COSTA RICA: A ROAD TRIP ODYSSEY

Yep. My two travel buddies and I road tripped it across Costa Rica. SUCCESSFULLY. Without a GPS. And I would absolutely recommend it. Actually, I think it should be a requirement. I can’t imagine having gone to Costa Rica and not traveled from city to city. The country has so much to offer, from volcanoes to lush green mountains to some of the best sandy beaches. You’ve got to see as much as you can!

Even we still have more ground to cover. We didn’t make it to the east coast or to Guanacaste – we plan on doubling back fro those – but we did make it to La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio.

HIGHLIGHTS

La Fortuna

Views and activities galore. Volcanoes, tree houses, waterfalls, hikes. Hotels on fleek.

Monteverde

Canopies and hanging bridges. I think two full days here would suffice. One will do if you’re short on time like we were.

Manuel Antonio

Beaches that rival any island fantasy. And a breathtaking national park. Any animal you wanted to see – they’ve got it.

TRAVEL TIPS

Driving

  • Get an SUV with four-wheel drive. It’s a must. If you take our route you will be off roading 80% of the time.
  • Bring (or rent) a GPS. We did actually bring one with us – but it didn’t work – whomp whomp. Luckily, one of us spoke Spanish very well and could speak to the kind locals for directions.
  • Don’t drive in the dark! I read this tip before we left and didn’t think much of it but it’s 100% not a myth. Our flight was extremely late arriving (due to an active volcano) so we were forced to drive in the dark and it was one of the most nerve wrecking things I’ve ever done. Most of the roads are not paved AND they’re on mountains with dense fog and no guard rails. There were minimal, if any, street lights. At one point, we were stopped by a heard of cows. Eeeek!

Money

  • It’s not a necessity to exchange US dollars for colones as most places accept USD. I also used my credit card a lot while there because I don’t have an international fee, BUT the local currency would’ve been handy at smaller shops and gas stations.
  • Don’t forget to tip your guides! They deserve it! (And write them a nice review on Trip Advisor!)
  • There are entrance fees at most of the parks and attractions. We didn’t account for this when we budgeted for the trip so don’t be surprised like us! Some parks you’ll need to pay daily – Manuel Antonio – so keep that
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