Costa Rica is a stunning natural beauty, exotic tropical jungle and primitive power of volcanoes. Costa Rica in Spanish means "rich coast", and the country justifies its name. About 40% of the country declared national parks and are considered to be the cleanest on the planet. Travel to Costa Rica is, first of all, amazing hikes and trips to tropical jungle and river rafting. In the country 120 volcanoes, and 70 of them are.
Costa Rica is one of the smallest countries in Central America. Located in the narrowest part of the isthmus connecting the two continents. In the South-West of the country is washed by the Pacific ocean, on the North-East by the Caribbean sea. Northern neighbor Costa Rica is Nicaragua, South of Panama. The area - 51 thousand square kilometers, including Cocos Island (Isla del Coco). From North to South across the country are drawn to the mountain range between them is the Central plateau, fertile soil here and lives here half the population of Costa Rica. The mountains surrounding the plateau, mainly of volcanic origin, there are active volcanoes. The highest point of the Chirripo (3819 m), is located in the South of the country.
The Capital San Jose.
Costa Rica is quite a unusual country. In a small area here is the variety of natural systems, how not every time will find on-site many times larger countries. In just a few hours here you can see the evergreen jungle and volcanic wasteland, stretching for a hundred miles Savannah and rain forest mountain slopes, extensive beaches of the coasts and long coffee banana and coffee plantations - all this justifies the name of the country ("Costa Rica" in Spanish is "Rich Coast"). Numerous national parks, caves (including underwater), a variety of historical sites and monuments, archaeological sites and ancient Indian settlement, as well as waterfalls, scenic mountain and river valleys, are in abundance throughout the country are the main attractions of the country.
The country's capital, San Jose, was founded in 1737, Situated at an altitude of 1155 m above sea level, the city is famous for its pleasant climate. The appearance of the city is a patchwork of different styles - from traditional Spanish architecture to the ultra-modernist trends. In the heart of San Jose is a beautiful Plaza de La Cultura, which is surrounded by buildings of a unique Museum of pre-Columbian gold (Museo-de-Oro-Precolombino), information centre for ICT and the National theatre. Nearby you can discover the impressive building of the National Museum (1887) in the building of the former barracks of Bellavista and the Plaza de La Democracia, colorful buildings of the Legislative Assembly and the Ministry of foreign Affairs ("Casa Amarilla"), the magnificent Museum of jade in the Barrio of Auteuil, and the Parque españa (Parc de La Expresion), where on Sundays exhibited local artists.
Special attention deserve the San Jose Cathedral (Catedral), the natural history Museum in Sabana Park, the national theatre (historical monument of national importance), the tower of the hotel "Aurora" and the national Bank, Centro-Nacionale deCulture with the art Museum, the zoo Simon Bolivar, the Children's Museum and the Museum of the history of the penitentiary administration in complex Centro-Costarricense-de-La-Siena (located in the former prison of San Jose), Park La Sabana with the picturesque old terminal (now here is the Museum of Costa Rican art and commercial district, Paseo colon, skyscrapers ICE (Institute Costarricense de Electricidad) and INS (Institute Nacional de Seguros), insect Museum, Museum of the history of the press and the Museum of criminology, colourful markets, the Mercado Central (Central market) and Mercado-Borbon (Market carts), and museums Philately, Railway and Pictures.
Near the capital, you can visit the second largest city in the country - Alajuela (here is an interesting breeding farm butterflies and Museum of San josé's Juan Santamaria in a former prison), the Poas volcano (2705 m) is one of the most visited volcanoes in the country, the Zoo and children's entertainment complex "El Bosque-Encantado in La Garita, breeding farm butterflies of La Guacima in the same town (one of the largest in the world), "the cleanest city in Latin America" - Grecia with picturesque "red Church", a centre for the production of Handicrafts made of wood in Sarchi, old Spanish fortress Fortin in Heredia, the Museum coffee in Awn-Pedro de Barva and coffee Institute in San Pedro de Heredia.
