This destination guide was created for you by our global team here at Go Ahead Tours! Whether we’re designing new trips or writing guides like this one, everything we do is handcrafted. Read on to get our staffers’ insider tips from their travels.
With incredible scenery and wildlife, warm and welcoming people, and adventure for all ages, Costa Rica is a can’t-miss destination. The country’s name translates as “Rich Coast”—and it’s no surprise, considering it’s home to over 500,000 different species of plants and animals! Continue reading our Costa Rica travel guide for our team’s expert suggestions for things to do in Costa Rica, tips for traveling to Costa Rica, and more.
P.S. Want to experience the famous Costa Rican hospitality before you depart? Check out our virtual Online Escape to an organic pineapple farm and learn to make the perfect piña colada!
Currency: colón (though the U.S. dollar is widely accepted)
Language: Spanish and indigenous languages, though many locals in cities and popular tourist destinations speak English
Getting around: With so much beautiful scenery to explore and places to visit in Costa Rica, you’ll be glad to have a private deluxe motor coach on our Costa Rica tours!
Phrases to know: Costa Rica’s homegrown philosophy is “pura vida,” which means “pure life” or “simple life,” and captures the welcoming spirit of the country and the locals’ laid-back approach to life. You can use it as a greeting, a way of saying thanks, or just to express how great your trip to Costa Rica is going. Another word to know is “Tico,” which means “Costa Rican”—it’s how locals refer to themselves!
Costa Rica is a relatively small country, about the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia. Despite its size, it has amazingly diverse scenery, altitudes, and weather conditions. Located just north of the equator, Costa Rica enjoys moderate temperatures year-round. But, if you’re wondering “When is the best time to travel to Costa Rica?” we’ve got the answer: summertime!
Instead of four seasons, it has just two: a dry summer from January–April and a rainy winter from May–December. And when we say “rainy,” we mean rainy. Some areas of Costa Rica can get over 260 inches (that’s 21 feet!) of rain a year. The best time to travel to Costa Rica is during the drier months to take full advantage of all that the country has to offer.
Since the weather can vary widely between the rainforests and the beaches found just hours away, you’ll want to make sure you pack for all conditions when you travel to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a study in contrasts. Visiting Monteverde in the north, you’ll experience lush rainforest, cooler temperatures, and near-constant mist. Along the Pacific coast, you’ll encounter arid beaches and palm trees, while on the Caribbean coast, you might visit more rainforests, mangrove forests, sandy beaches, and swamps. When thinking about what to pack for Costa Rica, remember that it can be very humid and sunny. Here our some of our expert’s packing tips for planning a trip to Costa Rica.
Driving just a few hours in Costa Rica will take you through a variety of microclimates and landscapes. The country’s volcanic soil and access to both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean combine for some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Here are our top picks for places to visit in Costa Rica (with your camera in hand, of course!).
No Costa Rica travel guide is complete without a mention of the food! In short: It’s hearty, fresh, nutritious, and delicious. Costa Rican cuisine, unlike that of some of its neighbors in Central and South America, tends to be mild. Thanks to its climate, the country boasts an impressive array of locally grown fruits and vegetables. You’ll find rice and beans are offered with most meals, along with pork, beef, chicken, and fresh fish from the coastal regions. Here are some of our favorite dishes to try on tour in Costa Rica.
While you’ll take home wonderful memories and beautiful photos from your trip to Costa Rica, you’ll also find a number of souvenirs to help you remember the magic of your Costa Rica tour. Here are some of our team’s favorites to pick up.