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9 Free Apps to Download before your Trip to Costa Rica

Posted by Katie on March 9, 2018
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Your bags are packed and your vacation is waiting, it’s time to finally head to Costa Rica for your long anticipated tropical getaway. Your vacation is meant to relax you completely, taking you away from the stress of everyday life. While it’s a good idea to turn off your work email notifications and leave the laptop at home, your smartphone will come in extremely handy on this trip. Not only will you need the camera for photos, you can use your smartphone to help navigate and plan your entire vacation. Before heading out, make sure these 9 applications are downloaded on your phone. You’ll have access to wifi throughout your trip and will want to take advantage of a bit of online help. These tools will make your trip to Costa Rica that much more fun, adventurous, safe, and care-free.

1. Waze

Ask anyone in Costa Rica, they already use Waze on a daily basis. In a country with no street names and very few specific addresses, this app is the best way to find where you’re going. You’ll find your hotel, your morning spa appointment, and the best route to the airport. What’s more, you’ll be able to search the area around you to avoid traffic, find the nearest gas station with the lowest prices, and search for quick coffee stops.

Waze is widely used in Costa Rica, and if you’re going to be renting a car, you absolutely can’t be without it. If you’ll use if for driving, make sure to have roaming data enabled on your phone. If you won’t be driving during your vacation, you can still use it in any wifi zone, which is nearly any restaurant or bar, to search for your next stop. Believe us, the app will be rarely closed during your Costa Rican getaway.

2. Google Translate

Translating technology has developed quickly in the last few years, and regardless of your level of Spanish, you’re going to be taken by surprise with a few local Costa Rican sayings. Keep this app downloaded and handy, it may save you on more than one occasion.

As in any country, you’ll need to be careful pulling your phone out in a crowded public area. Fortunately, Costa Rica maintains one of the lowest crime rates in Central America. Be careful on crowded buses, but if you are with a travel group at your local market, feel free to pull out your phone and have Google Translate help you with any purchases or bartering. Keep general safety measures in mind and you’ll be fine.

3. TripAdvisor

In Central America, TripAdvisor is used like Yelp. You’ll find the best restaurant, bar, coffee shop, hotel, and trip options, and all will be rated and commented on by tourists and locals alike. Don’t let food get in the way of planning your adventurous trip, there is incredible local cuisine around every corner. Find your ultimate adventure tour and worry about food when you’re done. You’ll be able to log into TripAdvisor and find the perfect meal within walking distance. When you find that perfect, locally-owned joint, don’t forget to leave them a positive review. TripAdvisor ratings mean the world to small businesses in Costa Rica, and you’ll want to express your satisfaction.

4. XE Currency

It can be very difficult to get used to Costa Rican currency, with 3,000 Colones exchanging to barely over 5 US dollars. It will be a challenge to keep calculations in your head, especially when you get into larger expenses, like your week at a hotel or a car rental. XE Currency is the most accurate and up-to-date worldwide currency converter, and you’ll want it on hand. Don’t let a simple calculation mistake break your bank, quickly convert any price into your home currency and keep your budget on track.

5. TripIt

Your Costa Rican trip is full of adventure and action, and it can be complicated keeping the itinerary straight. Let TripIt access your inbox and arrange your itinerary for you. It will automatically compile every hotel booking, flight time, tour reservation, and car rental into an easy-to-edit itinerary. From there, you can add any major events and share the itinerary with your entire travel group. Every time you edit your itinerary, make sure to download it to the phone for off-line use. This will keep your trip on track without any extra stress of being the vacation organizer. Once you arrive back home, you may be so used to this itinerary creator and personal organizer than you can’t quite yet erase it from your phone.

6. Prey Anti Theft

This is the one app we hope you don’t use at all, but it’s still a good idea to download. Costa Rica has one of the lowest crime rates in Central America, but personal belongings still get lost and pick-pocketing increases around tourist hotspots. Download this app onto your phone, tablet, and laptop before leaving on vacation. In the case of a missing or stolen device, you’ll be able to track your electronic, shut it down, and send out an alarm. If you’re dealing with a lost cause, you can even remotely wipe all the data from your devise, to make sure no financial or personal information gets into the wrong hands. The Prey Project is dedicated to your security, and you may find it useful for your at-home life as well.

7. TouchNote

This one is purely for fun, but does make communications quite a bit easier. You know you have a crowd of jealous, at-home supporters, and they’re all checking your Instagram for daily updates on your tropical vacation. Make any special supporters know they’re appreciated with a quick postcard. Take any photo, edit it, and use the TouchNote app to create a one-of-a-kind postcard. You’ll add any design, a message, and have it shipped to any address in the world. Everyone loves a personal update during an adventurous trip, but it can be difficult to make it into a post office while you’re on vacation. Take a long rainforest hike and snap some incredible pictures. Afterwards, you can design and send all your postcards from the comfort of your hotel’s courtyard. Your supporters will enjoy the card and you’ll have one more responsibility lifted from your shoulders.

8. DuoLingo

DuoLingo is a fun, interactive way to learn nearly any new language. It’s easy, and mostly revolves around playing little matching games on your cellphone. You may not be in the mood to pick up an entirely new language, but playing a couple of these games every time you find yourself in an airport terminal or on a bus will increase your vocabulary without even trying. DuoLingo is designed to give you the most useful words first, so if you can get an hour of playing in during your flight, you may have all the numbers and menu words memorized before you even hit the ground. After a while, the games and challenges will get addicting and you’ll start learning more than you ever planned. Don’t make learning Spanish stress you out during this vacation, just keep the phone game on hand and use your new vocabulary wherever you see fit.

9.  LiveTrekker

LiveTrekker will change everything about how you document your extreme adventure trip to Costa Rica. Turn on your tracker before leaving on a long hike, or even leave it on throughout your journey. It will track your every step, create an interactive map of your favorite hiking trail, and let you add photos and videos to your map. You’ll be able to see exactly where you were in Costa Rica, and share some of the journey with your supporters back home. With this map, you’ll be able to remember exactly where you saw those monkeys and on which street the parade came down. You’ll relive your vacation time and time again, and will be able to suggest hiking trails to people who come down after you. Be sure to update your thoughts and comments into the maps, and rest assured, all your data is private and protected. Keep it in disconnected mode to save on roaming costs, and let it sync when you get back into a wifi zone. Your trip to Costa Rica is going to be one to remember, and this app will help you relive every step.