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Over one million visitors !!

Adventure Guide to Costa Rica

Never a ship sails out of the bay But carries my heart as a stowaway ~ Roselle Mercier Montgomery, writer, 1874-1933

I In 1999 for the first time, Costa Rica welcomed over one million visitors, a majority from North America. Nearly all arrived by plane into San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, 20 minutes from downtown San José. Awhole flock of airlines from around the world service Costa Rica, including Continental ( 800/ 525-0280, www.continental.com), with twice daily flights from Houston and one from Newark; American ( 800/433-7300, www.aa.com) from Miami and Dallas; Delta ( 800/221-1212, www.delta-air.com) with links from Atlanta; United (800/241-6522, www.united.com) connects in Mexico City or Guatemala from Chicago, LA and DC; and LACSA ( 800/535-8780, www.grupotaca.com). LASCA was formerly the national airline of Costa Rica and is now part of a Central American conglomerate with many direct flights and connections. It takes somewhere between three and seven hours to fly in from most major US cities to San José. Some charters are now flying direct to Liberia’s new international airport, making it convenient if you’re going to Guanacaste or Nicoya.

Students and faculty might do well phoning Council Travel (.800-226- 8624, www.counciltravel.com). Air-Tech, Ltd., ( 212/219-7000, www. airtech.com), is a ticket consolidator that offers great last-minute deals on charter flights from major cities in the US. We have flown with them on stand-by and saved a bundle.

Regional airlines connect to various small airports around the country from either Juan Santamaría, the main airport in San José, or Tobias Bolano in the Pavas suburb.

Any good US travel agent can make advance arrangements with a number of reputable tour wholesalers such as Tico-owned Nature Tours ( 800/444-3990), based in Louisiana, who have many years experience in Costa Rica. You might even try contacting them directly – ask for Carlos or Marinela. They’re very knowledgeable. In addition, several good tour companies in the States can make all or many of your arrangements for you. Expert Costa Rica tours can be made with Costa Rica Experts ( 800/827-9046, www.costaricaexperts.com); Holbrook Travel ( 800/451-7111, www.holbrooktravel.com), who owns several properties in Costa Rica so it claims a vested interest in tourism; Costa Rica Connection ( 800/345-7422, www.crconnect.com); Halintours ( 800/786-8207, halintours@aol.com), Tours by Joyce (. 888/264- 6604); Tropical Travel ( 800/451-8017, www.tropicaltravel.com); and Rico Tours ( 800/280-7426, www.ricotours.com). All specialize in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Trekking ( 506/771-4582, www.chirripo.com) has professional guides that run three organized treks in the Talamance Range, including one in Chirripó.

Also see the section on Local Adventures, Tours & Day-Trips in San José for local Costa Rican-based tour operators and agencies who can arrange your entire vacation or just day-trips and activities.


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