15 Important Journey Suggestions for Visiting Costa Rica

Tropical seashores, rugged rainforests, and limitless journey. Whether or not you wish to celebration the night time away or immerse your self in a few of Central America’s richest historical past—that’s what awaits you in Costa Rica.

Earlier than you begin planning your Costa Rica travel, there are some key belongings you’ll wish to know. Often known as one of the happiest countries on Earth and probably the most sustainable, Costa Rica is a powerful place you’re certain to fall in love with.

Costa Rica journey suggestions – issues it is advisable know

Anytime you’re visiting a spot for the primary time, you’re sure to study a factor or two about your vacation spot. Irrespective of the place within the nation you’re headed from San José to Puntarenas, Jacó, or Liberia, the best things to do in Costa Rica vary from wild zipline excursions to breathtaking rainforest hikes, and nearly all the pieces in between. Be ready in your journey with our suggestions!

1. You should use USD in most locations

Stack of United States Dollars
RomanR / Shutterstock

One of many greatest challenges that include touring internationally is determining the native forex. Nonetheless, if you go to Costa Rica, you should use the US Greenback all through a lot of the nation.

For probably the most half, USD is accepted all through the nation. Not solely does this make touring simpler (for Individuals at the very least), however it’s additionally a good way to economize by avoiding trade charges.

For probably the most half, taxi drivers, lodges, and eating places all through a lot of the tourism scorching spots are very happy to simply accept cost in American {dollars}. If you happen to plan on tipping although, which is extremely inspired, strive to take action within the official forex, the Costa Rican Colón. It makes it simpler for whoever you’re tipping to spend it.

Most if not all of the metropolitan and touristy elements of Costa Rica have fashionable monetary applied sciences that you’ve at dwelling. This implies which you could additionally use your credit score and debit playing cards in addition to applied sciences like Apple Pay in additional populated areas. That mentioned, make sure you at all times select to pay in Colón if utilizing playing cards as a result of the trade fee charged by your financial institution needs to be much less.

See Associated: Proven Ways to Save Money for Travel

2. Paying in money will get you a less expensive value

Person opening cash-filled wallet
Journey man / Shutterstock

One of many greatest insider Costa Rica journey suggestions is understanding that money is king. That’s truly true in numerous elements of the world, particularly as card transaction charges develop and price companies cash. In Costa Rica, charges are sometimes 1% to three% of the sale value however may be in extra of 5%.

You could be used to placing all the pieces in your bank card at dwelling, however you positively wish to carry money if you come to Costa Rica. It’s widespread to get a greater value on nearly all the pieces there should you’re paying in money fairly than utilizing a credit card or an app like Apple Pay.

So paying in money helps you to pay the sticker value for items and providers in Costa Rica with out getting hit with that additional markup. Some firms will even offer you an extra low cost when paying in money simply because it makes their paperwork that a lot simpler.

3. Select your seasons fastidiously earlier than reserving your journey

Cloudy Arenal Volcano from The Springs Resort
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Costa Rica is really a stupendous nation, and there’s actually no unhealthy time of 12 months to make a journey down there. Nonetheless, Costa Rica has some wild climate, and understanding your seasons goes that will help you have a good time.

Broadly talking, Costa Rica has two seasons; the dry one working from January to the top of April, and the moist one, working from Could by December.

Understanding these seasons in Costa Rica goes that will help you decide your vacation destination. September and October are mentioned to be the worst occasions to go to the Pacific coast because it’s so wet, and numerous companies shut down for the season.

Conversely, September and October are regarded by some as the perfect months to go to the Caribbean coast the place heat climate and clear skies make for a calming seaside journey.

If you happen to’re trying to save some huge cash in your Costa Rican trip, April and Could symbolize the shoulder season the place you’ll be capable of discover the perfect reductions on all the pieces from lodges to transit. And visiting within the dry season means getting extra good days to discover the numerous beautiful beaches, see the beautiful waterfalls, or have clear sufficient climate to see the Arenal Volcano. Simply be cautious of freak showers!

