Travel Advisory for Costa Rica

Some Facts about the Country Costa Rica in Central America

Travel Information Costa Rica

When you travel to a Central American country, the first thing you need is to have the most relevant information of the country on hand, so you can fully enjoy your Costa Rica Travel.  Read below the best practical travel information and the top activities in Costa Rica.

Table of contents:

Practical Travel Information

Top Rated Activities in Costa Rica

Practical Travel Information Costa Rica

🏢 Capital City
💬 Language
🕐 Time zone
⚐ Flag
📄 Documents and Visa
✈️ Airports and Taxes
💶 Currency
🏦 Bank Facilities
🍴Local Cuisine
💉 Vaccinations
☤ Health
🔌 Voltage
☁︎ Weather

Capital City

The capital city of San José is the most populated in the country and is situated in the broad, western province in the Central Valley. It covers a land area of 44.2 square km and has a population of 1,379,000 (2019).

Language

The official language is Spanish, however English is widely spoken.

Time zone

GMT – 6

Flag

🇨🇷

The flag of Costa Rica is composed of five horizontal stripes with blue at the top and bottom edges, white stripes to follow, and a red stripe across the middle. On the left side of the red stripe is the national coat of arms.

Travel Documents

When you travel to Costa Rica, your passport should be valid for at least one month upon arrival in Costa Rica. However, we advise you that your passport is valid for at least six months after departure from Costa Rica.
Please note that passport requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore we advise you to check the passport requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.

Visa

A visa is not required if your stay is shorter than 90 days in Costa Rica.
Please note that visa requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore we advise you to check the visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.

Airport Tax

Upon departure from Costa Rica you are required to pay a departure tax of around 20 dollars per person. The amount is subject to local changes.

International airports of Costa Rica

Airport – Location

  1. Tobías Bolaños International Airport (SYQ) – San José 
  2. Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) – Alajuela 
  3. Limon International Airport (LIO) –  Limon 
  4. Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) – Guanacaste 

Domestic airports of Costa Rica

Airport – Location 

  1. Drake Bay Airport, (DRK) – Puntarenas 
  2. Nicoya Guanacaste Airport, (NCT) – Guanacaste 
  3. Tamarindo Airport, (TNO) – Guanacaste 
  4. Quepos La Managua Airport, (XQP) – Ruta 34 Quepos
  5. Palmar Sur Airport, (PMZ) – Puntarenas 
  6. Perez Zeledon Airport, (IPZ) – San José 
  7. Punta Islita Airport, (PBP) – Guanacaste 
  8. Tambor Airport, (TMU) – Puntarenas 
  9. Laurel Airport, (MRLE) – Puntarenas 
  10. Nosara Airport, (NOB) – Guanacaste 
  11. Tortuguero Airport, (TTQ) – Limón Province, Pocori
  12. Golfito Airport, (GLF) – Puntarenas Province, Golfito
  13. Barra del Colorado Airport, (BCL) – Pocoqui
  14. Buenos Aires Airport, (BAI) – Buenos Aires 
  15. Canas Airport, (CSC) – Cañas 
  16. Carrillo Airport, (RIK) – Carrillo 
  17. Coto 47 Airport, (OTR) – Coto 47
  18. Flamingo Airport, (FMG) – Flamingo
  19. Fortuna Airport, (FON) – Fortuna
  20. Guapiles Airport, (GPL) – Guapiles
  21. Los Chiles Airport, (LSL) – Los Chiles
  22. Playa Samara Airport, (PLD) – Playa Samara
  23. Puerto Jimenez Airport, (PJM) – Puerto Jiménez
  24. Punta Renes Airport, (JAP) – Punta Renes
  25. Rio Frio Airport, (RFR) – Rio Frio
  26. San Vito de Java Airport, (TOO) – Puntarenas
  27. Upala Airport, (UPL) – Upala

Currency

Costa Rica Colon (CRC)

Bank Facilities

Bank cards are accepted at ATMs. Usually if you use your bankcard, it is less expensive than using your credit-card at an ATM. Credit-cards are accepted in the larger hotels and restaurants. American dollars are widely accepted.

Local Cuisine

In addition to the wide variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and fresh seafood, Costa Rica has a rich variety of rice and bean dishes. Casado is a dish which you can order almost everywhere in Costa Rica. This is a nutritious dish with rice, beans, meat or fish and a salad of carrots and cabbage with fried banana. Other typical dishes are beef stew, chicken with rice, fried shrimp, tortillas and soup.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to enter Costa Rica. However, you are advised to take precautions against Hepatitis A, Typhus, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio. Malaria occurs in some parts of the country, therefore precautions against malaria are also advised. Furthermore, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with a health- care provider to determine which vaccinations you might need.

Health

The water from tap in the area of San José is of good quality. The water from tap at the coastal areas are of lesser quality and you are advised to only drink bottled or boiled water there. While traveling in Costa Rica, you are advised to avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. Also try to avoid street-food and always wash your hands before eating.

 

Voltage

The electricity current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Costa Rica generally accepts the following plugs:

➢ Flat blade plug

➢ Two parallel flat pins with ground pin

Weather

The best general time to travel to Costa Rica overall is the season between December and April. This is taking into account the information of the climate, the location of the country and the number of tourists. 

However, for specific regions like the southern coast, where the Puerto Viejo beaches are located, one the most popular in the country, the best time to travel is September and October

On the other hand, in the Guanacaste beaches, the recommended time to travel is February, and for surfing on the Pacific side, it is from April to August. Finally, the best time on the Atlantic side is from December to March.

