Costa Rica is one of the highest rated destinations in the Americas. More than 2 million visitors took their vacation to this hot spot in Central America last year. Tourists have the choice between rentals in Costa Rica for a luxurious experience or spending their time in the eco-resorts. Whatever type of trip you crave, you’ll find it in Costa Rica. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this tropical paradise.
Why Visit Costa Rica
There are several reasons why tourists of all ages and interest love Costa Rica. Picture rainforests, hundreds of kilometers of coastline and some of the most diverse landscapes on the planet. You can head out jungle trekking and see different kinds of primates, mammals and birds in their natural habitats. Or, head to the beach and ride some of Central America’s best waves on the Pacific coast. Combine all this with locals who smile endlessly and are always willing to help and you have a perfect place to travel.
When is the Best Time to Visit
Costa Rica has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season. The most popular time to visit is during the dry season from November to April. Expect dry days and lots and lots of tourists. Christmas and Easter tend to see massive numbers of visitors with hotels and accommodation sometimes selling out weeks or even months in advance.
Few tourists travel to Costa Rica in the wet season typically beginning in the middle of April until November. Torrential downpours often happen in the afternoon. Some are short and heavy bursts. Other times you’ll get persistent drizzle. September and October are said to be the wettest months. You should also be wary about Hurricane season towards the middle to end of the year coming in from the Caribbean Sea.
Where to Visit in Costa Rica
Most tourists will fly into the country’s capital, San Jose. The capital itself has highly developed tourist infrastructure and set inside a beautiful plateau. From San Jose, consider visiting Cartago and Irazu Volcano, which is just 25 kilometers (16 miles) to the southeast. The town has historical charm, abotanical garden with 1000 species of orchid and the iconic La Negrita. It’s possible to join a tour and hike Irazu Volcano. La Paz Waterfall is to the north of San Jose and consists of a beautiful waterfall inside thelush rainforest.
If you want to relax on the beaches, head to the Caribbean coastline along the eastern part of Costa Rica. Tortuguero in the northeast near the border with Nicaragua has a maze of mangroves to explore via boat and to witness the abundance of wildlife. Or head south to Puerto Viejo to the south for idyllic beaches, snorkeling, surfing and laid-back Caribbean culture.
For surfing go to Nosara in Guanacaste where you’ll get some of Costa Rica’s best waves hitting the shore from the Pacific Ocean. Samara Village, a perfect place for snorkeling, is less than an hour away. Be sure to check out the town of Liberia for its historical center and relaxing atmosphere too. Other must-visit sites include Arenal Volcano, The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and The Rio Celeste Waterfall.
How Much to Budget
Travelling to Costa Rica isn’t as cheap as you may think given its location. Hotel prices are usually quite high,and food often has a similar price tag to back at home. That being said, it’s possible to travel and experience the country without spending a fortune too. You can have any experience in Costa Rica. Budget travelers can survive on approximately $50 per day by booking a bed in a hostel dorm or a hammock. Mid-range tourists might spend up to $100 including a comfortable hotel, eating in the restaurants and joining tours. Those looking for luxury will find it in beachside resorts and private vacation rentals.
Essential Travel Tips
Costa Rica is a reasonably big country and cramming everything into a single trip might not be easy. Buy a guidebook and search online to find out which places you want to visit and plot them out on a map. You can then use this as a base route to get around the country. If your logistics are efficient, you’ll see more of Costa Rica and save money.
When you speak to those who have been to Costa Rica, they might insist on how important it is to have your own car. Yes, driving around and having the flexibility to explore at your own pace is a major advantage. But, you also need to consider how expensive it is to rent a car in Costa Rica. Expect to pay fees of up to $100 per day or $400 for a week. It’s much better to rely on public transport and save the extra dollars.
If you visit the national parks and protected areas, be sure to hire a guide. While you might not need a guide for every single attraction, having one will be a major advantage. Guides tend to be experts and can point out the wildlife you otherwise would have missed. And you’ll have the chance to learn more about the unique flora and fauna found around the country. Some people like to join a tour where transport and lunchare included. Others will make their own way and then get a guide upon arrival. The choice is yours.
Visiting Costa Rica
You nowhavethe essentials to start planning a dream trip to Costa Rica. Remember to plan your route, choose the time of the year carefully and take advantage of guides. And most important of all, remember to havean excellent time!