The province of Cartago is located Southeast of San Jose and is famous for the green valleys covered with coffee plantations and sugar cane. The city of Cartago was founded in 1563, and until 1823, was the capital of Costa Rica. In our days it is the largest religious center of the country, although its former grandeur almost not survived to our days (the historical center of the city was completely destroyed by earthquakes 1841-1910,). About the glorious past of the city resemble a Cathedral Cartago and the famous Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Los ángeles (our lady of the angels"). Each August to the Basilica attracts thousands of pilgrims passing 22 km from the capital to pay homage to the patron Saint of the country. You can also visit the Ethnographic Museum, which houses an extensive exposition of the subject in pre-Columbian and colonial period.
Southeast of Cartago is located Mirador-Sansiri center famous an Orosi valley, representing a continuous cover is amazingly green vegetation, which is dominated by coffee trees. In the town itself Arose worth visiting the small Museum of the history of religion and antiquities, located near the beginning of the XVIII century Church Nearby Ujarras, you can find the ruins of the oldest Church in the country (1681-1693,). About Turrialba is a world famous centre for the study and cultivation of tropical crops "Centro-Agronomico-tropical de Investigacion-and-Ensenanza" (CATIE). 31 km North-West of Cartago is an active volcano Irazu (height 3432 m), around which lies the eponymous national Park, and 19 km North - national archaeological monument Guayabo.
North Of Costa Rica
The Northern part of the country adjacent to the Nicaraguan border, is markedly different in its nature from the centre of the country. The main element of the landscape here - tropical plains "llanuras", overgrown with tall evergreen vegetation. This area is little visited by tourists and is prone to flooding, but this does not detract from its merits. The main attractions of this area are the caves of Venado, forest reserve caño-Negro (Refugio-Nacional-de-Silvestro-caño-Negro), waterfalls of La Paz and San Rafael, the Sarapiqui region with its forest tourist camps and research stations La Selva and Rara-Avis, as well as the archaeological area in Katrice.
The Eastern part of the country - the area of winding canals, Selva, scenic mountain ranges and the original population. Here they speak a strange mixture of Spanish, English and Indian languages, listening to reggae, cultivate cocoa and rice, and native inhabitants of the country live in the forest reserves where access to tourists is limited.
The most colorful city in the Eastern part of the country - Lemon. Not the safest and by far not the cleanest city in the country, it is famous for its markets, ethno-historical Museum, Carnival (October 12), luxury Playa Bonita, as well as the largest Diaspora of immigrants from Jamaica, with all the appropriate attributes. Noteworthy reserve Estrella Park, ITA-Serere (part of the international Park La Amistad), coral reefs, famous black sand beach in Cahuita and the eponymous national Park, rafting on the channels of jungle from Tortuguero to Barra del Colorado, reef La Salsa Puerto Viejo Brava (one of the nation's best places for surfing), "banana country" bribri peoples, with percentages, many Indian reservation in the territory of the international Park ITA-Serere (La Amistad), as well as the magnificent beaches of Playa Pericoli, Playa The Chiquita, Punta Cocles and Punta UVA.
The Northern part of the Atlantic coast completely smooth and dotted with a network of channels. Rainfall (more than 5000 mm per year) this area is one of the first places in the world, so the climate here is quite heavy for unadapted to such conditions of Europeans. But here are a luxurious fishing, vast tracts of rain forests and a huge number of wild animals.
The most attractive for most tourists is the North-Western part of the country. The climate here is milder, and today less than the rest of the country. Luxury beaches stretch here for many hundreds of kilometers, and the care of the government about the environment is seen most clearly during the last years the efforts of the authorities here, in parallel with the development of tourism infrastructure, the introduction of environmentally friendly technology that allows us to consider the local beaches are the cleanest in Central America, and natural systems is one of the most unusual in the country.
