Costa Rica is a wonderful country to travel to. It offers a wide range of options for all tastes. However, when traveling to other countries, there are things that will be different, and you as tourists should be prepared with a little information to handle every possible situation and enjoy completely your vacations.
Some of these Costa Rica travel tips are:
- When you come to Costa Rica make sure you keep your important papers, passport, and other valuables in a safe place. Ask if your hotel has a security box in the room or in the reception (sometimes there is an extra charged for it). You only need a photocopy of the main page of your passport and of the entry stamp page. However, to change travel checks or change dollars in a bank you will need your actual passport.
- Americans and Canadians do not need visa to enter Costa Rica; they are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Europeans and Latin Americans (excluding Nicaraguans) are allowed to stay in the country up to 30 days; Western Europeans need visa.
- When traveling around the country keep your money in different places. Costa Rica is a fairly safe country, however, you can lose your money or it could be stolen. It is advisable to have your money and credit cards in different places and not in just one place.
- Before coming to Costa Rica leave a copy of your itinerary along with other important papers, such as airplane ticket information, traveler’s checks, credit cards, and medical history, with a friend or family. This in case you lose your papers and need to have your information again.
- Check your health insurance; verify if it covers you outside your country, or buy travel insurance with your travel agency.
- Pack exactly what you need and weight your bags so you won´t get charge for the overweight. You can also use covered luggage tags with the information and address of your office instead of your house, just to be safe!
- In Costa Rica there is "Costa Rican Time" meaning that everyone goes on their own peace, so be patient and remember that you are a visitor in the country and enjoy the difference.
- Remember to bring special medicines and medical equipment. It may be hard to find here. Costa Rica has many very good pharmacies and clinics, but if you are away in a tour you probably will not find quickly what you need for your health.
- Once you are in the country, remember to pack plastic bags to keep your electronics safe in case of rain and humidity, insect repellent, sunscreen, rain jackets or umbrellas and various types of clothes since the weather varies a lot from morning to night.
- Tips and taxes are included in restaurants; however, if you feel like leaving some more tips do so! For drivers, tour guides and hotel personnel, tips are expected, but you can leave whatever you feel the service was worth. There is an Exit Taxes to leave the country using the International Airport; the fee is $26 per person payable just before checking in at your airline counter. It could be paid in dollars or colones, but no credit cards.
- When using taxis make sure the "maria" or taximeter is in place. Taxi drivers should charge whatever the taximeter marks and no more. They do not expect tips, however, it is up to you.
- Tico Time! Punctuality is not Costa Ricans strong point. However, tour operators and private transportation companies do respect exactly the time they set the tour or the pickup.
- Internet is widely available in the country. However, do not expect great fast service; it truly depends of the company that is offering the service. In many hotels wireless Internet is available, but if not, there are many Internet Coffee Houses where you can pay Internet time for a low cost.