Population of Costa Rica

One of the reasons I love Costa Rica, is that here by the beach, it’s not densely populated! The Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco area have enough folks to give a sense of community but not enough to feel congested. 

Playa Hermosa Salve monos gathering

Costa Rica has a total population of 5.048 million people. Some studies believe that the country will never reach 6 million. The country is relatively small, only 19,700 square miles. The majority of the population is located in the Great Metropolitan Area or also known as the Central Valley. Within the Central Valley you have the capital of Costa Rica, which is San Jose. Over 60% of Ticos live in urban areas. 


Here in Guanacaste, we have a population of approximately 400,000 people. Guanacaste is the most sparsely populated province in all of Costa Rica and it covers a total area of 10,141 km2 or 3,915 sq. mi. That’s only about 100 people for every square mile! 

Cafe de la Playa Playa del Coco

Even though the Guanacaste region is sparsely populated, you still have all the amenities & services! Out of the 400,000 people living in Guanacaste, 100,000 of those people live in Liberia. There is also the Guanacaste International Airport, hospitals, various shopping centers, restaurants, and more, all in Liberia. 


By the beach towns you will also have plenty of stores to choose from, restaurants to eat at, and services to enjoy. There are dentists, mechanics, manicurists, veterinarians, etc. Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco have all the amenities you need without being overcrowded. You will never have to stand in long lines or wait too long for an appointment. Each time you go to dinner, there will be a seat available. 


In Playa Hermosa or Playa del Coco you will never have to worry about being stuck in a traffic jam. You may have to slow down for some goats or cows to cross the street but aside from that, the roads are clear! The beaches here have plenty of space. You will always have room to stretch out and relax. Even during the “high season”, the beaches never get too packed to enjoy.

Empty beach caused by sparse population

Due to the smaller population of people, we have a very close knit community. You really get to know your neighbors. The community often comes together to clean up the town, collect trash on the beach, repaint local schools, and host a variety of fundraisers. The majority of towns all over Costa Rica have a strong sense of community. 


The best way to get an idea of Costa Rica’s population density is to come and visit! You will be pleasantly surprised to find the perfect mix of urban and rural jungle living with all the amenities you could possibly need. But never any traffic or congestion! 


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Costa Rica Myths Debunked

There has been plenty of talk about Costa Rica in the last few years… But many things you hear aren’t necessarily true. Let me help debunk some of the popular myths and misconceptions.

My absolute favorite Costa Rica myth/misconception is that Costa Rica is an island! That is definitely not true. Many folks confuse Costa Rica with Puerto Rico, hence the island myth. Costa Rica is located in the southern portion of Central America, sandwiched between Panama and Nicaragua. It touches the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic on the east. Although Costa Rica is not an island, it still has 800 miles of incredible coastline!

View of the Playa del Coco bay

“Costa Rica is a third world country”. Absolutely incorrect. Costa Rica is a developing nation. We have all the creature comforts; electricity, wifi, clean water, highways, malls, movie theaters, iPhones, 4G cellular service, and more. All building codes have earthquake resistant standards. Costa Rica also has some of the best healthcare in the world. As well as having a stable democratic government for over 60 years! Costa Rica may not be like the US but that is exactly why we love it.

Another popular myth about Costa Rica is that it is cheap. Yes, the healthcare and property taxes are much cheaper than many other places. But food, utilities, and gas prices are very similar to the US or Canada. Food can get expensive when purchasing imported products such as peanut butter or maple syrup. If you stick to local products such as fresh fish, and the huge assortment of locally grown veggies or fruits you will end up saving money. Costa Rica can become pricey if you stick to your North American shopping habits.

Arizona ice tea is an expensive brand in Costa Rica

Another Costa Rica myth: “The potholes are the size of bathtubs!” That may be true in the southern portion of the country or very unpopulated areas but here in Guanacaste we have recently seen a HUGE improvement. In the last 20 years, a lot of effort has been placed in making the roads in this region paved and passable even after the rainy season. The majority of the roads are still narrow and only have two lanes but they are asphalted and well marked. No longer is a 4×4 necessary.

