Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica? It’s surely one of the most spectacular countries in the world. With a coastline on the Caribbean and the Pacific, as well as some of the most incredible rainforests in the world, Costa Rica is paradise.
This is the place for animal lovers. In fact, it’s home to six percent of the world’s biodiversity.
Like many countries in Latin and South America, its reputation as a tourist destination continues to grow. And as it opens up, its infrastructure and even its food are improving rapidly.
Here’s what you need to know about traveling to Costa Rica from the locals who know it best.
1. Rent a 4×4
Costa Rica’s infrastructure is not quite there yet. As you can imagine, the roads are pretty bumpy. If you’re an experienced traveler then it’s not quite at the same level as places in Africa or countries in Asia like Laos or The Philippines.
But the pot-hole covered roads make for an uncomfortable journey if you’re renting a normal car or even a motorbike. Be sure to get a big and beefy 4×4 to help you along the way.
Renting a car is just the first step. If you need some help on deciding where to go once you get to Costa Rica and have your wheels sorted, check out our guide to planning your trip.
2. You Can Use U.S Dollars
If you’re from the States, then you’re in luck. There’s no need to convert your money into the local currency, the colòn.
Some locals prefer to use their own exchange rate to get more money than if you were paying in colòn, so you must have your wits about you.
Download a currency converter to your phone to avoid being ripped off in these situations.
3. Learn Spanish
If you’re not fluent, it might be difficult for you to learn a whole new language in a short space of time, but you can certainly pick up a few words of Spanish before you head off to Costa Rica.
While many locals do speak English, being able to say hola (hello), gracias (thank you), and me puede dar la cuenta por favor (can I have the bill please!) can all come in very handy. Knowing these words shows that you’re interested in learning about Costa-Rican culture.
4. Bring Your Own Equipment
Costa Rica is extremely varied, and if you’re visiting it, you’re probably going to want to see all it has to offer. Therefore, you need the right equipment.
One of the biggest attractions in Costa Rica is its beautiful coastline.
Here you can relax on the beach, head out on a boat trip, and go for a dive and a snorkel to catch a glimpse of the magical underwater world beneath the waves. But all of this requires equipment.
Make sure you’re equipped with a dry bag. This is a waterproof bag that contains all of your belongings like your camera, wallet, and phone.
You can take it on board boats if you decide to go for a trip around the coast or for a dive. It’s useful if you need to make a wet landing, where you have to paddle to shore from the boat — or if the waves are a bit choppy!
Water shoes might be another good investment as the coastlines can be rocky. You don’t want to end up seriously hurting your feet if you intend to climb one of the mountains.
Bringing good snorkeling equipment with you is also a good idea. You can obviously rent diving equipment as this can’t be loaded into your luggage.
Other things to consider bringing are a surfboard and a waterproof camera so you can take pictures.
Getting Back to Nature
The varied terrain of Costa Rica requires special gear too.
For the rainforests, you’ll probably need a waterproof coat and mosquito spray.
For some of the mountains and peaks like Mount Chirripò, you’re going to need some good walking shoes and a refillable water bottle to get all the way up to the top without getting too dehydrated.
5. Costa Rica Has Strict Policies on The Environment
There are many beautiful things to see in Costa Rica, and it is unrivaled in the number of animals you can encounter here. It’s understandable why the locals want to protect this and stop it from being spoiled by us humans.
Here are a few policies to be aware of during your trip to Costa Rica:
Carbon neutral. Costa Rica wants to meet this incredible target by 2021, and they’re doing all they can to make sure they succeed. 80 percent of their energy comes from hydroelectric dams.
A ban on plastic. Costa Rica wants to ban single-use plastics that do so much harm to the environment. In most restaurants and hotels, you’ll find it hard to get a plastic straw.
Visitor restrictions. Major tourist hotspots like the Monteverde Cloud Forrest have restrictions on the number of visitors who can attend per day. Soon, there might be restrictions introduced on the number of tourists being able to enter the country.
Plan Your Trip to Costa Rica
The most important thing to do for a great trip to Costa Rica is to plan ahead. There is so much to do there that you need to be clear about your timescale and what you want to see.
Trying to do too much can really hamper your trip, and you could miss out on some of the amazing attractions this truly stunning destination has to offer.
Contact us if you want to stay at our amazing hotel, spa, and eco-adventure park at the edge of one of the country’s spectacular national parks.