Costa Rica vs Nicaragua: What You Should Know About Traveling to Both Countries

 

When looking for an amazing Central American vacation, it comes down to choosing between Costa Rica vs Nicaragua. Both countries are beautiful but offer very different experiences. Costa Rica is known for its impressive beaches and lush rainforests. At the same time, Nicaragua offers more of an adventure seeker’s paradise, with volcanoes, lakes, and rivers to explore. So which one would be the best choice for you?

 

Continue reading to learn more about these two countries and what makes them unique.

 

 

The Climate

 

One of the key factors when deciding which country to visit is climate.

 

Nicaragua’s Tropical Climate: Hot All Year Round

 

la virgen and ometepeIf you’re looking to book a vacation in Nicaragua, it’s important to know what the climate is like in different parts of the country. The best time to visit depends on what you want to do and see while you’re there.

 

The climate is tropical for almost the entire country. Therefore, it is hot all year round, with temperatures averaging approximately 27-35 ºC all year round. Nevertheless, there are some variations depending on which region you visit. San Juan del Sur, Tola, and Leon are coastal cities with tropical weather, while Esteli, Matagalpa, and Somoto are more rainforest weather and colder. 

 

Costa Rica: A Warm Country with a Beautiful Year-Round Climate

 

hiking around nicaragua

On the other hand, Costa Rica is also well known for its year-round warm weather. The average annual temperature here is 27-35 ºC on the coasts and 22°-28° in the countryside and on the mountainsides!

 

It’s essential to remember that the most stable weather is between December and April. These months have little to no rain in most of the country.

 

 

The Beaches

 

Central America hosts some of the most beautiful beaches globally. Both Costa Rica and Nicaragua have attractive ones, but they offer different experiences.

 

Stunning Beaches in Nicaragua: Untouched Coastline, Wildlife & More

 

best sunset in nicaraguaWhen looking for a less touristy place that still offers stunning views, Nicaragua is the place for you. With 910 km of coastline to explore, you’re sure to find a secluded beach to call your own. 

 

The beaches here are often less busy, which means fewer tourists, and you’ll find plenty of undeveloped coastlines to explore. They also have a large variety of wildlife, from opossums and iguanas to monkeys and turtles, which is a great opportunity for you to enjoy nature at its most pristine. 

 

While the roads leading to these beaches may not be as developed as some of the others in Central America, we promise it’s worth the ride.

 

Be sure to check out San Juan del Sur, which is known for its string of nearby Pacific beaches. Likewise, Little Corn Island in the Caribbean sea. You’re sure to find a beach that suits your needs – whether you’re looking for strong waves or a quiet spot to relax.

 

Pristine and Family-friendly Beaches in Costa Rica

 

pristine beach cr

Costa Rica is world-famous for its beaches, and with good reason! There are miles of sandy coasts to discover along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

 

On the other hand, Costa Rica could be a better option for those who prefer a more social/family-friendly lifestyle while still having access to pristine beaches.

 

Costa Rican And Nicaraguan Beaches: A Beach For Every Occasion

 

You can find one of the gorgeous beaches on Costa Rica and Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. There are numerous options for every type of person and lifestyle, from nudist colonies to surfing hotspots! 

 

The best time-saving tip? Ask locals where you should head when looking at these awe-inspiring landscapes – they will know exactly which spot offers seclusion without compromising your fun.

 

Whether you’re looking for a silent spot to relax or a party atmosphere, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have a beach for you. Come and explore for yourself; we guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

san juan del sur beach nicaragua

 

Costa Rica vs Nicaragua: What Beaches are Best For Your

 

The beaches of Costa Rica and Nicaragua are both breathtaking, but they provide unique experiences. Costa Rica’s beaches are more tourist-friendly, with plenty of resorts and restaurants to choose from. Nicaragua’s beaches are less developed, but that’s part of their charm. If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, Nicaragua is the way to go. But if you prefer all the amenities of a resort, Costa Rica is your best bet.

