Travel Tools

 Safety Notes:

Costa Rica has a well-deserved reputation for safety and tranquility.  However, the growth in tourism has seen an unfortunate rise in robberies and other crimes against visitors and like any other country in the world, Costa Rica faces the challenge of maintaining safety and public security for its citizens and visitors alike. By taking just a few common sense precautions, most problems can be avoided.  We strongly suggest to ALWAYS be mindful of your belongings.  NEVER leave valuables unattended.  If you must leave items in a vehicle, make sure they are out of plain sight.  At your hotel, make good use of security boxes to lock passports, extra cash, jewelry, electronic equipment, etc.  Although the odds are in your favor, it is best to avoid any incidents that may sour your vacation.  Be safe and have fun!


Requirements for entry:

For more information please check: www.migracion.go.cr
The General Direction of Costa Rican Immigration allows tourists to travel within the country with a photocopy of the passport (the biographic data page and the page with the stamp showing when you entered Costa Rica).  However, you must present your original passport while doing bank or legal transactions.

 

Packing list:

Swim suits, sunscreen, hat, sneakers or hiking shoes, light jacket, sweater or wind breaker, pair of jeans or long pants to go hiking or horse back riding, shorts, trousers, shirts (cotton or light synthetic), rain gear (poncho or raincoat), rubber-soled sandals, casual dress shoes, insect repellent, small flash light, binoculars, camera and film or memory devices, toiletries and valid passport for every member of your party (must be valid for at least 90 days after date of entry).

 

Dress code:

At most of the hotels is casual, men usually wear pants or nice shorts and women a summer dress.

 

Flights:

1-   There is a limit of 27-30 pounds per person for the Sansa, Nature Air, or charter flights. Pack light; duffels are better than hard suitcases. 
2-   Extra pounds will incur in an extra charge of about $1 per pound, subject to space.
3-   You must be 45-60 minutes before any of the local departure flights.
4-   Surf boards are accepted on a case by case basis but they may not be over 6-7 feet long.
5-   Passengers weighting over the 250 pounds must buy an additional seat.  Please let us know if this is your situation.

 

Money:

The official currency in Costa Rica is the Colon. The exchange rate varies from day to day.  If you need to find the approximated daily exchange rate, you can check the official site: www.bccr.fi.cr.  Use only public or private banks, known exchange booths or the hotels front desk to  change your money, DO NOT do it in public places or with strangers.

Visa and Master card are the most common credit cards in Costa Rica; they are accepted thus widely accepted (hotels, restaurants, souvenirs shops, gas stations, etc.). Keep in mind that using a credit card will get you a better exchange rate. It is advisable to bring cash in small denomination bills for tips and other light expenses. You can exchange dollars for local currency (colones) at any hotel or at the bank at the airport (if it is open).  Traveler’s checks are not commonly accepted and AMEX is not as popular, so it is better to ask before bringing them as the only payment method.

Use automatic teller machines located in public and well illuminated places.  Be careful of any offer of help or of suspicious individuals when using them.  Withdraw the cash, count it and put it away before going outside.  Some of these teller machines will not withdraw money from 9:30pm up to 5:00am.

 

Car rentals:

Costa Rica BTD features only the most reputable car rental companies. The minimum age for renting a vehicle in Costa Rica is 21 and you must have a valid driving license. The LDW (loss damage waiver) is included in all rentals. The car rental company will charge $800-1500 as a guarantee deposit on your credit card. Once you drop off the car they will return your credit card slip, the credit takes 3-4 weeks, while the company makes sure you don't have any tickets. Please be sure to drop off the car in one of the rental car offices or to a representative of the company.

 

Safety on your car:

1.    Do not leave your personal belongings inside the vehicle.
2.    If you need to keep them inside, use the trunk.
3.    Remember that even locked cars are vulnerable, so please park in well lighted areas and with good visibility from where you will be.  You can as well use parking lots nearby.
4.    Check surrounding areas before entering your car.
5.    Do not leave the keys in the car or the doors opened while using an automatic teller or a public phone.
6.    If you are suspiciously warned of damage in your vehicle, if you are hit from behind in a solitary place or if you are being followed while driving, immediately ask for police assistance by calling 911 and stay inside your car with windows and doors locked.
7.    Avoid stopping when a stranger asks you for a ride or when you see flashing headlights, when the people is not uniformed or cars don’t seem to be official.

