Costa Rica: Pura Vida

From the Rasta vibes and turquoise waters of the Caribbean coastline, through misty mountains and rainforests with colourful macaws flying over head, to the perfect surf and fun beach parties of the pacific coast. You can experience it all in Costa Rica!

Even though Costa Rica was the most expensive country from Central America that we visited, it is definitely worth discovering this diverse place where every day will be a new adventure. Here are our tips for places you should not miss and how to make your travels affordable.

Surf waves of all sizes

The west cost of Costa Rica is the home of many famous surf spots, including Witches rock and Olies point, both made famous by the classic surf film Endless Summer II. Tamarindo is the center of it all, where you can travel to many amazing locations for all levels of surfers or just walk right out the front of town to a handful of great beginner waves.

Surf rental is surprisingly cheap, only $10/day in many surf shacks located along the main road.

Our tip: start early in the morning to avoid the crowds and you may have the surf of your life like me 🙂

The East Coast is a lot harder to get around and doesn’t have the hype or consistency of the West coast. This means, a lot less surfers to compete with. Right in the middle of Puerto Viejo town is Salsa Brava, an intimidating wave breaking onto shallow barnacle covered reef, definitely not a beginners wave but great to watch from one of the reggae bars lining the beach.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

costa rica

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Options for partying in Tamarindo are endless. With a high concentration of surfers from all around the world, typical middle age tourists coming down from North America and backpackers on a budget like us trying to experience this lively area.

You can choose from sharing a bottle of wine with friends while gazing at never ending stars, dance in clubs until early morning or go with our choice, enjoying margarita’s at a beach bar while watching local bands perform.

Where to stay: Pura Vida Mini Hostel, great, clean, affordable (AUD$10) hostel, with well equipped kitchen and nice chill out area.

Experience being on a cloud

The Cloud Forest and many national parks fill the center of the country and although you hear a lot about the coasts, this is actually some of the most scenic parts of Costa Rica. The mountains are high and steep, so you will literally be up in the clouds and the cool climate will be appreciated after hot days by the beach.

Here you can experience swimming in the stunning waterfall (La Paz Waterfall), walk through wild vegetation, spot incredible wildlife, see coffee plantations and local communities.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Dance to reggae in the Carribean Jungle

White and black sand beaches are not the only natural wonders you can find on the wild Carribean coast of Costa Rica. The rainforest continues from the mountains all the way down to the sand. Cahuita National Park is the home of cappucin monkeys, sloths, macaw and toucans.

Further south, only half an hour by public transport you will find the Rasta hub Puerto Viejo where rum and reggae are found on every corner of this wicked little village.

Every night of the week, Puerto Viejo’s night scene hosts different drink promotions, but the restaurant options are also endless.

For budget options visit local stalls with tasty empanadas, fresh fruit during the day or local fish.

There’s no lack of nature here. Black & white sandy beaches, waterfalls, hidden caves, snorkelling, surfing, diving, turtles, monkeys, sloth or even boa spotting is possible here.

Renting bicycles is another cheap option to explore nearby villages, beaches and hidden food gems.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

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Where to stay?

Puerto Viejo offers plenty of hostels, some cheapish ones around $10 per night and then there’s Selina; a new hostel chain with beautiful accommodation, clean facilities, and free yoga right on the beach.

As small as Costa rica may appear on the map, it is jam packed with many beautiful places to see and no one day will be the same.