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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Guest Blogger!

I was recently contacted by fellow blogger, Kate, who is currently exploring Costa Rica for several months along with her husband, Shaun.

There are some amazing coincidences regarding this contact:

  • Kate and Shaun live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and my husband Lance was born in Victoria.
  • Lance and myself are from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Shaun works for the Canadian Coast Guard.
  • I worked for the Canadian Coast Guard for 30+ years.
  • Shaun is an engineer.
  • Lance is an electrical engineer.
  • We know some of the same people, yet have never met.
  • All four of us are presently in Costa Rica.

Here is Kate's blog entry. It's fun to get a younger and different perspective on Costa Rica. Make sure you go and read her blog and thank you, Kate, for initially contacting me.

"When I first stumbled upon Diana's blog, I was immediately struck by our similarities. We are both from British Columbia, both Diana and my husband have worked for the Canadian Coast Guard, and we are all currently living in Costa Rica. With all of these connections, it goes without saying that I was delighted when I found out I'd be guest posting on her blog.

Unlike Diana, who has settled into a routine within her Costa Rican lifestyle, my lifestyle here is far from routine. I am currently backpacking around Costa Rica for 5 months with my husband. We have been travelling for 6 weeks now, and at this point our 9-5 routine back in Canada seems like a different memory.

So far on our adventure we've travelled up and down the Pacific coast, checking out various surf towns, and having some amazing adventures. We've surfed in Mal Pais, seen the waterfalls of Montezuma, snorkelled in Tamarindo, and danced the night away in Playa del Coco. Despite all of the fun, we have so many places still to explore. We plan on continuing our adventures inland to the volcanos, to the rasta vibes of the Caribbean, as well as popping in to say hello in both Panama and Nicaragua.

Throughout our adventure, we've developed some tips and tricks to travel smart, and get the most out of our Costa Rican adventure. So, I thought I would share a couple with you guys! Here are our current top 5 tips for travelling throughout Costa Rica.

Transportation: Although Costa Rica has a public transit system, we have found that it is challenging to use while lugging around Shaun's surfboard. So, we primarily use shuttles to get around. Spending time to research the various shuttle options can save you both time and money. For instance, it is much cheaper for a larger group to pay for a private shuttle, and a smaller group to join a shared shuttle. It's also important to ask around at different places, and towns to see what your options are. This week, we tried to get a shuttle for the two of us to Mal Pais. In Playa Coco they quoted us $450, yet when we called a company in Tamarindo, they quoted us $120.

Banking: You can rack up a lot of service fees by taking money out of the bank machines here. Many places, especially in touristy towns, have also started charging an extra 10% to use your credit card. We try and balance between both, by limiting how often we use the bank machine, and using our credit card whenever we find out they don't charge the extra fee.

Food: Although the lure of the touristy restaurants can be appealing, the food we love the best is always at the local "sodas". Sodas are often Mom and Pop type restaurants that serve typical Costa Rican food. Casados, Ceviche, Patacones, Gallo Pinto?? You just can't go wrong.

Water: We often see tourists walking around with armfuls of 6L water bottles, because they don't want to drink the water here. At 4 bucks a pop, this can add up over an extended stay. Unlike many Central American countries, the vast majority of the water here is safe to drink. Aside for Mal Pais, we have consumed the water everywhere we've visited, and been just fine. If you are unsure, or concerned, just ask someone who works where you are staying. They'll let you know!

People: As a first time backpacker, I couldn't survive without the knowledge, encouragement and camaraderie of the people I have met while travelling. Lonely Planet, and other guidebooks will only get you so far. Make sure that you talk to people everywhere you go. You never know who you'll meet, what knowledge you'll gain or what sort of connections you'll make. This can be done virtually as well. Blogs, forums, and Facebook groups are great ways to connect with people. Just look at Diana and I, our virtual connection with both her, and you, has already made my trip more memorable!

So there you have it, a couple of basic pointers from us to you. If you ever need any help with your travel plans, or want to read more about my adventures pop by the blog Love to see you there!

A huge thank you to Diana for letting me share my experiences with her readers. It's always wonderful to connect with new people!

Pura Vida!



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