See Associated: Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit

4. Be taught some Spanish phrases

Sign in Spanish
Juan Roballo / Shutterstock

The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. Which means that road indicators, authorities info, and most main media retailers are going to offer all of their info in Spanish. With that in thoughts, understanding some Spanish goes to turn out to be useful, however getting that official info isn’t the one cause to know somewhat Spanish when going to Costa Rica.

It’s generally held tourism knowledge that understanding your approach round a neighborhood language will do wonders in your expertise. You’ll really feel much less like a vacationer and the locals will probably be extra inclined to chop you a greater deal or do you a favor should you’re talking their native language. Belief me, studying some fundamental Spanish goes to get you numerous if you go to Costa Rica.

Though English is broadly spoken all through the nation (significantly in tourism hotspots) and plenty of Costa Ricans, significantly within the capital metropolis of San José, converse English, it’s at all times courteous to have the ability to converse within the native language. Even just a bit effort goes a good distance.

So don’t be an ignoramus, decide up a Spanish phrase e-book, use your favourite language studying app, chat with a Spanish-speaking buddy, or take a couple of Spanish programs at a local people group to arrange in your journey to Costa Rica. The Ticos (a enjoyable time period for Costa Ricans), will respect that you simply tried. You don’t need to be fluent, however anytime you go to a spot that speaks a distinct language than you it’s at all times deeply appreciated if you give the native language a strive.

You’ll get a lot extra out of your journey to this tropical nation should you study some fundamental Spanish. My previously fluent, presently rusty Spanish abilities helped me make buddies that I nonetheless converse to as we speak. Plus your language abilities will enhance as you’re surrounded by it which supplies you a worthwhile likelihood to observe, which suggests you’re opening so many doorways for future travels to Spanish-speaking nations!

5. Renting a automobile unlocks Costa Rica’s potential

Driving towards Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica
Sara Valenti / Shutterstock

There could be no Costa Rica suggestions extra essential than those who make it easier to get round. And one of the best ways to get round Costa Rica is by automobile.

Costa Rica provides rather more affordable rental car prices than different locations in Central America or the US. For just some {dollars} a day, you possibly can hire a brand new automobile to get pleasure from in your drive by the Costa Rican countryside.

You’re positively going to need to perform a little research in your driving routes forward of time, significantly if you’ll go to through the wet season when roads can get washed out. Costa Rica additionally has much less highway signage than you could be used to.

Costa Rican drivers even have a fame for being very assertive on the highway. So, take it simple if you’re driving down streets till you get used to this new circulation of visitors. Typically, the nation is secure for drivers and paved roads can take you thru all the main cities.

See Associated: Best Car Rental Sites to Find Great Deals

6. Prepare for rain

Rain in Costa Rica
riekephotos / Shutterstock

Irrespective of the season, Costa Rica has a tropical local weather so you possibly can anticipate some severe downpours. If you wish to be prepared for rain like a neighborhood, you’ll depart the umbrella at dwelling. Although umbrellas are widespread in Costa Rica, locals are inclined to favor ponchos and rain jackets for his or her flexibility.

It’s best to carry at the very least a light-weight poncho on you even should you’re visiting through the dry months. Sudden downpours are widespread and somewhat additional preparation can spare you from getting drenched.

We additionally advocate having a dry bag with you. This allows you to stash your smartphone and every other electronics in a water-proof bag to maintain them secure.

7. Sure, you possibly can drink faucet water in Costa Rica

A woman drinking water
fizkes / Shutterstock

It’s outdated information that faucet water in some Latin American nations just isn’t secure for vacationers to drink. It’s because the faucet water in nations like Mexico accommodates microscopic organisms that don’t seem in different climates, and the water provides don’t undergo the identical remedy processes as they do in say Europe or North America.

