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6 Important Things You'll Need In Costa Rica


Whether you’ve set your sights on a relaxing beach resort, or a backpacking Costa Rica adventure - here are some things you’ll want to know.


1. Bring Sunscreen. 

Yeah, I realize you’re probably dreaming of bringing back your souvenir tan, but you’ll probably end up with one even if you wear sunscreen. The real question is, do you also want to roast until you look like prematurely aged chicken fillet? Not a good look. Not a good life decision.

2. Avoid Driving After Dark.

Streets aren’t always well-lit. Manholes aren’t always covered, so there’s a lot more men falling into holes. And, any road smaller than a highway isn’t likely to be marked by a sign. So if there’s a particular reason you want to travel at night, hail a taxi. They’re the red cars with the yellow triangle on the door. (Going into a taxi that doesn’t have this label? No bueno.)


3. Know How To Be Polite.


In Costa Rica, it’s customary to greet someone before asking them a question. Really, it makes sense. No one likes to feel like you’re just pumping them for information. Here are the most basic greetings you should know:


¡Buenos días!  (Good day!)

¡Buenas tardes!  (Good afternoon!)

¿Cómo está? (How are you?)

¡Buenas noches! (Good night! Note: In Latin America, this can be used as a greeting.)


4. Bring Something with Long Sleeves (Bundle Up).


Just because Costa Rica is 10 degrees from the Equator doesn’t mean it’s always sunny. Check the elevation of the place you’ll be staying. It can get chilly during the night in the mountains, so remember to bring something warm.


5. Cheek Kiss, Don’t Hug.


When you’re introduced to someone in Costa Rica, don’t go for the hug. It’s more common in Costa Rica (and most Latin American countries, for that matter) to go for the cheek kiss. Note: This does not actually mean kissing someone’s face. And, guys, when meeting another guy, it’s generally okay to shake hands.


6. Learn Enough Spanish to be Understood.



We’re not saying you should be fluent before you travel--but your travels will be richer if you can communicate.

Language Zen teaches you the most important words first--the stuff you’ll need to know as soon as you touch down in Costa Rica. (We’re not selling it to you. You can use Language Zen every day for free.) Since Language Zen personalizes the learning experience to fit you, you won’t waste any time. Click to start learning Spanish.