Your Questions Answered: Traveling to Costa Rica

Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

If you’re looking for tropical beaches, jungles and wildlife during your next vacation, then traveling to Costa Rica is the perfect choice. From birders to surfers, Costa Rica’s rich terrain and biodiversity offers something amazing for everyone. But if this is your first time traveling to this Central American gem, then here are a few nuggets of wisdom to consider before your trip.

Where is it?

When you’re traveling to Costa Rica, you should know that it’s nestled between Nicaragua and Panama, with the Caribbean to the East and the Pacific to the West and South. As a result, Costa Rica has an island feel. Because it’s near the equator and in the tropics, its climate is mild year-round. Located at the heart, San Jose is the capital and most populated city. Typically, visitors fly into the airport there, but quickly drive to their destinations. A few of the most desirable beach resorts including Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo and JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa are located on the Pacific side.

What are some fun facts about Costa Rica?

There are too many interesting facts about Costa Rica to share, but here are few:

  • Bats and monkeys are two of the most common mammals in Costa Rica. 
  • It has 800 miles of coastline, is smaller than Lake Michigan but has 5% of the planet’s biodiversity. 
  • Costa Rican men call themselves Ticos and women are Ticas. 

Is Costa Rica Safe?

Tourists can be easy targets no matter where they travel. To prevent getting into sticky situations, don’t carry any valuables or large sums of money with you, and use the resort safe. Be sure to avoid local scams and only use official Wi-Fi connections. If your taxi driver says the meter is broken, find another taxi. If they say your hotel is overbooked or an attraction is closed, then be sure to call and confirm before you go. 

What is the exchange rate?

The Costa Rican Colon is worth a small fraction of the U.S. Dollar. You can exchange Dollars for Colones once you there, just be sure to use a trusted bank or hotel. Oftentimes stores may list prices in U.S. Dollars and even take them. In other words, don’t feel pressured to exchange all your money before you go. If you’d like to see the latest exchange rates, then look here

When’s the rainy season?

The Costa Rican rainy season is from May to November—the opposite of our warm season. It’s probably wise to avoid the rainy season if you’re looking for beach weather or planning long drives on dirt roads. Many roads are in poor condition with large pot holes and are not paved, which is something to consider when asking “is Costa Rica safe?” Landslides are not uncommon either. It's a popular destination for the holidays, so if you’re trying to avoid crowds then mid-January might be a good time to visit.
 

Where are Costa Rica’s national parks?

With dozens sprinkled throughout the country, Costa Rica’s national parks are breathtaking and picturesque, perfect for sharing on Instagram. One of the most popular is Arenal Volcano National Park, known for its natural hot springs, adventure travel attractions and wildlife, including hundreds of bird species. If the clouds lift, then you may be lucky enough to see the top of the active volcano in the distance. It is the rain forest, so be sure to bring a waterproof case for your phone or camera. If you’re more interested in the beach, then Tortuguero National Park and its sea turtle nesting grounds may be what you’re looking for. Again, it’s one of the rainiest parts of the country, so dress accordingly. 

Also read:
• Your Questions Answered: Bahamas Vacation
• Tips for Traveling to St. Lucia: From Resorts to Rainforest
• Best Caribbean Beach Resorts: Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Beyond

Costa Rica is one of those destinations where you go on vacation and fall in love with its beauty. Whether it’s a great once-in-a-lifetime vacation that you remember forever or a place that you frequent time and again, each adventure you have there will be as unique as a grain of sand. And, when it comes to any vacation—whether domestic or abroad—we highly recommend you help protect your non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs with a Standard, Preferred or Premium travel insurance plan from Generali Global Assistance.

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