Tag Archives: Travel

You Seasonal Travel Guide to Costa Rica

Boasting more than 20 micro climates and an eclectic array of landscapes, Costa Rica is very much a year-round destination. Having said that, there are some instances when a particular month is more enticing for a particular activity so the best time to visit will highly depend on whatever fun adventures you wish to have in Pura-Vida-land. The western and eastern halves of the country, moreover, tend to boast opposing ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons so when it’s pouring down on one side, you’ll likely enjoy dry days in the other.

We’ve divided our Seasonal Travel Guide to Costa Rica into the most coveted activities and destinations, to make it easier for you to ascertain when you should be planning your own adventure vacation.

Best Climate (Less Rain)

Dry season on Costa Rica’s most visited side (the western Pacific coast side) falls between December and April and, given the first two months coincide with the Christmas holiday period, and the last with the busy Easter holiday, it also makes it the busiest and most expensive time of year to travel. Dry days are quite blissful here because, given the sheer wild nature of the country, rain can seriously disrupt extensive road travel. Busy season means you must book your trip, your activities and accommodation way ahead of time if you hope to nab your favorite preferences: you can always ‘swing’ a trip to Costa Rica at the last minute, as long as you’re happy to simply accept the choices available during high season.

The good news however, if you’re not a fan of big crowds and higher prices, is that there’s always a corner of the country that’s just perfect at whatever time you wish to visit and that, even in rain season, you can have a magical trip, mostly if you choose to explore only two areas thus reducing your need to cover long distances.

Wildlife Watching

Animal spotting is generally much better during rain season and this is especially true if you’re dreaming of marine life watching. The Ostional beaches in the Nicoya Peninsula welcome mass arribadas of nesting turtles in September and October whilst on the Caribbean side, you can catch them nesting at Tortuguero National Park from as early as May. For exceptional whale watching boat trips, you’ll want to head to the Marino Ballena Marine Park in August and September, when migrating humpbacks (and more) sail by for a few months on their way south.

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Luscious Landscapes

There’s no denying that rains have a refreshing and nurturing effect on the wilderness of Costa Rica and although the effects of the rains do remain for a couple of months after rain season ends, they don’t extend much beyond that. February may be a perfect month to soak up the sun on pristine sandy beaches but for resplendent foliage in rainforests and all national parks, rainy season tours just can’t be beaten.

Particularly beautiful is the month immediately following the first rains, when wildflowers bloom, wildlife is out in force and it seems every single bird in the country is singing its little heart out in absolute delight.

Best Value For Money

The rainy season also wins this round, offering amazing value for your adventure money. Fewer crowds and lower prices mean you can stay longer or upgrade your usual ‘luxury level’ so you can splurge on luxury lodges for just a portion of their usual, high-season prices. Visitors also love the fact that rainy season offers options for last-minute trips and even last-minute changes to the itinerary, once there. Plus, when you fly outside of the Christmas, Easter and Summer holiday vacation times, you can save a neat bundle on airfares too. Just keep an eye out for July and August travel: it may still be rainy season here but this is prime vacation period for North Americans and Europeans, so expect a slight surge in crowds and prices during these two particular months.

Zip-Lining

Zip-lining is one of the many activities in Costa Rica that can be enjoyed all year long: if you happen to be visiting during the quieter rainy season, however, you might just want to ensure you’re up and flying early in the morning. Tropical downpours usually occur in the early afternoon, so your mornings will likely be just fine. Moreover, there are zip-lining tours on offer in just about every corner of the country

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Surfing & Beach Combing

To be honest, we love beach combing in Costa Rica at any time of year but it’s true that if you only have a week to spend down here, you’ll want the highest chances of perfectly clear skies and good underwater visibility for water sports. Head here from mid-November to April to ensure perfectly clear skies and pristine beach conditions – just the ideal antidote to freezing northern-hemisphere winter blues. Do note that this is very much a tropical country: dry season means there’s usually little chance of rain but you’ll always run the chance of a refreshing downpour, occasionally. Trust us, you’ll love it!

Many people recommend visiting during the rainy season because, although you’ll possibly have fewer hours of pristine beach conditions, you’ll find beaches uncrowded and peacefully quiet. Whilst that’ll all well and true, Costa Rica is actually home to so many beaches off the beaten path, that finding a quiet nook is really not all that difficult. Yes, even in dry season.

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Hiking

Oh, now here’s a lovely conundrum: hiking, in general, is best done when trails are dry (so head here in dry season) however, given that the most spectacular hiking trails are to gorgeous waterfalls, you’ll enjoy more overwhelming water flow if you head here during the rainy season instead. Muddy trails and gushing waterfalls? Or dry trails and milder waterfalls? You decide!

By and large, however, hiking is best done during the dry season yet considering this means higher temps, you’ll really want to have your boots laced up straight after an early breakfast. Dry season is dreamy in a lot of ways but in some areas of Costa Rica the temps can get into the high-90s, so you will want to be at your most active early in the morning.

