A Canadian couple has made an insightful video about some interesting things they want to advise travelers NOT to do in Costa Rica. Watch their short video to know more about the 9 things they recommend you not do while in Costa Rica. We have summarize these 9 essential “don’ts” below.
Don't leave your luggage open on the floor
Not to freak out anyone, but Costa Rica is known for its amazing fauna, which includes a lot of creepy crawlies such as cockroaches, millipedes, ants, scorpions and spiders to name only a few. There are also may types of snakes, most of them harmless, but a few are poisonous and all these animals are looking for a nice, dark & cool spot to hang and beat the heat during the day so an open bag or suitcase full of soft clothes on the floor feels like the perfect place!
Don't stick to chain restaurants
Forget the big chain restaurants and don’t be afraid to eat at the many Sodas you will encounter. Sodas are small and often open air restaurants that serve only “tipicos” or traditional Costa Rican dishes. Sodas are where the locals eat as they are inexpensive and the food they serve is fresh and tasty .
Don't step off the marked trails
Costa Rica is a country that prides itself on the beauty of its natural world, so walking off the main trails while hiking is considered disrespectful and is frowned upon as it can destroy some of the plants or disturb some of the forest inhabitants. But there is another good reason why you shouldn’t step off the trail to take that selfie; the jungle is full of all kinds of dangerous animals, plants and insects that can hurt or even kill you, so stick to the path and listen to your guide!
Don't pay in US dollars
It is true that in Costa Rica it is possible to pay for almost everything with US dollars, but it’s not because it’s possible that you should. The problem with paying for purchases in US dollars is that the retailers might not be giving you the best exchange rate, or they might be literally ripping you off, costing you sometimes as much as %20 or more in the exchange. So as much as possible, use the local currency, the Colón, to pay for your purchases unless the merchant’s prices are in US dollars, in which case you know exactly how much you are paying.
Don't stay in one spot
Costa Rica is a beautiful country with an extremely varied terrain from beaches, to valleys, volcanoes and mountains. Explore the different climates and regions of the country. There are rain forests, cloud forests, beaches, lakes…. Make sure you see 2 or 3 different areas of the country, it is worth your while!
Don't go to Tamarindo for Spring Break (or Semana Santa!)
We would add to this particular don’t, Don’t go to ANY beach town during Semana Santa (Holly week). Spring break might be a big deal and you might feel that Tamarindo is a bit too busy for you unless you like to party, but Semana Santa will knock your socks off in a bad way! Every major beach town is jammed packed with people, sometimes people are camping on the beach because all the hotels are full or the rates are ridiculously high during that week! If you are in Costa Rica during the Holy week, go up in the mountains or in the valley, you will be glad you did!
Don't use Apple maps or Google maps
We have definitely experienced this ourselves, driving somewhere for the first time and Google map sending us in weird directions or on back roads. It seems that everyone in Costa Rica prefers to use Waze, which is a free app available in the app store and Google play. Download it , you will be happy you did, especially if you are planing to do any driving in Costa Rica.
Don't expect Costa Rica to be cheap
Costa Rica is not a third world country and you shouldn’t expect third world prices here. Hotels, gas, car rentals, nice restaurants, most of those things will cost you approximately the same as in North America, so budget accordingly. There are certainly ways to have a great time in Costa Rica without spending a fortune, but that means staying in hostels, eating out at Sodas and not at fancy restaurants, and maybe not doing too many paid activities or tours like guided tours or sunset cruises.
Don't miss the sunrise
It is true that Costa Rica has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, but don’t forget to watch the sunrise at least one time during your stay, especially if you are on the Atlantic side, or in the mountains. You might feel like it’s a bit of a chore waking up so early while on vacation, but remember that in life, we mostly regret the things we didn’t do, so just do it you won’t regret it!