5 Free Things to See in Costa Rica
Being on a pretty tight budget, I’m always on the search for free things to see in Costa Rica. Some of the best experiences I’ve had since moving here have involved activities that didn’t cost me anything, except maybe for a little gas for my car. Below I share 5 of my favorite free things to see in Costa Rica:
1. Native Plants and Flowering Trees. I’ve become fascinated with the colorful flowering trees and shrubs that abound in Costa Rica during the dry season (which runs from December to April). Bursts of pink, yellow, orange and red dot the entire landscape and are fun to photograph. The pink blossoms of the Roble de Sabana (pictured below) are my personal favorite.
2. The Multiplaza in Escazu. This is an upscale American-style mall close to the capital city in San Jose (picture below). I enjoy stopping at the food court, going to the movie theatre there, or just browsing in the International Bookstore (where you can also find English-language books). With three levels, and tons of stores for any tastes, It’s a fun place to stroll and window-shop.
3. Saturday Farmer's Markets. The people of Costa Rica are said to be amongst the longest-living humans, and this is due in large part to their healthy diets. There's no doubt that you can easily get lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in this small country. You can find some of the lowest prices and freshest varieties at the Saturday farmer's markets in just about any Costa Rican town. I like the market in the town of Esparza (picture below), where you can soak up the local culture and, strangely enough, even find Quakers that moved here from the U.S., selling their baked goods. Be sure to try their pumkin pie!
4. Spending Time in Town Squares. Almost every town in Costa Rica, including the capital city in San Jose, has a central plaza or square that marks the geographic center of the town or city. You will usually find the oldest church in the city, as well as other important buildings in these plazas. Costa Ricans love to congregate in their town squares, especially in the evenings when the air is cooler. It's a great place to watch locals talking and flirting, or just grab a bite from a street vendor. The picture below is from Cartago, Costa Rica's central town square with the beautiful ruins of a church from the 1500's in the background.
5. Inspiring Mountain Scenery and Sunsets. There's something magical about the way the sun descends over the gorgeous mountain ranges here in Costa Rica. I've seen some of the most beautiful sunsets of my life since moving here. My Costa Rican boyfriend and I will sometimes pack some snacks and drinks and take a leisurely car drive on Sunday to find a spot overlooking a valley or mountainous area where we can enjoy these amazing sunsets. The picture below was captured in the hills of Miramar, Costa Rica.
Visit my Costa Rica blog to learn more about my adventures since moving to Costa Rica from the U.S., and get a first-hand view of what life is really like in this beautiful little country.