Get swept up in the natural spectacles and pure joy of Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

Rugged, covered with rainforest, and endlessly diverse — no amount of superlatives does Costa Rica justice. It has Pacific and Caribbean coastlines dotted with exclusive and elegant beachfront hideaways, jaw-dropping volcanoes which go through a whole spectrum of shades by the time the sun sets, and some of the most colourful wildlife you’ll ever see.

If you haven’t heard the phrase Pura vida (literally ‘pure life’) before, you’ll never forget it by the time you’ve been to Costa Rica. The local people, or Ticos, use it for just about everything, so much so that it’s seen as an attitude and way of life – it can be anything from whizzing down a zip-wire through unspoilt cloud forest, catching waves on a surfboard or crossing paths underwater with turtles.

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Costa Rica - Perfect for

  • Between seas

    With the calm Caribbean Sea to the east and the waves of the Pacific Ocean to the west, Costa Rica boasts a bounty of dramatic coastlines and tropical beaches.

  • Wonderous wildlife

    From sloths and monkeys to an array of kaleidoscopic birdlife that’s almost unparalleled anywhere in the world, Costa Rica’s wildlife is reason alone to make the trip.

  • Geothermal backdrops

    Smouldering volcanoes, including the almost perfectly conical Arenal, are an omnipresent feature of this geological wonderland.

  • Activities galore

    Creep across hanging jungle bridges to scour the foliage for birdlife at eye level or take an exhilarating zipline through the cloud forest.

Costa Rica Regions

Our recommendations for the best places to visit in Costa Rica

San José & the Central Valley Holidays

Costa Rica’s fast-paced and cosmopolitan capital, San José, sits at the heart of the Central Vall...

La Fortuna & Arenal Holidays

At the base of an active volcano lies a picturesque Costa Rican town with an adventurous spirit.

Nicoya & Papagayo Holidays

Costa Rica’s west coast, including the Nicoya and Papagayo Peninsulas, has the lion’s share of lu...

Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast Holidays

Venture off the beaten track and experience Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast in a prime location for...

Monteverde Holidays

One of Costa Rica’s most famous nature reserves, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is a lush gr...

Holidays in Costa Rica

hotel
  • San José & the Central Valley
  • 4 Star

A Relais & Château-run retreat in a 500-acre reserve in Costa Rica’s Central Highlands.

From £3,237 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 4.5 Star

Eco-conscious and family-friendly Nayara Gardens is a wildlife-rich escape from the ordinary.

From £2,909 p/p
hotel
  • Nicoya & Papagayo
  • 5 Star

A chic family-friendly resort overlooking Culebra Bay

From £3,281 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 5 Star

At the base of the iconic Arenal volcano sits a Relais & Chateaux lodge that’s surrounded by a wildlife-rich rainforest.

From £3,941 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 5 Star

A famed rainforest eco-resort of bubbling hot springs at the foot of Arenal Volcano.

From £2,318 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 4.5 Star

Join parrots, toucans and monkeys high up on the mountainside for an experience of a lifetime in one of Costa Rica’s most breathtaking settings.

From £4,335 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 4 Star

This is one of the closest hotels to Arenal Volcano and you get spellbinding views of it from every room.

From £1,917 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 5 Star

This glamorous safari-style camp combines nature-immersed adventure with sophisticated creature comforts.

From £4,220 p/p
hotel
  • La Fortuna & Arenal
  • 4 Star

Ravishing rainforest retreat overlooking Arenal Volcano, where wellness takes priority and the wonders of the jungle come to life.

From £2,886 p/p
hotel
  • San José & the Central Valley
  • 4 Star

An eclectically designed, vibrant all-villa resort set in the hills overlooking the Central Valley and San Jose.

From £1,718 p/p
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Arenal Volcano National Park

Spend a morning exploring the geological wonderland of Arenal Volcano National Park. This tour starts with a short boat ride across Arenal Lake Dam – an artificial lake that reflects the volcano on its surface. You’ll hike through the forest, following well-marked trails that lead to lookout points to appreciate the majesty of the Arenal Volcano. You’ll continue into an area destroyed by volcanic activity and witness its regeneration. A second hike takes you across former lava fields, and as you go, the nature, geology and the volcano's history will be explained by your guide.

