Important Costa Rica Travel Tips For A Better Getaway
Want to make your trip to Costa Rica better?
Costa Rica truly is an eco-lover’s paradise. Ecotourism actually started in the country during the eighties. This is when people started to learn a lot about the fauna and flora of Costa Rica. Nowadays, this once known secret is an attraction for countless people from all around the world.
An incredible thing about Costa Rica is that 27% of it is a reserve, a wildlife refuge or a national park. Even the government is working hard to protect the biodiversity of the country.
Get ready to experience adventure activities in Costa Rica and make the trip better with the following tips.
Look At Your Bill
When you eat out, there is a service charge added, together with tax. This sums up to around 23% more than what you initially expected to pay. This is true for restaurants, soda shops, cafes and more. Fortunately, this also means that you do not have to leave a tip, unless this is something that you really want to. It is hard not to after you eat some of the local dishes.
Roads Are Bad
If you want to do some driving in Costa Rica, get ready for a bumpy ride. This country is renowned to have some of the worst roads in the Americas. Obviously, it does depend on where you want to travel to but most roads that are not a national highway are bad.
It is a really good idea to rent a 4X4 or an SUV. The little extra money you pay will make the entire driving experience a lot better.
Check Car Rental Prices
Always double check car rental prices in Costa Rica. When you first look at them, you are tempted to see that you are faced with an incredible deal. However, if you look at the entire document you sign, you figure out that third party liability insurance is a necessity.
Liability insurance is not covered by the home insurance or credit card provider. Because of this, the online price is not what you pay. Be sure that you are careful with how much you pay.
Obviously, since you are renting a car, you do want to be careful as you drive. Some of the roads are really dangerous and you can end up in an accident.
The US Dollar Is Acceptable
Costa Rica’s official currency is the colon but in most places you can pay with USD. The only problem is that you might get a pretty bad exchange rate. Download an app to help you know exactly what rate is fair and what is not.
A related tip that you should be aware of is that credit cards are also widely accepted. It is not that difficult to find ATM machines.
Natural Attractions Cost Money
Many tourists are surprised to see the fact that they are charged to see a natural attraction. However, it is not uncommon to be asked to pay something for visiting a waterfall or another landmark. You can expect to pay around $20 for an attraction so factor this in your travel budget. Also, when you visit the popular attractions, you can even be charged $50.
Locals Are Very Welcoming
Costa Ricans are known as Ticos and they are very welcoming. You will often find yourself talking with them, which is something you should do. This is because they will tell you about all the great local places that you can visit. Also, remember that many of the locals speak English so you can easily get around without a problem.
Humidity Will Hit You
If you do not come from a place with high humidity, it is hard to deal with what Costa Rica has to offer. This is especially the case in the south, right along the coast. The cloud forest is also pretty humid. It will be even hard to dry clothes. You will also most likely have to worry about your electronics.
When you travel with many gadgets, use an old traveler trick: stuff some socks with rice in the back so that you can soak moisture. If you have problems with heat, book places that have AC.
You Want Water Shoes
At first, you might feel silly to wear water shoes but they are great, especially in the event that you plan to visit waterfalls. They are very useful to help you grip slippery rocks and your feet will be protected from cuts.
Costa Rica Can Be Expensive
Most people think that Costa Rica is really cheap since it is located in Central America. This is not actually the case. For instance, in the country you can end up paying a lot just for parking and fuel prices can easily hit $1.2 per liter. Then, you add insurance costs, food costs and rental prices to sum up to quite a large amount.
Costa Rica is expensive and the country is actually filled with expats, American retirees and tourists. You should save up if you want to go to Costa Rica.
Fortunately, there are countless ways to save money on a visit. This includes:
- Staying in camps or dorm rooms as they are much cheaper.
- Eating where the locals eat.
- Skipping the really popular tourist sites.
- Visiting during off season.
- Avoiding San Jose as the capital is pretty expensive.
Do Not Forget About The Rainy Season
Dry sunny weather is always guaranteed but you should be aware of the rainy season, which is between May and December. Weather patterns have to be taken into account if you want to have the best possible time.
Remember the fact that most roads in Costa Rica are mud and dirt. If it rains, it is pretty hard to deal with driving conditions. This is especially the case during October.
The good news is that when you visit during rainy season you can expect lower prices.
Enjoy The Wildlife
In Costa Rica there are over 500,00 species that you can see. 300,000 of these are insects. This is actually 4% of all the species in the world. The biodiversity in the country is incredible and you will surely see amazing birds and animals no matter where you go.
In the country you can see monkeys, macaws, quetzal, ocelots, coati, sloths, frogs and so many birds. If you are lucky, you might even see the black poison dart frog.
In Costa Rica there are 58 wildlife refuges, 15 wetland areas, 32 protected zones, 27 national parks, 12 conservation regions and 8 biological reserves. The habitat is also diverse because the government did all that it could to protect the environment.
Sodas Mean Something Else In Costa Rica
If you want to try all the great local dishes, you want to go to family run restaurants. These are called sodas. They serve typical Costa Rican drinks and foods. The food that you get in sodas will be cheap. If you want to find the very best one, look where locals go to eat during lunchtime. This is exactly where the best food is.
You Can Usually Drink Tap Water
Usually, the tap water in the country is safe. However, in the event that you know your stomach easily gets upset, it is better to just drink bottled water or to boil the water before drinking it.
When you go to a new destination, simply ask if the tap water is safe to drink. Usually, it is.
Do Not Forget About Sunscreen
SPF is mandatory when you visit Costa Rica since you are really close to the Equator. It is highly recommended that you get a sun cream that is eco friendly so that it does not include really harmful chemicals. These are normally just a little more expensive and can do wonders for nature.
Have you ever been to Costa Rica? Is there something you would like to add to the list? Let us know in a comment below.