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Costa Rica vacations

Our Costa Rica vacations & accommodation take in the best sites & off-the-beaten-track places from rainforest to the beaches. All of our Costa Rica vacations are from leading companies committed to supporting local people & the environment.

Costa Rica vacations
Costa Rica coastal tour
Experience the best of Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, from £1145 (8 days) ex flights
Coast to coast cycling vacation in Costa Rica
Take in the variety of Costa Rica by bike, from US $3080 - US $3325 (14 days) ex flights
Self drive vacation in Costa Rica
Tailor made self-drive vacation in stunning Costa Rica, from £1705 - £1880 (18 days) ex flights
Costa Rica wildlife vacation
An amazing variety of Costa Rican wildlife, from US $2710 - US $3115 (15 days) ex flights
Volunteer & vacation in Costa Rica
Turtle conservation project and Cost Rica tour, from US $1099 (15 days) ex flights
Costa Rica vacation, encompassed
Nature and adventure, from US $1386 - US $1539 (14 days) ex flights
Costa Rica and Nicaragua self drive vacation
Self drive vacation through the best of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, from £2200 - £2320 (20 days) ex flights
Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica
Protect nesting turtles on Costa Rica's beautiful beaches, from £677 (7 days) ex flights
Costa Rica multisport vacation
Experience the natural beauty in this adrenaline-filled tour, from US $1399 (13 days) ex flights
Wildlife vacation in Costa Rica
Explore rainforests and reefs along the Caribbean coast, from US $675 - US $749 (7 days) ex flights
Costa Rica tailor made vacation, highlights
Discover Costa Rica's natural and cultural wonders, from £2150 (13 days) ex flights
Costa Rica beach & wildlife vacation
Cloud forest and a volcano, plus a whole lot of relaxation!, from £1595 (13 days) ex flights
Costa Rica adventure vacation
Fall under the spell of Costa Rica, from US $1599 (16 days) ex flights
Costa Rica activity vacation
Hike, bike & raft in Costa Rica, from US $2790 (12 days) ex flights
Costa Rica tailor made holiday
Explore wild beaches, cloud forests,, volcanoes and springs., from £3290 (13 days) inc UK flights
Rainforest expedition in Costa Rica
Live steps from the beach and work on wildlife conservation, from US $2482 - US $5270 (4 weeks) ex flights
Costa Rica family activity vacation
Experience the natural wonders and activities of Costa Rica., from £2295 (12 days) ex flights
Costa Rica holiday, Rainforest adventure
Explore the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica, from £1350 (13 days) ex flights
Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica, Pacuare Nature Reserve
1206 nesting giant turtles 1000Ha tropical forest Pacuare, from US $210 (7 days) ex flights
Costa Rica eco lodge in a private reserve
Rainforest eco lodge on 280 acre private reserve, from US $145 - US $195 per room per night (sleeps 2)
Pacuare Nature Reserve accommodation in Costa Rica
1206 nesting giant turtles 1000Ha tropical forest Pacuare, from US $105 - US $120 (3 days)
Central America vacation
Travel from Antigua to San Jose, from US $994 - US $1445 (17 days) ex flights
Health and wellness eco-resort, Costa Rica
Affordable Vacation for the Healthy Lifestyle & Organic Farm, from US $60 - US $70 per accommodation per night
Costa Rica family adventure holiday
Visit the highlights of Costa Rica, from US $1353 (9 days ) ex flights

54 reviews for Costa Rica vacations4 star overall rating

These full and frank independent Costa Rica vacations reviews are from travelers who have booked directly through responsibletravel.com. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travelers below.

