Saturday , September 18 2021

35 Issues No one Tells You About Visiting Costa Rica

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Vibrant macaws. Aromatic orchids. Lovable monkeys – wait, did that monkey simply steal my meals?? Costa Rica is a tropical, eco-friendly paradise, crammed with 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 tough place to depart.

Which is why I’ve been again 4 instances! My first two journeys to Costa Rica have been with my household. I used to be 8, and Costa Rica was essentially the most magical place I may think about. I bear in mind galloping on horseback alongside the seashore, kayaking by 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 crammed with wildlife and journey, which cemented a lot of what would later grow to be my most well-liked journey fashion. (Main props to my mother and father for choosing such a bada** trip spot.)

To today, once I shut my eyes at night time and take a look at 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 crammed my whole 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 twenty 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 yr to have a good time our five-year anniversary.

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

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

Psst: Planning a visit to Costa Rica? Take a look at a few of our different posts!


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Issues No one Tells You …

… Concerning the Meals in Costa Rica

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

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

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

Casado means married in Spanish, however you’ll be seeing that phrase in all places – 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 known as that as a result of that’s how married males eat at dwelling because of their hardworking wives, to which I say, should be good.

  • You should have gallo pinto each morning for breakfast.

Gallo Pinto, Costa Rica’s most scrumptious and ubiquitous dish, is served just about in all places. At its core, gallo pinto is rice and beans – nevertheless it’s a lot extra than that. It’s like, the most effective 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 identify: 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 satisfied consuming gallo pinto for breakfast, lunch and dinner, each single day. Gallo pinto with eggs. Gallo pinto with rooster. Gallo pinto with ice cream. (OK – possibly that final one isn’t precisely conventional, however I used to be hungry.) It by no means will get outdated!


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  • You’ll uncover the key of gallo pinto, and you’ll convey 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 offers all of it of its taste: salsa lizano.

What’s salsa lizano? It’s mainly a tangy, salty, barely candy condiment – suppose Worsterchershire’s approach 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 in addition of my coronary heart.

Fortunately, this scrumptious sauce isn’t exhausting to seek out: it’s bought a everlasting dwelling in just about each soda, restaurant, grocery retailer, or memento store. Which is sweet information, since you’re going to want to convey some dwelling with you (or spend years making an attempt to make it, so to make correct gallo pinto, solely to finally quit 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 communicate from expertise? Perhaps.)

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

Each time we fly by 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 put in writing 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 choose up vacationers, so that you would possibly get fortunate and have an excuse to get pleasure from gallo pinto whilst you wait!

… About Visiting Costa Rica

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

Costa Rica’s wet season typically lasts from Could to November. But it surely isn’t a monsoon, with continuous heavy showers. It’s only a wetter-than-usual time of the yr! Which means every thing is extremely inexperienced and plush, waterfalls are flowing, and you’ll count on a rainshower every day throughout your go to (so pack accordingly).

Personally, I like a very good 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 implies decrease costs and fewer crowds – win/win.

  • Plan a visit throughout “Little Summer season” to get pleasure from good climate in the course of the low season.

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

We occurred to plan our final journey in the course of Little Summer season fully on accident, however we extremely suggest doing it on function


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

Like many different nations in Central and South America, Costa Rica’s plumbing system doesn’t reply effectively to bathroom paper. So, you’ll have to 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 possibly can most likely assume it’s secure to throw it in the bathroom.)

Should you’re not used to this, you would possibly at first be slightly 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 recognize what I imply) in additional bathroom paper, so no one has to see …effectively, you recognize.

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

Once in a while, you’ll come throughout a toilet with out TP within the stall. It’s often out entrance, in your approach into the stalls. However I’ve actually by no means observed this earlier than I’m reaching for it. So, I’ve gotten within the behavior of preserving slightly 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 software to assist scientists research the tops of forest canopies. I used to be skeptical of the thought of groups of scientists careening at high velocity throughout the treetops, frantically making an attempt to file measurements as they go 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 put in writing a fascinating book about his experiences and learnings, and was the first guide for the 1992 film “Medication Man,” that includes Sean Connery flying by the cover on ziplines accumulating plant specimens to remedy most cancers. YASS, sizzling adventurous scientists, yass!

  • Costa Rica arguably has the most effective zip lining on the earth.

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

Lengthy after its origins within the realm of hot-scientist analysis, ziplining was changed into an adventurous exercise for vacationers. The very first industrial 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 related 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 combating a dropping battle – ziplining caught on quicker than he may reduce 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 is just not solely crammed with crocodiles however there’s additionally some form of mysterious ear virus simply ready to contaminate harmless ear-havers. Should you go within the water, put on ear plugs! Or, you recognize, simply keep on the boat.
  • There’s a very good probability you’ll be taking a ship to get someplace in some unspecified time in the future.

Plenty of locations in Costa Rica are solely accessible by boat, so there’s a very good probability you’ll end up taking a river taxi or shuttle boat in some unspecified time in the future. There’s additionally a very good probability your boat trip 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 actual fact, count on it). However don’t fear: these large waves that seem like they’re going to journey over your boat are most likely no large 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 likely to get ear infections, possibly be additional cautious round rivers in Costa Rica.

