Costa Rica Travel Guide

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Costa Rica Information

Population:

Time Zone: GMT - 6

Driving side: Drivers drive on the right hand side of the road.

Languages: Spanish, English, Castilian

Religion: 76% Catholic
14% Protestant
1.3% Jehovah's witnesses.

Emergency #: All Emergencies: 911

Costa Rica Popular Destinations

San Jose - This cosmopolitan capital may seem more North American than Latin American, but it has great restaurants, several excellent museums, colorful markets and a fine climate. It's best market is Mercado Central which sells everything from live turkeys to leatherwork and cheap meat.

Monteverde - Founded by the Quakers in 1851, it is situated in North West Costa Rica.The small town of Santa Elena is the closest settlement to the Monteverde cloud-rain forest, but the road there is filled with attractions, including a butterfly garden, cheese factory and a serpentarium.The Monteverde Reserve not only has a number of walking tours but a series of suspension bridges which leave you walking on clouds above the jungle and a ski lift which afford you a view of the tree tops.

Pacific Beaches - The coast has a mix of luxury resorts and deserted beaches.Golfito is an important port and starting point to all the other beaches. The coast north-east of this town features numerous coves with jungle-lodge accomodation and virgin rainforest backdrop. Playa Zancudo is rated as the best swimming beach by the locals.

Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal - This volcano has been exceptionally active since 1968 when huge explosions triggered great lava flows that killed dozens. The degree of activity varies from week to week; from a spectacular display of flowing red -hot lava and incandescent rocks flying in the air, to a more placid-type volcano of glow-in-the-dark.

Moving Around Costa Rica

There are two main air lines from San Jose to many other domestic destinations.The bus system is cheap, reliable and thorough and travel thoroughout the country.As it is not always clear when the buses arrive and leave, you would have to ask. There is a good network of roads, although conditions vary from potholes and random bumps to open manholes, especially after the rains.The railway network was damaged and is not operating.

National festival and holidays

The country just about closes down during the Easter week and an official holiday period between Christmas and New Year.

San Jose's Day (St Joseph's Day) - 19 September
Virgin of Los Angeles Day - The patron saint of Costa Rica - 2 August
Juan Santamaria's Day - 11 April. Commerates the national hero who help see off William Walker in 1850.
Columbus Day - celebrated as in the Americas on the 12 October

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