Costa Rica Dos And Don’ts: What To Know Before You Go
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READY TO TRAVEL? DON’T MISS THESE COSTA RICA DOS AND DON’TS!
A traveller recently asked us to create a list of Costa Rica dos and don’ts to help her prepare for her Costa Rica vacation. We had a great time making the following list, and since the traveller loved our suggestions, perhaps you might too.
OUR LIST OF COSTA RICA DOS (OF COSTA RICA DOS AND DON’TS)
Do try eating at a local soda
Sodas are typical restaurants in Costa Rica that service wonderful local cuisine. They are usually named after the owner (if I had my own soda it would probably be Soda Nikki as yours would be Soda <<enter your name here>>) and the dishes are reasonably priced. The best part? Eating at a soda supports local, family-run businesses. Now that’s pura vida!
Do pack a rain poncho… not a rain umbrella
Rain ponchos come in handy when you are participating in tours or various activities and it rains on the fly. Umbrellas are often difficult to rely on during tours–could you imagine yourself ziplining through the rainforest while holding an umbrella?
For more information about what to bring to Costa Rica, don’t miss our related blog post:
What To Pack For A Costa Rica Vacation
Do take more photos than you think you will ever need
There is so much beauty to be found in Costa Rica that even one million photos could not capture it entirely. You can always delete photos once you get home if you have far too many, so snap happy while you’re here!
Do drink the water (sometimes!)
The majority of drinking water in Costa Rica is clean. There are only some areas (mainly the Caribbean side of the country, and additional pockets elsewhere) where we would advise not drinking tap water. Always check with your hotel and/or restaurant just in case, but Ricky and I only ever drink tap water and we have never had a problem (nor have our clients reported an issue drinking the water in developed tourist areas). This being said, if you would prefer bottled water, it is widely available.
Do bring an anti-nauseant medication with you if you tend to get car sick
Costa Rica is full of mountains and curvy roads (yee-haw!) so taking a Gravol or similar medication before hopping in your rental vehicle or a tourist van can make a world of difference!
COSTA RICA DON’TS (OF COSTA RICA DOS AND DON’TS)
Don’t rely on travellers cheques
Most hotels and tour operators do not accept them (with the exception of some all-inclusive resorts). If you do not feel comfortable carrying cash with you throughout your vacation and you do not plan on paying for items with a credit card, bring travellers cheques with the intention of going to the bank every few days to cash them in (although you will need to pay the bank a commission to do so).
For more information about the use of travellers cheques in Costa Rica, don’t miss our related blog post:
Spending In Costa Rica: What To Know About USD, Colones, Credit Cards, And More!
Don’t get too excited about all of the fresh fruit available and eat too much at once
The fruit in Costa Rica fresh, abundant, and incredibly good. However, most visitors’ stomachs are not used to digesting it in high quantities on a daily basis, and as a result, it can produce unpleasant gastronomical side effects. Consumption in moderation is key.
Don’t take a taxi that is not an official “red” taxi
Illegal taxi drivers (i.e., everyday drivers using their own vehicles) are widespread throughout Costa Rica, and although many are just trying to make a living (we are friends with a number), we recommend that travellers do not use taxi services other than the official type unless they know and trust the driver.
For more information about red taxis in Costa Rica, don’t miss our related blog post:
Is Costa Rica Safe? Yes, If You Travel Consciously, Cleverly, And With Common Sense. Here’s How.
Don’t be afraid to practice your Spanish with Ticos (Costa Ricans)
English is widely spoken and understood throughout most developed areas in Costa Rica, however the majority of Ticos welcome foreigners’ interests in trying to speak Spanish while on vacation. Want to know which Spanish language books we recommend? Check out our personal collection of ten Spanish language references books here, including a breakdown of which books we would recommend to specific types of learners.
Don’t wait to buy your souvenirs until you are at the airport at the end of your vacation
They are overpriced! Instead, buy souvenirs in popular areas (such as La Fortuna/Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, and Tamarindo, for example) or else in other areas of the country where you can find them (such as in smaller towns, at huts along the beach, or at stops along the side of the road). Remember to check local grocery stores for souvenir opportunities too. If wanting bags of coffee to take home with you (Costa Rica is well-known for its coffee), it is usually cheaper to buy these at a local grocery store than in an official souvenir shop, however both of these sites will be less expensive than buying coffee at the airport directly.
For more information about buying souvenirs in Costa Rica, don’t miss our related blog post:
What To Buy In Costa Rica: Our Costa Rica Souvenirs Shopping List And Buying Tips
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: What are your best Costa Rica dos and don’ts?