This is the best way to get quality waves in Costa Rica

Pavones Dream Trip.
Pavones Dream Trip.
Pavones Dream Trip Detailed Information Number of Days 8 Spend 8 days chasing the swell to the end of the Osa Peninsula.
This is the best way to get quality waves in Costa Rica.
Just sit back and let your private chauffeur drive you to your surf destination.
Days 1 and 2 – You get picked up at the San Jose airport and ride to Dominical (3 hours) to spend the first night.
It’s a two minute walk to the surf so you can get in a surf session before dark if your flight arrives before noon, and there’s time for a dawn patrol the next morning.

Get treated to an amazing breakfast before heading to Pavones (3 hours)

where you will stay in the most comfortable place in town.
It’s a five minute walk to the main peak, so we will have an extended afternoon session before dinner, when we will plan out the next five days.
Depending on the swell and your skill level we can determine the best places and times to surf.
Days 3 to 6 – You will feel yourself unwind, getting into the routine of surf/eat/sleep.
This is when the massage included will help take away sore paddling muscles.
In Pavones, there are some delicious dining options like La Bruschetta (homemade authentic Italian) and Cafe de la Suerte (big healthy breakfasts and smoothies).
You can walk to a nearby waterfall, take a yoga class, .

Or catch your dinner on the Rio Claro

On one of the days we will take a small boat over to Matapalo to sample the waves on the other side of the Osa Peninsula, plus get a chance to see whales, dolphins, and turtles along the way.

On another day we will visit Punto Banco

a beach break with offshore rock formations that create consistent waves and can be bigger than Pavones.

Day 7 – After a morning surf session and breakfast

you will be driven up to Playa Hermosa to spend your last night in Costa Rica (5 hours).
Your lodging is beachfront so you will get one last session before catching your flight home.
Dinner options are steps away at Vista Hermosa or Bowie’s Point or the Backyard restaurant Day 8 – If your flight is later than 12 noon you get have time for a dawn patrol before packing up for your trip back to San Jose (1.5 hours) Your driver will stop on the way to the airport if you want to pick up some last minute snacks or gifts.
Includes: First night at Mavi Surf Hotel (with breakfast) * Five nights at Pavones Riviera * Last night at Hermosa Surf Inn * Boat trip to Matapalo ** One photography session Massage from Shooting Star Studio All private transportation.
*  If this accommodation is full we will choose a similar lodging ** waves and weather permitting or alternate tour will be offered Not included: Meals except breakfast on Day 2 Travel insurance Optional: Extra photography sessions: $150 Yoga classes: $15 This dream trip goes with a MINIMUM of two (2) people and a maximum of four (4).
Discounts can be applied for couples and groups sharing a room.
$1900 per person Get Directions By car By public transit Walking Bicycling Use the form below to get signed up:.

How to Rent a Car in Costa Rica

How to Rent a Car in Costa Rica.
Renting a car in Costa Rica can be different – for example needing to decide whether 4WD is necessary or not.  Other aspects are just plain bizarre, like the bumpy number requirement.
Use caution renting from an online budget website.
If you want to skip all the fascinating quirks and just take the path of least resistance we’ve also written simple instructions for a stress free rental experience.

| | | | | | | Choosing a Vehicle – 4WD?

95% of the destinations that tourists visit do not require 4WD.  Additionally

most rental agreements prohibit off roading and citified SUVs don’t perform well on actual 4WD terrain.
There are a couple good reasons for renting an SUV.  First, the larger tires and sturdy suspension will make the ride more comfortable on poorly maintained gravel roads and second, larger SUVs are significantly safer in a collision (see more details on four wheel drive).
If you have fantasies of a jungle off-road expedition there are plenty of places to do it.  You can rent a 4WD and buy zero liability total coverage but there’s a catch-22.  The coverage is void if you go 4-wheeling.
Walking the ford to check the depth before rolling in with the rental car Rental agreement fine print typically states that you are personally and solely responsible for all damages if you drive through rivers or standing water, on beaches or drive on any road that may damage the vehicle.
When you sign the contract you’ve also agreed to stay on national highways and routes…some of which include hazards like rivers without bridges which technically makes even the official route verboten at times.
Some popular tourist destinations are impossible to reach without breaking the rules  – Ostional, Drake (the biggest river was bridged in February 2019 but there are still some little ones), and Carate (Corcovado) for example.  You’ll either have to cross your fingers or park the car and arrange for shuttle transportation.
Some rental contracts specifically prohibit travel to Monteverde but the highway department is working on the road and it’s scheduled to be completely paved by 2008, or 2015…or 2017… er… uh… or… crap canceled the contract again in Dec 2018… maybe now it looks like… possibly the end of 2020… | | | | | | | Debit Cards may be Impossible or Cost Double.
Double might be an exaggeration but using a debit card instead of a credit card for the rental car deposit may cost significantly more.
Most agencies require a credit card.  Agencies that accept debit cards typically require you to purchase the maximum available damage waiver coverage policy ranging in price from $22 – $48 per day.  The cost of this policy may exceed the cost of the rental and may be declined when using a credit card but not with a debit card.
Some agencies do not accept debit card deposits under any circumstances.  No agencies accept cash or traveler’s checks for deposits although some will accept them for payment.

| | | | | | | Airport Tax

Cars rented “from the airport” are subject to an additional “tax” or “concourse fee” of 13% (SJO San José) or 14% (LIR Liberia Guanacaste) on the total cost of the rental.
However, .

There are no rental cars available at SJO or LIR

ALL of the lots are several km away.
Additionally, according to the rental car association of Costa Rica there is no such thing as a government imposed “airport tax.” We have asked several rental car agencies what this charge actually is and never gotten a straight answer.
We have not been able to deconvolute these policies but we have found by experience that if we provide a flight number when making the car reservation and we do take a taxi to the rental office (instead of the airport shuttle) sometimes there’s no “tax”.
To maintain our sanity we often take a taxi to a hotel and have the rental car delivered the next day (many agencies provide free delivery for nearby hotels and it saves us the tax plus a day of rental charge).
Since it’s a percentage and not a flat fee it might cost $100-200 when renting “from the airport” depending on the length of your trip.
The charge may also be imposed if you rent a vehicle at (or near) one of the domestic airports or landing strips whether you’ve taken a flight or not.
One of our favorite agencies Alamo.com has a maddening policy of charging an “airport fee” no matter where or how you pick up the car.
We still use them frequently because even with the phony charge they are cheaper, more reliable and have better vehicles than most.

