Here’s a commercial that Skyscanner made about us so you can get a taste of our story…

To give you a better idea of who we are and our vibe we created an FAQ section to answer the questions we get asked the most.

How did you two meet?

Thomas and I (Sarah) met in 2010 while volunteering for a year in a community for adults with mental disabilities in Virginia. I had just graduated college and wasn’t really interested in the whole 9-5 thing yet and Thomas had to complete nine months of civil service which was required by the German government at that time. He was able to complete this requirement by volunteering and he could even do it overseas.

Somehow we both ended up in the same little village in Virginia at the same time. I don’t really believe in fate or destiny, but I will say I feel really freaking lucky that we met because our life together is better than anything I could have ever imagined.

When Thomas and I met I was in a serious relationship with someone who was ready to settle down. The thought terrified me, but all my friends were getting married and having babies. I thought that maybe it was time for me to do the same.

Thomas had come to the US with the mindset that he wouldn’t meet anyone in the US so it wouldn’t complicate things when he went back to Germany.

Sometimes life just has other plans.

Those first few months I’m sure are a bit clouded by the part of my brain that only remembers the good things, but guys, we lived in a snowglobe of beauty in Virginia. We fell in love over late night walks, good music, and craft beer.

After just a few months together we needed to decide our future.

Thomas asked me to move Germany with him and I was all in. A few months later I packed my bags and boarded my first flight to Germany. It was crazy indeed!

How did you end up living in Costa Rica?

After four years living in Germany, I (Sarah) was really ready for a change. I mean Germany is great and all, but I get seasonal depression and constant gray days were killing my productivity in life.

I was teaching English at the time and I figured it was possible for me to do this job from anywhere in the world. Thomas, on the other hand, works in a job in which it is kind of necessary that he works at a German company. It is much more difficult for him to find a job internationally.

He started applying for jobs around the world and when he was offered a job in San Jose, Costa Rica, I was all like, “Pack your bags. We’re going.” He was a bit more hesitant about the whole thing, but I eventually got him on the same page.

In all honesty, it was the best decision we ever made. We absolutely love it here! In fact, we love it so much that we chose to have our wedding here in July. It was so fun to have all of our family and friends in the country we call home.

Why did you start Costa Rica Vibes?

We started Costa Rica Vibes after living here for a year and traveling around the country. We realized there is a serious lack of available information on how to travel in Costa Rica while sticking to a budget.

When you start to plan your Costa Rica travels you will likely be bombarded with info on 5-star hotels and expensive tours. That’s just not our vibe and it doesn’t need to be yours either.

We also realized that there are tons of amazing small businesses here in Costa Rica that just can’t compete with the big companies. We wanted to be a voice for the amazing companies and places which most Costa Rica tourists never get a chance to experience.

What's your travel style?

I (Sarah) am the one planning the trips. Thomas is the one picking up the pieces and ironing out the details (how very German of him).

I am the dreamer. Thomas is the practical thinker.

As far as traveling goes, we are a bit of a contradiction. We like to have everything such as transportation and accommodations arranged ahead of time but tend to go with the flow as far as activities.

We love to see a lot of the places we are visiting, but we also like to stop and just enjoy the moment. It is not unusual for us to spend a whole day drinking margaritas on a beach and then spend the next day doing a five-hour long hike and wrapping up the day by kayaking.

We like to get the best deals possible (which we, of course, will always share with you) but we also like to find the coolest places with the best vibes.

We are all about finding off the beaten path activities and supporting small local businesses.

Oh and we love to be outside!

What do you do when you aren't traveling?

During the week we both work every day. Thomas has a normal job 9-5 job and I (Sarah) run this site from home. It may sound relaxed but I generally put in about 10 hour days.

My goal is to have the site running well on its own within a year so that if we want to take several months to just travel the world we can do that and won’t have to worry about money. That means putting in a ton of work now to streamline things as much as possible.

