A Canadian couple created an insightful video full of fascinating tips for people traveling to Costa Rica. Watch their short video to know more about the 9 things they recommend you not do while in Costa Rica. We have summarized these 9 essential “don’ts” below.
Don't leave your luggage open on the floor
Costa Rica is known for its fascinating fauna, and not to freak out anyone, but that includes a lot of creepy crawlies such as cockroaches, ants, scorpions, and spiders to name only a few. There are also many types of snakes, most of them harmless. Still, a few are poisonous such as the coral snake and the rattlesnake. All these animals are looking for a cool, dark 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 as it can destroy plants or disturb animals. Another good reason why you shouldn’t step off the path 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 you can 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 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 (Holy 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 even 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 the valley, you will be glad you did!
Don't use Apple maps or Google maps
We have certainly 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 planning 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, excellent 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. 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
Costa Rica indeed 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 do it, you won’t regret it!