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. If you run into traffic on your route, the app will take you to alternative routes to avoid the traffic and you can get a heads up about accidents, police check points and other obstacles. This free app 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.
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.
Costa Rica Idioms (Iphone only)
Want to speak like a local? Brush up on your Spanish and learn some Costa Rican Spanish slang with the app Costa Rica Idioms, it’s one of the best iphone apps for Costa Rica. Spanish is not the same all over the world and Costa Rica is not the exception, we have our own phrases and words. This app is only available for iphones. If you have an Android phone, download the free Costa Rica app Costarriquenismos. They have over 500 dichos de los Ticos to learn.
goCostaRica (Ipad only)
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 which can help narrow down the places you want to visit. This app is in English, the ICT (Instituto de Costariccense Turismo) has a similar app in Spanish for Vamos a Turistear.
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.
Off the Grid 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.
Another app is Yo Viajo Bus Info Costa Rica (in Spanish) but it isn’t as user friendly, they just have a huge list of schedules in random order and it’s difficult to manually find a route. The advantage is that they list bus prices. These apps are some of the best apps for traveling in Costa Rica for budget travelers as most of them 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 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.
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.
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. If you want an app that covers all types of wildlife and not just birds, download Touit, another free Costa Rica app.
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