8 Useful Apps to Download for Your Trip to Costa Rica

Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica? There’s an app for that! Well, actually, there are a lot of apps that are useful to have downloaded before your trip to Costa Rica. If your cell phone provider doesn’t offer a reasonable international plan, you can easily buy a SIM card and purchase data to use on your unlocked cell phone when you arrive in Costa Rica. While we strongly recommend embracing a bit of a digital detox while you are here, having access to the internet when you are out of Wi-Fi range can be very helpful in numerous scenarios. 

Navigation App

Driving around Costa Rica can definitely be a bit of an adjustment if you have never driven here. There are no addresses in the traditional sense of numbers and street names; directions are instead given using landmarks and meters. To make getting from one place to another a bit more easy-breezy, you should use a navigation app. Both Google Maps and Waze work great in Costa Rica. 

Translation App 

While many Costa Ricans, especially those working in the tourism industry speak English, there might be instances when communicating in Spanish is the only viable option. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can utilize a translation app to help you bridge the language gap. Google Translate is an easy-to-use and relatively effective translation tool when you are stuck in a bind. 

Surf Report App 

The consistent and diverse surf scene is what draws thousands of visitors a year to the duel coastlines of Costa Rica. Knowing the tide, swell, and wind report is helpful if you are planning on scoring some surf on your trip. Magic Seaweed is the best surf report app to use while you are here. There are 65 surf breaks in Costa Rica on Magic Seaweed. 

Communication App 

WhatsApp is a widely-used communication app in Costa Rica. This is a great app to use if you need to communicate while you are here with tour operators, private drivers, Airbnb hosts, and new friends. 

Currency Exchange App 

The exchange rate is constantly changing. At one point, the exchange rate stayed around 500 colones to USD 1, which made it very easy to work out conversions in your head. Lately, that hasn’t been the case though. EX Currency app makes converting dollars to colones and vice versa a no-brainer.

Weather App 

If you search for the weather report in Costa Rica, you will likely come across a forecast with a high chance of rain and thunderstorms, regardless of the time of the year. Don’t worry, though, it doesn’t rain, thunder, and lightning all day and every day here, even during the rainy reason. While finding a reliable weather forecast is tricky and might not even really exists, the app Windy is as close as you are likely going to get. 

Birding App 

Did you know that there are over 900 species of birds in Costa Rica? That’s more than in all of North America! The Costa Rica Birds app is a fantastic digital birding field guide. The free version of this app has 360 of the most commonly encountered bird species in Costa Rica. You will find range maps, recorded vocalizations, photos, and descriptions. You can also keep track of the birds you’ve seen and include personal notes using this handy app.  


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