Tis’ the season for many people that live in the Northern US or Canada to escape the snowy, windy, and dark winter, for a sunny destination in the Caribbean or Central America. Having travelled extensively in the Caribbean myself including Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, St. Thomas, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, and the Southern US, and additionally, having just returned from a trip to Costa Rica, this article will detail why it is such a must-see.
The top reasons you should visit Costa Rica include: Climate, People, and Safety.
Climate: Costa Rica is an environmental gem offering lush Tropical Rainforests in the Central and South Eastern region, breathtaking beaches in the North Western Region, as well as Volcanoes and plenty of diverse wildlife. In terms of a winter getaway, the Guanacaste Province, where the Airport in Liberia is located, has a desert like arid climate, making it perfect for almost guaranteed hot and dry weather between December and April. Guanacaste Province has a rainy season from late May to November; however, when it is cold in the North, it is hot and sunny in Guanacaste! Whether renting a house overlooking the beach or staying in a 5-star resort is your fancy, there are plenty of options for you. Make sure you take a wildlife tour, you will see plenty of Monkeys, Lizards, Birds, Iguanas, Crocodiles, and other furry friends.
People: Gross generalizations are problematic given that there are always people or factors in whatever you are describing that ruin it. Having said that, Costa Rican people are generally extremely nice, warm, and friendly. In addition, they seem to recognize that Tourism is essential for their economy and as such, on resorts, in small towns, or even bigger cities, you can often find people offering to help with directions or at least offering a warm smile. Perhaps it is this cultural characteristic that also helps make the country relatively safer than many of its Central American neighbors. Finally, you can generally tell a lot about people in the way they treat their animals. Costa Rican people love animals and seem to treat them extremely well. You will see dogs, cats, and livestock that are well fed and cared for. Moreover, Costa Rican people are passionate about protecting wildlife. Having visited multiple National Parks with a variety of guides, it was evident that protecting the natural ecosystem and environment for wildlife is a priority. The National Parks have a variety of Park Rangers to ensure compliance of rules that protect the flora and fauna.
Safety: When comparing Costa Rica to other countries in the region including the Caribbean and Central America, Costa Rica has a lower crime rate; this is based on a detailed analysis of United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security report on Costa Rica, as well as other countries in the region. Costa Rica has a longstanding record of being a stable democracy and has not had a military since 1948. The highest crime rate is in San Jose, the Capital City. Crime is possible anywhere and every traveler should take precautions when travelling such as keeping personal belongings outside of view, travelling with professional guides, and being aware of potential dangers in certain areas.
Road Safety can be a concern because of challenging terrain and poor road conditions in some places. Special care should be taken and travel at night should be avoided if possible.
Finally, under Safety, it is also important to note, that in most regions of the country the water is safe to drink. Particularly in the high tourist area of Guanacaste, there is a developed water purification and sewage system. However, ensure you ask about water safety before drinking the water in any region, and ensure that all food is washed and prepared in purified water.
All in all, it is a great place to visit!