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Maravilla Costa Rica
Alang Alang Costa Rica
Morabeza
Sunset House, Tamarindo
La Cima, Playa Hermosa

Costa Rica Villas

Costa Rica Rentals

Costa Rica, a unique country in Central America, has established its reputation as one of the most spectacular vacation destinations in the world. Luxury Costa Rica villas rival the most stylish and eco-friendly of properties. These beautiful homes offer lucky visitors a base from which to explore stunning beaches, national parks, volcanoes, and diverse wildlife in one of the safest countries in Central America.

The destination is a country famous for its well-established well-being-focused trips. It also has some of the best surfing in the northern hemisphere; you can be as busy and active as you wish or do your best impersonation of a cute local sloth and kick back in one of Costa Rica's luxury vacation rentals.

It's more than the sum of its parts. This country is truly the Rich Coast filled with sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences and is one of our most popular Spring Break Destinations and Best Tropical Vacation Spots.

Guide to Costa Rica


WHAT IS COSTA RICA BEST KNOWN FOR?


The destination is known for its beautiful and unspoiled coastlines. Dazzling seascapes that take in the blue of the vast Pacific to the west and the Caribbean to the east are home to marine national parks that provide sheltering spaces for wildlife to flourish.

The rainforests, teeming with more birdlife than the whole of North America combined, are a lush landscape you can explore. Hiking, treks, ziplining, and ATV tours are just some activities that will bring you closer to a limitless bio-diverse world.

The grassy plains surrounding the many volcanos are a cowboy's dream. Getting in the saddle to explore this territory is another aspect of life in this nation.

There is also a fabulous range of luxury villas in Costa Rica.  Yet another attractive aspect of a vacation to this perfect corner of the globe.


WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE COSTA RICA?


Less than 15 degrees from the equator, the destination has a perfect 12-hour day. Sun-up is 6am, and sundown is 6pm.

Progressive thinking is what is unique about this destination. Long before other destinations thought about protecting their natural habitats, Costa Rica established protected zones and National Parks to take care of its biggest asset: its natural world. As a result, over 25% of this country is Government protected national parkland.

The decision to disband its army and redirect funding into education and tourism is another aspect of the country's forward thinking. Tourism is the most valuable business, and the ministry of tourism has put much thought into what sort of experience travelers want.

But don't despair and think the country is overcrowded. On the contrary, there are vast areas of coastline, pristine beaches, and dramatic waterfalls that you can enjoy away from the buzz of hotels and tourists.


PLANNING TIPS


WHAT PART OF COSTA RICA IS BEST TO VISIT?


The Guanacaste region, lying to the northwest of the country, is about an hour from Liberia Airport. This area boasts endless unspoiled beaches, and the villas in Guanacaste are ideal for family vacations.

The Playa Hermosa is famous for water sports, especially diving. Playa Blanca is a calm beach that attracts families who want to enjoy swimming in the Pacific. The Papagayo Peninsula within this province has golf courses and numerous resorts offering visitors world-class dining.

A couple of our favorite Papagayo Peninsula Villas include Cielo Mar, Casa de La Luna and the Villas at the Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Further south, the towns around Manuel Antonio are a dream for surfers and anyone wanting to explore the national parks to the country's south.


WHAT MAKES COSTA RICA UNIQUE?


The destination is best known for its spectacular great outdoors. The Pacific and Caribbean are two marine playgrounds that offer diving, surfing, and whale watching. In addition, the lush rainforests provide canopy tours where you can jump on a cable car tram or zipline through the green canopy.

Nature tours are a vital feature of any vacation here. You will find these expertly guided introductions to flora and fauna of this country designed for minimal impact on the animals you'll get to see. Over 800 species of birds, like the colorful toucan, hummingbirds, and parrots, live and breed in Costa Rica.

In addition, you can glimpse sloths, monkeys, and the ever-elusive jaguar in certain regions. In the Pacific Ocean, you are on the pathway of the humpbacked and pilot whales that travel this route toward their winter or summer feeding and breeding grounds.

Costa Rica has given turtles a safe harbor, and you can visit the protected nesting areas to witness these tenacious creatures at various times in their lifecycle.


HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED IN COSTA RICA?


