spices, with a hard-boiled egg or two on the side.

A bowl of sopa negra, a soup with beans, rice, a boiled egg, and more
“Sopa negra” (“black soup”) has rice, beans, boiled eggs and some chili peppers. Would you like one serving or three?

Olla de carne: Can you tell that we’ve got warm bowls of stew on the brain? We hope you’re hungry, because here’s another solid dinner to order up: olla de carne. Like the above, you’ll find chunks of veggies floating amidst the broth, but the big flavor in this bowl comes from beef and potatoes. This is a meaty meal that will send you to an early bedtime. 

Costa Rica food fact: Rondón isn’t a Central American creation, but a Jamaican recipe brought to the mainland by laborers. Of course, Ticos took little time putting a Costa Rican spin on the dish. 

Dessert

Raise your hand if you skipped over the other sections just to find out what’s on the dessert menu in Costa Rica. We don’t blame you. Dessert in Costa Rica is worth saving room in your stomach for. Say yes please to any sugary, sweet treat you’re offered, but be especially sure to keep these two snacks on your radar. 

Arroz con leche: We know that the literal English translation, “rice with milk,” doesn’t trigger the same reaction from your sweet tooth that a slice of chocolate cake and a scoop of ice cream would. But trust us, this tasty dish is more flavorful than it sounds. Cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla extract are often added to sweeten this sticky snack. Toss a little fruit into the mix and you’ll be in dessert heaven.

Flan de coco: The problem with vacationing in the Caribbean is that you want to look good in your swimsuit, but you’ll also want to eat your weight’s worth of flan de coco. Flan is a popular dessert throughout Latin America, and Costa Rica is no exception. Coconut flan is especially delectable, but then again, isn’t anything that’s sprinkled with coconut flakes?

A blue plate with yellow-colored coconut flan with coconut shavings and a sauce on top
If you don’t like flan, you aren’t human. Dig into this milk-based dessert with coconuts shavings, and you’ll be talking in a Tico accent in no time.

Drinks

Naturally, you can get a good cup of coffee in the country, but you’d better also believe that you can get different kinds of brew too. The craft beer scene in Costa Rica is getting better by the day. You also shouldn’t be surprised to find a full menu of cocktails mixed with Ron Centenario at any given bar. Here’s what we’re drinking on the regular:

Guaro: The national liquor of Costa Rica, guaro is a sugar-cane liquor similar to white rum. A straight shot of warm guaro will hit you like a ton of bricks if you’re not prepared. You can also take the shot chilled, as a miguelito with coconut milk, or as a chiliguaro, which spices things up with hot sauce, lime and tomato juice mixed in. Or if you’re hankering for a tasty cocktail, we vote for a guaro sour

Batido: Need something to nurse your overindulgence of guaro shots? A batido, also called a natural or fresco, will do the trick. Wake up to this smoothie beverage that is essentially a blend of milk or ice and whatever fresh fruit is available. Any fruit will do, but soursop and passionfruit never disappoint. 

A glass of green juice with orange slices, cilantro, and other herbs around it
Try a “batido” – a drink made in a blender – but first try to find out what the bartender is going to put in it.

Costa Rica food fact: Imperial is the national beer of Costa Rica and was introduced to the country way back in 1924. Everything from its brewing technique to its logo design were inspired by German practices. You’ll sometimes hear locals refer to the brew as “Aguila,” referencing the eagle on its label. 

Enjoy the best of Costa Rican food and drinks

Costa Rica is a dream destination for foodies, picky eaters and people who just want to fill their bellies. Simple dishes like gallo pinto and regional flavors like those found in rondón will delight you morning, noon and night. Get your fill of Costa Rican food and drink next time you visit!

Arenal Volcano Nature Walk, Waterfall & Hot Springs

Here is a great blog from Special Places Property Management – a great idea for a day away from the beach.  Check with local tour drivers to arrange – Tico Tours in Playa Hermosa can surely help you out! 

The Arenal Volcano Nature Walk, Waterfall & Hot Springs tour is very popular with mature travelers due to its low impact design.  The Arenal is Costa Rica’s most famous volcano and had been actively and erupting until just three years ago. Already the drive to this area is an adventure as we will be leaving the dry northwest, cross the continental divide and observe how quickly the transition to tropical rainforest happens while we will be driving along the beautiful Lake Arenal.

On our way to Arenal we will have a delicious traditional Costa Rican breakfast , “Gallo Pinto” that will prepare us for a full day in the rainforest.

 

Our first activity is a guided walk through a private rainforest reserve, an ambitous reforestation and research project, that has earned a lot of appreciation worldwide.

We will spot sloths, agoutis, iguanas, jesus christ lizards, caimans, butterflies, tree frogs, poison   dartfrogs and lots of colorful tropical birds. We will also learn about the native culture of the “Malekus”, one of the last tribes in Costa Rica that maintain their language and traditions.

You will have the opportunity to buy some of their wooden artwork (masks) which will support their community.

10 Fun Facts About Costa Rica

Thanks to Special Places of Costa Rica Property Management for sharing this excellent blog posting! 

