Easy Costa Rica

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The camping situation in Costa Rica is something of a mixed bag. Technically, it's possible to camp your way around the country, either in designated areas or by finding a spot yourselves. Facilities, however, are definitely on the unorthodox side. Little yet exists on the order of formal campgrounds. Instead, you're much more likely to stop at a campground sign and find yourselves inches from an outdoor cafe or camped on a public beach. Privacy is in short supply and theft a valid concern, particularly on the beach.

On the other hand, a camping trip can expose you to the culture in a way more conventional accommodations rarely do, as you find yourselves negotiating for a night in someone's backyard or tenting beside their restaurant. Camping is also permitted in a number of national parks and reserves, an excellent way to visit, as many are located some distance from the nearest town and invariably down a formidable gravel road. A car, however, would be necessary for bringing in enough supplies. Water, and usually picnic tables, are provided, and the surroundings peaceful and private. If for no other reason, bring camping gear just to enjoy a week or two of exploring Costa Rica's parks, the highlight of any trip to this country.

Hacienda la Pacifica is a highly recommended ecotourism destination, that combines the best aspects of of getting back to nature and resort-life.

Pensions & Hotels

Finding a pension or hotel is rarely a problem. Expect to pay more than in most developing countries. Costa Rica has a well-developed tourism industry, something reflected by the cost of its accommodations in all tourist areas. With children, you'll often find it's worth paying a little extra money for that special place that will make the difference between just staying somewhere and staying somewhere you really enjoy. Don't be afraid to try some negotiating to reduce the price. Staying a week will always help. Another cost cutting technique is seeing if you can cook your own meals with a camp stove. We had great success with this, allowing us to stay in some very nice places without the added cost of dining out. Make sure there's a working fan in the room before paying!

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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