 

Driving in Costa Rica:

You will drive on the right side lane and the international traffic signs are used on the streets and roads.
We suggest driving during the daytime since it is easier to spot the road signs for your destination hotels.  If you are unsure about directions, it is best to ask around, people are very friendly.  Please do not leave any valuables in the car and always lock your car.

 

Drive safe!!

In Costa Rica, many traffic accidents are product of irresponsible drivers. Therefore, we recommend to: always drive responsibly, respect speed limits, obey traffic signs and road marks and finally, do not drive under the influence of alcoholic beverages. 
The government is working hard to improve highway and roads infrastructure and has well has approved a new project to harden the penalties for drivers that fail to respect the law.

 

Transfers:

Having a private driver (with or without a guide) takes away the stress of driving and the inconvenience of getting lost.  Our private drivers are professional, experienced and friendly, and will provide interesting tidbits about our history, culture and traditions.  Once you reach your destination, you can use local taxi services or tour operators if you wish to tour the region or explore nearby towns.

 

Shuttle services:

All the shuttles are non-smoking, if you want to smoke, you can do it at the stops. Each route will have 15 minutes stop, so you can use the restrooms, have some snacks and if necessary change your vans to the final destination.

Please take care of your values at each stop and keep them with you.

No changes or cancellations can be done after 72 prior to your service.

 

Taxi /cab services:

When using them, verify that they comply with the legal established requirements, such us the yellow triangles printed on doors with the plate number and the taximeter in the front.  Always ask the staff of your hotel to call a taxi from a reliable company.

 

Rafting in Costa Rica:

Because of safety reasons, the river rafting may be cancelled at the operator’s discretion should the river’s water level be deemed unsafe. Although cancellations are not common, the rafting company will give 100% refund.  If you are a beginner, please look for class II or III adventures.
Recommended gear:  rubber-soled shoes, swimsuits and shorts, sunscreen, croakies or other eyeware retainers for your glasses, light rain jacket or wind breaker for rainy days, disposable waterproof camera, changes of clothes, dry shoes and towel.  (Personal items can be left in the bus during your adventure)

 

Should I bring my cell phone?

As hard as it may be to part without your cell phone . . ., it is best not to bring it along.  The Costa Rican wireless network has sometimes poor signal outside the Central Valley. You can work it out with your cell phone company though.

The other option you have is to buy prepaid SIMS at Costa Rica. In order to do this with Kolbi, you need to have a cell phone with the following characteristics:

  1. Have it unblocked by the cell phone company in your country.
  2. 850 MHz net
  3. To have a 3G or Quad band GSM cell phone

Then you need to visit one of the ICE branches and present:

  1. Your passport
  2. And, cell phone

There are SIMS available at the following rates:

  • ¢2,500- (about USD$5)
  • ¢5,000- (about USD$10)
  • ¢10,000- (about USD$20)

 

Shopping at the airport:

Save a little of your best shopping for last...  The souvenir shops at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (San José) or Daniel Oduber International Airport (Liberia) offer an excellent selection of local merchandise.  From striking exotic wood bowls to Costa Rican coffee, you will find the perfect gift for your loved ones...  and yourself!

 

Tipping and taxes:

A 10% service charge plus a 13% sales tax is included on restaurant bills.
We suggest an optional 10% tip if you are satisfied with the service.  Porters should be tipped $3 or $4 depending on the hotel, and chambermaids are usually tipped $2-5 per day.  Transfers and guides do not expect a tip, but it is a good way to say that they did a good job.

 

Insurance:

If your credit card company does not offer trip cancellation coverage, travel insurance can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your investment will be refunded in case you need to cancel or cut short your vacation.  In case of an emergency, Costa Rica BTD will honor each hotel and operator’s cancellation policies, and will try to negotiate the best possible outcome for you and your family.

For quotes and information we highly recommend to visit:


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.

 

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Visit Nicaragua!

Granada-Nicaragua, trips to Nicaragua from Costa Rica

Very close to Guanacaste, you can discover our neighbor's country wonders!!

Nicaragua, our norther neighbor, has a lot of activities and nice destinations to offer.  Granada is close to Costa Rican's border and will offer you a travel to colonial towns, bathered by the Nicaraguan Lake.  Costa Rica offers unique opportunity to discover this amazing destination!

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