The flying time from the USA is under 6 hours (from LA / NYC) or 3/4 hours from Florida / Texas regions, so it's one of those destinations that could work well for a week's vacation. But to give yourself time to experience a few of the many exciting aspects of this beautiful destination, two weeks will allow you to get more out of your trip.

If you plan on moving further and seeing more of the country, a month will give you that feeling that you are starting to embrace Pura Vida and live the Costa Rica way.


WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT MISS IN COSTA RICA?


Whales are one of the top things not to miss. Where else can you get within a safe distance (safe for these beautiful creatures) for most of the year?

Swim at the foot of a waterfall or try adrenaline-pumping activities like white water rafting, ATV tours through a forest, rappelling down a waterfall, kayaking through one of the National Parks, hiking to a volcano, or immersing yourself in a local fiesta.

A local coffee brew must be another 'not-to-miss' experience. Fresher than fresh is the term to use. And if you are wise, you'll try the 'chorreador' a traditional slow-drip brew.


WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART ?


Many people would say that the most beautiful part is the west coast. However, if you like stunning scenery and dramatic coastlines, you will love the Nicoya Peninsula.

The two provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas make up this peninsula and are home to some of the most memorable Costa Rica luxury villas. In addition, towns and communities like Las Catalinas, Nosara, Playa Jonquillal, and Playa del Cocos have gorgeous beaches and access to excellent swimming and diving conditions.

Further south along the Pacific coastline, you will find villas for rent in Manuel Antonio, close to the stunning beaches and breathtaking rainforest interior. With access to Uvita and the Ballena National Park, this is a top-rated destination for families who like good beaches and lots to do. Manuel Antonio has some stunning villas, such as Villa Panorama and Jungle Villa.


WHAT PART OF COSTA RICA HAS THE BEST BEACHES?


The west coast of has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But, of course, you will find excellent beaches on the Caribbean side too. Still, for choice, the Nicoya Peninsula and the areas around Manuel Antonio have a wide variety to choose from.

Playa Herradura, Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo, Playa Hermosa, and nearby surfer's paradise, Jaco, are just some of the exceptional beaches to choose from. All beaches are open to the public by law.

These beaches are home to some of our best Beach Front Villas, such as Morabeza, Casa Lanui, and The Point Villa in Guanacaste.


IS THE OCEAN CLEAR IN COSTA RICA?


The ocean is clear. Not only clear but vast. You will find over 800 miles of coastline to explore, famous for many beaches with powder-soft sands and clean and clear waters. You can dip into the crystal-clear ocean from the terrace of some of the most attractive luxury villas in Costa Rica.


WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK IN COSTA RICA?


The national language is Spanish. Any tourist destination, like Nicoya Peninsula, Las Catalinas, and Manuel Antonio, will have staff and service providers fluent in English. However, once you move into smaller villages and remote communities, especially among older Ticos, English isn't spoken. A few useful Spanish phrases will go a long way.


IS COSTA RICA A GOOD DESTINATION FOR A FAMILY VACATION?


Yes, it is a good destination for a family vacation. There's something enjoyable for all ages: The beaches, the forests, Ziplining, canoeing, and exploring volcanoes.


CAN YOU FLY DIRECT TO COSTA RICA FROM THE US?


Yes, there are many US cities offering direct flight service to either San Jose Airport (SJO) or Liberia Airport (LIR).

San Jose and Liberia Airports welcome flights direct from:

Atlanta, Austin, Washington, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Orlando, and San Francisco. Flying times vary from 3 to 5 hours.

European flights depart from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London Gatwick, Madrid, Paris, Zurich, and Madrid. Expect non-stop flying times to range from 11-12 hours.

Canadian cities of Toronto and Montreal offer direct services too. Flying times under 6 hours.


CAN YOU FLY DIRECT FROM THE UK TO COSTA RICA


Yes, there are flights with British Airways direct from Gatwick to San Jose Airport.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET TO COSTA RICA FROM THE US?


Flying times from the US are all under 6 hours. Some examples are LA, Chicago, and NYC is around 5.5hours. Miami is under 3 hours. Houston, Ft Lauderdale, around 3.5 hours.


WHICH AIRPORT IS BETTER?


There is excellent service directly into San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia (LIR) from most major US centers. If you stay in and around the Province of Guanacaste, transfer times are about 1 hour from Liberia.

