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Exploring Costa Rica: Complete Guide to the Land of Pura Vida

Located between the Caribbean Sea in the Atlantic Ocean at the West, and the Pacific Ocean at the East, Costa Rica is a treasure of natural wonders and cultural richness. Get to know the country with us and learn about the most relevant information before visiting this Pura Vida paradise.


Costa Rica, despite covering only 0.03% of the Earth’s surface, holds an astonishing 5% of the world’s total biodiversity. In comparison to other countries, Costa Rica’s biodiversity per unit area is among the highest in the world. Despite its small territory of 51,100 km², its ecosystems support a remarkable number of over 500 000 species – it’s home to an estimated 4% of all known species – making it a global priority for conservation efforts and a hotspot for researchers and nature enthusiasts.

This abundance of life is due in part to Costa Rica’s geographical location, situated between North and South America, and its diverse range of habitats and climates. The country’s commitment to conservation, with over 25% of its land designated as protected areas, has also played a crucial role in preserving its natural heritage.



Costa Rica is known for its sustainable efforts all around the country and it continues to lead the way in sustainable tourism practices. Also, it’s on track to become one of the world’s first carbon-neutral countries. With its abundant renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric, wind, and solar power, the country aims to rely entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

Focused on reducing carbon emissions, protecting endangered species, and promoting community-based tourism initiatives make the country an example to nature conservation.

In Costa Rica conservation is a top priority and therefore is a pioneer in ecotourism, with over a quarter of its land protected within national parks and reserves.

Beaches and National Parks: Guanacaste’s Treasures


Costa Rica boasts over 800 miles of coastline, with countless beaches waiting to be explored. In addition to its beaches, it has 28 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, and 32 protected zones.

Guanacaste specifically, is home to over 100 beaches, each offering its own unique charm and appeal. Some of the country’s most beautiful and renowned beaches can be found in this province including Playa Conchal, Playa Flamingo, Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Playas del Coco and so many more.

Also in Guanacaste you can find Santa Rosa National Park and Rincon de la Vieja National Park; where visitors can explore volcanic landscapes, spot wildlife in their natural habitat, and learn about the region’s rich biodiversity and history.

Guanacaste offers endless opportunities for sun, surf, and relaxation along with National Parks that showcase the country’s incredible biodiversity, including iconic species like sloths, monkeys, and scarlet macaws.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Costa Rica boasts a tropical climate year-round, with two distinct seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the wet season (May to November). The dry season brings sunny days and clear skies, making it ideal for outdoor activities and beach vacations. However, the wet season, also known as the “green season,” offers lush landscapes, fewer crowds, and lower prices on accommodations and tours.

Peak tourist season coincides with the dry season, especially during Christmas, New Year, and Easter holidays. Many visitors flock to popular destinations like Santa Rosa National Park, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, and the beaches of Guanacaste during this time.

Currency and Practical Information

a stack of flyers on a table

Costa Rica’s official currency is the Costa Rican colón (CRC), although U.S. dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas. It’s advisable to carry some colones for smaller purchases and transactions. Credit cards are accepted, but it’s always wise to have some cash on hand, especially in more remote areas.

To ensure a smooth travel experience, it’s crucial to confirm visa requirements well in advance of your trip.

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Australia and most European Union countries enjoy visa-free entry for tourism stays of up to 90 days, their passports must remain valid for at least six months beyond their entry date. Travelers from other nations should check specific visa requirements for their nationality, as some may require obtaining a tourist visa in advance from a Costa Rican embassy or consulate.

For the latest and most detailed visa information, you can consult the official website of the Costa Rican Embassy or refer to the Costa Rican Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners.

Costa Rica’s Cultural Tapestry

Efforts to preserve and promote Costa Rica’s cultural heritage are ongoing, with initiatives focused on education, community engagement, and cultural preservation. The top highlights that define the cultural aspect of the country are:

Pura Vida Philosophy: At the heart of Costa Rican culture lies the “Pura Vida” philosophy, embodying a laid-back and optimistic outlook on life. This phrase, meaning “pure life,” reflects the country’s appreciation for simplicity, happiness, and gratitude. It can be used as a greeting, question, or even goodbye depending on the context!

Cuisine: Costa Rican cuisine is a delicious reflection of the country’s agricultural abundance and cultural heritage. Staple foods include rice, beans, plantains, and corn, which are often combined to create flavorful dishes like “gallo pinto,” a traditional rice and beans dish, and “casado”, a hearty meal featuring rice, beans, meat or fish, and salad.


Music and Dance: Music permeates every aspect of Costa Rican life, from lively street festivals to intimate family gatherings. Music genres such as “cumbia,” “salsa,” and “merengue” are popular throughout the country, accompanied by rhythmic dances that express the joy and vitality of Costa Rican culture.

In Guanacaste, folkloric dances such as the “punto guanacasteco” and “la polca” showcase this region’s cultural diversity and ancestral roots. These lively dances are commonly accompanied by colorful costumes and infectious rhythms.

Arts and Crafts: Costa Rica boasts a rich artistic heritage, with artisans creating exquisite pottery, wood carvings, textiles, and handmade jewelry. Indigenous craftsmanship is celebrated alongside contemporary art.

a group of people sitting on a bench

Language: Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, but indigenous languages such as Bribri and Cabécar are also spoken by indigenous communities. Additionally, in many tourist areas, English is widely spoken, primarily for commercial purposes and due to the influence of the tourism industry on local lifestyles.

Costa Rica’s natural beauty, commitment to sustainability, culture and warm hospitality make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion.

Whether you’re lounging on beaches, trekking through dense rainforests, or discovering hidden waterfalls and Thermal Hot Springs, Costa Rica promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return.

While in Costa Rica, don’t forget to visit us at Vandará, located in the Rincon de la Vieja dry rainforest.  We would welcome the opportunity to welcome you to this spectacular land and country!