Top Rated Activities in Costa Rica

For Nature Lovers
Explore Jungles
Visit Wildlife Rescue Centers
Hike Cloud Forests
Night Walks
Eco Parks

For Nature Lovers

There is a lot to see in Costa Rica for nature lovers. This country has a biodiversity that is certainly overwhelming. You will find a wide variety of wildlife that can only be found in this part of the world. Visit its amazing natural parks, like Manuel Antonio in Puntarenas province. It is the most wonderful combination of rain forest, coral reefs and one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches. 

This national reserve has everything for nature lovers and avid surfers.  With an area of 683 hectares, the biodiversity here is astonishing, From howler, white-faced, and monkeys, toucans, two and three fingered sloths, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys, Agoutis, the beautiful Poison Dart Frog, millions of colorful little crabs and much more, this natural reserve will surely amaze you.

Explore Jungles

If exploring in the jungle is for you, Costa Rica has amazing adventures where you can let yourself go into, like the Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, a beautiful treehouse in the middle of the jungle at the Caribbean coast. You will hoist yourself up through a rope climbing system, under supervision, until you reach the observatory, suspended 25 meters up on a tree.  

In addition if you feel adventurous, you can spend a night up on the tree in the middle of the jungle and feel like Tarzan and Jane with spectacular views of trees, animals and birds from the canopy. This will certainly be one of the most memorable nights of your life.

Visit Wildlife Rescue Centers

Travel Costa Rica and get yourself closer to its particular wildlife. If that is what you’re looking for, visiting a rescue center is the activity for you. Most of these centers have many tours and activities to give you the opportunity to have a close encounter with the animals they rescue and protect. 

Find here the information of a couple of choices of wildlife rescue centers that  you can take in account for your next trip.

Toucan Rescue Ranch ‘TRR’:

This rescue center is located in San Isidro, Heredia Province in Costa Rica and has the mission of rescue, rehabilitate and release Costa Rica wildlife.  Due to its important and delicate job, you require a reservation to be able to visit the ‘TRR’.  

Its variety of wildlife is overwhelming; therefore you can find here species like, kinkajous, wildcats, porcupines, opossums, two-fingered sloths, owls and unique insects such as moths, spiders, beetles, and fireflies, not to mention the frogs, leopard frogs, glass frogs, giant toads and the endemic golden-eyed tree frog; all of these call ‘TRR’ a home.  

Choose from a variety of tours depending on your time and interests. Firstly, a classic Ranch Walk will take you to walk the property and learn about the ‘TRR’ history, mission and programs. Similarly, the Slothies and Coffee walk will take you closer to these adorable creatures, or you can choose to learn more about what lurks at night in a Nocturnal Walk, which is certainly a wildly unique and fun adventure.

Royal Butterflies Farm: 

If you want to see some of the Earth’s most amazing insects, the butterflies, you must come to Royal Butterflies, located in Puntarenas Province, Jaco, 10 minutes south of Playa Hermosa. This amazing farm conserves, reproduces and protects local species of tropical butterflies. They are focused on the conservation of native plants that provide habitat for dozens of amazing species of these majestic beings.  

Stroll along the river path and learn about over 70 different varieties of fruit trees planted on the property whilst being surrounded by exotic butterflies with a lush backdrop of tropical plants. 

Hike Cloud Forests

Adventure to one of the rarest habitats on Earth. Visit natural reserves, such as Monteverde that is provided with a high humidity that creates the mist and the cloud cover.  This cloud forest natural reserve has 26,000 acres, and it is home to an astounding variety of flora and fauna.  That is to say pumas, monkeys and endangered jaguars live in these eight different biological zones. 

You can even spot the red-eyed tree frog that serves as a Costa Rican icon, and it is an endangered species.  With over 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 500 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects, the hike in this cloud forest in Monteverde is not to be missed.

Night walks

One of the most thrilling adventures for nature lovers is a night walk. Much of its wildlife wake up and thrive at night; therefore this exciting world is not to be missed. See below options where you can live this exciting adventure.

Tarantula Way:  

This is one of the most interesting night tours you can find in Limon province. Here you are able to explore the rainforest of Cahuita at night and get a closer encounter to many species of plants, invertebrates and reptiles, such as bird-eating spiders, frogs, bats and many insects.  

The perfect opportunity to immerse yourself into the nocturnal wilife with the guidance of an expert to fully enjoy the surroundings while listening to the night sounds of nature.

Project Asis Wildlife Rescue Center:  

This is a wildlife shelter and environmental education center located in the tropical rain forests of the Arenal Volcano area of Costa Rica, very close to La Fortuna.  The wild animals, which have been found wounded, are brought here by the local forest rangers. Also the animals rescued from the black market are brought here for their health care and, ultimately, for their return and release to their natural habitats.  The animals that for any reason cannot be released back into nature become residents within their educational programs.

Eco Parks

In Costa Rica, you will find many eco parks to choose from for your next adventure.  Most of them offer a wide range of fun activities and information to travel and enjoy the natural surroundings. Read below one of the options:

Black Stallion park:  

This is a private eco-park community, located in Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, with more than 1500 acres of pure eco adventure.  Moreover you can choose between a number of activities such as a fun ride on well groomed, trained & friendly horses; as well as trail rides in pastures, mountains & creeks. In addition, the Zip-line here offers you ten amazing platforms to practice this exciting activity, or you can even enjoy the private sunset dinner BBQ feast, where a BBQ Master Chef grills up a feast of farm raised chicken, local meats, fish and fresh garden veggies to taste.  

As a result, this eco-park is the perfect spot to enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean and valley and spot monkeys, iguanas, and birds in flight.  A truly up-close view of nature and wildlife to enjoy the pure Costa Rica fun style.