About Costa Rica Vibes

Hi! We Are Sarah and Thomas!

Thomas is from Germany and Sarah is from the United States. Since 2016 we have called Costa Rica our home.

We have made it our mission to help travelers who are struggling to plan the perfect trip to beautiful Costa Rica. 

Curious to know how we ended up here? Grab a pina colada, it’s a bit of a story!

Have you been dreaming of the perfect Costa Rica vacation for way too long? Let’s make it a reality!

We’re here to help you discover the best path to the ideal Costa Rica trip.

If you’ve stumbled onto our corner of the internet you probably:

  • 🍍 Are ready for a thrilling and relaxing vacation in a tropical environment.
  • 🍍 Tried to start planning your trip, but are overwhelmed by all the info out there.
  • 🍍 Have most of your trip planned but need to iron out the details

That’s where we come in! Costa Rica Vibes is here to save your vacation!

Our Costa Rica Travel Vibe

Sarah is usually planning the trips. Thomas is picking up the pieces (how very German of him).

Sarah is the dreamer. Thomas is the practical thinker.

We love to deeply explore the places we are visiting, but we also make a point to stop and just enjoy the moment.

It is not unusual for us to spend a day drinking margaritas on a beach and spend the next day doing a several-hour-long hike followed by a sunset kayak trip.

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

We are all about supporting local businesses.

And, we love to be outside.

Why We Started Costa Rica Vibes

Costa Rica Vibes started in 2017. At that point, we had been living in Costa Rica for a year.

In that first year, we wanted to travel a lot and explore this new country we were in. However, we were on a tight budget.

We struggled to find good information online about traveling in Costa Rica that wasn’t geared just to high-end travel. 

Luckily, we made some great friends who helped us discover the real Costa Rica without spending too much.

After a year of getting to know this new paradise that we called home, we decided we wanted to share what we had learned to help other people visit all the beautiful aspects of Costa Rica.

And, on a sunny day in June of 2017, Costa Rica Vibes was born. 

Over the last several years we have been fortunate enough to help hundreds of thousands of people plan their dream trip to Costa Rica through our website. 

How We Met….In Detail

We met in 2010 while volunteering for a year in a community for adults with mental disabilities in Virginia.

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

Thomas needed to go back to Germany because his visa was about to run out.

So, we brought a picnic to our favorite lake, and vowed not to leave until we figured out our future.

Thomas didn’t want to try long distance. And to stay in the US legally our best option would have been to get married.

So, Sarah decided she would move to Germany.

Looking back, it was crazy.

Two months after Thomas left the US, Sarah followed and we started our life together.

Our Move to Costa Rica

After four years of living in Germany, we were ready for a change.

After applying to companies around the world, Thomas was offered a job at a school in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Less than two months later, in January 2016, we packed our bags and flew to Costa Rica. We had never even been to Central or South America before moving here.

It didn’t take long for us to fall in love with this beautiful country we now call home.

Our Life in Costa Rica

Life in Costa Rica is pretty perfect for us.

Running the Costa Rica Vibes website has given us the opportunity and reason to see almost every area of the country.

Sarah loves Costa Rica because the weather is always good (she does not do well with dark winters), she sees her family in the US much more than she did while living in Europe, and she absolutely loves running the Costa Rica Vibes website.

Thomas loves that he can go fishing every day, that there is always something interesting to explore, and that it’s always warm out.

You Should Know….

🥥 We believe in being completely authentic with our opinions. There are certain activities or places we will flat-out say are not worth your time. 

🥥 We only promote things we genuinely feel strongly about. You are spending a lot of money and using your coveted vacation time, you deserve to have an amazing experience.

You Can Trust Us Because…

🌴 We have been living in Costa Rica since 2016. We have extensively traveled to every corner of this country.

🌴 We are foreigners just like you! We understand the cultural differences and things you will want to be aware of before coming here.

In other words, we are all about transparency and making sure you have the best information possible when planning your trip. 

So, are you ready to plan your dream vacation? Here are some good places to start. ↓

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Language

Spanish is the official language. Most people in tourism speak some English.

Currency

The main currency is Costa Rican colones. US dollars are also widely accepted.

Outlets

110 volt (same as the US)

International Airports

There are two international airports in the country. These are Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in the capital city of San José and Liberia International Airport (LIR) in the northwest corner of the country.

Must Do Activities

zip lining | exploring national parks | surfing | wildlife tours

Sun Rise/ Sun Set

Sunrise: between 5:15am and 5:45am

Sunset: between 5:30pm and 6pm

Time Zone

Central Standard Time

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35 Comments

  1. Can I visit a sloth sanctuary in the Liberia area without signing up for a $200 tour? We plan to rent a car and feel that we should be able to go to the stand pay the local rate. I love your bio! Thank you!