On the weekends, if we don’t go away, we always spend Saturday mornings at our local farmers market. We use the weekend to work in our yard (Thomas is obsessed), clean the house (we live near a volcano so there is a constant layer of ash on everything), relax outside (usually with a cocktail), and go to whatever stores we need. We also like to try out restaurants we haven’t been to and see what is going on in the city.

What can I expect from your website?

The craziest decision I (Sarah) made when starting this site was vowing never to do sponsored posts. This is how most travel bloggers make their money. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain. Often bloggers will reach out to hotels, activity companies etc. and ask if they would be willing to give them a free stay, pay them to promote their company etc. This can make bloggers a lot of money, but it just was not something I was interested in doing. There are two main reasons for this.

1. I wanted to bring my readers the most genuine information and I didn’t feel that I could do that if someone was paying me to say something about their company.

2. I am a fairly introverted person and I avoid confrontation like the plague. I know a lot of bloggers will not hesitate to say bad things about a hotel even if they stayed there for free. I just don’t think I could do it. If someone gives me something I tend to feel a bit indebted to them. I didn’t want that pressure for this site.

So, anyway, point is, all the information you find on our site is our genuine opinion and is not influenced by an attempt to make money.

We take this a step further by also never mentioning at hotels, activities etc. that we run this site. We don’t want special treatment. We want to get the most genuine experience so we know if it is something we should recommend to you all or not.

We are completely transparent with everything we say here. Please, please feel free to email us if you have any questions ever. I promise to always give you my real opinion.

How do you make money with Costa Rica Vibes?

So, as I said in the question above, we don’t do any sponsored posts. When I first told Thomas this plan he was all like, “umm so how do you expect to make money?” I think this was also around the time he started taking on extra projects at work because he imagined us eating ramen for the rest of our lives.

I had to think outside of the box for this one. I realized that a lot of hotels, rental car companies, activities etc. in Costa Rica are usually booked through third-party sites. This means that not all of the profits are going directly into the company’s pockets.

For example, when you book a hotel through booking.com (my personal fave booking site) at least 10% of the amount you pay for your hotel room is going to booking.com. A lot of the hotels here don’t make their prices lower if you book through their website directly. This means it is to your advantage to book through booking.com because you can then get insider discounts, collect points etc.

However, I approached my favorite hotels and said things such as, “I love your hotel and would like to promote you to my awesome audience. Would you be willing to give my readers a 5% discount and give me 5% of every sale which comes through my site?” This is great for everyone because you get a discount, I make some money to keep this site running, and the hotels are able to increase business because people trust Thomas and I to only recommend things we genuinely love.

OK, that was a long rant. Anyway, that is the main way we make money with Costa Rica Vibes. I love to try and make things cheaper for you all. Check out our discount page for more discounts. Our absolute best discount is with our favorite rental car company, Adobe. You can check that out here. Also, there are a ton of new discounts coming soon.

I also make some money through things like Airbnb (get $30 off your first stay), Amazon (check out our Must Have Costa Rica Gear List), World Nomads (our go-to travel insurance company) etc.

Where should I visit in Costa Rica?

Everywhere!

No, but seriously I think Costa Rica is such a unique country because it is so small but every area has a completely different vibe.

Below this FAQ section, Thomas and I go through our favorite picks of places to visit. Check that out for some inspiration.

We also have detailed Destination Guides. These will really help you get a feel for the vibe at different places throughout the country.

Can you help me plan my trip?

We can, to an extent. I’m always available by email and I’m more than happy to answer your questions, but I just don’t have the time to plan everyone’s vacations.

Because of that, we just created an entire section of extremely detailed itineraries. These are free to access and will give you a lot of great ideas for your travels.

Here are our favorite places in Costa Rica to give you some travel inspiration!

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Our favorite Costa Rica activity is…..

Thomas says…

favorite activity

Sarah says…

Our favorite Costa Rica beach is…..

Thomas says…

Sarah says…

Our favorite Costa Rica town is…..

Thomas says…

Sarah says…

Our favorite Costa Rica waterfall is…..

