Costa Rica is one of the most magnificent destinations that you can possibly visit. It is absolutely full of lush greenery, unique fauna, and fascinating culture to go with it. It’s no wonder why people really take the time to have amazing Costa Rica luxury vacations there. Of course, no trip should ever be the same, so I have decided to talk a little bit more about a place that has become very special to me. Hopefully these tips will help you find the magic that I have in the past and to have that extraordinary stay that you will simply never forget.
Young or old, the pure beauty of the sight of a waterfall will always leave you in awe. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see masses of water topple down a steep cliff onto even more water. Costa Rica is absolutely filled (no pun intended) with waterfalls and these should definitely be towards the top of your list when it comes to things to see and do. The Llanos de Cortez waterfall is one fine example of waterfalls that you need to see. It has a very wide face that often looks as though there are three waterfalls combined into one. Naturally the lush tropical greenery is also not a bad compliment to this and you can also take a dip in the pool underneath the waterfall if you wish too. Another great waterfall is the Rio Celeste waterfall, which is well known for its absolutely stunning location in the mountains and more importantly the amazing aqua blue pool that the waterfall produces. “Rio Celeste” actually translates to blue river in Spanish and after seeing this stunning waterfall, you will know exactly why. There are many more explore, but no blog post could cover all the spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica.
Chow down on the local cuisine
Costa Rica is a great destination that is made even more magical by the food that you savour there. There is so much to choose from, but let’s start with the first meal of the day. For breakfast you definitely should try Gallo Pinto, which is rice and beans. There are also some great flavours in there with coriander, onions, peppers and spices. This is the perfect breakfast dish and you will be wishing that you had discovered this earlier. Casado is another great dish to try, especially because you would not describe it as just one dish. It is actually a whole host of smaller single dishes, like rice, beans, salads, meats or tortillas. It will vary from region to region, but I found that it was delicious wherever I went. One of the best parts of casado is that it will usually include a fresh and tasty fruit juice too! Again, there is so much to choose from, so don’t be afraid to try something new or different, you might even like it!
The problem with modernity is mankind has now become accustomed to everything being fast and instant. Whether it’s cooking food, sending messages or taking photos, everyone wants it now. Sadly, because of this, nobody has stopped to smell the flowers in a very long time. It’s also why you should stop your feeling of being rushed, because Costa Rica lives on a completely different wavelength to your normal life. Take the opportunity to enjoy things moving at just the right pace. The best things are always enjoyed slowly and that is so true of Costa Rica. You will have enough time in your everyday life to feel stressed out and rushed, so enjoy the pace.
It might sound funny to you, but if tiny scars from scratching mosquitoes bites are souvenirs no person wants. Plus scratching can open up the cuts, which makes them susceptible to infection, especially in a tropical place like Costa Rica. So when traveling to Costa Rica, be prepared for mosquitoes as they are quite plentiful due to Costa Rica being a tropical country. This is especially so if you travel during the offseason, also known as the rainy season. When you do get bitten, apply something cold or something cooling to the area like something mentholated or has tea tree oil. Packing a steroid cream is the best solution to solve your itchy problem.
When going on a vacation, one tends to overpack in fear of leaving anything important. Stop. Inhale. Exhale. You are on vacation and one of the first things one must know about Costa Rica is that simplicity is the key. You do not need the heavy makeup, chunky accessories nor the sleek slacks for your holiday. Bring only the essentials and if you have anything that can double duty (like a sundress that can also be a cover up) then pack it. If your accommodation provides toiletries, then no need to pack your own. Or if you have a preferred brand, pack them in travel size or invest in some of those small clear plastic bottles.
Two Words: Pura. Vida.
If Hawaii has Aloha, then Costa Rica has “Pura Vida”. It’s probably the most important phrase for you to learn. Meaning pure life in Spanish, it’s more than just a phrase but the way of life for ticos (the colloquial name that Costa Ricans give themselves). It is the optimistic outlook on life no matter what happens. It means going with the flow and not stressing yourself out. It’s a mantra you should adopt while on vacation here and one you should also take back home.
Experience Local Culture
When in another country, you must also consider not just your destinations but the culture surrounding the nation as well. Unfortunately, this is something numerous travelers may tend to forget when they arrive in Costa Rica as all they could think of are beaches, jungle, and hotel. Don’t be like them. Take some time to learn about the country you are visiting. Experience Costa Rica by visiting a coffee plantation where they make some of the world’s best brews. Don’t just buy coffee, find out where it comes from and how it came to be in your supermarket back home. Visit the museum and learn more about the history of Costa Rica. Visit the village of Guaitil to learn the art of handmade Costa Rican pottery. There are many more ways to experience the culture of Costa Rica – it’s up to you to discover them. Be open and take every chance that you get, your trip will surely be magical for this reason alone.
Take It All In Stride
With Costa Rica, you bet you can expect the unexpected. Weather supposed to be sunny outside today? Nope, because here comes the downpour. Expecting the petrol station to open at 10 AM? No, but how about checking later in the afternoon? What you should do is not stress out and take all these little unexpected occurrences in stride. As Tim Gunn says on Project Runway, “Make it work” and make it work you shall.
Take Public Transportation
It might not be the most glamorous way to travel, but it’s certainly something every tourist has to experience in every country they visit and Costa Rica is no exception to this. Public buses are the most economical way to get around Costa Rica. They are quite comfortable and have a system like a bell or a buzzer to alert the driver that you wish to get off. If this does not stop, shouting “parada” (Spanish for stop) will halt the vehicle. Do know that the buses are quite punctual and you can buy tickets in advance too.
Costa Rica has an incredible 6% of the world’s biodiversity, which is pretty impressive considering it is smaller than a good number of states in the USA. This is probably why there are 27 national parks and 58 wildlife refuges in the country. Visit one of these to be one with Mother Earth and to see the flora and fauna that make Costa Rica unique. One of the most recommended is Cahuita National Park. It protects not just one, but four forms of water/earth forms, namely a rainforest, beach, reef and river. The coral reefs are definitely the highlight of this wonderful place and snorkeling and seeing the 500 species of fish here is something that I will never ever forget. If you are feeling daring you can even visit one of the two shipwrecks here too!
The nation of Costa Rica is ever-changing, but one thing will remain constant: Pura Vida. Enjoy your stay and may you have a holiday like no other. I hope that it is magical!