Costa Rica

Costa Rica encapsulates life in all its myriad forms. From its perpetually smiling, friendly locals to its spectacular ocean & verdant jungles teeming with wildlife, home to turtles, whale sharks & migratory humpback whales, it is a nation that fills one with gratitude & a yearning to embrace ‘la pura vida’ – the pure life.

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activities & experiences

Warm climate and untouched landscapes combine to make Costa Rica a joy for nature lovers and adventurers. Wildlife is abundant, and jungle hikes, beach walks and rainforest trails are innumerable. Costa Rica highlights the most immersive aspects of life, whether indulging in spa treatments, enjoying the food, taking to the waves or taking an inward journey through yoga and meditation. 

These aspects can be enjoyed consummately, or simply as small tasters of a greater itinerary that captures all aspects of this wonderfully captivating and alluring nation.

Adrenalin addicts, spiritual yogis, bird spotters, couples and families – everyone can find their place in Costa Rica, interpreting their experience however they wish to infuse their vacation with a lust for life and the purest satisfaction. Venues have adapted to this gamut of experiences and the guests who search for them. Right on your doorstep, wherever you may stay, you will find a host of activities to wile away your days.

  • Be guided through jungle pathways to discover a wealth of wildlife 
  • Paddle across the tranquil ocean in a kayak or paddleboard
  • Take to the waves on a surfing adventure
  • Unwind with a glorious spa treatment & massage
  • Hike the slopes of an active volcano & cool off in beneath a waterfall
  • Zipline through the jungle canopy
  • Explore the history & culture of San José
  • Visit a coffee plantation & learn how to make the perfect brew
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Costa Rica

destinations

National Geographic has described Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth’, and it is here that you’ll find the quintessential nature experience. From resplendent toucans of bellowing howler monkeys and sedentary sloths, the country’s wildlife can be witnessed almost comprehensively in this coastal jungle region. Yet Osa is not the only destination, and many magical landscapes and sites await visitors amongst the isolated coastal coves, towering mountains and rich, dense rainforests.

Arenal Volcano


Arenal volcano has been dormant since 2010, but its verdant slopes and fertile volcanic soil provide the perfect home for an abundance of wildlife. Hiking these hillsides is fascinating, offering a distinctly different perspective to the more ubiquitous jungles. The now cooled lava flows from previous eruptions provide unique pathways to trace, and several waterfalls and pools within the region create a spectacular backdrop and a dramatic way to refresh.

Liberia


For a touch of local culture, Liberia is the place. Find more traditional cuisine, discover local arts and crafts and mount up with the sabaneros – the cowboys of Costa Rica. On a guided horseback ride through Rincón de la Vieja National Park, you will find volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls and a diversity of indigenous wildlife, including tapirs, pumas, numerous monkeys and elusive jaguars.  

Monteverde Cloud Forest


For a natural immersion, few places can parallel Monteverde Cloud Forest. From the tiniest of bugs to the larger endemic mammals, Monteverde has so much life. Treetop canopy walks and ziplining give you a wonderful elevated perspective, allowing you to view wildlife rarely observed at ground level. Being a little more remote, Monteverde is also a little more exclusive than other regions and parks, and conservation, rather than tourism, is the park’s primary focus. This provides a wonderful connection to the flora and fauna, and a greater sense of the region’s importance and uniqueness.

Nicoya Peninsula


On the northern west coast of Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is where the nation’s beach culture thrives. Surfing communities, expansive white-sand coastlines and a laid-back atmosphere often make one consider never returning home. While more populated than its southern sister, the Osa Peninsula, you will still find many secluded beaches and deserted reserves and forests. Yoga is very popular here, and a sunrise class is a wonderful way to start your day. Nicoya is also one of the world’s five Blue Zones, global locations and their respective lifestyles that produce demographically longer, happier and healthier lives.

