Once you’ve been to Costa Rica you will see why it’s so amazing with it’s flora & fauna. I continue to come back now two to three times a year to visit. Every time it’s a new adventure for me, I learn something I didn’t know before, and have the wonderful opportunity of freedom to explore many places.
Passport & Visa
Driving in Costa Rica can be very challenging for locals as well as tourists. If you are renting a car be mindful of the road signs just like at home there are stop signs saying “Alto”, yield signs saying “cedo el paso”, and roundabouts. Insurance can be quite expensive so keep that in mind, you might also want to check with your own company. I suggest not to drive at night as the lack of signs can be quite confusing especially in the dark. Motorcycles will drive up on the left or right of your vehicle just to get ahead in the traffic so make sure to always check.
Don’t purchase any food or drinks from locals selling to you while you are stuck in traffic. Although you might be tempted DON’T DO IT. Salmonella may lurk in those bags of coconut water they are try to sell you.
Local cuisine is found at what Tico’s call “SODAS”. A typical dish consists of rice, beans, chicken or fish, and salad. Try one! I’ve been to Jaco Beach a few times and also in Puntarenas near the port. They also have sour sop, and fresh fruit juices. Delicious!!! Not to expensive, and easy on your vacation funds. SODAS are generally open for breakfast “desayuno” and lunch “almuerzo”. If you feel the need for Italian, Japanese or something else they have those too, but it doesn’t come cheap. Prices are usually the same as at home. Tipping is not necessary unless you have had exceptional service. Taxes are already included in most bills. Once you are done eating in a restaurant than you will go to the front to pay your bill. Bills are not usually brought to the table.
A typical local soda
WHAT TO BRING
The weather in Costa Rica is usually quite warm so no need for those heavy sweaters, a light jacket will do just fine. Pack comfortable clothing like shorts, t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, beach wear, and sandals. For rainy season which is from May-November pack rain gear consisting of rain jacket, umbrella, and waterproof shoes. I always pack my hiking shoes which are so comfortable for volcano & hanging bridge tours as well as zip lining. Sunscreen is a must as it’s very expensive here along with bug spray.
You will end of paying twice as much as at home. There is mosquitos all year here so definitely spray. I recommend one with deet, but just my preference. You’ll have to try what works best for you.
Cameras are a must even if your not a professional photographer. The scenery, animals, volcanos, and waterfalls are truly stunning. You’ll enjoy showing off your photos to friends & family at home for many lasting memories. Alarm clocks with batteries are great as the power does go out from time to time and you won’t want to miss that amazing tour you’ve been dying to take. Bring all you cables for phones, tablets, cameras, and laptops you’ll be able to plug in to outlets here. Be sure to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi through out the country located in many tourist areas, restaurants, bars and resorts.
Don’t exchange your money at the airport. The rate generally isn’t very good. There is lots of places like ATM machines available through out the country. USD and colones are excepted everywhere, but large bills like $50 or above are not.
Costa Rica has lots of transportation available from airport shuttle, taxi’s marked with a triangle on the side of the door are great safe choices, local buses are always a great option and a cheap price.
Some things to keep in mind our tour guides, bellboys, and hotel maids really do a great jobs for you and it’s nice to show them they are appreciated with a tip. Some go above with exceptional service so you might want to consider all the special things they really do to make your vacation enjoyable.
I have a lot of people ask me the question is Costa Rica safe. I say yes. Keep in mind all the things you would normally do at home. Lock your valuables in your safe. Take reliable transportation, keep only essential things with you on the beach (no cameras/phones) without someone to watch you belongings, make sure you book your tours with a registered & insurance tour operator. If you need assistance with planning your tours I’m always available to help. I have personally been on a lot of tours and work with a great crew.