Located between Panama and Nicaragua, Costa Rica is a small country but has enormous ecological diversity. The country offers a varying landscape from the massive volcanoes in the north to the cool breezy mountains and miles of tropical trees that line the soft sandy beaches and pristine blue waters.
Costa Rica is no longer a hidden paradise. For the last 2 decades, tourists from all over the globe have been flocking to this tropical gem for a holiday of a lifetime. However, not everyone who goes on a Costa Rica vacation has a great time and one common reason is because of lack of planning. A Costa Rica vacation offers many things for tourists but it really depends on where one goes and when. There are hundreds of inclusive package deals for tourists but in most cases, these deals only take you to one beach and perhaps a bus tour of the nearest village. If you really want to enjoy your Costa Rica Vacation, make your own plans or itinerary.
The first thing you need to decide where you want to go on your Costa Rica Vacation; the pacific coast of Costa Rica is much nicer, warmer, and prettier and safer than the Atlantic coast. The other reason to go to the Pacific coast is that it is easier to reach, has well developed infrastructure, offers an exotic landscape, the ecosystem is well preserved and the beaches are beautiful.
The next thing you need is a budget. A Costa Rica Vacation is a lot cheaper than visiting almost any US city but it is more expensive than other neighboring countries. If you really want to experience nature, consider an ecolodge. There are many exotic lodges all over the pacific coast with rates that vary from $15-$400 a night. The majority of ecolodges go to extremes to ensure that you get to experience raw nature-this means they will organize your sightseeing, kayaking, water rafting, hiking, zipline tours, and mountain biking.
Accommodation to suit all types of budget is available in Costa Rica but this also depends on when you go. During peak tourist season, coming on a Costa Rica Vacation without a pre-booked place to say is a definite NONO. During off-season, pre-booking is not necessary as you will always find somewhere to stay. Another option that has recently become available is Airbnb, which allows you to see the place before you book it. The cheapest places to stay are hostels, which start at around $18 to luxurious villas that cost over $400.
However, most decent accommodation in Costa Rica falls in between $80-$200 for 2br condo or villa at Playas Del Coco or neighboring towns.
You also need to decide when you will go. Costa Rica has two seasons- dry and wet. The wet season runs from May till November and it makes a mess of the roads and the rivers usually overflow. But that does not mean there are no sunny days during this time. If you plan to go in the rainy season you also need to carry the proper attire and suitable clothes. If you choose to go to Your Costa Rica Vacation during this season, then Guanacaste is your best choice. The areas of Playa del Coco, Hermosa and Ocotal beaches as well Papagayo have much less rain during that time, then the rest of Costa Rica.
Another good news is that there are fewer tourists, things are a lot cheaper and you never have to wait in a line.
The dry season runs from Dec till April and it is peak tourist season- everywhere there are tourists and things are a lot more expensive. No matter what season you go, carry a mosquito repellant with if you plan to travel inland.
If you want to experience Costa Rican hospitality, culture, beach life and the eco-district head towards Playas del Coco, which is located in Guanacaste Province. Playas del Coco is fast becoming the mecca for tourism and is considered the best destination to visit in Costa Rica. Also referred to as “Coco Beach” by foreigners, it has everything for a tourist. To get to Playas de Coco one flies into Liberia, which is a small town 30 minutes away. This area has an abundance of natural splendors that include rainforests, rivers and you can even trek up close to the volcanoes.
There is ample information on the Internet about what to do on a Costa Rica Vacation and buying a guidebook is really not necessary; but do download a map of the place. While English is spoken everywhere, knowing a few words of Spanish can be helpful especially if you travel inland.
Citizens of the US do not need a visa to enter the country but you will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. If you decide to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for an extension from the immigration department. At the end of your Costa Rica Vacation, you will need to pay a departure tax, which is $29, but check with your airline, in some tickets it is already included..
A Costa Rica Vacation is everything that you can possibly think off. The country has something for everyone. Besides being safe, the infrastructure is well developed, there is plenty to see and do, and above all the people are friendly.