Travelling to Costa Rica
10 tips for a smooth journey
If you’ve heard about this interesting and beautiful country and decided to find out for yourself why it’s become such a popular travel destination, these tips can help you understand what to expect and enhance the enjoyment of your visit.
- Costa Rica’s culture is unique. As with all foreign travel, respect local customs, keep an open mind, practice tolerance, and take an interest in those around you. All will help you adjust quickly and become comfortable with the Costa Rican way of life.
- Costa Rica offers a vast variety of experiences and activities. Attending local events and interacting with the people can give you a feel for the language and get acquainted with the country.
- Compared to North America and Europe, Costa Rica’s crime level is comparatively low, but travelers need to be aware of how to protect themselves from petty theft and break-ins.
Computers and other electronic items can be targets, so don’t be careless with them when sightseeing. If your hotel or other lodging provides a safe, utilize it. Never leave your valuables inside a car.
- Make sure you connect with a reputable property manager or real estate broker to avoid problems with rentals, or land or house purchases. A good real estate broker knows the law and the market and can lead you to smart, safe investments. Additionally, a good broker can tell you where to buy the best groceries, fresh produce, doctors, etc.
- Eighty percent of Costa Rica’s population speaks some English, so wherever you go on errands, you may find someone who will be pleased to help you find what you need. Having some basic Spanish is helpful, however. Costa Ricans appreciate your efforts to speak their language and will help you with pronunciation.
- If you are visiting areas of Costa Rica that are popular with tourists, do not expect low prices. Some say that the country is the most expensive one in Central America. There are ways to save, however. Prices are lower during the rainy season (May thru November), as opposed to the most visited months of the year, when flights, hotel fees and rentals are most expensive.
- When visiting during our rainy season, bring appropriate rain gear. You can still have a wonderful time because there are fewer tourists, it is less hot, and it is the best time to spot certain wildlife.
- TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY
- Eat at the local restaurants called ¨sodas.” The fish is the same catch-of-the-day as in the expensive restaurants. Those establishments are cheaper than on-site hotel restaurants, and you can enjoy the nation´s typical food at local prices.
- Costa Rica’s local bakeries sell pastries, sandwiches, coffee and drinks.
- Try buying souvenirs in local supermarkets, or from local artisans.
Souvenir shops are expensive. Bargaining is common in Costa Rica. When buying from local artisans or jewelers, ask for discounts.
- Dollars are commonly accepted, but make sure to check the international exchange rate.
- It is safe to drink tap water in Costa Rica. You might want to drink small amounts at the beginning of your trip, and increase consumption progressively so your body can adapt to the different water. Bring a filter if you’re sensitive.
- Always carry a photocopy of your passport.
People who visit Costa Rica fall in love with it for different reasons – it’s free of major political conflict, it’s beaches are stunning, and it’s people are kind. Whether you visit during the rainy or dry season, the Pura Vida (Pure life) country will welcome you!
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