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How To Plan A Trip To Costa Rica Step By Step

How To Plan A Trip To Costa Rica Step By Step

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on July 25th, 2017.

plan a trip to Costa Rica
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

NEED TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA? WE CAN HELP!

A few nights ago, I was daydreaming about how often travellers ask us how to plan a trip to Costa Rica. I had just caught the tail end of the Academy Award winning movie The Help and I let Aibileen’s words “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” sink in. I also bawled like a baby at the end (spoiler alert!) when little Mae bangs on the windowpane for her beloved friend’s return. I wondered if fictitious little Mae would remember her maid’s words of wisdom that seemed to sweep her off her tiny feet each time they were recited, rightfully spoiling the toddler with insight and inspiration. I wondered if the help could do just that: aid in bringing about change in the mindset of the privileged by planting the civil rights seed and sprouting a new hope.

On a much more trivial note, I started thinking about the help we provide travellers with when they attempt to plan a trip to Costa Rica. With incredibly loose reference to the word “help”, (stripping it of any association with or leading up to the Civil Rights Movement in its use throughout this post), I would like to think that our style in assisting travellers build their ideal vacation is similar to the confidence-building strategy employed by Aibileen towards her precious Mae. You is kind. You is smart. You is important. That you are, you can, you will attitude resonates well with us and is something we hope comes across boldly throughout our writing and our work. If there is any one message that we aim to offer travellers throughout our business practice at Pura Vida! eh? Inc. it is that all travellers can plan a trip to Costa Rica no matter where in the country they plan to go, when they plan to travel, and how much money they have to spend. With a little help (in its most basic and utopian form: encouragement) anything is possible.

Allow us to be the Aibileen to your Mae. Let us work for you and with you. Let us shower you with support so you can cleanse yourself with confidence. Let us hold your hand and lead you far enough until you’ve listened to us, leaned on us, and learned from us as much as you need before giving it a go on your own. Oh, and while we’re at it, we’ll show you how to plan a trip to Costa Rica the most cost-efficient way possible. 🙂

plan a trip to Costa Rica
Let’s get started on this step-by-step journey together, shall we? (Nikki – Playa Samara)

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #1:

Explore our blog to familiarize yourself with the country and our general travel recommendations.

You may find our related blog posts helpful:

Proceed to “HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #2” when you have determined how many days/nights you wish to travel for, the time of year you plan to travel during, which airport you would like to fly into and out of, and which Costa Rica destinations you would like to visit (a rough idea of destinations, including exact cities/towns/beaches, need not be narrowed down during this step).

plan a trip to Costa Rica
Nikki in La Fortuna (Arenal) and Ricky in Monteverde

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #2:

Familiarize yourself with our recommended top-down approach to trip planning in order to narrow down the destinations (ie. the cities, towns, and/or beaches) that you would like to visit and how much time should be spent at each place.

Read our related blog post Planning A Vacation To Costa Rica? READ THIS FIRST!, followed by our related blog post How To Save Money On Costa Rica Tours.

Browse through our online Costa Rica Tour Discounts database to not only determine which cities, towns, and/or beaches would be best to visit according to the tours/activities that interest you, but also determine how many days/nights you should spend at each destination according to the number of tours/activities you wish to participate in while in each area (if you are unsure whether you would like to participate in guided tours/activities during your trip, you may find our related blog post helpful: Guided Tours In Costa Rica: Are They Necessary, Valuable, And/Or Worthwhile?). Fortunately, travellers can quickly and easily search our recommended tour/activity listings according to a multitude of factors, including the following:

You may also find our related blog posts helpful:

Proceed to “HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #3” when you have determined a) which tours/activities interest you the most, b) which destinations (ie. cities, towns, and/or beaches) would be best to visit according to where your preferred tours/activities are run, and c) the ideal number of days/nights you should spend at each destination in order to do/see all you wish to experience in each area. Before proceeding to the next step you should also have an idea of the order in which you would like to visit each destination (i.e., “x” first, “y” second, and so on).

plan a trip to Costa Rica
Ricky; Royal Corin

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #3:

Choose and reserve your ideal accommodations (keeping in mind the number of days/nights you plan to spend in each area according to the outcome of STEP #2).

You may find our related blog posts helpful:

Browse through the hotel promotions section of our Costa Rica Promotions department to learn which hotels are offering promotions (and/or which hotels we recommend, if the listing is a “Pura Vida! eh? Exclusive Promotion”).

Proceed to “HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #4” when you have determined which Costa Rica accommodations you wish to stay at (according to the ideal number of days/nights you should spend at each destination in order to do/see all you wish to experience in each area).

plan a trip to Costa Rica
Nikki; in one of the many, many, many rental vehicles we have driven over the years

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #4:

Choose and reserve your ideal transportation arrangements (imagine each Costa Rica destination that you intend to visit as a dot; now is the time to connect them).

You may find our related blog posts helpful:

Browse through the transportation service promotions and vehicle rental promotions sections of our Costa Rica Promotions department to learn which transportation service providers and vehicle rental agencies are offering promotions (and/or which transportation services and vehicle rental agencies we recommend, if the listing is a “Pura Vida! eh? Exclusive Promotion”).

Proceed to “HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #5” when you have determined which Costa Rica transportation services you will rely on to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and so on for each leg of your trip.

plan a trip to Costa Rica
Ricky and Nikki; van-boat-van from La Fortuna to Monteverde (or vice versa)

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #5:

Reserve your chosen day tours and activitiesthrough Pura Vida! eh? Inc. (home to 1000 discounts and cash back savings for Costa Rica trip items).

