A few things you should know before visiting Costa Rica

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I've talked a bunch with you all about how intensely I fell in love with Costa Rica last year on my first ever trip outside of the United States. I mean... I went to Canada for a day but does that even count? I feel like it doesn't count unless you need a passport to get in. Anyway, this CR trip was a compilation of firsts for me and I never really went into the dirty stuff with you all. I felt compelled to write this blog post after running into plenty mishaps along the way ( don't worry, nothing serious)! I told you this was my best vacation EVER)!

Let's kick it off with the S T U P I D ass rental car situation. First off, if you're traveling to CR, you MUST know that there WILL be a mandatory $1,000 hold on your credit card. A deposit is typical to expect so that wasn't so bad. The part that blind-sided us was the renters fee of $300. Un-refundable. Unexpected. We paid the fee with bitter frowns and a bad taste in our mouth at the beginning of our trip so this year, we did our research. James's new Amex credit card actually has written documentation to show our rental car company that we do NOT have to pay the fee (it specifically mentions CR). Turns out, a lot of travel cc's provide this luxury. I also found for you all this very helpful article posted by Huff Post writer, Sarah McArthur which contains loopholes to the charge and even a discount! 

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Next up, we found that "rainy seasons" are actually a perfect time for traveling. Yes, it rained every day we were in CR but it actually added to the experience. "Rainy season" doesn't mean it rains every hour of the day. It meant our resort was less polluted with other people (seriously, it was dead) and we got to enjoy a lot of activities for a lot cheaper than it would cost in the dry season. Things like fishing trips, snorkeling tours, ziplining tours, horseback riding... you get the picture. 

Keeping the bugs at bay is no joke in tropical areas. Bringing bug spray along can be a life-saving move. OK, not THAT important but James learned the hard way that re-applying bug spray is essential. It's too bad he didn't figure this out until AFTER he noticed the 13 bug bits on his legs. 

Don't underestimate ticks. Ya, those disgusting tiny bugs that spread disease and make a home in the layers of your skin. I was bitten by TWO ticks last year while in the rainforest and while I didn't catch any scary diseases, the process of pulling them out of my skin was extremely uncomfortable. I had a tick burrow itself ONE INCH away from my... ok... I'm just now realizing there really isn't a very classy term for "asshole" so there it is. Ya. It was painful and extremely embarrassing having James dig it out while I laid screaming on the bed. (I'm a drama queen, I know.) A lot of bug sprays claim to keep ticks off but there's absolutely no guarantee they won't find their way around the chemicals. 

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Wear and re-apply sunscreen throughout the day! It doesn't matter if you wear minimal SPF or heavy SPF, you NEED sun protection. Any amount of sun protection is better than no protection.  In tropical regions, the sun's rays are much more intense than your average hometown in the states. For example today, May 15, 2018, the UV rays in San Diego will not reach over 8 on the UV chart on the San Diego UV Ray Index whereas in CR, most of the day, you are exposed to UV rays that scale as 11 on the charts and are marked as "extreme." That's intense! 

Not to be a Debby downer but sloths aren't hanging about on every tree in Costa Rica. If you see someone post a photo holding a sloth, it's most likely because their resort takes care of them. We didn't see a single sloth but we saw plenty different species of monkeys, lizards and BUGS (cringes).

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Monkeys are not your friends. They are wild animals and should be left alone. Don't feed the monkeys and definitely don't get in their personal space. They might be adorable but they're thieves! If you absolutely must leave your belongings on a beach chair, make sure it's tied down. The little fxckers will steal everything in your purse or backpack! Luckily I'm not speaking from experience. 

One thing James and I weren't expecting was the lack of colónes used on our trip. Just about everywhere we went in CR accepted cash or card! We also found it surprising how similar prices in Costa Rica are to prices in the U.S. We thought being so south of the border, prices might drop quite a bit but you'll spend the same amount of money on food and booze in CR as you would here! 

Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for jellyfish! Jellies are extremely common in CR and unfortunately, I do speak from experience on this matter. It took James and I a few minutes before we realized our skin wasn't tingling because of our sunscreen, we were swimming in a group of quarter-sized jellyfish! It didn't hurt quite as bad as you'd think but soaking ourselves in vinegar was not the most romantic part of our trip. 

Well, there you have it!

I hope this blog post was helpful for anyone traveling soonn to Costa Rica! If you took anything away from this post, please be sure to share in on Pinterest or leave a comment below! Your feedback means a ton!