Guide: Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is easily one of my favorite countries. The beaches, people, and connection to nature bring you back to the real beauty of life. Costa Rica is known for the saying:
"Pura Vida" which means pure life. Pura Vida is a way of life.
Costa Rica is a vastly diverse country that has two coasts. The west coast near the Pacific Ocean is where you can find the typical Costa Rican. On the Atlantic Ocean, it is more so Jamaican and heavily influenced by African-Caribbean culture.
I spent a week in Costa Rica with my best friend from high school, Sarah. We started off in San Jose, went over to the west coast in Tamarindo and back to the center in Arenal, and after to the east coast of Limon. I had the absolute time of my life and cannot wait to return.
I've created a short guide of where we stayed, what we did and tips to get around Costa Rica.
Leave a comment or a message if you need more info, or share your experience below!
Tips for Costa Rica
Book your trip early. Depending on the season, hotels in Costa Rica can be booked pretty quickly, it's best to book early!
DO rent a car if you can. If you are able to drive, I suggest you rent a car. (ONLY FROM BUDGET RENTAL) Costa Rica has a lot of beaches that are all very different. Just a 20-minute drive up the coast gives you a whole different beach.
Costa Rican roads are TERRIBLE! Guys, it's not smooth sailing, but what did you expect, we're in the middle of the jungle!
Book your hotel/airport/city transfers with Caribe Shuttle. Its the number one shuttle service in Costa Rica. The drivers are super friendly and there's even wi-fi onboard!
Pack light and be adaptable to weather changes! Dry Season: December to April. Rainy Season: May to November.
Respect the countries eco-friendly lifestyle. That means for most of the country not flushing toilet paper in the toilet!
Talk to the locals. Most Costa Ricans speak English. They can help tell you where are the cool local spots are!
Check your provider for your phone plan, or buy a sim card. Sim Cards in Costa Rica is pretty cheap and you can find them in most city centers and at the airport. Pick the plan that's best for you, but plan on spending around 40€ for a week for internet and international calls. Most places have wifi.
USD and Costa Rican Colon are accepted. Both currencies work, but always best to make sure to have some Costa Rican Colon just in case.
Stock up on sunscreen and bug spray! Even when the sun isn't out, the sun in Costa Rica is pretty strong. Be sure as well to bring bug spray especially in the mountains and volcano area.
Where we stayed:
Hotel Grano de Oro- San Jose
Pros: A beautiful tropical oasis hotel in the center of San Jose. Has a rooftop outdoor lounge space + gym
Cons: Not so much to do in San Jose
Budget: Medium (depending on the time of year)
Tamarindo Bay Hotel- Tamarindo
Pros: Quiet, hotel & 5-minute walk to the beach and the main road of Tamarindo. Great homemade breakfast & owner is very kind
Cons: Sometimes the hot water wasn't very hot
Casa Luna Hotel & Spa
Pros: In the middle of la Arenal area, surrounded by jungle with a mini-hiking path
Cons: Food is not very good
Hotel Banana Azul
Pros: Beautiful treehouse hotel just right next to the ocean with a great team and awesome food
Cons: Depending on the time of year will determine if the beach is calm enough to lay on
Things to do:
Head to Tamarindo beach for the most beautiful sunset
Have a healthy and tasty beachside lunch at: Pico Bistrot
Grab a cute bikini from Del Toro's Bikinis
Enjoy a cute dinner with great food at Dragonfly Bar and Grill
Visit La Fortuna Waterfall
Take a relaxing dip in a Hot Spring. Check out my favorite one here: Paradise Hot Springs
Take a hike up the Arenal Volcano
Glide in the sky with the monkeys at Sky Trek
Take a walk into town. There is one main road with all the best shops and restaurants with cute mini side streets
Grab a surf lesson on the beach. Most instructors are already at the beach and waiting for you to walk right up and ask if you have time!
Enjoy a great dinner at Koki Beach