| | | | | | | Inspection Photo & Video Documentation

The soundtrack to the most boring vacation video ever might sound like “…oooh look, it’s our rental car…look here’s the front, now I’ll walk around back, here’s underneath, that’s the inside, and oh my what a nice luggage rack.” Boring that is unless you need it to dispute charges for pre-existing damages, scratches, dings or dents.  It only takes a few seconds so why not.
Make sure any scratches dents or other damage are noted on the rental agreement.  This photo shows an Alamo inspection and we’d like to note that they have always been very fair.
While checking out the vehicle for hidden damages you should also check carefully for any potential safety issues.  Completely bald tires are surprisingly common even from the large “reputable” international agencies.
Bad suspension is another one you can check for without a tool kit.  Step up on the bumper and hop off.  The vehicle should rebound in a single fluid motion.  If it bounces up and down for five seconds ask for a new car.  Not only will a shot suspension make the ride miserable but it’s extremely dangerous for cornering a breaking on Costa Rica’s winding mountain roads.
Remember, the more you appear to know about what you’re doing and looking at the less likely it is that anyone will try to pull a fast one on you.
Without a diagnostic computer and a mechanics license you probably can’t do a thorough safety inspection and mostly you just have to trust that the company did it for you (although the frequency of bald tires doesn’t inspire much confidence…) | | | | | | | Child Seats.
As in the U.
S.
and most other countries appropriate child seats are required for every occupant under 12 years of age.   If you are the parent of small children you’re probably familiar with current standards but basically in Costa Rica infants under one year and under 25 lbs require a rear facing seat.  Kids up to 6 require a full seat with lateral supports and kids 6-12 require a booster.
The fine for non-compliance is 198,000 colones (about $350) per child and you may be required to go buy seats before you drive off with the kids.
Most car rental agencies provide seats at an additional charge but it’s a very good idea to reserve them in advance to make sure the size(s) you need are available.
It’s not uncommon to find vehicles that do not have the standard seat anchors so if you’re bringing your own seats be sure you’re familiar with how to secure them using only the seat belts.

| | | | | | | Free (or included) Insurance Coverage!

There are a couple of alternatives to purchasing overpriced coverage from the rental car agency.
Use your credit card rental car coverage – details here.
Use the rental car coverage portion of a travel insurance policy – see below.
One week CDW at $22 per day = $154 One week full coverage Travel Insurance = $130 …a full Travel Insurance policy $24 cheaper than CDW coverage from a rental car agency and includes trip cancellation, weather, medical, evacuation etc.
A company called Yonder search* has a convenient way to compare travel insurance policies that include coverage for damage to rental cars.
Instant quotes with no e-mail, phone or sign-up required.
If you choose one of the plans from the price comparisons using this link we will receive a referral fee.
Sample search results for travel insurance on a $4,222 trip for two to Costa Rica Major Credit Cards NOT Accepted?.
Sounds impossible.
It’s not.
If you’re under 30 years old you may never have seen an old fashioned, raised number credit card carbon copy imprint machine.
We first ran into this over ten years ago when we were early adopters of the cool new “Sapphire” VISA signature card from Chase bank.
It was smooth anodized aluminum instead of plastic and Costa Rican rental companies refused to accept it because it didn’t have the raised number compatible with the old fashioned carbon copy “ca-chunk” imprint type machines.
As recently as 2017 the Official Policy Budget Car Rental Costa Rica FAQs – “Budget Car Rental accepts cards without [raised] relief.
– No.
Without exception and the numbers have to be raised on the front of the credit card” but it has since changed to “Yes.

Budget accepts Credit Cards Without raised Numbers

the client should show the document.” It wasn’t just Budget.
We had to get managers involved at several agencies because we didn’t have a bumpy number credit card.
We only had two complaints in 2018 and none so far in 2019 – hopefully it’s a thing of the past.

| | | | | | | | Getting the Best Deal on a Costa Rica Car Rental

The first thing you need to know about getting a reasonable rate in Costa Rica is that 50% or more of the cost may be hidden in mandatory fees or “insurance.” The situation has improved, but if you reserve a “sounds too good to be true” $9.95 a day rate on the internet you will end up paying more.
The second thing to know is that there are variations in rates – both over time and between companies.  We usually start 6-8 months in advance, make a reservation then check back in 2 or 3 months.  If there’s a significantly better rate we make a new reservation and cancel the original one.
Repeat in 2-3 months.
Third, rentals are significantly more expensive in Costa Rica than the crazy deals you’ll find in the U.
S.
or Europe (we recently paid $12.95 a day for a full size from San Diego airport, and $17.40 in Italy for an off airport rental of a wagon we could stick both our bikes into).  In Costa Rica if you’ve found a mid-sized SUV for around $50 a day, including everything, in high season, you can probably stop looking because you won’t do much better.
We’re usually renting for 4-12 weeks at a time so hunting for the best price is definitely worth our while.
Our final cost (all in with mandatory insurance paid and optional coverage on our Credit Card) for a 7 passenger Toyota Land Cruiser (Prado) for the month of March 2019 $1,433 or $334 per week.  We had quotes as high as $6,347 along the way.  In August and September 2018 we paid $1,425 for a Toyota Fortuner (diesel 4 Runner) for 5 weeks or $45.97 a day.
Toyota Fortuner (diesel version of the 4-Runner – highly recommended) at the Beach Those were very good prices.  We don’t use any kind of travel insider discounts but we do work at it.
Frequently promotions, coupons, deals, .

Airline points and other special offers do not apply in Costa Rica.  Read the fine print

We recommend and use Alamo (international corporate agency

good rates, new vehicles).  We recommend Vamos (local agency, good rates, excellent customer service, slightly older fleet) as a local alternative.
Five years ago Vamos was purchased by Poas Rent a Car but seems to be maintaining the previously high standards.
We’ve rented from nearly every agency in Costa Rica and these two are our current favorites.
…and a Few Final Tips.
U.
S., Canadian and European drivers licenses are valid in Costa Rica and a current one is required to rent.
Traffic tickets may be paid to the rental agency when you return your car (but not to the patrol officer…that’s a bribe).  If you do not pay you may not be allowed through immigration when attempting to leave the country… seriously.  As inefficient as bureaucracy usually is it’s amazing how well the traficos and migracion communicate on infractions.
You typically need at least $1,500 (plus the rental cost) available credit on a card to use it for rental and deposit.  The deposit should be an “authorization only” transaction.  It does not actually get charged to your card unless there is damage to the car.  It does however reduce your available credit.
Most agencies have a minimum age of 25 for rentals although some will accept drivers 21 and over for an additional fee.  Vamos is an exception with a minimum age of 18 and they happen to be a very good local company as well.
Rental Cars cannot be taken across the international borders to Panama or Nicaragua.  Some agencies will allow you to drop one car off in Costa Rica, cross the border on foot and pick up a new car on the other side for a fee.

