There’s no denying that smartphone applications have revolutionized travel to Costa Rica. Gone are the days when you had to navigate your way through this wonderful country with a paper map and just a smattering of Spanish. Nowadays, the best local info – and the means to communicate with friendly Ticos – is all right at your fingertips.
Download these apps before you leave home and, once in Costa Rica, buy a local sim-card loaded with data. With easy access to internet – at immensely reduced prices – the best apps for easy traveling in Costa Rica will see you touring like a pro.
Apps for Easy Traveling:
The brainchild of the Costa Rica Tourism Board, this app does a fine job of showing off the most impressive attractions, by means of high-res videos and photos. You can check out that waterfall you’re thinking of hiking to, or the beach you may catch a bus to, and see exactly what they look like. The only downside to this fantastic app, which is a great way of narrowing your wish-list before you even arrive, is that (so far) it’s only available for IPad download.
This is a local app that will likely become your go-to guide every day of your vacation, as it lists all major attractions and activities aimed specifically at tourists. From the best restaurants to the closest hotels, bus stops and points of interest, there’s a host of useful info and special treats to discover at each stage of your Costa Rica vacation.
Google maps is a fantastic GPS tool to get around town but there are certain countries, like Costa Rica, where it doesn’t quite cut it. Maps.Me, on the other hand, is extremely detailed and shows roads and trails that Google doesn’t even know exist. Moreover, you can use the app offline while traveling, without the need for an internet connection. Just download all the maps before you leave home and you’re set to go. There’s an impressive amount of details on Maps.Me, and options include choice of transport mode (on foot, by bicycle or car), and fastest route possible between two points. Since Maps.Me uses the built-in GPS on your smartphone, it means you can use it while the phone is on airplane mode, thus saving you battery time. Moreover, although other apps mentioned in this article are based on ‘maps’ they include a wealth of icons which kind of get in the way if the only thing you wish to see is that map itself.
The handy app lets you keep an eye on your expenses and updated on the exchange rate at time of purchase.
This is particularly handy if you’re planning on using your credit card for payments, or your key card at local ATMs.
If you’re not using WhatsApp already, let us assure you that you certainly will by the time you come back home. WhatsApp is very popular in Costa Rica and invariably used by everyone for both business and social communication. To stay in touch with new friends or book just about anything, this texting app is essential, and will cut the need for phone calls in Spanish.
More thorough than Google Translate, SpanishDict will be your savior when traveling through Costa Rica and making new local friends, although it doesn’t include all the idioms and special regional sayings for which the country is so renowned. But at least it’s a good start!
Heading to Costa Rica to catch some waves? Then download MagicSeaweed before you leave and you’ll have all the latest surfing conditions, swells and forecasts, right at your fingertips. With more than 300 beaches covered all over the world, this handy app will be your ideal surfing companion in Costa Rica.
If you’re planning on touring Costa Rica by bus – or actually, catching any bus in the country – then YoViajo is the app for you. Although the app is in Spanish, it is very user friendly and it’s easy to work out the over 800 bus routes included, countrywide, as well as their times and costs.
If you’re a frequent overseas traveler then you will no doubt be already a fan of TripAdvisor and consider it one of the best apps for Traveling in Costa Roca. This is about the most useful tool for checking personal reviews on restaurants, hotels and attractions, anywhere in the world. Down this neck of the woods, Yelp hasn’t really taken off, so TripAdvisor is your best bet for finding the most current feedback on top things to see, do buy and eat in Costa Rica.
Want to indulge in some gastronomic delights whilst in Costa Rica? Then this is the app for you. Showcasing menus and reviews of popular restaurants in your area, VivaelMenu is a great way of seeking out the hottest and best eateries in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, being a local startup, the app is only offered in Spanish for now, but if you master a few key words you’ll find this app very user friendly. You can also check out their FB page which has a host of fantastic recommendations for restaurants all over the country.
A note on UBER
UBER is in a bit of a conundrum in Costa Rica. As of right now, the service acts outside the country’s laws and there have been reports of attacks on UBER driver by vigilante taxi drivers. No tourists have ever been targeted, by the way. The best advice here is to keep well away from UBER, even though you’ll find the app operational in the capital, San Jose. It is a good idea to check UBER prices, however, because they’ll give you an idea of how much you should negotiating with local taxi drivers.
When traveling in Costa Rica, nothing will replace the knowledge of a local guide, but with these useful apps you’ll at least have a wealth of information close at hand. So check out the amazing active Costa Rica vacation packages we offer and, combined with your nifty new apps, you’ll experience this country at its fullest potential.