That is possibly only a genetic curse, however each my dad and I have been bothered 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 outdated, and all I bear in mind is that we went kayaking and he took it approach too severely. I don’t bear in mind he if flipped the kayak or I simply imagined he did, however both approach, 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 bought on me, and inside 24 hours, I used to be writhing in excruciating ache. It took per 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 entire life, though they’ve solely gotten worse since then.

These days, I follow the ocean in Costa Rica. And if I’m going wherever close to river water, I jam a few swimming earplugs into my ears and hope for the most effective.


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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 docs. (I imply, I used to be in horrible ache all the time, however hey, they have been nice!)

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

The whole lot 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 capable of get my declare processed with World Nomads with no difficulty (together with the additional 3 nights I needed to spend writhing round in ache earlier than the docs 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, a minimum of you recognize you’ll be effectively taken care of! (Oh, and ensure you choose up a World Nomads insurance policy, too. It was a HUGE assist!)

  • There’s wonderful woodworking in Costa Rica.

Stroll by 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 whilst you cram as many reducing boards and coasters into your carry-on baggage as you possibly can.

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

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

Simply make 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 tough 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 many years, 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 novel mix of tradition, meals, music, and even language. Visiting the Caribbean aspect of Costa Rica, you’ll possible hear reggae or Calypso music taking part in 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 whole lot of distinctive Costa Rican slang phrases and phrases.

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

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

Wish to be taught 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 way of life!

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

As anxiety-prone vacationers, we’re not often the kind 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 novel impact on us: it’s as if Pura Vida seeped into us by 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 communicate Spanish. You should utilize it for hi there, 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 couple of completely different and fully unrelated phrase, “it means no worries, for the remainder of your days.”

Pura Vida can be applicable in a variety of eventualities. Like, you recognize that feeling you get if you’re hanging out on the seashore and feelin’ actually good? It is a good time to exubarantly shout Pura Vida! Or if you’re about to dive off a cliff to swing out a mile into the tree cover beneath? Undoubtedly a very good time for an exclamation of Pura Vida (even higher in the event you shout and bounce on the identical time). Or when a howler monkey flings poop at you? Yep: Pura Vida!

It might probably imply something from “no matter, I’m nonetheless having a good time” to “I’m actually having a horrible time, however I’m in Costa Rica so all issues thought-about, I suppose 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’s going to definitely assist.

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

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

Or, when doubtful, simply say pura vida.

… About Conservation & Politics in Costa Rica

  • Costa Rica is a frontrunner 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 help as journey writers, align with our values. (You’ll be able to be taught extra about what meaning, and the best way to be a extra accountable vacationer, in our ethical tourism guide).

Costa Rica is among the few locations on the earth (together with the Galapagos Islands) the place we all know with confidence that each single tour we guide will comply with moral and accountable tourism tips.

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 a component in reforestation and environmental conservation.

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

Costa Rica’s dedication to conservation and the atmosphere isn’t only a advertising hook: they stroll the discuss, 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 world dedication to biodiversity insurance policies. Costa Ricans play a significant function in worldwide environmental politics

  • Costa Rica realized its classes about wildlife conservation the exhausting approach.

Between the Forties and Eighties, a lot of Costa Rica’s lovely and biodiverse forests have been destroyed and changed with cattle farms and crops. In simply over 4 many years, rampant deforestation stripped away practically 80% of Costa Rica’s lovely 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 velocity (as a result of nature is wonderful), and Costa Rica invested its efforts into different sources of revenue.

As we speak, eco-tourism is among the major sources of income for Costa Rica!


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  • Costa Rica doesn’t have a military.

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

And with little to impress battle, the nation has existed peacefully, combating 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 typically agree in terms of environmental conservation.

Since 1948, the nation has had peace. That political stability has allowed long-term visions for the nation to proceed, somewhat 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 achieved? Easy: all of them agree on a couple of necessary issues, like conservation and eco-tourism.

And that, my associates, is the way you grow to be a world 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 offers 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 effectively organized, with clear bogs, maintained trails, clear maps, and knowledgeable guides to securely 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 at all times a sloth close by.

Costa Rica is a magical wonderland crammed with 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 all places

But it surely’s exhausting to identify them! They have a tendency to seem like bundles of leaves, completely blended in with the bushes. Lovable leaf bundles with cute little snouts hanging the other 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 route as a bunch of individuals with higher eyesight than me, or actively on the lookout for sloth butts in bushes with my journey binoculars, I often can’t see one except it actually crosses the street in entrance of me or, in a single memorable occasion in Manuel Antonio, does slightly 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 approach 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 unattainable to depart 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 exhausting to imagine that 60% of Costa Rica’s wildlife is definitely nocturnal. But it surely’s true: in the event you’re solely on the lookout for wildlife within the daytime, you’re lacking out!

