Top 5 Costa Rica Travel Tips

At Hotel Casa Chameleon we are always trying to ensure our guests the best possible vacation ever while visiting us in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. With the upcoming holiday season we thought it would be a great time to give our readers our top 5 Costa Rica travel tips. There are so many wonderful experiences to be had during your vacation that we hope these tips make your experiences memorable and unforgettable! In no particular order, below are our top 5 tips for traveling throughout Costa Rica.

  1. Carry Cash

Although in some of the more major cities in Costa Rica accept credit cards as payment, most businesses here in Mal Pais & Santa Teresa still only accept cash payments for goods and services. Most places will accept either local currency, Costa Rica Colones, or United States dollars, however businesses generally have a higher exchange rate than that of the bank and will most likely give change in local colones. We suggest using colones as often as possible to guarantee you the best rate and easiest transaction possible.

  1. Learn Some Local Slang

Santa Teresa is filled with people from all over the world, and while most of them speak English, it is a great way to connect with locals to brush up on some of the local sayings. Pura Vida, or pure life, is used in many ways. A way to say hello, goodbye, question how someone is doing and to answer that all is well. Many people use this on a daily basis and it is hands-down the most common saying in Costa Rica. Another important saying is El Zarpe, which refers to “the last one”, typically used to order the last drink of the evening, very important! Lastly Ticos & Ticas is the slang used to refer to a person of Costa Rican decent, a way many people will use to describe and/or refer to someone in the country.

  1. Get A Local Phone Number

If you plan on being in Costa Rica for a good amount of time we suggest getting a local SIM card. Of course most places along the way will offer free Wi-Fi, however being off the beaten path sometimes it is best to rely on your own devices while visiting. Depending on your cell carrier you can have your phone unlocked before arriving and then purchase a relatively cheap SIM with prepaid minutes. Another tip would also be to download the mobile app “WhatsApp”, as most taxi’s, tour guides and locals use this app as their main form of communication.




  1. Leave Early

This might sound funny considering the whole town runs on “Tico Time”, meaning everyone understands that things don’t always go on schedule here and typically run a few minutes late, however while on vacation and with limited time we would hate for our guests to miss any activity due to an unexpected obstacle. This being said if you are going to enjoy an activity we always tell guests to leave a little earlier just in case there happens to be bad road conditions, a traffic jam of cattle or the chance of getting lost since we don’t have street signs or addresses here in Santa Teresa. Now this said, one of the best things to do while exploring the area is to get lost and enjoy nature and sightseeing!

  1. Be Aware

Despite being voted one of the safest countries in Central America, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa does have its’ share of petty thief and crime. We encourage and remind guests to keep all valuables and personal belongings not needed in the hotel safe while exploring the area. If you do choose to go to the beaches with valuables be sure to keep an eye on your things at all times, in addition to not keeping anything of value in a car. Another safety tip we remind our guests is to not go to the beaches at night. There is little to no lightening and/or security so this is an ideal place for robberies.

These are just a few great tips to prepare you for the best holiday vacation in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Our staff is dedicated to making every guests trip to paradise the most amazing experience so please do not hesitate to ask any of our friendly employees if you have any concerns or questions. If you have any tips of your own feel free to share them with us! Pura Vida and see you in wonderful Costa Rica!

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