From sloths to gallo pinto to hot ziplining scientists, here's 35 things nobody tells you about visiting Costa Rica.

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Vibrant macaws. Aromatic orchids. Lovely monkeys – wait, did that monkey simply steal my meals?? Costa Rica is a tropical, eco-friendly paradise, full of colourful wildlife and plush forest canopies simply ready to be explored on ziplines and hanging bridges. Visiting Costa Rica makes you wish to get a “pura vida” tattoo and a lifetime provide of salsa lizano, and it’s a troublesome place to go away.

Which is why I’ve been again 4 instances! My first two journeys to Costa Rica had been with my household. I used to be 8, and Costa Rica was probably the most magical place I might think about. I keep in mind galloping on horseback alongside the seaside, kayaking by way of rapids on a river, chewing sticks of recent sugarcane, befriending a child squirrel monkey, and plucking a candy starfruit from a tree. Our household journey was full of wildlife and journey, which cemented a lot of what would later grow to be my most well-liked journey type. (Main props to my mother and father for choosing such a bada** trip spot.)

To at the present time, once I shut my eyes at night time and check out to go to sleep, I think about that I’m in Costa Rica, listening to the patter of rain and swinging gently on a hammock. To assist cement the phantasm, I’ve stuffed my complete home with tropical vegetation, regardless of dwelling in arid California.

Costa Rica has pulled me again a couple of extra instances since these first visits over 20 years in the past. Jeremy and I spent a couple of weeks backpacking Costa Rica on our year-long honeymoon, and we returned once more this 12 months to rejoice our five-year anniversary.

By way of all of my journeys, I’ve realized a couple of issues about Costa Rica. Like that you simply want REALLY good bug repellant (I swear by this mixed with this). Or that starfruit actually is the perfect fruit ever. Pay attention: not all the things I’ve realized is useful, OK?

From gallo pinto to scorching ziplining scientists to monkeys flinging poop, listed below are 35 issues no person tells you about visiting Costa Rica!

Costa Rica At-a-Look 🐒

Right here’s a bite-sized snapshot of all the things it’s good to know to plan your journey!

  • When to Go: The best time is June & July, aka “inexperienced season,” when costs are low and the rain takes a break.
  • The place to Keep: Hostel Plinio close to Manuel Antonio NP is an incredible, budget-friendly hostel. Aguila de Osa Rainforest Lodge close to Corcovado NP is an unimaginable, sustainble eco-lodge within the rainforest overlooking the ocean – principally, paradise!
  • Find out how to Get Round: Public transportation is superb in Costa Rica. Buses, shuttles and ferries will get you in every single place it’s good to go! We advocate utilizing Bookaway to order transportation on-line earlier than your journey.
  • High 3 Highlights: Ziplining & hanging bridges by way of the cloud forest cover in Monteverde, snorkelling in Corcovado Nationwide Park, white water rafting in La Fortuna.
  • Earlier than You Go: Learn our 2-week Costa Rica itinerary, our information to things nobody tells you about Costa Rica, and our detailed packing guide.

Psst: Planning a visit to Costa Rica? Try a few of our different posts!


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Want some assist packing? We’ve created a FREE Printable Packing Checklist with all the things it’s good to plan your journey to Costa Rica. We’ll additionally ship our favourite journey ideas straight to your inbox! Simply join under.

Issues No one Tells You …

… In regards to the Meals in Costa Rica

  • “Soda” means one thing completely different than you’d assume.

And no, it has nothing to do with the beverage. In Costa Rica, a Soda is a regionally owned restaurant or cafe serving typical tico meals, normally at very affordable costs.

Head right here to style conventional Costa Rican fare: actually, simply stroll into any soda full of locals having fun with their lunch. It can most likely be scrumptious

Casado means married in Spanish, however you’ll be seeing that phrase in every single place – even in the event you’re not in your honeymoon!

In Costa Rica, a casado refers to a typical plated lunch consisting of rice, beans, plantain, salad, tortilla, and a meat. Supposedly it’s referred to as that as a result of that’s how married males eat at dwelling because of their hardworking wives, to which I say, have to be good.

