Prepare for your Costa Rica Adventure Travel

 

How do I prepare for my upcoming vacation?

Banana Adventure Tours would like to help you plan your trip abroad and stay safe during your vacations. Some of the advice we can give you are before you go:

 

  • Get the information about the nearest embassy, in Costa Rica or in the countries you will be visiting. For more information about your embassy in Costa Rica, you may visit the web page of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores.
  • It is better to travel with an international insurance that will cover you for any activity you may do during your vacations.
  • Get the vaccinations you may need before you travel. For example, for some countries, such as Colombia, you may need to get the Yellow Fever Vaccination. It may vary according with the time of your trip, but make sure you ask.
  • Make sure you have the information about visas that you may need to travel to Costa Rica, or any country during your trip. Also check that your passport is valid, if you do not have one yet, you may want to apply for it as soon as possible.
  • Check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting. For Costa Rica, you need a valid passport for six months. Also you need a print flight itinerary with the return flight back to your country.
  • Get photocopies of your passport and any other important documents and have it store in a place separate to the originals.
  • Inform a relative or friend about your trip and make sure you specify when you are living and how much time you will be away.
  • Take enough money in cash for your travel, in case you encounter any trouble. You can have a combination of travelers check, cash, and international credit cards.
  • If you want to know some travel advice about Costa Rica, you may enter the Summary of the consular assistant department. You can also read a little more the country in Costa Rica Travel Tips.
  • Investigate if your mobile service works outside the country, and specifically in Costa Rica.
  • Tell your credit card company that you will be out of the country, so they will not close your account as a security measure.
  • During your trip, don’t openly display your valuables. That way you will stay safe.
  • Make sure you know about the regulations for food and water. There are some countries where tap water is not safe. In Costa Rica, tap water is safe; however, you may want to buy bottle water to avoid any traveler disease.

Juan Santamaria International Airport

 

 Written by Caro Goodfellow
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Costa Rica is a wonderful country to travel to. It offers a wide range of options for all tastes. However, when traveling to other countries, there are things that will be different, and you as tourists should be prepared with a little information to handle every possible situation and enjoy completely your vacations.

 

Some of these Costa Rica travel tips are:

  • When you come to Costa Rica make sure you keep your important papers, passport, and other valuables in a safe place. Ask if your hotel has a security box in the room or in the reception (sometimes there is an extra charged for it). You only need a photocopy of the main page of your passport and of the entry stamp page. However, to change travel checks or change dollars in a bank you will need your actual passport.
  • Americans and Canadians do not need visa to enter Costa Rica; they are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Europeans and Latin Americans (excluding Nicaraguans) are allowed to stay in the country up to 30 days; Western Europeans need visa.
  • When traveling around the country keep your money in different places. Costa Rica is a fairly safe country, however, you can lose your money or it could be stolen. It is advisable to have your money and credit cards in different places and not in just one place.
  • Before coming to Costa Rica leave a copy of your itinerary along with other important papers, such as airplane ticket information, traveler’s checks, credit cards, and medical history, with a friend or family. This in case you lose your papers and need to have your information again.
  • Check your health insurance; verify if it covers you outside your country, or buy travel insurance with your travel agency.
  • Pack exactly what you need and weight your bags so you won´t get charge for the overweight. You can also use covered luggage tags with the information and address of your office instead of your house, just to be safe!
  • In Costa Rica there is "Costa Rican Time" meaning that everyone goes on their own peace, so be patient and remember that you are a visitor in the country and enjoy the difference.
  • Remember to bring special medicines and medical equipment. It may be hard to find here. Costa Rica has many very good pharmacies and clinics, but if you are away in a tour you probably will not find quickly what you need for your health.
  • Once you are in the country, remember to pack plastic bags to keep your electronics safe in case of rain and humidity, insect repellent, sunscreen, rain jackets or umbrellas and various types of clothes since the weather varies a lot from morning to night.
  • Tips and taxes are included in restaurants; however, if you feel like leaving some more tips do so! For drivers, tour guides and hotel personnel, tips are expected, but you can leave whatever you feel the service was worth. There is an Exit Taxes to leave the country using the International Airport; the fee is $26 per person payable just before checking in at your airline counter. It could be paid in dollars or colones, but no credit cards.
  • When using taxis make sure the "maria" or taximeter is in place. Taxi drivers should charge whatever the taximeter marks and no more. They do not expect tips, however, it is up to you.
  • Tico Time! Punctuality is not Costa Ricans strong point. However, tour operators and private transportation companies do respect exactly the time they set the tour or the pickup.
  • Internet is widely available in the country. However, do not expect great fast service; it truly depends of the company that is offering the service. In many hotels wireless Internet is available, but if not, there are many Internet Coffee Houses where you can pay Internet time for a low cost.

