Traveling is a great education. I learned many different things while traveling to Costa Rica. I really got to see a lot of the wonders that this country has to offer. Here are things to know before you go to Costa Rica from my own experience. Before I continue, I need to mention the fact that there is no shortage of amazing accommodation options in the area, so you might be spoilt for choice. You could consider staying at Los Altos, a 5 star resort in Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica for example, or you could try something like camping on a beach if you’re feeling more adventurous. Anyway, back to my top tips for visiting Costa Rica.
Rent A Car. A great way to get around is by renting a car. It allows you the freedom to go and do what you want. Not to mention, although the public transportation buses looked nice, I didn’t see many of them. I mostly saw people waiting out on the side of the road for one to come. If you know how to drive a manual, your rental will be cheaper. A 4×4 is your best bet for those unpaved roads. Also the security deposit is most likely going to be $500.
Have A GPS. Unless you know your way around or have opted to get a driver, you better have a GPS! The GPS needs to be updated for Costa Rican roads. There are no addresses. The only time I ever saw street signs was in Centro San Jose. The GPS we rented was awesome! It told us when a school zone was coming, potential falling rocks, speed bumps, and more. It also let us know when we were turning onto an unpaved road.
Have A Flashlight. Even if it is the flashlight on your phone, have one with you. Looking at the best tactical flashlight guide can give you a great idea of what to invest in. I saw people walking on the side of the road to get to the store or a restaurant. Driving you can’t really see them in the dark. If you are walking you can’t see much. Especially when you are away from the city area, there aren’t street lights. Also the power went out at the house we stayed at. Luckily we had our phones for light.
You Don’t Have To Change Your Currency. Costa Rica’s currency is the Colon, but you can use USD there as well. So changing your currency isn’t a necessity. However you will get more bang for your buck if you change some of your money. It also comes in handy when going to stores, sodas, and paying the road tolls.
Eat At Sodas. The local places to eat are called Sodas. I thought it was going to be hard to figure exactly which place was a Soda. It was extremely easy to pick out. Most of them say Soda..and then the name of the establishment. It becomes pretty obvious. Sodas have great food and are inexpensive.
Don’t Worry About A Converter or Adapter. If you are from the US you are in luck! No convertor or adapter needed. Your plugs fit into the outlets with no issues.
Bring A Car Charger. Even if you don’t use your phone to make calls while there, you may use it for other things like using listening to music, a camera, a flashlight, etc. We all realized we forgot a car charger when the power went out. That would have been the best way to charge our phones.
Be Cautious While Driving. Most roads do not have a barrier to separate you from on coming traffic. The roads also have huge drainage holes in the ground. Would be horrible to accidentally get stuck in one of those if you were veer too far to the right. Also if you are driving too slow for the person behind you, as soon as there is no on coming traffic they will speed up and go around you. This is also OK for you to do, just be very careful that you are able to skip the cars before the on coming traffic comes close.
No Liquids. At the SJO airport you can go through security with liquids, but boarding the plane is another story. Make sure you have travel sized liquids. Also don’t bother buying water or anything to drink in the airport thinking you are going to take it on the plane. You will have to throw it away. Prior to boarding you will get completely searched by security and they go through everything.
Hopefully these tips help you on your visit to Costa Rica.
Have you ever been to Costa Rica? How was your experience?