Planning your trip to Costa Rica
From Costa Rica Travel Guide: Vacation and Travel tips
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Costa Rica is much more than a vacation paradise. Costa Rica happens to be among the most stable in Latin America, boasting a strong and growing economy, a democratic governing body, an up to date legal and judicial system; a strong infrastructure (covering the spectrum from clean water to direct-dialed international calls to even a few good highways), and they even did away with their standing army so they could allocate more money to improving the quality of life for everyone. Costa Rica is only a few steps off the pace, but is making great strides in improving the country’s all around economic situation and overall well-being of its inhabitants.
Of course Costa Rica is world renowned for its vast reservoir of the world’s biodiversity, and the country is extremely assertive in protecting its natural heritage. Other countries around the world continue to struggle in the war against poachers, while Costa Rica uses the income it receives from ecotourism to give their citizens (affectionately called Ticos) a society where there is no economic motivation to poach. Protecting the rain forests and its wildlife is obviously a top priority in Costa Rica. This ‘balancing’ act is a never ending struggle to maintain a semblance of economic growth through manufacturing and the like, yet still preserving the integrity of their fragile ecosystem.tourism, with agriculture and manufacturing coming in second and third. Speaking of agriculture, Costa Rica is home to one of the top three coffee growing regions in the world. But it’s no wonder Costa Rica is such a popular tourist destination, with it national parks and wildlife refuges attracting many visitors each year; tourists are also drawn to the white sand beaches, the surf, the fishing, and the mild climate year around.
Costa Rica has something for everyone, from extreme sports, to hiking and bird watching, to surfing, or just relaxing on one of its many beautiful beaches. People flock to Costa Rica for a variety of reasons and not just because it’s a great vacation destination or the ideal spot to have that once in a lifetime wedding or honeymoon. In recent years Costa Rica has been a great place to buy real estate as well. There are luxury condominium resort communities, beachfront villas, and moderately priced properties that people are buying as vacation or retirement homes all over the country. Tamarindo would be a great example of this as its pristine beaches and scenic overviews has driven real estate prices through the roof. And inland there’s La Fortuna/Arenal, home of the ever erupting Volcan Arenal, where land has become quite a commodity as well.
With its beautiful surroundings, Costa Rica is perfect for people who just want to get away from it all. If you’re looking to go on a spiritual retreat or perhaps receive some cosmetic surgery and time to recover, with its easy-going and laid back culture, Costa Rica is the perfect destination choice. Since tourism is so important to the economy you can rest assured that you will be pampered with personal attention to your every whim or desire.
Traveling to Costa Rica is a snap for visitors from anywhere in the English or Spanish-speaking world. As mentioned previously, Costa Rica IS the most stable country in Latin America, politically, economically, culturally, and environmentally. Most places in Costa Rica you can drink the water, but at some beach towns and rural areas, it is not- so we recommend bottled water to be on the safe side. The food here is mildly to moderately spiced; and literally everywhere you travel in the country is a scenic paradise, with pristine beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, lush rain forests, cloud forests, diverse animal life, and not to mention its numerous active volcanoes. There truly is something for everyone in Costa Rica, whether you’re young or old.
You’ll need your passport when traveling to Costa Rica and in most cases you can stay up to 90 days without a visa. If you plan on driving yourself while in Costa Rica, be forewarned, not only do the Tico’s tend to drive aggressively, but the potholes (called huecos) aren’t your garden variety potholes as they’ve been known to swallow cars whole from time to time. Also be careful about driving at night as most of the roads through the rainforest and rural areas are not lit and can be very dangerous when it is raining or foggy. You definitely want to drive defensively while here. One more thing concerning driving, especially in rural Costa Rica- Tico’s walk in the road and seem somewhat oblivious to traffic and don’t really move ‘that far’ out of the way when a car approaches, which can be particularly dangerous during the night time or when it’s raining or foggy.