These organisms can simply get you actually sick and spoil your trip – or worse. It may well take a very long time for the physique to get used to those new organisms, which is why the locals can drink the water however vacationers can’t. This has led to a fable which you could’t drink faucet water in any Latin American nation in any way.

However haven’t any worry, faucet water is secure all through all of Costa Rica. You gained’t have to fret about any disagreeable abdomen bugs ruining your journey as a result of faucet water. The nation has a recent plumbing infrastructure and fashionable water remedy processes, which means your faucet water in your hotel room in addition to in main cities and tourism zones is completely secure to drink.

You would possibly wish to carry some bottled water together with you should you’re heading into the extra rural areas of Costa Rica. Rural areas all through the nation are inclined to have much less fashionable infrastructure and generally depend on extra rudimentary water sources.

See Associated: Fun & Best Things to Do in Liberia, Costa Rica

8. Costa Rica is (regionally) costly

View of Tamarindo Beach from El Capitan Suizo Resort
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Sure facets of Costa Rica may be surprisingly costly. That is very true when evaluating Costa Rica to its neighboring nations like Nicaragua.

Why is Costa Rica a lot dearer than its neighbors? Merely put, you’re getting extra bang for that buck. Let’s check out how far a greenback will get you in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has gotten somewhat dearer during the last a number of years as taxes on Imports have elevated. Which means that there are a couple of items which are going to price about the identical as they do at dwelling – and generally extra.

Another excuse is that the tourism trade in Costa Rica has been extremely profitable and continues to be on the rise. That success has introduced further monetary alternatives which suggests increased prices for vacationers and common areas. So, as a vacationer, it’s kinda your fault too.

Some main prices nonetheless, like transportation and lodging, are going to be approach decrease in Latin America than they’d be elsewhere on this planet. Although Costa Rican lodges price greater than neighboring nations, they’re nonetheless extremely inexpensive by American requirements.

All in all, in comparison with trip locations in possession of comparable climates, climate, landscapes, actions, and lodging, Costa Rica is an extremely affordable vacation destination, even should you do plan on sticking to common tourism scorching spots.

9. Keep one step forward of mosquitos

A mosquito In a net
GrooveZ / Shutterstock

Being a tropical nation, mosquitoes take up residence all 12 months lengthy in Costa Rica, they usually’re not going anyplace any time quickly. That mentioned, there are methods of mitigating these mini-menaces.

Mosquitoes can carry harmful diseases like dengue fever and malaria. You wish to just be sure you have an efficient mosquito repellent on you always, and should you’re tenting be sure you’ve acquired some mosquito nets in your tent or hammock.

Mosquitos are at their worst through the wet season in Costa Rica. The moist season creates loads of stagnant swimming pools of water that are excellent breeding grounds for clouds of mosquitoes. The dryer months have fewer mosquitoes, however they’re nonetheless fairly widespread all through the nation.

The one place you possibly can actually keep away from mosquitoes in Costa Rica is at increased elevations, comparable to the realm across the Arenal Volcano. If you happen to plan on visiting extra mountainous areas, you’ll be capable of dodge the worst of those pesky bugs.

See Associated: Most Stunning, Unique Costa Rica Animals

10. Be prepared for restaurant service fees and taxes

Person paying a restaurant bill
Totsapon Phattaratharnwan / Shutterstock

One of many ignored suggestions for Costa Rica is understanding to be prepared for extra restaurant service fees and taxes. Eating places will seemingly add a ten% service cost to your invoice, which is widespread observe all through the nation, so don’t be stunned should you see a service cost in your receipt.

There are additionally further taxes that you must pay every time visiting a restaurant or a bar in Costa Rica. A 13% added tax is widespread throughout most eating places and bars throughout the nation.

Tipping can also be widespread observe all through the nation. tipper will depart a minimal tip of 20% at a restaurant or when using every other historically tipped service.

Not like in the US, the service cost and suggestions are thought of separate in Costa Rica. Service fees are taxable earnings whereas a tip can go straight into the employee’s pocket.

