Costa Rica FAQ
Useful Information for planning a vacation on the beach or in the rain forest in Costa Rica
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Costa Rica is a small country, but travelling between destinations often takes longer than expected due to mountain ranges and poorly maintained rural roads. A combination of ground transportation and domestic flights works best, especially when visiting the more remote areas such as the Osa Peninsula in the south of the country.
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Every time of the year is a great time to visit Costa Rica. It really depends on what you are looking for. If you live in a more tempered climate, most likely, you want to escape the cold and come during the dry season between December and April. But if you live in a dry and hot climate or want to escape the summer heat in the north, May through November might be the best times to visit for you. Below, you find a chart of monthly rainfall and temperatures for the areas where our hotels are located.
Temperature and Rainfall Chart
Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio
|Avg. Max. Temp. (F)||87||87||89||89||89||87||87||86||86||86||86||86|
|Avg. Min. Temp||69||69||71||71||71||71||69||69||71||71||71||69|
|Avg. Rainfall (inches)||2,80||1,40||2,50||6,60||15,40||17,00||18,00||18,80||20,80||25,40||15,30||6,70|
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffe Plantation & Inn, Heredia
|Avg. Max. Temp. (F)||75||77||79||80||78||77||77||77||77||76||75||75|
|Avg. Min. Temp||58||58||58||59||60||59||60||59||59||59||59||59|
|Avg. Rainfall (inches)||0,76||0,90||1,83||4,28||13,24||13,02||8,60||10,92||16,71||16,70||7,71||2,06|
The Harmony Hotel, Nosara
|Avg. Max. Temp. (F)||91||93||96||96||91||89||89||89||87||87||87||89|
|Avg. Min. Temp||69||71||71||73||73||71||71||71||71||71||69||69|
|Avg. Rainfall (inches)||0,20||0,40||1,00||2,70||10,80||12,80||9,60||12,00||15,70||16,00||12,40||1,00|
Grano de Oro Hotel, San José
|Avg. Max. Temp. (F)||73||75||77||78||78||78||77||77||76||77||75||73|
|Avg. Min. Temp||59||59||60||60||62||62||62||62||60||60||60||59|
|Avg. Rainfall (inches)||0,40||0,20||0,50||1,70||8,90||11,30||8,50||9,80||13,00||13,00||5,60||1,60|
Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Osa Península
|Avg. Max. Temp. (F)||91||92||92||91||90||89||89||89||90||89||89||90|
|Avg. Min. Temp||72||71||73||73||73||72||71||71||71||71||71||71|
|Avg. Rainfall (inches)||6,30||5,70||8,00||11,00||18,90||17,50||18,90||20,90||22,00||27,70||22,30||11,60|
Latitude10 Resort, Santa Teresa & Kurà Design Villas, Uvita
|Avg. Max. Temp. (F)||86||88||88||88||85||84||84||84||83||82||82||84|
|Avg. Min. Temp||75||75||76||77||76||74||74||74||73||73||73||74|
|Avg. Rainfall (inches)||0,17||0,14||0,01||1,44||9,52||7,34||4,60||6,61||9,53||11,10||3,75||0,84|
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Costa Rica is one of Latin America’s safest countries. The political stability, well developed heath care system and fact that the country does not have an army earned it the nickname of the Switzerland of Central America. In the past years, more and more parents feel comfortable bringing their children on exotic family vacations to Costa Rica.
But just like anywhere in the world, common sense needs to be applied. Tourists often have a very relaxed attitude and this is taken advantage of by petty thefts, especially on the beach. Certain areas of San Jose should be avoided. You should take the same precautions as if travelling to metropolitan cities or tourism spots in the US or Europe. More detailed and updated information is available at: www.travel.state.gov/
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No immunizations, shots, inoculations or vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica. The only notable disease problem reported in some locations of the country in the last few years is occasional localized dengue fever (spread by mosquitoes in certain urbanized locations with stagnant water and a history of the disease). The water at the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges is safe to drink. Take regular precautions in terms of hygiene as you would in other tropical destinations.
Up-to-date recommendations on additional preventive measures are issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC office issues health advisories. http://www.cdc.gov/
Medical care in Costa Rica is of very high quality and considered to be the best in Central America. San Jose especially, has excellent hospitals, medical facilities and doctors that attend almost exclusively to foreign residents and travelers.
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Costa Rica is traditionally an agriculture based society. So there is a wide variety of fresh products available. The influence of international and high cuisine is more recent and mostly related to tourism. Your vacation in Costa Rica will most likely not compare with culinary experiences you might have in Europe or countries like Peru. However, we can guarantee that you will be able to enjoy some of the freshest meals with 100% local ingredients at the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges.
The local factor is the key in your Costa Rican dining experience. Look for the local fare on our menus or explore the little towns where our hotels are located and eat where the locals eat. The only exception would be the Grano de Oro Restaurant in San Jose where you will be able to sample international cuisine of the highest levels that can compete not only locally. Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio offers regular guest chef events and the Harmony Hotel is well known for its farm to table menu.
