Shopping and stores
Most shops are open from 9:00 to 20:00, usually with a lunch break from 12:00 to 14:00. The most popular local souvenirs are all kinds of handicrafts: T-shirts, hammocks, bags, numerous figurines, as well as jewelry and products made from different types of wood and corals, wickerwork, dishes and vases. In addition, good coffee and unusual brands with images of butterflies, flowers and birds can be brought from the country. Check bridgat for other cities and countries as well as climate and weather in Central America.
Cuisine and restaurants in Costa Rica
The national cuisine of the country is a hellish (in a good sense of the word) mixture of Spanish and Indian cuisines. Its basis is rice, black beans, meat, vegetables and spices. There are usually not so many spices in the dishes themselves, most often they are served separately in the form of a sauce. A variety of fresh vegetable salads, rice with vegetables and meat, rice cooked in coconut milk, meat in banana leaves are very popular. Fried and baked bananas are often served as a side dish, as well as a mixture of rice and vegetables. Be sure to try the baked fish “a la plancha”, shells “conchas” and pies stuffed with beef, cheese or chicken “arreglados”.
The most popular alcoholic drink in the country is the local rum varieties Centenario, Abuelo, Cacique and Platino. Also, do not ignore Cafe Rica coffee liqueur and light Imperial, Bavaria or Pilsen beers. Costa Rican coffee is considered almost the best in the world, and they drink it here in huge quantities.
In restaurants, the bill usually includes a tax of 13% and another 10% for service. It also happens that these percentages are already included in the prices indicated on the menu. If the service is not included in the bill, you can leave 5-10% of the order amount. It is also customary to tip the porters, maid, driver and guide. Tipping is optional in taxis.
An impressive fact: a third of the territory of Costa Rica is occupied by various national parks and reserves. Moreover, this small country has 120 volcanoes, 70 of which are active. Their slopes are covered with tropical vegetation of the famous “cloud forests”, which are rapidly disappearing from the mountain flora of Central America.
The most visited parks in the country: La Amistad International Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Itoi Serere, Corcovado, Rincón de la Vieja, Rara Eivís and Tortuguero parks ”, the Cano Negro Forest Reserve, the Carara, Kourou, Ostional, Cabo Blanco, Marenco, Juan Castro Blanco and Santa Elena forest reserves, as well as marine reserves Marino Ballena and Isla del Coco, Chirripo National Park, Las Baulas National Park and Monteverde Nature Reserve.
Entertainment and attractions in Costa Rica
The capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, is located in the very center of the country. The architecture of the city is a mixture of different styles: there are very few modern high-rise buildings in the center, most of the buildings are in the neoclassical or colonial style. The main attractions are the National Museum, ancient cathedrals and a colorful souvenir market.
Not far from San Jose is Alajuela, the second largest city in the country. The local “must-sees” are the Poas volcano, butterfly farms and a museum in the building of a former prison. In the neighborhood you can visit the craft center in Sarchi, the old Spanish fortress in Heredia, the Coffee Museum in San Pedro de Barva.
In the southeast of the capital is the province of Cartago – green valleys with plantations of coffee and sugar cane. The city of Cartago was once the capital of Costa Rica, but, unfortunately, almost all of its historical heritage was destroyed by earthquakes in the early 20th century. Here you can only admire the most beautiful cathedral and the famous Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, as well as visit the local Ethnographic Museum.
Many treasure hunters are trying to hunt in Costa Rica. Rumors about treasures have been circulating since the days of the pirates’ stay here.
The eastern part of the country, the zone of winding canals, selva and mountain ranges, is very original. Its inhabitants speak a wild mixture of Spanish, English and Indian languages, listen to reggae and grow cocoa and rice. In the east, there is the most picturesque city of the country, Lemon, in the vicinity of which you can visit the Indian reservations in the La Amistad park, as well as wander around the Estrella nature reserve. In the city itself, the Ethnographic Museum, numerous markets and Playa Bonita are of interest.
The northwestern part of the country is the most interesting for tourists. Here are just a few of its attractions: Baia Ballena Whale Bay, Kourou Nature Reserve, Wilson Botanical Gardens, Cabo Blanco Wildlife Sanctuary, Corcovado Park and Caño Island, Marenco Nature Reserve, Santa Rosa National Park ”, the “white city” of Liberia, the Guanacaste National Park with Orosi and Cacao volcanoes, Tabacon hot springs, Catarata de la Fortuna waterfalls, Manuel Antonio National Park, the famous “turtle island” Tortuga and, of course, the formidable Arenal volcano with the lake of the same name. Arenal was inactive for 300 years, but in the late 60s. the last century woke up so that it didn’t seem enough.