Besides the beautiful tourist complexes of the Nicoya peninsulas and D Wasp, which you can enumerate the clock, there is also a reserve Kuru, whale Bay, Baja-Balena, rocky coves and waterfalls about Montezuma's Botanical garden Wilson (included in the Park La Amistad), safeguarding sea turtle reserve Ostional and the country's first wildlife reserve of Cabo Blanco Park, Corcovado and caño island, the picturesque Bay of Baja Brawl (Drake Bay), reserve Marenco, free trade zone, Golfito, national Park Santa Rosa, the resort town of Jaco and the national wildlife Isla bolaños. Here are one of the most attractive cities in Costa Rica - the "white city" of Liberia, the national Park Guanacaste with volcanoes Arose (1486 m) and Cocoa (1660 m), numerous mud volcanoes and sulphurous springs in the National Park Rincon de La Vieja, Arenal volcano and its lake (by the way, popular with wind surfers), hot springs Tabacon, waterfalls Catarata de La Fortuna the reserve Monteverde rain forest, Forest reserve, Santa Elena", carara biological reserve, national Park Manuel Antonio and the famous "turtle island" Tortuga.
The country is ideal for active recreation. The most well-it is well-known among surfers, who a long time by the local banks. On the Atlantic coast suitable for this sport beaches can be found in the area of Puerto Viejo (Salsa Brava, Playa Cocles) and Lemon (Playa Bonita). Much more popular Pacific coast near Mal Pais, Santa Teresita, Playa Grande, Playa Jaco, Playa-Carrillo, Playa HERMOSA, Playa Esterillos-Oeste, Playa Dominical and Playa-Pavones and calmer water in the area of Playa Tambor, Playa Naranjo, Playa Herradura and Playa Manzanillo. The best time for the "big wave" is here the period from July to August.
Windsurfing is cultivated on lake Arenal, located at an altitude of 1700 m above sea level. The lake is considered one of the best places in the world to practice this sport - wind here is strong and permanent, particularly in the period from April to December.
The best places for snorkeling are remote island of Isla del Coco and Kako island, Playa Flamingo, Playa-Hunkel, Nosara and Playa-Lapita. Its underwater world famous area of the Marine national reserve Grade, the district of Baja Brawl and, of course, Cahuita with its famous coral reef, which is part of the National Park.
The Pacific coast, from the Gulf of Papagayo to Golfito, known for its excellent areas for sport fishing. Sailfish, Marlin, tuna and Wahoo are the traditional objects of local trophy fishing. The canals of Tortuguero and the area around Barra del Colorado is famous for excellent catches of freshwater fish and trout can be caught in many mountain rivers.
Climate Costa Rica
The climate in Costa Rica subequatorial. There are four climatic zones. Wet lowlands are located on the Caribbean coast and on the South Pacific coast, they are characterized by an almost complete absence of a dry season with an average temperature of 23-25 °C. seasons only two: the dry and the rainy season. The dry season begins in December and ends in April, rains at this time there at all. The rainy season lasts from may to November. It rains almost every afternoon, sometimes violent, but always short.
Time Costa Rica
Behind Moscow for 9 hours in the summer and 10 in the winter.
Language Costa Rica
Spanish (official), in the district of Puerto Limon speak English.
Money Costa Rica
Costa Rican colon (CRC), equal to 100 céntimos ( ¢ ). In circulation are banknotes of 50 (green), 100 (gray-blue), 500 (orange)1 000 (red) and 5,000 (blue) colones coins of 20, 10, 5, 2, 1 colon. In large shops and hotels accept credit cards the world's leading payment systems.
Money in Costa Rica it is better to import in US dollars as the currency of other countries are not accepted everywhere. Currency can be exchanged in any Bank in currency exchange offices in the airport. The most favorable rate offered by banks. At the airport, in hotels and restaurants less profitable, but the hours are much better than banks. It is not recommended to change money on the street - people offering to exchange currency can shortchange you or even shove counterfeit bills. If You came from another convertible currency can be exchanged at the Agency CIA Financiera Londres Ltda.
Visa Costa Rica
For Russian citizens visiting Costa Rica for up to 3 months, a visa is not required. At the airport in the passport is stamped with the date of arrival. When leaving the country must pay an airport tax of us$17.
Traditions Costa Rica
Costa Rica is considered to be a safe country. The majority of registered crimes are not violent, and related fraud. The greatest danger is pick-pocketing, which can be easily avoided by observing simple precautions. In the Central areas of San Jose, it is recommended to always be careful not to carry large amounts of cash, tickets or passports. Never trust anyone except porters and certified carriers, which are easily identified by their clothing. Vehicle theft and things of them are also quite common. In the rest of the criminal situation in the country is quite calm.
