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Travelers love kimkim

"Kimkim is the perfect solution for independent travelers who are too busy to plan it all themselves" - Gayle R., traveled with kimkim in October 2019

Introducing Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a nature lover's dream travel destination. Hike to hidden waterfalls, fly through the rainforest on a zip line, raft amazing white-water, or catch a wave on one of the many epic surf breaks.

When is the best time to visit?
Due to Costa Rica's location in Central America, near to the equator, it enjoys just two seasons annually as opposed to four. The dry season lasts from mid-November through April, and the rainy season lasts from May to mid-November. The latter is also referred to as the "green" season due to the brilliant vegetation that thrives during this period.  

Travelers often opt to visit during the dry season. Peak crowds hit in December, with folks continuing to come during January and February and (for many North Americans) during spring break. However, there are advantages to visiting Costa Rica in the "green" season, from less crowds to lower prices.  Read our travel guide for visiting Costa Rica in the "green" season to find out more.

Still not sure when to go, read our guide on the best times to visit Costa Rica.

Where to go in Costa Rica?
The people of Costa Rica are happy to welcome travelers and teach them about adventure and the pure life, or 'Pura Vida'. This country relies on the eco and adventure tourism that put it on the map, read about the main regions of the country to decide where you want to visit. Visit a baby sloth rescue, get to know Manuel Antonio National Park, see Arenal Volcano, and explore the Osa Peninsula Rainforest.

How many days do I need?
Costa Rica is a small country (size of West Virginia), with many sights situated fairly close together.  With great roads (mostly), throughout the country, makes it easy to get around. In one week, you can explore a number of sights and get a great sense of the country if you are ready to be on the go. With 2 weeks, you have a bit more time to relax in each destination or explore more of the country.  Still not sure how many days you need, read our guide to help you decide.

Getting around Costa Rica
Shuttles or private transfers are great options to get around in Costa Rica. Driving is not always straightforward, but still a great choice if you feel comfortable driving on curvy or unpaved roads.  For longer transfers, Costa Rica has a network of domestic airports that connect the main locations in the country. Read more

Looking for inspiration? See our top Costa Rica itineraries

Explore trips by duration: 5 days · 6 days · 7 days · 8 days · 9 days · 10 days · 11 days · 12 days · 13 days · 14 days · 15 days · 16 days

Costa Rica Tours & Itineraries

Get inspired by Costa Rica trips other travelers loved
Storm clouds over Arenal volcano
Map of Best of Costa Rica in 7 Days: Explore Jungles, Volcanoes and Beaches
Best of Costa Rica in 7 Days: Explore Jungles, Volcanoes and Beaches

With a mix of rugged jungles, active volcanoes and world-class beaches, Costa Rica offers some of the best natural sights and experiences in the world, all conveniently packed into one country. Almost a quarter of the land is preserved within national parks, allowing a wide range of animals and plants to flourish, making Costa Rica an ideal destination for ecotourism. With this itinerary, you'll discover the best attractions Costa Rica has to offer in just a week.

Beautiful Rio Celeste in Tenorio National Park
Map of Best of Costa Rica - 14 Days
Best of Costa Rica - 14 Days

This two-week itinerary includes many of Costa Rica's greatest hits. You'll venture into the country's most beautiful national parks and enjoy zip-lining adventures, nature hikes, beach excursions, and more. All the while you'll spot exotic animals as you traverse some of the most virgin rainforest landscapes in Central America.

Monteverde Cloud Forest
Map of Classic Costa Rica: 7-Day Self-Drive Tour
Classic Costa Rica: 7-Day Self-Drive Tour

Taking a road trip through Costa Rica gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore where you want. You'll pass through stunning natural scenery — from lush cloud forests to picturesque beaches — in seven days of scenic driving. This tour can be extended or shortened depending on how much time you have.