Learn about Pura Vida! eh? Inc., its unique operation, and how the company can help you do and see more in Costa Rica for less than you might expect! You may find our related blog posts (and Pura Vida! eh? Inc. website links) helpful:

In preparing to reserve your Costa Rica trip items you may find our related blog posts helpful:

When confident and ready, reserve your chosen Costa Rica day tours through Pura Vida! eh? Inc. via its online tour reservation form. Remember, as per its unique operation, no money or credit card information ever passes through Pura Vida! eh? Inc. in order to maintain travellers’ privacy!

Not sure how to best arrange the Costa Rica day tours you have in mind for your trip? No problem! Pura Vida! eh? Inc. offers free custom day tour itinerary planning help here.

Proceed to “HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #6” when you have secured your Costa Rica trip items. You’re almost done! 🙂

plan a trip to Costa Rica
What to pack and what not to pack…

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO COSTA RICA STEP #6:

Fill in the blanks (now that your trip has been designed, reserved, and confirmed, prepare yourself for other facets of the travel experience)!

You may find our related blog posts helpful:

Whew! You made it, and if you’re like most other travellers who have used our Costa Rica Travel Blog and/or Pura Vida! eh? Inc. to plan a trip to Costa Rica, you have an amazing trip to show for it that encompasses who you are and what you want to get out of your visit. Yes, the entire process is time consuming, and yes, it takes focus and determination, but that’s what Costa Rica travel is all about. That’s also why Costa Rica is not a typical all-inclusive resort destination that calls for little effort and boasts little reward (well, unless you consider escaping home reward enough, short of discovering, experiencing, and falling in love with a new country, culture, environment, cuisine, sense of adventure, and quite honestly, a more pura vida sense of self). Instead, it packs more punch than you could ever fit into your suitcase, which is why travellers who invest time, energy, and interest into calculating and intricately piecing together parts of their Costa Rica vacation get so much more out of it than gift shop souvenirs and a tan. Costa Rica simply offers too much to miss out on, so congratulations for not selling yourself and your hard-earned vacation short. You is kind. You is smart. You is important. And, you are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: What steps have you found useful as you plan a trip to Costa Rica?

Pura vida!

Nikki and Ricky

DIY Costa Rica

Costa Rica tour discounts



8 thoughts on “How To Plan A Trip To Costa Rica Step By Step”

  • I’m planning a trip with my fiancee for the first week of April (thankfully 2 weeks before Easter this year — less crowds) and have found your websites to be immensely helpful so far!

    We have 8 days to work with and a cannot miss experience for us is Corcovado. Would it be too much to try and visit Monteverde and Arenal after the 3 day Corcovado hike? Our itinerary (location wise) currently looks like this:

    Day 1: Arrive SJO, fly to Puerto Jimenez
    2: day 1 of Corcovado 3: day 2 4: day 3 – boat to Drake (on Surcos tours website, they say they can taxi your luggage to Drake from Jimenez — is this reliably safe in your opinion?)
    5: Fly to SJO early AM, private van to Monteverde
    6: Jeep-boat-jeep to Arenal
    7: Private transport to hotel near SJO in early evening
    8: Depart SJO

    Sorry if this post is in the wrong place! Things are starting to become overwhelming, and I would love your input!

    • Ryan –

      Sounds like you have your hands full, AND you’re going to have a great time!! 🙂 We always love it when travellers have that “see and do it all” mentality. It makes for a busy vacation, yes, but an incredible one too!

      Also, congrats on the upcoming wedding! I’m sure you and your fiancee are going to love Costa Rica.

      With 8 days, we’ll be honest. Corcovado, Monteverde, and La Fortuna/Arenal (with a stop in San Jose in the middle) is tough. Definitely not impossible, however, and since we’re all for exploration, we say: go for it!

      The first thing I will suggest is reading our related blog post here: https://costaricatravelblog.com/2013/11/08/should-you-visit-la-fortuna-arenal-monteverde-or-both-destinations-during-your-costa-rica-vacation/

      The above post helps travellers determine whether they should visit La Fortuna/Arenal, Monteverde, or both destinations during their trip. There is no sense trying to cram a trip into both La Fortuna/Arenal AND Monteverde if–after doing a little reading–you determine that one of the two locations doesn’t interest you all that much.

      Assuming that you decide you definitely want to visit both, I can confirm that it will be possible. The downside is that you will have little time in both locations to actually experience each since some of your trip time will be eaten up by travel time.

      Quick question… where exactly do you plan to stay on the Osa Peninsula? I ask only because if you are able to get to Puerto Jimenez, you could potentially fly from there to La Fortuna/Arenal (most likely with a stopover in San Jose), which would allow you to skip the entire stop in San Jose and drive to Monteverde. If you headed to La Fortuna/Arenal first, you could do the opposite of what you initially planned–you could visit La Fortuna/Arenal, then jeep-boat-jeep to Monteverde, then use private transport to get to your hotel near SJO. Since Monteverde does not have a domestic airport, you don’t have the option of flying into Monteverde via the Osa Peninsula, so if you opted to visit Monteverde first, you would need to do as you plan to do and take the private van from San Jose to Monteverde. You may find that flying to La Fortuna/Arenal (visiting it first before Monteverde) will save you precious travel time, but that will entirely depend on where you plan to stay when visiting Corcovado.

      Regardless of whether you opt to visit La Fortuna/Arenal or Monteverde first, you will have about a half day in each location. This is usually enough time to participate in one tour (in each location), but not much more. Don’t miss our La Fortuna/Arenal and Monteverde tour discount databases for savings to help with the vacation budget! 🙂

      La Fortuna/Arenal Tour Discounts: https://puravidaeh.ca/category/costa-rica-tour-discounts/arenal-la-fortuna-tour-discounts/
      Monteverde Tour Discounts: https://puravidaeh.ca/category/costa-rica-tour-discounts/monteverde-tour-discounts/

      Pura vida!

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