Costa Rica Travel Guide

Reasons to travel to Costa Rica

If you are choosing a destination for a future vacation or if Costa Rica calls you but you are not sure that it is the best option … you have come to the right place. In this publication of the travel guide, I am going to give you a series of reasons why in the future, more or less close, you should travel to Costa Rica:

1) Pure nature

Beyond anything, Costa Rica offers nature: virgin forests, catalog beaches, active volcanoes … Forget cities, towns and museums, the main attraction of Costa Rica is to visit its natural enclaves. But it is so many, so large, so varied that it is undoubtedly one of the main reasons to discover Costa Rica. So if you are more of history and monuments, this is not your trip.

2) Wild fauna in Costa Rica

Closely related to the previous point, contact with wildlife is another reason why you should drop by here. Without being a specialist in animal photography, Costa Rica, almost without looking for it, gave me several postcard situations. And it is that the animals in this country, in addition to being abundant, exotic and diverse, have few complexes. No wonder I came across so many nature photographers throughout my adventure.

3) Natural parks

To end the “green propaganda” about Costa Rica, just saying that the great state of conservation, security and cleanliness in which the natural parks of this country are found is another of its charms. Especially if we consider that almost any place you want to visit here is a natural park. The only but of this is that to enter these idyllic places you will have to pay, and not a little, but without a doubt, it is one of the essential activities of Costa Rica.

4) The beaches of Costa Rica

It goes without saying that Costa Rica is a coastal country, surrounded by water on both sides. This brings with it that it is a region with a large number and diversity of beaches. The east coast is bathed by the Caribbean Sea while the west side faces the waters of the Pacific. Although the Caribbean coasts have always had more names internationally, truly in Costa Rica there are beautiful beaches on either side: Conchal, Manuel Antonio, Mal Pais, Cahuita … Most are very extensive, with clear, fine sand and surrounded by many vegetation. Ideal for both hammock tourists and surfers, who will find entire towns dedicated to the practice of this sport. If you want more information, here is my guide with the best beaches in the Costa Rican country.

5) The friendliness of the Ticos

We leave nature aside to delve into the virtues of its society. It may sound cliché but really, of all the places I have been so far … in none have I been treated like in Costa Rica. Perhaps it was the circles in which I moved or the context in which I travelled… but I dare say that the Ethical culture is one of the warmest, most educated, respectful and friendly I have ever known. It is enough to enter almost any establishment or someday stay in a local house to taste that warmth in your own meats. You can find more information about what Ticos are like on our blog.

6) The richness of its language

Although in the blog you can find a specific publication on the vast ethical dictionary, I did not want to miss this post to highlight how much I liked the richness of the Costa Rican vocabulary. Words as nice as mae, colocho, Chiva, chinear, diay, spoken, blanket, mejenga, queque, tuanis or wákala … are part of the daily life of the country’s language. If you go to Costa Rica, I recommend that you listen a lot and be “pepiar” for its Costa Rican traditions. My favorite: there is no pineapple.

7) Love for your country

One of the reasons why I think I liked Costa Rica so much is because it was the Ticos themselves who transmitted that love to me. And it is that, ahead of anyone, Costa Ricans are great defenders of their country and its culture, and the first tourists from their own corners. They know their history, their landscapes, their places … they take care of them, they spread them and they teach them. There will be everything like everywhere but in general, the locals have a lot of affection for their country.

8) The climate of Costa Rica

As in many “tropical” countries, the temperature in Costa Rica is rather stable and tends to stay within very pleasant ranges. The main difference between seasons is not the degrees the thermometer marks, but the probability of rain. From December to April it is summer there and it is the driest time. The rest of the months it rains a little more but if you avoid the two or three months of more intense rainfall, I assure you that the weather is another good reason to choose this destination. And if it rains, you cover🙂

9) Costa Rica is a safe country

Although from Europe we tend to look with a certain distrust at this side of the world, especially thanks to the partisan reality that the media sell us, Costa Rica is one of the quietest countries in Latin America, especially for the tourist who is treated with much mime. Still, to avoid any type of (minor) problem, I recommend that you take out good travel insurance and that you read the aforementioned publication on security in Costa Rica where I leave you some tips to enjoy the country without worries.