 

Volcan irazu

 

 

 

 

Written by Caro Goodfellow

Google+ Banana Adventure Tours
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101 Most Important things to know about Costa Rica.

Everything you need to know before coming to Costa Rica

Probably you are asking yourself What are the most important things about Costa Rica? Here are some interesting answers:

 

THE COUNTRY

1. Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America.

2. Costa Rica’s capital is San Jose, located in the center of the country. San Jose is the political and economical center of the country.

3. It is located 10º North of the equator and 84º West of the Prime Meridian; 9°55′N and 84°4′W.

4. The country has a land extension of 51.100 km2 and 589.000 km2 of territorial waters.

5. Costa Rica official language is Spanish; there are other languages spoken in the country, such as Mekatelio or Limon Creole (55.000 people)and some other indigenous languages.

6. Costa Rica oficial religion is Catholicism.

7. Costa Rica has 7 provinces: San Jose, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas y Guanacaste.

8. Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos and Ticas, or Costar Ricans.

9. It is said to be one of the happiest countries on Earth according to a British organization called New Economic Foundation, which used theHappy Planet Index in an independent study of 143 nations around the world.

10. There are 4,509,290 Costa Ricans (2009), with a population density of 85/km2.

11. San Jose province has a population of 1.547.760 people.

12. Costa Rica is a democratic country with elections every 4 years.

13. Costa Rica is a neutral country that does not take sides in any world`s war or conflict.

14. Costa Rica is a friendly and peaceful country.

15. Costa Rica`s Time Zone is UTC-6.

16. Costa Rica country code is +506, and the Internet TLD is .cr.

17. Costa Rica`s popular saying is PURA VIDA.

 

HISTORY

18. Costa Rica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 in his third trip. The first place he landed in Costa Rica was what is now known as Limón.

19. Costa Rica was a Spanish Colony until September 15, 1821, and recognized as an independent country by Spain in 1850.

20. The first president of Costa Rica was Juan Mora Fernandez from the Liberal Party (1825-1833)

21. Costa Rica has had 125 years of uninterrupted democracy.

22. The official hero of Costa Rica is Juan Santamaria. He burned the Meson de Guerra in Rivas where the Filibusters, commanded by William Walker, were hiding. Costa Rica`s victory was based on that action on April 11, 1856.

23. Costa Rica`s President is Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014); the first woman elected president of Costa Rica.

24. Costa Rica has no army. It was abolished by President Jose Maria Figueres in 1948.

25. Costa Rica invests the money that is supposed to go to the army, in education and health.

26. Costa Rica`s former President Oscar Arias is a Peace Nobel Price winner. He won the price in 1987 based on his participation in the peace process of the Central American countries.

27. The main indigenous groups in Costa Rica are Cabécares, Huetares, Bribris, Malekus, Bruncas, Térrabas and Chorotegas among others.

28. Costa Rica`s official dates are April 11th (Juan Santamaria Day), July 25th (Guanacaste Day), August 2nd (Virgen de Los Angeles Day), September 15th (Independence Day).

29. The Costa Rican flag was designed under the French Revolution ideals of freedom and it was first used in 1848.

30. The colors of the Costa Rican flag have different meanings: blue means the sky and the opportunities, white means happiness and peace, and the red means the warmth of the people of Costa Rica.

31. The National Anthem, titled “Noble Patria, Tu Hermosa Bandera”; it reflect how proud are Costa Ricans of their country (composed by Manuel María Gutierrez in 1853).

32. The coat of arms was created in 1849 and had its last major change on October 21, 1964, where two more stars were added.

33. The Costa Rican Constitution was created on November 7, 1949.

GEOGRAPHY

34. Costa Rica has both, Pacific coast and Caribbean coast.

35. Costa Rica borders with Nicaragua to the North and with Panama to the South.

36. Costa Rica has 1.016 km (631.31 miles) of Pacific coastline and 212 km (131.73 miles) of Caribbean coastline, with a total of 1.290 km (801.56 miles) of coastline.

