Central America is known for the many gorgeous countries that comprise it, but one country sticks out as being the second most popular Latin American travel destination, especially last 2011 – and that country is the beautiful Republic of Costa Rica.
Before it was colonized, Native Americans inhabited Costa Rica’s terrains. It was then named “Costa Rica”, by Christopher Columbus in 1502 because of its rich coast; “rica” pertaining to the word “rich”, and “costa” being Spanish for “coast”. Though he did not discover the precious metals he sought out for, Costa Rica was indeed richer than Columbus could ever comprehend, flourishing with rich greenery and an abundance of other natural resources.
It’s no wonder why Costa Rica is a world-class destination for all kinds of people; from those who want some tropical fun and adventure to those who prefer rest and relaxation by a warm beach.
For What Purpose Are You Traveling to Costa Rica?
Perhaps you plan to visit this country because you want to stay for a few months (for which you may want to browse some Costa Rica home rentals), or maybe you’re here for a 5-day vacation, which is perfect for a stay in a hotel. Much of your itinerary in this country (and how long you must prepare beforehand) depends on how long you plan to stay.
Understand the Facts Background of This Beautiful Country
No matter the duration of your stay, it pays to be well-versed about the country you’re visiting. Not only does it amp your psyche for a proper immersion, it helps efficiently broaden your horizons to their different ways of life. It also leads you to appreciate the different experiences you will have, understand the connections between the stories behind why certain locations are built, or why traditions are performed.
Costa Rica’s history is incredibly rich, and so is its culture. It’s been through turbulent and oppressive times but has since risen, with several independences declared. Its first independence initiated with Spain on September 15, 1821, then the First Mexican Empire, then the Federal Republic of Central America. Spain finally recognized it as a separate country on May 10, 1850, and created its own constitution on the 7th of November 1949. The official language of the country is Spanish, though it does have regional languages such as Mekatelyu, Patois, and Bribri.
Because of colonization (as well as globalization), the percentage of indigenous ethnic groups in Costa Rica has diminished. It is made up mostly out of a mix of mestizos, mulattos, Amerindians, and those of African descent, comprising a boiling pot of different customs that consider Roman Catholicism their main religion. The country can also be literally described as a boiling pot, as there are 121 volcanic formations that are peppered throughout its lands. Seven of these formations are active volcanoes.
What Would You Like to See in Costa Rica?
As with every trip, so much of it is defined by how you plan to experience it. Costa Rica has tours that display its heritage, cruises, outdoor excursions, extreme sports, museums, and so much more. Zoning in on specific activities you want to do in Costa Rica is crucial to enjoying your stay there.
Need Suggestions? Try the Trifecta of Traveling Tips; Must-Sees, and Must-Dos
The Costa Ricans go by a saying, which is “Pura Vida”, which means “Pure Life”. Both Costa Rican men (known locally as “ticos”) and women (“ticas”) live by this philosophy and want tourists to embody this phrase as well. How? By going out and doing, seeing, and having all the best experiences that Costa Rica has to offer.
What You Must See in Costa Rica
If you’re into beaches, Nicoya Peninsula is ranked as the number one place to watch the sunset, surf, enjoy the marine wildlife, and visit the charming town nearby. Aside from pristine beaches, Costa Rica also has breathtaking volcanoes – one of them being the Arenal Volcano. This natural wonder has been a tourist site for the past hundred or so years and does not disappoint with its majestic view.
Another suggestion for history buffs is to visit the Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, which is a grand theater that was constructed in 1897 with intricate detail. It is found in San Jose, which is the capital of Costa Rica, and also deserves a day or so of exploration. The Precolumbian Gold Museum is also a favorite among many – though it may be small, it packs an interesting punch it with precious ancient artifacts.
What You Must Do in Costa Rica
Because Costa Rica has many beautiful forests, its government, fortunately, tries its best to execute nature conservation programs by promoting eco-tourism. So, tickets you buy for a certified eco-tour contributes to the upkeep of the environment.
Thrill-seekers would love the zip lining parts that many of these tours provide (one of them being Puerto Limon Eco Adventure Combo Tour), along with visiting different rainforests and national parks and learning more about Costa Rica’s biodiversity.
Cahuita National Park has both kids and adults amazed, if not highly impressed with the different wildlife present in this area, which is also near a beach. Reservations will cost you $50 upwards, depending on what the tours offer. It is highly acclaimed by those who have visited, hitting 4.5 stores in ratings on TripAdvisor, with 2,023 reviews.
Don’t forget to try their delectable fresh fruits (particularly their bananas) and coffee products, as well as their traditional meals. Some unforgettable dishes include the Casado, Rondon, Gallo Pinto, and Patacones.
Do Your Research as You Create an Itinerary
Prepare for the climate that awaits you – and the climate in Costa Rica is quite warm. Temperatures in Costa Rica hit average temperatures no lower than 18 degrees Celsius, and no higher than 27 degrees Celsius consistently all throughout the year. Its climate can be characterized as having two seasons; summer (starts December and ends in April) and winter (starts May, and ends in November).
There is absolutely no snow for Costa Rica’s winter. Instead, expect a lot of rain. This can affect your scheduled activities greatly, so plan around the possibility of weather disturbances.
Though Costa Rica is squished in between two other Central American countries such as Nicaragua and Panama, it does hold a large candle to being one of the most wonderful countries in the Caribbean to visit.