WHEN TO TRAVEL

Even though Costa Rica is in the northern hemisphere, the names of the seasons are reversed and 'summer' starts late in November. This is not because of a large temperature difference but because it tends to be drier from December through April. Note—drier, not dry. If you visit the rainforest, you should plan on getting wet.

The high season

The high season in Costa Rica runs from December through April. The dry season is a month or two shorter along the southern Pacific coast. July also tends to be a dry month on the Pacific slope.

The main attraction of traveling in the high season is the weather. It is less likely that it will rain on you, and in some areas (notably Guanacaste) the wildlife is concentrated near shrinking water sources and easier to spot. Obviously, another motivation for North American and European travelers is escaping the snow and cold at home. Not only is Costa Rica warm, but travelers from the north will be rewarded with an extra few hours of sunshine every day—at this latitude the days are longer.

The main problem with traveling to Costa Rica during the northern hemisphere winter is that it is the high season. It is harder to get reservations, everything is relatively crowded and the prices are higher.

From Christmas until the end of the first week in January, and Easter week are doubly busy periods with lots of international travelers, and many Ticos traveling (the beaches are especially crowded).

The green season

The rainy season, or winter in Costa Rica (May through November). Welcome rains during the rest of the year bring about a general greening and freshen the countryside. Rains usually come in afternoon thunder-storms, leaving; the mornings sunny and the night sky filled with stars.

This period is called "invierno" (winter or rainy season) or "temporada verde" (green season). Rainfall on the Caribbean slope is more evenly distributed throughout the year, with marked dry periods from May through June and again from September through October. If you are thinking about a trip to Costa Rica during the green season, don't let the weather stop you.


If you’re looking for cheaper accommodation then this is the best time to visit except during the rainiest months, September and October, when some hotels shut down.



HEALTH AND VACCINATIONS

You should consult your doctor on inoculations for travel to Costa Rica. Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. San Jose and the Central Valley can be particularly affected, and there is currently a high number of cases in southern areas of the country near the border with Panama.   There is no vaccine or immunisation to prevent dengue fever and you should take usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.  

Malaria is also common in Costa Rica, especially in areas close to banana growing areas.  Areas near the border with Panama are particularly affected. Seek medical advice before travelling to Costa Rica and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

British Airways Travel Clinics also offer free health advice to anyone going abroad. Visit www.britishairways.com/travelclinics for your nearest clinic. For general advice for your trip, please visit www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk.


INSURANCE

Please note that travel insurance (including adequate cancellation cover) is a condition of booking, we can help arrange this for you through one of our business partners or you must arrange cover independently and we require a signed declaration from you stating that you have adequate alternative insurance for your trip.


TRANSPORT

Air conditioned cars, and people carriers and drivers will be provided for all road journeys where ever available. Generally speaking, most of the roads are in good, usable condition. It is only in the more remote areas that some roads may not be as well maintained. The driving times shown in our itineraries are estimates only. Commuter flights in Costa Rica are the easiest way to get around the country with a choice of two domestic airlines: Sansa and NatureAir.



PASSPORT / VISA INFO

Citizens of the United States, Canada and most western European and Latin America nations do not need visas to enter Costa Rica. U.S. citizens planning to stay fewer than 90 days can enter the country with a valid ID, a copy of their birth certificate, and a tourist card that can be obtained from their airline when they depart the United States.


Citizens holding valid passports from the following countries are permitted to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa:


Germany, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Principality of Monaco, San Marino, Puerto Rico, Serbia, South Africa, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Republic of South Korea, Hellenic Republic (Greece), Romania, Vatican City, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Republic of China (Taiwan), Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay.



UK GOVERNMENT ADVICE

For up to the minute travel advice and tips, we recommend that you visit www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo.


AIRLINES

The main airport for travellers taking flights to Costa Rica is Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), which is located about 20km (12 miles) northwest of San Jose. There are currently no direct flights from the UK and flights are via Miami, Atlanta, New York with Virgin, American Airlines, Continental and British Airways. It is also possible to fly via Madrid with Iberia.

With its varied different ecosystems it is one of the most biologically rich places on Earth. From the forested slopes of its volcanoes to the coral reefs off both coasts, Costa Rica possesses a staggering abundance of flora and fauna.


Many Costa Ricans have come to realize what an important part of their national heritage the country’s biodiversity is. They have consequently created an exemplary National Conservation System to ensure the survival of endangered species, and a National Biodiversity Institute to catalogue and study the country’s flora and fauna.