Thomas says…

uvitafalls

Sarah says…

Our favorite Costa Rica national park is…..

Thomas says…

curu refuge

Sarah says…

Our favorite place to escape it all is…..

Thomas says…

Sarah says…

Our favorite place to watch the sunset is…..

Thomas says…

Sarah says…

As I mentioned before, feel free to email with any questions you have.

sarah@costaricavibes.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. Hey you two,
    I just read 5 mins on your blog and I am sure that our style of traveling matches. Me and my gf will be in Costa Rica for a total of 22 full days with a 4×4 car. My question. Should we do „whole“ Costa Rica, meaning East West South and North or maybe skip a part due to time (road conditions)? Thanks for the help. Cheers from Germany, Dario

    • Hi Dario!
      With 22 days you can do a lot, but it can take a while to get between places. When are you traveling? Just asking because the weather on the Pacific coast is typically opposite the weather on the Caribbean coast depending on the time of year.

      • Hey Sarah,

        I had to look up the part of the homepage where I commented…:O Thanks for the reply. We will be in Costa Rica from the 31st of august til the 23rd of September. Having the rainy season in mind, traveling to remote areas (4WD) could be sometimes tricky right? Can you give me information regarding the timespans to get from A to B on google maps? Are 3 hours e.g. realistic? A friend of mine mentioned that you could add about 50% of time onto the google maps times 4 years ago. What do you think about that?
        So far we planned to stay at: Tortuguero (3nights), Cahuita (3nights), Arenal (2nights), Monteverde (2nights).
        After that, we have 13 days left, which makes it difficult to visit Nicoya, Manuel Antonio AND Corcovado….Therefore I kindly ask your advice;)
        Would you skip Corcovado, visit Manuel Antonio as the southernmost destination and spend the rest of the days on the Nicoya peninsula?

        Thank you very very much:*

        • Hi Dario!

          As far as travel time you never can be sure. I’d add about an hour to whatever Google maps says as far as driving time. It may be faster, it may be slower. It all depends on if you get stuck behind large trucks on roads in which it’s hard to pass.

          In Nicoya I’d do two or three nights in Santa Teresa and four nights in Montezuma. If you are interested in surfing, I’d stay longer in Santa Teresa. We usually spend more time in Montezuma because the beach is so nice, there is a cool waterfall you can visit, there are fun boat day trips you can take, there is a nice national park to hike. Basically, there’s just a lot you can do from there. In Manuel Antonio, you really only need two or three nights. Besides the national park there isnt that much to do. Then I’d suggest going about an hour south to Uvita for a few nights. You can check out Nauyaca waterfall, slide down the waterfall in Uvita, and the beach is really nice.

          You could definitely get down to Corcovado but it’s just a long drive and at this time of the year it can be very rainy down there.

          For driving conditions, getting to Tortuguero is unpaved towards the end but you shouldn’t have any rain there and the road is really flat. Getting to Cahuita and La Fortuna will be completely fine. Monteverde can be a bit crazy. Just don’t drive there or leave to Nicoya in the evening. Once it gets dark there it can be really hard to drive because there can be thick fog. We were just on Nicoya last week and they are starting to pave more of the roads. There are still huge sections which are unpaved, but they are used to the rain and the dirt roads are packed down very well. You should be fine.

          Let me know if you think of anything else!

  2. WOW, what an awesome website! It has been so helpful. My friend and I are planning 10 days in Costa Rica, (we are coming to Central America from New Zealand) and I am keen to rent a car however she is worried that we will struggle with reading signs and finding our way as neither of us speak Spanish. Also, I have heard it is almost impossible to get car insurance in Costa Rica. Thanks, Erin

    • Hi Erin! I would suggest renting a car. It is definitely not cheap here, but it is worth it. It will give you so much more flexibility. You will be fine with the signs. There is nothing unusual and they all have the same shape and colors as normal signs so you can easily figure out what is a stop sign, yield etc. The car insurance thing is not impossible, it’s just that a lot of companies here do not tell you that there is mandatory insurance. So, you will rent a car and then get hit with crazy insurance fees when you arrive. I suggest checking out Adobe. They are our favorite company here because they are upfront with their costs. We actually like them so much that we asked them to partner with us and you can get a discount through our site. Here’s some more info on that. https://www.costaricavibes.com/renting-a-car-in-costa-rica/ Let me know if you have more questions as you plan your trip! I’m happy to help you out!