Costa Rica coastal tour
Memorable parts? All of it! Tips? Research what you want to do as there is so much to do and see in Costa Rica that one trip will not be enough!! Local benefits? Yes very much so! Felt intergrated into the communities! Overall rating? 10/10. (more)Julia Hames
From £1145 excluding flights
Self drive vacation in Costa Rica
It was all memorable but probably the two things which stand out were the tour to Torteguero and the one day trip to the Corcavado national park from Uvita. (more)Margaret Everall
We had a great vacation...the eco lodge was amazing with a spectacular view, a private beach, surrounded by rainforest and beautiful gardens full of tropical birds like Toucans and Colibris, and a fantastic restaurant with delicious fresh pure food!! (more)Kim Jans
The most memorable part of the vacation was rafting to Pacuare Lodge and then rafting out again 2 days later. 28km of rafting in all...It was an excellent vacation with a great mix of nature, conservation and thrills. (more)Christine McCormack
From £1705 - £1880 excluding flights
Costa Rica adventure vacation
The boat trip from Puerto Viajhoe to Tortuguero was relaxing, colourful and enjoyable - lots to see. Rainforest track to Rara Avis, and stay, memorable. (more)Frederick Lockwood
It was one of the best vacations, a good crowd of people and a good time had by all...White Water Rafting at La Fortuna was the most exciting part. (more)Liz Davies
The whole variety of the trip in Costa Rica was excellent. I think one part i loved was the horse back riding around the lake heading towards Arenal. This was brilliant and we were able to have complete control of the horses and make the most of the riding. (more)Sarah Williams
From US $1599 excluding flights
Costa Rica eco lodge in a private reserve
We loved every aspect of this accommdation... We dream of returning soon. My daughter and I rank this accommodation as our best vacation ever. (more)Judith Doyle
This was a totally relaxing, getaway vacation...John and Maureen are wonderful hosts and if you are looking for this kind of restful vacation this place is perfect. Excellent - it surprised my husband how much he enjoyed it. (more)Mary Head
Fantastic - the hosts were utterly friendly, welcoming and entertaining. They seem to have thought of everything, and nothing was too much trouble. (more)Claire Bowring
From US $145 - US $195 per room per night (sleeps 2)
Costa Rica beach & wildlife vacation
Memorable parts? White water rafting through the rainforest, amazing! Tips? Just do it, it's fantastic! If you're inland take some warmer clothes (trousers, long sleeved t-shirts)as it can get colder than you expect. Local benefits? All of the places we stayed were dedicated to helping the environment and employed local staff. Overall rating? Brilliant! (more)John Ewan
From £1595 excluding flights
Costa Rica tour
Seeing green turtles laying eggs & watching them hatch was the most memorable part of the vacation. (more)Michael Murphy
Seeing the rare Quetzal bird was exciting, but it was all memorable...Excellent. (more)J. Suzanne Hula
Most memorable? Seeing the baby turtles in Tortuguero National Park... I had a wonderful experience with a very well trained, and experienced, guide. The communication was excellent. (more)Simon Corbally
From US $1166 - US $1485 excluding flights
Volunteer & vacation in Costa Rica
10/10. A great vacation, very easy, no hassle, various options available whilst at destinations. The most memorable parts of the vacation were ziplining through the rainforest, night hike in Monteverde and the group of people I met. (more)Tracy Suff
I enjoyed the tour, had a great tour leader and was with a good bunch of people. (more)Sue Sanders
From US $1099 excluding flights
Osa Peninsula eco lodge, Costa Rica
From our arrival by boat through the mangroves through to our departure three days later, we loved our time at the lodge. We were the only guests staying there at the time and we received a high level of care from owners Dan and Holly. (more)Helen Potts
The lodge is beautifully situated and reaching it via the river felt like an added adventure. (more)Janet Baseley
The best part of my vacation was that is was, simply, relaxing. That's what I was looking for. Dan and Holly at the lodge really took care of me, and the dogs were a great addition to my walks. (more)Michael Allbritton
From US $55 - US $85 per person per night
Costa Rica vacation, encompassed
The most exciting part of the Costa Rica encompassed trip was zip lining above the trees in Monteverde Cloud Forest and abseiling down the waterfalls on a canyoneering trip outside La Fortuna. (more)Louise Muller
Definitely white water rafting on the way from Cahuita to San Jose was the highlight. A great day out, the river was perfect. Lots of adrenaline and lovely refreshing water. An amazing lunch was laid on for us as well by the side of the river. (more)Elaine Bettaney
The most memorable part was going into the beautiful clear, turquoise and remarkably warm water of the Pacific ocean, for a swim just as the sun was setting - an amazing way to start the vacation. (more)Susie Everest
From US $1386 - US $1539 excluding flights
Central America vacation
Zip Lining in Monteverde was the most memorable part of the vacation (more)Gordon Beattie
Hiking up Conception Volcano was the most memorable part of the trip. (more)Shelagh Travers
Very good...Definitely climbing Concepcion volcano on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua was the most memorab;e part of the trip. (more)Graham Dalby
From US $994 - US $1445 excluding flights
Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica
5 stars! My best experience abroad in the last 30 years.....Working with sea turtles: seeing turtle nesting and releasing baby hatchlings was absolutely fantastic (more)Daniel Halder
