For most people, it takes actually traveling to learn how to do it right, but here are some tips that will hopefully give you a leg up the next time you decide to take off to Costa Rica on a whim.
1. Trust people rather than the internet
THIS IS IMPORTANT. Many people travel to hostels on the weekend here. Hostels are wonderful, they’re cheap and give you a place to meet people doing the exact same thing as you. However, there are some sketchy places out there that look good in pictures. If you don’t want to be sharing a moldy shower with 20 other smelly travelers, I’d suggest asking the question to someone who has been there and done that.
2. Pack a towel
I’m telling you, this is the most forgotten about item while packing. Many hostels here don’t provide towels so it’s smart to just go ahead and pack the towel—just in case.
3. Eat local
If you see a restaurant with any English words in the name, then there is a pretty fair chance that you’ll be paying a high price for some average food. Here is the secret: find the sodas. A soda is a cheap Costa Rican restaurant, which usually serves local “sabor tico” food. It’s delicious and affordable for us college students who are ballin’ on a budget. If you’re not trying to take any risks, ask your hotel or hostel staff what their favorite local soda is.
4. Buy the bug repellant cream
Bug cream, mm. This stuff does wonders and lasts forever. You would much rather be safe than sorry. Many places in Costa Rica offer a wide variety of bug bites–buy the cream.
5. Pura Vida
If you forget everything, remember this. You are in a beautiful country among beautiful people. Relax. Don’t get caught up in the details. Things have a way of figuring themselves out, and most of the time for the best. Costa Rica has a way of teaching you what’s actually important and what’s not. Be engaged in the moment and soak it all in.
Want to read more from Caroline? Check out “4 Important Questions to Ask Before Studying Abroad”