Costa Rica Travel Tips 101
Diamante Eco Adventure Park: Costa Rica Travel & Vacation Tips 101
Getting your plans and schedule ready for your Costa Rica vacation might seem a little overwhelming. The first thing we notice when doing our own research is that many of the Costa Rica travel tips are given by travelers and not locals. Second, many of the web pages are foreign and the tips change depending on the area of Costa Rica that you are visiting. So for those of you visiting the Guanacaste province area, we here at Diamante Adventure Park are going to give you our local tips! Ready for our Costa Rica Vacation Tips?
COSTA RICA TRAVEL TIPS: GREEN VS. DRY SEASON
Costa Rica has two seasons: These are referred to by locals as Green and Dry seasons. OK, we understand, It really is all about the weather when planning a vacation, so this local tip is really important. We can promise you will never be cold in Guanacaste! Let’s talk about rain, something you generally do not want during your vacation. You may even hear the term “rainy” season used instead of the green season. Those of us that live here find the term “rainy” a bit of a misnomer and worse misleading for those tourist planning a trip. The green season is generally late May to mid-November and dry season runs from mid-November to late May.
During the green season, you can expect clear blue skies in the morning and in the afternoon possible rain showers and occasional thunderstorms. Our most significant rainfall is in September and October and even then we keep on having fun. So if you are coming during the green season, plan on being a morning person! The positive side is that this is low season, meaning you will find a lot of promotions, offers, better prices, smaller crowds and a lush tropical forest.
High season coincides with the dry season and you can count on clear blue skies being present all day long with low humidity. We can experience some heavy trade winds in January and February, don’t worry it is expected and it will not slow down any of your adventure activities.
RENT A CAR
And not any car! If you are going to be visiting different beaches in Guanacaste and looking for adventure, get an SUV-type of car. It does not have to be a 4×4, but do think of a car that has some height. The easiest way to move around this part of the country is having a car of your own. Public transportation is not the best, and depending on your schedule paying for shuttles and private transportation can get expensive very quickly. Plus, this way you control your time!
GET A CELLPHONE AND DOWNLOAD WAZE
Costa Rica is a third world country in which we haven’t quite yet labeled our roads – although being realistic, even if they were labeled, locals wouldn’t use the names. It is a common occurrence to get your directions from a local “tico” something that goes something like this:
“from the Chino’s soda, 300 meters west until you hit the wall then take a right and just past that you will find it”. So if you don’t want to get lost or figure where the Chino’s soda is: get a cellphone chip with internet and download Waze, the ultimate (and free) GPS mapping system in Costa Rica!
We Costa Ricans have put a lot of effort into making waze the most reliable source for getting around. All the major landmarks, tourist spots, restaurants and more are in Waze and it is as easy as just putting the name of where you want to go. Do yourself a favor and make your driving experience a little less exciting by using this application.
*NOTE* If you are coming to Diamante Adventure Park and are staying in the Tamarindo / Flamingo / Potrero / Conchal area, Waze most probably will send you through the 911 Road AKA Monkey Trail road. This is a dirt road full of hills, holes, and you have to go through a river. Twice. So if you are not feeling adventurous, just tell Waze to reroute you. It will be longer travel time, but no dirt roads!
This is Costa Rica, specifically the Guanacaste area so you will encounter wildlife in the least expected of places. Be ready to see cows crossing the roads, monkeys on the backyard of the hotel, iguanas everywhere and much more. Best advice: just take it in stride and DON’T FEED THE MONKEYS!
Don’t buy bottled water. Bottle water here is very expensive and if you are planning on doing sunny adventures, you will be drinking a lot of water! Costa Rica has clean drinking water from the tap, use your own refillable water bottle and save a lot of money. Plus remember that Costa Rica is aiming to ban all single-use water bottles by 2021. All part of the plan of Costa Rica in becoming the first Carbon Neutral country.
Looking to do a Costa Rica vacation on a budget? Then your best food choice is eating locally. Many of our “sodas” or “chinos” offer a variety of Costa Rican dishes at a very decent price. Try the “Casado” dish (rice, beans, meat/chicken or fish, salad, sweet plantains) or our typical “gallo pinto” for breakfast. Avoid all international food chains and you will find a gastronomical paradise. Many local bakeries will offer breakfast and lunch options that will live you plenty full. Local dishes you can’t miss Casado, chifrijo, rice with chicken, Gallo pinto, chicharrones, and granizados.
SURVIVING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
This is the most important part. Spanish is our native language, and we will give you the three phrases/words you need to survive a Costa Rica vacation. Pay close attention because this is top secret:
• Mae: pronounced (My) usually used between men as the word “dude” or it can be used to refer to any person (be it male or female)
• Pura Vida: this is the Costa Rican approach to life. A literal translation would be “pure life”. It has many meanings and all are friendly. “great” “fantastic” “hello” “nice to meet you” “thank you” “you are welcome” and much more. It is a positive vibe, positive life meaning.
• Cerveza: this one doesn’t need much translation “Beer”. Say this word and you are bound to make friends with any local! Our most recognized national beers are Pilsen and Imperial. They can also be referred to as “una Rubia” or “una Aguila” meaning “a blonde one” – Pilsen or “an eagle” – Imperial.
We could keep going about our beautiful country, but these travel tips will make your trip to Costa Rica unforgettable. But our best advice is: Enjoy it and go with the flow! Don’t stress if you are running late, or are lost, or plans change – Costa Rica is all about enjoying the adventure! The memories you can make here will last you a lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Visit Costa Rica!