Friday, June 5, 2015

5 Tips to Make Your Trip to Costa Rica the Absolute Best

{ Photo: Hannah McGee, Design: The Wanderful Soul }

We all know that traveling to other countries can be super fun and exciting, but there are times when one's vacation might not go exactly according to plan. Living in Costa Rica has taught me that "pura vida" is more than just a phrase used, it is a lifestyle. Here are a few tips on how to make your vacation to Costa Rica as smooth or as "pura vida" as possible.

1. Necessities for the jungle & beach:
Plan on bringing insect repellent, sunscreen, aloe vera, a rain jacket, and rain boots.
Trust me, you can never get enough of these items (especially the sunscreen and aloe vera!) Depending on where you are traveling to in Costa Rica, a rain jacket and rain boots might be necessary. This country has many sub climates and you will often find rain in the cloud forests or jungle.

2. Research Costa Rica
Knowing key phrases and words used in Costa Rica will only make your trip smoother. In Costa Rica, you will often here the words, "mae" (translation: dude) or "tuanis (translation: cool). Knowing key words and phrases will also help you connect with the locals more easily. Looking at a map and knowing the geography of Costa Rica is also very helpful and will save you confusion in the long run.

3. Ticos are "tranquilo"
Ticos are known for being "tranquilo" and laid back. They are super friendly people and are more than willing to help you if you yourself are also friendly. Although you may be frustrated when your rental car gets a flat tire or you cannot find a certain item in the grocery store, relax, take a deep breath and ask someone for help. The people in Costa Rica are more than happy to help happy people. 

4. Don't be afraid to try new things and immerse yourself in the culture.
Although you may want to chill by the pool at your all inclusive resort, I promise the best way to experience Costa Rica is to get out and explore. This country is absolutely beautiful and making a point to try the local food, talk to the people, discover the wildlife, and check out the stunning beaches is worth it. Here are a few MUSTS while you are here:

5. Visit Puerto Viejo, Limon.
Puerto Viejo is a small town full of people from all over the world. That being said, there are many unique restaurants as well. Some of my favorite restaurants include:

  • Stashu's con Fusion
    - a mix of Asian Fusion, Caribbean, Indian/Pakistani, Mexican, Seafood, Thai, Vegan and Vegetarian
  •  Elena Brown
    - Caribbean style cooking
  • Jungle Love
    - a mix of flavors from tropical fusion to comfort food. Everything is homemade.
  • Bikini
    - everything from sushi to curry to pasta. Something for everyone.
  • Cafe Viejo
    - homemade Italian food
  • Puerto Pirata
    - Ayurvedic inspired Mediterranean, Organic, Vegetarian, Vegan, Wheat free, Raw Cafe       

Whether you are planning your first solo trip or are traveling with a group of friends, these five tips are bound to help you have the experience of a lifetime in the tropical rainforest known as Costa Rica.
❀ Nena

Nena Ocampo is the founder of TuCamino Travel, a company offering unique travel experiences geared specifically toward women. Their tours in Costa Rica and Mexico include yoga, surfing, nature exploration, community service, and so much more.  They aim to foster meaningful relationships and provide true immersion in the local community, while always leaving behind a positive footprint. Visit their website for more information or follow their social media accounts to stay updated.

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