Costa Rica Travel Tips
Our Travel Tips for Anyone Planning a Trip to Costa Rica
Planning a vacation abroad is exciting, but let's face it: it can be overwhelming. There is so much information online that it's hard to know what is current and what sources you can trust, not to mention what is useful and 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 Costa Rica travel planning.
From your biggest concerns, like which airline to fly, to the seemingly insignificant details that can make or break your vacation (do you 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 you'll ever need to plan a stress-free vacation.
FAQs for Travel Tips
What should I avoid in Costa Rica?
Some of these tips are common sense but let's chat, shall we? For example, you don't want to leave valuables unattended, especially at the beach, AND you don't want to go to the beach at night, especially for women. Also, please don't swim in front of a surf break or take a dip in the river (crocodiles). And if you think you can get a base tan in Costa Rica, think again.
What should I know before traveling to Costa Rica?
Many people think Costa Rica is a cheaper country to visit. And while there may be parts of it that are, for the most part, it can get expensive. For example, tours can add up per person if you are doing tours.
And if you see the country, it isn't massive, so you may think; the map says that it will take only 5 hours to get to my destination. However, it would be best if you rethought this as the roads can be pretty rough, the heavy rains can stop traffic, and those cows can also stop the traffic.
How should I prepare for a trip to Costa Rica?
Of course, you contact Costa Rican Vacations, BUT before you do, let's answer these questions first:
- How long do you want to spend here?
- Are you looking for a beach, volcano, or both?
- How many are you in your group?
- All inclusive, bougie, or boutique place to stay?
- What activities do you want to do?
Do and Don'ts Costa Rica?
- Practice your Spanish and try to speak it. The locals love that you are trying.
- Get used to saying "Pura Vida."
- Bring sunscreen, an umbrella, and a rain jacket.
- Find all the opportunities to go on adventures.
- Make sure you carry colones (Costa Rican money), which is helpful for street vendors.
- Don't lay out naked.
- Don't leave your valuables on the beach or in the car.
- Don't go during Christmas and News Year if you want to avoid crowds.
Can you drink tap water in Costa Rica?
Yes, you can, but we suggest you check with the places you are going to. But, again, it would be best to be mindful in the rural areas.
When should you not go to Costa Rica?
September and October are some of the rainiest months in Costa Rica. So, you may want to avoid these times. But, they can also be the cheaper months to travel. Please note that some places will shut down in October.
What are some strange laws in Costa Rica?
While it isn't strange, the drinking age is 18 in Costa Rica. Marijuana is illegal in Costa Rica but is also one of the most known drugs.
Is a Covid test required to enter Costa Rica?
No, it is not. You are not required to show proof of vaccination status or proof of medical insurance related to COVID-19.
Do Costa Ricans like tourists?
Yes, they do. As a tourist, you must respect the country, the culture, and the community just like you would ask if someone came to your country. The impact of tourists to Costa Rica has contributed to the conservation and restoration of natural resources in national parks and reserves.
What can I bring back from Costa Rica?
The essentials of Costa Rica, such as coffee, chocolate, and souvenirs at a street vendor. And no, you can not bring back a sloth. Maybe a stuffed animal slot but not a real one. But what you will most enjoy is the memories and your happy heart.
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 America. So let's chat about why you should choose Costa Rica.
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, and hiking around a volcano. You can also stroll across high-up hanging bridges, white water river rafting down roaring rapids, and float through the jungle marsh. Or, go 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. In addition, many people 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; its 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 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 a tiny country, you're sure to see many beautiful birds and land mammals in their natural habitat. Some come to Costa Rica with something more specific than your average vacation in mind.
No place is better than Costa Rica for medical tourism and green travel. 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.
However, whatever you have in mind, Costa Rica offers activities for everyone!
Top Travel Tips for Costa Rica
Are you 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. Moreover, it's a small piece of land you know you'll want to return to once you visit. So here are a few recommendations for planning your trip:
First, check on international flights —sometimes you can find some excellent 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 can find an excellent deal in Liberia (which is 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 a fantastic 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. For example, 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, 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 in 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.
Third, don't read too much. The amount of Costa Rica travel information you can find online is overwhelming, and you will get confused about what to do and see. Instead, have an initial idea about an area or areas you want to see, and then start checking on hotel accommodations in each location so you can get some rates. Finally, 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 probably be more tired than when you left! So plan wisely, relax, and enjoy.