Whitewater rafting down the Pacuare river
Map of Costa Rica Adventure: Whitewater, Beaches & Volcanos - 8 Days
Costa Rica Adventure: Whitewater, Beaches & Volcanos - 8 Days

Explore Costa Rica's amazing natural scenery through a thrilling series of activities including whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. This tour will take you to a wide range of coasts, jungles, and rivers, all while keeping your adrenaline pumping.

Arenal Volcano
Map of Arenal Expedition Self Drive Tour - 4 Days
Arenal Expedition Self Drive Tour - 4 Days

This itinerary is one of the shortest, yet most action-packed options for travelers looking for a compact Costa Rica experience. Zip-line, rappel, and horseback ride your way throughout the Arenal region and enjoy some of the best volcano views the country has to offer.

Arenal Volcano
Map of Family-Friendly Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park- 9 Days
Family-Friendly Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park- 9 Days

Fun for the whole family, this itinerary covers two of Costa Rica's most famous areas. Arenal and Manuel Antonio are some of the best representations of Costa Rica; Arenal area features one of the most famous volcanos in the country, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, while Manuel Antonio National Park is renown for its white sandy beaches and vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife.

How Many Days To Spend in Costa Rica

Planning a trip to Costa Rica? Read this first to maximize the things to see and do during your visit
Relax on your Costa Rica Vacation
How Many Days to Spend in Costa Rica

You can have a great adventure in Costa Rica in as short as a long weekend. With only a few days to spare you will have enough time to hike through a rainforest, see an active...

Costa Rica Travel Essentials

All you need to know to get started planning the perfect trip
Best Time of Year to Visit Costa Rica
Best Time of Year to Visit Costa Rica

For access to all the country has to offer, visit during the dry season that runs from December through April—winter is the most popular time, with great weather and sizable...

Manzanillo
Essential Costa Rica: 4 Regions to Visit

Costa Rica is proof that big things can come in small packages. Although this Central American gem is barely the size of West Virginia, it’s the most biodiverse country on the...

Visit Costa Rica on your next kimkim trip
How kimkim Trips Work in Costa Rica

Planning a trip to Costa Rica? Here's a quick introduction to kimkim, how our trips work, and what makes us unique. We'll go over how our itineraries are customized to your...

A road to Arenal Volcano
Driving in Costa Rica: Road Trip FAQ

Costa Rica has a way of igniting the adventurous spirit within. This is, after all, one of the world's most biodiverse countries loaded with rainforests, wildlife species,...

Costa Rica Travel Advice

Read our detailed insights to make sure you have the best trip
Explore Monteverde
Where to Eat in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde is known for its stunning cloud forest, but there's also plenty of incredible dining options to fill you up after those long sky walks and zip-line adventures . The...

A colorful toucan perches on a tree branch in a Costa Rican forest
7 Best Places for Birding in Costa Rica

More than a quarter of Costa Rica is protected jungle, home to a wide variety of native wildlife—including 850 colorful species of birds. Learn about the country's best areas to...

Explore Costa Rica's wildlife with your family
Why Costa Rica is Great for Families

For parents toying with the idea of an international vacation, this Latin American nation is chock-full of family experiences that will leave a lasting impression for years to...

Costa Rica Travel Guides

Detailed travel guides for the main regions of the country
Manzanillo
Essential Costa Rica: 4 Regions to Visit

Costa Rica is proof that big things can come in small packages. Although this Central American gem is barely the size of West Virginia, it’s the most biodiverse country on the...

Costa Rica Hotel Advice

Unique places to stay, curated by kimkim specialists
Enjoy the Views in Manuel Antonio
The Best Boutique Hotels in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park has it all: rainforests, coral beaches, and wild rivers. Make the most of your time in this exceptionally scenic and diverse area with a mix of...

Best Things to do in Costa Rica

Unique things to do, curated by kimkim specialists
Rio Celeste Waterfall
Map of Best Waterfall Hikes in Costa Rica
Best Waterfall Hikes in Costa Rica

With ample mountains and rainforests, Costa Rica’s fortunate topography is a breeding ground for rivers and streams that turn into rushing waterfalls. Climbing these picturesque...

Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Map of Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica

As a result of Costa Rica’s volcanoes and their geothermal activity, the country has a plethora of natural hot springs. These healing pools are a relaxing place to soak after a...

6 Family-Friendly Activities in San José
6 Family-Friendly Activities in San José

Costa Rica abounds with wildlife and outdoor activities, setting the scene for an ideal family vacation. But you don't need to head straight to the beach—travelers flying into...

Costa Rica's surf spots draw surfers from around the world
Map of Best Water Activities in Costa Rica
Best Water Activities in Costa Rica

Costa Rica certainly lives up to its name (literally 'Rich Coast'), blessed as it is with miles of beaches on both its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The country has long...

Our Latest Costa Rica Content

Photo courtesy of Downtown La Fortuna Hotel
The 6 Best Hotels Near Downtown La Fortuna

Staying close to La Fortuna gives you a mixed stay in the Arenal region, combining the area's famed jungle and volcanic views with the culture of its central hub. Our list of the best hotels near downtown La Fortuna includes those right in the action, properties a short walk from local restaurants and shops, and accommodation in the jungle yet just a quick five-minute drive from town.

Photo courtesy of Amor Arenal Hotel
The 5 Best Hotels Surrounded By Nature in Arenal

A popular reason to visit Arenal/La Fortuna is the region's beautiful natural surroundings, which include dense jungle and the famed Arenal Volcano. To really experience Costa Rica's appeal, you may want a hotel enveloped by nature. Kimkim's list consists of the best hotels giving you that experience, from luxury lodges to standard properties with volcano views.

Relax in an infinity pool overlooking the Costa Rican rainforest
Map of Wildlife Luxury Adventure in Arenal, Monteverde & the Osa Peninsula - 16 Days
Wildlife Luxury Adventure in Arenal, Monteverde & the Osa Peninsula - 16 Days

Experience Costa Rica in style, enjoying excursions with private guides and overnight stays in luxury hotels on this wide-ranging itinerary around the country. Start with birdwatching and snorkeling on the Osa Peninsula, then transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll take surf lessons. Go horseback riding in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, hike around Arenal Volcano, and relax in natural hot springs before heading back to San José for one last night out on the town.

Costa Rica Travel Maps

Get the lay of land, and understand distances between the places you want to visit
Costa Rica map: 10 Days in Costa Rica - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Costa Rica - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
View article
Costa Rica map: 2 Weeks in Costa Rica: 5 Unique Itineraries
2 Weeks in Costa Rica: 5 Unique Itineraries
View article
Costa Rica map: 5-Days in Costa Rica : 5 Unique Trip Itineraries
5-Days in Costa Rica : 5 Unique Trip Itineraries
View article

Meet our Local Travel Specialists

Experienced travel agents with a passion for Costa Rica
Travel specialist Randall Jiménez
active 1 day ago

Randall Jiménez

Phrases like “The trip was wonderful beyond my dreams”, “I came back home being a different person…I have grown physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually”, “A job well done my friend”,...

read more...
Travel specialist Olman Romero
active 22 hours ago

Olman Romero

I was born in Turrialba, it is a region famous for hosting the Guayabo Archeological Monument, which is the oldest and most important pre-hispanic archeological site in the country. Turrialba is...

read more...
Travel specialist Diego Rivera
active 5 days ago

Diego Rivera

Hi, I'm Diego a Costa Rican travel expert with more than 13 years of experience. I consider myself a culture lover, a person who loves to listen to my travelers and I create the best experiences...

read more...
Travel specialist Charlotte Törnqvist
active 6 hours ago

Charlotte Törnqvist

I was born and raised in northern Sweden. At the age of 18, I had the privilege of doing a high school exchange year in Costa Rica. I fell in love with the country, the people, and well, my...

read more...

