Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Location and climate

Costa Rica has the privilege of being well located on the planet, right in the middle of the Central American isthmus (longitude between 82⁰ and 86⁰ west, and latitude between 8⁰ and 12⁰ north). It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Due to its privileged tropical location, Costa Rica has abundant species of flora and fauna, and its climate is moderate throughout the year.

You may want to take the weather into consideration when planning your trip. Costa Rica has several climatic zones, so it may take you by surprise if rain is pouring in one place while the sun shines a couple of miles away. This is one of the reasons many people choose the Flexi VOUCHER program, so they can have the flexibility to go where the sun shines if it rains where they currently are. In a tropical country with vast rainforest, rain is often expected. Although there might be heavy rain, it is usually limited to a small area and doesn’t last long.

There are clearly recognizable weather trends in each Costa Rican region which will help you plan your trip. Due to the mountain range that crosses the country from the northwest to the southeast, there is usually good weather on at least one of the two coasts. Even during the rainy season, you may enjoy sunny mornings and scattered showers during the afternoon. This is why the Costa Rican rainy season is more often referred to as “green season”, because nature becomes more lush and green due to higher precipitation.

The following are common climatic conditions for each Costa Rican region:

North and Central Pacific Coast:

From the border with Nicaragua to Manuel Antonio, including Rincón de la Vieja and Monteverde. Dry season: December to May. Green season: June to November. Months of highest rainfall: September, October and November.

South Pacific Coast

From Manuel Antonio to the border with Panama, including the Osa Peninsula, Dominical and San Gerardo de Dota. Dry season: December to April. Green season: May to November. Months of highest rainfall: September, October and November. Note: it may also rain during the dry season due to the extensive tropical forest.

Central Valley

Dry season: December to April. Green season: May to November. Months of highest rainfall: September, October and November. Note: if you wish to visit the volcanoes, please do so during the morning as conditions may be cloudy during the afternoon.

Caribbean Coast and Northern Plains

Including Arenal Volcano/La Fortuna, Tortuguero and Sarapiquí. Dry season: February to May and September to October. Green season: June to August and November to January. Months of highest rainfall: January and July. Note: there are occasional rain showers during the dry season.
Considering the above, Costa Rica can be visited any time of the year.

Biodiversity

Costa Rica is a small country. It occupies an area of only 51,100 km2 (19,730 square miles), very similar to the size of Denmark. Even though it is very small and only represents 0.03% of the Earth's surface, it contains almost 6% of the total biodiversity of the world – hence its richness in species of flora and fauna.

Costa Rica is recognized for having one of the largest protected areas in the world due to its efforts to safeguard territory with valuable natural resources. Extraordinarily, 25% of its territory is preserved as national parks, marine parks, biological reserves and other protected wilderness areas.


As mentioned, its privileged geographical position between North and South America has allowed it to be a bridge for many species of animals and plants for thousands of years, hence its wonderful environment.
To give you an example, this small territory is the habitat of 500,000 species of invertebrates, 175 kinds of amphibians (85% of them frogs), 225 types of reptiles, and almost 250 species of mammals (including wild cats like jaguars, ocelots, pumas and jaguarundis, among others). In addition, almost 900 bird species have been counted here, 600 of which are native species; and more than 5 billion birds migrate through the country. For those who love bird watching, Costa Rica is paradise!

Incredibly, five of the seven species of sea turtles in the world can be found along Costa Rica’s coasts. Moreover, during six to seven months of the year, it is possible to watch whales off the Pacific Coast. For this reason, the country is named the “seventh most important place for whale watching in the world,” according to NatGeo.

This is only part of what can be seen in this country. Without a doubt, you will fully enjoy the wonders of nature in Costa Rica!

Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), despite being a small developing country, Costa Rica has one of the best health systems in the world. In 2014, the Quality of Life assessment (WHOQOL) ranked Costa Rica fourth place in the world regarding high-quality health services.

It is important to mention that European and North American tourists do not require any type of vaccinations to enter the country. However, if you come from any country declared at risk for yellow fever by the WHO, you must get vaccinated if you visited or stayed in any of these countries within the last six days before coming to Costa Rica. You must prove upon arrival to Costa Rica that you have the appropriate vaccination to avoid problems when entering the country. Countries that have been declared at risk by the WHO are:
  • Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.
  • América del Sur: Bolivia, Venezuela, Perú, Colombia and Ecuador
  • Caribe: French Guiana.

There is a very comprehensive hospital infrastructure throughout Costa Rica, and each region has one or more hospitals, or specialized medical centers, to take good care of patients. All private medical clinics in San José meet global health standards.

Gastronomy

Costa Rican cuisine is mostly influenced by three cultures: native, European and African. Rice and beans are the staples of the Costa Rican diet and the basic ingredients to cook “Gallo Pinto”, one of the most popular dishes in the country. Corn was inherited from pre-Columbian cultures and it is part of the country’s identity; the most prominent dishes made with corn are tortillas, empanadas, bizcochos, tamales and pozole.

In addition, the Costa Rican diet is complemented by some kind of meat (beef, chicken or fish), as well as tropical fruits and vegetables.

Enjoying a good meal is an important aspect of Costa Rican culture, as many family gatherings and celebrations revolve around traditional dishes.
Throughout the country, there are numerous gastronomic establishments to satisfy all tastes, from restaurants specializing in international cuisine to those serving traditional Costa Rican food (many dishes are cooked on a wood-burning stove to give them an even more authentic flavor).

Ara Tours

Ara Tours
www.aratours.com
Sabana Sur. Del Colegio de Médicos, 100m este
y 175m sur, Frente a la Universidad La Salle, San José, Costa Rica.

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