Osa Peninsula


Though we have touched upon the Osa, there is much more to be said for this incredible region on the south-west coast. If you are searching for an idyllic jungle retreat, the Osa is where you will find it. Several luxury accommodations have established themselves here, enveloped in the lush jungles overlooking deserted beaches and private coves. Health and wellness is pervasive, from the indulgent spa treatments and deliciously healthy foods to fresh air, clean ocean and myriad activities. Mountain bike along jungle trails, snorkel across the rocks and outcrops of the coastline and find wildlife from treetop – with sloths and monkeys – to the deep blue sea – with humpbacks passing the peninsula on their annual migrations.

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accommodations

There are plenty of more rustic options across Costa Rica, but numerous larger organisations, including 4 Seasons, have established themselves here. A more recent influx of luxury travellers has given rise to increased standards in accommodation of all levels. You can find boutique retreats, luxury hotels, exclusive lodges and private villas in most regions across the country.

As with much of Costa Rica, accommodation is all about the nature. With such exceptional surroundings almost everywhere you look, it comes as little surprise that many venues take full advantage of this. Enveloped in the surrounding jungles, offering expansive views, featuring sweeping terraces and swimming pools elevated to capture spectacular coastlines; wherever you choose to stay, you will always be bathed in the quintessential pura vida of Costa Rica.

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COSTA RICA ESSENTIALS

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BEST TIME: Nov-Apr

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CLIMATE: 72-93ºF (22-34ºC) year-round, though the west is a little warmer than the east.

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SEASONS: DRY: Nov-Apr / WET: May-Oct

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BEST FOR: Naturalists, active travellers, but also those searching for rest & relaxation 

The Caribbean Coast is a touch cooler, but also very wet, averaging 215 significantly rainy days a year. The Pacific Coast is both warmer and drier, and far better suited, both in terms of climate and its accessibility and range of facilities. Despite comfort and luxury being readily available, Costa Rica is very much about the great outdoors. You can rest and relax, enjoy massages and therapies and drift away on beautiful beaches, but to make the most of the country, one should embrace the untouched landscapes, forests and wilds of this incredible nation.

HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN COSTA RICA?

This depends a little on your motivation for visiting. A week’s relaxing retreat or mountain-to-surf adventure is thoroughly enjoyable, but it doesn’t encompass the pura vida lifestyle and all Costa Rica has to offer. For that, taking in the volcanoes and waterfalls, the jungles and rainforests, the ocean, the cowboys and the wonderful wildlife, we recommend about two weeks or perhaps a little more.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Though temperature changes very little throughout the year, precipitation certainly does. November to April are the drier months and the best time to go, but it is also worth considering peak travel times around the holiday period. By avoiding December and January, you will also reduce the crowds with whom you may be sharing some of the more popular destinations with.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ACCOMMODATION IN COSTA RICA?

Sometimes quaint, perhaps a little rustic, frequently intimate, but always breathtaking. Large hotels are rare, some forested venues may be a little too in touch with nature for some, but you will invariably find high standards of accommodation wherever you stay. There is occasionally the chance of waking to find nature quite literally on your doorstep or balcony so, while accommodations ar always safe and secure, it is worthwhile expecting Costa Rica’s predominantly harmless natives to be sharing venues with you – always in a completely safe and non-intrusive way.

OTHER DETAILS:

Flights to Santiago are reasonable and regular, direct flights taking a little over 10 hours from either coast. Connecting flights can then take you to Chile’s specific regions, while overland transportation is available and highly advised for shorter trips to take in even more of the country’s wonderful scenery.

Direct flights are easily arranged into San José or Liberia from 9 different US gateways including New York, Washington, D.C., Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. Flight times to San José average six hours from across the United States.

Spanish is the national language of Costa Rica and some basic Spanish will definitely be useful, particularly in the more remote areas. That said, English is widely spoken, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industries, your accommodation staff, guides and so on will likely be fluent in English. All staff are trained to excellent standards, and whether seated in a restaurant or trekking distant jungles, you can be assured that you will always be in good hands.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

- Amy Lundberg

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

- Betsy Robertson

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

- Dawn Jacobs

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

- George Kowalski

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

- Jackie Smith

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Jamie Scarlett

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Joe Moravec

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Kim Mather

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Lisa Anderson

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (& family)