20 Things NOT To Do in Costa Rica

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Exotic Costa Rica is known for its lush jungles, cool creatures and some of the finest beaches in the world. However beware of these 20 things NOT to do in Costa Rica.

1. Don’t Feed the Monkeys
The adorable monkeys are a big hit with tourists, but feeding them diminishes their self-reliant survival instincts. They get lazy and don’t get the exercise they need can become rather aggressive… Oh yeh and it’s also against the law!

2. Don’t Let Your Snake Guard Down
There are 22 venomous species of snake slithering around the country! In fact, it is estimated that there are two deadly snakes per hectare there!

3. Don’t Forget to Shake Out Your Shoes
We’re really not trying to scare you away, just be aware that the world’s most toxic spider makes its home here and might be lurking, say… in your shoe! The Brazilian wandering spider is particularly prevalent in Corcovado National Park, and is a nightmare for arachnophobics.

4. Don’t Stay at an International Chain Resort
Costa Rica is full of family-run B&Bs, sustainable eco-lodges and intimate guesthouses that often have more character and charm than the familiar chains do, and will give you a more authentic experience on your vacation.

5. Don’t Expect Great Coffee!
Yes, Costa Rica grows some of the richest, boldest, most coveted coffee beans in the world. (reverb) However, most of the crop is for export, so the local cups of joe aren’t necessarily homegrown!

Number 6. Don’t Fall For Parking Lot Scams
As you approach the parking area, an official-looking attendant will approach your car and tell you that the lot is full, directing you to an alternative (more expensive) place. Check for yourself that the main lot is full before falling for this.

7. Don’t Go Near the Ants
Costa Rica’s various ant species aren’t going to kill you, but their burning pain might just make you want to die. Home to creepy crawlies like fire ants, leaf-cutter ants and bullet ants, they’re fascinating to watch but don’t get too close!

8. Don’t Be Lax About Volcano Alerts
Costa Rica has 67 volcanoes! Most of them are dormant but there are several active ones that could conceivably blow at any time! Volcanic activity is monitored, so pay attention if there are warnings.

9. Don’t Touch the Tiny Frogs
When wandering the rainforest you may see some of these cute and colorful frogs with elaborate designs They may look like super cute rubber toys but some have enough venom to kill ten grown men!

10. Don’t Take an Unofficial Taxi
Only take official government licensed red taxis with the yellow triangle. At the airport, only the orange taxis are authorized to pick you up. Avoid taking unregulated unofficial “Pirate” taxis, as they often ripoff unsuspecting tourists.

11. Don’t Forget the Insect Repellent
Costa Rica has its fair share of mosquitoes which can spread diseases like dengue or chikungunya. Beyond the health risks, they’re just plain annoying and persistent, and insect repellent tends to be expensive and difficult to find once you’re there.

12. Don’t Expect to See Big Cats in The Jungle
Most travelers would love to see a jaguar, ocelot or puma in the wild on their trip to Costa Rica. These endangered cats are only found on reserves these days, (Tortuguero National Park, Corcovado National Park, La Selva or the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.) and even in these sanctuaries, it’s a rare sighting.

13. Don’t Forget to Bring Sunscreen
Costa Rica’s many pristine sandy beaches are paradisaical. However, being only 10 degrees north of the equator, the sun is often very strong. Make sure you buy the sunscreen before you go, as it’ll be cheaper.

14. Don’t Tip in Restaurants
Tipping in restaurants in Costa Rica is not expected, and there is usually a 10% service charge included anyway. Unless you receive exceptionally good service, don’t bother tipping in catering establishments.

15. Don’t Disrespect Nature
Picking wild plants, pocketing seashells or damaging trees is a big no-no, and may get you in trouble. Most of the wildlife, particularly in the rainforests, is strictly protected by the government.

16. Don’t Forget Departure Tax
Unlike many countries, you will need to get a special exit visa upon leaving the country! $29 USD. American, US Airways and Copa have recently added this to the ticket price, but most others will have to join the lengthy line at the airport to take care of this pesky fee.

17. Don’t Neglect Beach Safety
Costa Rica is famous for its wonderful sandy beaches, but many of them have high surfs or riptides, causing locals and tourists alike to drown every year, and there are rarely any warning signs.

18. Don’t Buy Souvenirs at the Airport
Shops in the San Jose and Liberia airports are extremely overpriced, and the souvenirs are clichéd and unexciting anyway. To get more authentic items, consider bartering at local markets when doing your souvenir shopping.

19. Don’t Forget to Learn Some Basic Spanish
English is not widely spoken in Costa Rica, particularly if you’re going off the beaten path away from touristy zones. The local ticos are generally friendly and won’t mind helping you practice your Spanish attempts.

20. Don’t Rely on Travelers Checks
Travelers checks are becoming increasingly difficult to use around the world, and Costa Rica is no exception. They are not widely accepted, even in touristy areas, so you’ll need to withdraw or change your money while you’re there.

Now you know what NOT to do you can enjoy this bountiful paradise. ¡Pura Vida!

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