A Howler monkey minding his own business when we pop up on our boat trip.

Costa Rica – Our Truths & Trivia

In Costa Rica, En-Route, Our Journeys, The Americas, Trip-Types, Truths & Trivia, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

So this page is a bit of fun, it is not meant to be a wiki one-stop-shop. It has some of the interesting stuff about Costa Rica, and then a bit of the trivial stuff, including our take on the place.

Let’s start with the Truths about …

Location

The 3 C’s

Continent

America (Central)

Country

Costa Rica

Capital

San José


Costa Rica is an intrepid traveller’s paradise. It offers a vast array of activities, and allows you the chance to see a huge amount of flora & fauna, beaches from the Pacific to the Caribbean and it allows you to get a perspective on the human’s place on the planet. Costa Ricans live by the maxim ‘pura vida’, it’s literal meaning is pure life, but it’s just about loving life – say hurrah to that.

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Centre of the journey will be the International airport, just outside the capital San Jose.

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National Flag
 

It’s good to talk

What speaks?
Language

Spanish; English good in the tourist locations

Dialing code

+506

Currency

Costa Rican colón (CRC)
Also the US Dollar (USD) can be used but the exchange rate can suck.

What time

Timezone

Central Standard Time (CST)
No daylight saving

Difference from UTC

-6 hrs


So what’s this Trivia then?

Did you know?

  • Costa Rica has no military force. Its Police are armed though, and it has a paramilitary force for Border Patrol.
  • By law, coffee producers in Costa Ricia can only grow the Arabica coffee variety. Considered the best by many in the know.
  • About 25% of the country is in protected national parks, or protected areas. The country contains around 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
  • Costa Rica has a tropical climate, with only 2 seasons the dry season, or summer that generally starts in December and runs through to April, when the wet season, or winter kicks in. Plan your trip carefully.

Famous for?

Food & Drink

  • Coffee
    100% Arabica – One of the best places to drink a coffee is on a plantation tour. The real meaning of from bean to cup.
  • Gallo Pinto
    Rice and black beans stir fried together. We loved this at breakfast served with fried plantains & eggs
  • Imperial & Bavaria beers
    Gary’s favourites back in 2007, although the new wave of microbrews would interest him today.

See & Do

  • Arenal active volcano
    A real-life active volcano, which with the right conditions means you can actually see lava flowing from the earth’s core.
  • Zip-wire
    Life’s too short. Enjoy the vistas as you zip through the air.
  • Tortuguero
    Explore this fabulous region to wonder in it’s wildlife.
  • Rain & Cloud forests
    Truly stunning flora & fauna as you wander through these natural parks.
  • Visit a coffee plantation
    See the bright red berries on the bush, to the dried green beans, before they are roasted for our delight. From berry to cup.
  • Stroll on a beach
    The beaches are to die for. Feel the sand between your toes in this tropical paradise.

Wildlife to See

Reptiles

Iguanas, Blue-jeans frog, crocodiles, caimans & the Jesus Christ lizards to name but a few.

Sloths

Look out for 2 & 3 toed varieties – amazing to watch. Almost like life in slow motion.

Birds

Far too many to mention, but one highlight would be to see humming birds at a feeding station.

Gary captured the experience and has shared those shots in ‘Birds, Bats & Monkeys of Costa Rica‘ , ‘Reptiles & Sloths of Costa Rica‘ & ‘Flora of Costa Rica


And your thoughts on the place?

Return-a-bility

or What are the chances of us revisiting?
(0% – You’ll have to drag us over hot coals to go back 100% – Why am I not there now?)

70%
Notes

I would love to head back, and Gary would like to meet up with old friends. Still plenty to see & do in this wonderful country.

Value for Money

Our value for money index.
Don’t forget we’re Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.
(0% – How much? I wanted to buy a drink, not the bar 100% – How much? I’ll take two.)

80%
Notes

Prices generally cheap, but a lot of the tourist activity is priced for the market, rather than actual cost. A few drinks with a friends in a bar won’t break the bank.

Behind the wheel – the driving karma

What’s it like driving in the country.
Which side of the road do they drive on? They drive on the right.
(0% – They’re suicidal – they’re out to kill us 100% – I’m in driving paradise.)

60%
Notes

Standards are pretty good, but the traffic in downtown San José can be a nightmare, especially at peak times. Some of the routes out to the popular destinations involve dirt roads. Generally not to bad but can be affected by heavy rain. Signposting could be better, so we’d advise opting for a GPS (Sat-Nav) if possible.


Janis’s Hi’s & Lo’s

Highlight

I loved the wildlife roaming freely in Costa Rica, particularly the Sloths. Tortuguero was equally amazing, meandering through the canals & waterways.

lowlight

In 2007 you were unable to fly direct from London to San Jose, so that made the trip a bit arduous. But now all that has changed, from 2016 BA currently fly there.

Gary’s Hi’s & Lo’s

Highlight

From our 2007 tour – so much, but it has to be Tortuguero, despite the rainfall & humidity – I think I’ve finally dried out now.
From the country; lots of good friends after working with a team daily for 7 years. Wonderful people, so friendly

lowlight

Being stopped by a traffic patrol for ‘speeding’ when I really wasn’t. Taking sensible precautions, and understand the correct options saved the day though.


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