• Travel Tips

   Entry Regulations

To enter Costa Rica, travelers require a passport with a validity of at least six months after their arrival in the country. Besides the valid passport, you need proof that you will leave the country, usually within 90 days, which is why travelers must show a return ticket as proof that they intend to exit the country. The amount of days available to stay in Costa Rica as a tourist depends on your country of origin. U.S., Canadian and European visitors can stay in the country for 90 days. Whether or not you need a tourist visa to Costa Rica depends on your nationality, and you should check with the Costa Rican embassy in your country. North American and European tourists do not need tourist visas for stays of 90 days or less.
It is important to know that all travelers coming from the following countries must have a yellow fever vaccination certificate before entering Costa Rica: Angola, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and the Republic of Guyana.

  Money, Tax & Tips

The Colon is the official currency of Costa Rica and can be exchanged at banks for USD, and vice versa. Dollars are accepted in many restaurants, hotels and stores, but take into consideration that normally your change will always be in Colones and the exchange rate may not be so favorable.

Exchanging Euros is only possible in a few bank branches; for this reason, if you come from Europe, it is important to bring USD in cash when you travel to Costa Rica.

You can find ATMs in San Jose and the larger cities. We do not recommend exchanging money at the airport since the rate is less favorable than in banks.

Regarding tips, you do not need to tip in restaurants because all bills automatically include a 10% service charge, plus sales tax of 13%. If you would like to leave an additional tip for excellent service, it is optional and the amount is up to you. Tips to hotel bellmen, tour guides and hotel cleaning staff can be between $1 and $5 USD per day per person.

  Voltage

The electrical voltage is between 110 and 120 volts in Costa Rica. If you come from Europe, a North American system plug adaptor is required.
If you would like to have access to Internet, Costa Rica has extensive coverage except in the mountains or remote areas. Almost all hotels offer internet service, including Wi-Fi. In most cities, there are Internet Cafes, and Wi-Fi is popular in restaurants and tourist spots.

  When can I travel to Costa Rica?

Anytime!!

Anytime! For its location and climate, Costa Rica is a destination that can be visited any time of the year! Although the dry season in the Pacific regions is normally between December and April, the green (rainy) season offers sunny mornings and rainy afternoons that won’t hinder your ability to do activities and enjoy the wonderful country. In September and October, you can take advantage of discounts in lodging and other tourist services. In addition, this time of year lets you enjoy unique natural attractions in Costa Rica, such as one of the most important bird migrations in the world, whale watching, and the arrival of sea turtles to nest on the Pacific Coast.

  What is advisable to pack?

Ideally, you should travel in Costa Rica with only two pieces of luggage: a suitcase and a backpack (bag) for excursions. There are baggage restrictions on domestic flights (see the topic: flights). There also are usually baggage weight limits on boat excursions (12-18 kg / 26-39 lbs), and only one piece of hand luggage (4.5 kg / 9 lbs) is allowed.

In Costa Rica, you will find very different temperatures depending on the altitude. In the lowlands and on the coasts, the climate is hot and often also humid. In some regions, humidity gets up to 80 to 90 percent. In the Central Highlands, there are “summer” temperatures almost all year long, except in December when temperatures drop to 16 degrees (61 ºF) during the day and cooler at night. In places surrounded by mountains above 1,500 m (4,921 ft), it might get cool during the day and at night even cold. In the high mountains above 2,500 m (8,200 ft), temperatures drop to 0 degrees C (32 ºF), and you will be happy to carry a wind jacket and/or a pullover. It is recommended to bring a raincoat or rain poncho, and even an umbrella.

Usually, there is no dress code in restaurants and hotels, but you should not appear in a dining area (other than a pool swim-up bar) in swimwear. It is not allowed to go topless or naked at the beaches or in public swimming areas.

  We recommend this packing list:

  • Sunblock or sun cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Sports shoes
  • A jacket or a warm pullover to visit the volcanoes and higher elevation areas
  • Long pants and a light pullover, or long-sleeved shirt, for hikes in the forest
  • Light summer clothing Swimsuit
  • Hat or cap for sun
  • Pair of sandals that are good for walking and for the beach
  • A raincoat or rain poncho
  • Flashlight or torch
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
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