Costa Rica: Tips & Tricks

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The travel itch has been never-ending so I decided to look up flights out of Houston with an open destination. If you’ve never used it before, Skyscanner is great. That’s when I realized I could fly to Costa Rica for about $250 round trip from Houston. Kelsey already had a flight booked so I decided to hop on board and join her for the adventure!

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A newbie to backpacking, I’ve learned what you need… and don’t need for a trip to Costa Rica!

PACKING 101

The less, the better. I suggest packing light and doing laundry when need be. I’m talking.. one or two pairs of shorts, a comfy dress, a few undergarments, bathing suits, and some tank tops. Comfort is key and you don’t want to carry around a bunch of stuff.KELS BP

  • Backpack
    • No one is traveling around the country with suitcases
    • Size from about 35 L-50 L
    • Prefer a bag with outside pockets for convenience
    • ebags.com has great deals!
  • Packing cubes – CRUCIAL!
    • Essential anywhere I go because they help me stay organized
    • For backpacks, I recommend the slim size from ebags.com or Amazon
  •  Water Shoes – Chacos are perfect
  • Tennis Shoes or Converse
    • Converse worked fine for me!
    • Depending on big of a hiker you are, you may want something more supportive.
  • Reading Material or something to keep you busy – Bus rides are long!
  • Snacks… our chewy bars and scooby snacks came in clutch.
  • Bug Spray & Sun Screen
  • GoPro
  • Waterproof Case – I love my Lifeproof Nuud case!
  • Ziploc Bags for Wet Clothes
  • Rain Jacket
    • I didn’t have one but Kelsey did… and I was pretty jealous at times.
    • Definitely worth having during the rainy season, which is from May to October

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IN’S & OUT’S

I recommend getting a international phone plan with data, since wifi isn’t available everywhere. The basic plan with AT&T will run you about $30. This includes unlimited texting, cheaper calls per minute, and a small amount of data.

A few apps were crucial for our survival:
  • currency converter: “how many colones is $20?”
  • google translator: Helped us out quite a bit! Si se puede!
  • hostel world: best site to find hostels, read reviews and make reservations
  • airbnb: there are some real hidden gems that you don’t want to miss
  • trip advisorfull of reviews for everything, from lodging to restuarants
  • skyscanner: best app and website for flight deals
    • I actually ended up booking through Southwest directly but I like to use Skyscanner to compare my options!

TIPS

Don’t pay in Dollars…  you save money using Colones.

Try and get your Colones from a bank… exchange rates are terrible at the airport.

Tip’s aren’t typically necessary. If you want to leave one because you are used to it you can but, you aren’t expected to.

Don’t plan it all from home… you’ll save money and get the best recommendations by asking around there. Our airbnb hosts were full of adventurous recommendations and would book it all for us.

Take the bus! If you want to rent a car and feel comfortable doing so, that’s an option. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for your first trip to Costa Rica. The buses are a great and affordable way to travel around the country. We met many fellow backpackers on the bus, too!

Don’t say you’re from America… so are they. (Central America)

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Be prepared… to have a damn good time!

I’ve never experienced anything quite like I did out in Costa Rica. Everyone is so knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The locals just want to share their love for the country and show you how amazing it really is.

I highly recommend the Pura Vida experience!

 

Do you have any packing tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Comment below!

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– COMING SOON –

La Fortuna: Pura Vida!

All about our favorite town in Costa Rica

 

4 Comments

  1. One other app that I love is Triposo. You don’t need to be on the wifi to use it and you can look up any country or city and it will give you maps, locations, history, and the best things to do and see. It even gives quick important translations! We used it all over Europe and Central America and it was a life saver!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We stayed in a few amazing ones but my favorite was the Villa in Manuel Antonio. The infinity pool and views were amazing. We also met some amazing people, who were also renting rooms in the Villa. I will be writing about it very, soon! 🙂

      Like

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