Costa Rica Travel 101: What You Need to Know Before Your Trip

Heading to Costa Rica? Get ready to immerse yourself in a world of breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and unparalleled biodiversity. This guide will equip you with essential insights to ensure your adventure is nothing short of extraordinary. From lush rainforests to stunning beaches, your Costa Rican journey begins here.

The Climate

Costa Rica enjoys a tropical climate year-round, divided mainly between the wet and dry seasons. The dry season, from December to April, is considered the best time for tourism, offering sunny days and clear skies, which are particularly appealing for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts. Contrastingly, the wet season, from May to November, brings heavier rainfall, especially in the afternoons, transforming the landscape into a vivid display of greenery. Despite the rain, mornings are often clear, and temperatures remain warm, making it an excellent time for wildlife observation and visiting rainforests. 

Due to its diverse geography, climate variations are significant across different regions. The coastal areas are warmer, while the central highlands, including San José, enjoy a mild, spring-like climate throughout the year. Make sure to look into Costa Rica monthly weather concerns and forecasts for your specific destination and pack accordingly. This climatic diversity allows travelers to experience a wide range of activities depending on the region and season of their visit.

Ecological Diversity

Just like many other places in the world, especially tropical areas, Costa Rica is know for its wide array of flora and fauna. Here are some plants and animals you should know about if you’re traveling soon: 


  • Bromeliads
  • Orchids
  • Heliconias
  • Giant bamboo


  • Sloths
  • Scarlet macaws
  • Resplendent quetzal
  • Howler monkeys

Understanding Costa Rica’s ecological diversity is crucial as it informs travelers of the unique wildlife and vegetation they’ll encounter, enabling better planning for tours and activities, and fostering a deeper appreciation and respect for the country’s natural habitats.

Health and Safety Precautions

Staying healthy and safe on any vacation is crucial. Concerning Costa Rica, Vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid are recommended due to the potential exposure through food or water. Considering the tropical climate, protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika and dengue by using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants, especially near water bodies and in the jungle.

Safety-wise, Costa Rica is generally safe for travelers, but it’s wise to stay vigilant. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and keep valuables secure. Road conditions can be challenging; consider using local transportation options for long distances to enhance your travel experience safely.


Cultural Etiquette

Understanding and respecting local customs is vital for a harmonious visit to Costa Rica. Ticos, as Costa Ricans refer to themselves, are renowned for their warm and welcoming nature, epitomized by the phrase “Pura Vida” (Pure Life). This expression reflects an attitude towards life that values relaxation and optimism, making it central to interactions. 

When meeting someone, a gentle handshake or a nod with a smile is common. It’s also important to dress modestly, especially in rural areas and when visiting religious sites. Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory – however, a 10% service charge is often added in restaurants. Be punctual for formal engagements but expect a more relaxed approach to time in social settings.

In conclusion, your adventure in Costa Rica promises to be a blend of thrilling experiences and serene moments, courtesy of its rich culture and natural beauty. Remember, respecting the environment and local customs is key to making your trip not only memorable but also harmonious. Pura Vida awaits!

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it.

While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.”

Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book.

In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel.

Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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