4x4 driving down a gravel road in Costa Rica

Next, is the myth that you need to have local money (the Costa Rican colón). False. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere and oftentimes preferred! You will usually receive your change in colones so it is important to know the exchange rate. It is approximately 600 colones for $1 US dollar. Also, make sure your bills are in good condition and not ripped.

Photo of Costa Rica currency

Lastly, I wanted to debunk the “Costa Rica is a dangerous country” myth. Costa Rica is rated the safest country in Latin America. The biggest crime here is petty theft. It is difficult to acquire a gun in this country and Costa Rica has not had a military since 1949! You can feel confident traveling here alone or bringing your family.

Lets not forget to mention that yes, you can drink the water. No, we do not have shark attacks. Yes, we actually get snow in some parts of the country. But the best way to debunk these myths is to come down and visit Costa Rica. See you soon!

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Post Pandemic Family Travel

After so many months of being cooped up due to the pandemic, it is finally time to take the family traveling again! But why choose Costa Rica or more specifically Playa del Coco for your family? Well, because it is the perfect combination of fresh air activities, beautiful scenery, relaxing atmosphere, and delicious food.

First, let’s go over the current Covid-19 requirements for entering Costa Rica. Costa Rica does not require a negative Covid-19 test for entry and it has no quarantine policy. You may need a negative Covid-19 test for departure from Costa Rica depending on the requirements of your home country. Those visiting Costa Rica must fill out a Digital Health Pass 48 hours before boarding their flight. Starting Aug. 1st, 2021 those who have had their vaccinations along with their vaccination card will no longer need to purchase travel health insurance that covers at least $50,000 worth of medical expenses and $2,000 in lodging expenses per person. Costa Rica has done a great job keeping the virus under control and the country is currently working hard to make sure everyone has access to the vaccine.

Costa Rica is definitely the place to feel free again and embrace nature. There are so many family friendly outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy. Costa Rica preserves 25% of its land area for national parks or reserves. Moreover, Costa Rica is home to 6% of the world’s biodiversity and works hard to embrace thoughtful, sustainable living. Perfect for enriching your children’s lives.

Playa Hermosa

Rincón de la Vieja, Arenal, Palo Verde and Santa Rosa are brimming with activities such as hiking, kite-surfing, suspension bridges, zip lines, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, sunbathing, waterfalls, horseback riding, and more. No matter what age or ability, you will be able to find something for the whole family to enjoy. The great news is that all of these beautiful spots are 2 hours or less from Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa.

When traveling with your family it is important to have easy access to all the creature comforts. The Guanacaste region of Costa Rica has all of them. Majority of the roads from Playa del Coco to various parks and beaches are well paved and maintained. If you happen to forget to pack something, there are numerous stores that can fulfill any need such as Walmart or Auto Mercado, Super Compro, Mega Super, and many more small mom and pop stores. 

Playa Hermosa

There is a wide variety of hotels and resorts. From all inclusive to small boutique hotels, there is something to fit any family’s style or budget. Another reason why Costa Rica, specifically Guanacaste, stands out is the year round beautiful weather. Even during the rainy season, the majority of the day will be filled with sunshine. If you are concerned about crime, Costa Rica is the safest country in Central America a very safe country and the locals are kind, genuine people.

Let’s not forget to mention the last important factor for a perfect family vacation! The beach! Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa have some of the best beaches for swimming in the country. The gentle tides are perfect for toddlers, grandparents, and everyone in between. Your family can spend all day at these beaches because they have plenty of amenities as well as trees to enjoy some shade.

Playa Hermosa

So pack your bags and pack your kids! Costa Rica should definitely be at the top of the list for post pandemic travel plans.

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