Yes! A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica. All passengers need a passport and there must be at least six months remaining before the passport expires. In addition, make sure your passport is in good physical condition. It is not uncommon to be refused entry to Costa Rica if you arrive with a damaged passport.
Citizens of the US, Canada and Europe are NOT required to have a special visa to enter the country. At entry a stamp will be made on your passport indicating date of entry and the 90 day period given when arriving as a tourist.
All tour reservation deposits are non-refundable. In some cases some percentage of credit may be applied to a future tour, or rescheduled tour - these credits are NOT guaranteed and will be given ONLY AT THE DISCRETION OF BEST COSTARICAN TOURS.
Costa Rica is THE safest place to travel in Central America. Costa Rica has no military, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for President and boasts the most stable democratic government in Central America. Of course, common sense practices of securing valuables and essential documents are always wise. Petty theft is common in tourist destinations worldwide and Costa Rica is no exception.
Hiring a reputable company to handle your initial transportation and accommodations is always a good idea when visiting a foreign country for the first time. Use credit cards when in doubt, companies that do not handle credit cards can seldom be held accountable for their practices. Best CostaRican Tours is glad to accept any major credit card for any of our services that you may require.
There are internet cafes almost everywhere a tourist has ever set foot now in Costa Rica. In major tourist destination wireless signals abound. Contrarily, there are few international calling plans that actually do work (though most claim to) in Costa Rica.
If you are going to call several times to Costa Rican phones, we recommend purchasing a disposable cell phone when coming.
Always use a reputable company when choosing a transportation service. Be sure to verify basic info such as: the kind of vehicle being offered, if the driver is bilingual, if the vehicle is properly insured etc. It can be surprising what passes as professional transportation in Costa Rica.
The national taxis are a good and inexpensive option for local transportation. Always be sure to use a nationally licensed taxi, they are red and all have a yellow triangle on the doors indicating the vehicle ID number. Be sure to insist that the meter is used ("la Maria").
No special international license is required to drive in Costa Rica, though you must have a valid license from your home country.
Driving a rental car in Costa Rica can be a great way to get out and explore lesser traveled areas, as well as save on transportation expenses if you plan on spending the majority of your time traveling during your stay. However, there are a number of things to consider when making your decision:
Though no vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica, it is always a good idea to check the CDC - Center for Disease Control website for up to date information on any area you are traveling to.
Though considered by most to be safe, it is always recommendable to drink bottled water to insure an illness-free vacation when traveling abroad. Foreign tap water is exactly that - foreign, and everybody reacts differently.
In reputable places such as recomended accommodations and establisments you may not miss natural juices, there are no words to describe the tastefulness you will experiment.
Yes, credit cards and dollars are accepted in most areas that tourists frequent. However, along the road and in smaller towns the Colon is the normal form of payment.
Almost all ATMs in Costa Rica accept Visa/MasterCard ATM cards. Cash advances are also common at most Costa Rican banks though service fees may vary.
The currency of Costa Rica is called the Colon. You can click here for an up to the minute quote on today's dollar/colon exchange rate.
Costa Ricans are not strangers to the generous tippers from the United States, and in fact many depend upon it. Service industry workers such as drivers and guides are accustomed to receiving what their equals might receive in the US. However, one notable exception is the Costa Rican restaurant. It is not uncommon to be automatically charged 10% for service and 13% for taxes at many restaurants in Costa Rica. Though some unknowingly tip 15% - 20% on top of this inflated amount, adding 10% for excellent service can be seen as both a gesture of generosity and understanding.
Voltage/electricity in Costa Rica is the same as the United States with two/three-pronged outlets giving 110 volts. European electronics will require a converter.
Costa Rica is in the U.S. Central Standard Timezone. However, Costa Rica does NOT observe the daylight savings changes observed in the US, and therefore varies by one-hour for half of the year. Costa Rica is GMT - 6:00 (Standard Time). GMT is the abbreviation of Greenwich Mean Time.
It is always a good time to visit Costa Rica! High Season is considered by most to run from December to April, though in more heavily touristic areas it can be considered to extend through early August. Some people, however, prefer the "Green" Season because the temperature is a bit cooler and the more popular tourist areas are less crowded
Above all things that distinguish High Season from "Green" Season is the rain. The rain is occasional in High (or Dry) Season, whereas consistent afternoon showers are the norm in "Green" (Rainy) Season. Though the Rainy Season is considered to begin in April or May, the heaviest rainfall typically occurs between September and November.
'Tico' is simply the Costa Rican term for Costa Rican - there is no positive or negative connotation to the term. Similarly, 'Gringo' is simply the word for American - there is no positive or negative connotation. As a side note, 'Americano' is not a recognized way to express that someone is from the United States as everyone in Latin America considers themselves to be an Americano. The correct way of indicating you are from the United States is Estadounidense. For most, the term Gringo is a much easier way to express their nationality.
"Ahorita mismo" is not simply the translation words for "Right now" - there is not a realistic translation for an elapsed time that lasts in between ten minutes to six hours -
If you are answered "ahorita mismo" when asking for a time period, start shivering...