In a few words
Costa Rica is a country of 51,100 km2, small in size, but huge in the sense that it has a varied microclimate, fauna and flora. It is one of the 20 countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world. It is truly a paradise for nature and ecotourism lovers!
We are a little more than 5 million people who live in Costa Rica, however, our population grows thanks to the more than 3 million tourists who visit annually. Costa Rica flourishes thanks to tourism! This is why, for us, as Costa Ricans (or « Ticos » as we are known internationally), we are happy to welcome all who visit us with warmth and hospitality.
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish. English is the foreign language most studied by the population, being one of the Latin American countries that dominate the language the most. However, we “ticos” love to help tourists and, although sometimes we do not speak the same language, we will try to assist with what we can.
Pura vida is an excellent disposition towards life, it is not taking things too seriously, it is walking with a smile, it is being very kind to people, it is a good face in bad weather, it is helping others, it is sympathy, it is wanting everyone to be well, is to see the good side of life, it is good vibes, it is positivism. A little summary of how we Costa Ricans are!
The phrase Pura Vida can be used: when greeting and saying goodbye, when answering when they ask how you are, when thanking a favor or a kind gesture or when describing someone who is a good person, among many other things.
The versatility of the phrase Pura Vida is immense and for the Ticos, it is something that we are proud of being known around the world!
In Costa Rica, there are two seasons: the dry and the rainy. In most of the country, the dry season runs from December to April and the rainy season from May to November. There is a period within the rainy season that is considered “little summer”, which consists of days or weeks in which there is less rain (mid-July to August). In the rainy season, what usually happens is that the mornings are sunny and in the afternoons there will be rainfalls, so we recommend taking advantage of the morning hours to take walks outdoors and plan activities for the afternoons that are in covered or indoor places. But nature is unpredictable and everything can change! Come prepared for everything!
In the Caribbean and other areas of the country, in the month of October the rainfall usually drops, so if you have a trip planned this month, going to visit that area is something essential.
As a last tip: consider that it is always a good time to visit Costa Rica, regardless of the season and weather. It is considered that you can tour all year round within the country! Remember that if the country is so green it is because of the rains. Here we see it as bliss!
The official currency of Costa Rica is the colón. The exchange rate can be viewed here: www.xe.com.
Many businesses accept dollars, usually bills less than $50. However, the exchange rate can vary from place to place. For this reason, it is good to check in advance the exchange rate they make. This should be the same as the one dictated daily by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. Likewise, it is advisable to contemplate that the change they will give, in case the exact amount is not paid, will be returned in colones.
Credit and debit cards are also accepted in most businesses. However, in small or remote locations they may only receive cash.
We advise withdrawing or exchanging money in cities or tourist spots of medium or large size, either at ATMs or banks, since in remote areas there may be problems to do so. Consider that some ATMs are closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for security reasons.
In Costa Rica, restaurants include a 10% service tax. That means that the tip would already be included in the bill.
However, it is up to each person to offer an extra in case the service or food has been exceptional, even if it is not necessary to do so.
Also, for your knowledge, there is a value added tax that is 13% and that will be added to the product or service you consume.
Health & safety
The need to have a visa will depend on the country of origin. To enter the country, you need a valid passport with an expiration date of more than 6 months after the date of return, a printed ticket back to the country of origin or continuity to a third country.
For more information, visit the following page: https://www.visitcostarica.com/es/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/entry-requirements
Costa Rica is a country that stands out worldwide for the fact that it has not had an army since 1948. This fact makes it a stable and calm country.
In Latin America, Costa Rica is considered one of the safest countries to travel. It is a country whose first income is tourism. More than 3 million tourists visit us annually. Therefore, we are used to receiving people from all corners of the world.
However, it is important to follow certain tips to avoid any mishap or unpleasant situation:
- Leave the passport in a safe in the room or at the reception with a hotel manager. Carry a photocopy of the passport by hand.
- If you travel by car, park in safe places, whether in hotel parking lots, restaurants, tourist activity sites or a commercial establishment. Do not leave it in dark or remote places.
- Always be aware of your belongings. Do not leave them out of sight. For example, when you go swimming in the sea. Try to leave valuables in the hotel safe.
- Avoid making trips at night, try to make transfers during the day or in the afternoon if it is to a nearby place.
- Walk on trails and paths already designated within hotels, national parks or tourist routes.
- Do not go to places that are dangerous, not recommended, alone or late at night.
Also, the climatic conditions and nature in Costa Rica may be different from those in your own countries. Follow these tips in order to be prepared:
- Bring sunscreen.
- Put on mosquito repellent every time you go out for a walk, especially at times when these are more prevalent, such as at dawn and dusk.
- Depending on the type of activity, wear suitable clothing. There are a variety of microclimates in the country, so you have to think about packing both sweaters, jackets, pants, tennis shoes, sandals, light clothing and bathing suits. Clearly, find out about the weather conditions at each place you visit.
- Carry a medicine kit that is necessary both for each personal condition and for any situation that may happen within the country. In any case, the country has countless pharmacies. However, consider that in certain remote parts of the country it is a bit difficult to access one.
- When going for a swim in the sea, consider that most beaches in Costa Rica do not have lifeguards. Therefore, ask in advance if the beach you are on is safe for swimming and avoid entering when you see that the conditions do not lend themselves to doing so. Bonus tip: if you don’t see locals bathing in the sea, avoid doing so.
- Even in the dry season, there may be sporadic rains. Therefore, always be prepared for possible rain.
Costa Rica is one of the only 2 countries in Latin America, along with Chile, where it is safe to drink tap water due to its quality.
However, although drinking water is advised in most parts of the country, it is always good to check in each place you visit if it is safe to drink tap water. Extra tip: being in an eco-sustainable country, the ideal is to have your own bottle, which you can fill in each place visited that has a purified water distributor.
Costa Rica has one of the best health systems in the region and even in the world. There are many public hospitals, from the Costa Rican Social Security, and private clinics that offer their medical services with the best quality professionals and infrastructure.
If attention is required, keep in mind that these are available 24/7.
Transport & communications
There are several transportation options to get around the country. Among the most common to circulate in Costa Rica are: vehicle rental, semi-collective or private transfers, domestic flights, boats and private buses.
As part of our services, we will offer the best alternatives according to each request.
If you have a valid license from your respective country, you have the right to drive in Costa Rica for up to a maximum of 3 months.
Usually the basic requirements are the following:
- Be a driver over 21 years of age.
- Carry a driver’s license, identity card / passport up to date.
- Make a guarantee deposit with a credit card ranging from $ 500 to $ 1000 depending on the type of coverage and the selected vehicle (released in two weeks from the closing of the rental contract). Debit cards and cash are not accepted.
In Costa Rica, the outlets use a voltage of 110V and a frequency of 60 Hz.
The outlets in Costa Rica are type A and B, similar to those in the United States and Canada.
Therefore, it is advised to consider bringing a voltage converter and/or an adapter for the outlets if they are different from the ones you use in your country.
Costa Rica occupies one of the first places in telecommunications growth in the world.
It is also one of the countries in the world with the highest number of cell phone lines per inhabitant. That can give you an idea of how connected we are!
There are several ways to stay connected in the country: using the roaming of the telephone company in your country, although many times it can be expensive, or bringing an unlocked cell phone to buy a SIM in the country.
If none of these options are useful to you, most businesses, hotels, restaurants offer Wi-Fi and other ways to keep in touch.