Costa Rica sometimes runs out of rental cars – totally

everywhere, every agency – in high season.  Reserve early or be willing to take the bus.
Each extra driver costs $5-$15 per day.  Spouses are not included for free as they sometimes are in the U.
S., Canada or Europe.
Credit card insurance coverage is limited to 30 days so if you’re renting for longer than that you’ll have to arrange for multiple contracts of 30 days each.

Book Couples Tower Isle On Line

Couples Tower Isle.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
This 19 acre, adults only/couples only (no singles) resort is dedicated to the romantic celebration of the couple’s relationship Couples Resorts Jamaica opened on July 1, 2020.
Book new offers,  $500 air credits, bonus nights for summer 2020 and 2021.
See excellent Couples FAQs list.
If you have specific questions, please contact Castaways Travel at [email protected]  —  Travel For Free?    Contact  TRAVEL ALERT:  Jamaican health protocols have been extended to September 30.
ALERT:  All U.
S.
visitors must have a Covid 19 test for travel to September 30.
See   and complete  prior to your trip.
Resort: Couples Tower Isle.
Established:  1978,  Renovated in 2009.
Location: Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Airport: Montego Bay (MBJ) – Oracabessa (Ian Fleming Airport) near the resort for commuter flights (OCJ) from MBJ.
Rooms:  226 Garden view, Ocean view, Suites and separate Oasis Spa Villas (cottages) with private plunge pool accommodation s.
Dress Code: Clothing and/or swimsuits required, except at separate nude island with small pool/sun lounges (nudity compulsory there).
Guests: Adult couples –  Guests 20s to 60s in age.
Dining facilities: 6 Restaurants , veggie bar, grill plus 5 bars; separate nude island and plunge pool includes a swim-up bar, restrooms, lunch daily.
Ambiance:  Mild with light nightly entertainment , dancing.
Beach/Pools:  4 pools, 4 hot tubs and separate white sand beach, swimsuits required except on the nude island.
Spa/fitness/ sport s facilities: Full spa/fitness facility, tennis, water skiing, plus non-motorized water sports, Scuba shop on-site, golf nearby.
Tourism: Numerous excursions available in the lobby, some included in the room rate, others extra charge.
——————————————————————————————Its name, Couples Tower Isle, says it all.

Formally known as Couples Ocho Rios

this 19 acre, adults only/couples only (no singles) resort is dedicated to the romantic celebration of couples’ relationships.
For this reason, there are lots of honeymoons, weddings and anniversaries celebrated there.

It’s right on the Caribbean on a wide expanse of broad

white sand.
Completely renovated, this resort is now one of the most modern and up-to-date in Jamaica.
The resort has 212 rooms and suites in several multi-story buildings with king beds in each room with your choice of mountain, garden or ocean views.
Rooms are beautifully decorated with satellite TV, direct-dial phones, a CD/cassette player with clock/radio, hairdryers and a private bath.
The one-bedroom suites and villas also contain Jacuzzis with 4 poster beds, a nice, romantic touch.
Couples has 4 bars, 5 whirlpools, 2 large swimming pools and five tennis courts, night club with evening entertainment, piano bar, and shops.

All-Inclusive Meets Spa-Inclusive Introducing Oasis Spa Villas

a revolutionary concept in luxury all-inclusive that delivers an experience like no other.
Each Oasis Spa Villa features a private sun terrace, personal plunge pool and puts you in a dream-like setting with unfettered, private and unlimited access to Oasis Spa therapies, beauty treatments and a personal Spa Therapist on stand-by for their every need.*  You deserve a little more out of your next spa vacation, these features provide more than you could ever imagine.
Unlimited with no fine print – enjoy as many spa services desired with no limit on quantity or quality.
The nude island in front of the resort has a nice deck for sunning, a very small plunge pool  & swim-up bar and snacks, bathroom and freshwater shower.
Take a complimentary boat launch on call from the dock.
.  a 2-minute ride.
Its affiliated resort, Couples Sans Souci, is a few minutes away.
For weddings, Couples provides several scenic locations for the ceremony, the marriage license, pastor, bridal bouquet, cake, champagne reception, live music, half-hour massage, and gifts.
Passports are required for international air travel to all destinations outside the USA.
Book Couples Tower Isle On Line.
Couples Tower Isle is 5 miles from Ocho Rios and 65 miles due east of Montego Bay’s international airport.
The resort is located on the north shore of Jamaica.
Most travelers fly into Montego Bay.
You may elect to take either the complimentary bus shuttle to the resort or private car (extra charge).
The bus shuttle takes about 1.5-1.75  hours, depending upon traffic.
There are also air taxi flights for $125-150/person, to an airstrip near Oracabessa about 15-20 miles east of town.
Taxi back to the resort is extra.
Reserve your spot at Club MoBay, an upscale traveler’s lounge in the newest section of the Montego Bay Airport.
The Club provides expedited arrival, customs/immigration, and departure services in addition to the Club admission, all-inclusive, with drinks, bar service, and snacks, WiFi, satellite TV provided.
On a busy day with long lines, your wait time is virtually eliminated.
Couples’ packages are all inclusive which means all your basics are provided for one price.
Included are: complimentary bus shuttle from airport, room accommodations, all meals, bar drinks, premium liquors, water sports, hotel taxes and gratuities, plus free half hour massages for returning guests, honeymooners, anniversaries and wedding couples.
Sports features include an equestrian center, big fitness center, aerobic classes, pool, video games, free golf/green fees/transfers, squash, racquetball, basketball, boat rentals, tennis, windsurfing and water skiing and various lawn games.
Other water sports include SCUBA, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing and sailing.
No tipping allowed anywhere.
The Tower (nude) Island off the main beach in the bay is a private compound for nude sunbathing with plunge pools and refreshments provided.
You can get a nice tan and meet some interesting couples there.
Be friendly and strike up a conversation to get things started.
Nude use is from about 9 AM – 5 PM, daily.
Occasionally, the island is closed for a short time for weddings.
but the resort will notify ahead of time, usually the day before an event.
Resort rooms are beautifully decorated for a couple’s comfort.
The main pool is the center of daytime activities as is the clothing optional island.
Nightly planned activities and entertainment all combine for relaxed, romantic evenings.
Couples are friendly and like to have fun during the day.
Nightlife can be fun in both the Jacuzzis, piano bar and nightclub.
There are lots to do there, so pace yourself.
Dress throughout the resort is casual, with beachwear the norm from thongs to shorts.
to nothing on the island.
NOTE: If you visit then nude island, expect to be nude and….it’s couples only out there.
Most guys and girls wear shorts and polos for meals and in the evenings, long pants/jacket for fine dining (not required for casual dining) and some dresses are seen but keep it casual.
Ladies, on the north coast of Jamaica, take along a light wrap or sweater in case a breeze comes up.
Castaways Travel KNOWS the surrounding Ocho Rios area to help you plan to get the most out of your holiday in and around Couples Tower Isle.
See: 12 Reasons to use Castaways Travel The quietest and best rooms we think are the rooms in the West and East wings and in the private villas.

