Our Frequently Asked Questions sections are here to help you decide whether a destination is right for you. Sarah Frankish answers questions about Costa Rica and offers some tips for travellers to this beautiful country. She is always happy to share her knowledge and passion one-to-one. You can ring her on 020 7666 1260.
Why should I visit Costa Rica?
There are so many reasons you should visit Costa Rica. For starters it’s a wildlife enthusiasts dream. When I was there I really felt like I was a guest in animal kingdom. Another thing I love is the friendliness of the local people some of whom are the most welcoming people I have ever met. Another great reason to go is the size of Costa Rica. It’s a fairly small country which means you can see such a lot in just one trip. Highlights for me included the exotic wildlife in the rainforest, surfing in Tamarindo, zip-lining in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and diving in the seas that surround Cano Island, off the Pacific coast.
What's the best way to get to Costa Rica?
There are no direct flights from the UK to Costa Rica and so you must fly via North America or Europe and change planes in the transit city; with the most common routes being via Madrid or Miami. The total flight time is approximately 15hours.
How do you get around the country?
Travel in Costa Rica is mainly done by road with our private transfer companies. Sometimes people choose to transfer by light aircraft in order to cut down travel time on longer journeys or to remote areas.
What wildlife can I see in Costa Rica?
I’ve spotted Howler monkeys, White-faced capuchins, Spider monkeys, parrots including the resplendent Quetzal, trogons, macaws, hummingbirds and I even spotted a very well camouflaged sloth. The highlight for me was when I stayed at Latitude 10 in my own private villa; sitting outside in the evening listening to the howler monkeys was a very unique experience.
You can also spot turtles at Tortuguero and Isla Tortuga where you can snorkel and enjoy your own private beach. Here you can even spot dolphins, manta rays and manatees.
Is Costa Rica a safe country?
Costa Rica has a reputation as being very safe and I always feel completely at ease in the country.
Is English widely spoken?
Yes English is spoken fairly widely, especially those who work in tourism.
Whats the weather like in Costa Rica?
The most popular time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season which runs from December to April. The wet season runs from May to November although the rains often fall in short sharp spells with the rest of the day being clear and warm. Tourist numbers fall in the first rainy months of May, June, July and August. Throughout the year, the temperature is often dictated by altitude with it feeling chilly at night in the highlands. The sun shines strong all year and the sunrise is typically at 6am and sunset at 6pm. Costa Rica is a country with lots of microclimates so you can experience different weather patterns within just a few miles of travel!
What's the difference between a rainforest and a cloud forest?
While rainforests are characterised by high rainfall, a cloud forest can be found around the base of mountains, where moisture caused by settling clouds is more effectively retained. This causes a low level cloud cover normally at canopy level. The forest here is shrunken in stature with a canopy standing at around 30 to 35 metres and occasionally higher at lower altitudes. The higher you venture into the mist and cold, the smaller the foliage becomes.
In contrast, the rainforest sits at lower altitudes and has the largest diversity of species in Costa Rica. It is a high and evergreen forest with the tallest trees standing at an impressive 45 to 55 metres.
Do you have any tips for gay travellers?
Costa Rica is tolerant of homosexuality and has laws to protect people from discrimination. Although the country remains a machismo society, gay travellers are generally treated with respect and should not experience any harassment.
Is the tap water safe to drink in Costa Rica?
I would recommend drinking bottled water just to be sure.
What is typical Cost Rican food like?
The food here is bursting with flavour and full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Most Costa Rican meals use a lot of rice and black beans- simple but delicious.
What currency does Costa Rica use?
The Colon is the currency here but you will find that US Dollars are also widely accepted.
Can currency be changed easily?
Traveller’s cheques are the best option as these can be changed easily. Sometimes exchanging US Dollars locally in Costa Rica is best depending on the exchange rate. Most major debit and credit cards are widely accepted.
Do you have any top tips for my holiday to Costa Rica?
Definitely take binoculars to spot animals and birds in the forest canopy. Pack lightly for light aircraft transfers and prepare for warm and rainy weather by taking a light raincoat.