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10 Key Tips for Planning Your Trip to Costa Rica

If you’re on the market for some of the most breathtaking sceneries, unspoiled Caribbean beaches, spectacular waterfalls and Nature at the very peak of its powers, then Costa Rica should definitely be on your bucket list.

For those of you who are perennial thrill seekers and Ecotourists, then you will be thrilled to know that up to 30% of the country’s flora and fauna are protected by the state, and such valuable resources as CBD oils are readily available and, most importantly, legal in Costa Rica.

That said, it is advisable to do your homework on what is culturally acceptable, and what is considered “proper” practice by the locals, just to be sure you don’t go in half-cocked…

Note that despite the fact that Costa Rica ranks as one of the top tourist destinations in Central America, it still has its fair share of gray areas. It is, for this reason, that preparation and planning are crucial elements when planning your trip to Costa Rica.

It is for this reason that we have compiled a list of 10 useful tips to ensure your trip to Costa Rica is one to remember.

1.Travel Light!

For the most part, you will have to travel with your luggage on your trip to Costa Rica, so it is advisable to carry only what is necessary.

You may also have a run in with some airlines if you pack too much luggage, as weight restrictions are kind of a thing in the Country. There is also the assumption that you may find some cool trinkets you may want to take home as a reminder of your time in the country.

Having a lot of luggage will restrict your options in terms of how much you can take with you when you go back home.

2.Plan Months in Advance

As we mentioned earlier, planning is crucial. This is mainly because the country has different rules for different places. There are some countries that do not require a visa, while there are some that do.

The requirements get even more complicated if the country where your passport was issued, and your country of residence is different. Ensure you get the correct details on all rule and regulations before you plan your trip to Costa Rica.

Another issue that needs addressing is the fact that although there are a variety of accommodation options, it is rather risky to “wing it” as it were.

Don’t travel to Costa Rica unless you have secured any of the various villas, lodges or luxury hotels at least 2-6 months prior.

This is because the space offered is usually limited, and not booking in advance, especially if you’re planning a Costa Rica family trip, can be a pain in the backside.

3.Stay Safe

Tourists tend to stand out, regardless of which country they visit. Now although Costa Rica is relatively safe, the recently formed Tourist Police in Costa Rica insists that tourists should always be keen, and take precautions that guarantee their safety at all times.

This includes not walking in deserted streets at odd hours, or living valuables and sentimental items unattended to. Tourist areas are especially vulnerable to cases of theft, which is why there is a particular focus on personal safety.

The waterways also lack lifeguards, and there are very few warnings on the lakefronts and river shores. You also need to be keen on the rough tides and be especially careful where you choose to swim. Note that these are simply precautionary measures and not an indication that Costa Rica is inherently unsafe.

4.It’s Expensive!

Between the high taxes and the ridiculously priced tourist attractions, you will come to the realization that a trip to Costa Rica doesn’t come cheap. The car rentals, the park fees, the food prices, prices of villas and resorts, all of it combined will rip a hole in your wallet.

This is why it is advisable to ensure you carry surplus cash, or if that makes you uneasy, then carry a backup credit card just to be sure you have sufficient financial cover.

If, however, you are on a tight leash, then there are ways to work around all these expenses, but, you will need to cut back on a bunch of things. Here are a couple of pointers when you’re trying to figure out how to plan a trip to Costa Rica on a budget.

You will need to forego some activities like four-wheeling and horseback riding. These activities will run you dry pretty quick. You can go for the occasional eco-tourism, perhaps see some waterfalls.

Go during the rainy season. This is mainly because the prices are typically low, and surprisingly the weather is slightly more favorable due to lower temperatures and thinner clouds. Going during the peak, sunny season means you don’t just pay more, but you also have a harder time finding quality accommodation.

Lastly, and this is especially useful if you’re on a Costa Rica family trip, try to find camps or dorms, as opposed to luxury hotels and villas. The pricing difference can be well into the hundreds of dollars!

5.Get Vaccinated Before Planning Your Trip to Costa Rica!

Costa Rica does have a strict policy on vaccinations and depending on where you’re coming from, you will need to do some research to establish which vaccine is needed.

We recommend vaccines for tetanus, rabies and hepatitis A and B, as well as the Yellow Fever vaccine if you’re traveling from Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador or countries within Africa.

The healthcare system is pretty elaborate, so there is really very little to worry about.

6. Tipping is Not Common Practice

Unlike in the States, tipping in Costa Rica is purely voluntary. The import tax bracket on almost all purchases includes a 13% extra clause for products purchased and services rendered.

It has also emerged that CBD oils are legal here, and the total buying price is tax inclusive, so if you’re still trying to figure out where to buy CBD oil for horses, cats, or even rabbits, then this forum is a great place to start.

7. Find Expert Guides

Going it alone isn’t recommended, especially if you’re visiting Costa Rica for the first time.

Guided tours have itineraries and schedules that clearly indicate where and when you can see the most species of animals and plants, the best places to see the tides and view the waterfalls, the best places to snorkel and swim, among other great experiences.

So while you can go on your own, it would perhaps be a more fulfilling experience if you sign up for people with some expertise.

Note that this may add some expense to your budget, so while they do add value to your stay, they are perhaps not recommended if you are on a tight budget. Again, planning is everything.

Find out how much you are ready and willing to spend, then see if you can squeeze in an expert naturalist without breaking out the bank.

8. Personal Medication

If you have a medical condition that requires constant medication, then it is advisable to ensure that your luggage contains all the medication that you will need throughout your trip to Costa Rica.

This is mainly due to the fact that some medication will be hard to purchase due to the fact that they may require a prescription that is certified by a physician. This may be a little hard to find, so stack up sufficiently.

9. $USD and Credit Cards are Acceptable

Two things are not inherently necessary, a currency exchange, and a Spanish handbook. If you have already signed up for a crash course in Spanish, ask for your money back.

Most destinations in Costa Rica accept USD as an exchange currency, so you don’t have to worry about carrying Costa Rican Colones all the time. If however, you don’t have cash on you, then you can always swipe, as Credit cards are also as good as gold.

It is, however, advisable to keep some local currency within reach as it may come in handy at some point on your trip.

10. Only Carry a Copy of Your Passport on Tours

The rules of engagement are a little flimsy when it comes to how much leeway you get once you enter the country.

For some, the time you are allowed to stay in the country will be longer than others, all depending on state relations with the country of origin or the immigration officer’s moods at the time.

This is why it is advised to make a copy of the page with the entry stamp on your passport, and use this as your ID when you’re making rounds.

Is Costa Rica Worth The Trip?

If you are a nature lover, then Costa Rica is as close to paradise as it gets. There are hundreds of species of birds, animals, plants, great tropical climate, beautiful scenes and one of the most bio-diverse systems you will experience anywhere in the world.

Yes, planning your trip to Costa Rica will definitely be worth your while!