Why Rain Didn’t Ruin My Costa Rica Vacation
My friend and I had been hoping to backpack through Southeast Asia but when riots and a travel advisory against Thailand appeared, we began to second guess our destination. In the end, we decided to postpone our South East Asia adventure, and go somewhere else. But here was the problem: where was somewhere else? For a brief moment we felt as though we had the world at our fingertips!! So why did we vacation in Costa Rica?
We wanted to travel somewhere beautiful, painfully hot, adventurous and, above all, different. (We have both traveled the Middle East and Europe several times.) Fortunately for us, Costa Rica fulfilled all our cravings: activities ranging from zip lining in a cloud forest, whitewater rafting on one of the best rivers in the world, coffee tours, and even sipping coconuts while tanning on beautiful beaches.
Facing the rain
Upon our excited arrival in San Jose, we were greeted by a friend that would become familiar to us for our entire trip: rain. Costa Rica‘s weather is pretty much the same all year round; with only more rain to distinguish its two seasons: dry season and rainy season. As we stood under cover in the airport, my friend asked me, “Would you rather it rain everyday but know that you will have half a day of sun, or have some full days of rain, and some full days sun?” I replied, “Half and half.” It was an answer that would echo through our entire trip, as we found most mornings to be sunny and beautiful, and afternoons (just in time for our late afternoon naps) to be rainy and cloudy.
Predicting the weather, we would always wake up early enough to take advantage of the morning. I can remember one of my favorite days, it was early afternoon and we were in Puerto Viejo, which is on the south Caribbean Coast. My friend and I were biking on a rocky unpaved road, when we unanimously decided: this was the hottest (temperature-wise) we had ever been before. As the sun beat down on us and the humidity made it hard to breathe, we realized that we were dripping in our own sweat and generally looking pretty gross. However, it was in this moment that we thought…well, it didn’t really matter! After all, we were biking alongside an incredibly beautiful beach, surrounded by a vibrantly green rainforest, on our way to an animal rescue center (where we would later be greeted my howler monkeys).
Great place for women travelers
Life in Costa Rica is “pura vida“, translated as “pure life.” But to me, this popular Costa Rican saying represents that life is great, life should be loved, relaxed and enjoyed! And this is just how we vacationed in Costa Rica. When you travel throughout the country, you begin to pick up the Tico (colloquial name for native Costa Ricans) way of life–you throw your worries away and live life to its fullest. Costa Rica is so laid back, you begin to forget why you even worry back home. I realized how wound up I actually am in the city, that I enjoyed throwing all my stress away!
I think that Costa Rica is a great place for travelers and especially female travelers. Ticos are so incredibly friendly: especially those in the smaller towns and cities. You shouldn’t be surprised if random people walking down the street greet you with “Hola!” or “Pura Vida!” The vibe is so welcoming. Although some males may seem to get a little flirty and over-friendly, I really think that most of it is in good taste and good intentions. I would be wary of being a single female traveler in San Jose at night, but anywhere else is not bad. I traveled at the beginning with one other friend, and by the end we had another friend join us. We always felt safe.
Our favorite places were those by the beach: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, which has a distinct Caribbean/Rastafarian/extra, laid back vibe to it, and also Manual Antonio, (on the center Pacific coast) which has gorgeous beaches, views of the sunset and an overwhelming amount of monkeys! The center north of Costa Rica is great for adventure, travel to Monteverde and LaFortuna for volcano tours, zip lining, hiking and whitewater rafting!
Last minute travel tips
1. Stay away from unmarked cabs–always go for the ones with the yellow triangles on them, and generally follow your traveling common sense.
2. Don’t pack too much: everything will get wet and will just drag you down!
3. Do bring shoes you can wear in the water that are not flip flops!
4. Bug spray and After Bite are incredibly important, especially if you are like me and are more attractive to bugs than anything else
5. Remember–Pura Vida!