Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Beautiful sunsets, tall palm trees surrounded by an abundance of wild life and rain forest. Costa Rica offers everything you need, from a calm relaxing vacation, straight to a high adrenaline adventure. Located in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica connects you with a deep sense of nature and gives your soul a pure meaning of life. You will notice instantly, the Costa Rican people will gravitate towards you and begin to share their experiences and culture. In a manner of days, you will experience what they call “Pura Vida” which translates to Pure Life. It takes a while, to fully understand the true meaning of this phrase even though, it seems to be branded everywhere. but I guarantee after a few days you will understand. So, you’re probably wondering which life did I choose? Did I choose the calm and relaxing vacation or did I choose the high adrenaline adventure. If you guessed high adrenaline adventure. Then, you are right! Which involved 2 ½ hour Jet Ski’s, 8 miles off the coast, ATV driving through the city straight to the top of the hill, zip lining across the forest and horseback riding through the hills. Before, I get into the adventure there are a few things you need to know. So, lets start at the very beginning.
Although Costa Rica has, a lot to offer it can get expensive quickly if you don’t plan accordingly. Especially, if you decide to use American dollars. My friends found out the hard way after making a purchase at the airport. Of course, we all know airports tend to be expensive in general but after this experience you might think twice. Two bags of chips and juice was almost 25USD. So, keep in mind it’s best to exchange to the Costa Rican Colón. Now you may be asking where should you exchange your money? You could exchange your money at the airport upon arrival. They had some pretty decent rates at the time I was there. Although, there is another option. You could also, exchange your money at a central bank for an even better rate. There’s only one catch to this. You have to find a central bank closest to you. I believe the closest central bank was Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, 1 hour away from the airport in Potrero, Provincia de Guanacaste, Playa Flamingo.
The weather was pretty hot when we arrived at the beginning of the May. Keep in mind, Costa Rica has tropical climate. So, it is very possible you may encounter some rain and humid temperatures. December to April is the recommended time to go. During this time you’ll see a lot more sunshine than rain but it’s always good to be prepared.
3. WHAT TO PACK?
My last travel guide focused on what type of mosquito repellent you should consider buying before you travel. The same rules apply here. So, check out the Tulum, Mexico travel guide if you plan to do any night activities. You can also, refer to that same guide for what type of sunscreen to buy. It’s probably a good idea to bring a pair of clothes you don’t mind getting dirty for the ATV and a mask to protect you from the dust. You may want to bring your own goggles for the ride. Sometimes they provide them for you. Water goggles and shoes for the Jet Ski’s is a good idea. A light rain jacket or poncho and flash light for those late nights.
Now for the fun part! What can you do in Costa Rica! Well there are a lot of things to do. Let me give you a few tips to help maximize your experience and so, you don’t make the same mistakes I did. First lesson learned, when scheduling your excursions make sure you give yourself time in between those excursions to take a break and just enjoy the moment after. We scheduled the ATV and Jet ski’s back to back. Which wasn’t such a bad idea at first until we had to do it. The idea was to get refreshed after driving in the dirt and the sun all day but we found ourselves a little pressed for time when we arrived on the ATV. We had to immediately change and get ready to hit the waters.
The Jet Ski’s were pretty awesome! But lasted way too long for me. We ended up being on the water for 2 ½ hours and 8 miles off the coast. Which is not so bad but after jumping wave after wave, I was completely exhausted and wanted to sleep. I would recommend an hour to an hour and half. I promise you won’t be disappointed. We saw dolphins, sea snakes and beware of sharks!
Zip-lining is a different experience every time. If heights are not your thing than I would recommend something closer to the ground like horseback riding. The only difficulty I ran into was the Go Pro chest mount. Once I was strapped into the harness for the zip-line it was difficult to get a clear shot of what was going on. So, I recommend some type of head gear for your Go Pro or recording device for better line of sight. Also, keep in mind. You have to wear a helmet for safety reason so, make sure it fits securely to your helmet or underneath.
5. PLACES TO EAT
I didn’t get a chance to eat out as much as I wanted too. We had a villa so we cooked breakfast and bought things from the Dos Pinos Super Massai grocery store. Which was in walking distance of our place. Here’s a tip if you’re still learning Spanish like me. Google translate has a camera feature and it will pretty much translate the labels on the food in real time. Pretty cool huh? Thanks Google! We did stop at one place quite frequently to eat. It was called El Dragon Bar & Restaurant. It’s a nice small place for a quick bite to eat, watch the game and they have a DJ on Friday nights.
6. GOING OUT
Unfortunately, we didn’t find too many places to hang out in Flamingo. Actually, all the locals recommended we travel to Tamarindo which was ½ hour from our villa. Here are a few places you can try:
Pacifico – No entrance fee – Amazing reggae night and some hip-hop
Crazy Monkey Bar – Entrance Fee – I think the entrance fee was 10USD – 3 different areas of music. DJ playing electronic Music and a live band in another section.
Sharky’s Sports Bar – No Entrance Fee – Music mixture
Lizard Lounge – No Entrance Fee – Reggae
Currency: Costa Rican Colon
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