11. Go to nationwide parks and trails

Rope bridge in a Costa Rican rainforest
Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

Other than its balmy local weather, pleasant locals, wonderful meals, and large biodiversity, Costa Rica is thought the world over for its seashores, however do you know that lots of these seashores are additionally nationwide parks?

The most important attracts of Costa Rica are the nationwide parks, seashores, and trails. Costa Rica has 28 nationwide parks and three of these are additionally UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The nationwide parks in Costa Rica embody secluded seashores, volcanoes, and rugged rainforest jungles. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, there’s a nationwide park in Costa Rica that may make a perfect trip vacation spot only for you.

That is the right nation to go to should you love the outside and also you wish to expertise one thing actually untamed on a superb stroll. Costa Rica is dwelling to stunning climbing alternatives and varied trails for all ability ranges.

The entire nationwide parks in Costa Rica have some trails. There are simple trails which are good for inexperienced persons in addition to more difficult trails designed for knowledgeable outside fanatics.

Costa Rica additionally has a formidable Nationwide Path referred to as the Costa Rica El Camino. This path is over 170 miles lengthy and connects the Pacific coast to the Caribbean coast.

Whether or not you wish to spend your whole journey in Costa Rica backpacking by the rainforest otherwise you’re in search of a day journey to a volcano, the nationwide parks and this nation are an absolute should for any journey.

See Associated: Things to Do in Las Catalinas

12. Get suggestions from folks at locations you keep

Sloth Sleeping in a Tree, Costa Rica
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If you happen to’re utilizing a neighborhood information, like my pal José from Passport Adventure, it’s simple to get suggestions. However for solo vacationers, it may be even higher to get recommendation from locals on the place to remain just like the unimaginable Arenal Springs Resort & Spa or Crocs Resort & Casino.

Costa Rica is a pretty safe country, so there’s much less to fret about on that entrance. Nonetheless, locals can level you within the path of hidden gems you won’t in any other case discover comparable to hanging out on the Sloth-Watching Trail or the unbelievable Superman Zipline over the rainforest. These could make journeys much more particular since you’ve uncovered one thing different vacationers are much less prone to discover.

Getting recommendation from locals is far simpler if you recognize some fundamental phrases in Spanish, which solidifies how essential it’s to know somewhat of the language earlier than you go to.

Costa Rica journey information or concierge service like José will help personalize your itinerary to what is going to finest serve you. Plus their journey suggestions as locals are approach higher than something a fellow traveler might give.

13. Eat on the small native “sodas” to economize

A roadside soda in Costa Rica
phortun / Shutterstock

Doesn’t one drink a soda? Loosen up, it’s not that sort of soda. Sodas are roadside diners the place locals eat and vacationers don’t at all times make use of them.

However these spots can have a few of the finest native meals, particularly Costa Rica’s nationwide dish – Casado. If you happen to’re something like me, you’ll fall deeply in love with this dish.

Casado interprets in English to “married” which is the right title for this meal. The simplicity of beans, rice, greens, salad, plantains, and a protein selection (or no matter else the kitchen throws in) is so comforting, like a hug from a cherished one.

Not solely is a meal at a soda going to be cheaper, however you’ll additionally get a extra genuine expertise. They aren’t catering to vacationers, they’re catering to the locals. And also you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a higher plate of casado elsewhere.

14. Get insured

Safetywing Homepage
SafetyWing / SafetyWing

It doesn’t matter what time of 12 months you go to Costa Rica, travel insurance is at all times a good suggestion. With an insurer like SafetyWing you possibly can relaxation simple understanding that your travels, self, and baggage are lined.

Journey insurance coverage protects you from the sudden so you possibly can spend extra time having fun with your journey and fewer time worrying about what might go unsuitable. In case your flights get canceled, you get damage, you lose your baggage, or want emergency care? You’re lined.

