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Costa Rica Costa Rica Travel Guide

Costa Rica is approximately the same size as West Virginia. With over 500,000 plant and animal species, Costa Rica is one of the world's most biologically diverse countries. Scientists have estimated that close to 4 percent of the Earth’s species live in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is in Central America. It is bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north. The country's total area is 19,730 square miles (51,100 sq km), which is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia. Costa Rica's terrain varies between coastal plains and rugged mountains. The highest point is Cerro Chirripo, which rises to 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) in the Chirripó National Park.

It rains year-round in Costa Rica, so bring a light rain jacket. From December to April is generally considered the dry season, and the rainy season starts in May. The Caribbean coast, however, is much less predictable and can receive rain throughout the year. Costa Rica’s mountains and volcanoes create a series of microclimates.

Costa Rica is more than a vacation destination; it is an interactive sensory experience. The country is has an intense array environmental attractions - majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, and hundreds of beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Costa Rica has a fascinating ecological story, woven into the history of a peaceful and family-oriented culture.

Costa Rica’s unit of currency is the colon, which hovers between 500 - 550 colones/ $1 USD. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, provided the bill is not too large ($50 and $100 bills are rarely accepted). Hotels and tours generally list their prices in dollars. Compared to the rest of Central America, prices in Costa Rica are relatively high, due in large part to the country’s high standard of living. Typical Costa Rican food and produce is quite inexpensive, while imported products are priced similarly to U.S. prices. A typical Costa Rican breakfast and lunch will cost around 2000-5000 colones ($4-10).

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