If you’re thinking about visiting Costa Rica for the first time, there are a few things you need to know before you visit. It’s time to ensure your trip is all you’ve dreamed of. It’s a good idea to know a little bit about the location you’re going. And that’s what we’ll be discussing here. Nothing too sophisticated or meticulously detailed – just some basic and useful information about one of the world’s top holiday locations!

1. Costa Rica is not as cheap as its neighbors.
Please budget properly, as certain tourist places in Costa Rica may be as expensive as Toronto or Florida, while non-tourist areas can be considerably less expensive.

2. San José is not as bad as people make it out to be.
San José is typical of a Latin American major city, with both upscale and run-down areas. You can learn about San Jose by asking your hotel or taxi driver.

3. Locals love to talk to foreigners.
They’ll even stop you in the street to chat with you. They’re sociable and curious individuals who like meeting people, especially now that tourism in Costa Rica is on the upswing. Please be cautious when wandering around a town if you are a single woman!

4. Dengue is the main disease of mosquitoes.
The good news is dengue has been dramatically reduced by 50% over the last few years! Use repellent and mosquito nets, especially in rural and beach areas.

5. Ticos have a laid-back attitude but don’t drive as they do.
The driving in Costa Rica usually astounds visitors, and it’s something I warn them about before they come down here. When driving in Costa Rica, be cautious of potholes, motorbikes weaving between lanes, and pedestrians on the roadway.

6. It’s a small country, but it takes longer than it seems to get around.
Costa Rica is smaller than Florida. Therefore, believing you can drive across the nation in a week is tempting. Technically, you can, but believe me when I say it isn’t delightful! This is because Costa Rican roadways are seldom straight. They have highways, and the main roads are paved, although most only have one lane.

7. Police can stop and ask for your papers at any time.
Police in Costa Rica have been known to pull over any vehicle and demand identification. Keep a color duplicate of your whole passport with you at all times, including your tourist stamp. Remember that to drive lawfully in Costa Rica as a tourist, you must have your foreign driver’s license and a valid tourist stamp on your passport at all times.

8. It gets cold, but it doesn’t snow.
There are more than 40 microclimates in Costa Rica. Before you come down, look up the weather where you’ll stay or visit.

9. English is widely spoken, but not all Costa Ricans speak English.
The majority of Ticos speak English, but not all. Before you come, learning a few basic Spanish phrases would be beneficial.

10. Costa Rica is safe, and theft is the most common crime.
Lock your car and doors, and keep an eye on your belongings in Costa Rica, where petty theft is the norm. There are always a few nasty men waiting to take advantage of foreigners in large cities and tourist regions, just as in other major cities and tourist locations.

11. Rainy season doesn’t mean it’s bad to travel.
The rainy season is also known as the wet season or green season. After all, Costa Rica is known for its rainforests. Here are a few more reasons why visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season is a great idea:

– Rainy season is also Costa Rica’s low season. This means fewer tourists!
– Hotel and tour prices drop significantly. It’s the perfect time to visit Costa Rica on a budget.
– A typical rainy season day starts off bright, hot, and sunny, then becomes cloudy in the afternoon and rainy in the evening/night.
– Rainy season is the best time to see whales and turtles.

Costa Rica’s rainy season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of November. The rainiest months for most of Costa Rica are September and October, with December and January being rainy in the Caribbean.

12. Don’t Let Your Snake Guard Down.
We don’t want to frighten you away from Costa Rica, but you should know that the country is home to 22 dangerous snake species. The fer-de-lance, eye-lash viper, and coral snake are among them. Although they are normally shy and try to avoid people, bites occur. The medical system is excellent here, with antivenin available everywhere, but it is not something you want to face while on vacation. Remain alert, stay on defined routes, and follow your guide’s instructions.

13. Don’t Touch the Cute Tiny Frogs.
Poison dart frogs, tiny, charming, and colorful frogs with ornate markings, are another animal to watch out for when exploring the rainforest. They’re adorable and like rubber toys you’d find in a gumball machine, but some contain a lethal toxin. Refrain from touching these animals. If the venom from the deadliest small guys gets into your blood circulation, it can kill 10 grown men.

14. Mobile Internet and Wi-Fi are readily available.
You’ll find Mobile Internet (3G/4G) in most towns in Costa Rica, even in rural areas — and most hotels and restaurants provide Wi-Fi to their customers. When in doubt, ask!

15. Nearly every town has an ATM.
We didn’t in the past, but today we do! Check with your bank to see if there are any daily limits.

16. Tap water is generally safe to drink.
Most of Costa Rica’s water is safe to drink. However, ask first in more remote rural regions, particularly along the coast. To be safe, many people purchase bottled water.

17. US dollars are readily accepted and are the standard currency in tourism.
As most tourists are from the United States, hotels and tour companies list their pricing in US dollars. Costa Ricans can also hold bank accounts in USD and mortgages and car payments in USD. In the tourist industry, the US dollar has become the accepted currency. When spending money, make sure you check the currency rate.


-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]

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