  2. Hi Sarah, Thomas – your site was my bible for our recent last minute trip to Costa Rica. Thank you !!!

    1. Aw thanks so much for your nice words! We hope you had a really great trip! πŸ™‚

  3. Hi we are going to Cost Rica on july and would like to visit Poas Volcano, is it open?

    1. Hi Maria, It is open again (for now). You never know if it will start erupting again before that time. We have a guide to Poas here if you need. https://www.costaricavibes.com/poas-volcano/ Buying the tickets is now really confusing so this guide will help you out with that. However, you don’t need to buy the tickets until 1 or 2 days before. It does not fill up, especially in July. That way you can wait to see if the volcano is actually open before buying tickets. Hope that helps! Let us know if you have more questions!

  4. We would like to take our 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren (ages 8 and 11) to Costa Rica next Spring. The trouble is, the family with the grandchildren prefers the beach, and my husband and I (we are in our late 70s) and our adult daughter prefer hiking and seeing wildlife. Can these two needs be met? Should we rent a house? Stay in an all-inclusive resort (I love Casa Corcovado, but let’s keep the price reasonable!). Rent a car and go two different places to please everyone? Where would you recommend?

    1. Hi Gail! You can absolutely please everyone with one place. I would suggest staying in either Manuel Antonio or Uvita (or Dominical it is actually between Uvita and Manuel Antonio).
      Manuel Antonio is not always our favorite place because it can get very crowded, but it is a great mix of jungle and beach. You can also swim at the beaches here without usually worrying about the rip currents. The national park is definitely one of the best places in the country to see wildlife.
      There are several beaches in and around the Uvita area. Some are great for swimming and some are better for just relaxing. We love Uvita because it is basically as if the jungle meets the beach here. There is some great hiking as well (we like the Nauyaca waterfall).
      Manuel Antonio and Uvita are only about an hour away from each other so you can pick one place to stay and explore both areas.
      As far as finding a place for all of you, your best bet is definitely going to be Airbnb. You will be able to find a nice house that you can all stay in for a reasonable price. We personally like to stay in an Airbnb rather than a resort because you have the whole space to yourself, will have the option of cooking if you would like, and that way you can try a bunch of local restaurants rather than feeling obligated to eat at your resort since the meals are included.
      I would definitely suggest renting a car as well. This will give you the flexibility to see a lot. We have a discount with Adobe and it is almost always the best deal you’ll find. If your family feels comfortable driving it, I’d suggest the Hyundai H1. It is actually cheaper than some of the large SUV’s and it will allow you to fit all of your luggage as well as everyone. We recently rented it when we had our whole family visiting and Thomas actually said it was great to drive. If you do this, just leave a comment on your reservation that you would like the back seat removed. This will allow you to fit all the suitcases easier. Adobe will happily remove the seat for you for free. Also, just keep in mind that Adobe, as well as most of the other rental car companies in Costa Rica, will only rent to people under 75, so your kids will have to do the driving.
      Here is the link to our Manuel Antonio guide: https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/central-south-pacific/manuel-antonio/
      Our Dominical guide: https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/south-pacific/dominical/
      Uvita guide: https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/south-pacific/uvita/
      Rental car discount: https://www.costaricavibes.com/renting-a-car-in-costa-rica/
      Also, seriously feel free to email me if you have more questions as you all plan things! I’m more than happy to help. [email protected]

  5. Dolores Ann Robinson says:

    We are planning to fly into San Jose. We will arrive Feb 21 – March 10th. Other than being in San Jose for a week, what would you recommend doing and going the rest of the time. Not familiar at with Costa Rica. We are in our late 70’s but healthy.

    1. Hi Dolores,
      I would suggest La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio. That would be the perfect mix of jungle and beach. Plus there are tons of activities in both areas.
      In Manuel Antonio, I definitely suggest the national park.
      In La Fortuna you might like the hot springs, the waterfall, the butterfly garden, and hanging bridges.
      Feel free to email me [email protected] if you need more tips. πŸ™‚

  6. 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 β€žwholeβ€œ 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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:*

      2. 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!

      3. Hey Sarah,

        thanks, you helped me a lot! I guess we skip Corcovado due to distance and see how far south we go. Probably Uvita will be max. the southernmost stop on the west coast.

        One last question about the Montezuma Area. Me and my gf like surfing, but we are definately no pros. I would say more like beginners. As I saw so far, the waves are sometimes pretty high this time of the year. right? You think there are beaches for beginners? If not, would it be better to do some surfing in a different area?

        Final question: I am interested in fishing as well, maybe a german thing, so do you guys still have the contact where you went fishing at Tortuguero for a couple of hours?

        Thanks, and I will book the last accommodations through your link!

        πŸ™‚

      4. Hi Dario
        Happy I could help!
        I don’t surf so I can’t help you too much, but of the places you are going to Puerto Viejo and Santa Teresa are the most popular surf spots. If you rent a board the surf shops can tell you the best spot to go for smaller waves. There are enough beaches near Puerto Viejo and Santa Teresa that I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good spot.
        I do not have the contact info for the guy we fished with in Tortuguero. I suggest just asking at your hotel. Everyone knows everyone there and a lot of people have boats, so I bet you can find someone for a good rate. There are also fishing tour companies in Tortuguero but they will definitely cost more.

  7. Erin Yandle says:

    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

    1. 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!