Related Destinations

Travelers who visit Costa Rica also visit these destinations

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Trip Reviews for Costa Rica

The latest reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

Easy preparation, great trip
Costa Rica | Sep 12 - Sep 17, 2022

Seth
Seth E.
Garberville, CA | Reviewed on Sep 25, 2022

First time KimKim user and will now be an evangelist. I highly recommend KimKim if you lack time to plan a trip yourself. Bryan was our local specialist, and he helped arrange an excellent introduction of Costa Rica for us, with a detailed itinerary that made our trip entirely stress free. We had a quiet trip that focused on short, guided hikes introducing us to the forests. We loved our two cities (La Fortuna and Quepos/Manuel Antonio Park), though in the future we might look for a more... read more

First time KimKim user and will now be an evangelist. I highly recommend KimKim if you lack time to plan a trip yourself. Bryan was our local specialist, and he helped arrange an excellent introduction of Costa Rica for us, with a detailed itinerary that made our trip entirely stress free. We had a quiet trip that focused on short, guided hikes introducing us to the forests. We loved our two cities (La Fortuna and Quepos/Manuel Antonio Park), though in the future we might look for a more remote beach (we were right outside of the park, which was nice, but that part of Quepos wasn't so interesting). One of our favorite parts of the trip was getting to meet all of the different guides, who each had their own way of showing off their country. We look forward to using KimKim in the future.

Hotel Reviews
Hotel San Bada Resort & Spa
Manuel Antonio

Right outside the Manuel Antonio Park entrance, and thus to the park beaches which are incredible. Couldn't be closer, or have better location. We also went to the hotel sushi restaurant and booked a couples massage at the hotel. We enjoyed both experiences.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs
Fortuna

Incredible.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Hanging Bridges and La Fortuna Waterfall Guided Hike
Arenal/La Fortuna

Guide Kenneth was fantastic.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Canopy Zip Lining Tour
Costa Rica

Good experience, a nice view of the canopies, a bit of adrenaline for those with acrophobia

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Birdwatching in Mundo Aventura Natural Park
Arenal/La Fortuna

Amazing diversity of birds

Quality of Experience
Food
I think in future might have been nice to have coffee snack *before* starting (it's 530am!) and then get back for hotel breakfast after birding.
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Coffee & Chocolate Tour
Costa Rica

Very interesting

Quality of Experience
The guide was great
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Hike
Manuel Antonio

loved this park!

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
The guide was one of the most knowledgeable guides we had our entire trip; he was also weirdly an anti-Darwin evangelist for Intelligent Design, but that just added some character to the trip.
Transport
we were right next door to the park! Couldn't have better transportation.
Local specialist: Bryan Leon
Bryan
Bryan Leon
Local specialist in Mercedes | Reviewed on Sep 25, 2022

Hello Seth,

You are very kind to take the time to conduct such a detailed review. I am delighted to know that you enjoyed your trip. I will share your comments with the partners involved.

Let me know if you want to continue enjoying my country in the future, I will be very happy to help you.

Pura Vida,
Bryan

Everything was great!Really enjoyed how sea...
Costa Rica | Sep 12 - Sep 17, 2022

Victoria
Victoria C.
Alhambra, AZ | Reviewed on Sep 20, 2022

Everything was great!

Really enjoyed how seamless the process was. Our trip was exactly what we wanted. Our rides all showed up on time, the drivers were all fantastic. Our guides were local, knowledgeable. Not associated with any company, which we liked.

Manoa Arenal - oh my god. What an amazing hotel. Stunning. Beautiful. Great service. Would go back.
San Bada in Manuel Antonio - Not my favorite. It sells itself as very convenient as it is attached to the national park. However, this... read more

Everything was great!

Really enjoyed how seamless the process was. Our trip was exactly what we wanted. Our rides all showed up on time, the drivers were all fantastic. Our guides were local, knowledgeable. Not associated with any company, which we liked.

