It is a fact that Smartphones are have changed the way we live and travel. For that reason we asked some experienced expats living in Costa Rica which Smartphone Apps they couldn’t live without and this is what they told us….

#5. Costa Rica Travel Guide

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Costa Rica Travel guide is great tool if you know absolutely nothing about Costa Rica. It has quite a few maps and offers some background information on some of the touristy areas around Costa Rica. It also offers a Spanish phrasebook. We highly recommend this tool for the completely unprepared and safari hat wearing crowd.

4# Mio Cimar Tide Report

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Created by experts from the University of Costa Rica‘s Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology (CIMAR). MIO CIMAR uses Animated graphics and maps show wave height, direction and duration, and also display data on average wind speed, gust strength and direction and is updated bi-weekly.  This is a great tool for surfers and beach rats. The only reason I didn’t rank this app higher is because I don’t spend a lot of time at the beach due to my pale skins tendency to turn red and peel if I drag it out to the beach too often. This Gringo is much more acclimated to the higher elevation temps when not having drinking Imperial in the cool rivers of Alajuela, or the therapeutic hot springs of Arenal Volcano.

#3. Google Translate

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Google Translate offers voice to text translations in multiple languages and also has been built in as a “visual translation” function. Point your smartphone camera at some text and an instant English translation appears on-screen. Google Translate is not a substitute to learning Spanish but it can be useful for translating basic phrases but don’t expect for anyone to be impressed by your use of the language if you are using this app to tell your Tico neighbors how you came here to teach people about sustainable farming and gluten intolerance.

#2. Whatsapp

These days there is an App for everything
These days there is an App for everything

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Everyone in Costa Rica uses it and its voice recording function is much more user friendly the ICE’s voicemail services. Unfortunately, unlike traditional voicemail, WhatsApp users can see if the other person has actually received the message so it makes it harder to get out of helping your old Tico neighbor from Pozos move his couch to Piedades. Why the heck did you buy that pickup truck anyway?

#1. Waze

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Waze allows you to search for locations, view real-time traffic updates and get turn-by-turn directions using the fastest possible route, based on Waze’s real-time map data. Since street names and address numbers aren’t always present in Costa Rica Waze is a godsend for anyone attempting to navigate the confusing streets of the Urban Areas, or needing to avoid those boring roadblocks on the Caldera .

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