We’ve gathered here the most asked and most critical general travel information for your trip to Costa Rica. You can go directly to the topics for:


average weather, climate and regional differences.


Currencies, ATMs


Tips to keep yourself safe from crime


What to expect from food and drink in Costa Rica


Should you tip? How much?


The healthcare system, vaccinations

Packing List

Don’t forget to pack your…


Where you’ll land in Costa Rica

National Parks

What to expect and a roundup of the major parks


We’ve got answers to frequently asked questions


With a climate thWeather in Costa Ricaat is diverse and varied, Costa Rica can be divided into several climatic zones. Because of the large number of microclimates across the country, each zone has a different “best” time to visit.

Overall, the weather can be thought of as a dry season and a wet or rainy season. Regardless of where in Costa Rica you visit there is 12 hours of sunshine per day. The sun rises at about 5:45 am and sets at about 5:45 pm consistently throughout the year and the country.

Keep in mind that Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is rather unique and has its own microclimate. With trade winds keeping the weather hot and humid most of the year, there is no real dry season. It can rain even in dry season.

Weather by Region

San José and Central Valley weather: Temperate climate. Dry season from December to April.

Guanacaste and Peninsula Nicoya weather: Usually dry and hot; afternoon rain is expected frequently from June to November.

Manuel Antonio and Central Pacific weather: Manuel Antonio, Jacó and Puntarenas weather is very similar: hot and humid with some rains from June to November.

Arenal and Norhtern Lowlands weather: Humidity is expected in this area, but drier weather is from May until November.

Monteverde weather: Forests and high elevation mean a lot of rain and humidity.

Caribbean (Northern and Southern) weather: Rainy season here is opposite of other Costa Rican zones. The wet season is from July to August and from November to January.

Southern Pacific and Osa weather: September and October have consistent rain. Many hotels close for these months. During the dry season from December to March, it’s sunnier and therefore a bit hotter.

Thunderstorm Costa Rica

Dry Season
Rainy Season
San Jose and Central ValleyDecember to AprilMay to November
GuanacasteDecember to AprilMay to November
Nicoya PeninsulaDecember to AprilMay to November
Manuel Antonio and Central PacificDecember to AprilMay to November
Arenal Volcano and Northern LowlandsDecember to AprilMay to November
Monteverde AreaJanuary to MayJune to September; Nov and Dec windy
Tortuguero and Northern CaribbeanFebruary to June, September and OctoberNovember to January, July to August
Puerto Viejo and Southern CaribbeanFebruary to June, September and OctoberNovember to January, July to August
Peninsula Osa and Southern PacificDecember to AprilMay to November


Costa Rica MoneyThe official currency of Costa Rica is the Colon. However, most places will accept either US Dollars or Colones. If you can exchange Colones in your home country, we recommend to bring some cash in Colones and some in US Dollars. The US Dollar can be used as a backup method of payment, especially during your last few travel days. This ensures that you don’t have Colones left once you leave the country.


Costa Rica has many ATM/cash machines throughout each destination area. Most ATMS have the option of USD or Colones (CRC). It is recommended that before beginning your trip, you withdraw (3) to six (6) days worth of cash in USD in $20 denominations or smaller. Canadian dollars and Euros are generally not accepted.

Exchange Fees

To avoid exchange rate fees, pay for items priced in USD with USD and those priced in Colones with Colones. Generally, change from a purchase with USD will be returned in Colones. Because of this, there is really no need to visit a Currency Exchange after a few days.

If you choose to pay for items with your debit/credit card, be aware that there are usually fees associated with these purchases. These fees vary by bank. It is advisable to bring two (2) different cards in case one is eaten by an ATM, lost, or stolen. Please check with your bank before going abroad to ensure your cards will work in Costa Rica. Don’t forget to add travel advisories in case of fraud alerts!


Safety is important wherever you travel. Although Costa Rica is generally considered safer than many other countries (especially in Central America), it’s still prudent to exercise common sense and caution. You can think of trips to Costa Rica as traveling to a large city in North America. Maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times.

Carrying Valuables

When out, do not carry your passport; carry a copy. Avoid walking alone at night. Do not leave your bags or belongings unattended in public. Exert caution when carrying bags or when you have valuables in your pockets. It is not recommended to carry large amounts of cash or valuables on your person. If confronted by a thief, do not resist. Try to stay calm, give them what they want, and they are unlikely to hurt you. Most victims of theft are injured when they try to fight back. Crimes like kidnapping, murders, robberies, and sexual assaults are not committed frequently against foreigners. bike cop

Renting a Vehicle

If you decide to rent a car, don’t leave any valuables unattended in your car, including the trunk. A common scam is to puncture your car tires. When you pull over, some people will come and “offer help”. They then try and divert your attention while one of them takes off with your belongings. Keep driving if possible and pull over where there are more people around.  A gas station, police station, or restaurant are all safe places to pull over.  

A similar trick is to gently bump the back of your car in attempt to get you to pull over. In this case, do not stop. Simply continue on to a safe place.


Traditional cuisine (comida tipica) and international cuisine are prevalent in any area of Costa Rica. Typical Costa Rican food is simple but delicious. Costa Rica has a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables which can be found at farmer’s markets across the country. Many spices and herbs are used in typical food, the most common of which is a famous sauce known as Salsa Lizano.


