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If you review social media, you’ll notice a huge increase in people inquiring about traveling to Costa Rica. Whatever group you may be a member of, the variety of responses to posted questions can range widely, from “Stay away” to “It’s paradise here!”

 

Howler has a vast collection of articles that you can search and read on a wide range of topics. Two examples include “Why Costa Rica is the Happiest Country in the World” and “What Area of Costa Rica is Right for Me?” When it comes to offering traveling tips, articles like these can add value to the subjective personal opinions on social media offered to those who are pursuing travel plans for the land of pura vida.

 

Here are seven thoughts to consider when it comes to visiting this popular destination.

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  • Do your research. 

Don’t tune in to just one channel of information. There’s an abundance of informative resources on many relevant subjects — that includes but isn’t limited to Howler. If you take the time, you can learn the good, the bad and the ugly of any topic. If you ask on a Facebook group, be aware of the number and variety of different responses. By collectively absorbing and assessing all of the information you find, you’re more likely to enjoy your experience.

  • Everyone and every place is different.

Costa Rica offers a variety of adventures, from beaches and mountains to remote rural communities and touristy towns. That’s one of several benefits Costa Rica offers. Some can’t wait to go ziplining, while you might be happy suspended in a hammock finishing your new book. This land offers opportunities to explore and discover, seek adventure or just relax. There’s some place and something for everyone.

Don’t try to create your culture here, rather, adjust yourself to this culture.

Unlike in North America, you will not find a bank, convenience store, fast food and gas station on every corner. There’s no such thing as a fast lane … quite the opposite actually. You’re visiting a country that is unique; it is not trying to be like where you may be visiting from. Take the time to adjust your expectations to the reality of the simple, natural life that you’ll discover in Costa Rica.

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  • Leave here making Costa Rica and yourself better.

So many come here to take, or they have a “be served” mentality. What would a different approach afford you? I’ve met a lot of people who come with the intention to identify and give support to good local services or church ministries that invest in communities. These visitors come to enjoy, but also keep an eye open for opportunities to give back. See how that can impact your travel plans.

  • If you’re not happy “there,” you won’t be happy “here.”

Costa Rica is not a magic pill to experience “paradise.” That word is really getting worn out. The adventures and travel can provide a framework to de-stress, depressurize, unwind and relax. You can have solace in the natural beauty. But don’t expect the external to radically transform the internal. Come expecting the surroundings to be conducive to experiencing a cleansing experience. But you’re the one with the finger on the switch.

  • Be smart, be aware, be safe.

We see and hear this a lot: “Is it safe?” or “I’ve read stories …”  No one can promise or predict a totally safe experience. But why would you have that expectation? You cannot have that assurance wherever you live now, so don’t cast that gigantic burden on Costa Rica. So many points about security could be made here. But they are really summed up with these three words: be smart, aware, safe. 

  • Meet the local people and learn.

Here’s the really rewarding part of a journey — going home and sharing photos and stories of the incredible people you meet, Ticos and Ticas. You don’t have to be an extrovert to accomplish this. You can see humble casas, where simple lifestyles are enjoyed by people who live the “good life.” They may seem to possess relatively little compared to what your own culture prescribes as prerequisites for “happiness,” but give this a closer look and deeper thought. There is definitely something to learn that can offer a life-changing travel experience.

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