Frequent Asked Questions

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Q- Are there any visa and/or passport requirements to travel to Costa Rica?

Every visitor must present a valid passport to enter Costa Rica and visas are needed by individuals of certain nationalities so check with your local Costa Rican consulate before traveling.

No visa is necessary for citizens of the USA , Canada , or Western Europe. When traveling with a passport, US, Canadian and most Latin American and European citizens may remain in Costa Rica for a total period of 90 continuous days.

Q- Can I drink the water?

Yes, you can drink the water! The public water system supplies potable water to 98 percent of the country. Water is filtered and chlorinated, and the quality is controlled by the State. If you wish to err on the side of caution, bottled water is available at every hotel and restaurant. Just remember to request putting a hold on ice.

Q- Are immunizations required?

From a general health standpoint, Costa Rica is one of the safest destinations in the developing world. This is largely due to high health standards in our country. Thus, there are no required immunizations when traveling to Costa Rica.
However, it is always wise to keep your basic vaccines current, especially those against tetanus and diphtheria. Risk of contracting malaria is minimal, but for itineraries that include the Caribbean lowlands, travelers might wish to take the extra precaution of prophylactic medicine such as chloroquinine.
Decisions about immunizations and anti-malarial medications should be made on a personal basis after consultation with your personal physician.

Q- Are tips included in meals? Tours?

A 10% service tax is always added to your restaurant bill, but if the service has been very good extra tipping is common.
Tips are not included in tours or transfers and the amount you offer depends on the quality of service you received. You can follow the same guidelines used at home!

Q- What should I bring? What clothes should I pack?

Pack light! Baggage carts are scarce at airports, and luggage restrictions are tight. Bring comfortable, hand-washable clothing. T-shirts and shorts are acceptable during the day. At least one pair of slacks and dress shoes for dinnertime is highly recommended since some restaurants won't admit you in shorts or sandals. Loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and pants are recommended if you take any day trips out to smaller towns, where immodest attire may be frowned upon. Bring a large hat to block the sun from your face and neck. Pack a light sweater or jacket for San José's cool nights and early mornings and for trips to volcanoes. Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots are essential if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and hiking. Waterproof hiking sandals or other footwear that lets your feet breathe are good for strolling about town, beach walking, fording streams, and navigating the myriad mud spots you'll find on rain and cloud forest trails.

Q-Is Costa Rica safe?

San José is a big city, and North American and European visitors bring expensive cameras and other things that can be unnecessarily tempting. Here are a few tips to avoid petty theft:
1. Make a photocopy of your passport and leave the original, your airline ticket, and the bulk of your money in your hotel safe.
2. Exchange currency at your hotel and ask for at least a portion in small bills.
3. Carry backpacks on your front side.
4. Never exchange currency on the street or display large amounts of bills.
5. Don't wear anything other than inexpensive jewelry. A cheap watch may be ideal for the trip.
6. If you are going out at night, take a taxi.
7. Don't leave money or valuables lying around in your hotel room. Use the safe or check them in at the reception desk.

Q-How is the weather in Costa Rica?

Be prepared for sunshine, rain, cool mountain breezes, and muggy jungle mist depending on where and when you visit our country. Due to our topography, we have a wide variety of microclimates. As you ascend or descend in altitude, or move from one province to another, our weather changes… sometimes abruptly.
The rainy season, which typically brings sunny mornings and afternoon showers, lasts from May to November, but it's best to be prepared for rain at any time of the year. In rain forests and cloud forests, there is downpour almost daily, sometimes several times per day. Costa Rica's beaches are hot and humid, except for the northwestern province of Guanacaste, where it tends to be dry and breezy.

For more travel tools, please check:  Costa Rica travel tools!

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10 Safety Tips for a Smooth Trip

Costa Rica still is generally a safe destination but, likely with any city or downtown area it is best to follow these basic guidelines for your protection.

1. It is best to store your passport, airline tickets, the bulk of your money, and other valuables in your hotel safe. Carry a photocopy of your passport's photo page for any activity, but for the following ones you should carry your original passport:

  • Exchanging currency
  • Signing traveler checks
  • Local airline check-in

2. Do not leave unsecured money or valuables in your hotel room. Use the safe or check them in at the reception desk.

3. Only exchange currency at your hotel or at banking institutions. It is best to request some money in small bills. Our recommendation, have at least:

  • 2 ¢5,000 bills (about $10 each)
  • 4 ¢2,000 bills (about $5 each)
  • 5 ¢1,000 bills (about $2 each)

4. Never engage street vendors in currency exchange and avoid displaying large amounts of money.

5. Carry your backpack on your front side.

6. Avoid wearing expensive, eye-catching jewelry. A cheap watch may be ideal for the trip.

7. Leave your cell phone at home. Reception in Costa Rica can be spotty and US or other countries technology is generally useless, although satellite tecnology has been improving in the last years.

8. When going out (especially after dark), take a duly marked taxi. Try to remain with the group and avoid dark, lonely back roads.

9. If you must drink, please do not do so excessively.  You will become an easy target for thieves.  Have the members of your group remain mindful of each other.

10. If you are mugged, do not offer resistance.  Once you are out of danger, contact your tour leaders and agency representative for guidance and any special assistance.