Top Tips For Visiting Costa Rica

With sprawling beaches, incredible wildlife, and some of the friendliest people in the world, we are thrilled this destination is welcoming tourists in 2021. Here are some tips to keep visitors informed, safe, and busy while you travel through enchanting Costa Rica.

A top destination for vacationers, wildlife lovers, and travelers; Travel Leader’s content writer recently traveled to Costa Rica and shares insight on the best ways to visit the country.

Please also note that global regulations and travel restrictions are being modified constantly. This article, written in June of 2021, has information that is subject to change. Please do research, or reach out to Travel Leaders 365 experts to learn about current travel updates.

Things to Keep in Mind:

1. Consider Renting a Car

Before leaving for this trip, others warned me not to rent a car under any circumstance. They told me stories about nightmares stuck on the road, about awful conditions and near death experiences. Although thoroughly terrified, I knew that I wanted to see as much of the country as I could. So, renting a car was necessary. I am here to tell you the warnings were so wrong. Was driving a bit difficult? Yes, absolutely. However, was it worth it to see the views, drive the coast, and have autonomy to go whenever I chose? Also, yes.

It rained on and off the entire time I visited, so having my own car to jump into and change plans to an indoor activity was so nice. Maybe the regions I drove through redid the roads recently, but I had almost no problem navigating drives. I confidently suggest considering renting for your trip.

If. you do decide to rent a car, download the Waze App. This seems to be the best platform in this region. With the app, users are able to download instructions before leaving, which was a huge help.

Photo is taken from inside a vehicle pointing out, a womens head can be seen in the side mirror, but a camera blocks her face as she snaps a shot of some colorful city stores and a sidewalk. Travel in Costa Rica
The two wheel drive car I rented seemed small, but was mighty, getting me from the ocean to the mountains without any problems.

2. Do Book Tours

If you are looking for things to do, Costa Rica offers something memorable for absolutely everyone. From night walk tours, zip lining and bungee jumping to parasailing, Costa Rica’s economy is heavily based upon tourism, and offers some of the most unique experiences in the world. Don’t hold out for something better or over think your days. Book the popular tours, as most of the time they are popular for a good reason! I saw wild animals, took on my fear of heights by zip lining, and had the privilege to see some beautiful plants and butterflies.

The orchid garden in Monte Verde: Worth the trip! When I visited over 150 species of orchids were blooming, and the owner of this garden is proud and brilliant, excited to show guests new information and share wild facts about these rare plants. Some orchids smell of honey or are shaped like dancers while others of chicken soup and are shaped of gnomes. It was magnificent to see the biodiversity, and this experience is unique to the region.

The butterfly gardens: There’s a few of these cool environments speckled throughout the mountains. I found it rained quite a bit for a few days, and got a bit tired of postponing activities. This is perfect if you have curious kids, biology loving adults or need of a rainy day activity.

Hiking: If you love hiking and want to explore exotic and abundant trails in Costa Rica, prepare to pay entrance fees. There is not a ton of public land that visitors are able to go wander about, so most great hikes are a part of a “park” that has a fee to maintain the grounds and provide safe hikes. for visitors These were beautiful walks, and I recommend visiting the hanging bridges in MonteVerde, and hiking to some hot springs in La Fortuna. These hikes offer some wild views of the land, and immerse guests in the rainforest.

Hanging bridge walk far above green lush trees, the trees are in a cloud forest and the photo consists of brilliant green colors. There are no people in this image. Travel in Costa Rica
Hanging bridges hike in Monteverde. I stayed until the park was closing to get some great shots, and some tranquil alone time, as it gets busy during peak hours.

Hot Springs: One big mistake I made is only visiting free or hotel provided springs. Going to a private hot spring and paying an entrance fee to soak in their natural tubs is divine. Visiting some popular hot spring sites guarantees privacy, the best views and some neat add-ons. There’s a wide range of prices and location options. Splurging a bit here is well worth it, especially if you are seeking some luxurious privacy.

