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Costa Rica General Information

   
     
 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

ATBTOURISMSERVICES-TOUR GUIDE

atb tourismservices

Bandera de Costa Rica
Name COSTA RICA

Official Language

Español (es)
Time Zone GMT -6
Capital San José
Code ISO CR

 

Population

4.159.758 inhabitants

National Territory

51.100 km2 (31,682 square miles)

Capital

San Jose

Official Language

Spanish

Money

Colon (named after Christopher Columbus)

Official Religion

Catholic (with freedom of expression of other beliefs)

Political System

Democracy

Electricity

110 volts

National Bird

Yigüirro (Turdus grayi)

National Flower

Purple Guaria Orchid (Cattleya skinned)

National Tree

Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

 

 

Diverse sigh seeing will take you to the exuberant nature of the cloud forest, to the tropical dry plains which encompass a magical combination of mystical, scenery surrounded by a large variety of flora and fauna, or hot beaches, some blanketed with sands covered by crystalline waters where you will be able to appreciate the wealth of nature, Between the sea and the mountain, the city and the jungle, in a colourful artistic mix of natural landscapes, you will find the best of Costa Rica: its people.

Paula Sofía Sandí Chinchilla

 

In the midst of pacific environment, where democracy and the freedom of expression reign, one breathes the essence of tranquillity for the enjoyment of pleasant vacations.

In the midst of a pacific environment, where democracy and the freedom of expression reign, one breathes the essence of tranquillity for the enjoyment of pleasant vacations.

 

Paula Sofía Sandí Chinchilla

The country abolished the army over 50 years ago, therefore, the only battles fought since are for advancement, the eradication of poverty, the creation of new opportunities for employment, an the continuous search for a better quality of life.

Located between Nicaragua and Panama, with an ideal climate throughout the year, Costa Rica has a strategic geographic location since it serves as the biological bridge between Norths a South America.

Artesanías

Within its 51,000 square kilometres of territory is found 5% of the biodiversity of the world, reason for which the country has taken actions to protect and preserve its natural resources.

The country has literacy rate of 98% of the population, which allows practically all the Costa Rican to express themselves without limitations. In fact, Costa Rica has been the cradle of great poets and writers who have captivated the interests of national of nationals and foreigners.

The art, the music, the dance, and the foods are part of the secrets that encircle our visitors in diverse and exquisite surroundings where you will be able to experience from the flavour of the Caribbean, the folklore and naturalness of our people, to the most marvellous charms of the theatre, the dance, the paintings and the music among other delicate forms of expression.

Maybe you will be intimidated by legends of our country folk about the “llorona” ( crying woman), the “cadejos” (dog dragging a chain), or the oxcart with no oxen; you may be impressed by the heights of our mountains, the fury of our volcanoes, and the depth of rivers. If you are willing to live an adventure, we will always have a place for you at our table.  

Costa Rica, a different way to experience new sensations

ENTRY DOCUMENTS

Anyone who wants to visit Costa Rica should contact the Costa Rican embassy or consulate in their country to determine the necessary documents they need to enter the country.

BUSINESS HOURS

In general, businesses open at 9:00 am and close at 6:00 p.m., although shopping centers are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. State banks usually operate between 9:00 am and 3:00 p.m., while private banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Offices are generally open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

CREDIT CARDS

The credit cards most commonly accepted by businesses and in tourist areas are: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Diners Club.


LODGING

Costa Rica enjoys a wide variety of lodging types, from luxury hotels belonging to major worldwide chains, to ecological hostels and the more modest Bed and Breakfasts.

AIRPORTS

The country possesses three major airports. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is located in Alajuela 10 minutes from the capital, and the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste. In Pavas, just outside San Jose, there is the Tobias Bolaños Airport, which handles domestic flights. In addition, there are numerous landing strips that serve the various tourist destinations.

PORTS

Visitors who want to enter the country by sea can do so at the ports of Limón and Moín on the Caribbean, Puerto Caldera and Puntarenas on the Pacific, and Central Pacific, Golfito, and Quepos on the Southern Pacific side.

RIVERS

Reventazón River

 

River transport is possible on the Reventazón in the center of the country, the San Carlos, Río Frío, San Juan, and Sarapiquí on the northern plains, and the Grande de Terraba and the Sierpe on the Southern Pacific side.

ROADWAYS

Costa Rica has an extensive network of roadways, mostly paved, that provide access to most parts of the country.

BUS SERVICE

The national bus system provides comfortable, economic, and fast service to most parts of the country, especially to points of interest to tourists.

