Costa Rica

Counry Information

Located just 2½ hours from Miami, Costa Rica is popular tropical destination filled with exotic jungles, lava-spewing volcanoes and idyllic beaches. In recent years Costa Rica has developed one of the world's most successful ecotourism industries and has been praised for its attention to conservation. Costa Rica’s natural diversity is reflected in the wealth and range of its wildlife. With just 0.03% of the earth’s surface area, Costa Rica possesses 6% of its species. Almost 9,000 plant species have been found here as well as 800 species of birds. About 27% of the country is protected within national parks and protected zones. San José, the capital city, is located in the central valley and is the perfect start-off point for visiting the country’s magnificent natural wonders.

Language

Spanish is the main spoken language in Costa Rica, however, English is widely understood by most Costa Ricans, particularly in San Jose and popular Tourist areas.  Your personal bilingual assistant will help you navigate in times of need.

Religion

76.3% Roman Catholic, 15.7% Protestant, 8% Other

Climate

Costa Rica is a tropical country that lies almost entirely between 8 and 11 degrees north latitude, which means that much of what you imagine about a Costa Rica vacation is true:  dense rainforests, palm tree-lined beaches, warm weather and comfortable waters.  There are two distinct seasons, rainy and dry.  The rainy season begins in May and lasts into November, and the dry season starts at the end of November through the end of April. 

However, in spite of the two generally distinct seasons, Costa Rica's varied topography makes for a wide variety of microclimates.  You'll find some marked differences between regions.  For example, during the Central Valley's rainy season, you'll find the Caribbean coast to be relatively dry.  In fact, when the Central Valley and the rest of Costa Rica are in the middle of the dry season, the Caribbean is actually quite rainy.  You'll also find that some microclimates don't obey the wet/dry paradigm.  Still, as a general rule, you'll find it helpful. 

Daytime temps in the Central Valley, where San Jose is located, range from 60 to 85 degrees F, which leads many to call the capital's climate "eternal spring."  Evening can get chilly so it is recommended that you wear a sweater or light jacket.

In the rainy season, sunny mornings are typically followed up by a cloudy mid-day and an afternoon shower, usually clearing up in time to go out in the evening.

Clothing

Costa Rica's year-around spring-like weather means you will never need your winter wardrobe.  Short-sleeved shirts, shorts and blouses are fine for most areas of the country.  However, sweaters are recommended in the evening if you are in the central valley or higher in the mountains, and a rain-proof jacket is a necessity during the rainy season.

Mobile Phones

The international access code for Costa Rica is +506.  The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States).  City codes are not required.  Costa Rica has one fo the most advanced telecommunications systems in Latin America.  The cheapest way to phone internationally is a direct call using a phone card.  Mobile phone operators use GSM networks.

Getting Online & Checking E-mail

Cyber-cafes are widely available in major cities and towns.  Larger hotels throughout the country offer Broadband Internet connection.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

Your Personal Assistant's phone number will be provided upon arrival in Costa Rica.
Police Station: 911
U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica:  2519-2000

Activities in Costa Rica

Advisory

Please be advised that you may not be able to participate in certain activities after receiving your medical treatment. (Salsa dancing, for example, doesn't always go hand-in-hand with knee replacement surgery) Your doctor will be able to advise you on the appropiate activites in which you can participate.

Costa Rica Excitement

Emerald rain forests, sun-swept beaches and towering volcanoes are just a few of the stunning attractions that Costa Rica has to offer its many visitors. And being no larger thatn the state of West Virginia, all these attractions are just hours or less away from your San Jose hotel. San Jose in itself offers numerous museums, sidewalk cafes and several large shopping venues. Your Personal Bilingual Assistant will be able to assist you in planning your activites and sightseeing tours that fit your individual interests. Much of what you will be able to do will depend on your surgical procedure and the amount of time you need for recuperation and the amount of time you have planned to be in Costa Rica.

One-Day Tours

The Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens are a mandatory stop for anyone looking to see some of Costa Rica's majestic scenery in less than a day. At nearly nine thousand feet, the Poas Volcano boasts the second largest volcanic crater in the world, second only to the Haleakala on Maui. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is located in the tropical rain forest of Braulio Carrillo. Mountainous trails take you on a tour into the forest. You can see five spectacular waterfalls, including Costa Rica's most famous; La Paz. However, there are not only waterfalls to be seen in this park, but also a butterfly farm and hummingbird garden.

Shopping

San Jose has several artisan fairs where you can purchase crafts typical of Costa Rica, Central and South America. Large Modern malls are also available that boast well-known North American and European brand merchandise.

Nightlife and the Arts

Daily events, such as theaters and shows can be found in the English-language paper, The Tico Times. Although not a hot-seat of culture, theater productions are available nightly and symphony concerts are regularly scheduled at the national theater.

Spas

Many of the luxury hotels contain spas and health facilities. In addition to the hotels, there are many places throughout San Jose where you can idulge your body with body peels, massage, hair treatment and a healthy meal. Just like in the US, you will need to make reservations, so make sure that you check with your Personal Assistant to help locate the perfect place.