FAQ’s About Costa Rica

The first thing that comes to our mind every time that plan a vacation, normally concern the most of the people.  Here at Costa Rica Special Deals Online make a selected list of the most common and frequent answers and questions about a succesfull travel to Costa Rica.

What time of the year is the best to travel to Costa Rica?

You may visit Costa Rica any time of the year. There are two periods known as the “Green Season”, from May through October and so from December through April we have the “Gold Season” If you plan to travel around Christmas or Easter Week, you should make reservations in advance.

How many days do I need to enjoy Costa Rica in the best way?

Costa Rica offers a wide variety of activities to the visitor. A range of 7 to 15 days is the ideal, in order to enjoy the country’s attractions.

What do I have to pack for my trip to Costa Rica?

It is important to take into account that the weather conditions vary place to place, determinate by elevation and time of year.
When packing consider: Light, practical clothing, especially short-sleeve shirts and fast-drying cotton pants.
There is not like rigid “dressing code” to follow. Casual wearing is the most recommendable everywhere.
It is suggested to take a waterproof garment as in some areas of the country it is rainy year round.

Among the main suggested items in you suitcase we recommend including:

  1. Sun block and insect repellent.
  2. Casual clothes for trips to the city.
  3. Cotton or light synthetic fabric shirts, short or long sleeve.
  4. Cotton or light synthetic fabric pants (jeans are not recommended as they don’t dry quickly).
  5. Shorts for hiking.
  6. Shoes: Lightweight hiking shoes or boots, sandals, tennis or running shoes.
  7. Socks: take an extra pair in case your feet get wet.
  8. Hat with visor for the rain and sun.
  9. Camera and film.
  10. An extra prescription for eyeglasses and medications (if applicable).
  11. Sweater or jacket.
  12. Swimming suit.
  13. Any medical prescription you might be taking at the time of your trip.

Is there a visa and passport required to enter Costa Rica?

Travelers with passports from the United States, Canada and most of European countries do not require a visa to enter. It is necessary to have a valid passport to enter the country.
You may visit the official Costa Rica government web site where you will find available the list of countries or nationalities that do require a visa to enter the country. http://www.migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas/directrices_ingreso/Directriz%20Visas%202012.pdf

Do I need any vaccinations before coming to Costa Rica?

No vaccine is needed to enter the country.

During my visit, can I pay with a credit card?

Major international credit cards are accepted in Costa Rica. ATMs are also available throughout the country.

How does tipping for services work?

Locally the restaurants include a 10% of services tax on their bills covering the tipping.
This is the only exception. Bellboys, cab drivers, tour guides and chambermaids do not have a tip included on the service they provide.
The amount of the tip is at your discretion.

Is it safe to drive a car in Costa Rica?

You are allowed to drive using your valid home country license, for three months. It is safe to drive in Costa Rica if you take basic measures such as driving slowly and attentively. Some streets are not in the best of the shapes, and in rural areas you may come across obstacles like pedestrians and animals.

If I need to contact my embassy in San José, How can I do it?

Any hotel or place of lodging will have the phonebook, where you can find the numbers of the embassies located in San José.

Do I have to carry my passport with me all the time?

Due to safety reasons is better to carry a copy of your passport in order to have an identification document, in case to be needed.
It is suggested to use you hotel safety deposit box in order to keep your passport.

How does Costa Rica’s taxi system work?

Should you need a taxi, make sure it’s an authorized taxi. “Pirate taxis” generally charge well above the official rates.
Authorized taxis are red with a yellow triangle on its doors. This indicates the registration number of the taxi. Also, it is important that the vehicle have a taximeter or “maría”, as it is known locally. Ask what the rate will be before using the service, as prices can change constantly.

How to ask for directions?

Avenues run through the city east to west and the streets from north to south. All are numbered and there usually is a sign on corner buildings. However, costarricans don’t use the avenue-and-street method to give directions.
Instead, they use reference points, such as parks, stores, churches or bridges. Distances are measured in meters. For instance, an address might be given “from the Central Park, 500 meters (which means 5 blocks) south and 75 east.”

What are business hours?

Stores and businesses are open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and the majority of restaurants from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Is there a limited baggage weight on local domestic flights?

All domestic flights allow just 25 pounds of luggage per person.
This maximum baggage allowance includes carry on.
You may pay for extra baggage but it would be taken on the flight only of there is space available one all passengers are already checked in.

What is the cost of the departure tax?

The cost of departure tax is $26 per person, payable either in dollars, colones or with Visa credit card.

What is Costa Rica’s language?

The official language is Spanish, and it is quite common to find people who speak English as well.

What is the difference between the beaches on the Pacific side of the country and those of the Caribbean side?

On the Pacific side of the country you will find beaches surrounded by Tropical Dry Forest as well as locations surrounded of Tropical Rain Forest depending if you are going the Central-South Pacific or the North Pacific.
The pacific side of Costa Rica actually offers a wide variety of options regarding lodging due to development in that area.
On the Caribbean side the beaches are more secluded and primitive surrounded by Rain Forest and coral formations and the options regarding lodging are very basic.

Can I fly into one airport and leave from another?

Yes, you can do it. Costa Rica has two main international airports; one of them located in the province of Alajuela only 20 minutes away from san Jose downtown and the other located in Liberia, province of Guanacaste.
Most airlines do have flights in and out the country from the two gateways.

What is Costa Rica’s food like?

Costa Rica offers a wide variety of options regarding food but one of the most basic presentations are dishes based on rice and beans accompanied with either fish, beef or chicken. This is commonly known as “casado&rsdquo;.
Throughout the country you will also find excellent option of international cuisine.

What is Costa Rica’s weather like?

Costa Rica’s climate is temperate with average temperatures that range between 14 and 22 degrees Celsius (57 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). In the Central Valley, where the main cities are located, the climate is a bit warmer, around 22 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).
On the coasts the temperatures can be higher.
The seasons are not very marked; in general each area has a stable climate, without temperature major variations, year round. However, there is the dry and a rainy season commonly know summer and winter.

Who would I call in case of an emergency?

Locally you may dial 911 for immediate emergency assistance

What is the electrical system?

The electrical system is 110/60 volts. You can use standard American plugs for your hair dryer, razor, and other things.

Is tap water potable in Costa Rica?

The water is potable in most of the country, although it is suggested to drink bottled water, especially in areas outside of the Central Valley.

Others suggestions:

1.  Travel with your money and passport in separate places in case of robbery or loss.

2. Keep valuables and money in a safe place, and only carry as much money as you’ll need for the day.

3. Be sure that your insurance plan covers emergencies outside of your country. If not, think about getting travel insurance.

4. Label your luggage inside and out (name, address and phone number).

5. Carry extra batteries for cameras and electronic devices. You may not have time or be able to get them here.

6. Use baggage tags with information about your office and not your house.

7. Pack a small first-aid kit (antiseptics, antihistamines, decongestants, band aids, ointment for bites and rashes, medicine for diarrhea, pain pills).

8. Protect your camera, batters etc. in plastic bags. In the case of the moisture of the rainforest, moisture could penetrate your electronic equipment.

9. Leave a copy of your itinerary, airline tickets, passport, driver’s license, credit cards, traveler’s checks, medical records and important business documents with a family member or friend.