Better views are in the East and West towers

The villas are in the back of the property.
Couples Tower Isle Nude Island from one of our clients – Thank you BRJ There is no beach at all at the island, it is made up of volcanic looking rocks and mostly covered with paved or decked walkways.
There is a wooden stairway down into the mainland side sea waters, but be careful of the rocks.
You could see a very small sandy area at the bottom and I did see a few people go in for a dip.
There is a freshwater shower at the left or west end of the island that is very refreshing for the ladies to rinse the chlorine from their hair if they wish.
It provides a nice quick cool down while tanning, as well.
East wings and in the private villas.
Better views are in the East and West towers.
The villas are in the back of the property.
Couples Tower Isle Nude Island from one of our clients – Thank you BRJ There is no beach at all at the island, it is made up of volcanic looking rocks and mostly covered with paved or decked walkways.
There is a wooden stairway down into the mainland side sea waters, but be careful of the rocks.
You could see a very small sandy area at the bottom and I did see a few people go in for a dip.
There is a freshwater shower at the left or west end of the island that is very refreshing for the ladies to rinse the chlorine from their hair if they wish.
It provides a nice quick cool down while tanning, as well.
It is definitely not a “lifestyle” event, but still very enjoyable.
We stayed there all day for a couple of days and were there every day except in the afternoon we arrived.
They do allow non-nude photography trips out to the island, which occurs about 8:45 a.m., but when the island users go out at 9:00 a.m., the textile crowd is required to leave.
I think some of us were nude before they even got loaded on the boat.
They also do private dinners for two on the island, which are really nice according to some friends we made there.
Nude hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but depending on the ocean waves/wind, the boat may not be able to go to the island.
We were delayed one day until about 10:30 as the waves were traveling right into the landing pier.
I have heard that if the island is not available for a day, they will let you do the “Trading Places” routine and go to Couples San Souci which is only about 5 minutes away.
The trading places thing is allowed any time if you sign up for their Romance Rewards program.
You can go to Sans Souci for a day and have full access to the resort, restaurants etc, just as if you were staying there.
They drop you off and pick you up about 4 pm, no charge.
This is a popular option with the repeaters.
You can see the resort from the island well, and we got the occasional paddleboard or water trike, or kayaker coming very close to the island, but no one on the island really cared, we just waved at them.
For the most part, the island vegetation provides cover between users and the mainland, but there is no vegetation on the ocean side of the island.
Still, that is not a problem, unless a kayaker comes through, as boat traffic is usually quite a ways off from the island.
Groups typically don’t frequent Couples Tower isle –it’s not a “groupie” destination, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place for two, three or even more couples to get together for a joint holiday.
If you have other couples that might want to join you, please contact Castaways and see what kind of group trip deals are available especially for you.
There are lots of sights to enjoy in addition to the beaches and the beautiful Caribbean sea.
Escorted tours can be arranged at the resort.
You can choose to visit Ocho Rios for a day of shopping, Mandeville for a trip to the mountains, raft the nearby local rivers with a guide.
Shopping at the craft markets in both Ocho Rios and Montego Bay is fun but be prepared to bargain and listen to endless pleading.
Other optional adventures include a day trip to Dunn’s River Falls, Prospect Plantation Tour, Sunset Catamaran Cruise, bicycle tours, horseback riding, ATVs and glass-bottom boat rides.
A fun ride is the tubing down the White River nearby.
A full buffet is served in the Patio Restaurant open air on the beach for breakfast and lunch.
Casual and fine dining is offered in four other award winning restaurants including the 8 Rivers, the Veranda (bistro with international/Caribbean fare; Bayside (pasta); and the Beach Grill for snacks and sandwiches.
Guys, take a jacket and long pants to wear in the finer restaurants.
But, no ties.
Meet your waiters and say hello and be friendly.
Jamaican, American, and seafood dishes are featured during the main buffets.
The food is plentiful and filling plus you can return for seconds and more.
Premium liquors are served along with beer and fine wines.
Don’t pass up our favorite island beer, Red Stripe.
A nice touch is to have Continental breakfast in bed with your honey or enjoy 24-hour room service at the touch of your phone.
Per person nightly rates START at about $175/person/night on sale and up to $300+/person/night, depending upon your room category you prefer.
NOTE:  Rates are NOT guaranteed, subject to change without notice and varies with sales promotions announced periodically.   The lowest price can be secured via vacation “packages” primarily.
Seasonal specials and early booking discounts apply some parts of the year.
The rooms are priced according to location, size and amenities–mountain view, garden view, ocean view, villas.
Check with CASTAWAYS TRAVEL for an exact quote for the resort and airfare.
The small private villas are a nice touch if you want privacy.
.honeymoon or anniversary.
or just because.
Charter airfare packaged with resort rooms offer the best value for an all inclusive vacation.
Oasis Spa Villa Oasis Spa Villas are airy, ultra-private retreats located just steps from the award-winning Oasis Spa.
Featuring a private sun terrace, personal plunge pool, and sumptuous bedding, each luxurious, .

493-square-foot villa offers the ultimate Caribbean spa experience

Guests enjoy private villa check-in and a custom spa itinerary featuring unlimited spa services selected in consultation with our spa concierge.
Private sun terraces.
Personal plunge pool.

Unlimited Oasis Spa Treatments Deluxe Garden Located exclusively in the Main Building

the spacious, interior-facing Deluxe Garden guest rooms feature views of beautifully landscaped tropical gardens or the mountains beyond.
These rooms are located in close proximity to the lobby and Oasis Spa.
Deluxe Ocean Featuring ocean views, Deluxe Ocean guest rooms are located in two beach-facing buildings overlooking the ocean.
One building is in close proximity to the Fitness Center and Main Pool while the other is located directly in front of the pier.
Superior Ocean Superior Ocean guest rooms are located on the resort’s southern tip.
Offering access to the spa and are located on the quieter side of the resort and have partial ocean views.

