Costa Rica is where we spend most of our time, and we love it so much here that we're building an Eco-home which we can't wait to see come together! Why do we choose to spend our time here more than anywhere else? Because it's a warm and inviting country to visit with an extraordinarily laid back atmosphere - you may have noticed we're pretty laid back people. ;-)
Unfortunately, when most tourists arrive, they tend to be in such a rush to see as many places as they can, as quickly as possible. However, the best way to enjoy this beautiful country is by being a bit more spontaneous. The Republic of Costa Rica is located in Central America, making it easy for Americans to travel to it in only a few hours (if you're further afield, like when we came over from Germany, it will take longer but really it's worth it). Because it has a year round tropical climate (unlike where we're from!), tourists enjoy visiting at any time of the year, but it's important to keep in mind that there are actually geographic zones that receive massive amounts of rainfall.
So how can you really make the most of your time here? We'd like to share some tips...
Tourists love to visit this country to see its gorgeous rain forests where there is an incredible abundance of plants and animals, literally everywhere you look - we had monkeys in our back garden, you don't see that in Germany. :-) So, rather than scheduling all your activities while in Costa Rica, locals recommend kind of going with the flow to have a more enjoyable vacation and they'll invariably tell you that it's important to take at least a few risks while visiting this wonderful country, such as enjoying zip lining through a rain forest’s canopy or horseback riding along the coastline’s sandy beaches as after all, these are the kinds of vivid memories that really stand out in the months and years ahead.
To fully enjoy another country, it's essential to learn at least some of the local language so you can communicate with residents, even just a little. Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world, and knowing a few words or phrases can go a long way toward making your life easier while traveling in Costa Rica. The ability to find out where a restaurant is or how to get transportation helps to keep your stress levels to an absolute minimum at all times.
The availability of smartphones makes it easy for travelers to research historical buildings and other sightseeing spots before arriving at their destination. Unfortunately, too much research can lead to you feeling a bit bored while traveling, so avoid looking up too much information on a computer or smartphone beforehand. Pick where you want to go, find out how to get there, and just roll with it! This should be fun, after all :-)
If you're a tourist traveling on a tight budget, always leave some room for spontaneous adventures that can occur while in Costa Rica. For example, if you see a special discounted tour of some sort, such as viewing a volcano from a helicopter, then it's important to jump on that opportunity without worrying too much about the cost. Really, how many opportunities do you get in daily life to take a helicopter ride over a volcano?
This is so important, and really some of the nicest people we've met, including the people who help us around the house and with our kids are Costa Ricans. Regardless of whether someone is traveling to Costa Rica with friends, relatives or by themselves, it's a great idea to get to know some of the local people. For example, take some time to talk to the woman who operates a fruit and vegetable stand at your nearby open market - we love going to these markets as the produce is just so fresh and amazing. If you're staying in a hotel you can ask the staff where to go to have a well priced tasty meal, or if you're in an AirBnB ask your hosts where the best places to eat are. Getting to know the local people is one of the best ways to find the most interesting places to visit while traveling in the area.
We're really big on filming and photographing, capturing moments that will never come again, so don't forget to bring along a digital camera or smartphone when you're out and about in Costa Rica so you can snap some photographs of the beautiful scenery. Don’t be afraid to ask a local to take a photograph of your zip lining or horseback riding adventures so you can have yet another memento of your travels throughout this amazing country - plus don't forget to come back to this post and leave a comment with the photo so we can all see it!