Wednesday, October 29, 2014

9 tips for a badass trip to costa rica

Basically this post is going to be a big old picture vomit combined with some tips and tricks for a successful Costa Rica trip (from our successes and our failures). 

Three things that we found made us successful in Costa Rica: 

1. Know some Spanish. Costa Rica isn't Mexico and doesn't neighbor a big English speaking country... That meant that English wasn't spoken as widely as we're used to so you've got to get by. I can understand Spanish (thank the good Lord) but struggled with the dialect spoken in CR (it is different just like British or Australian English sounds different than ours). Sometimes people would just test my ability to understand and then would transition to speak in complete English so be prepared for that! 

2. Ask questions. Costa Ricans love their culture and their country. We spent an hour and a half talking with one of our tour guides on the way home from a day trip and he taught us SO MUCH about the politics, social system, and education in Costa Rica... Those were amazing things to get to compare and contrast with America. 

3. Be prepared to move and look and be "natural". I'm not a hiker, we all know that full well, but going to CR I knew that we were going to be spending lots of time looking at, walking around, basking in nature. And I was afraid that I'd be sick of it, or feel like those are MORE trees that I have to check out, but instead, loved it. I got my 10,000 steps in (hi Fitbit) in every day that we were there because monkeys in all the trees by the beach. 

And pictures. Because you didn't come here just to read all my advice right? 
I guess we had a great time... I mean, that ridiculous smile on my face says I'm eating up every ounce of what Costa Rica had to offer. We truly loved the excursions we took part of, seeing so many bits of the country and the richness of its culture and jungle and animals. 

Three things you MUST do while you're in Costa Rica: 
1. Try the Pina Coladas. Because pineapples grow ALL OVER there and you'll never have one as good as theirs. Also, THE COFFEE. 

2. COFFEE. Duh. I mean, Jason was drinking three cups a day... And he's a man that wouldn't drink just one before we left. 

3. Zipline. We have ziplined several times together and Costa Rica's can not be rivals. We went to Verdana which is on the North Pacific side of the country, but there are several locations... Dreamy you guys.

As much as we loved the sights and jungle, there were a few failures on our part. We didn't do hours upon hours of research about the country until a week before we were going to move out and, well, that made us realize we didn't know as much as we thought we did and that logistics exist -even on vacation.

Three things that we would do DIFFERENT next time around:

1. Stay in a few different places around the country rather than simply in a single spot. Costa Rica has SO MUCH to offer and, though it's small, the roads are wild and aren't big beautiful freeways that make travel super easy, soooo, we didn't get to see some of the things we wished we could have.

2. Be aware of what "off season" truly means. We have "off seasoned" in Cancun and Cabo and even (sort of) in Hawaii, but none looked like the "off season" in Costa Rica. When tourism is down and there are fewer travelers the hotels make money by dropping their rates in order to attract locals. That meant every morning two charter buses (at least) rolled up to the hotel and dropped off tons of people who immediately flooded into the pool and bar. It felt like a Vegas pool party every day... Which meant there wasn't a whole lot of relaxing. 

3. Realize it can be hard to get there. We had some serious coordinating to do in getting from home to our hotel room in Costa Rica and back again... This meant there was some serious time spent in a van riding along the wild roads of CR. We loved our time there, but definitely realized we spent lots of it moving from one location to the next. This worked for us, but if you're looking to have a really relaxing vacation, this wouldn't have been ideal. 


  1. it sounds like an incredible trip. I love vacations where you walk around a lot to see everything. especially love the tip about off season- that's very good to know. Now, I'd like to go to Costa Rica!!

  2. We have a CRAZY story about getting from our resort to the hotel the day we were supposed to leave. Like, so crazy. It involved a small Costa Rican man signing classic rock while HOLDING our bags on top of his car while he drove. And that's only part of it! Glad you had fun!

  3. Oh my GRACIOUS all of these pictures make me want to get on a plane and leave right this second! I love the way you did this post, too...some vacay posts get long and boring, but this was PERFECT. You make me want to go there ASAP. Pack a bag and meet me there?

  4. Great. Now I NEED a pina colada. Like now. I have friends who went to Costa Rica this past summer on their honeymoon, and they couldn't get enough of the ziplining. So jealous!

