Costa Rica Travel, Gap Years & Holidays

Costa Rica is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world with tourism booming in recent decades. You will get to see miles of beautiful beaches, stunning rainforests, amazing wildlife, beautiful natural wonders, rich cultures and warm and friendly people. Thousands of people visit every year - you will be blown away by the natural beauty. 


Costa Rica Holidays, Gap Year Programs & Travel Ideas

Find inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to book a holiday, travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Travel Guide

Costa Rica Travel Guide

Get essential information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting Costa Rica.

  • Capital: San Jose (Population: 300,000 approx)
  • Currency: Costa Rica Colon (CRC) $1 = 500CRC / £1 = 787CRC 
  • Population: 4,500,000 (approx)
  • Language: Spanish + local languages
  • Area: 50,000 sq km (approx)
  • International Calling Code +506
  • Visa: Most nationalities can get a tourist visa on arrival


Top Reasons to Visit Costa Rica

  • Breathtaking natural beauty
  • Modern infrastructure for tourists
  • Spectacular beaches
  • Beautiful national parks
  • Exotic wildlife


Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica

Costa Rica tours

Generally speaking the Eastern side of the country is less visited than the West and being less touristy this makes this side of the country more authentic too. Most tours start in San Jose, unless you are travelling overland on a tour in Central America, this city is not the most glamerous destination but there are still attractions to keep you busy for a few days. Other places you might be visiting include:

  • Tamarindo
  • Chirripo National Park
  • Rincón de la Vieja
  • Corcovado National Park
  • Tortuguero National Park
  • Playa Jaco
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve


Essentials Things to Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Vacations

  • Taking part in adventure sports like surfing in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
  • Seeing exotic animals at the Parque Nacional Corcovado
  • There are not many countries in the world you can climb an active volcano
  • During summer (June - August) travel to Tortuguero and watch sea turtles hatching eggs on the beach
  • Relaxing on white sandy Caribbean beaches and learn to surf
  • Visiting a National Park, there are so many to choose from
  • At the end of December Costa Ricans celebrate 'Las Fiestas de Zapote' in South-Eastern San José - this is amazing to see!
  • Costa Rica is blessed with a stunning coast line, we recommend seeing Playa Conchal
  • Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest this has to be in any holiday itinerary
  • Get up close and see volcanoes, there are lots in Costa Rica and you might want to check out Arenal
  • There are lots of places to see wildlife in Costa Rica, the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio won't let you down


Top Cities to Visit

  • San José, the capital of Costa Rica has a lot of things to do, we recommend heading to the downtown markets to get fresh fruit
  • Cartago used to be the old capital of Costa Rica, close by you can see volcanoes, the spectacular Orosi valley and the Cachi Dam
  • Puerto Limón is the gateway for many cruises through the Panama Canal but there are also lots of adventure water sports you can do here
  • Head to Dominical in Southern Costa Rica for a warm climate and beautiful beaches, during certain times of the year you can also go whale wathing here
  • Quesada in Northern Costa Rica doesn't get that many international visitors and therefore is a great way to get off the tourist trail


Travelling & Backpacking in Costa Rica

Expect culturally rich cities, magnificent palaces, vibrant nightlife, great shopping, beautiful beaches, exotic marine life, relaxation and discovery! We list travel options with some of the worlds leading travel operators where you can get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the culture of the country. If you are looking to make the most of the experience though and to see as much as possible in the most enjoyable way possible we highly recommend joining an organised small group holiday. You will get to see the highlights and get an authentic experience. This country really does have everything! Get inspired to visit Costa Rica today.


Gap Year in Costa Rica

If you would like to see more of Costa Rica book an experience through our website. You will meet new people, make friends and travel to places off the beaten track getting spectactular pictures and memories along the way. Whether you want to climb volcanoes, explore National Parks, journey to the coast or explore cities like San Jose you can find nieche options to suit all needs and interests. Everyone has a family to take care of along with such busy work schedule and this makes your mind fuzzy sometimes. So, recharge yourself by disconnecting from regular life and take a gap year to Costa Rica.  

Costa Rica is one of the best destinations in the world. Exploring beautiful coastal beaches on a guided gap year trip and go snorkeling, ziplining, hiking and jungle treks are just some of the highlights. This country is especially popular with United States and UK citizens but people from all around the world visit. To join most gap year programs you will need to be aged 18 and over but there are trips for 16 and 17 year olds too. You will need to apply in advance to secure a place. 

Covered with palm trees and with various waterfalls, the highest point on Costa Rica’s rugged landscape is Cerro Punta which is a highly rated destination. Home to a verdant profusion of different flora, the mountain and its surroundings can be enjoyed via 19km of walking trails which snake through the Toro Negro Forest Reserve. If you take a gap year and visit during December to April this is high tourist season when the majority of visitors visit and so expect to pay a premium for accommodation, activities and sightseeing. During this time of the year its the most sunny so you might need to book accommodation before departing .


Costa Rica Travel Tips

  • Getting Around: The cheapest way to travel around Costa Rica is by public transport but sometimes this is very basic without air conditioning and also very cramped. There is a quick and reliable overland public bus service in Costa Rica which is very cheap. There is also a private bus service connecting the country which will offer you a higher level of comfort but you will sometimes pay triple the price of the public service. 
  • Budget for Travelling in Costa Rica: This country is more expensive than other countries in Central America but it is still cheap compared to Western standards. You should budget for around £15 ($25) per day but this depends if you join excursions. You might be surprised by how high some of the prices are for example a bottle of water can be around £2 ($3) which is more than in some Western countries. San Jose is where most flights arrive and this is quite an expensive city to stay in so try to travel out quickly. Street food and snacks cost around £1 ($1.50) whilst dinner out might cost anywhere from £3-£8 ($5-$12). A lot of travellers choose to drink the local water and you should have no problems doing this, you can expect to save a lot of money this way too as like we detailed above bottled water can be expensive.
  • Food & Drink: Cuisine in Costa Rica is very tasty, there is Western and Latin options available. All major fastfood outlets are available in Costa Rica but this is a lot more expensive than local cafes. A lot of travelers drink bottle water and have no issues, bottled water can be expensive especially on hostels so bulk buy in supermarkets.
  • Safety: Costa Rica is the oldest democracy in Central America and a very safe country to travel. The citizens of Costa Rica call themselves “Ticos” and we like to think that that they are among the nicest people on earth.

View our Central America travel guide.



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