Currency: Colón (CRC) 1 U.S. dollar = 605.Costa Rican colón
Language: Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. English is widely used in areas frequented by tourists.
WiFi: Most bars, restaurants and cafes offer free wifi, don't be shy, just ask for the password!
Pura vida: This is a phrase used in Costa Rica on various occasions, but especially in response to the greeting ("How are you?" - "Pura vida") and is equivalent to "very well". It is also used to say hello, to say goodbye, to say everything’s great, to say everything’s cool....in fact, “pura vida” is pretty much the answer to any social situation you run into!
Simply translated, it means “pure life”, but in Costa Rica it is more than just a saying—it is also a way of life. Costa Ricans (Ticos) have a very relaxed, simple way of looking at life. No worries, no fuss, no stress—pura vida to them means being thankful for what they have and not dwelling on the negative.
The climate of Costa Rica
Costa Rica generally enjoys a tropical climate year round, with an average high of 27°C (81°F) and an average low of 18°C (64°F).
Divided into North Pacific, Central Pacific and South Pacific regions, this long stretch of coastline attracts many visitors to its sandy beaches and secluded coves. December to March is the best time to visit Costa Rica's Pacific Coast as this is the dry season with plenty of sunshine, with March being the driest and hottest month.
May to October is the rainy season with September and October being the wettest months. April and November are transition months, often favored by travelers who don't want to pay top prices but still get to enjoy relatively good weather.
Puntarenas on Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast has a tropical climate with intense heat year-round. April is usually the warmest month in Puntarenas with temperatures averaging 30°C (86°F). Further inland you will find the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve which is slightly cooler than the coast.
The Osa Peninsula (Peninsula de Osa) on Costa Rica's South Pacific Coast has a shorter dry season (January to March) with year-round temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F).
Spanning from the Central Volcanic Range in the north to Candelaria Ridge in the south, the Central Valley is divided into two parts: Western Central Valley and Eastern Valley; with the former experiences a temperate climate with influence from the Pacific while the latter is mostly influenced by the Caribbean weather system.
This region is home to the nation's four out of five largest cities: San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia and Cinco Esquinas, thanks to the good weather, fertile volcanic soil and many rivers.
Located in the Western Central Valley, San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and has a well-defined wet and dry climate. December to March is the dry season, making it the best time to visit San Jose. April is usually the warmest month with an average high of 30°C (86°F) and an average low is 19°C (66°F).
The period between May to October sees heavy downpours on most days with September being the wettest month. October is the coolest month with an average high of 25°C (77°F) and an average low of 18°C (64°F), which is still very warm to many.
Spanning from Barra del Colorado in the north to Sixaola in the south, this stretch of coastline receives abundance of rainfall throughout the year with no distinct dry season. The northern part is usually wetter and has higher temperatures than the southern region.
September and October, then February to March are widely considered to be the best time to visit Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast – these are the 'dry seasons' although they are still relatively wet.
Limón, or Puerto Limón, is the largest city on the Caribbean Coast (and second largest in Costa Rica). It has a tropical rainforest climate with an average high of 30°C (86°F) year-round. September is the driest month with 142mm (6 in) of precipitation.