  5. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvOctober 29, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Sounds and looks like you had a blast. I would have been so annoyed at the bus loads of people arriving at the resort though...but hey still in Costa Rica!!! Good tip though.

  6. Sounds like such a blast! I begged Derek to go on a tropical/carribean (I wanted to go to Jamaica) but he really couldn't miss a lot of work so unfortunately we didn't get to do that! But this makes me (wander)lust even harder after a tropical vacation!!

  7. It sounds like you two had a fantastic time. Now tell me, how'd you go about booking and finding the best rates for this trip?

  8. Costa Rica VacationsOctober 29, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Great tips :), those "maon chinos" look yummy

  9. Looks like y'all had SO MUCH FUN! The smiles on both of your faces exude such happiness and freedom - I'm jealous, really. :) It's always fun and exciting to really get to learn about other cultures and their way of life, politics, etc. And thanks for all the pictures! As much fun as y'all seem to have had, it's also great to have y'all back! Those CR IG updates were slowly beating up my already damaged heart. Ha.

  10. Looks way cool! That hairy fruit, what's it called there? Looks like rambutan (But that may be the Malay name for it...)? Angel and I have the ideal "divide and conquer" strategy when it comes to languages--I'm the navigator and communicator in Asia, and he's the navigator and communicator in Texas and any Spanish-speaking part of the world.

  11. I loe this! I went to Costa Rica a few years ago and loved it. I would love to go back again. Pinning this for future reference!

  12. Muy excellente…blog post? These pictures make CR look
    GORGEOUS and now I really want to go. You and Jason are probably the most
    adorable couple in the history of coupling.

  13. You look SO happy to be there! It looks like an awesome time. I had never really thought to ever think of going to Costa Rica on vacation, but it looks incredible.

    Can I go with you next time?
    How do you get your teeth SO white?

  15. GO GIRL. You'll love it. I promise.

  16. OH MY GOSH YES. Literally the roads are the wildest ones I've ever had the beautiful pleasure to ride upon. I am so thankful we didn't drive ourselves this first time there because I'd have had a HEART ATTACK.

  17. Girl YES let us go and enjoy sunshine and Pina Coladas and COFFEE.

    Long and boring is never something I want to describe me... I think. :)

  18. It really was so beautiful to see the canopy as you fly through it... Like, whoa.

    Can I have a pina colada too please?!

  19. YES. People might be pouring in but THE JUNGLE. I mean, I couldn't get enough of the green. SO MANY SHADES.

  20. YES. IT IS. And they're super mean in Costa Rica... I've never really known a nice croc, but hey, who am I to question which country has meaner biting animals!?!

  21. I really was so in my element as I soared over the top of their jungle! :) And in their hot springs... And while sipping their coffee... Oh goodness, I guess I was in my element all over the place there! :)

  22. Girl you know that CR wants you back... Especially since you're so far away from their beautiful country right now!

  23. You are muy excellente Princessa Taquito.

    I just really wanted to say that to someone once and now I did.

  24. *thumbs up* And wishes I could go RIGHT BACK THERE AND GET MORE OF IT ALL.

  25. YES, rambutan, also a lychee. So good. I don't usually like them but these ones were bought on the side of the road and were GIANT and SO DELICIOUS. We were both very sad the moment we ran out of them! ;)

  26. It was so fun... But I am so thankful to be home and not sweating to death. Because, HONESTLY, vacation is delightful but so is routine! :)

  27. Thank you! We just adored all the food in your country. ALL. THE. FOOD.

  28. We got our flights and hotel on Orbitz... We've always had awesome luck with their prices and packages... BUT, buy insurance. We didn't one time and it was a NIGHTMARE because Orbitz is just the middle man.

  29. It does sound incredible!
    We went on a mission trip to Costa Rica - and I got held at machette point (for my camera) in downtown. The only thing I would add - is don't look rich, and carry expensive stuff around.

    I never saw the beach when I was there though... believe it or not, no rich coast for me.
    Next time....

    and yes, knowing spanish helps.
    a lot.

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  31. Awesome! If you need tips on where to stay and what to do (from a local!!), just let me know

  32. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO can me and shitler just piggy back on your next vacation...?


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