Costa Rica Travel Guide

Welcome to Costa Rica!

Costa Rica is officially the “Land of Pura Vida.”  What does Pura Vida mean?  Directly translated to English, it means “Pure Life,” or “Simple Life.”  Meaning, pleasure is derived from small, everyday things.  Costa Ricans, often called “Ticos,” use “Pura Vida” to say hello ~ & they use it to say goodbye.  They’ll respond with “Pura Vida” when you ask them how they’re doing.  Pura Vida cannot be directly translated: because it’s a state of mind.  It’s a way of looking at the world.  And you’ll discover exactly what this means when you travel to Costa Rica ~ because that’s what Costa Rica travel is all about.  

Costa Rica may be a geographically tiny country: but it’s still home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity.  What does that mean for the traveler?  It means that you will likely hear monkey’s footsteps pitter-pattering on the rooftop of your hotel in the late afternoon.  It means that you’ll wake up to the sound of birds cawing.  In Costa Rica, nature is all around: you are surrounded by it.  Which makes living the “pura vida” quite easy to do…

The secret is out about Costa Rica, which makes it Central America’s most popular destination.  But you can still get off-the-beaten path in Costa Rica!  Read on & find out how…

Costa Rica Travel Overview!

  • Safety = Safer than the U.S. 90%
  • Cost = Touristy areas can be pricey; but get off-the-beaten path & it’s cheaper! 60%
  • Adventures = Abundant!!! Learn how to surf, chase monkeys, zip-line, jungle trek ~ you can do it all in Costa Rica! 100%
  • How Safe I Felt as a Female Traveler = Very Safe 95%
  • Costa Rican People = Very friendly & a little bit shy at first; they believe in “Pura Vida” 95%

Costa Rica Travel Facts!

  • Costa Rica in One Word = Pura Vida (“Pure Life”).
  • Costa Rica in One More Word = Jungle. 
  • Wi-Fi = In touristy areas you should be able to easily find Wi-Fi; in the jungle/off-the-grid, unlikely.
  • Global Peace Ranking = #34 out of 163 countries (U.S. is #103) = Statistically much safer than the U.S.
  • Hotels = Generally cheaper than the U.S. ~ but more expensive in tourist destinations like Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, etc. Get off-the-beaten path & find the hidden gems.
  • Must-Do’s = Go surfing.  Hike a volcano (like Arenal).  Go zip-lining.  Try some of the world’s best coffee in Monteverde or on a coffee farm.  Figure out first-hand what “Pura Vida” means.  
  • Is Costa Rica Good for Solo Travelers = Yes. I’ve traveled to Costa Rica solo twice ~ & loved both trips.  You’ll meet lots of other Americans & ex-pats from around the world. 
  • What to Expect as a Female Traveler = Expect some catcalls, especially from groups of men.  Be cautious in San Juan, Costa Rica’s capital; follow the local’s advice about going out at night.    
  • Would I Go Back = Yes!!!  I still need to hike Arenal Volcano!

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Volunteering in Costa Rica!

I first learned about volunteering in Costa Rica through the international volunteer organization, IVHQ.  Based in New Zealand, they offer volunteer programs all over the world.  When you first look into volunteering, it can be extremely overwhelming, because there...

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