Alternatively, SJO is at the very center of Costa Rica, so well placed for visitors who have planned to stay on the southern Nicoya Peninsula. You can access it via the ferry from Puntarenas. Also, Quepos, Manuel Antonio, Uvita, and Dominical are better served by SJO.

If your destination is the Caribbean coast, SJO is the better airport to fly into. There are several smaller airports and landing strips around the country. If you want to hop on a connecting smaller aircraft to bring you closer to your ultimate destination, then SJO is ideal, as the main airport is where you will find most small flight connections.


WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO GO TO COSTA RICA?


The best time of year to travel depends on what you hope to see and experience. For instance, the dry season runs from November to April. The dry season is the season when tourist numbers and rates are highest.

The rainy season, called the Green Season, runs from May to November, with September and October peak rainy seasons. As a result, the rates for private villas in Costa Rica and tourist numbers come down during this period. Nevertheless, many of our guests prefer to travel during the green season as it is so beautiful.


WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES IN COSTA RICA?


The average coastal temperatures sit in the 80/90 F (27/32 C) bracket. You can find it windier and cooler if you hike to higher altitudes. Always check the temperature if you are going hiking and pack appropriately.

Due to the country's location close to the equator and its mountains and forests, there are many microclimates where you can experience pockets of sunshine during rainy seasons and mists and showers during the dry season. Check with the locals before any expeditions.


WHEN IS COSTA RICA'S RAINY SEASON?


The rainy season technically runs from May to November. But to drill down into this, you will find that the 'Green Season,' a lush time of year, consists of two very rainy months, September and October.

The other months of the Green Season experience typically sunny conditions in the morning, followed by cloudier afternoons with rain at night. One of the most significant advantages of traveling from May to August or November is avoiding the busier tourist season and getting better accommodation rates.

There's also one bonus to all this rain, it pumps up the action for white water rafting and visiting waterfalls.


DOES IT RAIN ALL DAY DURING THE COSTA RICA RAINY SEASON?


No, it doesn't rain all day during the rainy season. The Pacific and Caribbean coasts experience different seasons simultaneously. For instance, the Pacific coastline has its rainy season from May to August, where you will generally enjoy sunnier mornings followed by rainy evenings.

By contrast, the Caribbean coastline enjoys its dry season from May to October. But beyond these generalizations, due to the topography and rainforests, the destination has many microclimates, offering sunshine pockets even in the rainiest months. So, choose your vacation home rentals in Costa Rica wisely, and you can enjoy the best of any season.


WHAT IS THE BEST CURRENCY TO TAKE TO COSTA RICA?


The best currency to take is US dollars. They are accepted virtually everywhere. Many resorts and tourist restaurants in Costa Rica will list menu prices in US dollars. We recommend you have about 100 dollars in small to medium bills on you to pay in cash or tip, as necessary.


WHERE CAN I EXCHANGE MONEY IN COSTA RICA?


If you prefer to exchange money in Costa Rica, you can do so at any of the local banks. Withdrawing money from a bank ATM is another easy option, although some banks switch off their ATM between 10pm and 5am.


IS IT BETTER TO USE CASH OR CARDS?


Large hotels, restaurants, and bars all accept credit cards. However, for smaller family-run businesses and to tip tour guides or porters, it's recommended to have small bills available. Anyone bringing more than USD 10k into the country must make a formal declaration at the point of entry.


DO I NEED A CAR?


A car will give you the independence to explore beyond any of the vacation home rentals in Costa Rica. A helpful tip is to opt for full insurance coverage, as the roadways can be rough, and you will want any vehicle damage covered by your insurance.

You will need to specify if you want a manual or automatic car at the time of booking. However, we recommend you choose a 4-wheel drive to travel some local roads with a little more confidence.

Signposts are not always where they are needed, so plan any journey using maps and GPS. In addition, local drivers sometimes have a loose interpretation of the rules of the road.

Stay vigilant. When collecting your car at the airport, we suggest you book it for 60 minutes after your flight arrival. Then, factor in approximately 3.5 hours to drop the car back at the airport, as the shuttle from the drop-off area to the airport terminal can take up to 30 minutes.


AGE REQUIREMENT FOR DRIVING IN COSTA RICA

Car rental ages are a minimum of 21 or 25 years, depending on the car rental company you choose. In addition, you will need to present your passport and full driving license at the collection point.


