Country Guide: Costa Rica

Reflections on Costa Rica

    • Really, really loved my trip there!
    • “Pura vida” – pure life – one of the mottos of CR. People are very friendly and it’s known as one of the happiest places in the world.
    • I was on the Pacific coast side (west), but I’ve heard great things about the Caribbean side. 
    • Costa Rica has so much natural beauty and wherever you do, I’m sure you’ll see amazing natural scenery. Beaches, forests, volcanoes, lots!
Places I went:
  • SAN JOSE
    • Typical town, not that impressive but the rest of Costa Rica is. I went around to some of the museums and main squares. Since you’re there longer, I’m sure you’ll find more interesting places.
    • The countryside surrounding San Jose was great. I got a tour guide and did a day trip and we went to Sarchi, Zarcero. 
      • SARCHI: They are famous for ox carts, so there were places you can go to see them make them (paint them, etc) and there is somewhere you can see the largest ox cart in the world. 
      • ZARCERO: We went here to see the church and the gardens which are really cool. It’s called Parque Francisco Alvarado.   
      • POAS VOLCANO – close-ish to San Jose, so it’s pretty popular. Not really an active one with red lava but the area around it is forests and a lake so it’s a nice hike in the area. The day we went, we hiked around because it was too foggy so visibility wasn’t great. We did eventually get to see if better though. 
  • MONTEVERDE
    • It rains over 300 days a year here so it was soo green, hence the name (green mountain). We took a public bus here from San Jose. There were really nice views of the mountains from here.
    • Ziplining!!! We did the Selvatura Canopy Tour that goes through the cloud forest. One of the most amazing experiences ever! Anddd it was even pouring rain but it made it so much fun! You must do this, rain or shine!
  • MANUEL ANTONIO
    • Beach! One of the nicest beaches I think I’ve ever been to. The water was warm (I was there in June) so we went swimming in the water which was really fun. There are trees and rocks nearby so really picturesque and AMAZING sunsets! 
    • There is a park that you can go hike in, but I didn’t get the chance to go. Should be lots of wildlife and great scenery.

What type of transportation?

  • We used public bus from San Jose to Monteverde, but its a set time so not that flexible. From Monteverde, we took a shuttle van that was better because it was more flexible. The hostel you stay at can probably help you with that. Makes it much easier to get between destinations.
  • The other option is renting a car if you feel comfortable doing that. I think might be mostly manual cars though. Check that. Costa Rica is small, so a car would make it so much easier to get around. I’ve had friends that have done it and they said it was great.
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