ABOUT COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is situated
in Central America just 10 degrees north of the Equator. The
country comprises a population of 4 million ¨Ticos¨
(local name for Costa Ricans) and a landmass of 20,000 sq
miles (51,000 sq km). It is a rugged land with mountains,
green valleys, active volcanoes, tropical lowlands, lakes,
rivers and beautiful beaches with palm trees, and white-golden
sands. The Central Valley forms the heart of Costa Rica. The
capital city of San José and the larger towns of Alajuela,
Heredia, and Cartago are located within it, which is inhabited
by around 60% of the nation's population. Other important
places include: Ciudad Quesada (near La Fortuna), San Isidro
(Southern Costa Rica), and the coastal Liberia, Puntarenas,
and Port Limón. Its privileged position, in the middle
of North and South America, has nourished the country with
a variety of wildlife, from dolphins to hummingbirds, and
with a variety of flora (e.g., more than 1200 species of orchids!).
Costa Rica is one of the
oldest democracies in the Americas. Since the civil war of
1948, the country has no standing army; in fact, the Constitution
expressly forbids it. During the last 50 years Costa Rica
has established a well-developed conservation system, not
only nature wise, but also regarding its social and cultural
wealth. As early as 1948, a free compulsory educational system
was consolidated, resulting in a literacy rate of over 93%.
Almost 90% of all high school students attend public institutions,
and the four most prestigious universities are still public.
Generous government budgets provide medical coverage for every
working citizen, resulting in an extremely low infant mortality
rate and average life expectancy of over 70 years.
Some highlights you will like to visit to learn more about
Costa Rican National Museum www.museocostarica.go.cr
Museums of the Central Bank www.museosdelbancocentral.org
Costa Rican Arts Museum www.musarco.go.cr
Costa Rican Art and Contemporary Design Museum ww.madc.ac.cr
Costa Rica benefits from
a perfect tropical, never-ending-spring climate. The average
temperature is 70°F (around 21°C) in the highlands.
Lowland temperatures range from the high 70’s to the
low 90’s (21 to 28°C). The rainy season goes from
May to November, whilst the dry season lasts from December
to April. However, consider that even during the rainy season
mornings are, more often than not, bright and sunny; expect
as well occasional showers during the dry season. Temperatures
vary little between seasons; the main influence on temperature
is altitude. Pack rain gear with you, as well as light sweaters
or jackets for mountainous sites such as Monteverde or the
Savegre Valley. Also do not forget humidity (in some regions,
like in the Caribbean or in Sarapiquí, it can reach
90%). Hydration is important in the area, since you will surely
National Meteorological Institute: www.imn.ac.cr
All visitors arriving
in Costa Rica require a passport valid for more than six months.
Citizens of some countries also require a visa to enter the
country, so please check ahead before traveling. Camino Travel
also recommends you to carry, additional to your passport,
another proof of citizenship with a photo ID (for example,
your driver’s license). Adults entering the country
are permitted 500 g. of tobacco, 5 litres of duty free wine
or spirits, and 2 kg of candies or dainties. The Costa Rican
government forbids incomers to bring fresh fruits & vegetables,
plants and live animals without official permission. The departure
tax costs USD $28 per person, and
shall be paid in cash inside the airport the day of departure.
Camino Travel recommends you to: travel light
when possible; prepare your travel documents with enough anticipation,
photocopy your passport (it will help your embassy in case
of loss or theft), and a small backpack for daily walks in
the forests & beaches.
Nowadays travelers prefer
to carry as little pocket money as possible. The amount of
cash to be brought depends mostly on the places you will visit
and the type of holiday you are planning. If you have purchased
a holiday in which lodging, transportation, tours, and meals
have been paid for in advance, then you will surely need less
cash than if you are traveling by public bus and staying at
small rural hotels that do not take credit cards. Credit cards
are widely accepted, particularly Visa and Master Card (American
Express is taken in few places, and Diner's Club is rarely
accepted). When purchasing local currency – colones
-, consider that Costa Rica handles almost only US Dollars;
Euros are being changed in very few banks, but on a very high
commission. When you are in the country, bear in mind that
most banks close at 3:30 pm (15h30) and do not open during
weekends or special holidays.
Medical services are available
throughout the country and many doctors speak English. All
the main cities & towns have a public hospital: San José,
Cartago, Limón, Puntarenas, Ciudad Quesada (near Arenal),
Nicoya, Liberia, and Golfito. Rural communities usually have
small medical offices called EBAIS, where you can head to
for basic attention. Before you travel check the routine vaccinations
(Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio). Contact your local health department
at home for advice on traveling to the Central American tropics.
Starting August 01, 2008, the recent Executive Decree published by the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica, declares the vaccination against the Yellow Fever mandatory to any person who wishes to enter our national territory coming from countries that are considered at risk. The countries declared at risk of the transmission of the Yellow Fever are the following:
South America: Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia with the exception of Department of the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina.
If you should have any clients coming from any of the countries mentioned above, it is very important to inform them that they must receive the vaccine against the Yellow Fever in order to come into Costa Rica. The clients must carry the International Vaccine Certificate guaranteed by the World Health Organization and must be shown to the migration agent.
Additionally, we recommend you to bring all prescribed medications
needed. Camino Travel suggests you to purchase in your home
country a travel insurance that covers you overseas in case
of illness or death, and to acquire trip cancellation insurances
that reimburse you if you incur in last minute cancellations
(most hotels and tour companies in Costa Rica do not reimburse
late cancellations). Inform us if you have any particular
health requirement (allergies, food restrictions, asthma,
etc.), so that we can plan your itinerary accordingly!