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    Pocket Guide: Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is a colorful destination in Central America. Known for its diverse flora and fauna, it’s a major advocate of conservation and ecotourism. Whether you’re looking to hike through tropical rainforests or veg at the seaside, book your flights to Costa Rica today and get ready for ocean breezes and palm trees.

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    Geography

    Costa Rica is nestled between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. This Central American destination features a varied landscape with all kinds of terrain, from beaches and volcanoes to jungles and cloud forests. These regions support an impressive ecosystem with an assortment of plant and animal species. In fact, this tiny country contains 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity, and 25 percent of the land is protected.

    Best and Worst Times to Visit

    Because this country sits just north of the equator, it experiences toasty temperatures year round. The high season, which the locals refer to as summer, lasts from late November to April. This time of year usually sees the most sunshine. Some argue that the best time to visit is during December and January because the scenery is still green from the wet season, but the rain has tapered off.

    The locals call the wet season winter and it usually runs from May to November. Certain regions see an increase in rainfall, making the landscape especially green and lush. Depending on the region, it may rain every day, but in other areas it could only pour for a few hours. If you’re looking to capitalize on the sunshine, the rainy season may not be the best time to visit.

    Lodging

    If you’re in search of an accommodation with everything on site, book a stay at one of the best resorts in Costa Rica. Many of these luxury places include multiple restaurants, beach access, and full-service spas. Some even boast several pool areas and recreational activities, such as tennis courts and watersport rentals.

    You’ll also find standard Costa Rica hotels that provide some of the same amenities on a smaller scale. Oftentimes, hotels in the area offer complimentary breakfasts, lounges, and computer stations to accommodate your travel needs. Check out our cheap deals on resorts and hotels right here with Expedia.com to keep your vacation within your budget.

    Things to Do

    Costa Rica boasts some of the world’s most diverse flora and fauna, and you can witness it all at the national parks scattered around the region. Explore the tropical rainforest at Corcovado National Park and hike the dormant volcano at the Arenal Volcano National Park. Manuel Antonio National Park is where you’ll catch sight of wild monkeys, while Barra Honda National Park includes caves of limestone. These parks usually offer a number of ecotourism activities that allow visitors to experience the landscape and support the conservation efforts.

    For warm sand and salty sea air, head to the shore. Costa Rica flaunts serene beaches, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sunshine or making a splash in the ocean. Retreat to Playa Potrero and find shade under a palm tree, or discover peace and quiet along the tranquil shores of Samara. Hit the waves at Playa Avellana, aka Little Hawaii, which stirs up some of the best surf in the country, attracting surfers from around the globe. You can also stay at one of the resorts in Jaco, where you’ll find another sweet spot for surfing.

    Take a break from the beach scene and dedicate some time to learning about the Costa Rican culture. San Jose has a number of must-see exhibits, including the Costa Rica Art Museum, Costa Rica National Museum, and the Costa Rica Jade Museum. Discover Central America’s pre-Hispanic history at the Museum of Native Cultures in Sarapiqui, and don’t miss Heredia’s Museum of Popular Culture.

    Culture

    Baseball is to America what soccer is to Costa Rica. The English taught the sport to locals in the early 20th century, and Costa Ricans have been scoring goals ever since.

    Bullfighting is another sport close to Costa Ricans’ hearts. It’s considered the country’s Super Bowl, with the most famous fight occurring in Zapote each year. Unlike the Spanish version though, the fighters don’t kill the bulls. These bullfights involve the contestants dodging the animal and running around the arena, much like a rodeo.

    The Costa Rican people are also big fans of festivals. In early January, they host the Fiesta de Palmares, which is a massive carnival with parades, concerts, comedy shows, and bullfights. The Fiesta de Los Diablitos is another popular festival that celebrates the indigenous culture and their ancestral spirits. Meanwhile, Independence Day falls on September 15 and commemorates the country’s separation from Spanish rule. During this celebration, the streets are lined with paper lanterns, and the Freedom Torch is carried from Guatemala to Cartago, the colonial capital of Costa Rica.