  • You’ll have gallo pinto each morning for breakfast.

Gallo Pinto, Costa Rica’s most scrumptious and ubiquitous dish, is served just about in every single place. At its core, gallo pinto is rice and beans – however it’s a lot extra than that. It’s like, the perfect rice and beans ever. In my life, all different rice and beans are held to the usual of gallo pinto.

Plus, it has a enjoyable title: gallo pinto means “noticed rooster,” so named as a result of the black beans in opposition to the white rice look kinda like a noticed rooster. Cute, proper?

  • You’ll by no means get sick of consuming gallo pinto.

Every time we go to Costa Rica, I’m completely completely happy consuming gallo pinto for breakfast, lunch and dinner, each single day. Gallo pinto with eggs. Gallo pinto with hen. Gallo pinto with ice cream. (OK – perhaps that final one isn’t precisely conventional, however I used to be hungry.) It by no means will get previous!


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  • You’ll uncover the key of gallo pinto, and you’ll deliver a bottle of it dwelling with you.

The key to a scrumptious gallo pinto isn’t the chopped veggies and black beans blended completely with the rice, it’s the key sauce that provides all of it of its taste: salsa lizano.

What’s salsa lizano? It’s principally a tangy, salty, barely candy condiment – assume Worsterchershire’s means higher cousin. It’s made with sugar, salt, carrots, chili peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower, dry mustard, celery spice, turmeric, and molasses, and it’s the nationwide sauce of Costa Rica and likewise of my coronary heart.

Fortunately, this scrumptious sauce isn’t laborious to search out: it’s acquired a everlasting dwelling in just about each soda, restaurant, grocery retailer, or memento store. Which is sweet information, since you’re going to wish to deliver some dwelling with you (or spend years making an attempt to make it, to be able to make correct gallo pinto, solely to ultimately hand over and order a bottle on-line, which is rather more costly than in the event you would’ve simply picked some up with you and introduced it dwelling within the first place. Will we converse from expertise? Perhaps.)

  • There’s glorious gallo pinto within the San Jose airport, of all locations.

Each time we fly by way of San Jose we cease at Restaurante Malinche. There’s a location proper outdoors of customs when you exit the airport, and one inside after safety. It’s simple to jot down it off as a typical airport cafe, however don’t, as a result of it has actually good gallo pinto.

Conveniently, the post-security location can be the place some shuttle buses decide up vacationers, so that you may get fortunate and have an excuse to take pleasure in gallo pinto when you wait!

… About Visiting Costa Rica

  • Don’t be afraid of visiting throughout Costa Rica’s wet season.

Costa Rica’s wet season usually lasts from Could to November. However it isn’t a monsoon, with continuous heavy showers. It’s only a wetter-than-usual time of the 12 months! Meaning all the things is extremely inexperienced and plush, waterfalls are flowing, and you may count on a rainshower every day throughout your go to (so pack accordingly).

Personally, I like a great rain – and an excuse to spend a couple of hours enjoyable on a hammock and listening to it! Plus, “wet season” tends to scare away vacationers, which suggests decrease costs and fewer crowds – win/win.

  • Plan a visit throughout “Little Summer time” to take pleasure in good climate throughout the low season.

In mid to late July, Costa Rica experiences a climate phenomenon in the midst of their moist season bringing largely dry, sunny climate! It’s often called “Little Summer time,” and it’s the proper time to go to as a result of it’s nonetheless the vacationer low season.

We occurred to plan our final journey in the midst of Little Summer time fully on accident, however we extremely advocate doing it on goal


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  • Don’t throw your bathroom paper in the bathroom.

Like many different international locations in Central and South America, Costa Rica’s plumbing system doesn’t reply properly to rest room paper. So, you’ll must throw your bathroom paper away within the trash can (if there is no such thing as a trash can, and no indicators instructing you to make use of it, you’ll be able to most likely assume it’s secure to throw it in the bathroom.)

Should you’re not used to this, you may at first be somewhat grossed out, however don’t fear: restrooms in most locations are cleaned typically. A well mannered factor to do is to wrap any extra- gross bathroom paper bits (you realize what I imply) in additional bathroom paper, so no person has to see …properly, you realize.

