Destination Spotlight: Costa Rica

Costa Rica is close enough that it makes for an easy trip from the United States, and it makes for an excellent destination for those looking for great surfing or animal watching. Costa Rica has over 800 miles of shoreline to explore, as well as rain forests and animal reserves. Cloud forests, beautiful rivers, and hot springs round out some of the natural features in this Central American nation.

If you’re a foodie, Costa Rica is really making a name for itself right now, too. Most of that notoriety is due to the many chefs and bartenders that are helping place the country on the culinary map.

If you’re considering a trip to Costa Rica, it pays to plan ahead. The country is the busiest from December to April. During these months, you’ll have plenty of sunshine, but you’ll also have plenty of crowds. The rest of the year is the rainy season, with October being the wettest month, but you can also find the best travel deals.

As a tropical climate, Costa Rica offers up plenty of sunshine half the year on the Pacific side of the country, with plenty of rain during the other half. On the Caribbean side of the country, you can expect an occasional rain shower throughout most of the year. While October is the wettest month on the Pacific side, it can provide some of the best weather on the Caribbean side. The moral of the story is your weather will vary greatly depending on which part of the country you’re visiting.

As far as getting around the country goes, bus travel is likely your best bet. San Jose may present a few challenges at first when it comes to trying to navigate the various routes, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll appreciate the cheap fare—usually around $1 for city travel and $10 to travel all the way across the country. You can also take fancier, Grayline buses for higher fares, or you can opt for domestic air travel, which starts at around $60 per flight.

While it’s certainly not the most expensive place to travel, Costa Rica does tend to hit you pretty hard at hotels in terms of taxes. Expect to pay around 13 percent taxes at every hotel and restaurant (restaurants will also charge a 10 percent service charge). The good news is that it isn’t customary to tip at restaurants.

One thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for jungle adventures or laid-back beach relaxation, Costa Rica can deliver.