• Daily departures from La Fortuna (excluding ORIGINS Lodge)
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Sunset Birdwatching on Lake Arenal

Spend an afternoon and Golden Hour on Lake Arenal, spotting Costa Rica’s famous birdlife. Lake Arenal was built in 1974 and is the largest water reservoir in Costa Rica. It provides hydroelectric energy for the country, but it’s also where you can find some of Costa Rica’s colourful birdlife and have the chance to see the imposing Arenal Volcano. This tour departs in the afternoon, taking you to a spot in the Arenal Volcano National Park, where the birds are most active in the afternoon. Spot tropical birds such as toucans, parrots, oropendolas, colourful tanagers and parakeets. Your guide will also look for Royal Flycatchers, White-fronted Nun Birds, Cinnamon Woodpeckers, different species of herons and other less commonly seen species. You’ll board a two-hour boat ride staying close to the lake shore to maximise bird spotting and continue to way the volcano’s front area to get a fantastic view of the volcano at sunset.

• Daily departures from La Fortuna (excluding ORIGINS Lodge)
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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1968 Arenal Volcano Hike

Spend an afternoon hiking the Arenal 1968 Trail across the lava stream of the volcano’s late 60s eruption, followed by a soak in the hot springs. Lace up your hiking boots to embark on the 2.5-hour volcano hike along the base and flanks of Arenal Volcano and the Arenal 1968 Park. The trail takes you across the lava fields of the eruption and over rocky terrain. Along the route are impressive views of Lake Arenal, the mountains of Monteverde, and the looming Arenal Volcano. En route, spot birdlife and mammals that make this fascinating place home. After the hike, continue to the hot springs for a muscle-soothing soak.

• Daily departures from La Fortuna (excluding ORIGINS Lodge)
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Mistico Park Hanging Bridges

Walk through the tree canopy of Mistico Park, following a series of six hanging bridges suspended over 50 metres in the air. From your lofty vantage point, appreciate this verdant area's sights, sounds, and biological diversity. There’s the chance to spot birds, monkeys, coatis, and sloths, explore the undisturbed forest canopy, and enjoy nature at its best.

• Daily departures from La Fortuna (excluding ORIGINS Lodge)
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Highlights of San José

A half-day walking tour through San José over a busy afternoon offers a glimpse into local life and reveals the city’s architectural and cultural highlights. You’ll be met at your hotel and head to La Merced Church, a striking, neo-Gothic church and celebrated city icon. Experience the energy of the central pedestrian zone on the way to San José’s busy Central Market, where you’ll catch the aromas of herbs and fruit being sold alongside clothes and leather goods. A stop at the National Theatre follows — an architectural beauty of Costa Rica with a neo-Classical façade and impressive marble lobby. Next, the Gold Museum provides a fascinating insight into the pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica in the atmospheric bank vaults. You’ll pass through Democracy Square and the parliament building on the way to the National Museum, where you can admire views over San José from the courtyard. At the Atlantic Rail Station, you’ll see a blend of Victorian, Baroque, and neo-Classical styles before moving on to San José’s Spanish Park for a spot of shade. You’ll see the Metallic School next, said to have inspired Paris’ Eiffel Tower, before your tour concludes at the leafy Morazán Park and you return to your hotel.

• Departs Monday to Saturday from San José
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Discover Irazú Volcano

Visit the largest, highest active volcano in Costa Rica on a morning tour from San José. The journey takes a couple of hours from San José, and on the way, you’ll pass through small villages in the Central Valley before joining the impressive mountain road for the drive up the Irazú Volcano mountainside. The top of the volcano is 3,432m above sea level, and on a clear day, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. The altitude of the volcano means it can be windy and chilly, so take some extra layers — worth it for the incredible views. You’ll descend to Cartago, stopping to see an earthquake-ravaged church and learn a little about the town’s history, with time to admire the Byzantine style of the Basilica before returning to your hotel.

• Daily departures from San José
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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San José by Night

Explore San José by night, touring local markets and visiting cultural and architectural icons before settling down for a local dinner with wine. Your tour begins at the colourful Central Market, strolling with your local guide and learning how the roots, herbs, and fruit are used in local dishes. After the market, you’ll venture along Central Avenue, learning about the city's history and hearing anecdotes from your guide, stopping to appreciate one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in San José — the National Theatre. The walk continues through Morazán Park to see the beautiful Metallic Building, then to Spanish Park for a view of the Yellow House that houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this neighbourhood, there are plenty of examples of architecture from the 1800s, including the National Distillery, Paseo de Las Damas, and the Supreme Court of Elections. The walking tour concludes with a visit to an artisan market. The rest of the evening is spent at a local restaurant enjoying a delicious meal with your group with carefully selected wines.