RENTAL CARS

There is a broad offering of rental vehicles, due to the existence of many agencies that provide services to the international market.

TAXIS

Taxi service to different points in the country is modem, efficient, and safe, although it is advisable that you only use the more well-known companies.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

Costa Rica enjoys one of the oldest and most stable democracies in Latin America. This stance lead to its abolishing the army in 1948 and to earning a Nobel Peace Prize for president Oscar Arias for his ongoing struggle to approve the Central American Peace Plan during the turbulent eighties.

Orquidea

The Costa Rican political system is a representative system with three branches: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. The president is elected by popular vote every four years.

EDUCATION

Thanks to its free, yet mandatory public education system established in 1917, Costa Ricans enjoy a high level of education and one of the highest literacy rates in the world: 96.2%.

TECHNOLOGY

This high level of education, along with the development of telecommuncations, has contributed to Costa Rica being considered as a place suitable for foreign multi-national high-technology investment by companies. Intel Corporation, Laser Sight Technology, Siemens, Procter and Gamble and others all have a presence in Costa Rica.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Telecommuniation services are provided by the Institute Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE-the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity), a state-owned body. The modern telecommunications network includes: direct communications with the outside world by the self-dial MIDA international telephone system. There are also telex, telegram, fax, cellular, and Internet services, along with data transmission via the use of satellites and microwaves.

WATER

The majority of cities in the country have drinkable water, although in the more remote areas it is recommended that you drink bottled water.

GASTRONOMY

Costa Rican cuisine offers a wide variety of choices to the tourist, ranging from the freshest tropical fruits and vegetables to exquisite seafood and indigenous foods such as "gallo pinto" ("spotted rooster") consisting of rice lightly sauteed with beans and served with a steak or eggs.

Spotted Roaster

Costa Rican dishes also include tamales, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), minced arracache root, potato and meat hash, and "casado," a "marriage" of portions of rice, beans, ripe plantains, fresh vegetable salad and some sort of meat. The list goes on to include grilled corn on the cob, "chorreadas" (a thick johnny cake made from tender com), and different types of empanadas (turnovers) filled with cheese, beans, or meat. In addition, if a visitor so desires, he or she may try other cuisines, such as French, Italian, German, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Mexican, U.S., and vegetarian, all of which are well represented in the country.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Just as tourist tastes are varied, so are the tourist attractions that Costa Rica offers in the form of natural beauty, sun and sea, hospitality, history, adventure, and fun. All these attractions are concentrated in a small area where distance does not present a problem.

TOURIST HEALTH

Although taking a vacation in a beautiful country in and of itself contributes to good health, there are other options available as well. The country offers high-quality professional services in plastic and reconstructive surgery, opthalmology, and dentistry at very good prices compared to other countries. In the same area as tourist health, we should mention that Costa Rica has natural hot spring bathing. There are also therapeutic treatment destinations with volcanic muds and other natural components that have earned the special interest of many visitors.

HISTORIC SITES

El Museo de los Niños (The Children's Museum): the building is a former city jail. People decided to make the best out of such the tragic history of the location and turn it into something useful for the future generations. This museum holds impressive hallways that honor the advances of technology over the years.

El Museo de los Niños (The Children's Museum)

• El Museo de Oro Pre-Colombino (The Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold): This is a wonderful place where you can enjoy pre-Columbian Gold crafted jewelry from the indigenous of the past in perfect and almost perfect conditions. The gallery preserves pieces thatdate from the 500’s BE.

El Museo de Oro Pre-Colombino (The Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold):

• El Museo de Jade Fidel Tristán (The Fidel Tristán Jade Museum): Located in the INS building by the Parque Morazan the Jade museum features an extense collection o preciously carved jade figures. All of this pieces belong the past indigenous regenerations are proves of the history of the pre-Columbian era. The name comes from its founder Fidel Tristan who was the first executive president of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) and advocated in favor of acquiring the archeological pieces.

El Museo de Jade Fidel Tristán (The Fidel Tristán Jade Museum)

• El Museo Nacional De Costa Rica (The National Museum of Costa Rica): Built in 1917, the Cuartel the Bellavista (original name of the building) was the former headquarters of the abolished Costa Rica army. Now it has permanent and temporary expositions of the Costa Rica history and natural resources. The building still conserves the colonial decorations and it is a sanctuary for important historical pieces.

