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Pros and Cons of Vacationing in Costa Rica

Posted by admin on January 12, 2014
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costa rican familyIf you’ve planning on Costa Rica vacations, you should be aware that even though Costa Rica resorts are known worldwide as vacation destinations, that the country itself does have some concerns that you should be careful about. Some of these can be handled easily, but others are also important in the sense that you always have to keep them in mind, particularly if you will be exploring the countryside, or you will be going on one of the adventure trips that promote the country’s eco-tourism. 

Here are some pros, cons, and Costa Rica facts that you should know and integrate into your vacation plans.

Let’s start with the cons – and to be fair, these are good travel advisories. They will only end up being negatives if you don’t prepare for them.

If you’re visiting a more tropical and coastal area of the country (and that’s a rather large part), you should be prepared to be a pincushion for mosquitoes. Aside from bug spray, anti-bug lotions, and even insect-repellent candles, it’s a good idea to have full shots for all known tropical diseases that there are vaccines for. Even then, it’s a good idea for you to keep your strength up with many fruits – particularly if you’re going to be partying a lot. Dengue fever is a very real threat, so it pays to keep your immune system up during Costa Rica vacations.

Costa Rica is home to several major species of ants. The one you should be most on the lookout for are army ants. There is no arguing with these ants, and the best you can do is stay out of their way until they leave – which they will, given time. There’s a small plus to them visiting your vacation home base, and that’s a probability that they will eat most, if not all the smaller rodents in their path.

Crazy ants are different breed entirely. These smaller ants are a nuisance! However, they only range around for the odd morsel of food, so if you leave a pile of sugar outside (not too much – these are ants after all), then you will probably distract them from exploring inside your kitchen.

Poor Roads
Don’t be surprised if many of the minor roads aren’t maintained properly. This has lead to a nearly-insane local driving style, which is sure to be an adventure in itself when you are being transported from one place to another. You’ll probably have to tell the driver to take it easy if you’ve just had a heavy meal.

Relaxed Attitudes
This may be a somewhat negative offshoot of being one of the happiest places in the world, but there you have it: service isn’t prompt, so you should also learn to be patient with all services while you’re in Costa Rica. It’s not that they are being inefficient, it’s just that culturally, they are that laid back.

Let’s be serious a bit: If anything, you should hire a good caretaker for your cabin, or make sure you have a local citizen that you can trust. Otherwise, you should exercise all due caution when going around, or even leaving your things in Costa Rica hotels. Crime in Costa Rica may be the lowest in Central America, but don’t kid yourself that it’s something that you shouldn’t worry about.

Now that you know some of the hassles of staying in Costa Rica, here are some Costa Rica facts that you can and will outweigh the down sides.

Costa Rica is one of the top surfing destinations in the world, and has good waves all year round. If you don’t like having too many people around, then you should go there during the rainy season. And with practically a thousand miles of coastline, it’s impossible not to have a beach that won’t cater to your surfing needs. And if you’re a novice at surfing, there are many surf schools. Experienced teachers can show you everything you need to know to enjoy surfing even more.

There’s no beating around the bush here, a Costa Rican vacation would be incomplete without the food. There are two major dishes in the country, gallo pinto and casadas. Both have rice and beans as the carbohydrate part of the dish, but everything else is subject to breakfast, lunch, and meat preferences. In fact, it’s safe to say that every locale probably has its own version of these to dishes. For dessert, you have the amazing tres leches, a sponge cake with three different kinds of milk in it: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.

It’s impossible to forget mentioning Costa Rica resorts – the beaches are amazing. Be it public beaches or secluded private beaches for hotels, you’ll have the time of your life with beach activities. Do make sure to double check your vacation schedule, though, as the rainy season can be rather heavy.

Aside from the beaches, you also have the rain forests, which make up about 25% of Costa Rica, and have 5% of the world’s biodiversity in them. You can go for canopy tours with a zip-line, or you can go hiking with experienced guides who can point out the flora and fauna to you. There are also active volcanoes, and the parks around it are havens for campers and mountain bikers.

Improving infrastructure
Yes, we did say that the side roads are still an issue. However, the main roads are all top-quality, and most of the country’s road infrastructure is slowly and surely being upgraded. And this is all due to the government’s efforts to make sure that Costa Rica is a tourist-friendly country.

We’re not kidding when we say that if you’re depressed, you should visit Costa Rica. The people there are internationally known to be among the happiest in the world, based on education, lifespan, and environmental initiatives. They also receive a 1 month Christmas bonus from their employer (by law) and they also get approximately 20 paid days off. This works out to approximately 2 months of extra pay, which is great for the employee but very hard on the employer. The government has even consulted with other happy countries to find out how they can keep it that way!

So, if you’re planning Costa Rica vacations, don’t be too concerned about the bad stuff – proper planning and advance preparation will make sure that you will have a great time in the country.