  • It’s by no means a foul thought to deliver alongside some backup TP.

Every so often, you’ll come throughout a toilet with out TP within the stall. It’s normally out entrance, in your means into the stalls. However I’ve actually by no means seen this earlier than I’m reaching for it. So, I’ve gotten within the behavior of conserving somewhat bit of bathroom paper with me always. I preserve a bit folded up and tucked away in a pocket of my passport holder or cash belt, and preserve it stocked up every time I can. 

  • Ziplining was invented in Costa Rica.

Right here’s a enjoyable truth for nerds like us: zip-lining was truly invented as a analysis device to assist scientists examine the tops of forest canopies. I used to be skeptical of the thought of groups of scientists careening at high pace throughout the treetops, frantically making an attempt to report measurements as they move by, however facts are facts.

The inventor of scientific ziplining – who was a younger, enticing man, a truth which I discover solely barely related however nonetheless notable – went on to jot down a fascinating book about his experiences and learnings, and was the first guide for the 1992 film “Drugs Man,” that includes Sean Connery flying by way of the cover on ziplines accumulating plant specimens to remedy most cancers. YASS, scorching adventurous scientists, yass!

  • Costa Rica arguably has the perfect zip lining on this planet.

(And sure, we’re ready to argue about it.)

Lengthy after its origins within the realm of hot-scientist analysis, ziplining was became an adventurous exercise for vacationers. The very first business zipline was within the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica.

… However quickly, there was main drama. The man who “invented” ziplining (however undoubtedly simply ripped it off of Sizzling Scientist) filed a patent for his “creation,” after which proceeded to sue everybody else who dared to function comparable cover excursions in Costa Rica.

And simply in case suing wasn’t sufficient, he additionally marched proper into the forest with a pair of clippers to chop down everybody else’s zipline ties, accompanied by the very lady from the Worldwide Property Rights Registry who had granted his patent. The DRAMA!

In fact, he was preventing a shedding battle – ziplining caught on sooner than he might minimize down wires, and immediately, there are many superior ziplining excursions all through Costa Rica (and the remainder of the world, for that matter).

On our most up-to-date journey, Jeremy flew on a one-mile lengthy Superman tour throughout the cloud forest cover in Monteverde. I don’t know if he managed to gather any specimens to remedy most cancers, however he did have a incredible time.

Sierpe River at Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.
Watch out: this river just isn’t solely full of crocodiles however there’s additionally some sort of mysterious ear virus simply ready to contaminate harmless ear-havers. Should you go within the water, put on ear plugs! Or, you realize, simply keep on the boat.
  • There’s a great likelihood you’ll be taking a ship to get someplace in some unspecified time in the future.

A lot of locations in Costa Rica are solely accessible by boat, so there’s a great likelihood you’ll end up taking a river taxi or shuttle boat in some unspecified time in the future. There’s additionally a great likelihood your boat experience can be accompanied by crocodiles (if in a river) or dolphins (if on the ocean).

Don’t be stunned if there are some difficult waves to navigate or a moist touchdown, both (in reality, count on it). However don’t fear: these huge waves that appear like they’re going to journey over your boat are most likely no massive deal to your skilled boat captain. Pura vida, amirite?

Journey Tip: I like to recommend packing dramamine and a pair of sturdy water-friendly sandals or water shoes.

  • Should you are inclined to get ear infections, perhaps be additional cautious round rivers in Costa Rica.

That is perhaps only a genetic curse, however each my dad and I had been troubled with horrible ear infections after getting Costa Rican river-water in our ears. 

For my dad, it was on my first journey to Costa Rica. I used to be 8 years previous, and all I keep in mind is that we went kayaking and he took it means too severely. I don’t keep in mind he if flipped the kayak or I simply imagined he did, however both means, he ended up with a nasty ear an infection that he claims took years to completely go away.

For me, it occurred on a white-water rafting journey throughout our year-long honeymoon. I didn’t even get within the water, however water acquired on me, and inside 24 hours, I used to be writhing in excruciating ache. It took every week and a few heavy steroids to clear up – I’ve by no means had an ear an infection like that in my life. And I’ve had ear issues my complete life, though they’ve solely gotten worse since then.

