10 Costa Rica Travel Tips to Know Before You Go

You’ve decided that a holiday in Costa Rica is in your future. Before you board the plane and make an arrival, there are some things that you need to know. Taking them into consideration as you work out the details of your trip will make things a lot easier.

It will also allow you to decide how you want to spend your time so that you get the most from your vacation. Here are ten tips that will ensure you have a great time.

1. Book Accommodations Even if You’re Traveling During the Rainy Season

Costa Rica Accommodations

You already know that things can get hectic during the dry season. That’s one of the reasons you’re planning the trip during the green or rainy season. What you should remember is that while there will likely be fewer tourists, it’s still possible for hotels and hostels to be booked by the time you arrive.

Assume that’s going to be the case and book your lodgings ahead of time. That’s true whether you plan on remaining in one general area or would like to see several parts of the country. Advance lodgings will definitely make the stay more comfortable.

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2. Getting to Costa Rica is Easy

Costa Rica

Did you know that there are a number of direct flights to Costa Rica? That’s true from many countries in the Americas as well as the United Kingdom. You also have the option of booking flights with connections in key cities along the way. It’s up to you to determine which approach would work best in your case.

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3. But Plan Your Internal Travel Carefully

While getting to and from Costa Rica is relatively straightforward, things may be more complex if you plan on visiting several areas around the country. Owing to road conditions and other factors, some areas will be easier to reach than others.

Your best bet is to work with a tourist agency to plan out transport options to and from any points you wish to visit. The rental vehicle that you utilize while remaining in a metropolitan area is fine, but do expect to use alternatives as you travel around the country. Even using a bus system will mean familiarizing yourself with schedules and possible connections.

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4. Fun in the Sun is Possible Any Time of Year

Costa Rica Fun in Sun

While the rainy season is aptly named, that doesn’t mean it will be drizzling the entire time you’re in Costa Rica. It’s not unusual for areas along the coast to have sunny and humid mornings that are ideal for all sorts of recreational water activities. That includes the opportunity to take in some surfing. As you plan the trip, remember to allow time for sunbathing, boat trips, surfing, and other outdoor activities.

If you’re new to surfing, consider going during the dry season. There are more beginner classes offered from December to April, and the waves tend to be easier to catch. You’ll also be able to learn more about surfing etiquette under the care of a professional.

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5. The Season Will Impact the Cost

Costa Rica

On average, you can expect the cost of a vacation in Costa Rica to be at or near the average for traveling in most coastal areas around the world. Do keep in mind that the season will have some impact on the overall cost.

If you choose to travel during the height of the tourist season, the cost for lodgings, food, and amusements will be slightly more expensive. Should you choose to travel during the green season, that’s considered the off-season for travelers and you may find some discounts that help you save a little money.

6. You Can Use Local Currency as Well as the US Dollar

local Currency of Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s currency is the colón. As of January of 2020, it takes about 600 colónes to equal one US dollar. While you can exchange your funds into local currency, it’s not necessary if you have US cash to spend.

Most historical sites, parks, restaurants, hotels and hostels, and even tour companies are happy to accept payment in US dollars. You’ll even find that many of the ATM machines found around the country will dispense cash in US currency.

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7. Many Locals Practice Generous Hospitality

Costa Rica Travel Tips

There are places in the world where tourists are tolerated rather than welcomed. Choosing to go to Costa Rica means that you’re more likely to be the recipient of a great deal of hospitality. Expect the locals to greet you, offer smiles, and in general treat you as if you’ve lived in the country all of your life.

They’re happy to point out places to shop or eat, and often like to spend some time sitting around and chatting with you. By the time your visit to Cost Rica is over, it may almost feel like a home away from home.

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8. The Cuisine is Great Especially For Those Who Like Spicy Dishes

Costa Rica Cuisine

You won’t find it difficult to locate just about any type of cuisine that one can imagine. In terms of consuming local fare, keep in mind that the dishes are often spicy. That’s fine for people who happen to love spices, but it can be difficult for people who are used to food with less seasoning.

The good news is that many restaurants in Costa Rica are happy to accommodate guests who need to watch their intake of hot spices, whether for health reasons or due to personal preference. A discreet conversation with the server will lead to some suggestions for dishes that will be more in line with what you would like.

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9. The View From the Volcanoes Will Take Your Breath Away

Costa Rica travel tips

As you plan what to see during the stay, make sure you visit some of the volcanoes. There are guided tours that allow you to ascend to the top and enjoy beautiful views of the country.

Depending on which volcano you visit, it might be possible to see both the Caribbean and the Pacific waters by simply turning in a circle. That’s a view you’re not likely to forget any time soon.

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10. Travel Documents and the Departure Tax

travel documents

While you will need travel documents to enter the country, most people who are citizens of one of the countries in the Americas will not need visas. Even so, you want to keep your travel documents with you at all times. The authorities have the right to ask for them at any time.

You also want to be prepared to pay a departure tax as the end of your stay. In some cases, the airline you use will include that tax in the cost of your ticket.

Don’t make assumptions: confirm if that’s the case. If not, you will need to tender the tax before boarding the flight. As of January, the departure tax is the equivalent of $29 USD.

Remember that a little research and preparation will make your trip to Costa Rica more relaxing and enjoyable. Plan where to stay, reserve as much as possible in advance, and make sure you know what sort of identification and other documents are required. After this first trip, you may find that a second or third trip to Costa Rica is in your future.

You’ve decided that a holiday in Cost Rica is in your future. Before you board the plane and make an arrival, there are some things that you need to know. Taking them into consideration as you work out the details of your trip will make things a lot easier.

It will also allow you to decide how you want to spend your time so that you get the most from your vacation. Here are ten tips that will ensure you have a great time.

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