We extremely suggest 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 somewhat not know what number of spiders are quietly snoozing throughout you ready the solar to go down, possibly simply follow 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 identify). They’re SO freakin’ cute, however they’re additionally wiley, and wonderful jumpers.

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

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 the forest canopies quicker 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 would possibly 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 outdated and it was the best second of my whole life (it’d nonetheless be).

Howler monkeys sound like King Kong himself is careening by the jungle on a mission to kill. They’re LOUD! However regardless of sounding completely terrifying, they’re all bark and no chunk: howler monkeys are tremendous lazy, and are more likely to fling poop at you from the bushes than bodily assault. (That mentioned, if a bunch 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 would 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 potential 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 are usually not allowed in any respect of their nationwide parks. The federal government has even created a #stopanimalselfies campaign filled with moral animal selfie suggestions. Use the hashtag to share your (moral) wildlife pictures!

… Concerning 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 by accident: 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 struggle 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 be taught my lesson the exhausting approach: I touched one of these trees for about 2 seconds whereas mountaineering (not on function -I tripped and my hand simply flew out, searching for 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: convey trekking poles!

Facet Observe: Apart from having insanely sharp dying spikes, the pochote tree additionally has one of the pleasant smelling flowers I’ve ever sniffed! Simply … sniff rigorously.

  • 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, dangle 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 stage. For this reason in all of my seashore photos 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 way cooler. Mixed with the humidity, you’ll often discover cloud forests lined 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 engaging eco-systems. However personally, I believe I favor cloud forests. There’s one thing in regards to the nice temperature, the hanging mist, and the enormous, looming strangler figs (so named as a result of the tree grows round different bushes and slowly starves them to dying, 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 bunch of sorts of avocados rising right here. Together with cinnamon!

Was anybody else’s thoughts blown once they came upon that cinnamon comes from the bark of a kind of avocado tree? Simply me?!

Anyway, there are a whole bunch 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 bought 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 giant modest plant assortment right into a full-blown indoor jungle.

Besides I do know my calathea won’t ever be as completely satisfied 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, crammed with bushes. They’re not *simply* dense, tropical forests with a thick cover and shade-loving vegetation protecting the bottom and offering a house to hundreds of completely satisfied critters.

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

What are epiphytes, you ask? They’re mainly aerial vegetation that develop on different vegetation. Besides in contrast to aggressive vines, they don’t damage 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 every thing they develop on.

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

The older the tree, the extra it is going to be lined in epiphytes, and the extra it’s going to seem like a murals.

It’s exhausting to explain the fantastic thing about a whole forest crammed with 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 way in which to the cover.

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


25 Things Nobody Tells You About Traveling While Fat

Able to pack your luggage and head to Costa Rica? Did you be taught one thing new about Costa Rica from this publish, or is there one thing you suppose needs to be on this listing? Drop us a remark beneath!

Psst: Planning a visit to Costa Rica? Take a look at 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 Prime Journey Suggestions & Sources

Listed below are our favourite journey suggestions & sources for saving cash and planning journey logistics! For extra suggestions, take a look at our complete guide to trip planning.

  • Reserving Flights: To attain flight offers, search on Skyscanner or Kayak. Cash-saving suggestions: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on solely on a price range airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
  • Lodging: We often keep in budget-friendly, trip leases, boutique motels or non-public rooms in hostels. We use to guide motels (we love their versatile cancellation coverage) and Hostelworld to guide hostels (low deposit, simple change/cancellation, and wonderful evaluations). For trip leases, we favor to guide utilizing VRBO (they have decrease charges and higher help than Airbnb, and we’re not followers of Airbnb’s unethical observe file.) You may as well guide trip leases on Expedia and We have additionally used TrustedHousesitters as each hosts (for our dwelling and our fur-child) and vacationers!
  • Journey Insurance coverage: We at all times, at all times, ALWAYS purchase journey insurance coverage for worldwide journeys, and we STRONGLY recommend it – go to our Travel Insurance Guide to seek out out why. We suggest both World Nomads or SafetyWing for worldwide journey insurance coverage. SafetyWing is among the few insurance policies that covers Covid-19, and so they have wonderful month-to-month insurance policies which might be good for Digital Nomads and long run vacationers!
  • Vaccines & Meds: We use the journey guides on the CDC website to analysis beneficial medicines and vaccines for worldwide journeys. We at all times suggest getting each vaccine beneficial by the CDC! You will get them at your major care physician’s workplace or a walk-in pharmacy.
  • Excursions: We love reserving guided excursions, particularly meals excursions and strolling excursions, to get a neighborhood’s perspective and a historical past lesson whereas sight-seeing! We guide our excursions utilizing Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to determine the best way to get from place to position utilizing public transit. After we guide a rental automobile, we use Kayak to check rental corporations and discover the most effective deal.
  • Baggage Storage: Every time we’re trying out early or profiting from an extended layover, we use Stasher or LuggageHero to securely retailer our baggage whereas we’re working round. On Stasher, you should use the code PW10 for 10% off your reserving!
  • What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we convey on each journey. We even have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and lots of extra. Check out all of our packing guides!

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