SafetyWing is made for nomads, in order that they know what vacationers want. They’re there if you want them and even little kiddos are lined irrespective of the place on this planet you’re.

See Associated: Best Travel Insurance for Costa Rica

15. Embrace Pura Vida

A pura vida sign in Costa Rica
Marcus Grip / Shutterstock

All of the locals will shortly introduce you to the Pura Vida life-style of Costa Rica. Pura Vida interprets to “pure life”, “easy life”, “the simple life”, no matter you need man, it’s Pura Vida. This easy time period exemplifies the expertise of being in Costa Rica. You’ll hear it in every single place you go.

It may well imply “howdy,” “goodbye,” “thanks,” or “how are you” amongst so many different meanings. Largely it’s only a factor that individuals say. Greater than all of that, it’s only a feeling of familiarity that you simply’ll undoubtedly get by being in a small nation like Costa Rica.

My greatest Costa Rica journey tip? Embrace the life-style. Enable the experiences on this unimaginable place to pour over you want a waterfall. You and your journey will each be higher for it. Pura Vida, child.

Costa Rica Packing Listing

Packing Travel Essentials
Kittiphan / Adobe Inventory

Irrespective of the place your adventures could take you, from surf classes on the coast, exploring Manuel Antonio, or horseback using on the seashore, there’s some gear you’ll want. Costa Rica is a tremendous nation with tons of nature to expertise.

Typically, the gown codes are very laid again. Each women and men lounge round in athleisure or put on sporty clothes for lengthy outside hikes. It’s not unusual to see locals and vacationers alike kicking again in eating places carrying their beach clothes.

Insect repellents

Trail Guard Essential Oil Roll On Blend- Keeps Mosquitoes, Bugs & Insects Away
Path Guard Important Oil Roll On Mix / Amazon

You completely have to carry mosquito repellent as these buzzing bugs are an issue all 12 months lengthy, and sunscreen is an absolute should too, however take into account that inside the nation’s protected parks chances are you’ll be forbidden from utilizing spray lotions or repellents.

Costa Rica is likely one of the world’s most closely targeted conservation areas to guard its distinctive biodiversity. Contemplate packing or buying a distinct form, or attempting a pure various like coconut oil, which ought to assist with each bugs and solar.

Mountain climbing sneakers

Merrell Men's Hiking Shoe
Merrell Males’s Moab 2 Vent Mountain climbing Shoe / Amazon

If you happen to’re an adventurous sort of traveler, spend money on some good hiking shoes or boots in addition to water shoes for these day journeys to pure locations. Good climbing sneakers or boots will preserve your toes dry and your ankles supported on your whole adventures in Costa Rica.

There are numerous climbing trails across the nation, many with rainforest environments. Hold that in thoughts when buying your sneakers for the journey. Waterproof goes to be your finest buddy.

See Associated: Essential Solo Travel Luggage & Accessories

Reusable water bottle

Contemplate packing sensible daily-use gadgets like a reusable water bottle (once more, you possibly can drink faucet water in Costa Rica). Costa Rica is a really environmentally pleasant nation and having a reusable water bottle is a wonderful approach to assist protect nature. Plus there are many locations to fill your bottle as an alternative of getting to purchase single-use bottles as an alternative.

Personally, I just like the Brita water bottles as a result of the filter helps enhance the style of water wherever you go. They’re additionally light-weight and simple to clip onto a bag with a carabiner.

Interval merchandise

Those that use interval merchandise also needs to think about bringing them alongside if wanted as these are sometimes in excessive demand in Costa Rica. Tampons particularly are onerous, or almost not possible, to search out – and price their weight in myrrh.

If you wish to save house in your baggage, menstrual cups are one other nice choice. Some kits include cleaners and sterilizers that fold up and are simple to take alongside.

The foldable sterilizers simply must be crammed with scorching water, from an in-room kettle for instance, and the cup must be soaked within the water. (Don’t fear, boiling them takes care of any odor, so your baggage gained’t odor).

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