Have your trip to Costa Rica planned by a professional
Welcome to the tropical paradise of Costa Rica! If you’re looking for a destination that boasts pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and a plethora of wildlife, Costa Rica is the place for you. As a travel blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to explore this beautiful country, and I’m excited to share my experience and tips with you. Whether you’re a beach bum, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone in Costa Rica. In this guide, I’ll be covering the best places to visit, the top things to do, and the must-try food and drink. So, grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in!
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10 Essential Things to Know Before Traveling to Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a Central American country known for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, and eco-friendly tourism. It has a diverse range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species, and is a popular destination for eco-tourism, adventure tourism, and surfing. Costa Rica has a rich culture and history, including indigenous communities and Spanish colonial heritage, and it is famous for its coffee and chocolate production. With a tropical climate and welcoming locals, Costa Rica offers a unique experience for tourists seeking relaxation, adventure, and cultural enrichment.
Here’s a list of 10 things you should know before traveling to Costa Rica:
- Language: The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
- Currency: The currency of Costa Rica is the colón, but US dollars are widely accepted.
- Visa: Citizens of most countries, including the United States, Canada, and European Union countries, do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica for stays of up to 90 days.
- Safety: Costa Rica is generally a safe country for tourists, but it’s important to take normal safety precautions, like not carrying large sums of cash and being aware of your surroundings.
- Weather: Costa Rica has a tropical climate, with a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. Be prepared for rain if you’re traveling during the rainy season.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Costa Rica is affordable and reliable, but if you want more freedom and flexibility, consider renting a car.
- Accommodation: There are many types of accommodation in Costa Rica, including hotels, hostels, and vacation rentals. Be sure to book in advance during peak travel season.
- Food: Costa Rican cuisine is delicious and varied, with an emphasis on fresh seafood and tropical fruits.
- Wildlife: Costa Rica is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and toucans. Be sure to visit a national park or wildlife reserve to see these animals in their natural habitat.
- Sustainability: Costa Rica is a leader in sustainable tourism, with a strong focus on conservation and eco-friendly practices. Be sure to support these efforts by choosing responsible tour operators and accommodations.
Transportation Options for getting to Costa Rica
If you’re planning to fly into Costa Rica, it’s recommended that you choose LIR (Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, also known as Liberia International Airport) as your arrival destination.
If you don’t plan on renting a car, make sure to pre-arrange transfers in advance to avoid any inconvenience. You can also find car rental offices at the airport, similar to what you’d see in the US, or you could book ahead of time through a Google search.
Top Places to Stay in Costa Rica - From Budget to Luxury Options
As a popular destination for eco-tourism and adventure travel, Costa Rica offers a range of accommodations to suit any traveler’s preferences and budget. From rustic eco-lodges to luxurious resorts, there is no shortage of options for those seeking an unforgettable stay in the country. Below, I’ll provide a list of places to stay in Costa Rica that cater to a variety of budgets, from budget-friendly options to high-end luxury accommodations.
Here’s a list of budget-friendly and luxury options to stay in Costa Rica:
- Selina Hostels: Selina has several locations throughout Costa Rica, offering budget-friendly accommodation with a hip and vibrant atmosphere.
- Hostel Pangea: Located in San Jose, Hostel Pangea is a popular budget-friendly hostel with private rooms and dorms.
- Hotel Aranjuez: A charming boutique hotel located in San Jose’s Barrio Aranjuez neighborhood, offering affordable and comfortable rooms.
- La Fortuna Backpackers Resort: Located in the heart of La Fortuna, this hostel offers budget-friendly accommodation with an outdoor pool, hot tub, and bar.
- Nayara Springs: A luxurious and intimate resort in the Arenal Volcano National Park, offering adults-only villas with private plunge pools.
- Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica: Located in the Papagayo Peninsula, this luxurious resort offers a stunning beachfront location, five pools, and a golf course.
- El Mangroove: An eco-friendly beachfront resort located in Guanacaste, offering spacious and modern rooms with private balconies and plunge pools.
- Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort: A luxurious eco-resort located in Manuel Antonio National Park, offering stunning ocean and rainforest views, and a private beach.
During my travels to Costa Rica, I decided to stay at the luxurious Andaz Resort in Costa Rica, which was nothing short of incredible. Nestled among the lush, tropical forests and surrounded by pristine beaches, this hotel offered an unparalleled experience of natural beauty, adventure, and relaxation. From the impeccable service to the mouthwatering cuisine and luxurious accommodations, the Andaz Resort provided an unforgettable vacation experience.