El Museo Nacional De Costa Rica (The National Museum of Costa Rica)

• El Museo de Arte Costarricense (The Costa Rican Art Museum): This museum was created in 1977 and is located in the Parque Metropolitano La Sabana. On the inside you can behold magnificence of Costa Rica contemporary art pieces that include pictures and sculptures by the most talented artists in Costa Rica. This museum also holds conferences and special events in what is called the “Golden room” and provides seminars and workshops for plastic artists on regular basis.

El Museo de Arte Costarricense (The Costa Rican Art Museum):

• El Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle (The La Salle Natural Sciences Museum): La Salle has taken seriously over the years the importance of natural science, this Costa Rica museum preserves a rich collection of biological links of nature and portraits interesting facts on the natural species of Costa Rica.

El Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle (The La Salle Natural Sciences Museum):

ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES

If natural beauty is what the visitor is looking for, there's no place like Costa Rica. Its most valuable treasure lies in the protected areas encompassing the Poás, Irazú, Arenal, and Rincón de la Vieja (the Old Lady's Corner) volcanoes, the Manuel Antonio and Cahuita beaches, the Carara and Braulio Carrillo forest trails, the dryland forest at Santa Rosa, the submarine life at the Coco and Caño islands, and the Chirripo Mountains.

Imagen

Each of these parks is a living center for bio-diversity that offers exactly the right conditions for a tourist to truly live a wildlife experience. As an eco-tourist, you can participate in the local communities that both benefit from such activities and contribute to the preservation of the environment's natural resources.Some 25% of the national territory lie in protected areas governed by strict standards and regulations about public usage. Such communities as Monteverde in Puntarenas Province, Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula, Tortuguero in Union Province, Fortuna de San Carlos in Alajuela Province, and Sarapiqui in Heredia Province are all pioneers in the area.

These areas are all famous for their local micro- and small businesses that interact with the natural environment in a, constant effort to reinforce the region's cultural values.

Costa Rica maintains a policy of sustainability that has molded its image as an ecological destination at the forefront of numerous other countries in Latin America which follow its own special model.

BEACHES

In a small country that Mother Nature I abundantly blessed, the number and beauty of the beaches are no exception.

Some beaches are part of the national park system which adds a new ingredient to their attractiveness.

This is because enjoying them is not limited just to their warm temperatures. You can enjoy the beauty and exuberance of the tropical countryside as well.

VOLCANOES

Although some natural rocky formations are as beautiful as and look the same as any

You should enjoy Costa Rica's volcanoes, but judiciously. Among them, Arenal is active and at night shoots off natural fireworks. The dormant Irazu Volcano offers breathtaking views and the inactive Poas Volcano has the largest crater in the world.


ADVENTURES

SPORT FISHING

Sport fishing is an outstanding attraction found on the coasts of both oceans and at the lake at Arenal Volcano and in some rivers. Costa Rica is well-known throughout the world for the richness and diversity of the species inhabiting our waters, such as marlin, sailfish, huge tunas, rooster fish, and snapper on the Pacific, and snook, sea bass, mahimahi (dolphin fish), and snapper on the Atlantic side.

SURFING

It's no accident that our country has become one of the primary destinations for surfers.

The easy access to the oceanside and the variety of surfing types found in Costa Rica are very attractive to lovers of the sport. Surfers have discovered a country with four different areas on the Caribbean and the North, Central, and Southern Pacific coasts for the best in surfing.

SNORKELING AND DIVING

Few places in the world have such a profusion of submarine beauty as is found in the waters of the Caribbean Sea in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west. This beauty makes Costa Rica one of the most attractive destinations for snorkeling and diving. This, in turn, has triggered the formation of dive centers where you can rent equipment and organize tours and other similar activities

The most beautiful areas are found around the Coco and Cano islands, but because of their distance and variety of species inhabiting them you need special permits and transportation to get there. The Papagayo Gulf in Guanacaste and the southern Caribbean also are noteworthy because of the large number of coral reefs and fish that dwell among them.

RAPIDS

The rivers in Costa Rica are not only beautiful stopping off points with wonderful fishing, they have also become famous for their rapids. Here the visitor can slide through their serpentine currents with professional equipment and guides in each raft and enjoy the white water rafting of the rivers Reventazon, Pacuare, General, or Corobici to the utmost.


CONVENTIONS and meetings

The biggest challenge for a convention and meeting organizer is choosing the right places for his or her clients. In this field Costa Rica is particularly attractive because it offers all the necessary infrastructure as well as facilities and services that are always accessible at a reasonable cost. Costa Rica has very high-capacity sites for these types of event in the Central Valley and on the Papagayo Gulf.

 

   
 

Brujita

Leyends Costa Rica