- It has three main, wonderful ecosystems: Volcano, Jungle and Beach. However long your trip is, try to visit all three of them (it’s not difficult with a little planning)
2. The sun rises pretty early. It’s already daytime at 6am (it’s also dark at 6pm)
3. There is an abnormal amount of animals everywhere. You will be woken up by the sound of three or four different birds (before 6 am as mentioned above). At the beach you might even have “visitors” in your room.
4. Prostitution is legal and common in tourist cities. While this was not at all relevant during my trip, I was still surprised and by the discovery.
5. People are slow-paced and really easy-going. I mean REALLY slow and chill. If you’re not prepared or used to this, you might think that the country just has terrible customer service; but it’s just how they are, it’s how they live. They are never in a hurry and they assume you aren’t either, because you’re in a beautiful country enjoying nature, and, well, pura vida bitch.
6. It has its problems like the other countries in the region. I wouldn’t call it the “Switzerland of Central America” like I read many times. Yes, maybe it’s doing relatively better than Nicaragua or Guatemala, but it’s a small country in a complicated region; there’s poverty and politics and dangerous areas too. Please always ask your trusted tico for street advice.
7. It’s better explored by car. Public transportation is not very straightforward. Sometimes moving between neighboring cities requires throughout online research (in Spanish), then asking around to verify and readjust (in Spanish) then changing buses and doing zigzags because there aren’t direct routes.
8. Tips are included in the bill. This makes things a bit easier actually.
9. It’s expensive. I already knew that before going, but it was still a bit more expensive than I had planned. Even for residents.
10. “Pura Vida” is not just a slogan. They say it to each other all the time, usually when greeting or saying goodbye.