Why travel to Costa Rica
In the charming country of Costa Rica, more than 25% of its surface is designated as a protected natural area, making it the most eco-conscious country in the world. Here, wildlife reigns supreme in its national parks and coastal rainforest as well as in the mangroves, canals and beaches of untouched Tortuguero.
Costa Rica is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, flora and fauna, including the Resplendent Quetzal. Costa Rica boasts numerous volcanoes and rivers, the country is scenically spectacular, and a joy to explore, especially for those in search of an outdoor holiday or honeymoon package. But whatever type of holiday you’re after, whether it’s an active one or a trip spent relaxing in magnificent natural surroundings, you’re in for a treat when you take a travel package to Costa Rica.
Why visit Costa Rica
- Discover untouched natural beauty, including beautiful beaches on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.
- It’s called the ‘White Water Capital of the World’ for its excellent white-water rafting opportunities.
- Costa Rica’s coffee and chocolate are world-renowned.
- 52 types of hummingbird live in Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica is a paradise for nature lovers.
- Costa Rica’s marine life is unmatched.
Visit Costa Rica to explore and learn about its fascinating history and culture or embark on a holiday that is laid back and relaxed. Whatever type of Costa Rica holiday package you’re looking for, Thompsons Holidays will create it for you.
Things to do in Costa Rica
When you travel to Costa Rica, the fun never ends. It may be a small country, but a holiday package in Costa Rica packs a punch when it comes to activities, including plenty of adrenaline sports such as waterfall hiking, zip-lining, suspension bridge walks, horse riding and mountain biking.
Water sports are plentiful too, and surfing is a popular pastime – even if you’re a beginner, you can head for Samara, Tamarindo or Nosara. By the sea, the list of activities is endless and fun, from paddle boarding and snorkelling to scuba diving, sailing, fishing, white-water rafting, kayaking and swimming. Of course, that’s not all. The towns and cities offer captivating museums, exciting markets and excellent cuisine.
Things to do in Costa Rica
- Watch the Olive Ridley sea turtles come out of the water on the Pacific coast.
- Explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest, home to the sacred Quetzal bird.
- Soak up the sun on Costa Rica’s impressive Gold Coast, Guanacaste.
- Discover a variety of wild animals in Corcovado National Park.
- Bathe in the thermal hot springs at Tabacón near the Arenal Volcano.
- Explore San Jose’s fascinating museums.
- Visit Costa Rica’s most spectacular waterfall, Del Toro Waterfall.
- See stalagmites and stalactites in the magnificent Venado Caves.
- Go scuba diving off the Catalinas Islands.
- Hike to the Rio Celeste River to marvel at its incredible turquoise colour.
- Find a three-toed sloth in the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Costa Rica’s diverse terrain offers something for every type of traveller. Whether you’re looking for sun, nature or adventure, this holiday paradise has it all – and more. Thompsons Holidays can take you there.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Costa Rica is mid-November to April, in the dry (summer) season. Summer is also high season in Costa Rica.
- The rainy season is May to mid-November, winter in Costa Rica.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to San José: 23 hours, 58 minutes with one stopover.
- There are not many regular flights from South Africa to Bolivia.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica for a stay of up to 90 days.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after departure from Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica is 8 hours behind South Africa.
- The official currency is the Costa Rican Colón (CRC).
- Credit cards are widely accepted & ATMs are prevalent.
- US Dollars are widely accepted in Costa Rica.
- Tipping is not mandatory in Costa Rica, but 5-10% is welcomed.
- The official language is Spanish, spoken by 70% of the population.
- Some English is spoken in tourist areas.
- It’s a good idea to know a few Spanish phrases so that you can communicate.
- Roman Catholicism is the main religion in Costa Rica. Protestantism is also practiced.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is safe to drink tap water in Costa Rica except in rural areas. Bottled water is preferable and readily available.
- Many public restrooms charge a small fee for use, so keep change on hand for this.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
- Vaccinations may be required - please check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, layerable clothing for winter.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Transport within Costa Rica revolves around buses, taxis and mini buses.
- Towns in outlying areas may have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!