The Andaz Costa Rica Resort is located in the beautiful Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, offering guests an escape to lush greenery, pristine beaches and wildlife-filled rainforests. The resort has a wide range of amenities and activities, including several dining options, outdoor pools, and a spa. Around the resort, guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, surfing, and snorkeling. The nearby Papagayo Marina is home to many restaurants, shops, and water-based activities, such as deep-sea fishing, yacht charters, and more. There are also several nearby national parks to explore, such as Santa Rosa National Park, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and Tenorio Volcano National Park.
Things To Do & See in Costa Rica
Here is a list of some of the must-see things to do and see while in Costa Rica:
- Arenal Volcano National Park: A stunning national park located in the northern part of the country with the iconic Arenal Volcano and a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, zip-lining, hot springs and more.
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: A biodiverse reserve in the Central Highlands with stunning flora and fauna including the famous Quetzal bird.
- Manuel Antonio National Park: A national park in the Pacific Coast with incredible beaches, hiking trails, and wildlife such as monkeys and sloths.
- Corcovado National Park: One of the most biologically diverse places on earth with an array of wildlife including endangered species such as jaguars, and scarlet macaws.
- Tortuguero National Park: Known for its turtle nesting beaches, canals, and rainforest, Tortuguero is a must-visit for nature lovers.
- Rincon de la Vieja National Park: Another national park in the northern region with natural hot springs, mud baths, waterfalls, and a range of adventure activities.
- La Fortuna Waterfall: A stunning waterfall located in Arenal with a 75-meter drop, and hiking trails that lead to swimming holes.
- Osa Peninsula: A remote, pristine part of Costa Rica with incredible wildlife and opportunities to hike, surf, and kayak.
- Tamarindo: A coastal town in the northwest region with stunning beaches, surfing, and a range of activities including horseback riding, snorkeling, and sunset sails.
- Poás Volcano National Park: One of the most accessible volcanoes in Costa Rica with stunning views, hiking trails, and a massive crater.
Delicious Eats: A Guide to Food Options in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a rich culinary scene with a wide variety of options available to suit any traveler’s taste buds. Traditional Costa Rican cuisine often consists of rice and beans served with chicken, fish, or beef, and accompanied by fresh vegetables. Other popular dishes include ceviche, empanadas, and gallo pinto, a dish made with rice and beans that is typically eaten for breakfast. In addition to traditional cuisine, there are many international restaurants in Costa Rica serving everything from Italian and Mexican to Japanese and Indian food. Whether you’re looking for a casual beachfront spot or a fine dining experience, there are plenty of options to choose from in Costa Rica.
Here’s a list of some top restaurants to check out while in Costa Rica & the areas they’re in:
- Restaurante Grano de Oro (San Jose) – This upscale restaurant offers a fusion of Costa Rican and international cuisine in a beautifully restored Victorian mansion.
- El Avion (Manuel Antonio) – Located in a retired C-123 Fairchild cargo plane, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience with stunning ocean views.
- Soda Viquez (La Fortuna) – This family-owned restaurant in Arenal is known for its delicious traditional Costa Rican dishes at affordable prices.
- Restaurante Las Piedras (Manuel Antonio) – This popular restaurant offers traditional Costa Rican dishes and fresh seafood in a relaxed, open-air setting with great ocean views.
- Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant (San Jose) – This steakhouse serves up delicious cuts of meat and other dishes from Argentina, along with an extensive wine list.
- Nogui’s Sunset Café (Tamarindo) – This restaurant is known for its stunning sunset views and seafood dishes, including their famous fish tacos.
- Soda Mirna (Monteverde) – This cozy, family-owned soda is known for its authentic, home-style Costa Rican food at affordable prices.
Final Thoughts on Costa Rica
I hope this guide has been helpful for anyone planning a trip to Costa Rica! From the beautiful beaches to the stunning natural wonders, there’s truly something for everyone in this amazing country. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind, explore the outdoors, or experience the local culture and cuisine, Costa Rica has it all.
With so many incredible things to see and do, it can be hard to narrow down your itinerary, but be sure to make time for some of the must-see attractions and activities I’ve listed. And of course, don’t forget to try some of the delicious food and drinks that Costa Rica has to offer.
Most importantly, be sure to take your time and soak in all that this beautiful country has to offer. With its stunning natural beauty and warm, friendly people, Costa Rica is truly a gem of Central America. Happy travels!