Costa Rica Travel FAQs

Costa Rica Travel FAQs give you important information about Costa Rica culture, flights, manners, gastronomy, and more. Traveling to any place in the world means knowing a little of that country before your arrival to make your stay more comfortable and safe. This also shows respect for the local culture and for the place we will travel and know to learn a bit about Costa Rica before arrival is not the exception. Besides knowing about its beaches white sand, volcanoes, and rain forests are also important to know about its culture, economy, history, traditions, and even gastronomy. This way you will discover the true meaning of the Pura Vida lifestyle.

I need Visa to come to Costa Rica?

Who can come to Costa Rica?

Citizens holding a valid passport from the following countries are permitted to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France and dependencies
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Holland and dependencies
  • Hungary
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Poland
  • Portugal,
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America
  • Uruguay

Citizens holding valid passports from the following countries are allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 30 days without a visa, although once they are in the country, they can apply for an extension (Prórroga de Turismo) from the Immigration office (Migración), which allows them to stay a total of 90 days:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Oman
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • San Cristobal/Nevis
  • San Marino
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore,
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • The Vatican,
  • Venezuela

Citizens of all countries not listed above must obtain a visa from a Costa Rican embassy or consulate before their arrival.

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Flying to Costa Rica

Airlines Flying to Costa Rica

Flights can arrive at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) is located just 17 km from the Capital of Costa Rica, San José. Also, flights can land in the Guanacaste Airport, situated just 25 minutes drive from the Papagayo Gulf and 60 minutes drive from Tamarindo, Flamingo, Conchal, located in the province of Guanacaste.

Airlines flying to and from Juan Santamaría Int Airport include the following companies:

  • Aerovías de México (México – Aeroméxico)
  • Air Canada (Canadá)
  • Aero México (México)
  • Air France (Francia)
  • Air Panama (Panamá)
  • Alaska Airlines (EEUU)
  • Air Transat (Canadá)
  • American Airlines (EEUU)
  • Avianca (Colombia)
  • British Airways (Reino Unido)
  • Condor Flugdienst (Alemania)
  • Copa Airlines (Panamá)
  • Cubana de Aviación (Cuba)
  • Delta (EEUU)
  • Frontier Airlines (EEUU)
  • Iberia (España)
  • Interjet (México)
  • Interjet Airline (México)
  • Southwest Airlines (EEUU)
  • Spirit (EEUU)
  • Sunwing Airlines (Canadá)
  • United Airlines (EEUU)
  • US Airways (EEUU)
  • Volaris (México)

Airlines flying to and from Daniel Oduber Q. Int Airport (LIR) located in Guanacaste include the following companies:

  • Air Canada (Canadá)
  • Air Transat (Canadá)
  • American Airlines (USA)
  • Avianca (Colombia)
  • Condor Flugdienst (Alemania)
  • Copa Airlines (Panamá)
  • Delta (USA)
  • Frontier Airlines (USA)
  • JetBlue Airways (USA)
  • KLM (Holanda)
  • Southwest Airlines (USA)
  • Sun Country Airlines (USA)
  • Sunwing Airlines (Canadá – charter)
  • Thomson Airways (England)
  • United Airlines (USA)
  • US Airways (USA)
  • WestJet (Canadá)
  • Aero Mexico (Mexico)

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Costa Rica Taxes

Local Taxes and Tips

VAT Tax is 13%. Every commerce should give you an invoice showing the total price and taxes.

Departure Tax is a $29 USD departure tax payable at the airport with USD / Costa Rican cash or VISA, Master Card, or American Express. This tax must be paid before you check in for your flight. Most airlines already include this tax in their final price. Since a few years ago this is included in most of the airline tickets’ final prices.

Service Tax is 10% and this is included on the ticket in restaurants and bars.

Additional tips are up to your satisfaction with the service.

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Costa Rica Health & Sanity

Costa Rica Vaccinations & Health

You are unlikely to encounter any serious diseases in Costa Rica. Sanitary standards are high and the health system is excellent. During the past two wet seasons, there have been several outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease dengue but so far there have been no reported cases of the more serious hemorrhaging dengue.

No vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica as epidemic diseases have been all but eradicated throughout the country. Infectious hepatitis, a serious problem throughout Central America, is reported only rarely in Costa Rica.

The following countries are required to possess a yellow fever vaccination certificate: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and the Republic of Guyana.

Several private hospitals in San Jose offer emergency medical services to foreigners are reasonable prices. Costa Rica’s Social Security system offers a medical insurance assistance program for foreigners needing emergency medical assistance. The coverage can be bought at travel agencies, language schools, or tour companies.

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Costa Rica Holidays & Festivities

Costa Rica Holidays
  1. January 1st: New Years Day
  2. April 11th: Juan Santamaria Day, National Hero.
  3. Holy Thursday and Good Friday: Religious activities.
  4. May 1st: International Labor Day.
  5. August 15th: Mother’s Day.
  6. September 15th: Independence Day.
  7. December 25th: Christmas Day.
  8. July 25th: Annexation of Guanacaste Day.
  9. August 2nd: Virgin of the Angels Day.
  10. October 12th: Christopher Columbus Day.
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Safety Tavel Tips

To make your stay in Costa Rica the most enjoyable experience, take into account these personal traveling tips:

1. Take along a photocopy of your passport. Make sure a photograph of you is easily seen, your personal data and the date you entered the country may all be in it too.

2. Deposit your valuable belongings (money, passport, plane tickets, and traveler’s checks) in your hotel’s safety box.

3. Keep a list of all the numbers and serial numbers of your personal documents.

4. If you stay in popular multiple-use cabins, find out about the security of maintaining your valuables in your room.

5. It’s best not to carry jewelry with you.

6. Avoid changing money on the street. Use banks or well-known exchanging offices. Check in your hotel for recommendations on the subject. Try to take only the amount of money you are going to use during the day.

7. Don’t leave unattended objects such as cameras and video cameras. Keep your wallet in an inconspicuous place.

8. Make sure you know the address where you are going. Tell the people at your hotel about your destination.

9. Used cabs whose identifications are exhibited on the door. The license plates must have red numbers and the cars must be red too. As boarding, a cab sees that the meters show zero, or negotiate with the cabby the price of your trip prior to start the trip.

10. When driving does not give rides to people you don’t know. Try not to park in dark or deserted spots. Use parking lots. These places are legally responsible for your car and anything left in it. Tell the administrator about anything you want to leave in your car.

11. The emergency number is 911. They speak English.

12. Light clothes are recommended but it may be wise to carry a sweater or jacket since nights tend to be cool. At sea level shorts are good enough. If you plan to walk in the forest, long sleeve shirts, jeans, boots, and a hat are more appropriate. Be sure your clothes are made of cotton. Don’t forget mosquito repellent, sunglasses, and suntan lotion or cream. During the rainy season (May through November) a jacket and an umbrella are a must.

14. Telephones, faxes, cellular phones, the Internet, as well as audiovisual equipment are always at hand.

15. Most establishments work from Monday to Sunday and are open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Some private places close at noon. Bars and other recreation businesses are open until late at night. Government offices are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Banks open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Some banks have offices that remain open until 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm.

17. About electricity, there is 110 or 220 volts of power all over the country. Check with the people in your place before connecting any electrical apparatus to the line.

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Money & Exchange

Currency, Credit Cards, and Exchange

CURRENCY: The COLON is our official currency and the US $ is widely accepted also. The colon is Spanish for Columbus.  Christopher Columbus “discovered” Costa Rica in 1502 on his third and final voyage to the new world.

US Dollars are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica.  Try to bring only bills in decent condition, not excessively torn or heavily marked as some places may not accept them if in bad condition. This is because false dollars are not as durable and deteriorated bills could be suspect for being false. Dollar bills do not have to be in “mint” condition, so don’t go out of your way to get new bills.

EXCHANGE RATE: The current exchange rate as of January 16, 2021, is 613.71  colones to $1 (US).