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Getting around in Costa Rica depends mostly on your time and budget constraints. From private charter flights to public buses, there is a wide array of options available. The reservations staff at the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges will be happy to assist you in setting up your transportation in Costa Rica. We recommend taking at least one domestic flight to see the country from a bird’s eye perspective. If you are traveling as a family or group, hiring a private driver with a minivan is a great way to get to know the country and stop at attractions along the way to your destination.
Renting a car is a great option for the more adventurous traveler looking for independence and taking time to explore sites along the way. Be aware that road conditions are not always what you might be used to and finding your way around might be challenging at times.
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The dress code in Costa Rica and at the Cayuga Collection properties is informal. Pack lightly and leave the dinner jacket at home. Bring lightweight, casual clothing, a light rain jacket, sunscreen, a couple of bathing suits, sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Maybe a few extra T-shirts as you might be sweating on the hikes and during activities. If you are going on an adventure, don’t forget to bring a flashlight, binoculars, refillable water bottle and a basic medical kit with your personal medications.
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- The best time of the year to come is in early December (before the 20th). The vegetation is lush and green as it is the end of the rainy season. The temperatures at the beach are a bit cooler thanks to the Christmas winds from the north. Everybody is in a party mood and happy.
- The best place to see wildlife in Costa Rica is Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. A guest has told us recently that he saw more wildlife in the Lapa Rios parking lot than during the rest of his stay in Costa Rica.
- Be curious, patient and open minded. Take on the Pura Vida attitude of the Ticos (Costa Ricans). Don’t get stressed. Ask questions. Be willing to learn new things.
- If you are a coffee lover, do NOT miss the Coffee Tour at Finca Rosa Blanca. It is the best in town, possibly in the world.
- The Grano de Oro Restaurant has the best wine list in town (as acknowledged by Wine Spectator). The restaurant is among the best in Central America.
- If you want to take your Costa Rica experience to the next level, consider an extension of your trip to Nicaragua. Jicaro Island Ecolodge near the colonial town of Granada is a great base for your next adventure.
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- Explore. Don’t miss out on the best wildlife experience. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is the perfect base for exploring the fascinating flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
- Love. Treat yourself for a couple of nights at Costa Rica’s sexiest hotel; Kurà Design Villas in Uvita.
- Surf. Learn how to catch a wave in Playa Guiones at the Harmony Hotel.
- Shower. But take that shower in your open air bathroom while howler monkeys look down at you at Latitude 10 Resort in Santa Teresa.
- Connect. Practice that downward dog in Costa Rica’s Yoga Capital Nosara at the Harmony Healing Center.
- Have a guaro sour cocktail or micro brewed Costa Rican Beer at the secluded Playitas Beach at Arenas del Mar Rainforest and Beachfront Resort in Manuel Antonio.
- Skip the hassle to visit Arenal and Monteverde. You can expore beautiful volcanoes and cloud forests just a few minutes away from Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Inn near the San Jose Airport.
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Costa Rica is considered to have the highest density of biodiversity in the world. Costa Rica encompasses only 0,3 percent of Earth’s landmass, Costa Rica contains over 4 percent of species estimated to exist on the planet. The majority of these species are endemic to Costa Rica and cannot be found anywhere else on earth, meaning they exist nowhere else on earth. Among these species are frogs, snakes, lizards, finches, hummingbirds, monkeys and many more.
Costa Rica is home to 12 climatic zones and its biodiversity can be attributed to the variety of ecosystems within the country. Tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, Atlantic and Pacific coastline, cloud forests, and Mangrove forests are all represented throughout the country.
Costa Rica has been a pioneer in protecting its natural resources. Since as early ast the 1980’s Costa Rica started to protect its forests in order to provide carbon storage, soil and watershed protection, fresh water as well as food and shelter for the wildlife. In the worst moment, only 21 percent of the rainforests remained in Costa Rica. Today, the forest cover is back to more than half of the country. In the past 20 years, illegal logging decreased form 82 to 15 percent and forest fires decreased by 40 percent. The government pays farmers not to clear land but to manage it and conserve the biodiversity on it.
Costa Rica has 160 protected areas of which 26 are designated as National Parks. Over 25% of the national territory i.e. 3,221,636 acres (13,037 km²) is included in the national parks, refuges and protected zones.
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- Area: 19,652 square miles (slightly smaller than West Virginia)
- Population: 4,509,290 million (2009)
- Army: Abolished in 1949
- Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
- Climate: Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands.
- Life expectancy: 77.6 years (2009)
- Literacy rate: 95% (2000)
- Sustainable access to an improved water source: 98% population (2006)
- Ethnic groups: 94% white (including mestizo), 3% black, 1% Amerindian, 1% Chinese, 1% other
- Religions: 76.3% Roman Catholic, 13.7% Evangelical, 1.3% Jehovah’s Witnesses, 0.7% other Protestant, 4.8% other, 3.2% none.
Sources: CIA WorldFact Book, The World Bank Group Country Data Profile, UD Data/A world of information, Anuario Estadístico América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).