Travel Information – Costa Rica
Passport, Visa Regulations
A valid passport with at least one blank visa page is mandatory to enter Costa Rica. It should be valid during the following 6 months from the entry date to Costa Rica.
Depending on your country of origin you may enter Costa Rica without a visa. USA, Canada and most European countries have this privilege.
The Costa Rican currency is called Colon. US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.
Payment via Credit Cards
All major credit cards are widely accepted. You will find ATM machines distributed throughout the country.
There are no "official" money-changing places in Costa Rica. Stores, taxi drivers, street corner money-changers can do it, and will.
A few ATM's accept foreign credit cards. If you use one of these, count your money; make sure the machine gave you what you paid for.
Outlets are 110 V, with standard US two prong plugs.
The water is potable in most of the country. Bottled water is recommended.
Airport tax is US$26, can be paid in Colones or by credit cards.
Sales tax is 13%.
You do not pay Customs duty for bringing cash to Costa Rica. However, if you bring more than ten thousand U.S. dollars (US$10,000.00), you will be required to declare the total amount of cash that you bring in the country at the Customs Office.
Important telephone numbers
117 Police Department
118 Fire Department
116 Operator Assistance
Local calls in Costa Rica are cheap; long distance calls are not. To Northern Europe $15 for 3 minute $4 per each additional minute. To Canada and US $3 each minute, and $3 per each additional minute.
There are no reduced rates for after-business-hours calls. However, calls to US and Canada are cheaper ($1.50 per minute) on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 pm to 7 am.
You can call collect from any telephone in Costa Rica. Just dial 09, followed by the international access code of your country, followed by the phone number. If you need an English Speaking operator, dial 116.
You can use your calling card from any pay phone in Costa Rica. Simply dial the access code of your calling card company and dial the number.
If you want to pay cash for a call, go to a private line in a hotel or to Radiografica offices in San José. Here you can use phonebooks, send or receive faxes and make international calls.
Temperature is 20-22°C (68 - 72 F) the whole year around.
Costa Rica has only two seasons. Rainy season from May to the middle of November, bringing sunny, summery mornings, splashed by bouts of warm afternoon rain. The wet season is punctuated by a "little summer" (el veranillo), a short dry season that visits the country in July and August. September and October, look for Los Torrenciales, dramatic cloudbursts that drench the hillsides and fill the rivers to the top. If you plan to drive the back roads during these months, bring your jeep and a cheese sandwich. You may be stuck back there for a while.
Dry season begin at the end of November and continues through April. Dry, warm, sunny days march past in endless procession, tempered in January and February by winds cooled by the two seas.
U.S. Central Standard Time (Daylight savings Time not observed); 6 hrs. behind GMT.
Generally, offices are open 8 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 5 pm on weekdays and closed on weekends.
On Saturdays most stores are open, while Sundays almost everything is closed.
The language of Costa Rica is Spanish – though you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that many people in this highly educated country speak more than one language, and, of course, people serving you at the better hotels and restaurants will almost always speak enough English to make themselves understood.