Things to Know when visiting Costa Rica

15 Must-Know Tips for Your Costa Rica Adventure

Visiting Costa Rica is a dream for many travelers, drawn by its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, rich biodiversity, and vibrant culture. Before you pack your bags for this tropical paradise, here are 15 essential things you should know to make your trip as enjoyable and smooth as possible:

1. Eco-Friendly Travel is a Priority

Costa Rica is a global leader in eco-tourism. The country runs on more than 98% renewable energy and has vast areas designated as protected national parks. Travelers are encouraged to respect wildlife, stick to trails, and choose eco-friendly accommodations.

2. Currency and Payments

The Costa Rican Colón (CRC) is the local currency, though US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas. It’s wise to carry some colones for small purchases. Credit cards are accepted in most places, but having cash is essential in remote areas.

3. Spanish is the Official Language

While English is spoken in tourist areas, knowing some basic Spanish phrases will enhance your experience, especially in rural areas. It’s a sign of respect and can help in navigating the country more smoothly.

4. Weather Variations

Costa Rica has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season. The dry season (December to April) is ideal for beachgoers, while the wet season (May to November) offers lush landscapes and fewer crowds. Pack accordingly.

5. Diverse Ecosystems

From rainforests and beaches to volcanoes and hot springs, Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems are home to a staggering 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Exploring these habitats is a must-do for nature lovers.

6. Adventure Activities

Costa Rica is famous for its adventure sports, including zip-lining, surfing, whitewater rafting, and snorkeling. There’s something for every thrill-seeker.

7. Wildlife Conservation

The country is a pioneer in conservation efforts. Visit one of the many wildlife sanctuaries or national parks, but remember to observe animals from a distance and not to feed them.

8. Sustainable Practices

Tourists are encouraged to engage in sustainable practices. This includes using reusable water bottles, avoiding plastic, and supporting local conservation efforts.

9. Local Cuisine

Costa Rican cuisine is a blend of Native American, Spanish, and African influences. Don’t miss trying gallo pinto (a rice and beans dish), casado, and the fresh tropical fruits.

10. Public Transportation is Accessible

Buses are a common and affordable way to travel around the country. For more remote areas, consider renting a car (preferably a 4×4).

11. Dress Code

Casual and comfortable clothing is suitable for most places. However, bring a rain jacket and good hiking shoes if you plan to explore the national parks.

12. Connectivity

While Wi-Fi is available in most urban areas and hotels, connectivity can be limited in remote locations. Consider a local SIM card if you need consistent internet access.

13. Health and Safety

Costa Rica is generally safe for travelers. However, take precautions against petty theft and be aware of your surroundings. Vaccinations are not mandatory but recommended for diseases like hepatitis A and typhoid.

14. Entry Requirements

Most travelers can enter Costa Rica without a visa for stays of up to 180 days. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your arrival date.

15. Embrace ‘Pura Vida’

The phrase “Pura Vida” (pure life) embodies the Costa Rican approach to life: a positive and relaxed attitude. Embrace this philosophy during your stay to truly connect with the local culture.

Armed with these insights, you’re now better prepared to enjoy all that Costa Rica has to offer. Whether you’re there for the adventure, wildlife, or simply to soak in the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle, Costa Rica promises an unforgettable experience.