Why Costa Rica, indeed? Well, aside from the affordability of treatments like dental implants, Costa Rica has been touted as one of the most interesting destinations for avid travelers and occasional tourists alike. It is a peaceful country that doesn’t even have an army (abolished in 1948), and this peace-loving, friendly view of the world translates and is embodied by its citizens. Costa Ricans are easygoing, highly educated people, the majority of whom speak English as a second language. There are many reasons why it is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America.
Modern City, Tropical Haven
San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, although only 51,060 square kilometers and home to under half a million people, is the heart of the country. A modern city with all the technology and contemporary amenities you would expect from any city in the world, San Jose’s sprawl is a combination of colonial and modern architecture, hiding wonders for visitors to find should they care to explore it.
Costa Rica is also one of the most ecologically friendly, green countries in the world, with 98.1% of its electricity being generated from green sources such as hydro, solar, geothermal, and biomass as of 2016.
The city is one of the safest, with low crime rates, prevalent police presence, and sensible urban distribution.
Transportation options within San Jose and outside the city are plentiful; from privately-owned mass public transportation, Uber, private taxi companies, and other affordable private transportation options, getting around from here to there and just about everywhere is a cinch.
Travel and Accommodations
Traveling to Costa Rica is relatively simple. There a plenty of flights from several airlines incoming from many different countries constantly. The country’s high touristic profile essentially ensures that you can find a simple flight path to get here, since millions of people visit every year. In 2016, a reported 2.9 million tourists visited Costa Rica, 1 million of which alone coming from the United States and nearly half as many originating from Europe. Costa Rica is officially the most visited country in Central America. Costa Rica currently ranks in the 38 th spot in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index and was one of The Ethical Traveler group’s 2017 Ten Best Ethical Destinations.
When it comes to finding a place to stay while visiting Costa Rica, there’s more than enough variety to suit your needs and desires. Plenty of commercial and high-end hotel chains have hotels operating in the country, like the Hilton hotel chain, Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inn, Four Seasons, and Best Western among many others. You can also find plenty of small mom and pop style inns, which run the gamut from rustic to peculiar, making the most of the country’s traditional architecture as well as having varied themes. If you are in the market for something more affordable or more private, both Hostels and Airbnb venues can be found aplenty. Whatever may be your price range, and whatever it is you might be looking for in lodging, Costa Rica has something to offer that will leave you happy and satisfied, if not marveled.
Culture and Experiences Both New and Familiar
The urban experience in Costa Rica – especially in San Jose – is really quite something. It is close enough to home for the U.S., U.K., and European traveler, yet different enough with its Latin American, tropical veneer and the rather unique nuances of the Costa Rican cultural experience.
If the foodie experience is what you are interested in, the country offers a veritable smorgasbord of experiences and tastes. From chain restaurants ranging through every possible cuisine style, to artisanal and organic experiences and uniquely original restaurants and stands, there is always something new to try or a reliable chain to resort to if you’re feeling a little homesick and longing for the familiar.
If the nightlife is more up your alley, you can find all manner of clubs, bars, and venues to visit. Name a music genre, name a scene, name a style, odds are you will find a place to visit and have a great night during your stay. Blues bars, Jazz joints, Dance clubs, Gentlemen’s clubs, Karaoke bars, lounges, Sports bars, even bar tours and party buses, you name it, Costa Rica has it.
And what about art? Well, between modern art shops and museums, and pre-Columbian archeological museums, some might say you are spoiled for choice. There are also Art City Tours that take you through various museums and key urban art locations that paint a fuller picture of what the Costa Rican art scene is like on all walks of life.
Music, song, dance, art, crafts… Costa Rica is a culturally rich country that has a great mixture of its own indigenous and Latin American roots with the influence of the First World’s leading currents. There’s enough of the familiar and plenty of the exotic and strange. Costa Rica, in short, is a place to be experienced in the flesh.
History in Every Corner
One of the greatest features of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, is the variety in architecture and historical structures. Many of the country’s oldest, most culturally and historically significant buildings have been preserved, so taking a leisurely walk through the city – or a guided tour, if you prefer – is tantamount to time travel. You can almost see the past vividly just standing in or near structures that have been standing longer than anyone alive today has lived.
Costa Rica is a country steeped deep in its history, and as it has embraced modernity, it has not forsaken its heritage and culture. This makes it a unique combination, a country that doesn’t quite look like any other, but can nonetheless make you feel at home.
So why Costa Rica? Because, aside from the affordable dental care angle, you can make your way here with hardly a bother, but if you care to, there is so much more to discover.