Are you planning your next vacation to Costa Rica? We are sure you have tons of questions and it is important that you find all the answers. So today is your lucky day, as we bring you our Costa Rica travel tips based on the top asked questions from our guests.
Who are we?
We are a local family company with a combined experience of more than 20 years in the hospitality and real estate business. One of our founders, Melissa, started in the hospitality business as a concierge for one of the top hotels of the country, giving her the opportunity of getting to know by heart our country and especially the answers to all those questions that visitors asked her when visiting Costa Rica.
Although time has elapsed, our company continues with that desire of Melissa to listen to everyone who visits us, in order to offer a personalized service and a dream vacation.
And now, the answers you are looking for…
Our Top 10 Costa Rica Travel Tips
1. Where to go?
If someone gives you a straight answer to this question, please do not use the advice. The answer to this question should always be another question, or a bunch of them. Personalization is the key. So, our first tip is to talk to your concierge always and be sure that your travel arrangements are tailor-made to what you are looking forward to experience.
Stay in our amazing Vacation Rentals and your personalized concierge will help you plan your perfect trip.
2. Take a tour or drive
If you are visiting Costa Rica for the first time we will always recommend taking a tour and use private transportation to move around.
Renting a car will always give you a sense of freedom, and we totally understand it, but according to our experience, it is not worth it.
Costa Rica is a difficult country to drive around for many reasons. The roads are not always in a good shape and if you are a nature enthusiast and are planning to visit National Parks or secluded beaches, we guarantee you that the ride will be bumpy. Also, the is a huge lack of signage on the roads, making it harder to get to your destination. Most of the time you will not be able to find your way using technology as the mobile signal can be poor in rural areas. And, if you stop for directions, Tico addresses are truly incomprehensible, as we do not use road numbers or names.
Costa Rica enjoys a warm climate throughout the year, varying only about 40 degrees Fahrenheit and with an average of 77 degrees. From November to April the majority of the territory enjoys the “summer” or dry season with almost no precipitation. From May to October, the “winter” or rainy season brings sunny mornings and rainy afternoons.
Our Costa Rica Travel Tip would be to enjoy the deals you can find during the rainy season. Even though rain could be forecasted, during these months wildlife is more active than ever and the green landscapes will captivate you.
4. When is the high season?
The peaks of Costa Rica tourism are the festive season (December 26 to January 3) and Easter Week. We also have the high season that happens during the same months of the dry season mentioned above, especially from December to March. The low months match also the “rainy” season, being the slowest months May and October.
It is important to say that even though during the peak and high seasons the hospitality industry stay pretty booked out, large crowds on the beaches and other popular destinations are not as numerous as in other popular tropical destinations like Mexico. But if you are looking to find a secluded beach just for yourself our Tip would be to visit the country during the slow months and take advantage of the discounted rates.
Costa Rica´s local currency is the Colones, however, as our main economic industry is tourism, US Dollars are widely accepted.
The exchange rate varies daily but the average from the last month is $1=¢576
Our Costa Rica travel tip is to always have small bills with you, Dollars and some Colones. $100 bills are generally not accepted. For Colones, using the ATM at the airport will work just fine, there is no need to make the line at the currency exchange office or visit a bank. A small bill in Colones could be a ¢1000, ¢2000 or ¢5000, we do not recommend the ¢10000 and never carry a ¢20000.
Although the native language of Costa Rica is Spanish as it is in the rest of Latin America (with the exception of Brazil), English is widely spoken.
But if one of the interests of your visit to Costa Rica is to practice your Spanish, we suggest you visit our Spanish Tico guide since the words accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy are definitely not the most used 😉
7. What is the traditional food in Costa Rica?
Costa Rican food has had and still has the influence of many cultures, but we can speak of a mixture between the Spanish, a legacy of colonization, and the traditional one of the small indigenous peoples that inhabited our country.
Our Costa Rica Travel Tip on food is to at least try the traditional Gallo Pinto, a breakfast dish prepared with rice and beans and accompanied by eggs, fried plantain, cheese and tortillas. If you feel more adventurous we invite you to check our Costa Rican food blog post.
Although the purpose of a vacation is usually to disconnect, obviously we will always want to be a call or a click away from our loved ones and friends.
So, if we think in terms of technology, one of the most frequent questions is whether they can use their phones in Costa Rica. Our recommendation is to visit your local provider to ask for your roaming options, as definitely your number will not work in Costa Rica automatically. If you decide not to use roaming in your phone, we recommend you ask your local provider if buying a SIM card in Costa Rica will work for you. Sometimes the phones need to be unblocked in order to work with foreign SIM cards.
Another frequent question is whether it is necessary to buy a power converter. The standard voltage in Costa Rica is 120V, same as in the US and Canada, so if you are visiting from these countries you won’t need an adapter.
9. Are mosquitoes too bad? Am I in any danger of getting sick?
A couple of years ago this question was more frequent however we always receive questions about mosquitoes, so it seemed important to include it in our Costa Rica Travel Tips guide.
Our recommendation is to always use your insect repellent. Although Costa Rica does not currently face a red alert situation regarding mosquito-borne diseases, like in any other tropical country, the risk exists. It is important to remember that the areas frequented by tourists as the resort in which our Vacation Rental homes are located have high pest controls, minimizing risks.
Costa Rica is rated by the US Department of State as a level 1 safe country for travel. This means that just normal precautions need to be taken, as the ones you would take back home.
Our Travel Tips on safety are limited to basic advice however, we consider them important:
- Do not carry valuables with you. If you decide to rent a car do not leave purses or luggage inside the car unattended.
- Do not travel with large amounts of cash and do not display the money in public.
- Do not trust cheap tours offered in beaches or public spaces, always use certified guides or established companies.
- If you do not know the place do not go out alone at night or in lonely areas, unless you are advised otherwise by a trustful person.
We hope that our Costa Rica travel tips guide will be useful, and you decide to enjoy a “Pura Vida” vacation in Costa Rica. Stay with us and your personalized concierge will help you with these and all the questions you may have to plan the vacation you deserve. Contact us now!