37. The rainy or green season in Costa Rica begins in May and ends on November, and the dry season begins in late December and ends on April.

38. Costa Rica`s temperatures vary very little; they go from 17 ºC (62 ºF) to 27 ºC (80 ºF) approximately.

39. There are 7 active volcanoes in Costa Rica: Irazu, Poas, Turrialba, Rincon de la Vieja, Tenorio, Arenal, and Miravalles.

40. There are more than 212 volcanoes in Costa Rica, most of them are dead or dormant.

41. The highest volcano in the country is Irazú Volcano with 3.431 meters (feet).

42. The highest point in Costa Rica is Mount Chirripó (Cerro Chirripó), which has an altitude of 3.819 meters (feet). It is located in the province of Limon.

43. Costa Rica most important island is Cocos Island, which is also a National Park. It was declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1997.

44. The biggest lake in Costa Rica is Lake Arenal, although this is a manmade lake. There are other smaller lakes, such as Lake Cote, Rio IV Lagoon and Hule Lagoon.

45. Costa Rica`s largest river is Grande de Térraba River.

46. Costa Rica`s most important caves are Barra Honda (Guanacaste) and Venado Caves (Alajuela).

47. Costa Ricans claim that the Poas Volcano crater is the largest in the world, with a diameter of 1.7 km (1.05 miles).

 

ECONOMY

48. The official currency of Costa Rica is the Colon.

49. The exchange rate for the Colon regarding the Dollar is $1 = C500 (Oct 2013).

50. Costa Rica`s main exportation products are Coffee, Banana, Pineapple, Ornamental flowers and Tourism.

51. Costa Rica`s public transportation system is great, with routes all around the country.

52. There are three land official immigration posts, two in the border with Panama, and one located in the border with Nicaragua.

53. Costa Rica has around 18% of poverty (2009).

54. Costa Rica has a 96% of literacy, ranking 54 from 160 countries.

55. The indigenous population of Costa Rica is the 1% of the total population.

CULTURE

56. Costa Rica`s traditional dish is the Casado, which includes some kind of meat, beans, rice, salad, picadillo, and plantain.

57. Gallo Pinto is another very common dish in Costa Rica, which is a mixture of rice and black or red beans cooked together.

58. The folkloric symbols of Costa Rica are “La Carreta” , “Los Boyeros”, and “La Gigantona” among others.

59. The most important archeological discovery of Costa Rica, which continues to be a mystery, is the stone spheres or Diquis Spheres, which date from 200 BC.

60. Costa Rica traditional folkloric dance is Punto Guanacasteco, which depicts courtship.

61. The official sport of Costa Rica is soccer and in second place is mountain bike and cycling.

62. The two main soccer teams in Costa Rica are Saprissa and La Liga.

63. Costa Rica`s official tree is the Guanacaste.

64. Costa Rica`s official bird is Yiguirro (Turdus Cray).

65. Costa Rica´s Patron Saint is La Virgen de los Angeles.

66. Among the most famous artists of Costa Rica are Francisco Amighetti, Gonzalo Morales Suarez, and Rodolfo Stanley.

 

ENVIRONMENT

67. Costa Rica is mostly known because of its true concern about the environment.

68. The first National Park of Costa Rica was Poas Volcano National Park in 1955.

69. Costa Rica`s smallest National Park is Manuel Antonio National Park.

70. Costa Rica`s largest National Park is La Amistad National Park.

71. Costa Rica has 26 National Parks, and some of the most known are Manuel Antonio, Poas, Irazu and Arenal.

72. The percentage of protected areas in the country is around 25%.

73. Costa Rica is a mega diverse country, especially in the Corcovado area, south part of the country.

74. Costa Rica is a nesting point for thousands of sea turtles. The turtles that nest in the Caribbean side are the Green Turtle and Leatherback, and the sea turtles that nest on the Pacific side are Hawksbill and Olive Ridley.

75. There are over 90 endemic species in Costa Rica.

76. There are 44 endangered species in Costa Rica.

77. La Amistad National Park, located in the south of Costa Rica, is a shared park with Panama.

78. Monteverde, located in the Alajuela Province, is the place with the highest density of orchids of the world. Costa Rica has 100 different orchid species.