Less Humidity

The rains between May and October do bring the temps down quite a bit but they also increase the humidity levels to at-times overwhelming levels. Whilst the dry season months are somewhat easier on the body, it isn’t too hard to get used to the humidity: simply pack plenty of bug repellent and enjoy your (literal) immersion into jungle life. The pros of rainy season travel are so many that bypassing a trip at this time for a bit of extra humidity is simply not worth it!

 

Wilderness Trips

While it’s true that rainier months can cause havoc on Costa Rica’s roads, it’s also true that regional airports make it easy to reach remote regions that have been temporarily cut off, like the Osa Peninsula. This incredible wild haven of wildlife is just a peach of off-grid adventures, with rainy months offering magnificent wildlife watching. If you’re more into wilderness rather than laying-by-the-beach trips, then the Osa is quite perfect for rain season trips, especially if you can opt to fly in. Just note that September is about the best month to visit whilst October the rainiest one of all. Given that the Osa is remote and somewhat more expensive, this can also make for a much cheaper indulgence in a gorgeous eco-lodge – you may even get the whole place all to yourself. How magical would that be?

 

 

 

 

 

Caribbean Coast

The eastern Caribbean coast typically sees a lot more rain all year round although for two months, in September and October, things dry up pretty well. Puerto Viejo makes for a wonderful base to explore the coast and nearby national parks and, in October, it enjoys its short and sweet dry season. Given this is a remote region of the country and lesser visited anyway, it’s just perfect to visit at this time. Dodge the rains of the west and explore a pristine part of Costa Rica? Win-win!

Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking

River-based adventure sports like rafting and kayaking are best enjoyed when rivers are flowing healthily so head to Costa Rica during the rainy season to enjoy thrilling adventures. Having said that, however, lower river levels are quite ideal for slower and more laid-back adventures, perfect for beginners.

Most people will often worry excessively about the rain in Costa Rica, probably because they obsess over weather apps that’ll show a rain cloud for an entire day when, in reality, it only rains for 2 hours of an afternoon. Even in dry season, if we get a 10-minute sprinkle, our weather app will show a rain cloud, all day long. How crazy! There’s something to be said for some (technological) blissful ignorance here: just plan your adventure vacation in Costa Rica at a time of year when it suits you best and we promise to help you plan an AMAZING adventure in this crazy playground of ours.

See our complete collection of adventure vacations in Costa Rica and don’t forget that we can help you plan a custom-made itinerary, set to your desires and budget, t whatever time of year you wish to visit.

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Do Your Research: Safety Guide for Costa Rica Adventures

Safety is usually a huge priority for anyone planning an adventure vacation in Costa Rica. And if it isn’t then it definitely should be. The country of a million adventure sports is an active traveler’s dream with such exciting activities as zip-lining, whitewater rafting, abseiling, horseback riding and mountain biking appearing on the daily itinerary of all adventure seekers heading our way. Yet as exciting as all this may be, it’s easy to often overlook the safety aspect of such endeavors.

Safety Guide

To this end, here are a few recommendations to help you plan your unforgettable (and safe!) adventure vacation in Costa Rica:

Do Your Research Before…So You Don’t Have To Worry During Your Vacation

The main reason so many people overlook the safety aspect of adventure-filled vacation is because it’s a totally boring subject to contemplate, especially at a time when one is fantasizing about swinging between jungle treetops and rappelling down raging waterfalls. Yet although the chances of something going awry is minuscule, endeavoring to ensure your utmost safety before you even get on the plane means you need not worry about DURING your trip. This is what everyone should be aiming for: make safety a priority during the planning stage (ensuring you are able to actually partake in some extreme sports and choosing the right adventure travel company) and you need not question yourself during the trip.

Choose An Adventure Company You Know You Can Trust. Once You Do, Listen To Them And Tell Them Of Any Health Issues

The adventure travel company you choose should be well-renowned and boast an excellent safety record and plenty of client reviews. Once you’ve made your pick, trust them wholeheartedly. These are the guys that know best.

There are certain health issues that may prevent you from partaking in some of Costa Rica’s most coveted activities. You may not know what they are but your tour company definitely should, so disclose any issues you may have (including medication you may be taking) and let them guide you towards the right activities for you. Moreover, trust that your guides know their job and have your safety (and that of your travelling group) as their top priority, above and beyond anything else. Sometimes, they’ll ask you to wear specific shoes for certain activities or remover jewelry and leave your camera behind. Some activities have age restrictions. All of this is done purely for safety reasons so, please, listen to the recommendations of your guide and, even if you don’t understand the reasons behind certain restrictions, always follow them. By all means, do ask for explanations if you so wish and if you’re not in a situation of immediate danger (in which case follow directions first and ask questions later) as guides do appreciate explaining their safety protocols. The best agencies will have top-notch equipment of the highest standard and experienced and well-trained guides that know their chosen pocket of wilderness like the back of their hands. They’ll know to continually check the weather forecast and have contingency plans in place should anything negatively impact the day’s intended activity.