These days, I persist with the ocean in Costa Rica. And if I’m going anyplace close to river water, I jam a few swimming earplugs into my ears and hope for the perfect.


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  • The healthcare in Costa Rica is incredible.

One small upside to getting the worst ear an infection of my life throughout my third journey to Costa Rica was that I had the pleasure of being handled by a number of native medical doctors. (I imply, I used to be in horrible ache the whole time, however hey, they had been nice!)

Due to my World Nomads insurance coverage coverage, I used to be linked to a small physician’s workplace in a rural space, in addition to a giant hospital in bustling San Jose, the place I had the unlucky expertise of getting a painful shot in my butt (which sucked, however at the very least it cleared my ear an infection proper up.) 

All the pieces was tremendous quick, environment friendly, and clear, and billing was a snap. And though the entire thing was surprisingly cheap – because of Costa Rica’s Common Healthcare system – I used to be in a position to get my declare processed with World Nomads with no subject (together with the additional 3 nights I needed to spend writhing round in ache earlier than the medical doctors cleared me to fly safely). 

So, lesson realized: don’t go within the water, however in the event you DO occur to share my household’s genetic predisposition to terrible ear infections from Costa Rica, at the very least you realize you’ll be properly taken care of! (Oh, and be sure you decide up a World Nomads insurance policy, too. It was a HUGE assist!)

  • There’s wonderful woodworking in Costa Rica.

Stroll by way of any memento store in Costa Rica, or an out of doors patio at a restaurant, and even only a random farm, and you’ll shortly flip right into a part-time Ron Swanson, drooling over a very juicy slab of live-edge wooden or an intricate chevron sample. You’ll end up admiring the hand-carved animal shows, saying issues like “wow, take a look at that dowel joinery,” and searching sadly at furnishings when you cram as many chopping boards and coasters into your carry-on baggage as you’ll be able to.

… Or perhaps it’s simply because Jeremy picked up woodworking as a pandemic passion and reads Nick Offerman’s woodworking guide as a bedtime story.

However in any case, Costa Rican woodworking is totally stunning and offers you a brand new appreciation for woodcraft. They actually know their means round bushes there – I imply, there are even eating places actually in bushes, like this one.

Simply be sure you depart some room in your suitcase for picket souvenirs!

  • There’s a very completely different tradition between Costa Rica’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts.

It’s troublesome to go to each of Costa Rica’s coasts on one journey – getting in between the 2 isn’t terribly simple. And every coast has its personal number of points of interest for guests, barely completely different climate, and so forth. There are many useful comparability guides to assist guests determine which coast to go to on their journey (like this one). However one factor that’s typically missed or not talked about is the distinction in tradition.

Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is basically outlined by Jamaican descendants, who got here to Costa Rica within the late 1800’s to farm bananas and construct railroads. Over the a long time, Afro–Costa Ricans – which incorporates one of many largest communities of Jamaicans outdoors of Jamaica – have retained their tradition and blended it in with Costa Rican tradition.

The result’s a singular mix of tradition, meals, music, and even language. Visiting the Caribbean aspect of Costa Rica, you’ll possible hear reggae or Calypso music enjoying in cafes and locals talking Mekatelyu/patois or Creole. You’ll style Caribbean Tico meals made with Carribbean flavors like coconut, ginger, curry, allspice, cinnamon, and chili peppers.

… About Speaking in Costa Rica

  • There are a variety of distinctive Costa Rican slang phrases and phrases.

We’re fairly OK at primary Spanish. I like to clarify my private degree of Spanish aptitude as “Taxi Spanish,” that means I can have a fairly respectable dialog with taxi drivers. Jeremy’s Spanish aptitude degree is “Restaurant Spanish,” however he’s making good headway on “Hostel Spanish.”

However that every one flies out the window relating to Tico Spanish. There are such a lot of Spanish slang phrases and phrases which can be fully distinctive to Costa Rica (like “tico” itself, which by the way means Costa Rican). Bomba means fuel station, and birria, which is each a Mexican dish and a Spanglish try and say beer, truly does imply beer.