Premier Ocean Offering spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea

our Premier Ocean guest rooms are located in two centrally located buildings and afford a direct view of Tower Isle overlooking the beach and pool.
Garden Junior Suite Located on a higher floor of the Main Building, spacious Garden Junior Suites with sitting areas offer stunning views of Jamaica’s majestic mountain scenery.
Bathrooms have freestanding showers and deep soaking tubs.
Fully stocked mini-bars are replenished daily.
Ocean Junior Suite Ocean Junior Suites feature a sitting area and romantic, .

Unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea and Tower Isle

Located on higher floors in the Main Building, these spacious accommodations have full-stocked mini-bars that are replenished daily.

One Bedroom Ocean Suite Located on higher floors in the Main Building

our exclusive One Bedroom Ocean Suites have a separate living room with wet bar and wall-mounted flat-screen television, separate bedroom with flat-screen television and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and Tower Isle.
A fully-stocked mini-bar, replenished daily, and Jacuzzi bathtub or luxurious walk-in shower complete these premium accommodations.
Rates quoted above are subject to change without notice.
↑↑↑ Marriage ceremonies are complimentary to guests.
Jamaican residency requirements must be met-usually 2 days or 48 hours of residency.
The features are always subject to change without notice.
Plan ahead and send all your marriage documents ahead of your trip for filing at the local courthouse.
Otherwise, be prepared for a 3 or 4 day wait for everything to be processed if you don’t send in your documents and application ahead of time.
A marriage coordinator is assigned for each couple getting married, so you always have a contact on-site to help make all the arrangements, including the minister and witnesses, if necessary.
Castaways can put you in touch with the proper coordinator.
There is typically at $150 administrative charge by the local parish to file your marriage your certificate.
Charge subject to change without notice.↓↑ Getting to the nude island requires a small boat supplied by the resort which can restrict your spur of the moment whims to skinny dip.
The island’s plunge pools, water and plenty of Red Stripe beer tend to improve the situation, however.
There is no “nude” beach on the mainland where the resort is located.↓↓↓ Don’t sit in the grass.
One amorous time, we were in the hot tub late at night, decided to carry on further on the grass next to the hot tub and promptly got stung by some kind of critters lurking nearby.
Boy, what a way to dampen your libido!!!↑↑↑If you enjoy talking and meeting people.
you’ll find them at the nude island.  The folks there are.
young and old, newbies and repeat guests.
It’s a quick way to get in the know about what to do and where to go.
Guest ages vary from the mid-20s to over 60, with most averaging in between.
Lots of newlyweds and honeymooners make this place popular due to free weddings and the romance of the place.
Just about year-round.
Late summer – August and September – can be more humid and prone to storms in the Caribbean.
Also, remember that this is the Caribbean and while even in the summer months there is usually a cooling breeze off of the water, but once you go inland or into town.
it can get really hot.
Also remember that you’re in the tropics so you should expect some rain anytime, anywhere, unannounced.
Fall, winter and early spring can be less humid than late spring and summer.
Late spring through fall can be a bit more humid.
The north shore is not quite as wet as inland or west towards Montego Bay or Negril.
Of course, late August through early October can include unstable weather with hurricanes a seasonal threat.
Prices are generally higher from mid-December to April, with holidays rates higher than any time during the year.
Rain can occur at any time so be prepared.• We wish they would establish a nude beach ON the beach.• We wish the restaurants were all air-conditioned.
Two of the restaurants, 8 Rivers, and the Veranda, are air-conditioned, whereas the Patio and the Bayside have no A/C.

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Best places to visit in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel Guide .
Roughguides.com Destinations Central America & the Caribbean Travel to Costa Rica and you’ll be rewarded with an ecological treasure-trove.
Despite its small size, the country is one of the most biodiverse are as on the planet.
You’ll discover lush rainforest s and untouched beaches, steaming volcanoes and dense mangrove swamps.
These habitats support an incredible variety of wildlife, from lovable sloths and tiny, green frogs to bright ly plumed macaws and toucans.
Read our travel guide to Costa Rica for everything you need to know before you go.
Costa Rica travel facts.
Where to go in Costa Rica .
Best time to go to Costa Rica .
How to get to Costa Rica .
How to get around Costa Rica .
Best places to visit in Costa Rica .
Itineraries for Costa Rica .
Volunteering in Costa Rica .

Adventure activities in Costa Rica

Tips for travelling to Costa Rica

Travel visa requirements for Costa Rica

Food and drink in Costa Rica .
Culture of Costa Rica .
Accommodation in Costa Rica .
Costa Rica travel facts.
Spoken langu age : Spanish.

Currency: Costa Rican colón (CRC)

Area: 51,100 s qua re kilometres.
Population: 4.8 million, with around a quarter age d under 15.
Origins: Largely of Spanish extraction, though there’s a substantial community of English-speaking Costa Ricans of African origin along the Caribbean coast, as well as 64,000 indigenous people.
Exports: Coffee and bananas, but in recent years most income has been from tourism.
Wildlife: Costa Rica is home to around 250 species of mammal; over 400 varieties of reptile and amphibian; nearly 900 species of bird; and 250,000 types of insect, including a quarter of the world’s known butterflies.
Conservation: Around 25 percent of land is protected, mostly through an extensive network of national parks and wildlife refuges.
Where to go in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has many beautiful sights: the jungle-cloaked Osa Peninsula; the cascading Nauyaca Waterfalls; the mist-shrouded cloudforest; the sandy beaches of Parque Nacional Tortuguero, where turtles come ashore to nest.
If you’re travelling to Costa Rica to spot wildlife, Corcovado is home to the country’s more exotic species, while the jungly Sarapiquí region conceals the endangered great green macaw.
Bear in mind that many people visit Costa Rica for its curious critters, though there are ways that you can escape the crowds.
The lesser-trodden Parque Nacional Los Quetzales is home to the iconic quetzal, for instance, and the southern Nicoya Peninsula is a remote spot to kayak past monkeys and sloths.
Read below for our guide on where to go in Costa Rica.
San José and Valle Central.
Though everyone passes through it, hardly anyone falls in love with San José.
Yet Costa Rica’s underrated capital has some excellent cafés and restaurants, a lively university district and a good arts scene.
The surrounding Valle Central is home to the steaming Volcán Poás and the largely dormant and lunar-like Volcán Irazú.
Volcán Arenal and Zona Norte.
To the north, the broad alluvial plains of the Zona Norte feature the active Volcán Arenal.
The iconic volcano spouts and spews within sight of the jungles of Sarapiquí, home to monkeys, poison-dart frogs and the endangered great green macaw.
Up by the border with Nicaragua, the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Caño Negro provides a haven for water birds and basking caiman.
Osa Peninsula and Zona Sur.
Off-the-beaten-path travellers should head south to Cerro Chirripó, which looms high above the rugged plains of Zona Sur, and further still to the Osa Peninsula.