Amazing! Would go back in a second if I had the opportunity to do so. The whole process from the turtle laying its eggs, to the release of the baby turtles was just pure enjoyment! To me, it felt like more of a vacation than a work placement, as I was the most relaxed I have ever been. (more)Emilie Gronsund
It was quite simply the best. You felt part of the community in San Miguel which was so much better than just being on vacation and you learn so much about these amazing sea turtles. I'd thoroughly recommend this particular project for anyone with an open mind, who relishes enjoying a simple way of life in spectacular, unspoilt scenery. (more)Sue Curtis
From £677 excluding flights
Costa Rica vacation
It's hard to single out individual things - every day brought memorable moments, including close-up and often very special encounters with wildlife, the rafting (got very wet!) and night walks in the forest. (more)Chris Bragg
Most memorable bit - spending Christmas Day exploring the waterways of the rainforests of Tortuguero in a small boat, seeing monkeys swinging through the trees, otters, caiman, iguana, toucans, parrots and countless other birds. (more)Pauline Chapman
From US $1130 - US $1406 excluding flights
Osa Peninsula rainforest wildlife lodge in Costa Rica
Wonderful! Gorgeous surroundings, beautiful and comfortable accommodations, and an amazing, helpful staff made this a honeymoon to cherish and remember! (more)melissa mansfield
The amount of wildlife is amazing. We saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, a baby sloth, poison dart frogs and a roadguarder snake, while the various sofas and spots to laze about on the terrace were great for bird-watching, with scarlet macaws and toucans easy to spot. (more)Christopher Ewers
From US $160 - US $225 per person per night
Costa Rica wildlife vacation
Fantastic vacation. The wildlife and natural landscapes are amazing and worth the trip alone. For the sheer scope of diversity, colour and experiences this trip is unrivalled. (more)Lindsay (Mr) Challoner
One of the best hoildays we've had. A highlight was Seeing a rhinoceros beetle the size of a hamster! (more)Keith Valentine
Saw lots of animals, birds, plants and butterflies. Thankfully did not see the tarantula. Seeing sloths close up, active but moving in slow motion was great as was seeing little turtles hatching and running to the sea. Saw lots of birds and had a very knowledgeable guide to help us. The quetzel fly past was pretty good! (more)Rebecca Tunstall
From US $2710 - US $3115 excluding flights
Central America overland tours
Memorable parts? Fantastic insight into many different cultures. Stunning and varied scenery in wonderful hot weather from the might of the Panama Canal to the jaw dropping beauty of the rain and cloud forests to the awesome splendour of the region's volcanoes and craters Tips? Do as much research as possible before your trip - I wished I had done more! Try and learn some basic conversational Spanish - I wish I had learnt more! Local benefits? Tourism is an infant business... (more)Douglas Newlands
From £0 including UK flights
Costa Rica family activity vacation
Memorable parts? The "adrenaline" activities - horse-riding, rafting, canyoning. Watching the children playing in the hotel pool at Arenal while the volcano puffed in the background, and feeling slightly uneasily like a citizen of Pompeii... Sitting one metre from an egg-laying turtle. Tips? A really strong insect repellent - ours was sold in a metal canister as it dissolves plastic, and seemed to be more effective than other people's! Definitely do the optional kayaking at Tortugero... (more)Hilary Mackintosh
From £2295 excluding flights
Central America tours
Memorable parts? Roatan was by far the best stopover on this trip. The people on the tour were fabulous as well. Tips? Be wary of the long travel days. The dossier online makes each stop seem like a destination spot which is not the case. This tour would benefit from adding some flights from like Roatan to Managua to avoid 12 hour travel days, of which there are many in this tour. Local benefits? Yes we took lots of local transportation and really integrated with the local... (more)Angie Watson
From US $1494 - US $1659 excluding flights
Osa Peninsula ecolodge, Costa Rica
Memorable parts? All of it - it was really a beautiful lodge, wonderful staff, food, kayaking, yoga, massages. I totally loved it. Also, the other guests were great. Tips? Be ready for very hot and humid. Also, don't overpack - tank tops, shorts, bathing suits. Not too buggy at night, so long pants aren't needed (at least in March) Local benefits? Yes, very much. The whole philosophy is sustainable - gardens, advocating to block a tuna farm, etc. Overall rating? Superfabulous. (more)Nancy Gubman
From US $225 - US $496 per person per night
Rainforest expedition in Costa Rica
Memorable parts? Three hours into a long, dark, sweaty walk on my first turtle survey a mighty Leatherback turtle suddenly looms into view on the beach ahead. We crouch down out of sight behind her and count the number of eggs she lays into a pit in the sand. When she’s done we tag a rear flipper for tracking purposes, take her measurements and record other data. Having covered the nest she doesn’t wait around. Hauling herself back down the beach she slips back into the ocean. We’re all... (more)Dominic Greves
From US $2482 - US $5270 excluding flights
Costa Rica jungle accommodation
Memorable parts? Being away from it all. The solitude is incredible as is the flora and fauna. Tips? Take a really bright flashlight if you are staying in the tents so you can see any snakes and such on the track when you walk back in the dark. Leave your goretex hiking boots at home and pick up some comfortable boots that you don't mind getting covered in thick mud. Oh, and take snacks that you don't want to live without - like chocolate. Go scuba diving at Isla del Cano to see sharks... (more)Tracey Reed
From US $135 - US $150 per person per night