You think you know Costa Rica? We know you know this is the land of “pura vida.” You know that people here call themselves Ticos. You know it’s not an island. You know Jurassic Park was filmed here. Oops! Gotcha – Jurassic Park was actually filmed in Hawaii. But speaking of dinosaurs … here are 10 fun facts about Costa Rica that maybe – maybe! – you didn’t know. Give yourself 10 points if you already knew all these things, and we’ll try to make our list harder next time.

  1.   Costa Rica never had dinosaurs, but it did have mastodons and giant sloths.

Costa Rica arose from the ocean an estimated 1 to 3 million years ago, making it an infant in diapers in geological time. 

North and South America used to be two unconnected continents with nothing but ocean between them (and all of Central America lying at the bottom of the sea). But the collision of three tectonic plates led to massive continental uplift and major volcanic activity, which lifted Costa Rica and the rest of this isthmus above sea level. 

This new land bridge between North and South America had a profound impact on the flora and fauna of both continents, allowing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects to migrate freely between the two. Costa Rica became a cauldron of creation, and its warm, rainy climate fostered the growth of dense rain forest, which is the ideal nursery for the world’s most biodiverse environments.

Because the dinosaurs went extinct some 65 million years ago, there were never any dinosaurs here, at least not on land. But amazingly, there were once mastodons in Costa Rica, as we know because we’ve found their bones here. Also, there were giraffe-size giant ground sloths, some 15 feet tall.

Giraffe-sized ground sloth
Strange but true: Costa Rica once had giant ground sloths and mastodons.
  1.   Costa Rica is known for its mysterious pre-Columbian stone spheres.

In the Diquís Delta, in southern Costa Rica between Palmar del Sur and Sierpe, hundreds of exquisitely crafted stone spheres have been found – round as a marble, but sometimes gigantic. Weighing up to 16 tons, these stone orbs have been dated to around 800-1500 CE. Christopher Columbus landed in Costa Rica in 1502, which is right around the time this sphere-making population died out for reasons unknown.

Both the how and why behind the making of these spherical stones have been widely debated, with some claiming that aliens from outer space must have been involved. But most archaeologists believe the gabbro basalt used to make them was quarried from nearby mountains and shaped with fire, tools and abrasives like sand. Then these spheres were probably transported to their final location by rolling them on logs – as the wheel didn’t exist in Latin America before the arrival of the Spanish.

These stone spheres are believed to have been a major status symbol among the early inhabitants of this region, with the most powerful villages one-upping their neighbors by creating, transporting and displaying the largest collections of these amazing sculptures.

Tourist walking in a rainforest past seven large boulders
Giant stone spheres were sculpted in Costa Rica between 800 and 1500 CE.
  1.   Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth.

At 51,180 square km. (19,760 sq. mi., roughly the size of West Virginia), Costa Rica occupies just 0.03% of the world’s landmass – one-third of 1 percent. Yet it’s believed to account for 5% of all the biodiversity in the world – meaning that of every 20 animal species in the world, one lives in Costa Rica.

Such biodiversity is extremely rare. Among mammals alone, Costa Rica has six species of big felines, four types of monkeys, a healthy population of tapirs and sloths, plus a great many coatis, anteaters, deer, agouti, peccary, skunks, opossums, raccoons, squirrels and more. Roughly half of the mammal species in Costa Rica are bats.

Costa Rica is also a world-renowned paradise for birdwatchers, with over 900 species having been identified here. And the country contains one of the world’s largest concentrations of butterflies.  

Three blue butterflies resting on green leaves
Did you know Costa Rica accounts for 5% of the world’s biodiversity? The country also contains one of the world’s largest concentrations of butterflies.
  1.   Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have an army.

Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 – right after a new government swept to power by winning a 44-day civil war. President José Figueres Ferrer, whose face appears today on the 10,000-colón bill, abolished the army and redirected the resources that funded it to health and education.

War has not touched the country since then, and in fact, Costa Rica has historically been the most peaceful country in Central America. It’s also arguably the safest country in the region and has the most stable democracy. Costa Rica also leads its neighbors in health care, education and literacy.

four people wearing lime green shirts that reads: "No Army Since 1948 Costa Rica"
Costa Rica hasn’t had an army since 1948, and it’s one of the most stable democracies in Latin America.
  1.   Some 25% of Costa Rica is set aside for conservation.

This is a difficult figure to nail down, but it’s said that around one-fourth of Costa Rica is protected from development within national parks and other nature reserves. 

Costa Rica was one of the first countries in Latin America to recognize that a tree preserved is worth more than a tree cut down. Ever since the establishment of the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve in 1963, Costa Rica has embarked on an intensive effort to preserve its natural spaces against development. This initiative is a primary reason that tourism has become Costa Rica’s top industry.

Also, some 99% of Costa Rica’s energy comes from renewable sources (not including transportation fuels, which are the primary impediment to the country’s goal of carbon neutrality).

Lush, green rainforest with palm trees
Roughly 25% of Costa Rica’s natural landscapes are protected from development by national parks, nature reserves and more.
  1.   Costa Rica is often called the happiest country in the world.

