Many people want to live a life of adventure and take advantage of the beauty that the world has. Costa Rica is by far one of the most beautiful countries that you can experience without having to spend thousands of dollars to travel there. If you have plans for backpacking Costa Rica, consider this guide to help you find some of the best attractions and to prepare for your trip.
Factor in Your Costs
The main thing to think about when you’re backpacking absolutely anywhere in the world is the cost that you will have to come up with to survive, especially if you’re far away from home. It is suggested that you can expect to spend up to $55 per day during your time in the country. This cost factors in meals, transportation, and lodging. In the event that you want to take a look at guided tours or local parks, factor in the admissions for those as well. If you’re able to get a ISIC student card, you can get discounts at participating retailers and attractions.
If you’re working on U.S. dollars then you’re in luck as most of the towns in the country accept U.S. dollars as their main method of payment. If you stick to the tourist areas you’ll easily be able to find ATMs where you can withdraw either dollars or colones. It is always advised that you have a credit card available in the event of an emergency. Also, make sure that you look at the exchange rate as it is mostly better to pay in Costa Rican colones.
Learning the Language
This area is one of the most popular locations for backpacking in the world and so the residents and establishments are used to foreign travelers on a regular basis. If you’re backpacking Costa Rica, you won’t have to worry about learning a brand new language before your trip because English is spoken quite often when it comes to tourist locations and attractions. If you’re venturing out into rural areas, knowing a sufficient amount of Spanish is advised.
Crime and Safety
Whether you’re backpacking Costa Rica on your own or if you’re with a friend, you’ll always want to take the crime rates into account. It’s quite uncommon to be a victim of violent crime but there is a high rate of petty crime ranging from pickpocketing to scams. It is imperative that you never leave your bags alone and to make sure that you keep your eye on your bags if you’re using public transportation. Money belts, although they aren’t the most fashionable item, are the best way to keep your important belongings on you without having to worry about anyone stealing your bags or purse.
This all depends on where you are traveling from and you will want to make sure that you confirm with your government in terms of visa requirements. Travelers that are coming from Europe, Canada, or the United States typically do not require a visa in order to visit Costa Rica. Most of the tourists that come into the country receive an entry stamp that is valid for up to 90 days, meaning that you have 90 days to see everything that you want to before you have to exit the country.
Planning Your Trip Time
If you’re the type of backpacker that doesn’t want to leave a country until you’ve seen everything that they have to offer, then you should expect your backpacking trips to be substantially longer than the average person. To get a general feel of what it is like to live in Costa Rica and the beautiful surroundings that they offer, you should plan to spend at least 2 weeks in the country, if not more.
Talking to Family and Friends
Unlike other countries that you might come across during your travels, there are many communicative opportunities available to you if you want to reach out to your family and friends back home. Most locations offer free WiFi and you can easily find high speed internet wherever you are. There are also a substantial amount of internet cafes where you can pay a small fee (typically $1) for an hour of internet use.
One of the first things that you should prepare yourself for when it comes to backpacking Costa Rica is to enjoy all of the local cuisines that they have to offer. Of course they will have Americanized restaurants such as McDonald’s but that can surely take away from your experience. Some of the most delicious types of food that you’ll find are in small restaurants that they call “Sodas”. With delectable meats, savory rice, and perfectly cooked beans there is always a meal satisfying for a variety of palates. You’ll also want to take the time to visit their local farmers’ market or bakery to indulge in great goodies. Another great advantage that Costa Rica has over other areas is that their tap water is typically safe to drink, unless there is a posted advisory.
Popular Tourist Destinations
If you’re trying to come up with a list of things to do during your time abroad, there are a variety of tourist destinations in the country including Montezuma, Arenal, Monteverde, Puerto Viejo, Jaco, and Nicoya Peninsula. You can also visit a national park or reserve as 25% of the country is protected because of these areas. Take an afternoon dip in a natural hot springs, watch the phenomenal wildlife at Manuel Antonio National Park, or spend your time swimming and tanning at Puerto Viejo.
The main method of transportation that you should rely on is public buses because they are safe, comfortable, and quite affordable. In fact, you can spend less than $10 to get absolutely anywhere in the country. If you have local attractions that you want to see near your hostel then it is advised that you rent a bike or take a taxi somewhere close instead of the bus.