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Costa Rica is a top destination for all kinds of travelers worldwide, especially nature-lovers and adventurers. It is also a top spot for those who just want to lay on the beach and relax in a tropical paradise. Within and around all of the lush jungles,  volcanoes, beaches, and more, there is no limit on the kinds of activities that one can enjoy here.  

Before planning a vacation to Central America, visitors will want to be prepared with all that they need to know. It can be overwhelming to research everything from top beaches to what to pack, and that is why we have formulated the most essential guide.  It includes everything that travelers to Costa Rica need to know in order to have the time of their life!  

Best Resorts

There is an abundance of beautiful, luxurious, and eco-friendly resorts throughout the country. Depending on where you might want to stay and what kind of views you prefer, there is guaranteed to be a resort that stands out.  

Most people will want a beachside experience and prefer to stay in Guanacaste.  This area includes multiple beaches such as Santa Theresa and Peninsula Papagayo.  Stay at Latitude 10 Exclusive Beach Resort for an open-air, romantic, and eco-friendly stay that is right on the perfect surf spot. 

Margaritaville Beach Resort is a great choice for families with its all-inclusive packages and various on-site amenities. 

Best Beaches

With such an incredible shoreline, how do you decide which beaches to visit? Luckily, the beaches throughout Costa Rica are incredibly diverse and visitors will have a blast at any of these

top-rated spots.

  • Manuel Antonio Beach remains one of the top beaches in the country. It is right  beside a coastal rainforest where you’ll probably see some monkeys after snorkeling  along the incredible coral seascape. 
  • Tamarindo Beach in Guanacaste is another great choice for its reputation as a  popular surf spot for beginners. There are also many amazing hotels and dinner spots  nearby this white sand beach. 

Best Excursions

While in a jungle paradise, you can’t miss out on some of the unique excursions and tours. From hiking to zip-lining, there is something for every skill level to have a  once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

Those who are looking for an intense, all-day experience will want to check out the Guachipelin Volcano Zipline Horseback River Tubing Combo! It includes ziplining through volcanoes, horseback riding, and tubing through a river. You’ll even find hot springs, mud baths, and more!  

Those that are traveling with kids or who just might prefer a more relaxing excursion will enjoy a Sunset Catamaran Tour. You’ll be sailed out from Jaco to  Fantasia Beach, enjoy the wildlife, some drinks, and a meal while watching a gorgeous tropical sunset.  

Best Restaurants

With Costa Rica producing some of the top-quality fruits and vegetables in the world, you won’t want to miss out on tasting some delicious local cuisine. Traditional meals often include rice and beans, which are incorporated to produce scrumptious dishes that will fill you up after a busy day of adventures. 

Head over to Sobre Las Olas after a long beach day to enjoy some fresh seafood. Local ingredients are used to prepare amazing ceviche and mussels on the half shell! 

La Criollita is another favorite for every meal of the day. They specialize in traditional foods which include an unbelievable chicken soup, as well as decadent desserts like flan and cheesecake.  

What to Pack

Although Costa Rica is known for its tropical climate, the weather can be unpredictable at times. You won’t want to be caught in a rainstorm with just flip-flops and a t-shirt. Make sure to include most, if not all of these essential items in your luggage! 

• Sandals/flip-flops 

• Bathing suit 

• Mosquito repellent 

• Sunscreen 

• Hiking shoes 

• Sunglasses 

• Hat 

• First-aid supplies 

• Camera 

• Rain jacket 

• Water bottle 

When to visit

As with most tropical destinations, you can expect it to be rainy for most of the year. So, when is the best time to try and enjoy some sunshine in Costa Rica? The winter months following December, all the way to about April, have the driest and sunniest weather. However, the rain also tends to die down a bit during the fall months preceding the holidays.  

If you are more concerned about costs revolving around peak travel times, you’ll want to avoid travel during certain times. The weeks around Christmas, New Year and 

Easter tends to have the highest costs for travel and accommodations. You can still visit during the dry months and avoid these busy weeks! 

In theory, you could travel to Costa Rica during any time of the year. It will be hot and humid regardless! It mostly depends on your budget, how you feel about crowds and if you’re okay with some rain.  

Travel Tips

After reading all of the guidelines mentioned above, there are some basic things every traveler should keep in mind during their trip. 

• Plan ahead: you won’t want to pay ridiculous prices because you didn’t reserve  your hotel far enough in advance 

• Keep track of your belongings: you are not immune to pickpocketing, and  valuable items should always be kept safe while traveling 

• Check the weather: many amenities close up during rainstorms or during the  lower seasons 

• Practice your Spanish: although English is wildly spoken here, you never know where Spanish might come in handy • Respect the sustainable practices: Costa Rica is a top ecotourism destination, so recycle, safe water, and respect the culture!

Budgeting Tips

Costa Rica is one of the more expensive Latin-American countries to visit.  However, you can still stay within your budget by following these basic and easy tips.

• Don’t visit during the peak season 

• Use hotel booking sites and points 

• Stay at an Airbnb instead of a resort 

• Travel on the bus instead of using a rental car 

• Eat at local restaurants 

• Drink tap water instead of bottled water (it’s generally safe here) • Do hikes on your own instead of with a tour group (do your research first!)

• Make sure to check the exchange rate before changing your money 


Traveling to a new country can feel overwhelming, especially when there are so many options for amenities and accommodations. This is hardly a conclusive list of all that there is to enjoy in Costa Rica! However, by following these guidelines and tips, you should be able to quickly find comfort in your trip planning so that you can have the vacation of a lifetime. 


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“13 Top-Rated Beach Resorts in Costa Rica: PlanetWare.” PlanetWare.com, PlanetWare Inc.,  2021, www.planetware.com/costa-rica/top-rated-beach-resorts-in-costa-rica-crc-1- 5.htm. 

“15 BEST Beaches in Costa Rica.” Costa Rica Experts, Costa Rica Experts, 25 Apr. 2020,  costaricaexperts.com/things-to-do/beaches/. 

“Costa Rica Tours.” The 10 Best Costa Rica Tours & Excursions in 2021, Viator Inc.,  www.viator.com/Costa-Rica/d747-ttd. 

“Focus on Farm Fresh at Costa Rica’s Best Restaurants.” 10Best, USA Today, 9 July 2014,  www.10best.com/destinations/costa-rica/san-jose/restaurants/best-restaurants/. 

Martin. “25 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Costa Rica.” LAIDBACK TRIP,  LAIDBACK TRIP, 26 Apr. 2021, www.laidbacktrip.com/posts/costa-rica-things-to know. 

Sammi. “Costa Rica Packing List.” MytanFeet, MytanFeet LLC, 30 June 2021,  mytanfeet.com/about-cr/packing-for-costa-rica-what-to-bring/. 

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