Make Costa Rica your first choice to visit in Central America

 

MD-the wanderer 2x beachfront-092915

Special to Dorchester Banner/Malcolm McKnight
Beach-front shopping in Costa Rica.

If you have to go to Central America, go to Costa Rica. This country of 3,500,000 people has the most stable government in the area and welcomes expatriates from the United States. It has a national police force of around 400, which you never see, unlike a number of other countries in Central America and no standing army. This is the Wanderer’s choice for first-time visitors to Central America. Next would be Panama!

This Spanish-speaking country benefits by having coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean. A different culture resides on each. For this reason, two distinct environments are available to the tourist, separated by beautiful mountains. The coastlines offer the traditional swimming activities, surfing and outstanding fishing. The mountains in the central and northern areas offer rainforests, hiking, river rafting and gorgeous vistas. Costa Rica is the center of ecotourism in Central America.

A number of airlines fly to Costa Rica from the U.S. The country has two international airports, one in the capitol of San Jose and the other in the north at Liberia. A passport is required.

The colon is the coin of the realm. Do not exchange dollars for colons until you arrive in Costa Rica. The exchange rate is much better there. Credit cards are commonly accepted in the major towns, but cash may be necessary as one travels the interior. Most locations have ATM machines. This is not an expensive country to visit. Resort rates are modest by today’s standards.

The country has an excellent telephone system. The electricity is 110v, so there is no need for converters. Car rentals are available, but care must be taken in the mountain areas for the roads can be narrow.

There are many first-class hotels and resorts throughout the country. If visiting Jaco on the Pacific coast, a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park and Isa Palengue are in order. The temperature on both coastlines is a near constant 81 degrees all-year. The mountain areas are cooler, around 65 degrees.

A stay of a couple of days in the capital city of San Jose will be rewarded by visiting the opera house and the gold museum. The opera house is probably the most ornate in the world, built around 1890 for a diva who was a no-show.

Always be sure to check web sites for additional information before you go!

Editor’s note: Malcolm McKnight writes on places of travel interest from his home in Cambridge.

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