Frequently asked questions about Costa Rica

Frequently asked questions about Costa Rica

Frequently asked questions about Costa Rica

Costa Rica is synonymous with adrenaline. It’s a peaceful country and an adventure destination, marked by excitement and its stunning biodiversity. Protected areas make up one quarter of the country’s territory, making Costa Rica a sanctuary surrounded by well-conserved forests.

Costa Rica is also ranked among the happiest countries in the world. This is backed by the fact that the country’s inhabitants have an 80 year life expectancy, according to the World Bank.

If you are thinking about visiting this Central American country to experience the “pura vida” lifestyle, the following is basic information that you should become familiar with in order to travel to Costa Rica with complete peace of mind.


What currency is used in Costa Rica?

official currency of Costa Rica is the colón. However, U.S. dollars are accepted by most businesses. Smaller bills are accepted more easily, whereas 100 dollar bills will usually not be accepted for shopping>.



Do local businesses accept credit and debit cards in Costa Rica?

Most hotels, restaurants, stores and other businesses accept credit and debit cards. The most commonly accepted ones are Visa, MasterCard and American Express.



What are the hours of operation for ATMs in Costa Rica?

in Costa Rica are available for use from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. However, if you prefer to use cash, the most common currencies are U.S. dollars and colones (the national currency). It’s a good idea to have colones, at least in small amounts, to pay bus fares, or to make purchases in bakeries, supermarkets and some stores. You will find ATMs in shopping centers, and in urban and rural cities and towns.



What are the roads like in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, transportation authorities have been working to strengthen and improve land transportation systems, by linking up national and regional highways. Making connections between borders, port areas, and the capital, San Jose, has also been a priority. Dirt roads are mainly found in the innermost areas of the country, which means that traveling from one province to another isn’t a problem. It’s an interesting fact that because Costa Rica is such a small country, traversing it from border to border would only take around 16 hours.


Is it safe to drink tap water in Costa Rica?

The protection of water sources is a priority in Costa Rica, which means that you can safely drink tap water. More than 90% of the Costa Rican population has access to clean drinking water.


Is WiFi common in Costa Rica?

Most hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and stores offer internet access. Throughout the past decade, Costa Rica’s efforts to improve internet connectivity have been positive and pioneering in the Central American region.


How can I get a data plan and buy a SIM card in Costa Rica?

A variety of mobile phone companies have stores located at major border crossing points and at international airports in Costa Rica. They offer roaming plans, mobile internet plans, and prepaid plans for international calls. The mobile data connection is 4G.

SIM cards are sold all over the country: in supermarkets, shopping centers, pharmacies, and stores. To use a SIM card you have to make sure that your phone isn’t locked. Once the SIM card is installed, you will have to buy a prepaid card to make calls or to use the internet.



What is the average price of a SIM card in Costa Rica?

For the best internet connectivity prices, it’s a good idea to buy a SIM card. Most phone companies charge 4 or 5 dollars for one. This price in colones is between 2,200 and 2,700 colones.


What are the main tourist destinations in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a geographically diverse country with many magnificent destinations. There are plenty of opportunities both for adrenaline seekers, and for those seeking that special peace and quiet found only in nature.

There are several volcanoes in Costa Rica, some of which stand out because of their panoramic views and their diverse flora and fauna. Some examples of these are:

  • Poas Volcano
  • Turrialba Volcano
  • Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Irazu Volcano
  • Orosi Volcano

Costa Rica is also bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Costa Rica’s beaches are exceptional because of their warm waters, the landscape that surrounds them, and their stunning views of the sunrise and the sunset.

The most emblematic beaches in Costa Rica are known for the harmonious relationships between flora and fauna found there. Some of these beaches are:

  • Conchal Beach
  • Gulf of Papagayo
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Puerto Viejo
  • Tamarindo
  • Santa Teresa

One of the most highly regarded and most frequently visited tourist destinations is undoubtedly La Fortuna de San Carlos, home of the majestic Arenal Volano and other natural beauties such as the La Fortuna Waterfall, and the Cerro Chato Volcano. La Fortuna stands out for the wide variety of adventure and relaxation activities available here to people of all ages. All of these activities are carried out in close contact with nature, including the experience we offer at the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.


What’s the weather like in Costa Rica?

There is a wide variety of climates in Costa Rica, due to the country’s geographical location and its tropical environment. Between May and November, there’s precipitation throughout the country. However, there may be rain throughout the year in mountainous areas and in the Atlantic area. The average temperature stays between 21°C y 27°C. In Costa Rica, the sun rises at around 5 a.m. and sets at around 6 p.m.


What seasons does Costa Rica have?

Costa Rica doesn’t have clearly defined seasons. However, the rainy season is generally from May to November. During the dry season, from December to April, there is usually less rain and it’s mainly sunny. It’s important to remember that weather varies depending on each region’s geographical location.


What type of visa is required to enter Costa Rica?

Entering Costa Rica as a tourist is simple. There’s no need for any type of visa if you’re from Europe, the United States or Canada. With a passport from one of these countries, you will be granted a visitor’s permit for 90 days upon arrival. If you’re planning to stay for a longer period of time, there are processes that you will have to complete while in your home country. Also, remember to check your passport’s expiration date.


