Costa Rica is HANDS DOWN the coolest place to visit in Central America. In full disclosure, Costa Rica is the only place in Central America that I’ve been to for any length of time but trust me, not only does CR have gorgeous beaches but the people are so nice they’ll make you want to stay for a lifetime.
Ever since I started working full time, I’ve made it a point to enjoy every single second that I get to travel be it on a business trip or on vacation. In honor of celebrating my one year anniversary, the boyfriend and I decided it was high time to GTFO of America and see a bit of the world. We basically put a road map on a dart board and left it up to the gods as to where we would and up and SURPRISE!!! We hit Costa Rica.
A few general tips for you:
- In retrospect, I definitely would have preferred that we didn’t drop $$$ on an all-inclusive because honestly, CR is so beautiful you won’t want to stay cooped up in a resort. We wasted money considering that we preferred to take day trips and eat outside of the resort versus taking advantage of the free food that came with our package. Check out Air BNB for a cool place to stay, everything is incredibly affordable and relatively safe. Use your best judgement, but honestly? Crime is super low, CR doesn’t even have a legit army or police presence because they just don’t need it.
- DO THINGS!! Go hiking up one of the beautiful nearby mountains in the rain forest, go swimming in waterfalls, go ziplining, eat the fresh seafood, and most importantly travel within Costa Rica because the various regions are super different from one another.
- Money. Don’t worry too too much about converting your USD to the local curren$y (called Colones) because USD is accepted virtually everywhere. Including the casinos, because of course I gambled while visiting too!
With those details out of the way, when it comes down to actually booking excursions for yourselves there are three that you absolutely MUST do if you’re visiting the country… starting with the rain forest.
- Ziplining: Also called “Canopy,” you have got to take a ziplining hike if you’re going anywhere near the rain forest. Not only will you get a ton of exercise (because trust me, your ass is going to be hiking up a dead vertical trail to get up into the treetops) but you’ll get to enjoy BOMB views of the country that will leave you absolutely speechless. HQ isn’t the biggest fan of heights, but we decided that we couldn’t come to CR and not go ziplining so we haggled down the price of a group tour and the next thing we knew? We were coasting through the treetops. We even got to see some monkeys and a sleepy sloth…very cool. Just do a little bit of research to make sure the company that you’re going with is reputable, and see if you can work it out so that your lunch is included in the price. A lot of tour groups have the option, and you’re definitely going to work up an appetite while you’re out and about. Not only that, it’s a great way to be able to taste some of the local goods!
- Beaches: Costa Rica has some of the most beautiful beaches around, and I’d definitely recommend you hit up at least a few of them. My personal favorite was Tamarindo, a local beach town that turns UP at nighttime. The streets are lined with vendors selling everything from hammocks to towels, and the restaurants serve amazing seafood that won’t make you sick (I figured I’d address that concern right away because if you’re like my mother, that’s going to be the first thing you’re going to ask!) Another great beach spot is Coco Beach, but be warned that it’s a little more of a tourist trap and the actual beach has black-ish sand, hence the name. If you do go to Coco, take the main road alllll the way down to the water and eat at the restaurant on the right-hand side. You won’t regret it!
- Waterfalls: Costa Rica boasts some of the most beautiful waterfalls, and they’re all hidden within the rain forest. We went to the Cataracas de Cortes and I was blown away by how magical it actually was. Pack up a backpack with plenty of water, snacks, and a towel and hike it to your nearest watering hole for an afternoon of splashing and fun!
Needless to say, Costa Rica was the adventure of a lifetime and if anyone asks I’m OF COURSE going to recommend it! If you any of you are planning on visiting, don’t hesitate to drop me a line for more info. We ended up renting a personal driver for the day while visiting and he’s AMAZING if you want a little taste of the local experience.
Have you gone on any trips recently?
Where should we go next?
Let me know in the comments!!!