1. La Fortuna & Arenal
3. Manuel Antonio
4. San Jose
The capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose has some good eats and shops to recharge if you've been traveling around to other places with less in the way of amenities and the like. It is the easiest place to start your Costa Rica adventure, even to use as a home base like I did, taking day and overnight trips. The guesthouse I stayed (Costa Rica Guesthouse) was amazing, I had a huge shower, king size bed, cheap breakfast in the lobby, friendly staff who would hold onto my carry-on during overnight trips until I came back, and a travel agent very knowledgable about all kinds of things to do in the country. The parent company also runs a hostel across the street.
- Flights: $719 (Quito => San Jose)
- Lodging: $220 (guesthouses, AirBnB)
- Transportation: $15 (bus)
- Activities: $280 (volcano, waterfalls, white water rafting)
- Food: $210 (estimated $30/day)
- Getting Around. The easy way to get around the country seemed to be by bus between cities and mini-van around cities or for day trips and excursions. Of course there are taxies as well. I made San Jose my home base since it's very centrally located and took day trip or overnight trips. It was great because the hostel held my carry-on for me and I just took my backpack. When I came back I picked it up and checked in for another night or two.
- Rainy Season. I went around June during the shoulder season which was great because it was not at all crowded, but it was pretty rainy most of the time. From what I heard it was just getting into the rainy season there. It is of course the tropics after all, so rain is to be expected. Just be sure to bring rain gear with you, preferably breathable jackets and clothing because it's pretty hot and humid. Farther south seemed to have nicer weather along the coast. I had several nice, sunny days.