Costa Rica briefly;
Costa Rica, i haven’t seen any country where the people respect to nature that much. Even Smoking in is not allowed in natural parks. However, Costa Rica is hell expensive. Even More expensive than Germany. One bottle of beer is 3 USD, one bottle of Water in a super market. The reason is; taxes are very high. It is about %56. They said it wasn’t that high before but after the new government, the taxes have been raised up. However, they are investing it to their education system. Locals say: Costa Rica was a safer country before but the government was investing on Security too much. Now they are investing on education and they want to solve violence and criminal problems out in that way. If you ask me, it makes sense but it won’t happen in short term.
The people are very modern and warm. There is no big local cartel in the country but of course, it is the transit point from Colombia to Mexico and USA. Therefore, some other cartels from Colombia and Mexico have the power in the country. If you compare between the neighbours, the security system runs better than them. However, the homicide facts have been raising last couple of years. Nevertheless, I haven’t felt in danger during my journey in Costarica.
The average salary is between 450- 600 USD. I was surprised when I first learnt it. I thought it would be more if you compare the costs of living. I don’t know how people live with that salary with this living cost.
My main intention to go to Costa Rica was to see Arinal Volcano and take a rafting tour of 30 KM. Lets see the destinations and costs:
1. San Jose
I would say to go San Jose only for transit purposes. There are really not very interesting points in the city. And like all other central cities in Latin America, San Jose is more dangerous than other part of the country. However, I was in a house party with some people that I met in couchesurfing. We also went out and nothing really happened bad.
Where to stay… one bottle of beer is 3 USD but I found a really good Hostel for 7 USD for one night. (Fauna Luxury Hostel) I can recommend you to stay there.
My plan was to hire a car and drive to Arenal Volcano, LA Fortuna but they didn’t accept my debit card. There must be Visa or Master Credit card. Otherwise forget about renting a car. Then I took an Uber and headed to central bus station to take a Bus to La Fortuna, however I missed the direct bus which is only once in a day. Then I found another solution and took a 4 hours journey via a small village. Let’s go to LA Fortuna…
2. La Fortuna
All I thought during the journey was, how happy to not able to rented the car. It could be one of the best paths that I have ever had. If you are traveling solo, definitely go with a bus and enjoy the way. The way reminded me Cameron highlands in Malaysia. If you have been before you will understand what I mean. The journey costed to me 7 USD.
Where to Stay… I stayed in Selina Hostel. That one is a kind of a hostel chain in the area. I have also stayed in the same hostel chain in Panama. It costed 10 USD per night and I can say that the vibe in the hostel is very nice. I have also bought a tour for next day in Arenal Volcano. Well you can not go in to the national park without a guide.
What to do…
Arenal Volcano National Park hiking.
The tour cost is around 22 USD all day including good lunch in the forest and enjoy in a spring water in the end of the evening with handmade cocktails. I would say, it was an amazing day; see some tropical birds, different bugs, and animals, swimming in a volcanic lake, enjoying under waterfalls and climbing to volcanic lava. End of the tour they brought us to a hot spring point. They gave us drinks to enjoy in the warm river. Here the pictures can tell better.
My intention was to go the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. I found a rafting tour which you can rafting 30 km to direction of Caribbean side. Despite it was 75 USD it makes me to save time; An activity and transfer was in the same time. If you will go to Caribbean side I highly recommend you to do it in this way.
Rafting in Pakuare River
I had a rafting experience in Bali. But that one was stronger than the river in Bali. The level can be up to level 5 which is strong enough to flip you over. We had that danger actually. However, didn’t let flipped it over by follow the instructor of the chef.
I am not a big fan of the tours I would like to explore myself individually. But Costa Rica is so wild. You are not allowed to go many places without a guide. Otherwise it is possible to get lost.
After the Rafting event they brought us to Cahuita by bus. It took 2.5 hours.
Cahuita is a very cute Caribbean town. The town has a very different culture than all other Costa Rica. I can easily say it is like another country. Most likely Jamaican black people are living there. Somehow, they immigrated to the place and then stayed there. That is the reason Bob Marley Culture is felt in the town. I stayed there two nights. I would stay more if I had more time. There is an amazing ocean, beach and national park with exotic animals. And the national park was for free. You can donate if you want at the entrance (please donate.) All the donation is used for the national park workers and maintenance of the national park. Normally the national park supposed to be with entrance fee however, there was a big storm in 2017 and ruined all the national park unfortunately. After the incident the businesses in the town have gone bad. But still it is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy the Caribbean Ocean. There is nothing much for night life and other attractions in the town. Here is just for chilling out. You can eat in the centre where you can find a lot of restaurants. Also, the Hostels are affordable and clean. I stayed in Hakuna Matata Hostel which i paid 8usd per night.
4. Puerta Viejo
I went to that small town for 2 days. This is the last town before Panama border. Therefore, people are stopping at that point for one day. There is nothing to do much. However, the night life is not bad. The ocean is better in Cahuita. I could have stayed in Cahuita instead of Puerta Viejo.
Boarding from Puerta Viejo to Panama.
There are busses from Puerta Viejo to the border of Panama everyday at least 15 times (Puerta Viejo- Sixaola bus). You can buy the ticket near the bus station of Puerta Viejo. It is 2.5 usd. It takes about 45 mins. You have to pay for exit from Costa Rica around 9 USD. Once you arrived to Sixaola you need to cross a bridge