Need to study some Tico slang? Chiva! Here’s a list. And another one. There’s additionally one at the bottom of this page.

  • Pura Vida is greater than a saying in Costa Rica: it’s a life-style!

Pura Vida, or “pure life/easy life,” represents the Tico life: completely happy, low-stress, worry-free, and full of gratitude. , simply dwelling in paradise with sloths for neighbors, principally.

As anxiety-prone vacationers, we’re not normally the sort to wander round carefree. We’re extra more likely to be present in a state of fixed panic, dripping with sweat and chugging water 20 minutes behind no matter group we’re with.

However Costa Rica has a singular impact on us: it’s as if Pura Vida seeped into us by way of the gallons of lizano we’re consuming at breakfast each morning. Oh my god, is THAT the key ingredient?!


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  • However Pura Vida can be a saying.

Pura Vida is the right response to actually each query in Costa Rica, particularly in the event you don’t converse Spanish. You need to use it for hey, goodbye, thanks, or simply to say you’re having a good time (otherwise you’re having a horrible time however wish to be well mannered). To cite a music a few completely different and completely unrelated phrase, “it means no worries, for the remainder of your days.”

Pura Vida can be applicable in a variety of eventualities. Like, you realize that feeling you get whenever you’re hanging out on the seaside and feelin’ actually good? This can be a good time to exubarantly shout Pura Vida! Or whenever you’re about to dive off a cliff to swing out a mile into the tree cover under? Positively a great time for an exclamation of Pura Vida (even higher in the event you shout and soar on the similar time). Or when a howler monkey flings poop at you? Yep: Pura Vida!

It may well imply something from “no matter, I’m nonetheless having a good time” to “I’m truthfully having a horrible time, however I’m in Costa Rica so all issues thought of, I assume I’m nonetheless doing fairly OK!”

For us, it serves as a reminder to precise gratitude and appreciation for all times’s easy joys and for the straightforward act of dwelling. Pura Vida.

  • You don’t want to talk Spanish in Costa Rica, however it can definitely assist.

There are many locations the place not talking the language will make your travels very troublesome, however in Costa Rica, you’ll be OK even in the event you don’t converse a lot Spanish. Though Spanish talking will certainly make your journey simpler, English is quite common – particularly amongst guides and at accommodations.

Simply be sure you know a couple of phrases, like “please” and “thanks.”

Or, when unsure, simply say pura vida.

… About Conservation & Politics in Costa Rica

  • Costa Rica is a pacesetter in conservation, eco-tourism, and moral wildlife tourism.

As accountable vacationers, it’s extremely necessary to us that the cash we spend as vacationers, and the companies we assist as journey writers, align with our values. (You’ll be able to study extra about what which means, and tips on how to be a extra accountable vacationer, in our ethical tourism guide).

Costa Rica is likely one of the few locations on this planet (together with the Galapagos Islands) the place we all know with confidence that each single tour we guide will observe moral and accountable tourism pointers.

No tour guides will attempt to feed wild animals to make them come nearer. No one in our group can be allowed to get too near an animal simply to take a selfie. No wild animals, even in sanctuaries or Rescue Facilities, can be bred for revenue. And the cash we spend on our tour, and as guests to Costa Rica, will play an element in reforestation and environmental conservation.

Why? As a result of it’s the legislation. A lot of legal guidelines, truly, just like the Biodiversity Law and the Wildlife Conservation Law. A lot of issues are unlawful in Costa Rica which can be merely “pointers” elsewhere, equivalent to touching or disturbing plant and animal life, conserving wild animals as pets,

Costa Rica’s dedication to conservation and the atmosphere isn’t only a advertising hook: they stroll the speak, and so they pull different world leaders alongside, too. They’re aiming for total decarbonization by 2050. They’ve established a fossil fuels tax and a water utilization tax. And immediately, they’re pushing for a worldwide dedication to biodiversity insurance policies. Costa Ricans play a serious function in worldwide environmental politics

  • Costa Rica realized its classes about wildlife conservation the laborious means.

