Costa Rica General information
Information Geography: Rugged highlands are found throughout most of the country, they range from approximately 1,000 to 2,000 meters (3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level). The Cordillera de Guanacaste, Cordillera Central, and Cordillera de Talamanca are the principal mountain ranges extending the length of the country. There are several active volcanoes (Volcán Arenal, Volcán Irazú, Volcán Rincón de la Vieja and Volcán Turrialba) and the country´s highest mountain (Cerro Chirripó) which reaches a height of 3,819 m/12,530 ft. The country has a relatively long coastline in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as a number of rivers and streams that attract expert kayakers and rafters.
Climate: Costa Rica´s year round climate is pleasant with naturally occurring breezes cooling down most of the coastal areas. Temperatures in the highlands and the mountains are warm by day and brisk at night giving an "eternal spring" feeling. The average annual temperatures range from 31.7°C (89°F) on the coast to 16.7°C (62°F) inland. The rainy, or green, season lasts from May to December with noticeably drier days during the rest of the year.
Government:Costa Rican system of government is very similar to that of the United States of America. There are three branches of government: Executive, which consists of the president, two vice presidents and cabinet; the Legislative Assembly, with 57 individually elected deputies; and, the Judicial Branch, which consists of civil, criminal, appellate and constitutional courts. The President and members of the Legislative Assembly are elected for four-year terms and the president can´t run for reelection.
Incumbent President is Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera
Communication: Costa Rica has one of the most advanced telecommunications systems in Latin America, with telephones and fax machines all over the country, and an increasing number of businesses online. To call or fax Costa Rica, dial the country code 506 before the number. There is also reliable mail service, and an ample selection of courier services in San José. Most large hotels in the San José area have cable television, with US and European stations. Newspapers and magazines from North America and several European nations are sold in many shops and hotels in and around the capital.
Transportation: It´s easy to get around Costa Rica, and if you stick with public transport, traveling within the country can be quite inexpensive. There is bus service to just about every town and city, and buses that serve main tourist destinations are of high quality. Taxis are also plentiful and inexpensive, and in San José they are required to use meters for most trips. The standard charge for a taxi ride between the international airport and downtown San José is $10 US. The quickest way to get around is to fly, and several domestic airlines offer daily flights to most of the popular tourist destinations. There are also plenty of car rental agencies, most of which rent four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Population: Ticos, as Costa Ricans are commonly known, are a fairly mixed bunch. Though the majority of the country´s 3.3 million inhabitants are the descendants of Spanish immigrants, many families originated from other parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and, of course, Central America.
You may be surprised by the number of fair-skinned people you´ll see in the country, especially in the Central Valley. In the lowlands, more people are mestizo -that is mixture of European and Indigenous blood- whereas the majority along the Caribbean coast are of African lineage, and much of the Talamanca Mountain Range is inhabited by full-blooded Indians of various tribes.
Many vacationers coming to Costa Rica realize the potential for making investments, whether active or inactive. For instance, many people planning on retiring may not want to do so full time, but mix business with pleasure. For them, a beach house and hotel business for sale would not only be a great place to live, but would keep them active in retirement and be a great investment, all at the same time. Local bank and private real estate financing is available in Costa Rica, if that is necessary. Costa Rica offers good internet service, which lends itself to internet businesses, like web site optimization, for instance, http://www.forrestwebsites.com , a business run by an American living in Costa Rica.
Tourism is one of the major industries in the country, and recently has become more upscale, even for those that come here to experience the natural and ecological wonders of Costa Rica. For instance, first class, luxurious vacation rentals on the beach are available for the discriminating nature traveler, as well as luxurious and boutique, small hotels and resorts, such as Monte Azul. From basic beach cabinas to Four Seasons quality resorts, you'll find the accommodations that you desire.
Medical and Dental Tourism
Costa Rica has a thriving medical tourism business and at the core of expanding it is a local company - Medical Tourism Marketing at http://www.medicaltourismmarketing.com. This forward looking company handles the complete marketing through printed sources as well as the internet for a local dentist - Costa Rica Dental Team and another popular website, a complete guide to dentists in Costa Rica at http://costaricadentalguide.com. Visitors coming to Costa Rica often vacation here to find equal treatment in dental clinics here but at prices far lower than in the US or Canada. Many dental services can be completed in one or several days, but other dental treatments may require return visits which can raise the cost of dentistry compared to the US. Colina Dental Clinic is aware of this and can help you plan your visit so as to maximize the savings benefits.
