5 things just must do when visiting Costa Rica

Hi guys! This summer I visited Costa Rica and I have been getting so many questions about what I really loved doing there! That’s why I decided to do a post with my top 5 activities/ places we visited in Costa Rica.

Tortuguero

Tortuguero was the first stop we made during our trip, and we were impressed immediately. We went kayaking through the National Park and we were super close to capuchin monkeys, a very unique experience! If you’re going to Costa Rica for the wildlife, Tortuguero is a must-visit. When we were in Costa Rica, the season of turtles laying eggs just started and we were lucky enough to see one lay her eggs on the Tortuguero beach. The season starts in July and ends in October. We couldn’t bring our camera, so we wouldn’t scare the turtle, but it was very impressive to see.

Rios Tropicales Lodge

Of all the places we visited, this lodge was the most unique one to stay at. You can only access the lodge by rafting, so you have to be in for an adventure. I’m not that adventurous so that part wasn’t quit my thing but the lodge was truly a small paradise. Having no Wifi or connection, made me feel at peace, not having to think about emails that I still had to answer or how much likes my instagram post were getting that day. Jeroen and I did a hike to a waterfall while passing the hanging bridge and the next day we enjoyed swimming in a natural swimming area. Next to that the guys at the lodge are like one family. They arrange everything from being your guides during the rafting to cooking for you three times a day, which made this lodge very authentic. If you want to disconnect and enjoy nature the fullest, this is the place to be!

Guided animal tours

One of the things Costa Rica is most known for is the raw wildlife. If you go here, you must definitely do at least one guided tour to see some animals. I must admit I did skip the night tour to watch insects, snakes and tarantulas, I bet you won’t blame me ;-). One of my favorite tours was actually a night tour to spot frogs. Maybe because it was the first time during our trip that I was the first one of our group to spot some animals. I recommend doing a guided tour because you see so much more than when you try to see these animals on your own! During our trip in Costa Rica we’ve seen all four monkeys that live in Costa rica, a tapir, snakes, agoutis, coatis, macaws, whales and my favorite: sloths.

Waterfalls

Costa Rica is known for their stunning waterfalls and I must say they are really impressive. We’ve seen some during our rafting at the Pacuare River, in Arenal and in Rincon De La Viรจja National park. I would recommend going on a day when it’s not raining, otherwise the waterfalls turn brown instead of blue. My favorite one was at the Rincon De La Viรจja National park. We had to hike around 6km (12km in total) but it was so worth it and I think the hike is an amazing activity on itself. In this National Park, you also have hot springs, but they are located at a different entrance than the waterfall, unless you want to walk another 6km to the hot springs ;-). I recommend going in the morning, because the park closes at 15, so you need to be back by then.

hintergrund blumen//hintergrund blumen fotografie//hintergrund blumen echteManuel Antonio

For me Manuel Antonio was my favorite part of our vacation because it had both National Park and a beach. This area is a lot more touristic than the other places we visited and more crowded. I loved this National Park because we’ve seen a lot of animals such as sloths, monkeys,… without having to go deep in the jungle with the risk of being bitten by all kinds of insects. Yes I admit, as am not that adventurous. My advice here is to go to the National Park and bring your swimwear since the National Park has a private beach which is a lot more peaceful than the public beach.

In general I also want to give some tips that are good to know if you are planning a visit to Costa Rica.
* We went during rain season and boy we did see a lot of rain. Like a lot. The advantage of going during rain season is that you will spot a lot more animals. Just make sure you are prepared, bring a poncho, rain coat and umbrella.
* Because it’s so humid, we had a lot of places where our clothes and shoes (that were wet from the rain) didn’t dry. Be sure to bring some shoes that dry quick because putting on wet shoes really isn’t a nice feeling.
* Waterproof bags can be convenient to take with you and put your electric devices in if you do transports on a boat or activities on the water.
* Bring spray against mosquitos, and a lot of it. I sprayed myself a few times a day and I must be honest in three weeks I only had three bites. I was quite stressed about this before I left but trust me, just spray enough and you don’t have to worry about it.
* In Costa Rica the currency is Costa Rican Colones, but you can pay everywhere in dollars.
* National Parks are closed on Mondays.
* You need an American adapter to make sure your devices work. Due to the difference in voltage, I could not use my curling wand, hair dryer, laptop and steamer, so don’t bother bringing those.

Hope this helped you a bit if you are planning a trip to Costa Rica. You can also watch my vlogs, they have a lot more info!

Nathalie