Though not one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life, choosing whether to visit Costa Rica or Hawaii can still be a major decision.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably trying to make that decision right now.

That or you’re just trolling the Internet to avoid doing something else like work or laundry. I’m ok with that too.

Anyway, here are my top reasons to choose Costa Rica over Hawaii, every time.

Spider Monkey Jumping
Spider Monkey Jumping

1.) Wildlife

The animals in Costa Rica are exotic, fascinating and vast.

Most of the animals you’ll see in Costa Rica that you won’t find in Hawaii include many mammals like sloths, jaguars, ocelots, several species of turtles, hundreds of species of birds, reptiles and of course four types of monkeys.

Magica Blanca Waterfall near Poas Volcano
Magica Blanca Waterfall near Poas Volcano

2.) Water

Oh, you’re confused about this one, huh?

Cause Hawaii is synonymous with water right?

Well, if you think Hawaii has amazing water, then you absolutely need to come to Costa Rica to see what you’ve been missing.

Costa Rica is running over with beautiful waterfalls in much higher numbers and literally hundreds of beaches much more than you will find in Hawaii.

Personally, I think this one is enough to push your choice over the edge…

The perfect palm lined beach at Islita
The perfect palm lined beach at Islita

3.) Water Temperature

Speaking of the water, I don’t know about you but I prefer my drinking water cold and my swimming water warm.

The waters in Hawaii are nice, but in Costa Rica you find warmer, welcoming waters.


Santa Elena Nat. Park cloud forest sanctuary
Santa Elena Nat. Park cloud forest sanctuary

4.) Forests

If you’re not into water, that’s cool – Costa Rica has plenty of rain, cloud and dry forests for you to explore.

The unique eco systems of Costa Rica make the forests more exciting. There are 13 different key ecological zones in Costa Rica and so many forests, reserves and national parks that you won’t be able to see them all.

The calm waters of Tortuguero
The calm waters of Tortuguero

5.) Bio Diversity

The forests are only the beginning.

Costa Rica is so unique in its eco systems and micro climates.

You can visit rain forests, cloud forests, tropical dry forests, tropical beaches and in all of these places see unique flora, fauna and wildlife. Many places in Costa Rica are protected areas mostly because the eco system allows for life that is otherwise endangered.

In fact Costa Rica is home to a stunning 5% of the world's biodiversity, yes the WORLD!

Beach Sunset at Corcovado National Park
Beach Sunset at Corcovado National Park

6.) National Parks

Those protected areas are mainly now all national parks and reserves.

There are national parks spread all across Costa Rica, and they include volcanoes, beaches and forests.

Sure, Hawaii has national parks too, mostly for the volcanoes, but it lacks the bio diversity, plants and animals, that makes Costa Rica a clear winner, again.

Driving to Playa Hermosa
Driving to Playa Hermosa

7. Getting Around

If you are hoping to visit all of these amazing places in Costa Rica, you’re in luck!

Though sometimes remote and difficult to get to, it is still easier than getting around in Hawaii.

Rental cars are basically mandatory in Hawaii, while Costa Rica offers many buses, shuttles and taxis that allow you to travel from coast to coast with ease. You have the option to rent a car if you need to, but you don’t HAVE to.

In case you are all wondering yes Costa Rica does have Uber, so getting around in Costa Rica is very easy.

Gentel waves at Puerto Viejo
Gentel waves at Puerto Viejo

8.) True Paradise

While Hawaii is perceptually paradise, in reality Costa Rica is more pristine and more remote. Period.

Ticos having a traditional Dance
Ticos having a traditional Dance

9.) Friendly People

Maybe it’s all that warm water or being surrounded by some of the finest plants and animals in nature, or maybe it’s just the cold beer, but either way you’ll find that Ticos are a friendly group.

Maybe those in Hawaii are cranky about everything being overpriced... which leads me to the last reason that Costa Rica beats out Hawaii...

Beautiful pool at a hotel with a view of Arenal Volcano
Beautiful pool at a hotel with a view of Arenal Volcano

10.) Budget

Costa Rica is cheaper than Hawaii.

There is more to do and it will cost you less.

You can spring for more luxurious accommodations once in a while in Costa Rica and you won’t break the bank, but a standard hotel in Hawaii will already be pretty expensive.

Activities are also much cheaper, more abundant and more authentic in Costa Rica.