Costa Rica Travel Tips
Costa Rica is abso-freakin-lutely amazing. As I write this, I just got back yesterday, and our visit was magical. That's me zip lining, having a blast as I whiz through the gorgeous rainforest. There are a few things I would have liked to know ahead of time, though, so I've put together some Costa Rica travel tips so you won't have to learn the hard way. (Not that anything is all that hard in paradise!)
First of all, visit Airbnb.com for places to stay. We have had great success with their site and properties, both because of the unique homes listed and the bargain prices. Then keep reading for what to pack for your trip. It's going to be fun!
How to find an awesome, unique place to stay in Costa Rica
My absolute best advice is to find a place on Airbnb.com. The site has made travel possible for us with its great prices and unique places to stay--no cookie-cutter condos here, just real homes (and very nice ones at that). Just type on the area you want to visit below.
What to pack
Less than you think you need. Foxy and I tried to pack light for our two weeks, but still we had way too much stuff. I mean way. Here's what you really need:
Three sexy bathing suits (you define sexy)
Loose, light clothing. it is hot and humid in Costa Rica. You will come to hate sleeves.
Girls, you will also come to hate your bra. Take it off. Boys, no shirt needed unless you're going to dinner.
Good insect repellent
Strong sun screen
A flashlight. Yeah, it's not that well-lit at night, and you'll want to be out in nature.
Tevas or the equivalent--strong sandals that make your feet look wider than they are. Great for walking through rivers.
Hiking shoes or similar
Zip lock baggie to protect your passport while you swim, snorkle, etc.
Something to read when your bus/plane/taxi is delayed.
A small backpack for day hikes.
One nice outfit, as skimpy as you can stand.
OPTIONAL BUT NICE TO HAVE:
A wi-fi capable device. There are lots of wi-fi hookups, even in more out-of-the-way towns, so you can stay connected if you want to.
A money bag to hold your valuables while you roam the streets.
Maybe a hat, but then maybe you'll get hot and never wear it. Your call.
But what about the toilet paper?
You do your business. You wipe your business. And then you throw that nasty piece of sh*t-slathered toilet paper in the wastebasket next to you.
This is one of those Costa Rica travel tips that takes a little getting used to. I admit I wrapped my toilet paper in more toilet paper a couple of times, for privacy.
Costa Rica, along with many other countries including Mexico, is on a septic system that doesn't take toilet paper well. It's a remarkably difficult habit to break if you are used to flushing it down the toilet, but you gotta do it.
What I wish I'd known before I went
Whether you know much or not, you're bound to have a blast in Costa Rica. It's an amazing place full of nature, beauty, delicious food, and views you won't believe. But a few key Costa Rica travel tips that would have helped me.
1) You should schedule your bus routes ahead of time if you can. We tried twice to go for same-day bus service during the slow season and we couldn't arrange it. In public bus stations you can often buy your ticket that day before. You can also take a shuttle bus, which costs more but is air conditioned, but you have to reserve that, too. Your hotel/hostel folks can help you.
2) There are lots of places to stay during the "green" (read: low) season. You can bargain for room rates if you want to.
3) The green season is really awesome. It is. Everybody acts like you have to go when it's dry, but a little afternoon rain never hurt anyone.
4) Puerto Viejo is an amazing, original beach town. it is not the craphole some guide book writers make it out to be. I loved it, and so did Foxy.
5) Feel free to ask locals for Costa Rica travel tips. They know a lot, especially the ones affiliated with a hotel, hostel, etc. People are generally happy to help.
Links to other Gringa-tastic pages on Costa Rica
Yes! Cahuita is awesome. The snorkeling is beautiful, the chicken is tastylicious.
Baby monkeys! Baby sloths! Crocs, snakes, birds...so many amazing animals in Costa Rica. Pics and stories here.
Atenas Costa Rica is a good place to land and get your bearings. It's 20 minutes from the airport. Easy breezy.
I know you want to go! Link from Costa Rica Travel tips to my videotastic page on the Arenal Volcano area.
Spend those dollars right. Costa Rica currency info and Foxy's favorite ways to save in Costa Rica here.
I love Puerto Viejo so much. It is just amazing. Check out silly pics and recommendations here.
So, how much will your airfare cost? Here's how I got cheap tickets.
It's easy to have an adventurous vacation in CR. Where to zip and who to ask.
Yummies! Costa Rica food is delicious.
O the glorious beaches of Costa Rica. Check out my favorites and add your own!
One last thing, honey. You know I am a big fan of Airbnb, right? Well, the amazing airplane/treehouse lodging in this ad below is actually in Costa Rica. Look!