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Costa Rica Travel Tips and Advice

So you're looking for some Costa Rica travel tips? You've come to the right place. Below I've compiled a list of the best travel advice I can think of for your vacation in beautiful Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica Travel Tips:

  • Book your flights and hotels well ahead of time if you'recosta rica waterfall traveling in the dry season, from December to April.
  • Better yet, travel during the shoulder, or off-season for the best rates and least crowds.
  • Make sure your medical insurance covers you abroad. Otherwise, look into traveler's insurance, and make sure it covers you for the activities you are going to participate in, like scuba diving. Not all travelers insurance companies cover for adventure sports.
  • If you rent a car, make it a 4WD.
  • Drive carefully. Costa Ricans are notoriously reckless drivers, and the road conditions here along with the itinerant livestock don't make things any easier.
  • Don't try to drive across a river, unless you are absolutely sure of the depth and ground composition. Insurance does not cover stupid mistakes, like flooding.
  • Use Skype to call your loved ones at home, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than hotel room phones.
  • Pay for local guides in the national parks. You'll end up seeing a lot more wildlife than if you hadn't, so it's definitely worthwhile.
  • Plan your trip ahead of time. While small, the roads here can make for long travel times that eat into your precious vacation time, so knowing where to go will prevent doubling back.
  • Where darker colored clothing; sure you look great in those white linen pants, but they're bound to stain immediately and leave you one item of clothing less to where.
  • Don't wear bright colors when you're searching for wildlife. You'll scare off the animals and quite possibly other tourists.
  • If you plan on spending any time in San Jose or the highlands around Monteverde, bring a warm sweater and a waterproof windbreaker. It can get chilly there.
  • Denim, unless you were born without sweat glands, is not a good idea. It's hot and takes forever to dry if you get it wet.
  • Bring a bathing suit!
  • If you have large feet (11+ US) then you might want to bring an extra pair of sandals or flip-flops in case your pair breaks. These sizes can be hard to find.
  • If you're traveling during the wet season, bring a lightweight, breathable rain jacket. You don't want a heavy vinyl thing, or you'll be sweating off ten pounds an hour.
  • Unless you're at a really upscale hotel or restaurant, casual attire is the norm.
  • Lightweight hiking boots are a good idea if you plan on hiking or trekking, with ankle protection from some of the thorny plants you'll find in Costa Rica.
  • Pack lightly, as space on buses and domestic planes is limited.
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen. In Costa Rica it's really expensive.
  • Buying insect spray is good, if you have a particular brand you like. Otherwise just buy something in Costa Rica with plenty of DEET. Mosquitoes can be vicious, and they can transmit Dengue Fever - which I had once, and let me tell you, it will ruin your vacation. So plan ahead. This is one of the most important Costa Rica travel tips if you're going to be on the coast or in the lowlands.
  • Bring a pair of sturdy sandals like Tevas, Merrells, or Chocos. Otherwise, an old pair of sneakers you can get wet. This is essential for water sports like whitewater rafting.
  • A towel is useful, especially if you're staying in budget accommodations, where they're not always provided.corcovado costa rica sunset
  • An umbrella is always helpful in the green season (that's marketing language for wet season :-)
  • Binoculars are useful for watching that flock of toucans, or spotting other wildlife.
  • Bring a flashlight in case of power outage as sometimes happens in small fishing villages. It'll also be useful to try and spot a howler monkey at night.
Well, those are all the Costa Rica travel tips I can think of so far. I'll post more travel advice when I think of it.


Don't forget your spirit of adventure either. You'll need it, and that's a promise!

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