Manoa Arenal - oh my god. What an amazing hotel. Stunning. Beautiful. Great service. Would go back.
San Bada in Manuel Antonio - Not my favorite. It sells itself as very convenient as it is attached to the national park. However, this puts you right in the middle of the tourism central, which isn't the relaxing beach vibe I was looking for. Kinda tacky and stressful. It definitely sells itself as more of a party location, and the facilities are a little run down. Service was excellent. Maybe a good choice for some, but looking back I wish I had spent the money for something a little nicer, especially with the convenient bus system.

9/10 great visit to costa rica, will be back
will use kimkim again

:)

Local specialist: Bryan Leon
Bryan
Bryan Leon
Local specialist in Mercedes | Reviewed on Sep 20, 2022

Hi Victoria,

It was a pleasure to work with you!

Thank you for your detailed review and constructive feedback! We will share your comments with all partners involved. Just contact me back when you want to continue exploring my country - I will more than happy to assist you again.

Pura Vida :)
Bryan

Cannot recommend enough!
Costa Rica | Aug 31 - Sep 9, 2022

K
Kate R.
Portland, OR | Reviewed on Sep 16, 2022

I had such an amazing trip! Tortuguero was beautiful. Staying in the rainforest and seeing all kinds of wildlife was so great. I saw so many sloths I lost count! Watching the sea turtles lay eggs on the beach was life changing. I could’ve stayed there for my entire trip, but I am also so glad I visited Puerto Viejo and San Jose. All of the tour guides and drivers arranged for my trip were knowledgeable and friendly. As a female solo traveler I was nervous for my first experience going alone,... read more

I had such an amazing trip! Tortuguero was beautiful. Staying in the rainforest and seeing all kinds of wildlife was so great. I saw so many sloths I lost count! Watching the sea turtles lay eggs on the beach was life changing. I could’ve stayed there for my entire trip, but I am also so glad I visited Puerto Viejo and San Jose. All of the tour guides and drivers arranged for my trip were knowledgeable and friendly. As a female solo traveler I was nervous for my first experience going alone, but Brittany and Ryan- my kimkim specialists were so helpful in the planning and coordination. Everything was seamless!

Hotel Reviews
Autentico Hotel
San Jose

Nice and clean, staff were great. Location is good but not quite close enough to walk to downtown area.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Evergreen Lodge
Tortuguero

Amazing place to stay, right in the middle of the rainforest. Staff was super friendly. Activities were amazing, and coordinated well. Food was good, however you are forced to eat at specific times and found myself wanting to eat when food was not being served. Also, since you are secluded and can only get to places by boat, you can’t just go find a place to buy snacks.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Banana Azul
Limón, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Great hotel. Clean and comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and great food. Some rooms are right above the dining area so they don’t feel very private. The beach is beautiful and they offer food and drinks from the beach. Location for me was perfect but it is not close to the town of Puerto Viejo, you would need a taxi or tuktuk to get there.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Balmoral
San José

Worked for what I needed but not worth the money. Location is great, right downtown. Not very clean or comfortable. Lots of people up making noise after the bars. Can hear everything from your room. Didn’t have the food.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Private Tour: Kayak Adventure & Rainforest Hike in Punta Uva
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Highly recommend, especially as a private tour. My guide Rodrigo was great. Super knowledgeable and shared a perceptive of how traveling impacts small communities.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
San Jose Food Walking Tour
San José

Had an amazing tour guide, Luc. She was really knowledgeable about the city, the history of Costa Rica, and even took me by some amazing art when I mentioned I had a teen son at home who loved graffiti, so that I could take pictures to send to him. I learned so much more than just talking about food, it was great!

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Guided Boat Tour Through the Tortuguero Canals
Tortuguero

I was part of a small group for this tour and couldn’t have been happier. Our tour guide, Noel, was amazing. He was pointing out so many animals on this trip that I could barely keep track. The area is absolutely beautiful.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Tortuguero Village Visit
Tortuguero

I loved the town. I would’ve liked to have been able to travel here by myself to grab food or drinks, but unfortunately since it is part of your hotel stay you can’t just make arrangements and have to go when they arrange it.

Quality of Experience
Guides, drivers and staff
Transport
Local specialist: Brittany McNamara