Costa Rica is a beautiful and diverse country that attracts visitors from all over the world. From lush rainforests to stunning beaches, there is something for everyone in this Central American paradise.
However, before you plan your trip, there are some things you should know to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. In this article, we will discuss ten things to know about Costa Rica before you go.
1. Costa Rica is Not as Cheap as People Think
While Costa Rica is not as expensive as some other destinations in the region, it is not as cheap as many people think. Prices for food, accommodations, and activities can add up quickly, particularly in tourist areas. It is important to budget accordingly and do your research ahead of time to ensure that you are not caught off guard by unexpected expenses.
2. Costa Rica is a Small Country but it Takes Longer Than it Seems to Get Around
Despite its small size, getting around Costa Rica can take longer than expected due to its mountainous terrain and winding roads. It is important to plan accordingly and allow for extra time when traveling between destinations.
Additionally, traffic can be heavy in urban areas, particularly during rush hour. Tours to Costa Rica are a popular way to explore the country’s stunning natural beauty and diverse culture, but it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable tour operator to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
3. Tap Water is Safe to Drink in Costa Rica
Unlike many other countries in the region, tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink. This is due to the country’s robust water treatment system. However, it is important to note that some people may still experience stomach upset when drinking tap water, particularly if they are not used to it. Bottled water is readily available and is a good option for those who prefer it.
4. Dengue, Not Malaria, is the Main Disease from Mosquitoes in Costa Rica
While mosquitoes are prevalent in Costa Rica, the main disease to be concerned about is dengue, not malaria. Dengue is a viral illness that is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause fever, headache, and joint pain. It is important to take measures to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing long sleeves and pants, using mosquito repellent, and sleeping under mosquito nets.
5. Costa Rica Gets Cold but it Doesn’t Snow
Despite its location near the equator, Costa Rica can get surprisingly cold, particularly in higher elevations. However, it never snows in the country. It is important to pack accordingly, particularly if you are planning to visit the mountains. Layers are key, as temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day.
6. US Dollars are Readily Accepted and are the Standard Currency in Tourism
While the official currency of Costa Rica is the colón, US dollars are widely accepted and are the standard currency in tourism. Many businesses, particularly those in tourist areas, will quote prices in dollars. It is still a good idea to have some colones on hand, particularly for smaller transactions.
7. You Can Still Visit Costa Rica in Rainy Season and Have a Great Time!
While Costa Rica’s dry season (December to April) is the most popular time to visit, the rainy season (May to November) can be a great time to go as well. The rains can bring lush greenery and fewer crowds, and many activities, such as white-water rafting and surfing, are actually better during this time. Just be sure to pack a rain jacket!
8. US dollars are Readily Accepted and are the Standard Currency in Tourism
The official currency of Costa Rica is the colón, but US dollars are widely accepted throughout the country, especially in areas frequented by tourists. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some local currency, especially for small purchases or transactions. ATMs are also widely available throughout the country, allowing you to withdraw colones or US dollars as needed.
9. Police can Stop and Ask for your Papers at Any time
It’s important to note that in Costa Rica, police have the authority to stop and ask for identification papers at any time. This is not necessarily indicative of any wrongdoing on your part, but rather a standard procedure in the country. Make sure to carry a copy of your passport and any other necessary documentation with you at all times to avoid any issues.
10. Wi-Fi is Readily Available
For those who need to stay connected while traveling, you’ll be happy to know that Wi-Fi is widely available throughout Costa Rica, especially in tourist areas. Many hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi to their customers, allowing you to stay connected without racking up huge data charges. However, in more remote areas or outside of tourist hotspots, Wi-Fi may be harder to come by, so plan accordingly.
Costa Rica is a beautiful and fascinating country that offers something for everyone. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to this amazing destination.
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