About 9,000 different kinds of flowering plants grow in the country, including more than 1,300 species of orchids. Nearly 870 species of birds have been identified, which is more than are found in all of the United States, Canada, and the northern half of Mexico combined, making it a fantastic destination for birdwatchers.


In addition the country is also home for 209 species of mammals, 383 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, about 2,000 species of butterflies, and at least 4,500 different types of moths. Though Costa Rica covers only a 0.3% of the surface of the Earth, about 5% of the planet’s plant and animal species are found there

Wildlife of Costa Rica - Tailor Made Eco Tour

Whether you’re a budding naturalist, birdwatcher or just looking for an inspiring holiday, which will allow you to reconnect with nature, then this is it. Blessed with a well developed infrastructure, fantastic eco lodges and hotels together with breathtaking biodiversity, this well balanced itinerary allows for a truly wonderful and unique wildlife experience, one where you don’t have to compromise on comfort.  Search for hummingbirds and hawk eagles to tree frogs and turtles or even whales perhaps, all in one two week holiday.

Costa Rican Honeymoon - Tailor Made Luxury Tour

This relaxed tour allows you to take in the mesmerising natural beauty of Costa Rica, from its turquoise reefs and verdant rain forest’s to hot springs, idylic waterfalls and majestic volcanoes. All the while staying in carefully chosen properties with first class spa facilities. Whether you wish to explore or simply lie back and be pampered or just chill out on the beach, this honeymoon package is perfect for those wanting a romantic retreat away from it all.

Costa Rica is a veritable tropical paradise. Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, in the Central American isthmus.  With extraordinary biodiversity and dramatic landscapes, from reefs to rainforests, majestic volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls, the natural wonders in Costa Rica are simply breathtaking.

There is an abundance of natural resources, which are all protected by a consolidated National System of Protected Areas, including biological reserves, national parks, forest reserves, and wildlife refuges.

A good infrastructure and a well developed eco tourism industry, means that it is possible to see a staggering array of wildlife in a relatively short period of time and without having to venture too deep into natural reserves.  This is great for those who love wildlife, yet don’t want to compromise on comfort. This ensures Costa Rica is a first rate tourist destination appealing to serious wildlife enthusiasts as well as families and couples seeking soft adventure.

You can choose to be as adventurous as you like, from kayaking and white water rafting to snorkeling or taking a zip wire through the jungle canopy. Then again, you can simply choose to chill out and relax in style in a spa perhaps or on one of the country’s picturesque beaches.

Ultimate Rainforest Experience - Tailor Made Tour

This is the ultimate Caribbean rainforest experience, searching for wildlife in one of the most biodiverse places on earth. This well balanced tour has wide ranging appeal and suits those seeking soft adventure without compromising on life’s comforts. Stay in some of our favourite hotels and the finest luxury eco lodges to be found in Costa Rica.

For more information contact us on +44 (0) 7414 00 66 03| paul@greigsmithtravels.com
Greig Smith Travels Ltd. Registered Company Number 7786310. 32 Drake Road, Chafford Hundred, Essex, RM16 6PS. UK
No portion of this website may be reproduced without the prior consent of Greig Smith Travels Ltd. All rights reserved. © Greig Smith Travels Ltd 2013


                                                                                                                                
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DESTINATIONS

COSTA RICA

Sample itineraries

courtesy of Rowland Griffin

Preferred hotels

Pacuare lodge


The Pacuare Lodge is truly unique jungle lodge where gourmet dinners are accompanied by candlelight and a wine list, and where adventure travel activities are complemented by a spa, honeymoon packages and suites with private pools. It is also an exemplary ecolodge that is committed to conservation.

Parador Resort & Spa

One of Costa Rica’s premier eco-luxury resorts. Sitting high above the Central Pacific coastline, this award-winning hotel is built on 12 acres of rainforest in beautiful Manuel Antonio, just minutes from Costa Rica’s best beaches.

Hotel Punta Islita

Features an infinity-edge freshwater pool for adults,two restaurants, one conference room, a unique Spa, an executive golf course, tennis courts, and an ocean-side family beach club with a freshwater pool and lounging gardens.

Arenal Springs Hotel


Located just 5 miles away from the town of La Fortuna on the way towards the Arenal Volcano National Park.Each distinctive Junior Suite comes with direct views to the beautiful Arenal Volcano. Each room is surrounded by exotic gardens, and beautiful flowers, where Costa Rica´s native species of birds and animals are readily seen

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