Traveling is so much easier with today’s technology. With internet on our smartphone, we can look up anything from the forecast to the next season’s basketball schedule as well as make hotel reservations and order delivery.
For traveling in Costa Rica, there are a few apps that will come in handy. Gone are the days where one wanders aimlessly through town with a map in their hands to find their destination, now all you need are a few clicks on your smart phone and you’ll be on your way! Download these apps for traveling in Costa Rica to make your trip stress and hassle free.
If you’re driving, this is one of the best apps for traveling in Costa Rica. This GPS app works better than Google Maps in Costa Rica even though Google acquired it. This is because Waze is a user generated content app so people can put information such as police, traffic and accidents. Waze is amazing for navigating San Jose especially in rush hour.
You need internet on your phone to use Waze and I recommend downloading it at home, opening up the program and letting it download all the programs and languages before you open it in Costa Rica. You can perfectly use Waze instead of renting a GPS.
To get internet on your smart phone when you’re in Costa Rica, we recommend getting a pre-paid sim card so that way you have a phone that can call Costa Rica numbers in case of emergency. Read our tips for getting a pre-paid sim card in Costa Rica.
If you use Google Maps, you can download the Costa Rica maps offline so that you can use the GPS without data.
If you’re in San Jose, Uber is the best way get around. It’s cheaper than a taxi, generally very efficient and less stressful as you don’t have a dozen taxi drivers pestering you.
We love using Uber in San Jose and is now our preferred method of transportation. It’s not that much more expensive than a bus and you can get from Point A to Point B, instead of trying to figure out which bus stop is closest to your destination.
Read our tips for taking Uber in Costa Rica and use the code yeisonkue when you first sign up to get $10 off your first ride.
Want to speak like a local? Brush up on your Spanish and learn some Costa Rican Spanish slang with the free Costa Rica app Costarriquenismos. They have over 500 dichos de los Ticos to learn.
goCostaRica (Ipad only)
This is one of the best apps for traveling in Costa Rica. Watch videos and see photos of what the popular attractions such as waterfalls, volcanoes and beaches look like in the app from the official Costa Rican tourism board. The goCostaRica app has a hefty database to browse through with videos and photos.
Another app is Costa Rica travel guide for Android. They have offline maps, recommendations for hotels, things to do and more.
Viva el Menu (Iphone only)
If you’re exploring and want to find some good restaurants, get the app called “Viva el menu.” With this app you can search for, read reviews and check out the menu of various restaurants around you. Only in Spanish and for iphone.
Costa Rica Traveler
Taking the bus in Costa Rica? This handy free Costa Rica bus app shows you the schedules and location of the bus station. It’s in English and available for Apple and Android. However, it doesn’t have prices but it’s easy to use.
Moovit and La Terminal are two other good bus apps in Costa Rica. These apps are some of the best apps for traveling in Costa Rica for budget travelers as most are taking the bus.
Coming to Costa Rica to surf? You have to download the app Magic Seaweed. They give long range surf forecasts and it works not only in Costa Rica, but over 300 beaches in 180 countries.
So if you’re traveling through Latin America to surf, this is the best app to have. You can figure out when high and low tide is, when a swell is coming in and what beaches are best during certain times of the year.
Want to keep track of the exchange rate? Download the Currency Convertor app to stay on top of your expenses. Since the Costa Rican colon exchange rate changes every day and US dollars are readily accepted, it’s helpful to know what the exchange rate is that day so you can get the correct change.
This is the go to communication app in Costa Rica and is one of the best free apps for Costa Rica. Everyone uses WhatsApp. Even though I am not a huge fan, I still recommend downloading it because the Ticos love it and they will respond to WhatsApp more than anything else, even email.
When we went canyoning in Jaco, our tour guide took pictures of us on his phone and sent it to us via WhatsApp which was really nice. We even know some companies who do business over WhatsApp so it’s incredibly useful, especially if you don’t have a local number but you have Wi-Fi.
When you can’t remember that word in Spanish, Google Translate comes to the rescue. Google Translate isn’t perfect, but it gets you by especially if you’re asking for directions. Download Spanish offline so you can use it even when not connected to the Internet.
Costa Rica Birds Field Guide (iphone & ipad)
Love birds? Download the Costa Rica birds field guide app! They include sounds and calls for 600 species and have information for the 800+ species in Costa Rica. For Android, download Aves de Costa Rica. These are what I found to be the best birding apps for Costa Rica.
If you plan to camp around Costa Rica, you need to download the iOverlander app. It is incredibly difficult to find good information about campsites in Costa Rica but this app does a pretty decent job. Not even the National Geographic physical map has the campsites!
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Best apps for traveling in Costa Rica