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In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Costa Rica which translates literally as "Rich Coast".
A bit rundown due to the many earthquakes that have hit the area, Puerto Limon has some fascinating architecture and colorful open air market places. The main market in the center of town is the place to go to buy everything from wood carved items to traditional souvenirs.
The city’s main attraction is the waterfront Parque Vargas, an incongruous expanse of bench-lined sidewalks beneath a lost little jungle of tall palms and tropical flowers.
Theft is a problem: take precautions against pickpockets during the day, particularly in the market and along the sea wall.
Although the taxi fares are posted (for example, $20 to Cahuita), these are all negotiable. Their drivers' English is patchy so, if you are looking for a guide as well as a driver, check this first.
Taxis charge about $20-$30 an hour. Due to the hilly nature travel times will take longer than you would expect.
Bus schedule information in Costa Rica.
If you plan to travel outside the towns: protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
The Tortuguero Canals, a national park created in 1975 to protect the spawning areas of the green turtle (Tortuguero) and the region's rich flora and fauna stretching from Moin to the Colorado River near the border with Nicaragua. On a slow-moving boat trip along the canals (some natural, some manmade), you will see sloths hanging upside down from the overhanging trees, many different types of bird including toucans and probably monkeys and crocodiles, too.
Limon-the Aerial Tram ride at Rain Forest, a 1,000-acre nature reserve next to the Braulio Carrillo National Park
The Original Canopy Tour offers everyone an exhilarating opportunity to soar through the rain forest high above the forest floor. You have to be in good shape for this adventure.
There is desk for local tour operators in the terminal (Caribe Tico, Blue Limbo, Mambo Tours) within the terminal. They offer alternatives to the ship's tours to the Cahuita Coastal National Park, Tortuguero Canals, Rain Forest Aerial Tram as well as a two-hour Limon tour and an eight-hour trip to San Jose. There is also a range of more active trips, including horse-riding, water sports, and canopy tours.
Costa Rica is Spanish for rich coast. As such, one can expect to find this place to be the ideal tropical paradise. A native song is that the Virgin Mary came down to Costa Rica and never went back to Heaven.
Costa Rica is often called the Switzerland of Central America.
There is such biodiversity in Costa Rica not only because it's a land bridge between North and South America, but also because the terrain is so varied and there are weather patterns moving in from both the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean. There are impressive volcanoes, mountain areas, rivers, lakes, and beaches all throughout the country. There are many beautiful beaches - most of the popular ones are on the Pacific side but the Caribbean has many excellent beaches as well.
Finding a place to eat out isn't difficult in Costa Rica and generally speaking wherever you head for, the standards of hygiene in the kitchens are high and you run little risk of getting food poisoning. Expensive restaurants may not necessarily offer the best food and visitors are encouraged to try the smaller establishments, known as sodas, which the locals tend to frequent and the food is as authentic as it gets, while frequently of a standard equal to or higher than expensive venues.
The local currency is Colón(es). The rate of exchange is about 575 Colones for 1 US Dollar. You can find ATMs in most places. They normally dispense US Dollars and Colones.
Spanish is the main language in Costa Rica. English is used widely in areas populated by international tourists.
The emergency number in Costa Rica is 911
Cafes which offer free WiFi for customers are fairly easy to find in tourist areas.
Mon-Sat 0900-1800/1900. There may be variations between areas.
Costa Rica is a Catholic country and it's holidays are mostly church-related. Most businesses, including banks, close on official holidays. The country closes down entirely during the biggest holiday time, Easter Holy Week, but only during Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, by Holy Sunday, some services might be available, but don't count on it in remote parts of the country.
Most Ticos now take the whole Christmas holiday week through New Year as an unofficial holiday.
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