About Costa Rica

What kind of weather should we expect?

Overall, Costa Rica’s climate can be generalized as mild in the central highlands, tropical and subtropical in coastal areas. Costa Rica has a stunning array of flora and fauna, and for a petite country boasts an incredible diversity of micro-climates. Costa Rica is blessed with very pleasing and generally mild weather

What’s the difference between rainy season and dry season?

There are two seasons, Summer and Winter. Summer, or Verano in Spanish, is also called dry season, which runs from December to April and is characterized by beautiful, bright and sunny weather. Winter, or Invierno in Spanish, is also called the wet or green season which is from May to November and is characterized by daily afternoon showers, with the exception of the ‘little summer’ in July called ‘Veranillo San Juan’.

Some areas significantly change from the lush greens abundant in rainy season to a drier palette of beiges and browns in dry season, such as in the coastal areas of the Guanacaste Province. Even though there are generally fewer crowds and lower prices in low season, the popularity of Costa Rica has been so steady, that the most popular destinations are busy year-round. Each season has its intense beauty and highlights, and because there is so much to see and do, one visit is usually not enough!

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Money Matters

Currency: Costa Rican Colon (Code: CRC, Symbol: ¢)

Exchange Rate: 535 per US Dollar and 665 per Euro (July 2010)

What is the best way to exchange money?

Banks offer accurate exchange rates when you arrive with foreign currency and your passport. You can also take colones out directly from an ATM, though you are likely to be charged up to $2 locally, and possibly an additional fee by your home bank.

Can I use a foreign credit card or traveler checks in Costa Rica?

Most major credit cards are widely accepted, whereas use of traveler’s checks is less common and often reserved to banks.

What is the general price for food, tours, etc.?

Travel costs are significantly higher here than in most Central American countries, but less expensive than in the US or Europe. The value is very high for distinctive experiences, service and diversity. More than a million tourists visit each year to indulge in volcanoes, beaches and rainforest activities, to name a few!

Immigration

Do I need a passport and visa to enter Costa Rica?

With a valid passport and round trip or continuing ticket, citizens of the United States of America, Canada, Germany, Spain and Italy can travel to Costa Rica for a 90-day stay without a consular visa. Passports should be in good condition; Costa Rican immigration will deny entry if the passport is noticeable damaged.

What if I stay longer than 90 days?

To stay legally beyond the period granted, travelers will need to submit an application for an extension to the Office of Temporary Permits in the Costa Rican Department of Immigration. However if you are traveling in the region and leave the country before your visa expires, you will be issued a new one after leaving the country for a minimum of 72 hours, though it is not recommended to do so on a regular basis.

How much does a visa cost?

While tourist visas do not have a charge, there is an airport departure tax for tourists of $26 per person, payable at some local banks or at the airport before check-in. Tourists who stay over ninety days without receiving a formal extension can expect to pay a higher departure tax at the airport or land border, and may experience some delay at the airport. Persons who have overstayed previously may be denied entry to Costa Rica.

What are immigration requirements for traveling between Bocas del Toro, Panama and Costa Rica?

All residents and tourists need a valid government-issued passport to travel between Panama and Costa Rica. When flying Nature Air, you must pay a tourism tax of $26 in cash at the Tobias Bolanos Airport to exist Costa Rica. When you arrive in Bocas del Toro, you will pay $10 cash for a visa stamp. For flights going from Bocas del Toro to San Jose, Costa Rica, you will be charged a $15 exit tax at the airport, with no additional fees upon arrival to Costa Rica.

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Health

Do I need to get vaccinations before my trip?

As of this time, Costa Rica does not require visitors to have any particular vaccinations, although you should make sure that all your normal vaccinations are up to date. For more information visit: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx

What are the medical/health facilities like in Costa Rica?

Any foreigner who is temporarily in the country has the right to receive health attention at hospitals and clinics in case of an emergency, sudden illness or a chronic disease. Costa Rica boasts a modern and renowned medical health system, under the administration of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).

Two well known hospitals in the Central Valley are Clinica Biblica and CIMA.

What to Pack for your Costa Rica Vacation

Safety

Are there safety concerns I should be aware of in San Jose or other tourist locations?

Costa Rica is a stable, democratic nation with no standing army. The local population is used to the presence of foreign tourists from all over the world, and see the value of this important industry. However, it is important to follow common sense and be aware of your surroundings.

Do not walk alone or in small groups at night in unpopulated areas. Keep valuable items in a safety deposit box, in a money belt, or in your front pocket. It is also not common to wear flashy jewelry or accessories at the beach or in downtown San Jose.

We recommend that it is better to go with the flow than stand out as a target for crime. It isn’t worth it to carry items of high monetary or sentimental value that put you on the defensive, when you should be enjoying your vacation! However, large cameras and equipment are common accessories here and fine to have out in public, just keep an eye on where you store them.

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Additional Information about Costa Rica

No Adaptors required for US/Canadian standard plugs 120 V 60 Hz

Costa Rica is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is equivalent to Central Time in North America. There is no daylight saving time. GMT/UTC -6

Calling to Costa Rica:
011 – US exit code; dial first for international calls made from the USA or Canada
506 – Country Code for Costa Rica
Phone numbers in Costa Rica have 8 digits
US to Costa Rica international dialing format: 011 506 xxxx xx xx

Metric system

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