Every so often, we just need to go. It could be that burnout and stress from work are piling up, or it could just be a matter of wanderlust. Whatever your reason for travel, Costa Rica needs to be on your traveling wish list. This gorgeous South American country is roughly the size of West Virginia, with lush experiences from cost to cost and a welcoming culture for visitors. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and let’s see what you need to know when preparing to visit the Rich Coast!
Know What Time of Year to Go
While the weather in Costa Rica can change with a click of the fingers, the best time to go still depends on the season and what you want to do. If you are most interested in trekking around volcanoes and cloud forests, aim for the dry season. Prefer to go snorkeling and enjoy the crystal Cariggean waters? Drier months like September are your best bet. November to April sees a lot of rain, but you can still drive, and the downpours won’t continue all day long.
Want a budget-friendly trip with fewer crowds? Risk it in the wet season, around May through October. Just be prepared for it to literally rain on your parade fairly consistently.
Or you can schedule according to cultural events. The first two weeks of January hold Palmares festivities. Because of the strong Catholic influence, many Costa Rican holidays align with the Church’s. No matter what time of year calls to you, you can watch sea turtles nest or hatch, enjoy the zip-lines, and learn to surf.
Know What to Pack
Checked luggage can get expensive, so you want to work what you can into as few suitcases as possible. Since this is an international trip, you’ll likely book your activities before you leave, so you know what clothes to take with you. You also want good sunscreen and some personal insect repellant. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot bring through the airports and customs.
Depending on where you choose to stay, you likely won’t need to pack much food. Many hotels offer breakfast, and Costa Rican cuisine is pretty exquisite. Sodas provide delicious food from mom-and-pop restaurants, so they cost less than larger restaurants. You definitely want to know what currency is used in Costa Rica, though many places also accept the United States Dollar.
Know What to Do Before Leaving Your Country
When traveling internationally, it is highly recommended to ensure you are up to date on certain vaccinations. For Costa Rica, this list includes Hepatitises A and B, MMR, Tdap, Chickenpox, Shingles, Pneumonia, influenza, rabies, yellow fever, and typhoid. Talk to your doctor about their personal recommendations and check on your medical record. You can also talk to your doctor about ways to prepare for international travel, such as using probiotics to prepare for regional bacteria in food your gut may not be prepared for. If you have any health conditions, make a plan with your doctor for what to do if you experience a flare or an emergency in Costa Rica and how to best manage your health during travel.
Find a good electrolyte drink like Nuun or LMNT that you can pack easily and just add to water for healthy hydration. Water alone is not sufficient for proper hydration, and Costa Rica is a new, humid to hot environment. Pending what activities you choose, hydration may be hard to keep up with, and these drinks can help.
Live in the Moment, But Don’t Ignore Technology
When traveling with kids, it’s tempting to confiscate their phones in an effort to help them focus on their journey. But a better idea is to come up with guidelines for technology on the trip. Phones have so many uses these days: your kids may want to capture photos, Google more information about something they see, or share their experiences with their friends on TikTok. A sense of cooperation goes a long way in reducing conflict on what should be just as relaxing for parents as kids. Come up with a contract before you leave and work out compromises for the appropriate use of technology on the trip. If you work with your kids, they’re more likely to follow along. Just make sure you abide by the contract, as well!
Book Your Dream Getaway and Enjoy what Costa Rica has to Offer!
When planning your Costa Rican vacation, it’s best to work with someone who can help plan and book your vacation. Get an idea of what you and your family want to do while you’re away and either call the place you wish to stay or talk to a travel agent. They can help you book within your budget, and they understand how best to schedule things to do in Costa Rica— especially if they’re local! They’ll also help you rent a car from the heart of the city instead of the airport, so you can get a better rental rate. Working with a travel agent or a concierge who helps with planning can take a lot of the stress off of your shoulders, so you’re free to enjoy preparing for and going on your trip.