At Travel Leaders 365, we want you to see the greatest Costa Rica has to offer. When you book through us, the pressure of booking your days with the best of Costa Rica is taken off your hands. Reach out to our agents to help find the activities that excite you and your family.

https://vacations.travelleaders365.com/find-a-travel-agent.aspx

Capuchin monkey stands on a tree branch with wide eyes looking upward. Travel in Costa Rica
I was so excited to see some wild monkeys while touring the Mangroves in Manuel Antonio. Wild animals should be kept wild, and most of Costa Rica does an excellent job of ensuring an ethical relationship between wildlife and tourism. These cheeky monkeys were equally excited to see us and steal some bananas before rejoining their troup in the forest.

3. Trust the Locals

There is a stigma amongst traveling communities that everywhere one goes, travelers should be hyper vigilant of their belongings; and untrusting of anyone, especially on a bus, in public spaces, or if someone attempts to sell something unprovoked. However, travelling through Costa Rica is a bit different. Every local was completely and utterly genuine, kind, and helpful; never taking advantage of tourists or giving me any reason to doubt my safety and security.

I only spent one night in San Jose, the largest city, so I cannot attest much to how I felt wandering here. However, in MonteVerde, Papgayo, La Fortuna and Manuel Antonia, the people genuinely wanted to help and show me the best time. I still insist on the importance of keeping your head up and eyes wide wherever you go, but in Costa Rica being open to asking locals for recommendations or help with directions will make your visit run smoother! For good reason the people here are regarded as some of the most welcoming communities in the world, and are completely worthy of your trust and kindness.

Colorful snow cone cart on the sandy beach. Travel in Costa Rica
I am still dreaming of these snow cones I bought for a couple bucks on the beach. They were so delicious, and I have yet to have anything like it, made with sweetened condensed milk and other ingredients, I am so glad I trusted the seller rolling this treat along the sand!

Things To Avoid:

1. Don’t Miss Out on Chocolate or Coffee Tours

I filled my (limited) days with so many activities, I missed touring coffee farms and learning about the process of creating their world famous chocolate. Honestly, it still bums me out to think about the tasting opportunities I missed out on. I highly recommend carving in some time for coffee plant tours. It is a perfect time to learn more about Costa Rican culture, and to sip on some incredible beverages sourced locally. Ask a member of Travel Leaders team for some of the best tour operations.

2. Do Not Forget a Mask

In many. parts of the United States, vaccinated individuals are able to enter public spaces without a mask. However, this is not the case in Costa Rica. Everywhere I went, every single person was wearing masks. If you are planning to peek into a store or a stop at a restaurant for a bite, everyone in your group will be required to have their mouths and noses covered; regardless of health status or vaccination cards. Bring a proper mask everywhere you go.

3. Don’t Forget Layers

While packing for the trip, one might think, “I do not need long pants, warmer clothes, or a sweater. Costa Rica has so many beaches and the photos are sunny!” And that one (in this case, me) is very wrong. Unless you plan to spend your vacation solely on the beach, Costa Rica’s diverse climate means it will most likely rain at some point in your visit. I truly do not advise sticking to the beaches; the cloud forests and mountain ranges has so many novelties not to be missed. I packed one pair of pants and I wore them almost daily. Even though the temperatures were warm outside, it was still constantly damp. Don’t make the same mistake as I did, and throw some layers into your luggage. You will certainly not regret it.

Man standing under a tree in the forest as it rains, laughing. Colors are cool/ Travel in Costa Rica
I tried this hike in La Fortuna a couple times, and each time a downpour of thunderstorms made it impossible to go very far. I was relieved to have a rain poncho stashed in my car, but my only pair of jeans remained soaking for a couple days.

4. Don’t Forget Valuable Resources:

When travelling to new places, we encourage everyone to stay safe and well prepared. we developed an app to help Travel Leaders customers stay connected while having access to any information they may need. Whether its an emergency contact number, or a place to eat, consult the app to ensure your vacation runs smoothly. Learn more below:


Luxury Experience Advisor

LEE CAMBATA

Highland Park, IL
A spectacular holiday is something only you can define. Whether you want to relax in an over-the-water bungalow in Bora Bora, hike the Inca trail, watch the most spectacular sunset while enjoying a sundowner on safari, visit Angkor Wat by e-bike, or rent a multi-generational family getaway, I can use my 30 years of experience to translate your dreams into reality!

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