Costa Rica Travel Guide

volcano costa rica

Ah, Costa Rica you have my heart. I thought I wanted to live here since before I visited and we are still considering it as a serious possibility. Aside from the Caribbean coast we have traveled all over the country and its diverse nature and abundant wildlife continue to amaze me. My sister, Becca, joined us for over a week and we had an absolute blast!

Playing Tourist in Tamarindo

While it is pretty touristy, Tamarindo is still a great beach spot in Costa Rica. We love that it is easy to get to and it is a lot of fun for a few nights! We’ve been twice and will likely return.

tamarindo costa rica

Check out all the details of our Tamarindo trip here.

 Stopping by Samara & Nosara

While on the plane down to Costa Rica, the lady beside me mentioned Samara. I had never heard of it but because it was on our way down to Santa Teresa from Tamarindo we decided to stop here and nearby Nosara. The coast line on the way is sublime and so beautiful! You must pull over to take some photos! We kept seeing handmade signs for the Salty Pelican Pub. We needed a road trip refreshment so we stopped by only to meet a super-rad couple who owns it who turned out to be from the same small town in Georgia I am from! Small world! We then headed down to Samara for lunch and a swim. The beach is so wide and absolutely beautiful. Grab a cold coconut on the side of the road or stop in one of the beach front restaurants. They have everything from local seafood to vegan fare.

Surfing Through Santa Teresa

We knew we were going to love Santa Teresa before we even arrived. A small beach town with great surf where the main mode of transportation is four wheeler, yes please!

Read all about our great time in Santa Teresa here.

Getting Weird in Montezuma

We were a little unimpressed with the grunginess of the town of Montezuma but we totally loved our snorkeling trip to Tortuga Island. The water was Caribbean clear and we even saw its namesake turtle!

turtle at tortuga island

Read all about our trip to Montezuma and Tortuga Island here.

Exploring the Cloud Forest in Monteverde

We saw more birds than we bargained for on our Cloud Forest tour but we also crossed swinging bridges and went on a crazy night tour in Monteverde! We especially loved our hotel here.

bird watching costa rica

Read all about our Cloud Forest experience and Monteverde trip here.

Watching Wildlife in La Fortuna

La Fortuna is the best! From its epic waterfall and hot springs to seeing sloths on every corner, it is full of fun surprises. We were also here for Easter!

volcano costa rica

Check out the details of our trip to La Fortuna here.

Layovers in Liberia

We stayed in Liberia a few times during our Central America travels. We used the Liberia airport instead of the Managua airport when traveling to and from Nicaragua. Insider Tip: Bring your own snacks! The only restaurant at the Liberia Airport is Quizno’s and it is $14 for a 9 in sub! En serio?! For super budget but not too shabby accommodations check out La Posada del Tope. Stay near the main plaza and you’ll find a variety of restaurants we settled on Toro Negro. They have tasty eats for the meat lover and huge portions, but we found it a little too expensive and gringo for our liking.

Beach Layovers in Playa Hermosa

As much as we liked our little hotel in Liberia, we wanted to squeeze in some beach time during a layover so we headed to Playa Hermosa which is only 30 minutes from the Liberia Airport. It is just as close as the town of Liberia and is way better! It is stunningly gorgeous. We swam in the warm waves and watched sunset at one of the many restaurants that lined the beach. There is a big expat community here so it is honestly lacking local culture. It is also pretty small so I wouldn’t recommend doing a trip here on its own but for a long layover it is perfect! We stayed at Congo’s Hostel which is super affordable and just steps from the beach!

Exploring the Capital: San Jose

We stayed in San Jose a few nights before continuing our travels to Argentina. For comfortable yet affordable accommodations check out Costa Rica Guesthouse. Spend the day strolling around Central Avenue and be sure to grab craft beers and gourmet bar food at Stiefel Pub. We loved it!

Honeymooning in Costa Rica

We did our honeymoon in Costa Rica and It was so fabulous! From relaxing in the hot springs at Tabacon to scuba diving in the Pacific we had a week packed full of romance and fun!

Read all about our Costa Rica Honeymoon here.

Transportation in Costa Rica

During our trip, we did a mix of public, private, and rental car transportation. Renting a car in Costa Rica is definitely the best choice. We did so on our honeymoon and it was great! We wish we had one this time to get from Montezuma to Monteverde and from Monteverde to La Fortuna.

huge tree in costa rica

Costa Rica is the best! While it is more expensive than its Central American neighbors, its well-versed tourism makes it a great destination for everyone whether you are there for a family vacation, honeymoon, or surf trip! It is also super safe and easy to get around. You can rent a car and travel freely around the country without worrying about a run in with corrupt police. The food isn’t Mexico good but its definitely yummy, and the people are super nice. We have always loved it here and I know we will be back, possibly for the long-term!

Want more information to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out the Costa Rica Lonely Planet here.

Pura Vida,
-Ray

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