Between the Forties and Nineteen Eighties, lots of Costa Rica’s stunning and biodiverse forests had been destroyed and changed with cattle farms and crops. In simply over 4 a long time, rampant deforestation stripped away almost 80% of Costa Rica’s stunning forests. The nation shortly degraded from lush and inexperienced to a tragic, arid panorama.

And whereas the rise in farming led to financial growth, it was short-lived: within the late 70’s, the value of espresso dropped and the value of oil rose. Instantly, espresso farming as a major supply of revenue for Costa Rica didn’t make sense anymore.

However the story doesn’t finish there: the nation took motion and fully modified course, shortly pivoting away from agriculture. Within the early 90’s, deforestation was made unlawful. The forests grew again with astonishing pace (as a result of nature is wonderful), and Costa Rica invested its efforts into different sources of revenue.

Right this moment, eco-tourism is likely one of the major sources of income for Costa Rica!


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  • Costa Rica doesn’t have a military.

Costa Rica has had a fairly peaceable existence as a rustic. Though they had been colonized by Spain together with the remainder of Central and South America, they had been the poorest of the Spanish colonies, with no gold or minerals for grasping conquistadors to battle over. No one put up a battle after they overthrew Spanish rule and established a democracy

And with little to impress battle, the nation has existed peacefully, preventing no wars in its 180-year historical past.

The military was abolished in 1948 following a brief however violent Civil War, and the nation has had peace ever since. And like, how extremely superior is that?!!

Boat filled with snorkellers at Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica.
12/12 political events agree: there’s like, actually good snorkeling in Costa Rica.
  • Costa Rica has 12 completely different political events, however all of them usually agree relating to environmental conservation.

Since 1948, the nation has had peace. That political stability has allowed long-term visions for the nation to proceed, slightly than change with every new administration.

Which is wild when you think about what number of political events there are in Costa Rica (like, a lot). How do they get something performed? Easy: all of them agree on a couple of necessary issues, like conservation and eco-tourism.

And that, my buddies, is the way you grow to be a worldwide chief in sustainable tourism. Easy, proper?

  • Costa Rica has an exceptional Nationwide Parks system.

We’re large followers of our USA National Parks, however Costa Rica’s National Parks system actually provides us a run for our cash. From the tidy boardwalks at Manuel Antonio to the lowlands of Tortuguero and the rugged shoreline in Corcovado, the nationwide parks in Costa Rica are epic.

Along with the jaw-dropping surroundings, every park is properly organized, with clear bogs, maintained trails, clear maps, and skilled guides to soundly lead guests out and in of the parks (and ensure they respect the native wildlife).

And, to our delight, there may be additionally a transparent emphasis on accessibility: lots of the parks and reserves we visited had wheelchair-accessible paths or supplied excursions by golf cart for differently-abled guests.

… About Wildlife in Costa Rica

  • There’s all the time a sloth close by.

Costa Rica is a magical wonderland full of sloths, and as an enormous sloth fan, I’m by no means not on #slothwatch. As I write this from Monteverde, Costa Rica, there are most likely like, 18 sloths within the forests surrounding me, simply chillin with their little claws consuming leaves and stuff. They’re in every single place

However it’s laborious to identify them! They have an inclination to appear like bundles of leaves, completely blended in with the bushes. Lovely leaf bundles with cute little snouts hanging the wrong way up bein’ the cutest little tree muffins ever! I like sloths a lot, y’all.

If I’m not with a information, wanting in the identical course as a gaggle of individuals with higher eyesight than me, or actively in search of sloth butts in bushes with my journey binoculars, I normally can’t see one except it actually crosses the street in entrance of me or, in a single memorable occasion in Manuel Antonio, does somewhat shimmy transfer on {an electrical} pole instantly throughout from the window of my hostel room. (Sure, I spent the subsequent 5 hours watching it very slowly transfer its means from {the electrical} pole again right into a tree, the place it promptly vanished from sight. It was wonderful.)

  • Most of Costa Rica’s wildlife is nocturnal.

It’s just about not possible to go away Costa Rica with out seeing a TON of wildlife.

