9 things to know when travelling in Costa Rica

You’ve booked your flights, now what? Here’s a list of things that we would have found useful if someone had told us before we went to Costa Rica.

1. Use Interbus

A comfortable, reliable network of minibuses you book online or at your hotel; they pick you up from one hotel and drop you at the next. Also carbon-offset, which is nice.
→ Visit the Interbus website for more.


2. It’ll take time to travel

Google Maps says 2hr 35min by road, so it’ll be at least 5 hours. Roads are slow and windy; use the added time to admire the amazing views.
→ For a great offline map, download ‘map.me’ onto your phone


3. Learn basic Spanish

Most people seem to understand at least a basic level of English, but a bit of Spanish will really help.
→ We found this phrasebook gave us a good headstart


4. Ask for help

Ticos are a friendly bunch, and we never experienced anyone unwilling to help us, even when we were looking for a rival restaurant.


5. It can rain quite a bit

Costa Rica rain.jpg
When it rains, it RAINS. 
It does rain an awful lot (even more in wet season), but with such regularity that you can plan around it. Ask locals for the most accurate weather forecast you’ll ever hear.


6. TripAdvisor is your friend

Thousands of great reviews, but take some with a pinch of salt; many Costa Rica reviews seem to expect a higher level of luxury than was ever promised, and mark places down as a result.

→ Visit the Costa Rica pages on TripAdvisor here.


7. Buy the Lonely Planet guide

Buy the guide. It’s so, SO good. It’s guidance without a strict itinerary, and so accurate you feel like they visited minutes before you.
→ More Lonely Planet help is here on their excellent website.


8. Don’t try to do too much

The pace of life in Costa Rica is as slow as the roads. Don’t try to visit a town a day; you’ll end up spending all your time on the road.


9. Excursions aren’t particularly cheap

Tourists have increased the cost of many activities; bear in mind something like a day of ziplining for two will set you back over $150.


Our itinerary

The interactive map below shows the way we travelled around Costa Rica. Our basic itinerary was:

  1. San José (click to read more)
  2. Tortuguero (click to read more)
  3. La Fortuna (click to read more)
  4. Monteverde (click to read more)
  5. Manuel Antonio (click to read more)

If you want any help planning your trip, comment below or send me an email!



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