Welcome to Costa Rica!
The land where lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and vibrant biodiversity converge to create a traveler’s paradise.
Nestled in Central America, Costa Rica captivates visitors with its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and a myriad outdoor activities. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking thrilling adventures or a nature lover yearning to explore rich ecosystems, Costa Rica offers an unforgettable journey into its diverse wonders.
Overview of the Country
Costa Rica, often called the “Rich Coast,” lives up to its name by boasting an incredible array of natural treasures. Bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the country is known for its dramatic coastlines, verdant rainforests, and towering volcanoes. The blend of tropical and subtropical climates ensures that Costa Rica remains a destination worth visiting all year round.
Best Time of Year to Visit
When planning your Costa Rican adventure, it’s crucial to consider the weather. The country experiences a wet season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. The dry season is ideal for those seeking sunny skies and outdoor exploration, as the weather is more predictable and conducive to activities like hiking, surfing, and snorkeling. However, the rainy season offers charm, with lush green landscapes and fewer crowds. Ultimately, the best time to visit depends on your preferences and desired experiences.
Good news for travelers: Costa Rica is a welcoming destination that doesn’t require a visa for citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, and most European nations. Upon arrival, you’ll typically receive a 90-day tourist visa. Ensure your passport has at least six months of validity from your planned departure date.
Best Tours to Do
Costa Rica is a playground for adventure enthusiasts, offering exhilarating tours that allow you to immerse yourself in its stunning landscapes. From ziplining through the canopy of rainforest to white-water rafting down raging rivers, there’s no shortage of heart-pounding experiences. If wildlife is your passion, consider a guided tour of Tortuguero National Park to witness sea turtles nesting or visit Arenal Volcano National Park to soak in natural hot springs while gazing at the majestic volcano.
Food You Should Try
Costa Rica’s culinary offerings reflect its diverse culture and access to fresh, local ingredients.
- Gallo Pinto: This flavorful combination of rice and black beans is often served as a breakfast staple. Enhanced with diced bell peppers, onions, and a dash of Lizano sauce (a beloved local condiment), gallo pinto is commonly accompanied by eggs, cheese, and fried plantains. It’s a dish that epitomizes the essence of Costa Rican comfort food.
- Casado: offers a glimpse into the daily diet of Costa Ricans. Translating to “married” in Spanish, a casado typically features a combination of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, and a choice of meat—chicken, fish, pork, or beef. This dish is a testament to the country’s simple yet satisfying culinary traditions.
- Ceviche: Costa Rica’s ceviche is a must-try delight for seafood lovers. This dish consists of fresh raw fish or shrimp marinated in lime juice, with added ingredients like chopped onions, cilantro, and bell peppers. The citric acid in the lime juice “cooks” the seafood, resulting in a refreshing and tangy appetizer or light meal that perfectly complements the tropical climate.
- Plantains: a close relative of bananas, they can be prepared in various ways, such as being fried until golden and crispy to create mouthwatering “tostones.” These savory plantain slices are often served as a side dish or a crunchy snack. On the sweeter side, “maduros” are ripe plantains fried until caramelized and tender, offering a delectable contrast to savory dishes.
- Olla de Carne: is a savory stew that delivers warmth and satisfaction. This slow-cooked soup features a medley of vegetables, root crops like yuca (cassava) and potatoes, and tender cuts of beef.
- Arroz con Leche: This creamy rice pudding is infused with aromatic spices like cinnamon and cloves, creating a dessert that’s as comforting as indulgent, whether warm or cold; Arroz con leche captures the essence of Costa Rican sweetness.
- Chifrijo: a unique dish that marries two beloved Costa Rican snacks: chicharrones (fried pork rinds) and frijoles (beans). This delightful fusion features layers of crunchy chicharrones and seasoned black beans, garnished with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chilies. Served with tortilla chips, chifrijo offers a satisfying combination of textures and flavors, perfect for sharing among friends.
- Tres Leches Cake: a dessert that has won the hearts of locals and visitors. This sponge cake is soaked in a trio of milks—condensed, evaporated, and heavy cream—resulting in a lusciously moist treat. Topped with whipped cream and often garnished with fruit, tres leches cake is a sweet finale to any Costa Rican meal.
Best Places to Visit
Costa Rica is a treasure trove of remarkable destinations. Here are a few must-visit spots to add to your itinerary and read our post to learn more about the places we visited:
- Manuel Antonio National Park: Known for its breathtaking combination of rainforest and beach, this park offers opportunities to spot diverse wildlife, including monkeys and sloths.
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: An otherworldly paradise for nature enthusiasts, with mist-shrouded trees, rare orchids, and a diverse bird population.
- Guanacaste Province: Famous for its golden beaches, this region is perfect for surfing, sunbathing, and enjoying vibrant local culture.
- Corcovado National Park: Often dubbed “the most biologically intense place on Earth,” this park is a haven for eco-tourists and wildlife enthusiasts.
- Puerto Viejo: Nestled on the Caribbean coast, this laid-back town offers a mix of Afro-Caribbean culture, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife.
As you delve into the heart of Costa Rica’s natural beauty, diverse culture, and thrilling adventures, remember that the “Pura Vida” spirit of the locals will infuse your journey with warmth and authenticity. Whether exploring the rainforests, relaxing on the beaches, or indulging in delectable cuisine, Costa Rica promises a travel experience that will remain in your memory forever. So pack your bags, embark on this exhilarating journey, and let Costa Rica’s wonders unfold before you.
Welcome to Costa Rica! This country has been on our bucket list for a long time, but we could never make our way there. Finally, plans fell into place last…