The kids are out of school (on yet another school break), it’s cold where you live, maybe you’ve already been to Mexico and/or Hawaii and are looking for a place that’s warm, new (to you), exotic, beautiful, easy for North Americans (or English speakers) and fairly easy to get to. The problem? You’ve only got a week. Where do you go? COSTA RICA!
Can you really do Costa Rica (or at least part of it) in a week? Yes! Perhaps it won’t be immersive travel, but it’s definitely enough time to visit this gorgeous country and knock a few of the typical tourist highlights off your list so that you can come back another time and do a deeper dive. And it’s an awesome place to go with kids!
Quick facts about Costa Rica:
- Language: The government provides free education to all Costa Rican citizens from preschool through college, so most Costa Ricans speak wonderful English. There are also tons of English-speaking ex-pats who’ve moved here. Great if you’re a tad hesitant to travel to Central America because your Spanish skills are a little lackluster. If you’re like me, and wanted to practice Spanish more, the locals will kindly oblige you in Spanish conversation as well.
- Environmentalism: Costa Rica is a world leader in environmental efforts as well. The country plans to be carbon neutral by 2021 and was named the greenest country in the world (2009). It did Central America a solid by abolishing its military in the 1940s and began providing energy (solar, wind) to its neighbors (Nicaragua and Panama) to keep up peaceful relations (what a concept!!). As such, you won’t see a lot of garbage or waste in Costa Rica and there are recycling/waste sorting bins everywhere (garbage/aluminum/plastic/compostables).
- Food: Traditional Costa Rican dishes are typically Gallo Pinto or Casado (iterations of rice + beans with a protein). Admittedly a little uninspired, the abundance of tropical produce and fresh vegetables combined with the inventive + resourceful restauranteurs means you’ll never be lacking in awesome food choices.