  3. Hey Guys!
    Just found your site! Congrats on your upcoming marriage! So I am an avid traveler, and so are my sons, so I found a deal 7 nights in Costa Rica for $719 including airfare and hotels and transportation to hotels. 1 night San Jose, 2 nights Arenal Volcano area, 3 nights Manuel Antonio area, 1 night San Jose. I am from NYC so driving is not an issue for me, but honestly we are going to be moving around a bit, and I rather enjoy the sights rather than have to figure out where we are going. What other options do we have for transportation? There will be 4 of us, myself and my 3 sons (15, 12, 11) This deal just popped up so I am not sure what else there is to do or not do, but I wanted to see if you would be so kind as to let me know if this is a good deal. Also when they say Green Season, I know it means rainy season, but does that mean its like Florida where it rains every day, between certain hours for a certain time then it clears up? Thanks so much!!

    • Hi Maura,
      That actually does sound like a great deal. Coming from NYC you will usually pay about $400 roundtrip for flights alone. Transportation such as private shuttles is usually expensive here. I’d say take it. Of course, double check on what the hotels are like. There is a wide range of hotels here from very basic to fancy.
      Also, I don’t think you wrote which month exactly you would be coming, but Green Season does mean rain, sometimes more than others. July and August tend to just be afternoon storms for a few hours like Fla. September, Oct, and Nov sometimes can be completely fine and other times can be full days of rain. You just never know!
      Hope this helps! And feel free to email me if you have more questions. sarah@costaricavibes.com

  4. I have found your site to be so helpful and informative! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica Aug 26th to Sept. 3rd. After reading your site thoroughly, I have mapped out a route, but feel it might be too much for the time that we have. I am just having a hard time deciding what to take out! We arrive at 9pm on Aug 26th and will be renting a car from Adobe through your site. I am thinking 1 night near the airport, 1 night in Tortuguero, 2 nights in Puerto Viejo or Cahuita (leaning more towards Puerto Viejo, because we want to enjoy some night life one night, but would definitely stop in Cahuita) , 2 nights in San Gerardo de Dota, and 2 nights near Manuel Antonio NP. We are ok with waking up early to start our drives and I know Puerto Viejo to San Gerardo de Dota is going to be a long drive, but was thinking about taking our time and stopping to see things along the way. If you have time, I’d like to know your opinion if this is too ambitious of us and what to eliminate if we have to. Also, are we missing out if we don’t go to Arenal and Monteverde? I appreciate any advice and absolutely love your blog!!!

    • Hi Marianne!
      I’m going to send you an email to give you some advice. I’ll be out this evening but look for an email from me in the morning. 🙂
      -Sarah

  5. Hi,
    Your website was a great resource for our recent trip to Playa Santa Teresa. My wife and I traveled to Costa Rica from British Columbia Canada with our two young daughters and some of our immediate family as a family vacation spurred on by my sister. We loved Costa Rica and found your website to be a great resource for the trip. We used the link to Adobe rental car and had a great experience with Adobe for the trip. A tip to anyone travelling with kids and driving is that the roads are mayhem and very rough in the rural areas so be prepared, also allow lots of time to get to your destination as it’s not as easy to travel a long distance as in North America. Also make sure you go for the 4×4 SUV if you plan to go to any rural areas. All in all we felt safe in the country for the most part with the exception of the crazy drivers and lack of order on the roads (IE where to park, pedestrians not having the right of way etc). Just make sure you always are aware of your surroundings.
    The only real hiccup in the trip was when our checked baggage was lost on the flight to Costa Rica, it took almost a week to receive it at our rental house(it was sent to the wrong location). I would definitely recommend packing some basic items to last a few days in your carry on bag and possibly considering taking just a carry on bag and not checking bags as it’s not fun not knowing when/if your bags will show up.
    Cheers from Canada.