 

 

The People

 

people in nicaragua

Both Nicaragua and Costa Rica are two neighboring countries in Central America that share many similarities; however, they have some distinct differences. Both countries are rich in culture and boast beautiful landscapes. Still, the people of each country have their unique personalities.

 

How Are The Locals in Nicaragua

 

 

The Nicaraguan people are a friendly and hospitable bunch. They are always willing to help out a neighbor or stranger, and they love to celebrate any occasion with a good party.

 

Nicaraguans are hardworking people who enjoy life’s simple pleasures. They are very social, and physical contact is very common – shaking hands, kissing on the cheek, hugs, patting someone on the shoulder.

 

How Friendly Are Nicaraguans

 

colonial city nicaraguaThis friendliness is one of the most outstanding traits of the Nicaraguan personality. They are proud people, and they take great pride in their culture and traditions.

 

Living a simple lifestyle means that Nicaraguans have plenty of time to sit down and chat with friends. They are happy-go-lucky folks who make everyone feel welcome in their country.

 

If you are ever in Nicaragua, be sure to take some time to explore the country and spend time getting to know the Nicaraguan people. You will not be disappointed.

 

How Are the Locals in Costa Rica

 

When looking for a place to travel where the people are hospitable and polite, look no further than Costa Rica!

 

This beautiful country is known for its stunning scenery and friendly locals. Tourism is such an important part of the economy that many Costa Ricans go out of their way to ensure visitors have a good time.

 

How Polite Are Costa Rican

 

Ticos (as Costa Ricans are often called) are extremely polite. They will often say “Pura Vida” instead of no when they don’t want to do something. Note that “Pura Vida” can literally be used for anything: hello, bye, thank you, your welcome, nice to meet you… It could be a little confusing for some tourists at first, but once you get to know them better, you’ll realize that they’re just a big group of lovable people!

 

Costa Rican People and The Environment

 

Costa Ricans are also known for being very environmentally conscious. This is because they understand how important it is to protect their rainforests and wildlife. Costa Rica was the first country to create a national park system; therefore, they are aware of the environmental damage.

national park manuel antonio costa rica

 

The Culture

 

Unquestionably, Costa Rica and Nicaragua are two beautiful countries in Central America that share many similarities and have some distinct cultural differences. If you’re currently planning to visit one of these countries, it’s important to be aware of the unique traits that each one has. 

 

Nicaraguans and Their Culture

 

There is a lot of history and folklore woven into Nicaraguan society’s fabric. From the traditional music and dance to the delicious food and chicken buses, everyone can enjoy something in Nicaraguan culture.

 

nicaragua cultureThis country is known for its outstanding lakes and stunning volcanoes. Nicaragua is very vibrant and colorful, and the people are generally very passionate about their music and dance.

 

Family is also important in Nicaraguan culture, but it’s not uncommon for extended family members to live together in large households.

 

The Best Way to Experience Nicaraguan Culture

 

An ideal way to learn about a culture is to experience it firsthand. And what better way to do that than by living with a local family? When you stay with a family in Nicaragua, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that!

 

What Is Like Getting Invited into a Nicaraguan Household

 

If you are lucky enough to get invited into a Nicaraguan home, be prepared for a true cultural experience! You will get to taste authentic Nicaraguan dishes and see firsthand the warmth and hospitality of the Nicaraguan people.

 

Not only will you get to immerse yourself in the Nicaraguan culture, but you’ll also have a chance to learn about the daily life of a Nicaraguan family. You’ll be able to see firsthand how they live, what they eat, and how they celebrate their traditions.

 

Costa Rica and Its Culture

 

Costa Rica is known for both its amazing biodiversity and lush rainforests. The country has a rich history and culture, which is evident in the many colonial-era churches and towns that can be found there. Costa Ricans are typically very friendly and welcoming people, and they place a lot of importance on family values.

 

Costa Rica: A Rich and Unique Culture

 

The people in Costa Rica are some of the friendliest and happiest you’ll ever meet. Costa Ricans always go out of their way to help you in your everyday life while always keeping a smile. It is definitely a beautiful thing to see. Their culture is so rich and unique.

