Are you planning to go on vacation to Costa Rica for the first time ? We give you our best advice so that you can fully enjoy your trip to this country!
Immerse yourself in a 100% natural experience
Costa Rica is a country where nature is omnipresent . Imagine, more than a quarter of its territory is occupied either by national parks or nature reserves!
The diversity is also huge; Costa Rica is home to almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity , in a territory of only 51,100 km². There are, among other things, hundreds of animal species, 7,000 kinds of butterflies, more than 200 species of reptiles among the famous sea turtles. For bird lovers, it is quite simply a paradise, with more 800 species to observe!
Take his time
When you go to Costa Rica , you have to realize that the overall pace of life is changing. People aren’t as rushed as they sometimes can be. Learn to be patient, not to get upset if you find that the service is long in a restaurant, for example.
Be careful of night driving
If you are renting a car and absolutely must drive at night, be extra careful. The roads are not necessarily lit everywhere, animals can cross at any time and, like with us, there are potholes which can sometimes be quite large thank you.
First time in Costa Rica? Here are our tips
Even though the climate in Costa Rica is considered tropical and you will be wearing shorts and a sweater most of the time, remember to have warm clothes as well. Depending on the places visited, especially the mountainous regions, you will need trousers and a warm jacket. You will see that as soon as you change altitude, the degrees vary greatly!
Also remember to have laundry against the rain, there is indeed a rainy season (from May to November). In addition, some regions, including Monteverde, are known for their abundant precipitation. However, you should not prevent yourself from going to these places, because the rain is what gives a luxuriant nature. All you need is the right clothes.
Know how to haggle
When you go to the markets to buy fruit or to shop for some souvenirs, do not hesitate to haggle, negotiation is part of the game.
Tipping (or not…)
Tipping culture varies from country to country. In Costa Rica, at restaurants, a 10% tip is regularly included in the prices displayed or it can be automatically added to your bill. Take the time to carefully observe the menu or your bill. If not, tipping is optional, but still appreciated. If you had good service, you can leave an amount corresponding to 10 or 15% of the invoice.
It is also strongly recommended to tip the car attendants in the restaurant parking lots. You can offer between 200 and 300 colones.
If you plan to travel during the high season, we advise you to make your reservations in advance, especially with regard to accommodation. The options are not expandable and your ideal choices might slip away if you start too late.
The most requested periods are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Holy Week.
Read also: 5 Instagram accounts to follow before traveling to Costa Rica
Learn some basic Spanish
We can only advise you too much to know some basics in Spanish . A few everyday words, basic expressions.
You’ll see, it’s amazing how much more open the world is when you make the effort to speak in their language, even if it’s just to say thank you, good evening or to order a coffee.
Pay in dollars
You will have 2 currencies to pay for your purchases: either Costa Rican colones or US dollars.
Credit cards are accepted and it is possible to pay ths way, but if you go to small villages, this may not be the case. So plan to always have some cash with you.
Live the “pura vida”
You will very often hear the expression “Pura vida”. The inhabitants of Costa Rica indeed use it very often. Hard to translate…maybe carpe diem or enjoy life!
You will hear it in response to a “thank you” for example and you will see it on the jerseys, it is a kind of unofficial slogan. Don’t worry, after spending a few weeks in this country, you will fully understand what Pura Vida means!
If Costa Rica is not a country with many problems, like everywhere, zero risk does not exist. Caution should therefore be exercised, especially with regard to theft.
. It is particularly important to report the loss or theft of your identity documents to the Costa Rican authorities and to the Embassy of Canada to Costa Rica, in San José, in order to protect yourself against their fraudulent use. Petty crimes like pick pocketing and bag snatching are commonplace in Costa Rica.”
What to bring?
Among the things we strongly suggest you bring with you are: sunglasses, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, binoculars, rain poncho, water bottle, cash, shoes hiking and of course enough to take beautiful pictures.