Are there any vaccinations required to enter Costa Rica?

No vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica. However, if you’re arriving to Costa Rica from South America or Africa, you will need to show proof of yellow fever vaccination in order to be granted entry to the country.


What are health services like in Costa Rica?

Public and private hospitals and clinics can be found throughout the country. Furthermore, in the case of an emergency, a Red Cross service is available, which provides first aid attention in a timely manner.


What kind of power outlets are used in Costa Rica?

If you’re traveling from Europe, Asia or Africa, you will need an adapter to plug in your devices. 110 V power is used in Costa Rica, which is compatible with type A and B sockets.
Stock A
Enchufe A
Stock B
Enchufe B



Do I need a special permit to drive in Costa Rica?

Anyone over the age of 18, with a driver’s license from their country, can drive in Costa Rica. However, if you wish to rent a car, you must be over the age of 21.


What are some recommendations for travel within Costa Rica?

Public transportation in Costa Rica is efficient. However, we recommend that you take advantage of the door-to-door transportation offered between your hotel and tourist attractions, as this will be more comfortable and will allow you to save time. You also won’t have to worry about asking for directions or getting lost.

If you wish to use public transportation, keep in mind that bus stations are dispersed. Also, travel routes to various regions are centralized, which means that for internal travel, the departure point is often located in San Jose, which is one of the most traffic-congested cities. The BUSMAPS app can help you to find bus stops, itineraries, ticket prices, and so on, and it’s available for Android and iOS.

Official taxis are another transportation option, they are red with a yellow triangle on them. You can also use the UBER service.


What’s it like to rent a car in Costa Rica?

You will find various car rental offices in and around the national airports, as well as in the main touristic areas.

If you’re planning on renting a car, you will have more freedom in terms of your travel itinerary, as you’ll be able to make stops at alternative tourist attractions. However, you should be aware that the roads in Costa Rica generally have a lot of curves and slopes, as they’re located in mountainous areas. The weather may also be rainy or foggy, so it’s advisable to drive with caution.


Which apps can help me to orient myself in Costa Rica?

Google Maps is one of the most accurate options in Costa Rica. Tourist destinations, as well as highways and roads, can be found on this app.The most commonly used app by Costa Ricans is Waze; it displays routes based on the specific places that you wish to visit. It also shows the most recommended route, the most traffic-congested areas, and it can even help you to avoid traffic accidents that have occurred along your route.


How safe is it to visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Latin America. The country’s army was abolished in 1949, and because of this, it’s recognized worldwide as a peaceful country. The “fuerza pública” is an ever-growing national police force that ensures safety. It’s very common to see officers around, making sure that everything is in order, and that citizens and visitors are secure.

Nevertheless, it’s important to always be aware of your belongings and to not leave valuables out in the open.


Can I travel to Costa Rica with pets?

In order to regulate the entrance and exit of pets, the SENASA sector of the Costa Rican government has established the requirements and processes necessary for the transportation of animals. More information can be found on their website:, however your airline of choice will determine the general requirements and the applicable fees for the transportation of animals by airplane.


What are Costa Rica’s most traditional foods?

Gallo pinto” is a mix of rice and beans, flavoured with natural spices and traditional sauces. It’s generally eaten for breakfast along with eggs, sour cream, bread, and cheese, among other side dishes.

A “casado” is a meal that includes white rice, beans, some kind of meat (beef, pork, chicken or fish), as well as fried plantains, salads, and “picadillo” (a dish comprising of finely chopped vegetables or meat). This meal can be served for lunch or dinner.

Olla de carne” is another typical Costa Rican dish. It’s a beef based soup which includes a wide variety of regional vegetables, such as: potatoes, squash, corn, green plantain, and cassava, among others.

Besides traditional Costa Rican food, there is a wide variety of dishes available throughout the country. If you’re in the mood for international or fast food, you will be able to find it easily.


What kind of clothing and footwear should be worn while visiting Costa Rican tourist attractions?

While visiting rural areas in Costa Rica, we recommend the use of comfortable clothing. The best option would be to wear light clothes, and to bring along a sweatshirt or a raincoat in case of rain. Don’t forget to wear closed shoes that cover your feet entirely, so as to protect you from insects, poisonous reptiles, and dampness. This kind of footwear will also be necessary for most adventure activities. Try to wear clothing that can dry easily and quickly.

Remember to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat that can protect you from the sun.


What are the most common illnesses and physical maladies that tourists encounter in Costa Rica?

Weather changes in Costa Rica may cause colds, as there are various microclimates within the country. Tourists may also experience an upset stomach if they are exposed to bacteria native to tropical areas, or if they consume foods that haven’t been properly prepared. For this reason, it’s important to carefully select the places where you will be purchasing food, and to follow basic hygiene practices while eating.

Other common illnesses are transmitted through mosquitoes, such as dengue, zika and chikungunya. These can be prevented through the use of insect repellent and by wearing pants and long sleeved shirts.



What number should I call in case of emergency in Costa Rica?

You will receive immediate attention by calling 9-1-1. You can also call 800-TOURISMO to request help.

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