 

The Music in Costa Rica

 

If you’re ever in Costa Rica, you’ll notice that music is a huge part of their culture. Reggae, salsa, and merengue are all extremely popular genres here. Costa Ricans love to dance so much that they even have their dance style called the Punto Guanacasteco.

 

Costa Rica and Their Passion for Coffee

 

coffee plantation nicaragua

 

Costa Ricans love their coffee, and they take great pride in producing some of the best coffee beans in the world. Coffee was first introduced to Costa Rica by French immigrants in 1730. Costa Rica is now the world’s seventh-largest exporter of coffee.

 

 

 

Costa Rica Vs Nicaragua: The Right Culture For You

 

So, which country is right for you? If you’re looking for a relaxed and laid-back vacation, Costa Rica might be the place for you. But if you want to experience a more vibrant and passionate culture, Nicaragua is worth considering. Whichever country you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing vacation!

 

 

 

Activities To Do in Nicaragua and Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica and Nicaragua offer visitors a wide variety of activities and experiences, from stunning beaches to lush rainforests to active volcanoes.

 

Now we will explore some of the best activities to do in these countries. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a relaxing experience, we have something for everyone!

 

ACTIVITIES YOU SHOULD DO IN COSTA RICA

 

 

1- Explore the Rainforest

 

explore rainforest

The Costa Rican territory is home to more than 500,000 species of plants and animals, making it a nature lover’s paradise. There are many opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting in the rainforest.

 

2- Visit Arenal Volcano

 

Arenal Volcano is an active volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors can hike to the summit, go swimming in hot springs, or take a boat tour on the lake.

 

3- Visit Manuel Antonio National Park

 

This park is known for its beaches and diverse wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. Manuel Antonio Park’s visitors can go hiking, swimming, and snorkeling in the park.

 

ziplining in san juan del sur

4- Zipline Through The Rainforest

 

Costa Rica is a popular destination for zip-lining, and several Costa Rican companies offer tours. This is a great way to get an adrenaline rush and see the rainforest differently.

 

5- Relax At The Beach 

 

In Costa Rica, you can find some of the best beaches in Central America. Visitors can relax on the sand, go swimming, or try their hand at surfing.

 

6- Go Whitewater Rafting

 

Whitewater Rafting costa ricaCosta Rica has some of the greatest whitewater rafting in Central America. Several companies offer tours, and the rapids range from mild to wild.

 

7- Visit a Coffee Plantation

 

Costa Rican is one of the world’s leading producers of coffee. Visitors can tour a coffee plantation and learn about the process of making coffee.

 

8- Go Scuba Divingscuba diving nicaragua

 

The Costa Rican territory is home to some of the best scuba diving in Central America. Many dive shops are located along the coast, and they offer both beginner and advanced courses.

 

 

ACTIVITIES YOU SHOULD DO IN NICARAGUA

 

Nicaragua is well known for being a land of volcanoes, lakes, and rivers. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy while traveling in Nicaragua.

 

Here’s a list of some of the best things to do in Nicaragua:

 

1- Volcano Boardingvolcano boarding leon nicaragua

 

Nicaragua is home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes. You can have the most thrilling experience of riding down an active volcano on a board. Cerro Negro Volcano is the place to go for this activity.

 

2- Hiking

 

Nicaragua hosts some of the most beautiful and unspoiled hiking trails in Central America, including Mombacho Volcano. You can hike through rainforests, up volcanoes, and along rivers.

 

3- Kayakingkayaking in nicaragua

 

Nicaragua has some of the best kayaking. You can kayak down the San Juan River, Isletas de Granada while exploring the lakes and volcanoes, or paddle through mangroves.

 

4- Bird Watching

 

Nicaragua is home to more than half of all bird species in Central America. You can find over 600 different bird species in Nicaragua.

