What is it like to visit Costa Rica
Imagine that you are going on vacation to Costa Rica. Are you excited about this adventure? What do you expect? Can’t wait to see the rainforest with all the pretty flowers and wild animals? Can’t wait for the pura vida lifestyle? Beautiful white sandy beach and cold drink in your hand? Are you excited to have a romantic moments in hot springs? Or maybe you are more active and looking forward for hiking and surfing? And on the top you think it is gonna be a cheap vacation yeey..
That’ s sounds amazing! But I’ve been there so let’s be honest..
Adventure? YES — Especially if you can’t speak Spanish and you are there on your own. But don’t panic! You can make it. It is not everywhere like that, coast is very touristy so everyone can speak at least a little bit English. And if you wanna take public bus, just say a name of the location where you need. TIP — public bus is really cheap transportation and they can stop anywhere on the way. We saved this way around 300$. So to take a cab or even shuttle is not necessary,believe me.
Rainforest? YES Pretty flowers? NOPE Animals? LITTLE BIT
I was really excited to see the rainforest for the first time in my life and I imagined everything in my mind so colourful so beautiful so huge, so tall, so incredible. But when I was walking through Monteverde cloud forest and Manuel Antonio rainforest, I was kind of dissapointed. We have met maybe three or four flavors — red ones and saw monkeys and lizards in Manuel Antonio but that’s it. So please, don’t imagine fairy tale like I did.
Pura Vida? I guess YES.
Depending what does it mean for you, where do you live, what is your lifestyle and how you can compare it. People chill outside, riding their bikes or motorcycles. I mean no big deal. I didn’t get a chance to really really talk with Costa Rican people so I can’t judge.
Beautiful beach? Depends, where you are.
Usually in the pictures you can see just amazing white sand beaches. But a reality is that not every single beach at Costa Rica has white sand. We’ve been just at Playa Jaco and Manuel Antonio. Playa Jaco is good for surfing, when you got a good swell, and partying but it is not the beauty queen. On the other side the Manuel Antonio beach is very pretty, white sand, monkeys and nature. That’s what you want. But I heard that the very best beach is Tamarindo, so think about it.
Oh yeah and I almost forgot. It it super like super hot on the beach, so I can bet that in 15 minutes you will look for a nice tree with a shade. Don’t forget sunscreen. Close to equator sun can ruin your stay really fast.
Hot springs? YES.
You will find there couple hot springs. I know about couple private in Arenal Volcano but you can also find there a public one. Unfortunately I’ve been just in the hot springs what was a part of the Arenal Volcano resort. It was cool,all the lights, bar in the pool but I would definitely try next time find some natural spots. But what is the use of hot springs anyway as the weather is already so hot and you are grateful for any cold stream or lake you can refresh in.
ACTIVITIES? A LOT.
How I mentioned before, Costa Rica is famous for great surfing culture. If you are hiking lover, you can find there many opportunities where to hike. For example we hiked Cerro Chato and it was great experience. I mean you must pay like 10$ to get in, and it’s really steep (they write it in many places but now they actually mean it) but it was worth it. Moreover you can jump into the very cold crater lake. Horseback riding is another activity what you can do. And also Costa Rica zip lines — you shouldn’t skip it and try it at least once. But pay close attention from whom you are buying from. Do your research, as the street vendors are not always the cheapest and safest option how to get an activity.
IS IT CHEAP? NOPE.
Haha don’t count on it. Costa Rica is maybe in Central America but it is seriously not cheap there. I mean accommodation? Yes, you can find there very lovely prices and nice hostels but mostly inland, not the coast area. Transportation? Yes, if you will take public bus or shared taxi. Activities, attraction, tours? Nope. That is really expensive, so better be ready cause there is not too much things you can do for free. Food? That’ s another expensive thing. Believe me the prices are the same like in the US. So for dinner you will spend 10–15$. And I really recommend to eat in soda places, the food is tasty.
What I like the most?
I really enjoyed Monteverde. I love mountains and I don’t like crowded places. It was perfect there. Great weather, awesome atmosphere and nice people. There is really a lot things to do. You might take coffee tour or just do your own at local coffee places and maybe you will be lucky and save 40$ because these people want to share with you their stories. You can go for hike to the cloud forest on hanging bridges. You can get beautiful view of nature and climb up to the ficus which is super cool.
So all of this I dare judge after my experience when I spent 2 weeks in Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, Playa Jaco and Manuel Antonio. I want to be totally honest so here we go. You can enjoy amazing trip, you just need to know what really expect and where to find it.