Do not exchange your US$ for Costa Rican currency in the U.S. before leaving. The US dollar (cash) can easily be exchanged here at a fair rate. When you exchange your US$ for any foreign currency in the U.S. you receive approximately 30% less of your dollars.

Airport currency exchange offices in the U.S. offer about 25% less. Hotels here generally will exchange your US$ to “Colones” but they will usually use a slightly lower exchange rate of about 1% less as a commission for handling the transaction. Many hotels offer the “official exchange rate of the day”, while others offer slightly higher or slightly lower rates.

CREDIT CARDS: AMEX, VISA, and Master Card credit/debit cards are widely accepted in retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, etc.   VISA is currently the most widely accepted. ATM’s are also available in major cities accepting Visa, and others accepting only Master Card.  Some accept both.  Amex is also fairly well accepted, but not as much as Visa & MC.

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Local Transportation

To rent a car, a current driver’s license is necessary, along with a credit card. The drivers must be over 21 years old and a deposit should be paid. You drive on the right-side lane and the international signs are used on streets and roads.

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Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition

Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition package will embark on a wonderful journey by the north and the south Caribbean coast of Costa Rica visiting Tortuguero and Puerto Viejo and its surrounding places full of culture, delicious food, and relaxing ambient. As well you will visit the area of the Póas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and enjoy the amazing views of the Arenal Volcano and its relaxing hot springs.

ItineraryIncludesHotelsToursBookingsMap

Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition Itinerary

San Jose Costa Rica Downtown Post Office
Day 01. Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition starts when you meet our guide for the short drive to the capital San José. Arrive and check into a Standard room at the hotel of your choice. Depending on your flight in the afternoon is possible to take a city tour. Overnight in San Jose.
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Day 02. Transfer to the Caribbean flat lands where you will take the boat to Tortuguero National Park. Arrive at Pachira Lodge. Afternoon to enjoy at your leisure. Overnight Tortuguero.   
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Day 03. Tortuguero National Park Tour. Enjoy the abundant flora and fauna, you can see sloths, many different species of birds, caimans, tapirs, monkeys, snakes, and much, much more. By night prepare for the night tour at the beach of the national park to see the black leather turtles nesting. Overnight in Tortuguero.
Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica
Day 04. Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition takes you to enjoy the Kayak Tour in the canals and observe some of the local wildlife. At your arrival, our driver will take you to the South Caribbean area. Enjoy the coastal drive and the exuberant vegetation of the area. Overnight in Puerto Viejo.
Cahuita National Park Snorkeling Tour
Day 05 Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition takes you today to the Cahuita National Park. There you will enjoy the Snorkeling Tour. Observe beautiful fish and coral reefs, later hike into the wonderful Cahuita National Park. In the afternoon you can enjoy an optional tour, rent a bike or simply relax at the beach. Overnight in Puerto Viejo.
Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Day 07. Transfer to the Poás Volcano Lodge. Before arriving at the hotel you will enjoy the tour of La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and The Doka Coffee Estates. Overnight at the Poás Volcano Lodge.
Costa Rica White Water Rafting
Day 08. White Water Rafting Class III-IV.  Enjoy a half-day full of adrenaline and adventures along the river, at the end of the tour you will be driven to the Arenal and Fortuna area. Check-in at your hotel from where you will have a spectacular view of the Arenal Volcano. Overnight in the Arenal Volcano area.
Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Day 9. Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition takes to enjoy the 4 in 1 Combo Adventure. You will visit the Arenal Volcano National Park,  La Fortuna Waterfall, choose from the Hanging Bridges or the Safari float. Finish your day at the relaxing Hot Springs park of your choice. Overnight in the Arenal Volcano area.
White-Faced Monkey, Costa Rica
Day 10. Last morning, meet our driver at a determined time for your transfer to the International Airport in San Jose for your flight back.

