A passport is required to get into Costa Rica. Citizens of the US, Canada, Great Britain, and most other European nations can stay as a tourist for 90 days. Citizens of New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia may stay for 30 days but may have the option to extend their stay once in the country. If you want to stay longer than the normal allowable time the easiest thing to do is to cross into Panama or Nicaragua for at least 72 hours. Then you may re-enter the country on another tourist visa. Although there are some people who have used this method to stay in Costa Rica for as long as 15-20 years be warned--there are rumors that the government may be cracking down on long-term "tourists" to reciprocate for tightening border policies in the US. The worst case scenario is that you would be denied re-entry.
Here you will find a brief snapshot of Costa Rica facts and statistics
National Geographic’s Guide to Costa Rica observes that this tiny country, roughly the size of Scotland or the state of West Virginia, “seems to contain the entire world within its small compass,” 1. Rich and varied topography, biodiversity, and historical influences are abundant within 51,100 sqkm.
Holy Week (Easter Week) is by far the biggest holiday in Costa Rica. Many families use this time to go to the beach as it is also the last week before the school-year starts. On official holidays government offices are closed, banks are closed, public transportation is reduced, and some stores may also be closed.
The colon is the Costa Rican unit of currency the exchange varies between 505 and 520 colones per dollar. US currency is accepted almost everywhere in Costa Rica with many but expect to receive your change in colones. To keep things simple it is easiest to equate 500 colones to the dollar, however the Costa Ricans will use the daily exchange rate and pocket calculater to issue correct change.
Costa Rica is a tropical country with distinct wet and dry seasons. However, within the country some regions are rainy most of the year and others may be very dry and sunny for the majority of the year. The northwestern region, Guanacaste, is the driest area of the country with parts averaging only 60 inches of rain per year. Temperatures are primarily dependent upon elevation, with some of the highest areas, such as Chirripo National Park, occasionally dipping to the freezing level.
Costa Rica has always remained ahead of the curve when compared to other developing nations moving the country forwards with the time. They have lacked the war and devastation that has plagued other Central American countries and caused them to fall behind the development of the western world.
Costa Rica, is seen as an exceptional example of political stability and sometimes referred to as the "Switzerland of Latin America." Costa Rica has the most diverse environment relative to it size in the entire world while covering only 0.01% of the surface of the Earth and containing five percent of the planet’s plant and animal species.
In his inaugural speech in San Jose, May 8th, 2006, the recently elected President of Costa Rica, Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez proclaimed;
‘I would like to think that the Presidential sash I wear today is the talisman that will make it possible for Costa Rica to arrive at the Bicentennial of its independence as a developed nation’.1
Costa Rica’s bicentennial year is 2021, giving the country just fifteen years to reach its goal. This article will take a look the strategies Costa Rica is adopting and the challenges and dilemmas it faces in working towards development.
The high-season for Costa Rica tourism lasts from late November until April, when people from the northern latitudes are generally seeking warmer conditions. This also coincides with the "dry season" in Costa Rica, which could mean a little less rain during your time in the rainforest. As would be expected, tourism in the country is highest around Christmas and spring break. In general, tourism during the high-season will mean that good prices will be more difficult to find and attractions will be more crowded in spite of the fact that they will compare favorably to many other tropical tourist destinations throughout the world during this time period.