10) Cheap public transport

Although Costa Rica is a country with high prices, public transport is quite cheap and it is a very economic way of moving from one place to another. Okay, the road network is not the most developed in the world, and it will cost you your own to get from one place to another, but in general, the buses are quite comfortable and are a good option for getting around. If not, do not rule out the possibility of renting a car, the best way to get around «Tiquicia».

11) The banknotes of Costa Rica

It always hurts to spend money, but it still hurts to spend bills decorated with drawings of sloths, sharks, butterflies, monkeys, fawns … Today, the bills of colones are the most authentic, cheerful and beautiful that I have ever had in my possession, something which I think speaks volumes about ethical society.

12) Pure life

When I arrived in Costa Rica I thought that “Pura vida” was the typical phrase that tourists say but nobody in the country would say. Nothing is further from reality. Pura vida is a basic expression in the everyday dictionary of the Tico, being a way of greeting or thanking, or even an adjective to define someone. It is also a way of understanding life, present in every corner of Costa Rica, a philosophy that flees from exhaustion, from fears, from worries … seeking to enjoy and make the most of every second.

I imagine that after being bombarded with so much positive information about Costa Rica, some will think that someone pays me to write this (hopefully ^^) or that I am receiving social pressure. But no, nothing is further from reality, and for you to see that this is so, I will also take advantage of this publication to record some of the few things that, personally, I did not like so much:

a) Very high prices for tourists

Without a doubt, Costa Rica has a wide margin for improvement in this regard. Although the cost of daily life in the country (food, accommodation …) is affordable, the price of tickets to tourist places is real abuse. The average ticket for a natural park for tourists is around 15 euros, reaching in some up to 40 euros. An even more bleeding fact if we consider that the price paid by the locals rarely exceeds 5 or 10 euros. Obviously it does not seem bad to me that the attic can have better prices, it was just missing, but I think that the tourist rates are excessively high. Although against that you can not do anything, where you can save a lot is on the subject of accommodation if you are looking for some offers before going.

b) Extreme influence of the United States

It is clear that the “Americans” tend to leave their mark wherever they go, but that influence in some corners of Costa Rica borders on the extreme. And it is that there are several towns right now in the Costa Rican country where it seems that you are in some American coastal town and not in Central America. And that does not only influence the language, which is the least of it but also at a gastronomic, cultural, social and economic level.

c) Lack of history

Beyond San José, the capital, it is very difficult to find museums or other cultural spaces dedicated to the history of Costa Rica. And in San José what you find are rather remnants of modern history. Obviously this is not a criticism of the country since history is something that is inherited, but it is at least curious to see the lack of historical “past” that the country has or, at least, the little that has survived to this day.

d) Little gastronomic culture

First of all, I want to clarify that with this I am NOT criticizing ethical gastronomy at all. Truly in my days in Costa Rica, I ate quite well, especially when I had the pleasure of being part of the diners of some home. However, the feeling that the country left me, which may be wrong, is that food is not given as much importance as it is in much of Latin America or in Mediterranean culture. Regardless of the quality and variety of dishes that have them, food has a function, to give energy and to remove hunger, but it is not given that social, family and cultural context present in other countries. I insist, it was my feeling, but I can be very wrong.

e) Transport network

The last aspect where I think Costa Rica still has some room for improvement is in its transport network, which was certainly slow and confusing for me. From my point of view, the main problem is that most of the time you have to go through San José to go anywhere even if the capital is not even on the way. Another drawback that I found is that, unlike in Europe where the majority of bus companies usually leave from the same station, in Costa Rica large cities (especially San José) has a bus station for each journey and between them, they are considerably far. For this reason, it is often not easy to know where you have to go to catch the bus you are looking for. To help you in this confusing search, I recommend you read our publication onbus transportation in Costa Rica .

After mentioning these negative points, I want to make it clear that, even with these minimal “buts”, Costa Rica is a country that has infinite more virtues than defects and that the objective of this publication is to help the undecided to opt for this country and not on the contrary. However, I consider it important to be as objective as possible and try to teach the other side of the country as well so that those of you who come will know all the (very) good and (little) bad that you are going to find. But come on, and in short, if Costa Rica calls you, listen to the call because it is a unique country. For all who think to go and have doubts or have already gone and want to share your opinion, I leave the blog comments open.