Inspired by using images of Costa Rica’s rainforests brimming with unusual vegetation and fauna, steaming volcanoes and international-magnificence seashores? Us too. If you’re dreaming of a trip to this Central American country, right here are 11 vital Costa Rica travel suggestions that will help you plan your vacation.
Related tailor-made journey itineraries forCosta Rica1. Plan for the high season
With so many North Americans flying south for the wintry weather – no longer to mention locals travelling domestic – it’s pivotal to e book in advance in case you need to go to Costa Rica at some stage in high season. Christmas and New Year length are mainly busy.
Hotel rooms and buses can promote out weeks in advance, but by being savvy and using numerous shipping hyperlinks (including a personal go back and forth), it’s feasible to make things work. Alternatively, you could rent a vehicle for extra flexibility.
The week leading as much as Easter is some other stress point, though the parades and processions that take vicinity for the duration of this time are pretty unique and well worth seeing.
Arenal Volcano © Esdelval/Shutterstock
2. Consider an organised tour
Veteran impartial visitors would possibly sniff at the concept of taking an escorted tour. Doubly so as Costa Rica is a country wherein hostels and hotels are ample and English is pretty broadly spoken.
Despite this, we propose you do not rule out a excursion absolutely. Many sports have both excessive demand and incredibly high prices, and there are few ordinary public bus services across the united states. Joining a guided excursion is a pinnacle Costa Rica tour tip because it approach you can p.c. numerous experiences into one 10-day visit with out fretting about availability or logistics. Rough Guides’ very own Tailor-Made Trips gives a full journey-planning and booking service in Costa Rica. We pair you with a nearby expert at the ground operating for a local excursion operator to layout, e-book and execute a customized itinerary that works for you. Get inspired through one in all our pattern itineraries, including our ‘Discover Northern Costa Rica’ or ‘Beaches and Volcanoes’ – of direction, all modifiable to suit your possibilities.
three. Be organized to spend
Costa Rica is among the maximum high-priced nations to go to in Latin America – and it’s not just costly when compared to its neighbours. For certain grocery store objects, consisting of bottled water and sunscreen, the u . s . can even rival the United Kingdom and USA.
To keep money, consume plates of gallo pinto at small family-run sodas, pay for groceries and different small purchases with neighborhood currency colónes in preference to dollars and journey all through the off-season (aka the wet season) for reduced room prices. If you are eating out, be conscious that 10% provider price and 13% tax is delivered to most eating place payments and price range accordingly.
Additionally many nature sites, from waterfalls to country wide parks, price an access rate so that you’ll need to factor than in too. Read our Costa Rica Travel Essentials web page for tips on budgeting and extra.
Plantain, rice and beans is a Costa Rican lunch staple © EQRoy / Shutterstock
four. Watch your property
While Costa Rica is, in popular, a totally safe u . s . a ., pickpockets and petty theft may be a hassle. Applying simple common sense will imply you avoid the hassle of lost belongings. Firstly, in no way depart gadgets on display in your parked car. If you’re heading to the seashore try to park in a car park (some are guarded by way of enterprising locals) or near different motors.
Next, be aware that pickpockets operate at bus stations and different crowded places like markets. Don’t leave your bags unattended, and if you are unfortunate, document the theft at the nearby police station.
Related articles from the weblog 5. Heed warning with regards to the climate
Even in dry season (between December and April) visitors to the significant highlands and the Atlantic coastal plain must put together for frequent downpours. The wet season starts offevolved in earnest in May.
In overdue September and October, many Pacific coast lodges and eating places are closed for a wreck earlier than gearing up once more for high season. You might find a few more alternatives at the Caribbean coast at the moment of year.
No count number how clear the skies look at daybreak, make certain you % water-resistant clothing and dry baggage for valuables on any journeys into the rainforest. And if the showers are dampening your spirits you may continually head west to the sun-scorched plains of the Pacific slope.
