7 things to consider before going to Costa Rica

I know… it’s been a good while… The truth is that I’ve been everywhere! In fact, right now, as I’m typing this, I’m currently on a “mini” vacation. But more on this later… Today I’m here to talk to you about 7 things that I feel like you should know before going to Costa Rica. I wont be covering everything I did in Costa Rica like I did with Mexico. I feel like you’ll find random posts such as this one more entertaining and easier to follow up with. So here we go!

1- You need a car. But not just any car.

It doesn’t matter how much time you’re spending in Costa Rica. YOU NEED A CAR! It’s useless to travel to Costa Rica and stay in one single place your entire vacation. There’s so many cool places to visit and explore that renting a car is a must. However! Keep this in mind… I have never driven in such horrible roads as I did in Costa Rica. Which brings me to my point: get a 4×4/SUV. Trust me, you don’t want to get a flat tire in the middle of Monte Verde, where you don’t have signal and will be forced to walk for miles until you get connection and ask for some help. Save yourself some trouble, invest in a bigger and well-prepared car to travel across the countryside and you’ll be good to go.

2- Get a GPS/Phone with data

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never been so lucky in my whole life. When I made arrangements with Vamos Rent a Car! They gave me the option of adding a GPS or a phone with unlimited data to my order. However, I found these two things unnecessary since I already own a phone and I could use it as my GPS. Well… Here’s what happened. Most rental car companies will give you complimentary things such as a map, cooler… When I was signing my insurance I reminded the lady that was working with me that I was supposed to get a map. She then proceeded to give me a phone with unlimited data since they had ran out of maps… I know. I considered marrying her when I realized that she was giving me a phone with unlimited high speed data for free. Trust me, hadn’t it been for that phone, I don’t even know what would have happened to me. Not only was my personal phone useless (T-Mobile only gives you 2G speeds outside the U.S. which doesn’t even let you open Google Maps), but having a GPS along the way was crucial. You see, Costa Rica doesn’t believe in street names or road signs. They just don’t have any. So think about yourself on a five hour road trip knowing that you need to take a right on “Avenida de Salamanca” and you just can’t find it anywhere. For the sake of your own life and time, get a GPS. Preferably, get a phone with unlimited data that you will be able to use as a GPS and as a hot spot for your own devices. I was lucky that I got it for free, but next time I will pay the $12/day. It’s a great investment. Trust me.

3- Gas Stations

This one sort of goes hand by hand with having a GPS. Trust me… Gas stations in Costa Rica aren’t as frequent as those in the U.S.. In North America you can see a Wawa, Shell etc. approximately every five minutes. In Costa Rica you will be driving for hours without seeing a single gas station. Keep in mind that some of the most touristic destinations in Costa Rica are up in the mountains lost in the middle of nowhere. So just keep in mind. Even if you still half a tank of gas, if you come across a gas station, fill up!

4- Enjoy your mornings, travel at night!

In Costa Rica it rains 8 months a year. Meaning that if you travel from March-October, you will be getting rain almost everyday. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t travel during rainy season. I personally went there in the middle of August, one of the most rainy seasons of all. Just keep in mind that it usually rains around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and depending on where you are it can rain for a good while. This is what I suggest you do: Do all of your activities in the morning and travel (with extraordinary care) to your next destination in the afternoon. You don’t want to be in the middle of Monte Verde under a tropical storm. Trust me. It’s no fun. So just plan accordingly. Schedule all of your activities early in the morning and travel when it rains. As long as you drive carefully, you’ll be warm and safe in your car when the rain shows up!

5- It can get cold!

Think about it. Often times in Costa Rica you will be extremely high up in the mountains. Lost in the middle of the woods. Plan accordingly… Even if one day you’re at the beach sweating like a pig, if the next day you’re going zip-lining up in the mountains, it will be cold! It’s not a bad idea to have a jacket (waterproof preferably) in your car.

6- Tour guides are a must!

Do it. Please. You will be so disappointed if you don’t get a tour guide. Spend the extra fifteen bucks. I promise you that if I hadn’t asked for a guide in parks such as Monte Verde or Manuel Antonio, I wouldn’t have seen half of the things I saw. It’s just not possible to enjoy all of the things that Costa Rica has to offer without the help of a local expert. Trust me, it’s worth the investment!

7- “Pura Vida”

Don’t be afraid of talking to Ticos. They love foreign people. If you ever feel like you need help with something, don’t hesitate to ask for help. I’ve never felt “unsafe” anywhere in Costa Rica.

If you’ve taken the time to read all of this, I appreciate it!

Costa Rica really was an amazing adventure. I extremely suggest visiting this beautiful country if you ever get chance. It really is full of adventure!

I might be writing a few more things in the near future about my trip so stay tuned!

Author: Tony Lewis

I own my own blog. Funny right? No, not really. I do online marketing for a living. I love to share my thoughts and opinions on different things, but what I enjoy the most is getting on a plane and exploring the world.