There is no one word or even one phrase that could fully describe Costa Rica. We were there for nearly three weeks and we visited 7 different areas. Just from those 7 areas I could suggest a different style of vacation for anyone, okay maybe not the backpackers because that’s a little too rustic for our crew, but we saw so many different lifestyles throughout the country. Let’s start with the highlights…Costa Rica is beautiful. Before we even booked our trip I spent hours on hours reading about where we should go and what we should see…well, we didn’t see half of the stuff we had planned on seeing, it’s just so different once you’re there from what you can read online. Many people scoffed at the beaches because they were expecting the white sandy beaches you find in the window at every travel agency. It’s a country full of volcanoes, the sand is dark, but why that skews the beauty of it I’m not sure, the sand was soft and the sun was warm…okay HOT, ridiculously HOT, and the water is actually warm. I have never been to a place where the ocean is actually warm. The air in most tropical places is generally warm so you want to dive into that ocean for a nice refreshing cool down, but seriously this water is warmer than the air. When you leave the water even a slight breeze cools you down from that warm water. It is still refreshing and we swam every single day, it really was incredible.
Our boys are 9 and 7 and they would’ve swam in the ocean even if it was cold..I mean we’re from Canada, even in the summer the ocean is cold! The best part for my boys were the waves. My husband is a surfer…okay a bit of a retired surfer these days…but he has been wanting to get our boys on a surf board since they could walk. Unfortunately we don’t live close enough to a surf zone. We went to Maui just over a year ago and the boys got out on a boogie board but there were a number of spots where the waves were to too rough even for playing in. Costa Rica is the opposite, every single beach was swim-able for kids, and not only swim-able, every level of child could boogie board or attempt to surf on those waves. I think the difference between the two places was the power in the waves. Costa Rica’s waves are powerful enough to give you a good push so you can ride them with a board, but they’re easier enough to dive through as well, they don’t pick you up and smash you into the sand!
Another thing I read a lot about before we left was safety, I know it’s a third-world country, and I’m sure there are places where you should be concerned about your safety, but everywhere we travelled we felt very safe. The people we met were so kind and welcoming. We met many many people from both Canada and the US that live down there part time, or they travel there time and time again because it really is such a welcoming country. The Ticos (locals) were all so helpful everywhere we went…although it is important to be able to speak some Spanish, there were many instances that if my husband didn’t speak Spanish I don’t think I could’ve managed so definitely brush up on your Spanish before you go.
In this Costa Rica series I’ll share with you the pros and cons of each of the areas were visited and maybe highlight a few other tips for those of you who are planning to go, kind of a “wish I knew before I left” list. But if you’re on the fence about travelling to Costa Rica, hop down and go, it was amazing and I can’t wait to go back and explore the many other areas that we didn’t get to see, it’s a big country with so many places to see.
Check out the rest of our trip:
And a list of things to know before you go here.