In Costa Rica there is a law according to which any person must be in possession of identity documents. For foreigners, this means the obligatory presence of a passport or photocopy of pages with photo and name, and stamp entry visas).
The streets of the capital and major cities clean and very picturesque. At each corner and at each institution are pointers (if, of course, closed on billboards), so to navigate the city easily. However, the numbering of houses rather unusual, i.e. immediately behind the house No. 603 may be, for example, number 605 in the complete absence of intermediate rooms. Therefore, addresses, usually only indicate the mailbox number and not a real address, and to visit a particular restaurant, it is recommended to call the owner and get to know him the way. An unpleasant feature of most of the streets of provincial towns are very dirty sidewalks, ditches and gutters practically covered and pose a serious danger, especially at night.
Because Costa Ricans start the day very early, many institutions to 16.00 already closed and even restaurants in the evening close early - at about 22.00 many of them are empty or closed. The waiters tend to come to the table only on call guest and not flicker with annoying offers every few minutes. Smoking rooms / facilities ordinary only in the most expensive schools. The locals smoke a lot, and respect here, enjoy cigars and cigarillos, so in many bars and cafes in the air is dense with tobacco smoke.
Traditional cuisine Costa Rica
Costa Rican cuisine, or as it is called by the locals - "Comida typika", like many Central American countries, based on the mixture of Spanish and Indian cuisine is ubiquitous legumes (mainly beans "frijoles"), rice (Arroz) and meat (carne"), plus a variety of herbs, vegetables and spices are the basis of all meals. Moreover, in contrast to neighbouring countries, the dishes of spices not so much - most often they are served separately in a sauce or green. To many dishes as a garnish are fried or baked bananas special grade ("platanos"),"patacones" fried plantain stems, as well as "it" - a mixture of rice and vegetables, served usually for meat. Also popular salads of fresh vegetables, rice with vegetables and meat "Arroz-con Pollo", welding in coconut milk rice, meat in banana leaves and a variety of snacks "Bocas" meat, fish and greens.
Carvery noteworthy soup with vegetables and beef "Olla de carne", a soup of tripe "Sopa de mondongo", indispensable, "Arroz con carne rice with beef, soup black beans with egg "Sopa Negra", stewed meat with vegetables "picadillo"rice with chicken "Arroz-con Pollo", patties stuffed with beef, cheese or chicken "arreglados", rice with minced pieces of meat in banana leaf tamales, fried "huevos-revueltos" and other
Long ocean coast of the country leads to the existence on the tables of Costa Ricans large amounts of fish and seafood. Typical local dishes are baked fish "a La plancha", boiled in lemon juice sea fish (or marinated raw) "ceviche", seashells "Conchas" with a variety of side dishes, a kind of pilaf rice with crab "Arroz-con-camarones"charcoal grilled "Pargo" (red lucianus), "Corvina" (sea bass), the traditional "paella" with fish or seafood, etc.
A special place at the local buffet is maize ("corn"). It makes a variety of cereals, bread is baked, served as a side dish or as a separate dish. Worth a try small cakes made of corn flour "tortillas", pancakes from young corn "chorreadas", corn tortillas with meat, beans or cheese - "halos" or meat and vegetables - "tortas, fried tortillas with meat "is", boiled (cocinado") or fried (elotes" or "elote asado") corn, flaky cakes made of corn flour with meat "empanadas"corn bread "arreglados" etc.
Due to the great variety of climate on the territory of Costa Rica grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with the well-known mango, papaya, passion fruit and other, you can try such exotic fruits as "Ramones" (a type of crocodile), "anon" (tastes like custard) or Maranon" (seeds resemble the taste of the cashew nut), and others. These fruits here doing a variety of cool drinks, including original fruit juices "refrescos", mixed with milk (Leche), water (Aqua) and ice, instantly made directly on the eyes of a buyer in ordinary mixer. Also consumed a lot of cold drinks made from milk and flour of cereals - "cebada", "pinolillo", "horchata" and other...