    Food

    Gallo pinto, a black bean and rice dish, is a staple of Costa Rican cuisine. Usually it’s served with a side of meat, salad, and fried plantains. Ceviche is another favorite fare, which includes raw fish, often white sea bass, with lime juice and chopped vegetables. Tamales, chicharron, and empanadas are common meals, too. As for drinks, coffee is the backbone of the culture, while the sweet cinnamon drink, horchata, and the sugar cane drink, guaro, are popular, too.

    Sip on horchata and join one of the ecotours in Costa Rica. Visit during one of the major festivals to get a sense of the culture or escape to the serene shoreline for an unforgettable sojourn. Here at Expedia.com, we provide a variety of cheap deals on Costa Rica resorts and hotels. Book today get ready to take on this diverse destination.

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    Costa Rica Hotels
    Costa Rica Hotels

    Hotels in Guanacaste - North Pacific Coast

    Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort - Tamarindo Hotels
    Rating: 3.5 Stars

    Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort

    Tamarindo Beach, Tamarindo - Map
     
     
    "Hotel on the beach next to shops."
    Hotel is very beautiful and conveniently on the beach. AC in the rooms werent as steong as we wouldve liked.
    A Traveller
    Hotel Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort fronts a white-sand beach in a dry tropical forest of Costa Rica's Guanacaste province …More
    Hotel Pasatiempo - Tamarindo Hotels
    Rating: 3.0 Stars

    Hotel Pasatiempo

    Playa Tamarindo, Tamarindo - Map
     
     
    "Nice Place and great value!"
    The hotel is more like a Bed and Breakfast as it is a family run place in colonial Granada. -You get a room key and a front door key -The rooms were nice, but if you are looking for a US style accommodation, then you may be disappointed. -The staff was friendly and very helpful
    Traveller from Colorado
    Situated on the Strip, this hotel is within 12 mi (20 km) of Grande Beach, Conchal Beach, and Las Baulas de Guanacaste …More
    Hotel Arco Iris - Tamarindo Hotels
    Rating: 3.0 Stars
    $115

    Hotel Arco Iris

    Playa Tamarindo, Tamarindo - Map
     
     
    "Absolutely Refreshing vacation"
    The moment we walked in your greeted with beauty flowers butterflies and tropical sounds of exotic birds. The staff are really friendly and your brought to your adorable bungalow(if thats what you chose). Beautiful hammock outside , clean beds air conditioned rooms, modern sinks and bathroom, and a safe... You wake up to the sounds of tropical birds, you walk through the garden grounds and breakfast is already laid out by the pool. and your morning companions are butterflies and 2 iguanas that sit on the otherside having their morning bananas can you imagine :).. ... you cant believe till you see ....im so happy I chose this place.
    Traveller from new york
    Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 12 mi (20 km) of Grande Beach, Conchal Beach, and Las Baulas de Guanacaste …More

    Hotels in San Jose

    Hotel Presidente - San Jose City Center, Costa Rica - San Jose Hotels
    Rating: 3.5 Stars
    $119

    Hotel Presidente - San Jose City Center, Costa Rica

    Avenida Central, Calle 7, San Jose - Map
     
     
    "Great Hotel!"
    The hotel El Presidente turned out to be a great choice. It may be a bit more than some of the other Hotels in the area but the staff was very friendly and helpful in every way. The whole facility was very clean and well managed. The desk clerks were very helpful with advice on tours etc. This hotel doesn't permit working girls which is a plus in many ways. The lobby is NOT a complete circus at all hours of the night. The rooms are very clean and there are no undesirables (if you will) roaming the halls. This hotel is like a sanctuary that you can come back to for peace and quiet. There was a little construction going on during my stay and there was a little noise but they made a good effort to only work during the middle of the day and early evening so it didn't disturb guests. The complimentary breakfast was great! Omelets, fresh fruit (The Pineapple was the best I've ever had!), coffee, orange juice, numerous types of bread, Traditional Costa Rican rice and black beans, cheeses, pancakes and plantains in a syrup, and the room where this was held each morning was fantastic. I would definitely go back and stay there again.
    Traveller from Virginia
    Located in the heart of San Jose, this hotel is steps from Plaza de la Cultura, National Theater, and Gold Museum. Jade …More
    Hotel Luisiana - Santa Ana Hotels
    Rating: 3.5 Stars
    $63