Costa Rica has often landed in the No. 1 place at the Happy Planet Index, which ranks all the countries of the world according to their life expectancy, overall well-being, ecological footprint and sense of equality.  

This is another variable that’s difficult to measure, and there are studies that rank other countries higher. These are not literal measures of happiness, but of the factors that should lead to happiness, like overall quality of life. Yet Costa Ricans do seem to be among the happiest and friendliest people anywhere.

Smiling girl hiding behind a cluster of pink flowers
People who live in Costa Rica tend to be happy, friendly, and experience a high quality of life.
  1.   Costa Rica has some of the world’s longest-lived people.

In 2005, National Geographic published a story by Dan Buettner called “The Secret of Long Life.” It identified five places in the world, dubbed “Blue Zones” – including Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula – where people live extraordinarily long and healthy lives, often thriving past the age of 100.

The other locales were in Sardinia, Italy; Icaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; and among a community of Seventh-Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. So how did the Nicoya Peninsula make the list? Good eating, moderate daily exercise, a connection to the community and a spiritual life have all been identified as contributing factors to extraordinary longevity here.

Elderly couple smiling and embracing each other while wearing wide-brimmed hats
Like this happy couple, people in Costa Rica live long, fulfilling lives – sometimes well past the age of 100!
  1.   Costa Rica has a vast jungle area in the southeast that is almost impenetrable.

If you look at a map of Costa Rica, you’ll notice that there’s a vast area in the southeast where there are no roads and no towns. This is La Amistad International Peace Park (which actually extends deep into Panama). Have you been there? Don’t worry, almost nobody else has either. And no, the Spanish never conquered it – even the Ticos haven’t conquered it yet.

Covering some 750 square miles in Costa Rica alone, this park is by far the country’s largest protected area and its least explored region. Have you heard about the hotels and restaurants there? We haven’t either. This is pure wilderness – rainforest, cloud forest and tundra-like páramo in the heights of the Talamanca Mountains. It’s possible to camp here, but exploring this place is for serious bushwhackers only.

Lush rainforest in the La Amistad International Peace Park
La Amistad International Peace Park is the country’s most protected natural region.
  1.   Almost nobody in Costa Rica receives mail.

While people in North America or Europe may be used to receiving junk mail, bills or Christmas cards in their mailbox, the practice of delivering mail to every home does not exist in Costa Rica. You could live your whole life here and never receive a piece of mail. 

In the United States, a half-million blue-uniformed letter carriers deliver mail every day to every address – but this simply doesn’t happen in Costa Rica. If you ever receive a piece of physical mail at your home in Costa Rica, it’s likely to arrive by special delivery on a motorcycle.

Also, Costa Rica does not have normal street addresses, and in fact many streets don’t even have names. Addresses in Costa Rica are described something like this: “300 meters north of the Super Wendy, in a one-story white house with a black gate.”

Card on a keyboard reads "Please, no junk mail. Thank you."
Do you hate junk mail? If so, move to Costa Rica. You could live the rest of your life without ever receiving a piece of mail!
  1.         Costa Rica is home to one of NASA’s most experienced astronauts.

Franklin Chang Díaz, born in 1950 in San José, has flown to space on NASA shuttles seven times, tying the record for most spaceflights. He is in the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame.  

After retiring from NASA in 2005, Chang founded the Ad Astra Rocket Company, which is dedicated to building a plasma rocket that could theoretically transport humans to Mars in 39 days.

Astronaut - Franklin Chang Diaz
Franklin Chang Diaz is a NASA astronaut from Costa Rica who has been to space seven times, tying the record for most spaceflights.

Chang is arguably one of the three most famous Costa Ricans alive today, along with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias (president from 1986 to 1990 and 2006 to 2010) and star soccer goalie Keylor Navas. 

 

So how many of these fun facts about Costa Rica did you already know?

0-3: You were probably thinking of Puerto Rico.

4-7: Well done, but you need to get down here more.

8-10: You are more Tico than gallo pinto.

“One and Only Papagayo”: Dubai will build a 7-star hotel in Guanacaste

The Dubai Investment Corporation (ICD) confirmed the development of a seven-star hotel in the Gulf of Papagayo.

The complex will be called “One And Only Papagayo” and will focus on the ultra-luxury segment, for which it will offer 167 rooms and 41 residences.

The news was confirmed by Mohammed Al Shaibani, Minister of the Royal Court of Dubai and Executive Director of the ICD, together with Deputy Director Khalifa Al Daboos. Both had a meeting on Tuesday with President Carlos Alvarado, who is visiting the United Arab Emirates.

“Costa Rica is very grateful to the CDI for taking our tourism infrastructure sector into account in its planning. Improving the tourism industry is an important priority for my government in post-pandemic recovery efforts, ”Alvarado said.

During the meeting, tourism issues were discussed and the ICD announced its intention to explore other niches to exploit in the country.

The Dubai Investment Corporation is the main investment arm of the Emirati government.

Founded in 2006, it manages a wide portfolio of local and international assets, in sectors such as banking and finance, transportation, hotels, among others.