We have very high praise for the whole trip - CAT did a great job of putting it together!
Jennifer Parkyn,
Canada
Marc Harrison Travel Specialist & Team Leader

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Costa Rica travel guide

Population:  Approximately 4.6 million. 94% Caucasian/mestizo (an Indigenous Caucasian mix), 3% of African descent, 1% Chinese, 1% Amerindian and 1% other.

Size: Costa Rica is the 3rd smallest country in South America at just over 51.100 sq km (that is only 9.5 sq km larger than The Netherlands and slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia).  With 1,228 km of coastline (212 km on its Caribbean coast and 1,016 km on its Pacific) and at only 122-276 km wide, it is a tropical paradise easily explored from coast to coast.
Capital city: San José

Languages: Spanish and a Caribbean Creole dialect of English spoken around Limon.

Famous for: Jungle, beaches, wildlife and volcanoes.

Popular cuisine: Casado, this lunch plate of the country’s staple rice and beans served with shredded beef or chicken and a couple of hot tortillas, fuels the nation. Platanos (fried savory banana), empanadas (fried bread stuffed with meat) and tamales (boiled corn dough filled with meat or vegetables and served in a banana leaf) are also popular. For those with a sweet tooth spreads like cajeta de leche and dulce de leche, or the tantalizing Costa Rican honey can be enjoyed layered in cakes and pies. Tres leches is another popular sweet treat of sponge cake soaked in sweet milk.
Popular drinks:  Being a tropical paradise Costa Rica enjoys an array of delicious fresh fruit drinks. Rum is the spirit of choice and commonly mixed with Sprite or Coke. If you care to venture down some dark alleys to the local dive-bars you will find Guaro, a jungle juice made of sugar-cane that will guarantee an unforgettable night followed by a headache to match.  

National music: Traditional Costa Rican folk music with the sounds of the pre-colonial instruments of the chirimira (oboe) and quijongo (a single string bow and gourd), has the romance and passion of its Spanish conquerors. The Caribbean coast dances to a more Afro-Caribbean sinkit beat full of drums and banjos. Hips also sway to cumbia, lambada, marcado, meringue, salsa, soca and Costa Rican swing, as well as mainstream international hip hop and dance.

Famous Costa Ricans: Francisco Amighetti (painter), Juan Santamaria (national hero), Laura Chinchilla (president)

For information on visas and general travel in Costa Rica visit our FAQ section
For travel articles and news visit our South America travel blog