Vacation Reviews

You can trust responsiblevacation.com reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations. In addition, we don't run these vacations ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

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Unedited reviews from other travelers

5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really

Costa Rica travel information

Information to help you prepare for your vacation or vacation to Costa Rica courtesy of 'The Key to Costa Rica'. With a wealth of practical and background information, this travel guide is the essential companion for your vacation.

Costa Rica is a fascinating country to travel on vacation. It is a land bridge between North and South America, so its forests and seas are rich in wildlife from both continents. In a country the size of the US state of West Virginia, there is a great variety of altitude and terrain. Mount Chirripo reaches 13,000 feet. On vacation go and stare into the mile-wide crater of the semi-dormant Poas Volcano, or soak in hot springs while watching lava ooze from the top of active Arenal Volcano. In the lowlands of the Caribbean coast travel the serene waterways in Tortuguero National Park or get a thrill on the white water of the Pacuare river. And of course there are the beaches--miles and miles of them on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to relax on vacation.

Costa Rica is also fascinating for the foresight of its leaders, who established public education and democratic elections in the 1880's, abolished the army in the 1940's and have preserved over 25 percent of Costa Rica's territory in a system of conservation areas. MINAE, the ministry responsible for the parks, has a very active citizen arm, called COVIRENAS (Comite de Vigilancia de los Recursos Naturales). In this lively, grassroots movement, neighbors in natural areas are given the power to conduct citizen arrests if they witness environmental crimes. The same committees organize to do organic gardening, recycling and environmental education in the schools. Of course Costa Rica's long-standing democratic traditions help this to happen.

Ecotourism in Costa Rica in its finest sense saves pristine natural areas by inviting tourists to experience them in a principled way, using the proceeds to protect and maintain the same areas. Great ecotourism opportunities exist in all parts of Costa Rica.

In the dry northeastern province of Guanacaste there is bird-watching at Los Inocentes, the famous canopy tour at Buenavista Lodge, or visiting communities that have made tourism their own, like the pottery-makers of Guaitil, or the Montealto Reserve, created by the town of Hojancha to preserve its watershed. Beachwise, the communities of Nosara and Montezuma have done the most to preserve habitat.

In the Southern Zone, tourists can search for the incredibly beautiful Resplendent Quetzal at El Toucanet, Mirador de Quetzales or Hotel de Montana Savegre on the slopes of Cerro de la Muerte. From there they can travel and hike on the Tapir Trail through local farms, ending with a rafting trip on the Savegre river near the famous Manuel Antonio National Park. The Tapir Trail (Paso de la Danta) seeks to unite the forests of the Osa Peninsula with forests of the Talamanca Range. Of course there are the lovely ecolodges of the Osa--El Remanso, Bosque del Cabo, Lapa Rios, Luna Lodge, Corcovado Tent Camp, and the great lodges in Drake Bay, among them the locally-owned Jademar and Poor Man's Paradise. All of these lodges protect the rainforests around Corcovado National Park, and sightings of scarlet macaws, white-faced and howler monkeys, and several species of dolphins and whales are common.

On the Atlantic Coast, ANAI was just awarded the Equator Prize at the World Summit in Johannesburg for its decades of work with the communities of Talamanca, which have created five ecotourism lodges working for conservation, sustainable community development and protection of cultural traditions. In addition, the Gandoca community provides homestays and hotels for ecotourists and volunteers in the ANAI Sea Turtle Conservation Program, and the Manzanillo Guides Association provides botanical, wildlife and fishing guides.

In the northern region of Sarapiqui, are Costa Rica's original rainforest ecotourism projects--La Selva and Rara Avis, now complemented by the Centro Neotropico Sarapiquis with its pre-Columbian tombs and Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve.

The New Key to Costa Rica (16th edition) covers nature travel and ecotourism by trying to acquaint readers with both the beauties of Costa Rica and the environmental challenges in each area. We mention nature lodges, community-based ecotourism projects, volunteer opportunities and natural destinations that will give you a great vacation while making sure that your money goes to protect the nature you came to see. For the last ten years we have included a Sustainable Tourism Rating, which highlights the lodges we think are doing the best job.

Country facts for Costa Rica vacations

Weather
The best time to visit Costa Rica is November to April.

Languages
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and Limón Creole English or Mekatelyu is spoken in Limón Province (Puerto Limón).

Money
The currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colon (CRC).

Time zone
GMT-6 (UTC-6).
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