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Costa Rica Travel Guide.

A fresh, honest approach to car rental

Explore Cloud forests.

Sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is often referred to as the gem of Central America. The slow pace of life here is sure to capture your imagination, but for those of you who are adrenaline junkies, try surfing, hiking, snorkeling or scuba diving. Zip lining through the cloud forests has become an unmissable part of any trip here.

Make sure you visit some of the glorious white sandy beaches in Costa Rica. Fishing is also a popular pastime, and makes for a relaxing day along the coast line. As part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Costa Rica has over 200 volcanic structures. Of these, only 5 are classed as active volcanoes, but are well worth a visit and can provide a wondrous sight. Any trip here is truly memorable and will always provide plenty for everyone to appreciate.

Costa Rica Tourist Board: The official website for the Costa Rican National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Costa Rica.

Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Costa Rica from the FCO.

Things to see and do

  • Stop by the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, full of volcanoes, natural thermal pools and waterfalls.
  • Explore one of the many rainforests on a canopy tour. Designed for the more adventurous tourist, this is a unique way to enjoy this habitat.
  • Head to Jaco Beach for a spot of surfing and enjoy the unrivalled nightlife.
  • Try white water rafting on the Upper Reventazón River near Turrialba.
  • Watch the Arenal Volcano erupt, a spectacular sight at night.
  • Head to the summit of the Irazú Volcano and take in the breath-taking views.
  • Dive off the shores of Isla del Coco - an uninhabited island off the coast of Costa Rica.
  • Visit one the many coffee farms and take a coffee tour.
  • Costa Rica is littered with natural hot springs, some of which have not been made into spas. The popular Tabacon resort is worth visiting for this.

Festivals and events

  • Palmares Fiestas boasts the best horse display in the area. Held in the small town of Palmares, there are plenty of fireworks and activities including Costa Rican style bull fighting. (January)
  • Visit the National Orchid Show in San Jose where some stunning examples of Orchids are showcased. (March)
  • Juan Santamaria Day honours the national hero of Costa Rica. Celebrations continue for at least a week and include parades, concerts and dancing. (April)
  • Following the Freedom Torch being received from bordering Nicaragua the previous day, Independence Day is celebrated with lantern parades and a host of festivities. (September)
  • Families across Costa Rica honour the dead by visiting cemeteries and laying flowers at the graves of loved ones on Day of the Dead. (November )
  • The week long Lights Festival in San Jose consists of a variety of concerts and fireworks. (December)

Tipping etiquette

Tipping at restaurants, bars, café's is optional, as a 10% service charge is already added to the bill and it is at your discretion if you want to tip.

The amount you tip should be relative to the level of service you have received however normally around 10% is acceptable.

Some restaurants, particularly in places such as Tamarindo, will add the 10% service charge onto your bill without advising you. This can lead to double tipping, therefore should there be any doubt it is advisable you check this.

Taxi drivers are not normally tipped unless they have provided an extra service, whereby around $5 would be acceptable.

It is acceptable to tip the hotel staff such as the bell boy and housekeeping staff a small amount.

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