Costa Rica Caribbean Expedition

Package Includes 10 Days / 9 Nights 

  • 1 night in San Jose
  • 1 night at Póas Volcano Lodge
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Póas Volcano, and Coffee Tour
  • 2 nights in Tortuguero
  • Tortuguero National Park Guided Tour
  • Boat transfer & All meals included (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • 3 nights in Puerto Viejo
  • Snorkeling & Hike Tour in the Cahuita National Park
  • 2 nights in the Arenal Volcano Area
  • Arenal Volcano, Fortuna Waterfall & Hot Springs Tour
  • Breakfast included,  
  • Private transfers between hotels and from/to the airport, 
  • Hotel & Sales Taxes Included

 

 

Caribbean Expedition Booking Enquiry

 

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As well you will visit the area of the Póas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and will discover the amazing views of the Arenal Volcano and the relaxing waters of the natural hot springs.


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Costa Rica Caribbean and Volcanoes Adventure

Day 01 Costa Rica Caribbean & Volcanoes Adventure starts arriving at the Juan Santamaria Int. Airport. After customs clearance, you will meet our driver who will take you to the capital San José. Arrive and check into a Standard room in San Jose. Overnight in a standard room at Hotel Irazú or similar

Day 02 After breakfast get ready for an exciting day, you will the staff for an exciting White Water Rafting.  Enjoy a half-day full of adrenaline and adventures along the river, at the end of the tour you will be driven to the Arenal and Fortuna area. Check-in your hotel, where you will have a spectacular view of the Arenal Volcano from your window. Overnight in Arenal Volcano Area.

Day 03 Prepare in the morning to meet the tour guide who will drive you to the 4 in 1 Combo Adventure, enjoy the Arenal Volcano National Park,  La Fortuna Waterfall, choose from the Hanging Bridges or the Safari float and finish in the relaxing and heal Hot Springs. Overnight in Arenal Volcano Area.

Day 04 Our driver will pick you up for your transfer to the Poás Volcano Lodge located next to the volcano with the same name. Before arriving at the hotel you will enjoy the tour of the Poás Volcano, Waterfall Gardens, and The Doka Coffee Estates. Overnight at the Poás Volcano Lodge.

Day 05 Transfer to the Caribbean flat lands to take the boat in the docks of Caño Blanco. The boat will take you into the amazing scenario of the canals of Tortuguero National Park. In the afternoon you can take the guided hike to the town and see the moon rising in the Caribbean. Overnight in Tortuguero 

Day 06 Today meet the tour guide for your next awesome tour to the Tortuguero National Park. You will be amazed by the incredible and abundant flora and fauna. You can see sloths, many different species of birds, caimans, tapirs, monkeys, snakes and much, much more. When the night falls, dinner will be prepared for the night tour at the beach of the national park to see the black leather turtles nesting. Overnight in Tortuguero 

 Day 07 Enjoy the last morning after breakfast prepares for your last adventure in Tortuguero. Your guide will be waiting for you at the front desk for the kayak tour in the canals. At noon be ready to take the boat back to the docks. Our driver will be waiting for you to take you to the Puerto Viejo area. Enjoy the coastal drive and the exuberant vegetation of the zone. Overnight in Puerto Viejo 

Day 08 Meet your guide to enjoying a half-day snorkeling tour with an array of beautiful fish. Later hike into the wonderful Cahuita National Park just a few km north of the Puerto Viejo town. In the afternoon you can enjoy an optional tour, rent a bike or simply relax at the beach. Overnight in Overnight in Puerto Viejo 

Day 09 Day off to enjoy at your leisure the Caribbean coast. Overnight in Overnight in Puerto Viejo 

Day 10 Costa Rica Caribbean & Volcanoes Adventure last morning, meet our driver at a determined time for your transfer to the International Airport in San Jose for your flight back.

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Package Includes 10 Days / 9 Nights 

1 Night in San Jose

1 Night at Póas Volcano Lodge

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Póas Volcano, and Coffee Tour

2 Nights in Tortuguero

Tortuguero National Park Guided Tour

Boat transfer & All meals included (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

3 Nights in Bungalow in Puerto Viejo

Snorkeling & Hike Tour in the Cahuita National Park

2 Nights in Standard Room in Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano, Fortuna Waterfall & Hot Springs Tour

Breakfast included,  

Private transfers between hotels and from/to the airport, 

Hotel & Sales Taxes Included

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