Episode 71: I’m Back from Costa Rica

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After the ordeal that I spoke about in the previous episode, I finally had my vacation in Costa Rica.

Despite the flight cancellation that delayed my trip by one day, I still managed to spend around 21 days in Costa Rica, and it was amazing.

If you ever get the opportunity to go to Costa Rica, there are a few things that you need to know, and a few experiences that you need to have in order to make it the most memorable vacation you could possibly take.

Let’s get into it:

[01:44] Getting to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is in Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama, and connects North and South America.

If you’re flying into Costa Rica, it’s important to note that the two largest airports are in San Jose and Liberia. Make sure you know how far the airport is from your destination or resort and choose the airport that makes the most sense for your trip.

[02:48] Entry requirements.

Yes, the pandemic is still going, for those who have been living under a rock for the past two years.

At the time that I travelled, in order to enter Costa Rica, you needed to fill in a questionnaire to get a QR code. You didn’t need a negative test to be allowed into the country, but if you weren’t fully vaccinated, you were required to have travel insurance in case you got sick and needed to cover your expenses.

[04:03] More about Costa Rica.

The official language in Costa Rica is Spanish.

My 2022 resolution is to learn Spanish, because this is the second place I’ve been to where they speak Spanish, and it’s kind of sad that I can’t speak it yet.

Costa Rica has its hot, dry season from December to March, with March being the hottest time of the year, and the rainy season runs from May to October, with the most rain falling in September and October.

[05:44] Costa Rica has it all.

If you think you’ve seen many green trees, Costa Rica will blow your mind.

When you’re done soaking up the sun at one of the 1300 beaches, you could soothe your soul in the popular hot springs or experience the abundant biodiversity. Around 5% of the world’s species live in Costa Rica.

I even went on a waterfall slide, which was probably the most fun I’ve had (pictured below).

There is something for everyone. Whether you want to see rainforests, black-sand beaches, go ziplining, white-water rafting, horseback riding, ride catamarans, or go scuba diving in one of the top 5 scuba diving destinations in the world, Costa Rica has it all.

Costa Rica is the third most popular surfing destination, topped only by Hawaii and Indonesia.

There are over 100 volcanoes, and they’re consistently ranked amongst the world’s greatest sights-to-see. Because of the volcanic soil, the country’s agriculture is some of the best.

You could ride ATVs, see migrating whales, take cooking classes, go fishing, and taste some of the best coffee in the world. If you don’t taste their coffee, you might as well not go to Costa Rica.

Their coffee is the only EJTheTravelDiva Certified souvenir.

I’d highly recommend taking a cooking class to learn how to make a Plato Tipico, which we would call a meat and three in the South, which is typically meat with three side dishes. You can learn to make some good Ceviche, which I did in this video.

You need to plan to spend quite some time in Costa Rica if you want to experience as much as it has to offer.

[14:01] Coco Beach.

This is probably my favourite spot in all of Costa Rica.

Coco Beach is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches. Just across the road from the beach is where you can find authentic restaurants with incredible outdoor seating spaces where you could sit and do some people-watching with a cocktail in hand after a long day of work.

During my time in Costa Rica, I stayed at both the Riu Palace and Planet Hollywood.

Just 25 minutes from the Riu Palace, there was a shuttle to Coco Beach and back several times a day, which you could take for $15 round-trip per person.

Planet Hollywood is around 45-55 minutes from Coco Beach, but unfortunately, there is no shuttle.

[15:35] Where to stay.

I’ve been to Costa Rica more than once and stayed in a few different places.

On my first trip, in 2019, I split my stay between Secrets and Dreams.

Secrets was more of a quiet, romantic couple’s resort. They have amazing food in a great location. The rooms were great, there was outdoor yoga (if you’re into that), and the beach was good.

Dreams is open to everyone. They have a great atmosphere, good food, and nice rooms. 

As I mentioned previously, I stayed at the Riu Palace and Planet Hollywood during my most recent visit.

Planet Hollywood was amazing. I would recommend being extra fit just to be able to walk the hill to and from the pool if you don’t want to take the golf cart. Everything about Planet Hollywood was great, except that hill.

Riu Palace was great. They have inexpensive shuttles to the airport as well as to Coco Beach, which I loved. The entertainment was good, but the rooms were a bit dated.

All four resorts are all-inclusive resorts.

[18:02] The Top 5 reasons why people visit Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet, there are thousands of the most perfect black-sand beaches in the world, there are enough adventure activities to keep you satisfied no matter how long your stay is, the Costa Rican people are among the happiest in the world, and Costa Rica is just the kind of place that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Top Tip: When you meet a Costa Rican, say “pura vida.” It’s a greeting that literally means “pure life.”

[19:44] A few more tips.

If you’re worried about currency conversions and all that, the US Dollar and most major credit cards are accepted in most places.

Pack some tennis shoes into your suitcase, because you’re going to need them for all the adventures that you’ll be taking once you get to Costa Rica.

Take some Deet with you, because the mosquitoes in Costa Rica are relentless. I’d also suggest packing in some After Bite, because they have some brave mosquitoes that aren’t too phased by the Deet.

No matter what time of year you travel, take some sunscreen.

Try something different. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something that you think is crazy. Costa Rica has everything you could think of, so take that opportunity to experience something totally new.

Take a longer vacation in Costa Rica. I would recommend staying for longer than the 3 or 4 days that people would usually stay. Give yourself time to do as much as possible.

Save money for the extra adventures. Staying in the resort is great but save some money leading up to your trip so that you can afford to take amazing adventures beyond the walls of the resort.

I hope this episode got you as excited about Costa Rica as I was.

There were some amazing experiences, and I can only express them in so many words.

I would encourage everyone listening to take a step out of their comfort zone, head to another country, learn the language, cook the food, climb the mountains, get bitten by the mosquitoes, and taste the coffee.

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