A rope bridge via Monteverde’s Cloud Forest Reserve © Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock
6. Learn the language
You won’t struggle to locate locals with good English in Costa Rica, however selecting up some Spanish cannot simplest earn you kudos and a heat welcome – it is able to genuinely raise your bargaining power.
Those with an excellent bite of time on their arms can cross one step similarly and enrol in one of the many local language colleges which are scattered across the united states of america, placing their tico accent instantly to the test.
7. Choose among the adventure gateways
Monteverde and La Fortuna are two of northern Costa Rica’s backpacker favourites and each are superb for out of doors activities. However, getting between the 2 can show a prolonged manner and plenty of the adventure supplying is comparable.
In-intensity, clean-to-use journey guides full of expert advice.
If you don’t have time for each, our pinnacle journey tip is to choose Monteverde, because it boasts the trump card thanks to its drier weather and bohemian hilltop allure. Book beforehand for an all-in-one journey excursion in Monteverde or in case you decide on a extra relaxed pace, check out this true farm revel in, a fun tour for the entire family.
La Fortuna de San Carlos waterfall in Arenal volcano national park, Costa Rica © FCG/Shutterstock
8. Rent a 4×4
If you are planning to self-pressure in Costa Rica, you want to consider a 4×4. While a few primary roads are paved, many others are nonetheless little extra than dust tracks. Add in heavy rainfall and you’ve got were given a muddy mess to navigate. Even if the climate is dry, maintain your eyes peeled for potholes which could motive vehicle trouble. Keep water and snacks in the vehicle if you spoil down, and try to bring a cellular with you so you can touch the auto condominium business enterprise if wished. Our neighborhood professional in Costa Rica is satisfied to help you with the making plans and booking method, like this self-riding ride at the Caribbean coast. If the concept of using sounds intimidating you can opt for a guided experience that includes transport, like this journey discovering the beaches within the South as well as cloud forests and volcanoes.
nine. Swap the Pacific coast for the Caribbean
One short restore for escaping Costa Rica’s crowds is to go east in place of west. With the worldwide airport of Liberia so near the Pacific coastline, it’s an effortlessly accessible seaside destination. The seashores of the Caribbean coast, are a good deal more difficult to reach, that means the location is also plenty much less advanced. If you are searching out an off-the-beaten-song revel in you will revel in exploring the Caribbean coast.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coastline is much less widely recognized © Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock
10. Tie in a neighbour
Although they’re tightly packed into the waist of the Americas, every Central American state boasts its own individual, attractions and history. Next-door neighbours Nicaragua and Panama make the very best and maximum obvious add-ons to a sojourn in Costa Rica.
Nicaragua is a greater uncooked destination that’s first-rate applicable to intrepid, budget-aware travellers. Panama offers a cosmopolitan capital as well as lashings of greater rural adventure sports. The nearby expert in Panama is glad that will help you together with your making plans and booking manner, journeys like ‘Highlights of Panama’ or ‘Thrilling adventures in Panama’ are extraordinary extensions to your Central America experience.
11. Respect the u . s .’s sustainability credentials
Costa Rica has set its points of interest on turning into the sector’s second carbon-neutral united states of america (after Bhutan) through 2021. To help help its inexperienced goals, choose domestically owned ecolodges and operators that preparation sustainable tourism wherever feasible.
To help distinguish between the coolest, the horrific and the unpleasant, the Costa Rica Tourism Institute has developed the CST (Certificate of Sustainable Tourism). Businesses are ranked from stages one to 5 primarily based on their commitment to the cause.
Ecolodge with a view of Lake Arenal in imperative Costa Rica © Alexey Stiop/Shutterstock
Header photo: Sunrise Arenal volcano in Costa Rica, Central America © Antonio Fernandez Dieguez/Shutterstock
Travel advice for Costa Rica
Planning on your very own? Prepare for your ride
Use Rough Guides’ relied on partners for wonderful rates
Find even extra suggestion for Costa Rica here
Ready to travel and discover
Get aid from our neighborhood specialists for
strain-loose making plans & fear-free travels