Costa Rica, in Spanish, literally means “Rich Coast.” It is a country that is in between Panama, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. With the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea surrounding this amazing country of Costa Rica, one can truly expect all of their senses thrilled and satisfied by this place. All you have got to do is to pick up that backpack and book your next flight to Costa Rica.
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Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica
Costa Rica belongs right up there when it comes to the most visited places in Central America. According to the OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2018, tourism in the country contributed to 46 percent of the services export and 37 percent of the total exports. Travelers love to go to Costa Rica because of its scenic beauty and a lot of fun and exciting activities to offer.
If you are looking for a place to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you should go to Cahuita. It is situated near the coast of the Caribbean Sea. The sound of the waves moving toward the seashore and the breathtaking horizon makes the whole Cahuita experience worth it. This small town offers a black sandy shore which creates a perfect area for laid-back travelers who wants to rest and lie on the beach. Other things that you can do include swimming, hiking, and animal spotting.
Backpackers who want a livelier beach should go to Puerto Viejo. Popular among the youth, this beach provides a place for people to go surfing, swimming, and basking under the sun. Puerto Viejo also has a lot to offer every night.
You may notice that a lot of the locals here are of Afro-Caribbean descent. This is because most of the people here came from Jamaica to work in banana plantations historically. Today, banana exports are still the primary source of income for Puerto Viejo.
El Silencio de Los Ángeles Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
The cloud forest can refer to several different places in Costa Rica. We stayed in a private cloud forest reserve of San Ramón in Alajuela, El Silencio de Los Ángeles Cloud Forest Biological Reserve at Villa Blanca. It was great, but we wouldn’t go back because the food was expensive, it’s hard to get to, and it’s too isolated. Instead, we would go to the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Costa Rica Travel Costs
Just like in any other vacation destination, it really depends on what type of traveler you are. You can be a luxurious vacationer who can spend thousands of dollars on hotels, beach activities, food, and other stuff. You can also be a thrifty backpacker who can stay at bed and breakfast inns, camp at beaches, or spend less on food and activities. Spending in Costa Rica will solely depend on the experiences that you want to have during your stay here.
Having said that, you should prepare at least $120 for the one-way flight cost to Costa Rica if you will be coming from the United States. You also have to keep around 800 dollars or more if you want to stay in a mid-tier hotel or rental house for a week. It is best to look for transient homes and B&Bs if you are going to be in Costa Rica for more than a week because you will be saving more than staying in hotels. You can go to booking websites that offer discounts and price drops on flights, hotels, and even rental homes. One of the cheapest and most delicious meals that will save you money is Chifrijos.
What to Do in Costa Rica for Entertainment?
Learn How to Surf
You will not find a better place to learn how to surf than in the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea with the majestic look of Costa Rica in the background. Enjoy the great waves as you surf during the sunset in one of the beaches in the country.
Book a surfing lesson in Tamarindo.
Costa Rica offers a lot of places where you can go spearfishing. Villages like the Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, Osa Peninsula, Papagayo Peninsula, and Los Suenos Marina are excellent spots to spearfish because of the enormous types of fish available in these areas. But before you start spearfishing in Costa Rica, you first have to get a fishing license. Do not worry, though. This license is quite easy to get. You can have a license that is valid for a year, for a month, or for a week depending on your needs.
Learn to spearfish in Tamarindo
Relax in Hot Springs
Aside from awesome beaches, Costa Rica is also known for its volcanoes. Along with this fact, hot springs are also available near these areas. You can have a soothing warm bath in hot springs near Arenal’s volcano. These hot springs are free for travelers, but you might want to get here as early as you can before other vacationers and even locals who bathe in these springs.
Book a Volcano & Hot Spring Tour
Go to Monteverde’s Hanging Bridge
Do you want to experience being in the clouds? You can go to Monteverde and walk side-by-side with clouds as you traverse the Sky Walk suspension bridges. The duration of the tour is two hours. You can also get other packages to explore more of the wildlife present in the forest.
Rappeling and Ziplining
There are a lot of places that you can zipline. We did rappeling and ziplining with La Roca Canyoning near the town of La Fortuna. You rappel down into a canyon, including into waterfalls. You need to be in good physical condition to do this activity.
Corcovado National Park
The Corcovado National Park spans 10,324 acres of land with an elevation of more than two thousand feet. This park was originally created to protect the surroundings from widespread logging and mining in the area. It houses hundreds of wildlife that include pumas, jaguars, sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, sea turtles, parrots, snakes, parakeets, and more.
This place is great for families who are searching for a tourist destination that provides fun and education for children. You have to book early, though. The park admits only a certain number of visitors per day. You can also experience Corcovado National Park at night but you have to make reservations as early as one month in advance to make sure that you will secure a pass.
Corcovado National Park day tour
White Water Tubing
How Should I Prepare for a trip to Costa Rica?
Prepare your passport
We have received reports that there are travelers going to Costa Rica that are having problems with passports with expiry dates of around three to six months. We are not yet sure about the reason for this but you should proceed on the side of caution for this one. Be sure to renew your passport before going to Costa Rica to avoid any passport issues.
You can really save a lot of money if you book early flights and hotel reservations in Costa Rica. You can find a lot of websites that give you great deals for roundtrip tickets and rooms. What you can do is go through these sites and see which ones give the best offers.
Make a list of your essentials
Some of these essentials include your passport, other identification cards, flight tickets, reservation receipts, phones, and a list of contact details in case you lose your phone. Keep them in a separate area of your bag to make sure that you can check them upon arrival and before leaving your hotel or lodging home.
Learn basic Spanish words and phrases
Although this is not necessary, you can still get by with a little Spanish conversation with a taxi driver or a market vendor. Memorize Spanish words for hotels, airports, food, car, and the like.
How Long Should You Stay in Costa Rica?
It really depends on where you come from. If you are coming from the other side of the globe, it is best to schedule at least a week to three weeks to get your money’s worth for the travel cost. If you are from the other nearby countries in South America, a week or two will be enough for a vacation.
What Should I Avoid in Costa Rica?
Before you go to Costa Rica, here are some tips that you should avoid:
Avoid going to isolated areas
You will have a higher risk of getting robbed if you voluntarily go to dark alleys and isolated areas in Costa Rica. It is best to just go where a lot of people are present.
Avoid getting attention
This can be quite difficult if you are of a different nationality than the rest of the people here. But you can still pull this off by wearing the types of clothes that the locals wear here. Also, avoid donning items that will attract attention like necklaces, bracelets, and expensive handbags.
Avoid shady taxis
Always go for licensed taxi drivers while you are here in Costa Rica. Monitor the meter and make sure that the fare for the ride is not overpriced. You can do a little research beforehand so that you will not be scammed.
Is It Dangerous to Visit Costa Rica?
Costa Rica opens its doors to tourists all year round and it has given the country a huge chunk of revenue that is used for its economy. The government continues to increase its budget to reinforce security in the whole country, especially in tourist areas and towns.
Costa Rica may not be as dangerous as the other tourist destinations that you have gone to but you still have to stay alert all the time. Vacationers may tend to let their hair down and be comfortable with their surroundings. But you should get a balance with being in vacation mode and having a good sense of the people around you. Never fully trust a stranger and always eat food and drinks that you ordered for yourself to ensure that nothing bad will happen to you. Traveling with friends and family will also make your whole vacation a lot safer than being alone.
With the number of things that you can experience in Costa Rica, one would ask if it is really worth it to leave this unique and charming country at all. With its spectacular sights, lulling sounds of the sea, and a culture that is to fall in love with, one has enough reasons to live and experience the whole country for a whole year or more.
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