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5 Important Overlooked Tips to Prepare for a Trip to Costa Rica

After hearing years of intriguing stories about the place from friends and family, you are finally taking your own trip to Costa Rica! Just as they may have said, yes, it is easier to travel to Costa Rica than most people realize (a couple hours by plane from the southern USA and not more than 6 hours by plane from New York), you won’t have to worry about jet lag, and yes, a lot of people in the travel and tourism industry do speak english.

Nevertheless, as with travel to any other country, there are more than a few things you should be aware of before boarding that plane. No matter how much you have read about the place and what people have told you, you are going to make a number of fun discoveries on your own. The following are five important tips frequently overlooked by people taking a trip to Costa Rica:

  1. Costa Rica has more than one climate: While we aren’t that far from the equator, temperatures in the mountainous areas of the country are much lower than in the hot and steamy lowlands. if you plan on visiting places like Cerro de la Muerte to see a Resplenedent Quetzal or Poas Volcano National Park, remember to pack clothing for 60 degree temps during the day and 40 or 50 degrees at night.

    The view from 10,000 feet up on Irazu Volcano, Costa Rica.
  2. Don’t change money at the airport: If you can avoid it, don’t change money at the airport. Since you will be given a pretty poor rate, you may be better off taking money out of an ATM or visiting a  bank (although be prepared to wait in line).
  3. Get a GPS Navigator if renting a vehicle: If renting a car, renting a GPS navigator device is highly recommended. All car rental companies offer them and with good reason; there aren’t many road signs in Costa Rica! Some do exist but not nearly enough to rely upon them and very few streets are named.
  4. Bring sealable plastic bags for cameras, etc.: Costa Rica also sees a lot of rain. We can’t complain because it helps make the country such a lush, beautiful place and helps provide good habitat for the huge amount of biodiversity that occurs here. Even if you visit during the dry season, you should still expect rain in the mountains and on the Caribbean slope. Help keep your cameras, mobile devices, and other sensitive stuff dry by putting them in sealable plastic bags when needed.

    A rainy, misty day in the lush Tilaran mountains of Costa Rica.
  5. Be prepared for biodiversity: The hundreds of bird species, thousands or butterflies, exquisite orchids, and other plants and animals are some of the main reasons to experience this beautiful country. Get ready for the trip by studying field guides, reading up on Costa Rican natural history, and bringing an easy to use app like the Costa Rica Birds Field Guide app.
    In the high elevations, you might see an exquisite Volcano Hummingbird or a…
    fantastic Fiery-throated Hummingbird.

    You might also see a Collared Aracari, a small toucan of the Caribbean lowlands.

Enjoy your trip to Costa Rica!

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