Parque Nacional Corcovado is probably the best hiking destination in Costa Rica

It’s also one of the few places where you have a fighting chance of seeing the country’s more exotic wildlife.
Guanacaste province.
In the northwest, the cattle-ranching province of Guanacaste is dominated by sabanero culture, with exuberant ragtag rodeos and large cattle haciendas.
The beaches are some of the best – and, in parts, most developed – in the country.
Sámara and Nosara, on the Nicoya Peninsula, provide picture-postcard scenery without the crowds.
Limón province.
The Limón province, on the Caribbean coast, is home to descendants of the Afro-Caribbeans who came to Costa Rica at the end of the nineteenth century to work on the San José-Limón railroad.
Today their language (Creole English), Protestantism and the West Indian traditions remain relatively intact.
Most visitors venture here, however, for Parque Nacional Tortuguero, and the sea turtles that nest on its beaches.
Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.
Close to the Pacific coast, travel to Monteverde to walk through one of Americas’ remaining high-altitude cloudforests.
Further down the coast is popular Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, with its sublime ocean setting and tempting beaches.
You’ll also find the surf-oriented sands of Montezuma and Santa Teresa/Mal País on the southern Nicoya Peninsula.
Best time to go to Costa Rica.
The months of November, April (after Easter) and May are the best times to visit Costa Rica.
At this time, the rains have either just started or have died off, and the country is refreshed, green and relatively untouristy.
The dry season runs from mid-November to April, with sunshine and warm temperatures.
he wet season (May to mid-November) has sunny mornings and afternoon rains – heaviest in September and October.
Costa Rica is generally fully booked during the peak season – the North American winter months.he crowds peter out after Easter, returning again in July and August.
Travellers who prefer to play it by ear are better off visiting during the low or rainy season, when many hotels offer discounts.
Find out more information on weather in Costa Rica and when to go.
How to get to Costa Rica.
Though some people travel to Costa Rica by land, most fly into Juan Santamaría (SJO) international airport, just outside San José.
However, Costa Rica’s other international airport, Daniel Oduber Quiros (LIR), near Liberia, handles an increasing range of flights from the US, Canada and the UK.
Airfares depend on the season, with the highest being around July, August and December to mid-January.
You’ll get the best prices during the wet summer (May–Nov).
Compare prices before booking.
Find out more about how to travel to Costa Rica.
How to get around Costa Rica.
This section of our Costa Rica travel guide will help you plan your travel around the country.
The public bus system is excellent, inexpensive and relatively frequent, even in remote areas.
Privately run shuttle buses offer quicker but more expensive transfers, while taxis also regularly do long- as well as short-distance trips, and are decent value if you’re travelling in a group.
Car rental in Costa Rica is more common than in the rest of Central America, but is quite expensive.
Expect to pay from about US$40 per day for a regular vehicle, and up to US$80 for an intermediate 4WD (both including full insurance).
Extras such as additional driver, child seats, mobile phone and cool box will increase the price.
Driving can also be quite a hair-raising experience, with precipitous drops in the highlands and potholed roads just about everywhere else.
Bear in mind that the difficult terrain makes driving distances longer than they appear on the map.
Domestic flights are a time-saver.
The two domestic carriers, Sansa and NatureAir, offer reasonably economical flights between San José and many beach destinations and provincial towns.
For more Costa Rica travel tips, visit this page.
Best places to visit in Costa Rica.
Spanning two coastlines – Pacific and Caribbean – and filled with tropical cloud forest, waterfalls and volcanoes in between, Costa Rica is ripe for exploration.
Here’s our round-up of the 10 best places to visit in Costa Rica.
1) Parque Nacional Corcovado Draped across the Osa Peninsula in the far south of the country, this biologically rich, coastal rainforest is one of Costa Rica’s finest destinations for walking and wildlife-spotting.
2) Monteverde Walk across a suspended bridge in the lush Monteverde cloudforest to experience the bird’s-eye view – and possibly a touch of vertigo.
3) Volcán Arenal Though long dormant, Arenal is still a magnificent sight, and the surrounding area is one giant adventure playground – soak in volcanic hot springs, zipwire through the forest canopy or sign up for any number of other outdoor activities.
4) Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles In a country not necessarily known for its architectural heritage, Cartago’s showpiece church is a stunner, with a gilded interior to match.
5) Parque Nacional Santa Rosa This magnificent park protects a rare stretch of dry tropical rainforest – and the wildlife that calls it home.
6) Curú, Nicoya Peninsula There are few more enjoyable ways of watching wildlife than paddling a kayak through the limpid waters of the southern Nicoya Peninsula, camping on beaches and spotting monkeys, sloths and seabirds along the way.
7) Organization of Tropical Studies Spend a few days with the Organization of Tropical Studies at their biological stations in La Selva or Palo Verde and you’ll see why their guides are rated some of the best in the country.
8) Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio Expect white-sand beaches, tropical forests full of sloths and monkeys, and dramatic coastal scenery.
9) Nauyaca Waterfalls Hidden deep in the jungle, this off-grid jungle cascade is one of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica.
10) Off-the-beaten-track beaches Escape the crowds at the gorgeous beaches of Playa Junquillal in Guanacaste and Ojochal’s Playa Tortuga on the southern Pacific coast.
Itineraries for Costa Rica.
The carefully curated itineraries in our travel guide to Costa Rica will give you a taste of all the diverse country has to offer, from the wildlife-rich wetlands of the north and the remote rainforests of the south, to surf-lashed Pacific beaches and nesting turtles on the Atlantic coast.
Classic Costa Rica itinerary.
Here is a sample itinerary, ideal for the first-time visitor to Costa Rica with a fortnight to play with.
See all the itineraries in our Costa Rica travel guide here.
All the big hitters, from volcanoes to beaches via wildlife-rich national parks, can be ticked off on a simple, fairly central two-week circuit.
San José The oft-overlooked capital has Costa Rica’s best museums and its widest range of restaurants, and is worth at least a night at the beginning or end of your trip.
Poás or Irazú Two active volcanoes lie a short hop from San José: choose Volcán Poás for its boiling acid pools, Volcán Irazú for its milky-green crater lake and views of both oceans.
Parque Nacional Tortuguero Even if you’re not here for the turtle-nesting seasons, you’ll see plenty of other jungle wildlife as you paddle through the network of forest-fringed canals.
The Arenal region Volcán Arenal itself may be quiet, but the bustling town of La Fortuna is still an essential stop for walks in the national park and all manner of other outdoor activities.