Costa Rica has a mildly thriving gambling industry with casinos in the populated area of San Jose as well as in the frequented tourism areas - usually in major hotels. Costa Rica also has companies that provide online, gambling support for bookies worldwide, as there are no laws here prohibiting the operation of such services, although they may be illegal in the US. One such company, http://www.idsca.com, has extensive server capacity as well as bookmaking software for PPH, Pay Per Head, support, and employees hundreds of local residents, providing a boost to the economy.
Other Dental / Medical Services
Costa Rica has one of the best medical tourism practices in the world, whereby patients can be treated here at half the cost of the United States, and with that saving, have an ecological vacation as a tourist! Competent doctors and dentists, most of whom train abroad, speak English and will provide the same level of professionalism that you would expect in the US. Using the most modern techniques in cosmetic dentistry, computer guided implants and dental crowns, many treatments can be completed in one day.
Some treatments that can be performed here in Costa Rica are not legal in the US. For instance, the use of HGH, Human Growth Hormone, is not permitted in the US for anti-aging purposes, but only for dwarfism and certain degenerative diseases, even though medical evidence shows that it is effective for helping to maintain a healthy body.
Costa Rica has a wide variety of vacation rentals, but the most popular rental villas and houses are on or near the beach. One very popular area is Manuel Antonio, which has the most popular National Park - The Manuel Antonio Park. For vacation rentals in Manuel Antonio and all over Costa Rica - www.villascostarica.com would be a trusted source. There are very few rentals on the beach at Manuel Antonio, most villas are up on the hills, but if you must be in a luxury beach house on the beach at Manuel Antonio then the best would be the Discovery Beach House, which also specializes in beach weddings.
Costa Rica Travel Agencies, Hotels
As with traveling to any country, you want to be assured that the travel agency you are dealing with is approved by the government or reputable organizations. You want your vacation to go perfectly, and in Costa Rica, travel agencies approved by the ICT would be your most secure option. Costa Rican Trails Travel Agency, specializing in custom itinerary vacations would be a good choice as they are not only members of the ICT, but have the highest rating for sustainable tourism granted by that agency.
Neighbors to the North and South - Panama & Nicaragua
Many tourists visiting Costa Rica, especially those that come from a long distance like the Europeans, like to explore our neighbors to the north and south. In the case of Panama, Panama Trails offers vacation packages at the best hotels You will be sure to want to tour the Panama Canal, currently being enlarged.
In Nicaragua, Nicaraguan Trails offers the best of the new luxury hotels in Nicaragua, which is no longer just a cheaper version of Costa Rica, but in its own rite becoming a upscale vacation location, especially with boutique hotel accommodations located within Lake Nicaragua.
Mexico, Caribbean, Central & South America Travel & Medical Tourism
Vallarta Vacation Rentals - Beachfront & View Homes - Wedding Locations By far, one of the most romantic places in Mexico is Puerto Vallarta, and www.evillasvallarta.com has the best luxury selection of beach and view rentals.
Mexico, Central America & South America Travel For further down in the hemisphere, across the equator and into the southern hemisphere, for travel arrangements, www.latinamericacollection.com is a travel agency of long standing. Select from their pre-arranged vacation packages, or have them create a custom itinerary for just you.
Sitting in a dentist's chair hardly rates as a vacation. But every year, tens of thousands of people go to a tiny border town near Yuma, Ariz., that has proclaimed itself the dental capital of Mexico.
Los Algodones is a virtual dental factory. Some 350 dentists work within a few blocks of downtown. Because of the low prices and fast service, most patients come for major work.
"Oh, boy, I had 22 crowns done, four root canals," says Brian Quade. He is still numb from the Novocain. His mouth is bloody. "Nine hours straight yesterday, and then today they did a deep-cleaning scaling, and tomorrow they're installing all the crowns."
What could possibly make those three jaw-dropping days appealing to this cabinetmaker from Seattle?
"It's $50,000 up there, about $5,000 down here," he says.
It's inexpensive; it averages two-thirds less than in the U.S. And it's quick. There are so many dental labs in town, it only takes a day or two to make a crown, a bridge, even dentures.
A long line of patients sit in the hallway of the Sani Dental Group clinic opposite a long line of exam rooms. Miguel Ibarreche — known to patients as Dr. Mike — runs the clinic's diagnostic department. He looks in patients' mouths, tells them what they need to have done and how much it will cost. The most common procedures patients get done here are implants and crowns, Ibarreche says.
For healthcare in Puerto Rico - http://www.starhealthcarepuertorico has the best doctors and dentists in that US possession, which means you don't have to have a passport to travel there as a US citizen.