An all-inclusive Costa Rica vacation package could be just what you need! Think about it,  relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun, zip-lining through the jungle canopy, kayaking remote coastal islands, breakfast, lunch and dinner room service in bed with your new spouse… where the hardest decision you have to make is ‘strawberry daiquiri or pina colada’. But before you jet off to the land of Pura Vida, it’s important to consider just how you will spend your precious time.

I recently took a helicopter tour along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and noticed that from up there the resorts all look very similar — pools, palm trees, lily-white tourists lounging around the outdoor bars, and realized that what really makes the perfect Costa Rica vacation experience is location and activities.

First of all, to plan an all-inclusive trip, hook yourself up with a professional Costa Rica vacation company and carefully review the options that best suits to your interests and consider these essential questions:

What’s the objective of this vacation?

What do like to do — beach or pool time relaxing with a good book, exploring a new culture, high adventure hiking the treacherous deep jungle trails, showing your children the ultimate eco-experience, big-game sports fishing? For some, not leaving the beach towel for 14 days is ecstasy. For others, beaching it simply does not deliver the needed adrenaline rush.

If you are a beach and/or pool nut, does the resort have sufficient access to the right kinds of beaches you require – swimming, surfing, etc? What about the pool(s), are they spacious? How many pools are there, and is there a separate kid’s pool?

If you like to sight-see or explore culture, make sure the your resort is within distance to places that offer cultural experiences – Costa Rica resorts often include these culture experiences such as local festivals and celebrations, so make sure to ask.

Are you able to book adventure excursions like scuba diving, canopy tours, ATV’s.?

If you are a thrill seeker, check out what excursions are offered by the resort. Off-site exploration is also an option, find out what’s around the resort, all inclusive resorts come with their own tour packages, some will be on-site, but you will be able to find activates off-site. Check out the travel agencies in the nearby towns, you’ll be amazed what’s outside the resort.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, same place, everyday?

It is nice when the resort offers 2 or 3 different restaurants for a change in taste and environment; but even so, don’t miss out authentic food experiences that may be at your doorstep. Why should you leave the resort why all your meals are paid for, you may ask? Authentic flair, variety… again check out what’s around the resort, you may be a 5 minute walk to the most renowned seafood restaurant in Costa Rica that has an all-you-can-eat lobster night for $5. Skip a dinner at the resort and get out and taste some local dishes.

You watched the sunset over ocean, had your dinner… what is there to do?

Ok, you have your day time figured out but the suns gone down — time to party!! Hopefully you didn’t just book your resort based on price. Make sure to know what kind of resort you booked, is it family oriented, or is it known to have nightly entertainment, casino, etc? Depending on the resort, there is usually big difference between local restaurants or bars and the on-site entertainment. But I’m sure you were smart and booked a resort close to surrounding towns and villages. Ask around during the day when you are out and about, find out where the best local spots are for entertainment, Costa Rican’s are friendly and love a good fiesta, you will have a blast! Consider how you want to your spend tropical nights and enjoy.

Take the time for little research and ask few questions before you arrive at your all inclusive resort to make the most of your Costa Rica vacation and when you here make sure you are living the best possible Pura Vida!