Monteverde Arguably the most famous reserve in Costa Rica

where you can hike through the cloudforest in search of resplendent quetzals.
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio Further south along the coast, Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s smallest national park – and also its most popular.
Finish your trip spotting sloths and squirrel monkeys, or relaxing on a white-sand beach.
Volunteering in Costa Rica.
An increasing number of visitors kick off their Costa Rica trip with an immersive language course, or break up their vacation with a few days of volunteering, whether that’s helping maintain trails in a cloudforest reserve or measuring turtles on the Pacific coast.
Study programmes and learning Spanish.
There are scores of language schools in Costa Rica, with a wealth of Spanish courses in San José and the Valle Central.
Most schools have a number of Costa Rican families on their books with whom they regularly place students for homestays.
If you want private tuition, rates run from US$20 to US$30 per hour.
A couple of good language schools include Academia Latinoamericana de Español and the Costa Rican Language Academy.
Volunteer work and research projects.
There’s a considerable range of volunteer work and research projects in Costa Rica, such as monitoring sea turtles, helping conserve ­endangered parrots or working with rural communities.
Some include food and lodging, and many can be organized from overseas.
You’ll be required to spend at least a week working on a project, sometimes up to three months, though the extra insight you’ll gain is ample reward.
Check out Volunteer South America for a list of free and low-cost volunteer placements.
Prospective US volunteers should visit Transitions Abroad for information on living and working overseas, .

While British volunteers should contact the Costa Rican Embassy in London

In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, you should contact the American Field Service in Sydney, Wellington and Johannesburg, respectively.
A few good volunteer programmes in Costa Rica include ASVO, Earthwatch and the Monteverde Institute.
Adventure activities in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a giant playground for adventurous travellers, with everything from whitewater rafting to canopy tours on offer.
Hiking.
Many people travel to Costa Rica for its excellent hiking, whether it be multi-day hikes through remote rainforest or ambling along well-maintained national park trails.
Make sure to bring hiking boots, lightweight rain gear and potentially binoculars.
Some of the finest hikes include Cerro Chirripó for incredible views, Sendero Laguna Meándrica for birdwatching, Sendero Los Patos–Sirena for wildlife and Sendero Las Pailas for scenery.
Whitewater rafting.
Some of the best rapids south of the Colorado are found in Costa Rica, with a growing mini-industry of rafting outfitters in San José, Turrialba and La Virgen.
Most trips last a day, though some companies run overnight or multi-day excursions; costs range between US$60 and US$150 for a day, including transport, equipment and lunch.
Rafters rate their rivers from Class I (easiest – Río Corobicí) to Class V (pretty hard, such as Upper Balsa – don’t venture onto one of these unless you know what you’re doing).
Kayaking.
More than 20 rivers in Costa Rica offer good kayaking opportunities, especially the Sarapiquí, Reventazón, Pacuare and Corobicí, and the wildlife-rich mangroves of Isla Damas and Bahía Drake.
La Virgen in the Zona Norte is a good base for customized kayaking tours, with specialist operators or lodges renting boats, equipment and guides.
Sea-kayaking is for experienced kayakers, and only ever with a guide – both coasts have treacherous currents.
Canopy tours, hanging bridges and aerial trams.
Monteverde and the area around Volcán Arenal have some of the best canopy tours in Costa Rica.
These are also great places for a more sedate “sky walk” across a series of hanging bridges, many right alongside the tree canopy – perfect for wildlife-spotting.
You can also ride on an aerial tram: a gondola-like cable car that slowly circuits the upper reaches of the rainforest.
Try the Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica Atlantic, just outside Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo.
Surfing.
Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts offer good surfing.
You can surf all year round on the Pacific: running north to south the best beaches in Costa Rica for surfing are Naranjo, Tamarindo, Boca de Barranca, Jacó, Hermosa, Quepos, Dominical and, near the Panama border, Pavones.
On the Caribbean, the finest year-round beaches are at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Punta Uva.
There are numerous camps and schools where you can learn to surf in Tamarindo, Santa Teresa/Mal País and Jacó.
Diving and snorkelling.
Though diving is less of a big deal in Costa Rica than in Belize or Honduras’ Bay Islands, there are a few worthwhile dive sites around the country.
The best, however, lie some 535km off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast in the waters around Parque Nacional Isla del Coco.
To see an abundance of underwater life, try the small reef near Manzanillo on the Caribbean coast.
Birdwatching.
Costa Rica boasts more than 885 species of bird (including migratory ones) – a higher number than all of North America.
You’ll likely spot hummingbirds, toucans, kingfishers and trogons.
The iconic resplendent quetzal can be found in the higher elevations of Monteverde and the Cordillera de Talamanca.
It is elusive but can still be spotted – most likely at San Gerardo de Dota, close to Cerro de la Muerte, and Parque Nacional Los Quetzales.
Mountain biking.
The best places for mountain biking are Parque Nacional Corcovado, the road from Montezuma to the Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco on the southern Nicoya Peninsula, and Parque Nacional Santa Rosa.
The La Fortuna and Volcán Arenal area is also increasingly popular: you can bike to see the volcano (although not up it) and around Laguna de Arenal.
Tips for travelling to Costa Rica.
Follow our comprehensive Costa Rica travel tips and advice for a stress-free trip.
Travel with children in Costa Rica.
A small, inherently peaceful country with a friendly populace, good healthcare and decent transport, Costa Rica is arguably the most child-friendly destination in Central America.
Add a bounty of exotic wildlife, countless beaches and outdoor adventures galore, and you’ve enough to keep even the most adrenaline-fuelled teenager quiet for a week or two.
Families with children will be made to feel more than welcome in hotels and restaurants and on guided tours and trips.
Most national parks have well-maintained trails: Poás and Carara and the Reserva Santa Elena have pushchair-friendly paths, while the main-crater viewpoint at Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú is also reachable with a buggy.
Safety in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Latin America

