When I landed in Costa Rica I was in awe. I kept saying to myself, "I cannot believe I'm here!" Costa Rica has been one of the places I've always dreamed about visiting. As I write this blog, I'm dreaming that I'm still there... Costa Rica was everything I wanted plus more! The beautiful mountain ranges, lush rainforest, exotic animals, and the people made this one of my top vacation destinations. You must put this place on your bucket list. I'm sure going back...
Many people dream of traveling to Costa Rica. It's not expensive to travel or live here. The country hosts a lot of EXPATS and the people here are extremely helpful and friendly. You can find an apartment in some cities for $200 per/month for a 1-bedroom. Costa Rica is very safe and I felt at home when I arrived. This country is not expensive if you plan your vacation by staying in AirBNBs, hostels or even camping at a campsite.
Here are a few places I stayed and others you can book on AIRBNB.
I arrived at a villa in the rainforest that's known for their farm-to-table restaurant movement by the name of Portal De La Montana just south of San Jose. The drive from San Jose to the farm is about 2hrs. You should rent a 4x4 SUV or Jeep. The roads in some of the smaller towns turn into dirt roads and you will get stuck on the muddy roads if you rent a car. Here, I was met by the BEST host, Juergen when I arrived. I arrived right before sunset and just in time for dinner. The food was absolutely delicious and refreshing. I'm pictured sitting in our villa in the rainforest with an indoor pool and sauna. Can you say PARADISE?!?! The restaurant uses fresh veggies from the garden and they raise livestock for their farm-to-table meals. The views of this farm are like no other! With my AIRBNB credits, I only had to pay $8 for a two-night stay! Yasssssss for credits and discounts!
The Treehouse is nestled among various tropical trees on top of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You can see the waves crashing against the shore and the wind ruffling the leaves. This is a unique piece of coastal paradise, a canopy level, open concept fully equipped condo with an incredible ocean breeze. This AirBNB was just steps from the beach and you can see surfers throughout the day catching the waves. You can even enjoy watching parrots and scarlet macaws fly by daily. I only paid $26 for a three-night stay at this beautiful treehouse by using my AIRBNB credits!
The name says it all. The Spot is a hostel living situation in the city of Esterillos Oeste. The owner is a cool and chill guy that I met while walking up the street one morning for breakfast. I was amazed how he built this place. The Spot was constructed by using freezer shipping containers. The Spot is very clean and great for backpackers and for folks on a budget that would like to enjoy the beaches in the area. The WiFi works great here and you can meet people from various parts of the world during your stay. Visit the beaches in Esterillos or jet off to Manuel Antonio about 25 miles from 'The Spot'. (Be sure to keep your phone handy, because the monkeys will take them from you if you aren't paying attention...)
What To Eat In Costa Rica?
Costa Ricans are known for their traditional bean and rice dishes. It is a low-cost way to pack up the protein and very inexpensive. You can get a rice and bean dish for about $3-$6 USD. I did try the beans and rice, but I'm more of a fish & chicken type of guy. Beans make my stomach hurt, and I didn't have time for that! You feel me? The fish and chicken dishes range from $6 - $20 USD. One of the best restaurants in the country is located in Esterillos Oeste and it's named Los Almendros and it's owned by a native of Canada. Be sure to try the whole fried lobster or Jerk Chicken dish! The restaurant owner receives fresh seafood daily from local fishermen. You can't beat it!
Getting Around In Costa Rica
If you are a Nomad like myself, you'll want to get the full experience of Costa Rica by renting a SUV or Jeep. I suggest booking a vehicle with Hotwire because they always have killer deals. I rented a 4x4 SUV for around $400 and that included insurance. Be sure to carry a major credit card, because the deposit can be as much as $1,000. Also, get full coverage provided by Alamo rental instead of using your personal insurance. Full coverage insurance is best so you'll be covered if anything happens to the vehicle. Oh, and Costa Rica has a few toll roads, so keep spare change handy when you are driving.
Do You Need A Visa Or Passport?
You don't need a VISA to enter the country, but you must have a passport. (If you stay more than 90-days you will need a VISA.) Whenever you depart from Costa Rica you will have to pay $30 to exit the country. At first, I thought it was the airline that I was flying with, but after talking to other people in line, I found out that all travelers must pay this fee.
Other Places To Visit And Things To Do
This place is stunning! Overlooking beautiful coastlines, Villa Calentas is a mountain hotel and spa that's perfect for a getaway. The villa is perched high up in the mountains at 1,150 feet in the rainforest inspired by Victorian Architecture. The infinity pool at the villa creates an illusion that you're in the Pacific Ocean. AMAZING!
Jaco Beach is only a 20-30 minute drive from Esterillos Oste. This town was formerly named after a huge oil tycoon from Texas. This city is known for its vibrant nightlife, casinos, and beaches. Caleb, actually won a few dollars while we were at the casino. He's LUCKY!
Horse Back Riding At Portal De La Montana
There are many farms that offer horseback riding. While staying on the farm at Portal De La Montana we took the horses into the rainforest and throughout the countryside. This was a very relaxing experience and you can see many of the mountain ranges if you travel this way. Horse riding is highly respected in Costa Rica and many of the natives ride horses into town and to work in the fields.
Go And Explore Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country that's not expensive if you plan in advance and look for airline deals, stay in AirBNBs or hostels. Don't let the other blogs fool you. You can save a lot of money if you don't stay in hotels and all inclusive resorts and avoid taking the buses. Get out and explore the countryside and meet with the locals. You'll find a way to live it up in the beautiful country!