How To Plan Your Trip To Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful country known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife. Planning a trip to this tropical paradise can be both exciting and overwhelming. With so many things to see and do, it’s important to have a well-organized plan in place.


In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of planning your dream vacation to Costa Rica. From choosing the best time to visit, to creating an itinerary that suits your interests and budget, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let us help you plan a trip that will be truly unforgettable.

Steps for planning your trip to Costa Rica

Choosing the Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Costa Rica depends on your personal preferences and interests. Generally, the high season for tourism runs from mid-December to April, when the weather is dry and sunny. This is also the busiest time of year, with higher prices and more crowds.


If you prefer less crowds and lower prices, consider visiting during the low season from May to November. However, keep in mind that this is also the rainy season and some activities may be limited.


If you’re interested in seeing specific wildlife, such as sea turtles or humpback whales, make sure to research the best time of year for sightings. It’s also important to note that Costa Rica has different microclimates, so the weather can vary depending on the region you’re visiting.

Overall, it’s important to consider your budget and interests when choosing the best time to visit Costa Rica.  So, research and plan accordingly.


Read more: Best time to Visit Costa Rica

Read more: Costa Rica Weather Guide

Deciding on Your Budget

When it comes to accommodations in Costa Rica, there are many options to choose from. You can find luxury resorts, budget-friendly hostels, and everything in between. It’s important to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your budget and travel preferences.


Consider factors such as location, amenities, reviews, and prices when selecting accommodations. If you’re traveling during peak season, it’s a good idea to book in advance to ensure availability and potentially secure lower prices. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the accommodation directly with any questions or special requests. With careful research and consideration, you can find the perfect place to stay during your trip to Costa Rica.  


Read more: Is Costa Rica Expensice?

Creating an Itinerary That Suits Your Interests and Budget

One of the most exciting parts of planning a trip is creating an itinerary. When planning your trip to Costa Rica, it’s important to consider your budget and interests in order to create an itinerary that suits you.


Research and make a list of must-see attractions, activities, and experiences. From there, determine which ones fit within your budget and prioritize accordingly. It’s also a good idea to leave some open time in your schedule for spontaneous adventures or relaxation.


Consider factors such as transportation, timing, and location when creating your itinerary. Keep in mind that some activities may require advance booking, so it’s important to plan ahead. With a well-organized and personalized itinerary, you can make the most out of your trip to Costa Rica.  


Read more: 5 Days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Read more: 7 in Costa Rica Itinerary

Booking Flights and Transportation Within Costa Rica

Before booking flights to Costa Rica, it’s important to determine which airport is closest and most convenient for your destination. The two main international airports are San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) and Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR).


Once you arrive in Costa Rica, there are various transportation options available such as rental cars, private shuttles, public buses, and domestic flights. It’s important to research and compare prices and travel times in order to make the best decision for your budget and itinerary.


If you plan on renting a car, be aware of road conditions and driving regulations in Costa Rica. Additionally, consider purchasing insurance for your vehicle to avoid any unexpected expenses.


Read more: Flights and airports

Packing Appropriately for the Climate and Activities

Packing is a crucial part of any trip, especially when traveling to a different climate. In Costa Rica, the weather can vary depending on the region and time of year. It’s important to research the climate of your specific destination and pack accordingly.


Some essential items to pack include comfortable clothing, a rain jacket or umbrella, sunscreen, insect repellent, and sturdy shoes for outdoor activities. If you plan on visiting the beach, don’t forget to pack swimwear and beach gear.


It’s also important to pack any necessary medication, as well as a first aid kit. If you plan on participating in outdoor activities or hiking, make sure to bring appropriate gear such as a hat and comfortable shoes. With proper packing, you can be prepared for any weather and activity during your trip to Costa Rica.


Read more: Costa Rica Packing List


Planning for any necessary vaccinations or medications

Before traveling to Costa Rica, it’s important to research and check for any necessary vaccinations or medications. The country is generally safe and does not require any specific vaccinations for entry. However, it’s recommended to be up-to-date on routine vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis.


If you plan on visiting remote areas or participating in outdoor activities, it’s also recommended to get a hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine. Additionally, it’s important to bring any necessary medications with you, including insect repellent and anti-diarrheal medication.

It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before your trip to ensure you are fully prepared and protected. By taking necessary precautions, you can stay healthy and enjoy your trip to Costa Rica to the fullest.

Making sure to have travel insurance

Travel insurance is an important aspect of planning any trip, including one to Costa Rica. While the country is generally safe for travelers, unexpected situations can still occur and having travel insurance can provide peace of mind.


Travel insurance can cover things such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations or interruptions, and lost or stolen baggage. It’s important to carefully read and understand the coverage options before purchasing insurance to ensure it fits your needs.


In addition, some adventure activities in Costa Rica may require specific insurance coverage, so make sure to check with tour companies beforehand. Having travel insurance can provide financial protection and save you from any unexpected expenses during your trip.

How much money to bring

The amount of money you should bring for your trip to Costa Rica largely depends on your travel style and planned activities. Accommodation, food, and transportation can vary in cost depending on the region and time of year.


For budget travelers, it’s recommended to plan for around $50-75 per day for basic expenses. Mid-range travelers can expect to spend around $100-150 per day, while luxury travelers should plan for a budget of $200 and above.


It’s also important to have some extra cash on hand for unexpected expenses or souvenirs. Credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas, but it’s always good to have some local currency on hand as well.

Mistakes to avoid

Here are some common mistakes that tourists make when visiting Costa Rica, and how to avoid them:

  • Not researching the weather and packing appropriate clothing: As mentioned earlier, the climate in Costa Rica can vary greatly depending on the region and time of year. Make sure to research the weather before your trip and pack accordingly.
  • Not learning about local customs and etiquette: Costa Ricans are known for their warm and friendly nature, but it’s important to be aware of cultural customs and etiquette. Take the time to learn about these before your trip to ensure a positive interaction with locals.
  • Not budgeting properly: Costa Rica can be an expensive country, and not budgeting properly can lead to overspending. Make sure to research prices and plan accordingly for your trip.
  • Not being aware of safety precautions: While Costa Rica is generally a safe country, it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions. Avoid walking alone at night and be cautious when carrying valuables.

FAQ Section:

Should I tip in Costa Rica?

Tipping is not a common practice in Costa Rica, but it is appreciated for exceptional service. Some restaurants may include a 10% service charge in the bill, and additional tips are not expected. In tourist areas, tipping for services such as tour guides or drivers is also appreciated.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Costa Rica?

While tap water in Costa Rica is generally safe to drink, it’s recommended to stick to bottled or filtered water as a precaution. This is especially important if you are traveling to more remote areas.

Do I need a visa to travel to Costa Rica?

Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica for tourism purposes. However, a valid passport and return ticket are required. Make sure to check the visa requirements for your specific country before traveling.

Is it necessary to know Spanish in Costa Rica?

While knowing some basic Spanish can be helpful, many locals in tourist areas also speak English. However, it’s always appreciated when visitors make an effort to learn a few key phrases in Spanish. 

Let us help you create your dream vacation.

Get in contact with one of our Local Travel Experts and get a FREE proposal Today

We Know Costa Rica 👍

Step 1 of 7

Let us help you create the perfect Fishing vacation

Get in contact with one of our Local Fishing Experts and get a FREE proposal Today