Costa Rica – General Info

Costa Rica - General Info 1

Costa Rica – General Info

Costa Rica is a tropical Central American country. The people are friendly, and knowledge of Spanish is a bonus though not required as most Ticos (Costa Ricans) speak English.

Kim and I have been to Costa Rica more than 15 times. But, we still have lots to learn. Each time we go, we learn and experience new aspects of this country.

In this article, I’ll try to answer the basic questions for those thinking of traveling to Costa Rica for their first time. There is a Pro-tips page that will have more technical details covering cell phones and vehicle navigation.

Is it safe? Sure, you’re in Central America. You may not speak the language and be unaware of many of the subtle nuances that are indicative of the region.

Are you saying it’s unsafe? No, not at all…just be aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave your “stuff” laying about as you might in your own back-yard. There is less violent crime in Costa Rica than in the USA. Petty theft is the most common form of crime, and it’s usually only when someone temps an opportunistic thief.

Rental Cars, Buses, Private Shuttles, Airplanes…your choices are many.

Rental Cars are a good means of transportation as they provide the freedom to stop when you like or explore different paths. Get a 4×4 as you never know when you need to cross a river or climb a mountain.

Buses are the cheapest form of transportation. The cost from San Jose to most locations is under $10. The bus drivers are very experienced as we have seen them in all sorts of areas that you would not think a large bus should be.

Private Shuttles are a comfortable way to travel if it’s your first time. The drivers tend to be very proud of their country so don’t be surprised if they pull over to show you Sloths or other animals along the way.

Airplanes are a fun and quick way to get from point A to B. They are small Hopper types (Cessna 208 Grand Caravans) and seat 14 people. It’s always thrilling to land on what looks like a small road but is the actual airport. Great fun!

Costa Rica has excellent weather. San Jose is, on average 75 degrees year-round. This is due to its elevation of ~4k ft. The beaches in Costa Rica are hotter and more humid. There are many different climates as well as differences based on the Pacific or Caribbean side. Now would be a good time to reference ‘Pura Vida’.

Pura Vida
This means ‘pure life‘ literally but is the national slogan of Costa Rica. It’s used as a casual salutation and is similar to “hang loose” in Hawaii. Pura Vida is more than a slogan, its a way of life in Costa Rica. No rush, enjoy life. If you adopt this attitude the moment you land, your vacation will be many times better.

It’s important to remember you are in another country. The locals (Ticos) operate on their own schedules.

Warnings and Considerations
Don’t expect that the Ticos or any common procedures need to act like they do at home. It may seem obvious, but there are many times we’ve overheard people frustrated with one thing or another when they should relax, be patient, and enjoy this tropical paradise. Were the guests, act appropriately, and you’ll have the time of your life. And remember they live in Amerca also. Central America, North America.

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