You know the old adage, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” If you’re traveling in Costa Rica, why not embrace a few local customs and do as the Ticos do… Try the simple but surprisingly delicious cuisine, practice a few words of Spanish and don’t be afraid to let loose and celebrate the Pura Vida that makes this country so unique!
On your Costa Rica vacation, be sure to:
- Eat like a local – there’s no better access to local culture than through its food! Wherever your travels take you, be sure to try a plate of the the day at your local “soda,” which offers mouthwatering specials like black bean soup, chicken with rice and fresh ceviche. The eats are tasty and you’ll be supporting family-run establishments in the process!
- Experience the farmer’s market – Interactions with delightful people, fresh organic produce and plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanish are all at the feria, or farmer’s market. Every town in Costa Rica holds a weekly feria (usually on Fridays or Saturdays). Bring colones (not dollars) and embrace the chance to try exotic fruits and veggies.
- Drink the tap water – Unless you’re told otherwise, it’s perfectly safe to drink the water in Costa Rica, where the H20 is potable and treated. For those with sensitive stomachs, you may want to err on the side of caution with bottled water, but most tourists and resident expats praise the quality of Costa Rican tap water.
- Practice your Spanish – While you can certainly get by in tourist towns on English alone, practicing your Spanish can be so rewarding on many levels. You’d be amazed at how quickly a few words or “dichos” (Costa Rican sayings) can open doors, and pave the way for new-found friendships.
Be prepared for the rains– The green season is aptly named in Costa Rica, where afternoon showers transform the countryside into a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors. May through October marks the rainy season, when it’s best to bring a poncho or rain jacket. Umbrellas can be useful in the city, but packable ponchos rule for outdoor adventures.
- Bring home the best souvenirs: Your friends and family will be thrilled when you return with bags of freshly roasted Costa Rican coffee, grown in rich volcanic soil. Stop by any local supermarket where you can purchase whole bean or ground varieties for less than $10 a bag. In a pinch, you can always pick some up at the airport before your departure.
- Kick back and relax: There’s nothing wrong with taking a few days to do absolutely nothing but dig your toes into the sand, read a book, or simply enjoy the views around you. Costa Rica is renowned for its pura vida: a laid-back attitude that appreciates life’s simpler pleasures. Your Costa Rica vacation should include plenty of time for adventure and relaxation!