Costa Rica – “Pura Vida”

Every year me and Pankaj (my travelling buddy and spouse) travel to a different place in February after the Super Bowl (since he refuses to go before that) to get a break from the winter months. In 2015, our travel was to Costa Rica.

hanging bridge rainforest

Welcome to my  view of Costa Rica, a traveler’s  paradise – land of incredible rivers (some people call it white water capital of the world), sparkling beaches, beautiful forests (we saw some of the huge trees with big leaves), cascading waterfalls, nature and adventure based activities, interesting critters and animals(sloth, howler monkeys, different birds), exotic agriculture crops (Papaya, Coconut, Mango, Avocado, Pineapple, Bananas and Plantains).

This is where we saw sloths slowly make their way through forest canopies and monkeys swing through trees, alligators crawling in rivers, huge lizards commonly found in lawns soaking in the sun.cano negro safari8manuel antonio2manuel antonio9cano negro safari9manuel antonio6 People here are known to be the happiest people in the world, men are referred to as “Ticos”, and women are called “Ticas”.

Our 12-day Costa Rica Itinerary with lodgings, activities and number of days spent.

My travel made me realize that in Costa Rica things are done differently. Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you keep these tips in mind:

  • Tico Time – relax it’s a vacation. Everything is a little more relaxed in the tropicals and things move at a slower pace. Their own phrase for it is “Tico Time.”tico2tico1img_1517
  • Changing Your Mind – standard operating policy in most of the places we stayed in Costa Rica was no refund for cancellations with less than two weeks’ notice and partial or no refund even with more notice.
  • EEEEK! There are Lizards on the Wall, Lizards on the Trees, They’re everywhere.arenal resort5hanging bridge rainforest2 Those lizards are considered the best friends by the locals – they eat mosquitoes.
  • It’s the rain forest, so you should expect at least some rain.  Coming prepared can make all the difference, so remember to bring rain gear and quick dry clothing/shoes.arenal resort7peace lodge5
  • Please don’t assume that amenities like televisions and air-conditioning are available in lodges and everywhere. Many places still don’t have these.
  • Collapsible Trekking poles, water bottles, flashlights, dressing in layers – keep them in mind for all your hiking trips, the weather can be surprisingly chilly at places.
  • Costa Rica Exit Tax- There was a $29  departure tax payable at the airport with USD/Costa Rican cash or credit card before you check in for your flight.
  • Prepaid SIM cards are available for 2,500 – 5,000 or 10,000 colones (roughly $5, $10 or $20).  They are available at the SJO airport ICE office, any ICE office across the country or at authorized locations. We bought one on landing at the airport and that worked perfectly throughout the trip.

My next post- Highlights of Costa Rica tells about each area we covered – which included Flamingo-Conchal, Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio, Peace Lodge, Verablanca and San Jose with details of activities and tours.

Finally, “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) – this Costa Rican phrase will tell you everything you need to know about the Tico approach to life. It has many meanings, “hello”, “great” or “fantastic,” “thank you”’  “nice to meet you”, or “you’re welcome.”

Feel free to send me questions, comments while planning your trip – I’ll try to help you out as much as I can.

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