79. Savegre River, located in the San Jose Province, is the cleanest river of the American Continent.

80. Costa Rica produces energy under 5 different types of technology: eolic, hydric, thermal, geothermic and solar energy.

81. Costa Rica ranks 3º on the Environmental Performance of 163 countries around the world, according to a Yale University study.

82. Addresses are given in meters; 100 meters is equivalent to a block.

TOURISM

83. One of the most important touristic activities of the country is adventure, including white water rafting, canopy, etc.

84. The most visited sites in Costa Rica are Manuel Antonio, Arenal, Tortuguero , Tamarindo, San Jose and Monteverde.

85. The most visited national park in Costa Rica is Manuel Antonio National Park and in second place is Poas National Park.

86. Costa Rica`s archeological site open for tourism is Guayabo, located in Turrialba.

87. Costa Rica is famous for its white water rafting in many rivers of the country but especially in Pacuare River. It is located in the Limon province and it is a level III-IV and ranks among the top ten most scenic rivers for white water rafting of the world according to National Geographic.

88. Costa Rica`s most important surfing spots are Jaco, Mal Pais, Dominical and Tamarindo.

89. Costa Rica`s most interesting river is Rio Celeste, an actual light blue river product of the combination of two different chemicals from volcanoes.

90. The most important scuba diving sites in Costa Rica are Cocos Island, Caño Island, and Cocos Beach in Guanacaste.

91. There are two international airports in the country: Juan Santamaria International Airport (around 12 km from San Jose), and Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste (around km from San Jose).

92. The airport exit tax is $28 per person.

93. There are many different restaurants and bars in San Jose. International Gastronomy options include Indian, Lebanese, Italian, French, German, Nicaraguan, and American.

94. Costa Rica`s national beer is Imperial.

95. Costa Rica`s main Museums are: the Golden Museum, the Jade Museum, the Museum of Contemporary art among others.

96. The most visited beaches are Tamarindo, Montezuma, Samara, Papagayo and Manuel Antonio.

 

VARIOUS

97. Costa Rica uses 120 volts of electricity.

98. The small town mini markets are called “Pulperias ”.

99. Ticos and Ticas use the word “maje” or “mae” to refer to a friend, a pal or other person.

100.Taxis in Costa Rica are red and they use a “Maria” or taximeter to set the amount to pay for a ride.

101.Franklin Chang Díaz is a famous Tico that works for NASA and has gone in spatial trips.

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Costa Rica is located north of Panama in Central America. Numerous international flights arrive to Costa Rica everyday from all over the world, and from many different airlines (America Airline, Taca, Copa, US Airways, Continental Airlines, Cubana, Delta, Iberia and Mexicana, among others). It is 2.5 hours by air from Miami, 7 hours from Los Angeles, and 11 hours from London (depending on the flight stops).

The country has two international airports fully functional. The first and most important one is the Juan Santamaria International Airport, located in the province of Alajuela, around 25 minutes from San Jose downtown. There are very hotels close by the international airport; however, the airport is not too far away from the capital.

The second international airport is called Daniel Odubert International Airport, located in the city of Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste. It is a great airport to arrive to if you plans to stay in the beaches of Guanacaste. The size of the country allows tourist to visit other destinies by land, such as Nicaragua and Panama. The island of San Andrés (Colombia) could be visited through a short flight from the Juan Santamaria International Airport. There is also a main national airport in the Capital city named Tobias Bolaños Airport, which connects domestic flights to most places in Costa Rica and their local airports.

Banana Adventure Tours is able to offer you the best flight rates available in the market. Please make sure you look our flight reservation engine (located in the Home page just next to About Banana Adventure tours), to check prices and buy your airplane ticket to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is also a cruise port for both, Caribbean Cruises (Limon) and Pacific Ocean Cruises (Puntarenas). Many tourist visit the country through the many cruises that dock in Costa Rica, and have even time to visit the most touristic places located close by. Whether you are coming by air, by road or by se, we can help you plan your trip in Costa Rica.

 

For any inquiry please write an e-mail to our address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we will respond no later than 24 hours later.

