a. Season Matters When Traveling to Costa Rica: Living in Costa Rica I figured a way to enjoy traveling without spending too much but most importantly without having to spend my vacations among the crowds. And this is my conclusion: December to early April are the driest months and the peak of the tourist season, so you can expect higher prices, less rooms available and crowds. But late April, May, and October offer good weather with lower rates. Also between June and September and someties even November you will get good rates but not a very nice weather.
b. Costa Rican Water: Most people traveling around Central America are very concerned about how clean the water really is. And I have to admit was one of them until I found out that unlike most Latin American countries Costa Rica has a fairly safe water supply. Want some Proof?
Here is the fact that it is the only country of the region where Heineken allows its beer to be brewed. Salads are generally safe to eat because they usually use clean water to irrigate crops.
c. Money To Change or Not to Change! One of the most common questions travelers worry about is to change money before coming or not?
If you are going to change the money here are some recommendations:
1. Every country is different, but in Costa Rica don’t change money anywhere except BANKS and always bring a passport. Here is where you will get the best rates.
2. ATMs are plentiful, you’ll get the best rates however, you’ll pay the small ATM fee.
3. Very few places exchange travelers checks these days, and even fewer give good rates, plus they charge 1-2% on top of it.
Cash or Credit?
Cash is king in Costa Rica. Plus, whenever you go out, ask if for the cash (Efectivo) discount and chances are you ‘ll get 5-10% off. This can be done anywhere from tour operators, to hotels, to restaurants to pharmacies.
You’ll escape some places charging you 8% for credit card usages. Plus if you go to a local market, local currency goes much further than the dollar. You stand out less and feel more comfortable.
d. Waiting Is the Hardest Part That’s right, if you’re coming to Costa Rica be prepared to wait! In this country this is a norm. Nothing is on time in Costa Rica. Just doesn’t happen. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s so true. So come with lots of patience and besides, what’s the rush?
e. Bring plenty of Ziploc bags: Nothing stays dry there and since most people do rafting, swimming, waterfalls, or just crossing over streams, you’ll need bags to separate your wet stuff from your semi-dry. I recommend the “Big Bags” for clothes and shoes (bring at least two or three) and several quart-size bags. I tried to do laundry in the sink and air dry, but found it very difficult to dry most articles. I would also recommend bringing plenty of changes of clothes, especially if you’re an adventurous spirit.
f. Emergency Numbers: Luckily in Costa Rica the emergency number is 911. They speak English and are quite helpful. The problem though, is where are you? Costa Rica has one of the trickiest address and direction systems in Central America. So learn your address well!
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