HOW BIG IS COSTA RICA?


The destination is almost 20,000 square miles. Comparatively, it's similar in size to the State of West Virginia. Once you begin exploring any luxury Costa Rica vacation rentals, you will soon discover that destinations that look close on a map can take much longer to reach than you might imagine. Always add an hour to any GPS estimate for local traffic conditions.


HOW MANY MILES LONG IS COSTA RICA?


It's about 290 miles north to south and approximately 170 miles east to west. Drivers will find road signs displayed in kilometers and the main highways paved and in good condition. However, if you move onto more minor roads, expect potholes.


WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY?


The documents required for entry are a passport valid for your visit. You will also need a return ticket showing your intention to depart within 90 days. We recommend that you photograph the immigration entry stamp in your passport so that you have it readily available should you need to show it to authorities during your visit.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE AROUND COSTA RICA?


Surprisingly due to the relatively small size of Costa Rica, it can take quite some time to drive from coast to coast. In addition, mountains pop up, some volcanic, to ensure your road trip is a meandering affair.

If you go onto some of the more minor side roads, you may find yourself driving through a river that has popped up after rainfall in the hills. But without a car, you won't get to see and experience as much of the natural beauty of this incredible country.


DO I NEED A PLUG ADAPTOR FOR COSTA RICA?


Travelers from the US typically do not need a converter or adapter as the voltage is 120V and 65Hz, similar to the US system. In addition, most of the sockets are flat, two-pronged, with a configuration that works for most US plugs.

However, travelers from all regions should check the voltage requirements shown on plugs and appliances before using them. In addition, you may require adapters or currency converters to prevent damage to your appliance or charger.


HOW MUCH IS IT TO RENT A VILLA IN THE COSTA RICA


The prices vary depending on size, location, and amenities. Call the Exceptional Villas Sales Team to explore your options.

The choice of villas in Costa Rica is wide. From small, jewel-like properties designed for romantic honeymoon couples to a large, multi-generational family getaway, there's much to choose from.

Beautifully appointed properties with ocean views or homes nestled in the vibrancy of a rainforest offering low environmental impact are some of the desirable factors of many of our properties.


INTERESTING THINGS


HOW DID IT GET ITS NAME?


In 1502 Christopher Columbus gave the name Costa Rica to the country. He believed the landscape looked as though it would yield lots of gold and precious stones.


WHAT IS UNIQUE


Ticos, the name for a native Costa Rican, uses the phrase Pura Vida, which means pure life. It's at the heart of the experience. A stable and democratic government that has chosen a progressive path for its nation has created a pure life.

It's a life that considers protecting the natural beauty and investing in its nation's education above the need for weapons and war. With a carbon-neutral deadline on its near horizon, THE COUNTRY continues to value its unique qualities and place as a global example.


WHAT ARE THREE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT COSTA RICA


  • Cowboys. You don't need to romp through a Texan range to see stalwart horsemanship in full flight. The Sabanero is a master in the saddle. If you are lucky enough to visit Costa Rica during one of its many rural fiestas, you will see impressive Sabaneros on parade.
  • Surfing. It's no longer a well-kept secret. The shores of Costa Rica offer thrilling waves for seasoned and beginner surfers. In addition, there's a strong surf culture around Manuel Antonio, where ultra-cool and casual surf guys and gals ride the Pacific waves and decompress in laid-back villages and towns like Nosara, Tamarindo, and Samara.
  • Whales. Costa Rica's Pacific coastline is the superhighway for migratory whales. These gentle giants move from the cooler waters of the Antarctic in the winter months to enjoy the balmy conditions of the northern hemisphere.

The temperate waters become the nurseries where pods of humpbacked whales stop off and allow their calves to flourish. There are many reputable whale-watching tours that you can take from Puntarenas. Responsible tour guides understand not to cause distress to protective whale mothers. You will get within easy distance of these sublime creatures and return to shore with loving respect from these gracious mammals.


WHAT IS THE CAPITAL OF COSTA RICA?


The capital is the city of San Jose. Located in the vast farming plains of Valle Central and at an altitude of almost 4k feet above sea level, this is a bustling and cosmopolitan city. Of the 5 million citizens, 1 million live and work in San Jose.