 

Costa Rica essential

 

 Written by Caro Goodfellow
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Climate, Conditions, Snakes, and Creepy-Crawlies

TEMPERATURE:

Remember that you are in the Tropics. It is hot and humid, and there are snakes and creepy-crawlies. It is the latter though which often concerns people the most. Well, snakes and insects are not as prevalent or bothersome as you would believe. It is the heat and the humidity that is the greatest problem. While the temperatures in the Central Plateau of Costa Rica are a pleasant 22° to 25° during the day, in the coastal areas temperatures seldom drop below 25° (in the rainy season) and may exceed 33° in the dry season. Combined with high humidity 60/100%, conditions can be uncomfortable and often oppressive. Physical activity is more tiring than it is in colder climes and you must take appropriate measures against sunburn, heat exhaustion, sunstroke and dehydration. Your guides will give you precautionary advice during adventure tours.

 

We recommend you bring with you:

  1. Light clothing: T-shirts, shorts and light trousers.
  2. An effective sunblock and after-sun lotion.
  3. Sunglasses and/or a peaked cap or wide rimmed hat.
  4. A water bottle: REMEMBER TO DRINK FREQUENTLY!

 

RAINFALL:

In most of the country rainfall can be quite high (2-6 meters per year) and falls between the months of April and November. During this period (referred to as winter in Costa Rica) it can rain on most days, usually as heavy showers in the afternoon and evening. Most residents prefer this time of year. At times, however, rainfall can be torrential and accompanied by thunder and lightning Sometimes this interrupts schedules in areas where such heavy storms persist. Expect forest trails to be muddy this time of year.

We recommend you bring with you:

  1. Light waterproof clothing.
  2. Light washable hiking boots or comfortable rubber boots.
  3. Self-sealing plastic bags or a small dry-bag to keep your belongings dry.

SNAKES:

The word “jungle” conjures up nightmare images in some people’s minds of a place teeming with snakes. The reality is quite different. You seldom see snakes. Most snake encounters are of non-venomous species. Nonetheless, threat from venomous snakes does exist, and these bites can be very serious indeed, often fatal. However, your chances of being bitten are as probable as being hit on the head by a falling coconut! Venomous snakes will not bite unless trodden on (or grabbed!). On treks your experienced guide is there to minimize that possibility and will always take the lead. Anti-venom is also part of the guide’s equipment.

 

We recommend you bring with you:

  1. Wear close choose when hiking
  2. Use repellent
  3. Watch your step

BUGS AND CREEPY-CRAWLIES:

Spiders often rank alongside snakes on people’s most-undesirable list. There are lots of spiders in the jungle, but they are mostly small and innocuous. Tarantulas are cryptic and very rarely seen. They are harmless anyway! Scorpions, too, are not often encountered and none of the species found in Costa Rica are dangerous. In fact a scorpion sting is little more harmful or painful than a bee sting. Still it’s wise to shake out your boots before you put them on! Biting insects are a nuisance. Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and horseflies are ever present. Fortunately most repellents are effective protection against them. Wasps and bees are prevalent and while their stings are painful, attacks are rare.

We recommend you bring with you:

  1. Insect repellent.
  2. Antihistamine tablets.
  3. Cream for alleviating insect bites and stings.

OTHER ANIMALS:

Of the large mammals (of which there are surprisingly few in the Neotropics) only the peccary has a dubious reputation. If taken by surprise, they have been known to send the unwary passerby scurrying up a tree. But their threat is usually all show, accompanied by loud teeth cracking. The American crocodile kills an average one person annually in Costa Rica. In the last two years they’ve been tourists! This species does not have a particularly bad reputation, usually preferring fish to tourists. Because of Costa Rica’s rigorous conservation laws, specimens of 4 meters or larger are not uncommon in this country. This size will prey on large mammals or even people. But the American crocodile is not a threat unless you are silly enough to swim in rivers, lagoons or lakes where they are known to inhabit.

 

We recommend:

  1. Don´t bath on mangroves
  2. Don´t get to close to animals

HEALTH AND DISEASES:

You should seek medical advice from your local medical center on what vaccinations are recommended for Costa Rica. Costa Rica has an excellent Health Service. Many of the tropical diseases, which are endemic to other countries, have long ceased to be a problem here.

We highly recommend travel insurance to protect your investment and to provide yourself with international emergency medical coverage. For an estimated cost please ask. Click here for complete information of the coverage!

 

We recommend you bring with you:

  1. Insect repellent.
  2. Antihistamine tablets.

 

Written by Caro Goodfellow

Google+ Banana Adventure Tours
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