You’ve looked at the amazing range of Costa Rica villas for rent, you’ve booked your flights and your passport is on standby. You’re already making plans for your time in Costa Rica, but did you know there’s a lot more to this amazing country than meets the eye? There are a few things you should know about this Central American country before you visit. Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be concerned about but being armed with these facts could help your vacation be one to remember!
Things You Should Know Before Visiting Costa Rica
Costa Rica isn’t as Cheap as you Think
OK, so the food is the same price as the food served in North America, but this is where the similarity ends. Gas costs twice as much as it does in North America so if you’re planning to hire a car you may need to limit how many trips you take.
While there are many tours on offer in this part of the world you can often pay at least $100 per ticket which is a lot of money. This may well mean that you don’t go on as many tours as you’d hoped, but it does mean you get to explore the country in your own time and at your own pace.
You Can Drink Tap Water
Many visitors to Costa Rica are surprised that you can turn on the tap and help yourself to some drinking water. it’s often assumed that you’ll have to go out and buy bottle after bottle of water, but this is not the case in the cities and in most tourist destinations too.
You may want to check with the company that operates your villa if you can drink tap water but it’s likely that they will let you know if you can. However, when it comes to traveling to rural areas you may want to avoid tap water as it might not be safe to drink.
You Can Spend US Dollars in Costa Rica
Whether you’re traveling to Costa Rica from the United States or you have some left over from a recent visit you can spend your dollars in Costa Rica. You’ll find that many tour companies quote all of their prices in US Dollars as most tourists tend to come from America.
This means that you can spend your leftover US dollars while on vacation should you wish to, but when you’re given change it’s likely that it will come in the form of Colons, the local currency.
You Cannot Get Around Very Quickly
While Costa Rica is quite small, just 180 miles long and 75 miles wide it’s not easy to get around in a hurry. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they can cover most of the country in a short space of time until they reach one of the roads and see that it has just one lane. This means that those great big delivery trucks are likely to cause quite a bit of congestion making your journey a lot longer than it should be.
The roads in Costa Rica are paved but they are not straight and what should be a relatively quick journey could last a few more hours than you expected. This is primarily why a lot of people decide to explore a few parts of the country each time they visit rather than trying to see everything. Pick two or three destinations that you want to see this time ‘round and save the others for your next visit.
5. Costa Rica Can Get Cold
Many people assume that Costa Rica is a hot country and while temperatures can get up to 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) it can get a little cold too. This is because some parts of the country are quite high up, especially some of the mountains, for example, Mount Chirripó is 3,820 meters high, so it’s bound to be quite chilly at the top.
The good news is that it does not snow in this part of the world so you may not need a snowsuit, however, a few warm items of clothing would not go a miss!
Don’t be Put off by the Rainy Season
While most tourists like to head to Costa Rica during the dry season, the rainy season is also a great time to visit this beautiful country. You may envision huge downpours that could leave you stuck inside your villa for days on end, but this very rarely happens. Known as the ‘Low season’, the rainy season attracts fewer tourists meaning the whole country tends to be a lot quieter. What’s more is tours tend to be a lot cheaper this time of year too, meaning you can have just as much fun for a lot less.
You may also be interested to know that it tends to rain during the evening and through the night. The mornings are usually quite hot and sunny whereas the afternoons can be a little cloudy. This means you can still hit the beach and work on your tan before making your way into town in the afternoon and enjoying a meal in a restaurant.
One more thing that I feel the need to add concerns the turtles and whales that like to call Costa Rica their home at certain times of the year. The rainy season is the best time to spot these wonderful creatures and they really are worth hanging around for. So, if you can avoid visiting during those long hot summer months opt for the rainy season (From September to October) as it’ll be quieter, tours are cheaper, and you’ll have the pleasure of spotting a bit of wildlife too.
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Sloth-Spotting is Harder than you Think
Many people visit Costa Rica in the hope that they will come across a few sloths. There tends to be a lot of sloth-related paraphernalia for sale in tourist spots but the truth is they can be very hard to stumble upon.
One of the best ways for you to see a sloth or two is by taking one of the many tours on offer or opting to visit the sloth sanctuary that’s been home to abandoned or injured sloths since 1992.
Now you know a little more about beautiful Costa Rica you can plan your vacation accordingly, save up a bit more money and be prepared to pack a few warm clothes!