  6. So glad I found this blog! We are traveling to Jaco in April for my friends wedding and all of your posts have been EXTREMELY helpful so far! This will be my first time traveling outside of the US, so I’m sure I’m in for a culture shock. Your blog is definitely making me feel more prepared for the trip and less anxious about things that could go wrong. Murphy’s Law.
    My boyfriend is AD in the Navy. Just curious if you have heard of anyone running into problems at Customs if they are AD or any advice? When asked about profession do you know any downside to saying he is military or if he shouldn’t show military ID with the passport?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Kelsey! I have not heard of anyone having problems entering as someone in the Navy. He should be totally fine with saying his true profession. I would have him just give his passport. If they then ask for his military ID he can always give it, but they most likely won’t ask. Just make sure you have a printout of your return flight to show as proof that you are leaving the country within 90 days.
      Have fun at your friend’s wedding! And seriously don’t hesitate to message us if you have any other questions or need any help planning. 🙂

  7. Hey guys! I have been reading your site all day and I feel I finally found someone who actually travels the way I like it and that I can trust your recommendations! I’m going next week to CR arriving at 5:00pm (mon 12) and leaving 5:00pm (sun 18) we are from Mexico so we are looking to see places with a lot of wildlife and also to find a cool hotel for a few days at the beach (not too fancy or expensive) so the first plan we are working on is to go to san gerardo de dota spend 1 day
    There then go to manuel antonio area, go to the national park and near by beaches. We also would like to know if you think we would have time to go all the way to santa teresa or montezuma in the same trip or maybe skip a place…
    Another plan is maybe hike up irazu, then manuel antonio area and beaches en San gerardo. (or maybe trade Manuel antonio for Cahuita?) We are a bit afraid to find to many people in manuel antonio NP… and feel overwhelmed. I also saw playa blanca that its nice…
    Also Do you think we can survive with a 4×2 car? 4×4 costs almost twice as much ????
    so if you have an idea of a good, fun and also relax plan (we love eating at local places) we would really apreciate it! your blog is great! And any time you want to come to Mexico I will help you with all the local tips 🙂

  8. Hi Folks,
    I’m a Canadian senior adventure seaker looking for a 6 to 10 day back packing, hiking,camping, experience vrs guided tours, buses and hostels. Are there any opportunities here for that type of experience.

    • Hi George
      It is definitely possible to have that type of experience here, but it seems as though it is getting more and more difficult to find this type of thing. Two good places I’d suggest are either hiking through Chirripo National Park or heading down south to Corcovado. We, unfortunately, have not done either yet but the folks who run the site Costa Rica Guide are our go-to for this type of travel. Check out their site and maybe message them. I bet they can help you out a bit more than we can.

  9. Lots of great info, we have connected on Girls love travel. I was wondering about SIM cards from the airport for my unlocked Samsung, any suggestions? We don’t plan on doing much calling but like having text option and Uber option. Ty leaving in a couple weeks plan on heading directly to bus stati9n to catch bus to Cahuito so getting from airport to bus station on Uber might be the way to go. Thanks for your info! Kimberly

    • Yes definitely use Uber! Its always A LOT cheaper than taxis. There is free wifi in the airport (or at least there used to be but I was there picking up some friends the other day and I had trouble connecting to it sooo hopefully it was just a temporary problem). After you go through Customs in the baggage claim area there is a Kolbi counter (a phone company) where you can buy a SIM card. It will take like 5 minutes to register there. Its about $4 for a card and that money is applied to your account. If you need to check your balance ever just dial 8888 and press 2. You can also buy a Kolbi top up card at literally any mini market in the country. Hope that helps! You’ll LOVE Cahuita! its great!

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