If you’re not too familiar with the Central American country known as the land of “pure life,” then you’ll want to get a pen and notepad ready to take some notes. I’m going to share exactly where to go in Costa Rica to have the best trip possible!
Out of all of the countries I’ve ever had the fortune of visiting, Costa Rica tops several notorious lists. I personally find this country to be amongst one of the happiest, most beautiful, and adventure-filled lands — a nation that provides any willing explorer with an adventurous journey full of readily available memories.
But before you decide to decide to initiate your journey, it’s always preferable to have an idea of the knowledge and tools necessary to transform an ordinary trip into an unforgettable success first.
Whether you plan on visiting this country soon or merely have an interest in getting to know the region a bit more, here’s a quick guide to the land of Costa Rica with all of the know-how you’ll need to become a Costa Rican expert.
READ MORE: Check out more articles on destinations in Central America
A Guide to Costa Rica
Before You Board Your Plane
If you’re anything like me, you may just want to shove a few weeks’ worth of clothing into your suitcase and call it a day. But while you may be tempted to unleash your impulsive side and board the next plane to Monteverde without so much as an inkling as to what to once you step foot in Costa Rica, it’s always important to have a plan established first.
Whenever I travel, I have a checklist of essentials I abide by that help me prepare myself for my new journeys ahead. Make sure you have the following necessities ready to go, too.
- Updated passports — to avoid delays at the airport, maintain an up-to-date passport for simple transportation.
- Visa – Check if your nationality needs a visa. You can look on iVisa.
- Travel insurance – You need it, especially if you are doing adventure sports. I recommend World Nomads. Get a quote here and read this article to see what is covered under each plan.
- Vaccinations and medicine — remember to get the appropriate vaccinations for your new environment to better protect yourself against unwanted viruses and diseases. Pack all of your daily medications in a cool and dry place, too. (Read more tips on vaccines here).
- Weather-appropriate clothing — Costa Rica typically boasts a warmer environment, so be sure to pack quick-wicking and comfortable clothing best suited for the higher temperatures. Get some packing tips here.
- Relevant currency — use a simple currency converter to estimate the amount of money you need to spend during your trip. Remember that this country uses the Costa Rican colón, so you’ll want to adjust your dollars and coins accordingly.
Getting to Costa Rica and Away
When it comes to travel, there’s always the option to navigate a new land via air, land or sea. But when it comes to navigating my way to Costa Rica, I always choose to arrive at my desired destination in the two following ways:
One of the most common (and perhaps easiest) ways to travel to the country is via plane. If you depart from another country, it may just be your most practical — and only — option.
By Public Transportation
If you find yourself visiting a different Central American country and want to save yourself the cost of a plane ticket, consider opting to travel via a form of public transportation instead.
When I travel, I often make it a point to explore nearby countries and regions before I return home — which is how I found myself in Costa Rica during my first time visiting the country.
I originally planned a trip to Panama, but had an urge to explore the lands of the nearby Monteverde forest, too. The only thing separating me from my journeys was a bus ticket and a day’s worth of travel before I could initiate my new adventures in this fun and exciting land.
Where to Go in Costa Rica: My Top Picks!
If you crave adventures and love experiencing a new set of unique surroundings every day, then you may just fall in love with Costa Rica in the same way that I did during my travels.
They call Costa Rica the land of happiness for a reason, after all. There’s plenty to see and do — so you’ll never have to worry about leaving the land without a satisfied sense of adventure and a heart full of memories.
Here’s a list of my top Costa Rican travel activities and top spots to visit that you should experience for yourself during your stay, too.
Adventure in Costa Rica
Zip lining over the Rio Celeste Waterfall
Costa Rica is a nation beaming with natural wildlife and it dedicated to preserving its precious environment, too. Because Costa Rica is one of the world’s top ecotourism destinations, expect to enjoy the biodiversity without altering it in the process.
But just because Costa Rica emphasizes protected environmental activities doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun and exciting, too. My favorite activity is enjoying the view of the country — from a zip line, of course. There’s nothing more refreshing than immersing yourself in nature while enjoying the kick of an adrenaline rush, too.
Snorkeling in the Cahuita
I’m a sucker for a beautiful body of water — a feature which Costa Rica certainly doesn’t fail to deliver.
The entire country is beaming with biodiversity and I always find myself fascinated by the new species I have the fortune of discovering during my stays. Be sure to dive into the country — literally — when you travel. Suit yourself up with your best snorkeling attire and explore the majestic seas.
Whale watching in Tamarindo
When I’m back at home, it’s not uncommon for me to go days without seeing another species — besides that of humans, of course. Yet the world is so rich and diverse that I always have a sense of longing to enjoy the company of another animal or ocean-dwelling friend.
I always make a point to enjoy the exotic parrots in the forests, take in the scenery of the beautiful tree frogs, and indulge in a bit of whale watching, too.
Check out all the best day tours in Costa Rica on Viator, who offer amazing deals and have user reviews.
Where to Stay in Costa Rica
Whenever I travel, I always emphasize the importance of my living arrangements. I may spend the entire day exploring my new surroundings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need a comfortable place to refresh in during my time in between activities, too.
While there are a variety of options when it comes to how you choose to experience your stay, I find that hotels are always my preferred option. It’s nice to camp in the great outdoors, but I also have a preference for a touch of luxury during my voyages as well.
While I may go against the popular opinion, I really enjoy removing myself from the bustle and crowded areas of popular tourist destinations — which makes Manuel Antonio the perfect place.
I’ve traveled to Costa Rica a handful of times already, and each stay was in a private suite nestled in the comforts of Villa Punto De Vista — a local hotel located near outdoor activities, beaches, and more!
Be sure to choose a hotel or living arrangement surrounded by plenty of outdoor fun and activities that enhance your overall stay.
Tasting Authentic Costa Rican Cuisine
What would a trip to Costa Rica be without a bit of tasty food — or comida rica, as the natives like to say?
I always strive to push myself out of my comfort zone when I travel — starting with the dishes I eat throughout the day. I can effortlessly get a burger and fries back home, so why not indulge in a tasty gallo pinto instead?
Remember to check out local restaurants and try a few bites of street food, too. You may taste a delicious bowl of sopa negra — the country’s designated black bean soup — and make it your next go-to dish you plan to bring back home.
Experience Costa Rica’s Beauty Firsthand
Costa Rica is a land brimming with natural wildlife, beautiful scenery, and delicious cuisines. But don’t just take my word for it — plan your own journeys to the land of “pura vida” so you can experience the adventures of Costa Rica, too.
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Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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This post was all I needed right now. Thanks to you Costa Rica is on my bucket list for sure. Amazin visuals!
Wow; that first picture with that volcano is amazing! Officially bucket listed!
This is so helpful! I’m headed to Costa Rica in two weeks and I can’t wait!!