THINGS TO DO IN COSTA RICA


Canopy Tours or, in more common parlance, Ziplining is one of the top things to do in Costa Rica. La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Guanacaste are some of the best places to take to the wires. If you are less adventurous, there are trams that you can travel on through the green canopy. These cable cars move slowly and offer an excellent opportunity to see wildlife in its natural habitat.

Scuba diving is excellent due to the exceptional water conditions. Las Catalina Islands, the Gulf of Papagayo, Tortuga Islands for the shipwrecks, and Cano Island offer great guided dive tours.

Take a private boat trip to explore some secluded beaches along the Papagayo Gulf. Snorkeling off a boat will give you unparalleled access to colorful marine life. Include a picnic or a sunset supper, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable day out.

Surfing is world-class. Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Dominical, Santa Teresa, Nosara, Playa Tamarindo, and Playa Grande are just some of the beaches that welcome surfers of all standards.

Costa Rica loves to party. You will find Fiestas Civicas take place throughout the year. Many are tied to religious holidays and are an opportunity for the Ticos to dress up, feast and dance. Christmas and Easter periods will see a lot of celebrations.

Mountains plus rain equals majestic waterfalls. Some of the Places to Visit in Costa Rica include the stunning Llanos de Cortes waterfall, which is only 20 minutes from Guanacaste. Also, check out De Toro waterfall, in the Bajos del Toro area, at almost 300 feet high.

Rio Celeste, a turquoise blue river in Tenorio Volcano National Park, is another stunning destination with a waterfall.

Ostional Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places to learn about sea turtles and visit one of the beaches where mass nesting occurs. May to December is the best time of year to visit, and you will need to book ahead and visit with a guide.

Visit any of the Wildlife Centers. These aren't zoos. Their primary purpose is to rehabilitate injured animals before returning them to the wild. They are focused on conservation and education and are a great place to go if you want to see a sloth or some other native species at close range.

Why not try kayaking through the national parks? To reduce the negative impact on wildlife, you can only explore some of these naturally forming canals in non-motorized boats. Join a guided tour and glide through these untouched wildernesses. It's a fabulous day out for all ages.

Arenal Volcano is one of the top volcanic attractions. You can hike to the top and enjoy the incredible view across Lake Arenal.

Coffee is a big business. If you want to see how it's harvested and processed, then book your trip to coincide with the coffee season. October to March is best for plantation tours. Check out Monteverde, Alajuela, and Heredia for some of the best plantation tours.

For the walk of a lifetime, the Whale Tale, a uniquely shaped sandbar at Marino Ballena National Park, can be hiked at low tide.

If you would like to read more, take a read of our blog on the Top 10 Things to do in Costa Rica and Facts about Costa Rica every visitor should know.


WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN COSTA RICA?


The food has two different themes. First, the Caribbean coastline shows its Afro-Caribbean roots, and you will find spicy, jerk flavors on the menu. Second, Caribbean rice, simmered in coconut milk, is also a regular on any east coast menu.

The Pacific coastline is more aligned with traditional Central American menus. A dish you will find on most menus is Chifrijo. A rice and beans dish with fried port (chicharrones) topped with Pico de Gallo.

For snacks on the go, you will find Copa on most beaches. It's shaved ice topped with condensed milk and syrup and is a sweet pick-me-up that tastes even better when you enjoy it with your feet in the surf.

And for the ultimate rehydration, try a Pipa Fria which is cold coconut water. So refreshing.


WHY BOOK WITH US?


Exceptional Villas, highly rated by Trust Pilot, has been offering its valued clients bespoke vacations for decades. With access to some of the most luxurious, ideally situated, and tasteful villa properties in Costa Rica, Exceptional Villas can match you with the property ideal for you and your family's needs.   Costa Rica Honeymoons are very popular with newlyweds.

Alex, Elaine, and Linda in Costa Rica
Alex, Elaine, and Linda in Costa Rica

A complimentary concierge service works in tandem with creating a vacation itinerary that will allow you to express your passion for food, fun, and adventure. The Costa Rica specialist team has first-hand knowledge of this incredible destination. They will provide expert knowledge on Where to Stay in Costa Rica.

Elaine and Gwladys are our two experts, and they are also able to help with our St Barts Villas and Bahamas Villas.

They have established relationships with the best service providers who can take your vacation to another level. It starts with your first call or mail, shepherding you through to your flight home after the trip of a lifetime.


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