How to have an amazing trip to Costa Rica
Pura Vida, such as the favourite term of this country full of life and vitality, bounded by the sea and the mountains, beaches and volcanos. In this untouched paradise, of incredible treasures, the change of scenery is assured. Even though cultural sites are quite scare in this tiny country of central America surrounded by Nicaragua, Panama, and between the Pacific and the Atlantic, a trip to Costa Rica would be fascinating in every way and delight all travellers looking for exoticism.
Vincent's tips, local guide
Best time to go to Costa Rica
The climate of Costa Rica is characterized by a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November. The Caribbean coast is quite wet all year round.
My best choice for visiting Costa Rica is the month of May, why is that? Because the rainy season is just around the corner and everything turns green and "alive". It is also one of the less touristic months, which enables you to visit more freely.
What to see and what to do in Costa Rica
Vincent answers your most frequetly asked questions
Drinking water: tap water is drinkable throughout the country, usually very chlorinated, it is not always enjoyable. Preferable alternatives include distilled water or bottled water. At the table, water is served in jugs most of the time.
Security: Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America. The country is therefore relatively safe for cautious travellers. Of course, some precautions are to be taken in big cities (San José, Puntarenas and Limon) you should avoid attracting attention with a "tourist" behaviour or appearance, for markets and busy streets are heaven for pickpockets. Nevertheless, the country has always been politically peaceful.
Depending on your taste or your interests, you could combine your trip to Costa Rica with a trip to Panama or Nicaragua.
There is no problem in bringing along your children for the holidays. The country is suitable for family trips since it provides attractive touristic activities for both young and older travellers. All children must carry their own passport.
For more than fifteen years, Costa Rica has been a reference when it comes to preserving the environment and promoting eco-tourism. Protected areas represent more than 30% of the territory. Not only tourists but also famous scientists are known to have been visiting Costa Rica to observe its biodiversity. Costa Rica is a natural paradise with luxuriant tropical vegetation which makes it the "Switzerland of Central America". Biological reserves, Forest laws implemented in the 1960s and 1980s, and a huge network of 21 National parks and refuges made Costa Rica the ideal place for eco-tourism.
During your stay in Costa Rica, there are many gastronomic specialities you should try.
the food choices are not very varied but it differs according to the place you are staying in.
The products are generally of good quality. In local restaurants (sodas) you will always find the same thing on the menu: chicken (Pollo) or… chicken. Usually, not very spicy.Foreign restaurants are generally the best (but quite expensive), Italians, Argentinians, French or Asian (the cheapest).
As an aperitif, you could try "Bocas" or "chicharrones", "ceviche" (raw fish with lime juice) as the main course, "Gallo Pinto" for breakfast and "Casado" for lunch (a traditional dish made of rice, black beans, white cabbage salad and meat). For dessert, you could have "Arroz con leche" or coco pudding for Christmas, the biggest tradition is the making of "tamales", a special dessert which is only made at a specific time of the year.
When it comes to typical drinks of Costa Rica, why not try "Guaro" the national alcohol made from cane sugar. Meals generally come with fruit juice and water (frescos). A good Costa Rican coffee is always a plus at the end of your meal.
Depending on your personal tastes, the ideal tour could be an adventure-oriented trip (snorkelling, diving, horse riding, rafting) or an ecological tour to relax in the National Parks and on white sand beaches.
It depends on what you are looking for, if you enjoy very good restaurants, you will have plenty of choices:
- History Gastro Lounge – History Gastro Lounge, elegant background, sober, nice service and personalized attention from the Turkish owner.
- NaPraia Seafood & Raw – El Sabor del Mar
- Bacchus – known as the best Italian food restaurant
- Naans y Curries – n experience of delightful typical Indian cuisine
- Doris Metropolitan – the best meat in San José
If your wish is to discover the nightlife, the easier would be to go to Escazu, you will find a certain number of bars, pubs and clubs.
Driving is not particularly complicated but the road conditions can sometimes be hazardous. When it comes to driving in the cities, it is not recommended for visitors. An alternative would be the use of buses but they are not always equipped with air conditioning, they are also quite slow and not always on time. Another option would be to contact a driver/guide who will have both the ability to drive on the difficult roads/paths and to show you the activities and places you might be interested in. This last option will save you time and trouble.
There are accommodations of all sorts in the country, from hotels, lodges, cabins, hostels, a room in a private home, or even a hotel offering accommodation up in the trees, or even spend the night in a native reserve.
Internet: easy access to the internet in all parts of the country with most facilities providing wifi and/or a computer for your personal use.
Telephone: your mobile phone should work everywhere if you have and activated the international option. Ask your phone operator before you go. SIM cards are available at market stores or specialist shops.
GPS is working everywhere.
- Road conditions
- Some pickpockets in main cities.
- A rich and varied nature with a dozen parks and reserves which makes it a choice destination for a family trip
- Large beaches lined with coconut trees, - Remarkable diving sites,
- Hiking paths crossing volcanos, jungles and huge forests,
- A kindhearted and welcoming population.