Pickpockets and luggage theft are the greatest problems, particularly in San José and other larger cities.
Be vigilant in bus terminals and markets, and if you do have anything stolen, report it immediately at the nearest police station.
Car-related crime, especially involving rental vehicles, is on the rise, so always park securely, particularly at night.
A common scam is for people to pre-puncture rental-car tyres, follow the vehicle and then pull over to “offer assistance”.
Drug-trafficking is a growing problem, and dealers in tourist hangouts such as Jacó and Tamarindo occasionally approach travellers.
Drug possession carries stiff penalties.
Health-wise, travelling to Costa Rica is generally very safe.
Food tends to be hygienically prepared, so upsets are normally limited to the usual “traveller’s tummy”.
The only areas where it’s best not to drink tap water (including ice cubes) are Limón and Puntarenas.
Guard against the blazing sun by wearing sunscreen and a hat, even on overcast days.
If you do require medical help, the (private) healthcare system in Costa Rica is excellent, with a couple of top-notch clinics in San José.
In addition, the capital’s Hospital Nacional de Niños (C 14, at Av Central) has the best paediatric specialists in Central America.
Inoculations.
No inoculations are required before you travel to Costa Rica unless you’re coming from a country that has yellow fever, such as Colombia, in which case you must be able to produce an up-to-date inoculation certificate.
You may, however, want to make sure that your polio, tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria and hepatitis A jabs are up to date.
Rabies should be taken seriously for prolonged periods in the countryside.
Malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus.
There is a small risk of malaria on the southern Caribbean coast, particularly in Puerto Limón and towards Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
A course of prophylactics can be a sensible precaution.
There were a record 50,000 cases of dengue fever reported in Costa Rica in 2013, although numbers have since declined.
In 2016, over a hundred Zika virus cases were reported in the country, mostly in the Puntarenas and Guanacaste provinces.
The virus can be dangerous for pregnant women, who are advised to seek medical advice before travelling to Costa Rica.
For malaria, dengue fever and the Zika virus, the best course of action is prevention.
To avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, cover up with long sleeves and long trousers, use insect repellents (containing DEET) and, where necessary, sleep under a mosquito net.
Snakes and spiders.
Snakes abound, but the risk of being bitten is incredibly small.
Just in case, however, travellers hiking off the beaten track may want to take specific antivenins, available from Instituto Clodomiro Picado, and sterile hypodermic needles.
Most spiders in Costa Rica are harmless, but one species that’s definitely worth avoiding is the Brazilian wandering spider, a large dark-brown arachnid, often with bright red patches.
The most venomous spider in the world, it hides under logs and dried banana leaves during the daytime.
If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
Travel insurance.
It’s always a good idea to take out insurance before travelling.
It’s important to have one that includes health cover as well as cover theft or loss of belongings, since private medical treatment in Costa Rica can be expensive.
Always check whether medical benefits will be paid as treatment proceeds or after you return home, and if there is a 24-hour medical emergency number.
Travel visa requirements for Costa Rica.
Citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and most European countries do not need a visa for trips to Costa Rica of up to ninety days.
All visitors need a valid passport.
Your entrance stamp is very important: no matter where you arrive, make sure you get it.
You have to carry your passport (or a photocopy) with you at all times in Costa Rica; if you are asked for it and cannot produce it, you may well be detained and fined.
Food and drink in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican food – called comida típica (“native” or “local” food) by Ticos – is best described as unpretentious.
Simple it may be, but it’s tasty nonetheless, especially when it comes to the interesting regional variations found along the Caribbean coast, with its Creole-influenced cooking, and in Guanacaste, where there are vestiges of the ancient indigenous peoples’ use of maize.
What to eat and drink in Costa Rica.
Casado (literally, “married person”): rice, meat or fish, coleslaw salad and plantain.
Gallo pinto (“painted rooster”): breakfast combination of red and white beans with rice, sometimes served with huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs) – often described as the national dish of Costa Rica.
Chicarrones: fried pork rind, often with a squeeze of rangpur or lime juice.
Ceviche: raw fish “cooked” in lime juice with coriander and peppers.
Fresh fish: pargo (red snapper) or corvina (sea bass).
Fruit: papayas, pineapple and bananas are all cheap and plentiful in Costa Rica, along with some less familiar fruits like mamones chinos (a kind of lychee), anona (custard fruit), pejibaye (peach palm fruit) and guanábana (soursop) along the Caribbean coast.
Coffee: Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, and it’s usual to end a meal with a small cup, Most of the best blends are exported, so premium coffee is generally only served in high-end restaurants and sold in shops.
Refrescos: cool drinks made with fresh fruit, ice and either milk (leche) or water (agua), all whipped up in a blender.
You can buy them at stalls or in cartons, though the latter tend to be sugary.
Horchata or pinolillo: corn-based drinks made with milk and sugar, found in Guanacaste.
The most economical places to eat in Costa Rica – and where most workers have lunch, their main meal – are the ubiquitous sodas (diners).

Because Costa Ricans start the day early

they are less likely to hang about late in restaurants in the evening, and establishments are usually empty or closed by 10pm.
Culture of Costa Rica.
While Costa Rica is modernizing fast, its character continues to be rooted in distinct local cultures.
For example, the Afro-Caribbean province of Limón, has Creole cuisine, games and dialect, whilst in Guanacaste, the cowboys and sabanero embody traditional ladino values.
Above all, the country still has the highest rural population density in Latin America, and society continues to revolve around the twin axes of countryside and family.
Wherever you go, you’ll see snapshots of rural life, whether it be horsemen trotting by on dirt roads, coffee-plantation labourers setting off to work in the highlands or avocado-pickers cycling home at sunset.
Accommodation in Costa Rica.
There is a wide range of places to stay in Costa Rica.
Budget accommodation ranges from the extremely basic, where US$25 will only get you a room and a bed, to a clean, comfortable en-suite room with a fan and possibly a TV for around US$40.
In the middle and upper price ranges, facilities and services are generally of a very good standard.
The larger places to stay in Costa Rica are usually called hotels; while posadas, hostals, hospedajes and pensiones are smaller.
Casas tend to be private guesthouses or B&Bs, while albergues are the equivalent of lodges.
Cabinas are common in coastal areas: they’re usually either a string of motel-style rooms in an annexe away from the main building or, more often, separate self-contained units.
Anything called a motel – as in most of Latin America – is unlikely to be used for sleeping.

Staying with a Costa Rican family

There’s no better way to experience life off the tourist trail and to practise your Spanish than by staying with a Tico family.
Most homestay programmes in Costa Rica are organized by the country’s various language schools and cater mainly to students.
However, some schools may be willing to put you in contact with a family even if you are not a student at the school in question – such as the Ilisa Language School.
Stays can last from one week up to several months, and many travellers use the family home as a base while touring the country.
For a non-study-based option, try Bells’ Home Hospitality or the Monteverde Institute.
Top image © Geoffrey Newland/Shutterstock  Planning your trip to Costa Rica.
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