If you are considering a family trip to Costa Rica, check out our ten reasons to visit Costa Rica. We bet that after reading, your next international vacation will be a Costa Rica trip!
Costa Rica is one of the best first international destinations for family travelers. We’ve been traveling to Costa Rica for years- and brought both our daughters starting at three months of age. One of my favorite topics is family travel to Costa Rica.
That’s why I decided to put together this list of 10 reasons Costa Rica is the best place on Earth! There’s literally something for everyone to see and do. From hiking a volcanic trail to ziplining to lazy beach days, Costa Rica is magic. And once you’ve come, I guarantee you’ll fall in love.
Reason #1- Costa Rica Is Safe
When I’m traveling with my kids, my number one priority is safety. Costa Rica definitely delivers on that front. Costa Rica abolished the military in 1948 and gun laws are extremely stringent. No weapons of war are allowed at all- which makes firearms almost a non-issue. After Switzerland, Costa Rica is one of only two neutral countries in the world. It’s also a democracy with a president- similar to the structure of the United States.
What makes me feel even safer in Costa Rica, however, is the Costa Rican psyche when it comes to peace. Costa Ricans don’t know war- it’s not part of their vocabulary. Instead, a commitment to peace and tranquility is priority number one for Costa Ricans. This doesn’t mean there is no violence in the country, nor does it mean travelers should not follow usual precautionary measures. I will consider Costa Rica one of the safest countries in all of Latin America, however.
Reason #2- You Can Drink The Water
Costa Rica has a strong commitment to a green lifestyle- it’s on track to be one of the first fully carbon-neutral countries in the world, they have a strong national recycling system, and were one of the first largely tourist countries to use biodegradable straws.
You might wonder why I talk about Costa Rica’s environmental commitment when I talk about potable water, but it’s because Costa Ricans generally don’t want to clutter the world with more plastic bottles, so they’ve made a commitment for many years to keep the drinking water clean for everyone. In 2002, Costa Rica made the commitment to have 100% drinkable water by 2015.
To that end, you can drink the water everywhere in Costa Rica. I’ve been drinking the tap water in Costa Rica for 20 years and I have never, not once, gotten sick. As with safety, use your smarts about water- if you feel like something is unsafe don’t drink it. And know that bottled water is highly available everywhere in the country as well.
Reason #3-The Food Is Incredible- and Healthy!
The Costa Rican diet is based on rice, beans, fruits and vegetables and also meat. You will find tons of produce on roadside stands at a fraction of the cost of US prices. 99% of the restaurants prepare your food fresh as you wait, and the flavors are delicious. Whether you eat arroz con pollo, soups, or a delicious tres leches dessert, there is something for everyone to eat in Costa Rica.
Food is kid-friendly, vegetarian and vegan-friendly, and even healthy and tasty! As a mom who travels with a food allergy kid, I am also noticing an awareness about food allergies in tourist areas as well. To sum it all up, food in Costa Rica is great! Check out our Costa Rican foodie photos if you don’t believe me- and if you visit La Fortuna don’t miss our top local restaurant’s list.
Reason #4-Transportation is a Breeze
There are so many options for transportation around Costa Rica. You mostly just need to decide which option is right for you. From private shuttles, taxis and Ubers to renting a car or hiring a driver, it’s easy to get around. In about the last 10 years, Costa Rica has really upped its game in terms of road quality. While you’ll still find roads that are tough to pass in the rainy season, in general, it is very easy to get around Costa Rica.
Reason #5- Perfect Weather
One of the things that I most love about Costa Rica is the year-round steady temperatures. Temperatures range from low 60’s at night to mid 90’s in the day, so you’ll never need more than a light jacket. While the rainy season hits from May to November, you’ll rarely if ever find rain all day every day. This makes it fairly easy to pack the right clothes and pack light.
Reason #6- Many Costa Ricans Speak English
One reason I love to send families to Costa Rica is that it’s so easy to communicate with people. All public schools are compulsory and free from kindergarten through college. Plus, English is a required course so the majority of Costa Ricans have a working knowledge of English.
In tourist areas, almost all guides, hotel workers and others speak English. You may find waiters or taxi drivers that don’t speak English, but you shouldn’t have a problem if you don’t speak Spanish. If you need a cheat sheet here’s 16 Spanish phrases every traveler to Costa Rica should know. Traveling with kids? Our printable version of travel phrases in Costa Rica with kids is great too!
Reason #7- The Dollar Is Widely Accepted
The local currency is the colon, and while the conversion to the dollar has fluctuated a bit over the past year, it’s generally about 550 colones per dollar. ATMs are easy to find and use, and most will even allow you to take out dollars. Most every tourist area takes credit cards, but you may have to pay an extra 3% fee.
In tourist areas, however, you will find dollars are widely used. Many souvenir shops and restaurants will have their prices printed in dollars, or you can ask to use dollars too. Some stores have a currency converter right one the cash register too. Do expect colones as change during a cash transaction with dollars.
Reason #8- Health Care Is Great in an Emergency
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare to have a medical emergency and not know how to get care. Universal healthcare is king in Costa Rica, and every town has at least a small medical clinic. San Jose hosts some of the top hospitals in all of Latin America, with highly competent doctors-including many expats.
Costa Rica has pharmacies throughout- even in tourist and most rural areas. Unlike in the United States, you can purchase many antibiotics, painkillers, inhalers and more from a pharmacy without a prescription. I love that pharmacies always have a doctor and a pharmacist on duty, many of whom even speak English.
Reason #9- Wireless Internet is Everywhere
Literally, every hotel, restaurant, and even some city parks have free wireless internet. Most times the password is posted if needed, and if not, you can always ask someone. You can purchase a phone card to use in an unlocked smartphone to access the country’s 3G and 4G networks. Many tour buses now offer Internet onboard as a service to clients. Basically, you don’t have to go off the grid in Costa Rica if you don’t want to.
Reason #10- There’s a Costa Rica Trip For Every Budget
Costa Rica is home to some super high-end luxury hotels, but you can also travel completely off the grid. You just have to look to find what best fits your budget and expectations. From there the sky is the limit!
It’s just a matter of deciding which activities, type of transportation and level of accommodations you want. From there, the sky is the limit as far as beaches, rafting, zip lining, nature tours, hanging bridges, and more.
So what are you waiting for? Costa Rica is one of the best places on Earth and we are ready to have you! We highly recommend booking trips with Stephanie of Costa Rican Family Holidays.
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