Best time to visit: January, February, March, April
Average high: 29˚C
Average low: 20˚C
Price of meals: 2/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Family / Romantic
Costa Rica is the ideal holiday destination for any nature and animal enthusiast. With more than one quarter of its rainforest protected and the country continually championing green energy and eco-friendly policies, Costa Rica is a bastion for sustainable living. Consequently, experiencing Costa Rica is like holidaying in a giant zoo where the animals are free to roam right up to you and you are invited to explore nature in a pure but accessible form.
The Central American tropical paradise is also one of the easiest countries for English-speaking travellers to explore. Costa Rica’s close relationship with the USA means almost all citizens working in the tourist industry speak a high level of English; which is most people because tourism is one of the country’s main economic industries. The high influx of US tourists has also demanded hotels, transport, and tours offer a level of comfort and ease expected in the USA.
While most tourists fly in at San José, it is a city you will likely spend very little time in. Instead, head straight out using one of the efficient and comfortable transport services and you will almost instantly see the rainforest encroaching right up to the edge of the main road, where drivers regularly come to a stop to avoid disturbing crossing wildlife; the perfect summary of Costa Rican’s attitude to nature.
Depending on whether you want to surf, lie on a beach, hike volcanic terrain, or watch nature at its most pure, some places are better than others (and you will likely need to travel a little to enjoy all experiences), but everyone should include Arenal on the itinerary. While the town itself is a bit tacky, it is the best place for easy hikes, adventure activities, including river rafting and canyoning, and lazing in hot springs heated by the nearby volcano. Wildlife is visible everywhere and anywhere, but Manuel Antonio National Park and Monteverde Cloud Forest are two of the best spots to guarantee seeing a wide range of animals on easy and affordable tours.
By nature of touching both the Caribbean and Pacific seas, its mountainous geography, and dense rainforests, Costa Rica has a range of micro-climates that vary quite substantially. In general, the higher you are, the more rain you can expect throughout the year, especially if you stay in Monteverde’s Cloud Forest, where a thin veil of mist is present even on the driest day. Conversely, as you approach sea level, the skies will turn bluer, the sun hotter, and the climate more tropical.
Like most Central and South American countries, Costa Rica has two seasons: wet, lasting from May to November; and dry, from December to April. By virtue of constant trade winds, the Caribbean Coast is hotter, but it also receives rain throughout the year.
While Costa Rica has its own currency, the country is closely tied with the United States and US dollars are widely accepted. This has not only made Costa Rica a popular destination for US Americans, but prices vary widely to accommodate wealthy tourists. Consequently, average prices are mid-range in many places, with a three-course meal for two averaging £30-35, while an inexpensive meal for one will average £5-6. However, if you are prepared to eat away from the obvious tourist places, you can find food much cheaper. A beer costs £2-3.50, while coffee and water average at £2 and £1, respectively.
February is arguably one of the most difficult times in the UK. Christmas and New Year’s have been and gone, and we are left with dark days and cold nights as we eagerly look forward to spring. Whet...
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