Make Sure You’ve Had No Alcohol And Are Well Rested Before Attempting Any Outdoor Activity In Costa Rica

When having a blast in Costa Rica’s wilderness, it’s imperative that you – just like your guides – be at the top of your game and that means you should be well rested and not suffering under the influence of alcohol or drugs of any kind. You’d be surprised at just how uncoordinated you can be being only a little bit tired, let alone a little bit hungover. Your reaction times are delayed and your overall physical performance will suffer greatly if you aren’t feeling 100%. If in doubt, speak to your guide about what’s required of you on the day and take a rain check to rest instead. This way, your safety will never be compromised.

Make Sure You Have Comprehensive Health Insurance That Covers All The Activities You Want To Do

No matter how many precautions you may take when travelling to Costa Rica, something can always happen and for that reason it is imperative you arrive with a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover you for all eventualities. Should you suffer an injury during your adventure tour of Costa Rica (rare but not impossible), the last thing you’ll want to worry about is whether or not your travel insurance will cover all of your expenses. As we love to say: if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel! Make sure your insurance policy will cover your intended activities specifically. Many standard travel policies will not cover for adventure sports, for example, so make sure you have a policy that does.

At Costa Rica Rios, we take your safety seriously and that’s part of the reason National Geographic voted us one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies (on Earth). We’ve been running fully-guided adventure tours in Costa Rica for over two decades, using world-class equipment and employing the best guides in the business. For your unparalleled safety and peace of mind, we are your safety guides for Costa Rica adventures. When only the best will do!

See our full collection of Costa Rica adventure vacations and contact us to know more.

Plan Your Trip

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More Than A Week Away From It All

In this down-sized economy, companies are running leaner and offering new employees less vacation benefits. In turn, as our work schedules get more demanding and e-tools make us more likely to be “plugged in” to work 24/7, our stress levels are through the roof!

Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacation with Cliff Jumping.

We are living in a “time is money” generation and have lost sight of why we really need time away from the office. A vacation isn’t just a job perk, it is medicine for the body, mind and soul that cleanses us from stress and increases our productivity in the long run. Thinking that we have to much to do and are too needed at the office keeps us from the main event in our lives – living!

Think of it this way, your job is a means to an end. The goal of working should be to fund your perfect life. Life is all about experience and adventure, that’s why getting away from it all by taking a Costa Rica Adventure Vacation can help enhance your life in ways you never even thought of before. Did you know that when Forbes Magazine polled 400 of the richest business people in the US, that they weren’t really any happier than the average American? That’s because status and money doesn’t bring you life satisfaction. Experience, adventure and relationships with family do.

Stress and anxiety are bigger risk factors for heart attacks than hamburgers and genetics combined. Did you know that people who take an annual vacation of one week or more at a time are significantly less likely to have heart attacks? Not only can a vacation help your heart, but it can improve your sleep habits and help clear your mind so that you are super productive when you return!

Costa Rica Rios Adventure Vacation White Water Rafting in Costa Rico Rapids.

For families the benefits of a Costa Rica Adventure Vacation are double! Spending one to two weeks of quality time (that would be time uninterrupted with cell phone calls and e-mails) with your children helps them to become more resilient adults with higher self-esteem. Husbands and wives, parents and children and even siblings need that extra stress-free time to bond and build relationships. So this year, try to plan your work schedule around your vacation time and not the other way around!

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Lifelong Benefits Of An Adventure Vacation

Thinking of packing up the kids for yet another road trip to visit the world’s largest ball of string, or another exciting trip to a hotel Elvis once stayed at? Think again! Adventure vacations are quickly rising in popularity and can provide lifelong memories for all ages. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to please everyone!

Whitewater rafting adventure with Costa Rica Rios in Costa Rica.

Vacation days are a scarce commodity and should be planned wisely. Adventure vacations can take you around the world and provide extensive opportunity for physical activity, friendly competition and awe-inspiring sight-seeing. Children and adults of all ages can benefit from being immersed in a new and exciting culture. Think of all you could learn from being totally surrounded by another language, new foods and different ideas.

In order to plan your perfect family adventure vacation, seek out the plans and packages available to you and decide if you want all guided tours or would like to go your own way. It is advisable to take guided tours with children and teenagers for safety but both types of adventure packages are available.

Carefully research your destination. Printed books and guides are a great start but to really get down to the details check out online magazines and blogs. You can find locals and travel enthusiasts online who have first-hand experience visiting all the sites and activities you are planning. Also take note of the climate and weather. You wouldn’t want to plan your vacation in the middle of a typhoon! Your travel advisor should also be able to tell you when the best travel times are.

The more the merrier on an adventure vacation! More families means more fun, so gather up your extended relatives and friends and make a huge go of it! You can also be paired with other families through your travel advisor – some of whom could become lifelong friends and pen pals for you and your kids!

Make sure to heavily document your travels with high quality photos and video. If your vacation is tropical invest in a camera that can go underwater. If you’ll be doing a lot of high octane adventure there is an amazing little action camera called the “GoPro” you can attach anywhere to get a first person point of view of all the incredible action!

Once you get home from your vacation, have a viewing party to share your experiences with family and friends. Then you can make scrapbooks or digital photobooks with all of your amazing photos and footage. This is a vacation you won’t soon forget but dragging out the photos every few years sure helps! Your children can recount their adventures for generations to come!