• Departs Monday to Saturday from San José
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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The Hanging Bridges of Selvatura

Experience the cloud forest of Monteverde on a two-hour guided walk across a series of eight hanging bridges. Selvetura Park’s Treetop Walkway is a 1.9-mile trail through the cloud forest. The suspension bridges blend seamlessly with their surroundings and are an incredible way to get close to the birdlife and wildlife. You might spot white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, or the more difficult-to-spot spider monkeys. All the while, you can listen to the sounds of the jungle.

• Daily departures from Monteverde
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Monteverde Cloud Forest Hike

Join a four-hour walking tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest to spot incredible birdlife. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has 13 km of well-kept trails through lush vegetation. Your walking tour is accompanied by a local English-speaking guide, who will tell you all about flora and fauna of the region, considered by most Costa Ricans as one of their seven wonders. There are over 300 species of birds in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, including the famous quetzal.

• Daily departures from Monteverde
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Costa Rican Coffee & Chocolate Experience

Visit a local plantation and join a guided tour to learn about Costa Rica’s sugar, coffee, and chocolate production. A Costa Rican family owns the El Trapiche, or sugar mill, tour. It begins with a walk around the plantations, where bananas, plantains, macadamia, oranges, sugarcane, and coffee are grown. You’ll learn the sugarcane cultivation process and watch how coffee is produced, from planting to crushing, peeling, and roasting processes. Next, there’s a short ride on an oxcart to see cocoa and learn the chocolate-making process before returning to the sugarcane to see how sugarcane liquor is produced. You will see the three types of typical sugarcane mills: a manual trapiche, an ox mill, and a water mill. The tour ends where artisanal sugarcane candy and caramel are made, with the chance to make your own sweets. The trip concludes with a tasting of gallo de arracacha, a tuber plant snack, served with a cup of local coffee, lemonade, or Aguadulce sweet water.

• Daily departures from Monteverde
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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The Nature Reserves of Monteverde

Choose one of three Monteverde Nature Reserves to explore and decide whether you want an easy nature-themed hike or something more challenging. All options spend half a day in the reserve you choose, either Monteverde Reserve, Santa Elena Reserve or Curicancha Reserve. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and, on the way to the reserve, will tell you more about Monteverde's natural environment and history and share cultural anecdotes. Your guide will explain the intricate interactions of the different species of flora and fauna of these ecosystems and give insight into the unpredictable and ever-changing conditions. You’ll likely spot various forms of famous Costa Rican wildlife in your cloud forest experience.

• Daily departures from Monteverde
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Get to know the breathtaking country of Costa Rica and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT -6 hours

CURRENCY

Costa Rican Colón

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

11 hours

RELIGION

Christianity (majority Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Spanish; five indigenous languages are also spoken

Where is Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is one of the southernmost countries in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast. The rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean, popular with surfers, are to the west, while the warmer and calmer Caribbean Sea lies to the east.

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Costa Rica beaches
From breathtaking national parks to unspoilt powdery-sand beaches, Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is impressive, to say the least. Many travellers make a beeline for Nicoya and Papagayo, a pair of peninsulas with luxurious resort retreats and superb marine life, ranging from humpback whales to giant leatherback turtles. On the opposite side of the island, the Caribbean Coast is less developed but just as good for savouring that taste of tropical paradise.

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Costa Rica national parks
Over a quarter of Costa Rica’s land is protected, and the country currently has 27 national parks, plenty of which are dotted along its Pacific Coast. Head out to explore them, and you’ll find everything from tropical rainforests, wetlands and simmering volcanoes to dense cloud forests, hidden lagoons, and untamed beaches. National parks in Costa Rica are some of the most ecologically diverse and beautiful places on Earth, home to an incredible range of wildlife, including jaguars, frogs, turtles and hummingbirds.

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Getting around Costa Rica
When you book a holiday to Costa Rica with Kuoni, you’ll travel by private transfers, allowing you to sit back and watch the scenery as a private driver takes you to your destination, whether that’s a short hop to a city centre hotel in San José or a longer trip to the west coast.

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Food & drink
Food in Costa Rica is mild but full of goodness and flavour. The country’s location means plenty of tropical fruit, fresh vegetables, and rice and black beans are used. Pork and beef are the most commonly eaten meats, but chicken and fish are also popular, particularly on the Caribbean Coast. One of Costa Rica’s favourite breakfast foods is gallo pinto, where rice and beans are mixed with other ingredients such as onions, peppers, and coriander. Other popular dishes include casado, a dish made up of many foods that typically include rice, beans, salad, tortillas, fried plantains and meat or fish, and a glass of juice on the side.

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Costa Rica Weather

Dec - Apr

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Costa Rica Weather by Month