    Hotel Luisiana

    100 west and 400 south from Cruz Roja, Santa Ana - Map
     
     
    "Very clean"
    Suprised,front desk staff a little shaby but helpful and cordial. Restaurant expensive for pasta
    A Traveller
    A restful alternative to the busier resorts of Costa Rica, Hotel Luisiana is 10 minutes' drive from the international airport …More
    Best Western Irazu Hotel & Casino - San Jose Hotels
    Rating: 3.5 Stars
    $110

    Best Western Irazu Hotel & Casino

    General Canas Hwy KM3, San Jose - Map
     
     
    "nice hotel and casino.. not close to anything.. "
    nice hotel.. to far from anything else.. san jose is a dirty, crappy, tourist trap..
    Traveller from atlanta
    This family-friendly San Jose hotel is located near the airport, within 2 mi (3 km) of Estadio Nacional, Museum of Costa …More

    Hotels in Arenal Volcano Region

    Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort - Fortuna Hotels
    Rating: 4.5 Stars

    Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

    13 km oeste del centro, Fortuna - Map
     
     
    "Honeymoon 2015"
    This place truly makes you feel like if you are in Paradise. Never experienced such amazing staff and such a beautiful place. A must see.
    Traveller from Pembroke Pines
    Located in Arenal Hot Springs, this luxury resort is within 2 mi (3 km) of Arenal Natura Ecological Park, Baldi Hot Springs …More
    Volcano Lodge and Springs - Fortuna Hotels
    Rating: 4.0 Stars
    $142

    Volcano Lodge and Springs

    7 Km West From La Fortuna, Fortuna - Map
     
     
    "Beautiful View, Amazing Staff, Loved the Hotspring"
    We had a lovely stay here. Our room was very spacious, clean and comfortable. We also had a little patio space available outside our room which overlooked a beautiful garden. The hotel grounds are beautiful beyond words. The hotel staff goes above and beyond to help you out. The pool area is lovely with a swim up bar, kiddie pool area, kids play area with slides and mud pit, jacuzzi and hot springs. Our room included breakfast buffet which was a very good spread that consisted of gallopinto (rice and beans), pancakes, plantains, toast, potatoes, eggs, meat, coffee, tea, juices etc. We absolutely loved our stay and will definitely come back.
    Traveller from Los Angeles, CA
    Located in Arenal Hot Springs, this spa lodge is within 2 mi (3 km) of Arenal Natura Ecological Park, Baldi Hot Springs, and …More
    Hotel El Silencio del Campo - Fortuna Hotels
    Rating: 3.5 Stars

    Hotel El Silencio del Campo

    5 Km West Of La Fortuna Central Park, Fortuna - Map
     
     
    "Silencio del Campo is the place to stay in Arenal"
    Lovely hotel with individual, upscale cabins amid beautiful gardens and the perfect view of Arenal Volcano. One morning we saw the top, but it's often shrouded in fog. The staff was welcoming, engaging and attentive. We watched a waiter successfully revive two small birds that flew into the dining area window. The hot springs were fantastic. There's even a farm on-site with chickens and cattle. Dinner was good, but the free breakfast was forgettable. All in all, a great place to spend a few days.
    Traveller from Kew Gardens, NY
    Located in Arenal Hot Springs, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Baldi Hot Springs, Ecotermales Fortuna, and Ecoglide …More