Costa Rica is small in size and has an area of roughly 51,100 square kilometers (31,682 square miles). Even so, it is internationally famous and recognized for the diversity and density of its natural resources and for the fabled kindness of its inhabitants. These facts set it apart as an especially attractive destination for foreign tourists who, not incidentally, make far more than a million visits a year.
Anyone who wants to visit Costa Rica should contact the Costa Rican embassy or consulate in their country to determine the necessary documents they need to enter the country.
Costa Rica really has two seasons: a "green" or rainy season that runs from May to November and a dry season that begins in December and ends in April. The average temperature in the Central Valley is 72° F (22° C), while on the coast and at the beaches it ranges from 70° to90°F (21°to32°C).
In general, businesses open at 9:00 am and close at 6:00 p.m., although shopping centers are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. State banks usually operate between 9:00 am and 3:00 p.m., while private banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Offices are generally open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The credit cards most commonly accepted by businesses and in tourist areas are: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Diners Club. Costa Rica: No Artificial Ingredients.
Costa Rica enjoys a wide variety of lodging types, from luxury hotels belonging to major worldwide chains, to ecological hostels and the more modest Bed and Breakfasts.
The country possesses three major airports. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is located in Alajuela 10 minutes from the capital, and the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste. In Pavas, just outside San Jose, there is the Tobias Bolaños Airport, which handles domestic flights. In addition, there are numerous landing strips that serve the various tourist destinations.
Visitors who want to enter the country by sea can do so at the ports of Limón and Moín on the Caribbean, Puerto Caldera and Puntarenas on the Pacific, and Central Pacific, Golfito, and Quepos on the Southern Pacific side.
River transport is possible on the Reventazón in the center of the country, the San Carlos, Río Frío, San Juan, and Sarapiquí on the northern plains, and the Grande de Terraba and the Sierpe on the Southern Pacific side. Costa Rica: No Artificial Ingredients.
Costa Rica has an extensive network of roadways, mostly paved, that provide access to most parts of the country.
The national bus system provides comfortable, economic, and fast service to most parts of the country, especially to points of interest to tourists.
There is a broad offering of rental vehicles, due to the existence of many agencies that provide services to the international market.
Taxi service to different points in the country is modem, efficient, and safe, although it is advisable that you only use the more well-known companies. Costa Rica: No Artificial Ingredients.
Costa Rica enjoys one of the oldest and most stable democracies in Latin America. This stance lead to its abolishing the army in 1948 and to earning a Nobel Peace Prize for president Oscar Arias for his ongoing struggle to approve the Central American Peace Plan during the turbulent eighties. The Costa Rican political system is a representative system with three branches: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. The president is elected by popular vote every four years.
Thanks to its free, yet mandatory public education system established in 1917, Costa Ricans enjoy a high level of education and one of the highest literacy rates in the world: 96.2%.
This high level of education, along with the development of telecommuncations, has contributed to Costa Rica being considered as a place suitable for foreign multi-national high-technology investment by companies. Intel Corporation, Laser Sight Technology, Siemens, Procter and Gamble and others all have a presence in Costa Rica. Costa Rica: No Artificial Ingredients.
Telecommuniation services are provided by the Institute Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE-the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity), a state-owned body. The modern telecommunications network includes: direct communications with the outside world by the self-dial MIDA international telephone system. There are also telex, telegram, fax, cellular, and Internet services, along with data transmission via the use of satellites and microwaves.
The majority of cities in the country have drinkable water, although in the more remote areas it is recommended that you drink bottled water.
Costa Rican cuisine offers a wide variety of choices to the tourist, ranging from the freshest tropical fruits and vegetables to exquisite seafood and indigenous foods such as "gallo pinto" ("spotted rooster") consisting of rice lightly sauteed with beans and served with a steak or eggs. Costa Rican dishes also include tamales, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), minced arracache root, potato and meat hash, and "casado," a "marriage" of portions of rice, beans, ripe plantains, fresh vegetable salad and some sort of meat. The list goes on to include grilled corn on the cob, "chorreadas" (a thick johnny cake made from tender com), and different types of empanadas (turnovers) filled with cheese, beans, or meat.
Costa Rica: No Artificial Ingredients
In addition, if a visitor so desires, he or she may try other cuisines, such as French, Italian, German, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Mexican, U.S., and vegetarian, all of which are well represented in the country.