It’s not uncommon to see a blue morpho butterfly dancing flitting by a toucan whereas a monkey tries to steal your breakfast since you’re distracted by watching the butterfly and toucan.

As you lay by the pool, you’ll watch macaws fly overhead yelling their majestic very recognizable WHAAAAAAT whereas Jesus Christ lizards scamper over the pool water a coati ambles by your chair. That’s simply a median day in Costa Rica!

So it may be laborious to imagine that 60% of Costa Rica’s wildlife is definitely nocturnal. However it’s true: in the event you’re solely in search of wildlife within the daytime, you’re lacking out!

We extremely advocate taking an evening tour to see the rainforest come alive – they’re supplied at most of Costa Rica’s rainforest locations. You’ll meet so many extra of Costa Rica’s resident tree frogs, lizards, snakes, bugs, and spiders (so. many. spiders).

Then once more, in the event you’d slightly not know what number of spiders are quietly snoozing throughout you ready the solar to go down, perhaps simply persist with daytime wildlife recognizing.

  • There are 4 sorts of monkeys in Costa Rica, and so they’re all completely completely different.

Capucin monkeys, aka white-face mokeys, are brown with a tan/white head and shoulders, identical to a foamy cappuccino (therefore the title). They’re SO freakin’ cute, however they’re additionally wiley, and glorious jumpers.

Years in the past – earlier than strict meals guidelines had been put into place at Manuel Antonio – we watched a monkey soar onto an unsuspecting vacationer, snatch their lunch from a backpack, and escape into the bushes earlier than the man even seen.

Spider monkeys are large, with lengthy limbs and a really lengthy tail (like a spider). They use their lengthy tail like a fifth limb, and so they can transfer by way of the forest canopies sooner than any of the opposite monkeys.

Squirrel monkeys, aka mono titi, are the cutest monkeys on the planet and I like them. They’re teeny tiny, with a black snout and a white face on high of a yellow physique. They’re sadly endangered, however you may be capable of see them on the Osa Peninsula.

On my very first go to to Costa Rica, one climbed on me and sat on my head. I used to be 8 years previous and it was the best second of my complete life (it’d nonetheless be).

Howler monkeys sound like King Kong himself is careening by way of the jungle on a mission to kill. They’re LOUD! However regardless of sounding completely terrifying, they’re all bark and no chew: howler monkeys are tremendous lazy, and are more likely to fling poop at you from the bushes than bodily assault. (That mentioned, if a gaggle of howlers is above you screaming, transfer away shortly, as a result of poo and pee come subsequent.)

  • Should you take a selfie with an animal, you could possibly be breaking the legislation.

Animal selfies have lengthy been a contentious topic for moral wildlife vacationers, as a result of typically an animal selfie is made attainable by feeding or touching an animal or getting too near it. That’s. not OK, and it’s not moral.

However Costa Rica takes issues a step additional: animal selfies will not be allowed in any respect of their nationwide parks. The federal government has even created a #stopanimalselfies campaign filled with moral animal selfie ideas. Use the hashtag to share your (moral) wildlife photographs!


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… In regards to the Flora & Fauna in Costa Rica

And pay attention, I’m not solely saying that as a result of “don’t contact” is a core tenet of moral wildlife tourism.

Right here’s the factor about touching bushes in Costa Rica, even unintentionally: you’re going to remorse it. Between the spiders, lizards, and snakes who make their dwelling within the foliage, and the spines and thorns on the bark, the bushes in Costa Rica battle again. Very similar to Ents. Was Tolkien impressed by Costa Rica??

Though this warning was shared with us by a number of guides, like many issues in life, I needed to study my lesson the laborious means: I touched one of these trees for about 2 seconds whereas mountaineering (not on goal -I tripped and my hand simply flew out, in search of something to seize on it). The tree, which is roofed in inch-long spines, straight up punctured my hand.

I spent the remainder of the hike watching the place I used to be going, nursing my bleeding palm, and wishing I’d introduced trekking poles. Journey Tip: deliver trekking poles!

Aspect Notice: Apart from having insanely sharp loss of life spikes, the pochote tree additionally has one of the crucial pleasant smelling flowers I’ve ever sniffed! Simply … sniff fastidiously.