Costa Rican coffee is considered one of the best in the world, so consume it here in large quantities, usually finishing their meal. It is served on the table in small jars with indispensable extension pitcher of hot milk, and poured into tiny cups. The best sorts are usually marked as "export". Also across the country popular herbal tea, which is brewed according to old recipes (it is believed that he is especially good in the Lemon).
The most popular alcoholic drink in the country - rum. The best varieties of local rum ("Centenario", "Abuelo", "Cacique" and "Platinum") well known on the international market. In addition to numerous varieties of imported American beer, Costa Rica produces some of the local brands that have a good reputation. The most popular varieties - "Imperial" (lager American type), "Bayern", "Rock and ice", "Steinberg", as well as local varieties Bayern-light" and "tropical". In Costa Rica produce good liqueurs "quero", of which the best known is "Cacique and creamy coffee liqueur "Café Rica". Certain popularity and have homemade alcoholic beverages "Guaro", made from sugar cane. Imported alcoholic drinks are sold in almost all stores. The main alcoholic drink is rum. Best Rums - Centenario, Abuelo, Cacique and Platino. Popular coffee liqueur Cafe Rica, as well as light Beers Imperial, Bavaria and Pilsen.
Political system Costa Rica
A Republican form of government. The head of state and government is the President (elected for a period of 4 years without the right of re-election). Legislative power is vested in a unicameral Legislative Assembly. Costa Rica is considered the most stable democracy in Latin America. Democracy in it there are already more than a century.
Population Costa Rica
About 3.9 million people. Costa Rica is the only Central American countries, in which the main mass of the population are descendants of Spanish immigrants (over 80%) - Creoles. The percentage of Metis is about 10%, blacks and mulattos - about 7%, Indian - 1%. There is also a small number of naturalized Chinese, Germans, Italians, and Americans. Live in the country continuously for about 30 thousand foreigners, mainly Nicaraguans and Negroes from the West Indies.
Customs Costa Rica
Duty free import of cigarettes - 500 pcs. or cigar - 50 pieces, strong drinks - 3 l, perfume, clothing and footwear - within the personal needs. Prohibited the import of weapons, explosives, radioactive substances and drugs. The export of antiquities, pre-Columbian era.
Medical aid Costa Rica
Recommended health insurance international standard. Medical services in Costa Rica are carried out on an insurance basis and the public. The level of health development in the country is very high and is considered the best in Latin America.
Working hours Costa Rica
Banks operate mainly from 9.00 to 17.00 on weekdays (some banks are open until 18-19 hours), and from 9.00 to 14.00 on Saturday. On Sunday, the banks do not work. In some coastal areas, the mode of operation of the banks may be somewhat different.
Shops are open from 9.00 to 20.00. Boutiques and not grocery stores from 9.00 to 19.30 and large stores from 8.00 to 19.00. Lunch break from 12.00 to 14.00.
Transport Costa Rica
Internal transport is varied. The plane can be very useful, because despite the small size of the country, moving around it can be difficult climate, terrain and road conditions. Internal traffic is quite reasonably priced deals of national airlines SANSA. Railways virtually non-existent. The only way adjacent to the Lemon, was destroyed by a landslide.
The bus is the most common form of transportation, the route network covers almost the entire country. There is a bus schedule in any city. The fare ranges from 21 to 55 colones.
Taxi: cheap for travel around the city from end to end will take about 210 colones.
Electricity Costa Rica
The line voltage of 110 volts. Hotels usually have sockets of the European standard. For domestic appliances, it is desirable to have an adapter.
Tip Costa Rica
In the restaurants of Costa Rica in the account typically include 13% tax and 10% service charge. Sometimes these percentages are included in the prices offered in the menu, sometimes not. Maids in the hotel is customary to leave a tip half a dollar, tourist guides - 1-5 dollars a day.
Helpful information Costa Rica
Red Cross - 128, fire - 118, police - 117, police in rural areas 127, telephone rescue - 911 (only for San Jose), telephone Embassy of Russia - 221-2054 (San Jose).