Costa Rica is a fabulous country, diverse in terrain, climate and wildlife. It has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, one of the oldest democracies south of the United States border, no standing army, and very good salsa dancers! A smile goes further here than almost anywhere else in the world. You should expect to meet wonderful, friendly Costa Ricans called Ticos/Ticas. They are a gentle people, sometimes a bit shy until you look them in the eye and smile. They are not to be feared as thieves or rip-off artists, and unlike other Latin American countries, Ticos rarely bargain over prices but may give you a discount for payment in cash.
Costa Ricans are a soft-spoken yet prideful people, who love children. They shake hands when meeting you, as do their children. They expect you and yours to do the same. Once Ticos are past infancy they do not lose their temper in public. Pura Vida, right? Hence, the only way to really not get ahead in this country, make a fool of yourself, and guarantee to not get what you want, is to lose yours. On the other hand, when you smile, lighten up a situation, try to crack a joke, they will go to any extreme to help you out. They are a genuine people, and appreciate connecting with you on the same level.
If you are traveling with young children, especially toddlers, consider for a moment that the Osa Peninsula is a jungle: a wild and remote place with all sorts of flora and fauna, often beautiful and intriguing but at the same time dangerous. The beach is gorgeous and generally family friendly but is also an ocean, inviting but unpredictable. There is no lifeguard or other beach supervision.
Changing Seasons in the Tropics
Most visitors to Costa Rica are used to the change of season in temperate northern countries but may not be accustomed to transitions in the tropics. Many people divide Costa Rica’s seasons into two – the dry season (summer) and the rainy season (winter). However, if you delve into the more subtle changes and explore the opportunities presented therein, it is much more dynamic than that.
December starts off what is generally considered the dry season. There is still a little rain in December with relatively cooler temperatures. This is a great time to have warm sunny mornings AND have the opportunity to watch baby sea turtles hatching and making their way to the Pacific. January, February and March are the driest months of the year and often the hottest. These are the months for those looking for an escape from the cold, dreary northern winters who want tropical sun all day. This is what Ticos know as the high season, as the large majority of tourists arrive at this time. These months are also marked by an abundance of naturally sweet fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple and papaya.
April marks the start of sporadic rains to cool things off and relieve the thirsty plants. This is a great month to find a lot of wildlife concentrated around the newly bearing fruit trees, eat lots of fresh mangoes and still enjoy a primarily sun immersed jungle experience. May is known around Costa Rica as a transition month – rains come and go randomly, making after-lunch siestas a welcoming proposition. The last week or two of June is the “San Juan summer” where Ticos are in the streets living it up with fairs and celebrations during this mini summer reminiscent of February.
July and August are great for those looking for a more authentic experience of jungle living – with sunny mornings and rainy afternoons that provide the perfect excuse to lay in the hammock and read, pull out the chess board, or go for a hike beneath the raindrops. From September to November most of the country is inundated with water but that doesn’t mean that it loses its appeal! This is the best time to witness one of four species of endangered sea turtles come ashore to lay her eggs or look on while the babies emerge from their nest by the dozens to race to the sea. If you’re really eager to make a difference, you can volunteer in the conservation of sea turtles during these months.
Most of the major airlines including American, Continental, United, and Delta offer flights to Costa Rica, as well as Avianca/TACA, the top regional airline. Most flights arrive near the capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose, at the Juan Santamaria (JSM) International Airport.
Depending upon the season and your arrival time, you may be able to fly to Puerto Jimenez on the same day. On the other hand, you may need to spend the night in San Jose, in which case we can easily arrange lovely hotel accommodations. Similarly, depending upon your international departure time, you may need to leave Finca Exotica the day before your international flight, spending the night in San Jose. If you want to get down to the Osa as quickly as possible, look for international flights that arrive in San Jose before noon; when leaving the Osa, look for international flights that leave in the afternoon.