  • Costa Rica has each cloud forests and rainforests.

Rainforests are humid, tropical forests with a dense cover which obtain a ton of rainfall. Cloud forests are humid, tropical forests with a dense cover which obtain a ton of rainfall. Wait, grasp on – so what’s the distinction??

The distinction between a cloud forest and a rain forest is elevation. Rain forests are situated at a low elevation, like sea degree. This is the reason in all of my seaside footage from Costa Rica, there’s a looming rainforest actually steps away from the ocean. Should you go to Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero, or Corcovado Nationwide Parks, you’re visiting a rain forest.

In the meantime, cloud forests are situated in increased elevations, equivalent to within the mountains. Due to the upper elevation, the temperature is far cooler. Mixed with the humidity, you’ll normally discover cloud forests coated in a dense mist or fog (which made us really feel proper at dwelling coming from the the foggy Bay Space.) Should you’re visiting La Fortuna or Monteverde, you’ll be visiting cloud forests.

Each rainforests and cloud forests are dwelling to myriad critters and interesting eco-systems. However personally, I feel I choose cloud forests. There’s one thing in regards to the nice temperature, the hanging mist, and the large, looming strangler figs (so named as a result of the tree grows round different bushes and slowly starves them to loss of life, leaving a hole middle) that jogs my memory of the redwood forests again at dwelling in California! Besides, like, with monkeys.

  • There are a whole lot of sorts of avocados rising right here. Together with cinnamon!

Was anybody else’s thoughts blown after they discovered that cinnamon comes from the bark of a sort of avocado tree? Simply me?!

Anyway, there are a whole lot of sorts of avocado bushes native to Costa Rica – and the sort that people eat is only one of them. They arrive in all sizes and colours, and so they make a yummy, nutrient-rich meals supply for birds and monkeys!

  • Houseplant lovers: litereally each tropical plant grows right here.

I’m fairly positive Jeremy acquired sick of me shrieking each time I noticed an unlimited monstera or large alocasia, however I couldn’t assist it: Costa Rica makes me wish to flip my embarrassingly massive modest plant assortment right into a full-blown indoor jungle.

Besides I do know my calathea won’t ever be as completely happy in my California lavatory as they’re within the moist, tropical forests of Costa Rica. *cries in plant mother*

  • The key of the magic of Costa Rican forests is epiphytes.

So, right here’s the factor: forests in Costa Rica aren’t identical to, full of bushes. They’re not *simply* dense, tropical forests with a thick cover and shade-loving vegetation overlaying the bottom and offering a house to hundreds of completely happy critters.

As a result of rising on each single tree trunk, department, and limb, are epiphytes.

What are epiphytes, you ask? They’re principally aerial vegetation that develop on different vegetation. Besides in contrast to aggressive vines, they don’t harm the vegetation they develop on in any respect – they develop symbiotically, sharing sources with their host vegetation, probably not needing a lot soil or water, and beautifying completely all the things they develop on.

A couple of examples of epiphytes which can be freakin’ EVERYWHERE in Costa Rica, notably within the cloud forests, are orchids, bromiliads, ferns, mosses, and monsteras.

The older the tree, the extra will probably be coated in epiphytes, and the extra it can appear like a murals.

It’s laborious to explain the fantastic thing about a whole forest full of bushy ferns, flowering bromeliads, drooping moss, and brightly coloured orchids all rising on the trunks and limbs of monumental bushes, in order that the very forest ground appears to be climbing all the best way to the cover.

You merely should go to Costa Rica see it in particular person!


25 Things No One Tells You About Being a Full Time Travel Blogger

Able to pack your baggage and head to Costa Rica? Did you study one thing new about Costa Rica from this publish, or is there one thing you assume must be on this record? Drop us a remark under!

Psst: Planning a visit to Costa Rica? Try a few of our different posts!

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From sloths to gallo pinto to hot ziplining scientists, here's 35 things nobody tells you about visiting Costa Rica.

Our High Journey Ideas & Sources

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  • Reserving Flights: To attain flight offers, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Cash-saving ideas: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on solely on a funds airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
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