Costa Rica Travel Tips
The question is “What do I need to know before my vacation to Costa Rica?” If you’re the type that can buy a ticket and hop a flight without doing a bunch of research, more power to you. If, on the other hand, you like to know a bit about traveling to, in and around Costa Rica, then you’re in the right place.
Planning a vacation abroad is exciting, but let’s face it: it can be overwhelming. There is so much information on line that it’s hard to know what is current and what sources you can trust, not to mention what is useful and what is just wasting your time. That’s where we come in! Not only can you find everything you need right here, but we can assure you that our expert travel consultants are a fountain of information and willing to help when you decide it’s time to start planning.
From your biggest concerns, like which airline to fly, to the seemingly insignificant details that can make or break your vacation (do you really need five different types of bug repellent?), our experts have you covered. Whatever your question or concern, you’ll find the answer here. It’s everything you need to know to pull off a worry-free, safe, and easy Costa Rican vacation.
Proper planning helps preserve your sanity. So grab your notebook and favorite pen, brew a cup of java (preferably Costa Rican!), and read up on all the Costa Rica travel tips that you’ll ever need to plan a stress-free vacation.
Why Choose Costa Rica?
When people hear “Costa Rica”, images of a tropical paradise come to mind. Whether it’s the rainforest, beach, volcanoes, wildlife, the friendly locals, or the slower pace of life that draws over 2 million visitors yearly, Costa Rica has become the most visited country in Central American. “Why choose Costa Rica?” you ask; keep on reading to find out.
What’s there to do in Costa Rica? What isn’t there to do is a better question. Because of the varied landscapes and rise in ecotourism, Costa Rica has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Here’s why…
For the more active traveler, Costa Rica is a country full of thrilling and exciting adventures. Choose from activities like zip lining above the rainforest canopy, rappelling down waterfalls, horseback riding through the jungle, hiking around a volcano, strolling across high-up hanging bridges, white water river rafting down roaring rapids, floating through the jungle marsh, kayaking, ATVing, mountain biking, and surfing some of the most famous breaks in the world.
Costa Rica’s beautiful and biologically rich waters also make scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing and deep sea fishing a must-do for anyone who loves water activities. Many people come to see the giant sea turtles coming to shore to nest seasonally in Tortuguero and the Guanacaste region.
Is some R&R more your cup of tea? Costa Rica won’t disappoint; it’s beautiful beaches, thermal hot springs, hammocks and pura vida lifestyle will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
If trekking through the thick tropical jungle is more what you had in mind, Corcovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula will fit the bill. Corcovado is known to be one of the most biologically rich areas in the world and offers some of the best jungle experiences in Costa Rica.
For stellar wildlife spotting, including monkeys, sloths, birds, iguanas, nesting turtles and resplendent Quetzals, Costa Rica offers nature at its best. With 5% of the entire world’s biodiversity in one small country, you’re sure to see a myriad of beautiful birds and land mammals in their natural habitat.
Some come to Costa Rica with something more specific than your average vacation in mind. For medical tourism and green travel there is no place better than Costa Rica. Travelers with particular needs and concerns like families with young kids, women traveling alone and seniors will also find this country welcoming.
Because there is so much to see and do here, many people visit Costa Rica for the first time and simultaneously start planning their next vacation to explore more of this beautiful, nature-rich country. Whatever it is you have in mind, Costa Rica offers something for everyone.
Planning tips for visiting Costa Rica
Visiting Costa Rica for the first time? Not sure where to start? Well, our first recommendation is to start planning as soon as possible because even though Costa Rica is a small country, it offers plenty of things to do and see: from rivers to rainforests, from cloud forests to beautiful white-sand beaches. It’s a small piece of land that once you visit, you know you’ll want to come back soon. Here are a few recommendations about planning your trip:
First, check on international flights—sometimes you will be able to find some very good deals on airfare flying to either San Jose or Liberia. San Jose usually offers the best options, and it’s a great place to start your vacation if you are interested in seeing the Arenal Volcano, Monteverde or the Central Pacific. If, on the other hand, you are able to find a good deal to Liberia (which are becoming more common), it’s perfect for a beach vacation as Liberia is much closer to all the beaches in the North Pacific of Costa Rica. Even if you wait to get flights until after you plan your trip, it’s good to know what to expect for availability and cost. And if you find an amazing deal, don’t sleep on it—they don’t last long!
Second, once you have airfare, sit down and start checking on options for the land portion. If you are looking to spend a weekend in the country, it would be wise to make this a one-stop vacation rather than planning to visit several places. If you are coming for at least six nights, then you can decide between one or two destinations.
The most popular destination in Costa Rica is Arenal Volcano – it’s a great first stop for a vacation as the travel distance is about the same for people arriving either to Liberia or San Jose. Manuel Antonio in the Central Pacific is another favorite. It offers the opportunity to see a rainforest and enjoy a beautiful beach as well.
Third, don’t read too much. The amount of information you can find on line is overwhelming and you will end up getting totally confused about what to do and see. Have an initial idea in mind about an area or areas you want to see, and then start checking on hotel accommodations in each location so that you can start getting some rates as well. If you get confused or frustrated, it’s time for you to contact a local travel agent in Costa Rica; someone who knows the country and can guide you well.
Don’t try to cover too much in a short time; otherwise, by the time you get back home, you will be probably be more tired than when you left! Plan wisely, relax and enjoy.
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Welcome to Ask Rodo! Each week our very own Costa Rican Travel Specialist: Rodo Alvarez will answer as many Costa Rica questions from our website and Social Media as he can in ONLY 60 SECONDS!
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