 

5- Surfing

surfing nicaragua

Nicaragua also has some of the best surfing beaches, including Playa Popoyo, Playa Sandiego, and Playa Colorado. There are a variety of waves for all levels of surfers.

 

Shopping

 

Nicaragua is a great place to shop for souvenirs. You can find everything from traditional local handicrafts to modern art in the local markets.

 

Eating and Drinking

 

Nicaragua has a wide variety of good food and drinks options. You can try local dishes like Gallopinto and tajadas or sample the local rum. Nicaragua is also home to various coffee plantations where you can sample the local coffee.

 

With that being said, now you know what activities you should consider if you’re looking for an amazing experience while you’re in either country.

 

 

 

Costa Rica and Nicaragua: Things To Keep in Mind Before Going

 

Nicaraguan Tourist Cards

 

When entering Nicaragua, you can purchase Nicaraguan tourist cards at the airport.

 

Present a Negative Covid-19 Test

 

Whether arriving by air or overland, every tourist or local who wants to enter Nicaragua must present a negative Covid-19 test.

 

Use the Same Passport To Enter and Exit

 

It’s a must for you to use the same passport for exiting and entering Nicaragua.

 

Crossing the Border

 

You can fly to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, or cross the Costa Rica and Nicaragua border. Check those tips for a smooth border crossing!

 

Nicaragua is More Affordable than Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica’s not as cheap as Nicaragua; in fact, you can find food as pricey as in North America or Europe. Costa Rica is approximately 2-3 times more expensive than Nicaragua, especially when it comes to purchase land or homes

 

Learn the Basics of Spanish

 

It’s very helpful to know basic Spanish to communicate with some of the locals in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica since not everyone can speak English.

 

 

In Summary About Costa Rica vs Nicaragua

 

Finally, Nicaragua should be your next stop when looking for an unforgettable Central American adventure. Nicaragua offers visitors a unique and diverse experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the region with its lush rainforests, active volcanoes, and stunning beaches.

 

However, if you’re looking for a more developed country with all of the amenities of home, Costa Rica may be a better fit for you. No matter which country you choose to visit, we know you’ll have an amazing time experiencing everything these two countries have to offer.

Recent Comments

Gema Blandón
Gema Blandón
May 8, 2022.
Our days in the place were excellent, nice experience, Super recommended.
Idania Castillo
Idania Castillo
April 26, 2022.
Cause we got good attention and the place was good too
Julio Nunez
Julio Nunez
April 18, 2022.
If you want to have a relaxing vacation, this is the right place, can't wait for the next time...
Freddy Canales
Freddy Canales
April 18, 2022.
El servicio que brindan, la atención
Fidias Cuarezma
Fidias Cuarezma
March 5, 2022.
La Santa Maria Villa 1 is an amazing house . The view of the bay is breathtaking. The villa itself is very modern and extremely close the town. I highly recommend it.
Gissell Solis Solis
Gissell Solis Solis
February 11, 2022.
Best of the best!
Zeltia Muńoz cocińa
Zeltia Muńoz cocińa
January 30, 2022.
La santa Maria resort Top choice if u go to San Juan del Sur! since the very beginning we feel like at home. Our appartment has 2 big bedrooms and 2 toilets, with a great  kitchen fully equiped. The were taking care of us in every moment, specially Gaudi and Betsy, we're so pleased for all U've done for us. The bed was superconfortable (I've slept for 12 h) and all the appartment was great, very well decorated with spectacular views to San Juan. We've spend the most of the time in the infinity pool! It's amazing. We've been taking such a good pictures of the views, even at night time. The sunset from the pool is splendid! All the staff was superfriendly, they prepare great smoothies. We have to come back, for sure! Thanks a lot to La Santa Maria Resort!
Bernard R. Hoytink
Bernard R. Hoytink
January 7, 2022.
Stunning location, amazing view of San Juan del sur bay. No better place to celebrate your birthday with your loved ones!! Concierge where really helpful. Will definitely stay here again!
Camila Bernheim
Camila Bernheim
January 6, 2022.
Everything was perfect. The place was peaceful