A dish of ceviche rests on a table.

Traditional Food in Costa Rica

Costa Rican cuisine is simple, and spices are shunned. Comida típica, or native cuisine, relies heavily on rice and beans, and “home style” cooking predominates. Learn all about how dishes are prepared, from favored local specialties to popular working-class meals.

A golden figure of a jaguar in the Museo del Oro Precolombino.

Sights in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura

Musicians, jugglers, and marimba bands entertain the crowds in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura. Amidst the lively atmosphere, take the time to explore the stunning architecture of the Teatro Nacional and the world-class Museo del Oro Precolombino.

Police station in Tortuguero. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Staying Safe in Costa Rica

Staying safe while traveling in Costa Rica is one part preparation and two parts common sense. You’ll find most of these tips apply to travel almost anywhere, but there are a handful of specific precautions you can take to ensure both you and your possessions are safe in Costa Rica.

Orange-billed nightingale-thrush in La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rica’s Best Wildlife Watching Spots

National parks, wildlife refuges, and biological reserves are found throughout the country. They range from swampy wetlands to dry-forest environments and from lowland rainforests to high-mountain cloud forests. Sign up for guided natural-history excursions or hire a local naturalist guide. You’ll see many times more critters in the company of an eagle-eyed guide.

Cyclist in San Jose's Parque la Sabana. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Recreational Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has scores of tour operators offering a complete range of options. Here are recommended general tour operators as well as specific recommended tours from horseback-riding and hiking to bird-watching and cruises and nearly everything between.

Costa Ricans have been rated the happiest people in the world. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rican Society and Identity

Expert author Christopher P. Baker introduces travelers to the rhythms of Costa Rican society, from its demographics and collective values to the Costa Rican identity as a country and as individuals.