I just realized we got home from our amazing Costa Rica trip a whole month ago already now!! How time flies.
I’ve been wanting to write a post outlining a few things I worried about before our trip. Spoiler, none of them happened. But I did get myself fairly riled up a time or two in advance over these worries.
#1: The weather
As outlined in this post, I worried A LOT about the weather. It’s a rainforest, but springtime is supposed to be the dry season. Despite that, forecasts were showing a lot of rain and storms, so I started freaking out about this.
The weather was, on the whole, GREAT. All of that worrying was pointless.
And guess what? It did actually rain several times. (La Fortuna, our 1st destination, is known to be a rainier part of the country in general.) But the rain ended up being both minimal/sporadic and mostly perfectly timed around our activities, or at night.
Besides one time that we had to wait out a rainstorm before starting our tour of the Mistico Hanging Bridges (see photo above), the rain really didn’t affect our trip at all.
I guess one evening we weren’t able to go to the hot springs due to some rain, too. But we had so much NOT RAINY time, that it just wasn’t a big deal.
We got lots and lots and lots of blue skies!
#2: Not being able to see the volcano.
Related to #1, I worried that clouds would constantly obscure our view of the beautiful Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, and we would have to leave never having seen it. (In this fantasy, yes, it would be extremely cloudy for 6 whole days.)
This also did not happen, though I’ll admit I panicked a teeny bit when we first arrived and the volcano was covered in clouds.
But by the next morning…. !!! (and every day after that, minus a few hours here and there when clouds rolled in):
We saw the volcano SO MUCH that we got sick of it by the end. JUST KIDDING, I would never tire of that view!
#3: I worried about safety (a little).
I had read varying reports about Costa Rica + safety. It is a developing country. They have their share of issues, though I had read that on the whole, Costa Rica is a VERY safe country. (They have pockets of more issue-prone areas, similar to Mexico. Currently sounds like more of these pockets are on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.)
I wasn’t actually that worried, personally, but being the “trip leader”, and with my parents and children along, well, I didn’t want to be wrong about this! Getting um, assaulted or robbed or being the victim of a stray bullet would really put a damper on our spring break. 🤣
In reality, we had ZERO safety issues on this trip. I literally never felt even remotely unsafe, once. (Minus one questionable character lingering strangely around our parked car in the center of La Fortuna, but we decided ultimately he was just trying to make a buck by “watching our car for us” while we were at dinner.)
I had heard the biggest crime issues for tourists are the crimes-of-opportunity sort. People oftentimes get their cars broken into if they leave luggage or belongings in them while at the beach, or out hiking, etc. So, I planned for this. We never, ever left stuff in our car! That simple. We brought daypacks and were selective about what we brought with us from the hotel for the day– whatever we brought went out hiking or touring with us. The car was empty. So, no issue there.
I also planned our routes so that when we were traveling from destination to destination (with all our luggage), we never left the car unattended. We never stopped to like, go for a hike along the way, leaving everything in the car. That would have been dumb.
Anyway, we had no issues! Thankfully.
#4: Car or driving issues
This wasn’t a big source of worry for me, but it was a little source of worry.
I knew the roads could be rough, so I worried about getting a flat tire or having some other driving mishap/ accident. To help combat this, we paid more for full insurance.
I also didn’t worry too much about the driving, because I knew Ivan would be very capable of handling it. (If you can drive in Mexico City, you can drive anywhere.) But again, I worried just a little, because I didn’t want to feel like, in danger or something all the time!!
It was totally fine overall. My biggest concern was if San Jose (from airport) would be a nightmare, but honestly, we only had to drive a few minutes really in the city before we were out on more rural roads and on our way.
The biggest “issue” I had as a passenger was just with the constant passing that has to happen on the one lane roads. Not a big fan of that- the drives never felt just truly like a lazy, relaxing drive, as a result. But they weren’t a concern, either.
I worried that being “high season”/ dry season, crowds would be an issue. I really don’t like crowded vacation destinations, unless it’s like, Disney World and I know it’s just always crowded. I don’t like the hassle, I don’t like the people in my way, I don’t like parking issues or lines or people photobombing my pictures or people in front of me on a hiking trail.
I think we really lucked out with the boys’ spring break falling early this year (NOT OVER EASTER, thank God), because crowds were also not an issue!
We talked to a few locals who said that the crazy busy season was coming up in April (and they said would be insane over Easter break). Phew! I was sooooooo glad to avoid that. I felt like the crowds were nonexistent mostly for us- just no problem at all.
I also took care to consider busy times when selecting when we would visit the popular places. We chose to go a few places in the afternoon versus the morning, when tour groups and crowds are higher. As a result, we were often alone on trails, and the crowds we did encounter were light.
*Photo taken from a strategically planned entrance to the beach where I discovered it is often less busy. So, I’m not saying there were magically no crowds- I was intentional to avoid them the best we could, though, and I’d say it worked.
I worried a LOT about this, because I am a major mosquito magnet. I packed as much bug spray as was allowed in a carryon and probably wasted too much time googling “are mosquitoes an issue in Costa Rica in March?”
We had literally zero mosquitoes in La Fortuna and Monteverde. Zero. Never even used bug spray and not a single bite, nor did I even see a mosquito.
I did get a few mosquito bites in Manuel Antonio. Maybe more than a few, but they definitely weren’t a major issue. None on our hikes or during the day.
The only place I really saw them was at our Airbnb (lots of foliage all around). So I did spray up in the evenings, in part because I’m paranoid (and a mosquito magnet). Ethan and Ivan never got a single bite, and they didn’t spray. (But they never seem to get bit… so unfair!) Asher and I always get bit, and we did, a little.
The mosquito situation was still WAY better than Wisconsin in the summer (where I literally cannot sit outside after dark on our deck usually, even with bug spray on). I was able to swing in the hammock at night and never really even notice a bug if I had sprayed my legs. We ate outside every night, no issues.
So there you go! A list of worries…. that never happened. 😉 And I’m so grateful!!! I suppose any of these could have happened, in fairness, but, they didn’t.
Though a few things were worries that I could take reasonable action on (not leaving things in the car, timing when we visited a location), most of them were not things I could control, anyway. (Hello, WEATHER. Or if there are mosquitoes or not.) Fretting about these things was rather silly and futile.
We’ll see if for our next trip I can calm the worries better. 😉 I won’t hold my breath, but, I’ll try. 🙂
I am grateful for the fact that none of the things in this post happened!!
4 thoughts on “Things I worried about in Costa Rica that didn’t happen”
What a great idea for a post.
I also worry about the weather (and still adore the fact you worried about MY vacation weather, too)…but it almost always works out…fine.
People warned us a lot about pickpockets in Rome, but I never once felt unsafe…anywhere. I was careful, but no more than I’d be in any major city.
Also: 1) weatherphobe (worse than you I am sure) 2) absolute mosquito magnet (and I am very sensitive to them too – they will be puffy and itchy for days and I need to slather on RX level steroids to sleep. Too bad I live in the most mosquito ridden corner of our country . . .AND the most lightning! GAH.
I am so glad that all of these things did not come to fruition! It is hard to not worry about things like the weather because that can significantly impact your trip. I will say Phil has been a very very very good influence on me in terms of worrying. He is much better are focusing on what is in his control and he generally has the attitude that things will work out. I wish I was more like that!
Happy to hear that none of those things happen! This made me think… When we went to Denmark, I worried about bringing just carryons (fine), not finding our airbnb (fine) and getting sick while on this trip (happened afterwards 🙂 Ao, all is well! 😉