The most common breakfast of choice for Ticos is Gallo Pinto. It is the national dish of rice, black beans, onions, red pepper, and cilantro. This is usually served with eggs either sunny side up or scrambled, bread with butter or “natilla,” which is similar to sour cream. It is accompanied by a cup of coffee and/or a cup of fresh juice.

Eat This, Not That recently ranked Costa Rica as #6 in the world for healthy breakfast. Mike Dunphy explains:

Black beans—and the heavy amounts of iron, zinc, potassium, thiamin, and folate inside—play a central role in breakfast here. Mixed with rice, spiced with cumin, pepper, and garlic, Gallo Pinto often comes with eggs on the side and a host of vitamin-rich tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya, and plantains. The breakfast might have a lot to do with Costa Rica’s ‘Blue Zone’ designation, given to countries with long-living populations.

Lunch & Dinner

Lunches and dinners in Costa Rica are very similar and quite well balanced meals. The most common is called a “casado” (“married man’s dish”). A casado includes some type of meat such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, or other seafood. It comes with a side salad, rice, black beans, and fried plantains served with a natural fruit juice. These casados range in price from $4 to $6, on average. If you are unsure about where to eat, the general rule is to eat where you see many locals eating. This is generally a good indication that meals are economical, tasty, and trustworthy.

A few must-try recommendations for foodies while exploring Costa Rica include: Rice and Beans with Pollo Caribeño (Caribbean style chicken), Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken), Chifrijo, Tamales (Christmas time only), Picadillos, Tortilla Alignada (corn tortilla with sour cream), Arroz con Leche (milk rice), Tres Leches (sweet dessert) and Granizados (Costa Rican way of slushies).


Imported drinks may be expensive, and the national beers are quite popular and refreshing on a sunny day. The most popular national beers include Pilsen and Imperial but the craft beer scene is on the rise.

Tap water in Costa Rica is drinkable and, in many areas of the country, quite good. However, if you are just visiting and not accustomed to the local tap water, it’s recommended to refrain from drinking the tap water in beach destinations. A general rule is to avoid drinking tap water in the provinces of Limon, Puntarenas and Guanacaste as that is where you find the coast.


What is the norm for tipping in Costa Rica?

Should you feel that you received an exceptional level of service, tips are always welcomed and appreciated. How much you leave is certainly your decision, but usually at least 10% is a good rule of thumb. As official guides in Costa Rica must complete special schooling and certification to perform their job, it is especially nice for them to receive tips. A tip is left by a customer at Linda's Place Restaurant in St. Clair Shores, Mich., Thursday, June 19, 2008


By law, restaurants must add the 13% sales tax and 10% tip to their menu prices. If for some reason these are not included in the menu prices, the restaurant is obligated to advise patrons (usually on the bottom of the menu or posted on signs).


When thinking of tipping for transportation services, it is typical to consider the length of your journey. If you only take a short-medium length taxi ride, it is not necessary to tip. However, for longer trips in a shuttle/van, leaving a tip is more common. After all, driving in Costa Rica is no easy task!

Costa Ricans will go out of their way to ensure you enjoy your visit and that everything is Pura Vida, so any gratuity you decide to leave will surely be appreciated!


Costa Rica has some of the best healthcare in Latin America and has the lion’s share of Latin America’s “Medical Tourism” market. There are two systems, both of which residents and citizens can access: the government-run universal healthcare system, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (the “Caja”), and the private system.

Private Hospitals

There are three large, private hospitals that most expatriates in the Central Valley utilize: CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clínica Bíblica in San José, and Hospital La Católica in San José-Guadalupe. All these facilities are in and around the capital of the country, San José. Even if you do not have private insurance, costs are low. Doctors, for instance, rarely charge more than $80 a visit, even for house calls. And visits to see a specialist, of which there are many throughout the country, will run you $80 to $150. Tests like ultrasounds are generally around $150-200. Even major surgeries cost half to a quarter of what they’d be in the U.S. Most major pharmacies have a doctor on the premises.

In the case of illness or medical issue, most Costa Ricans head to the pharmacy first and consult with the pharmacist or doctor on staff. If he or she cannot diagnose them or they believe further treatment is needed, they then head to the hospital.

healthcare costa rica

Mosquitos & Diseases

Three of the main diseases extant in Costa Rica are transmitted from mosquitoes: Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue fever. Although these diseases are not very prevalent in Costa Rica, they do still exist and therefore, prevention is always advisable. The main preventative measure for each is avoiding mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and long pants in infested areas, stay indoors around dusk when mosquitoes are most active, sleep under mosquito netting, and use an effective repellent (DEET).

Many people infected with Zika virus do not feel sick. If a mosquito bites an infected person while the virus is still in that person’s blood, it can spread the virus by biting another person. Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from Costa Rica should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so that they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.

Altitude Sickness

Another health consideration to take while travelling is altitude sickness. Depending on where you will spend your time, several Costa Rican attractions sit at an altitude above 8,000 feet (2,500 meters). This is high enough to trigger mild altitude sickness, especially if you are acclimated to sea level. Symptoms include headache, disorientation, nausea, and irregular breathing. It is recommended to gradually adjust to higher elevations as to prevent altitude sickness. Move to lower elevation as soon as possible and the symptoms should ease. If they don’t, seek medical attention.

Packing List

With so many activities to do, what to pack can be a challenge. It boils down to what you are doing during your time in Costa Rica. When you travel in Costa Rica with kids add a few more items to be prepared for. Here is a checklist of items that are most likely to be used if you are doing a broad range of adventures.
what to pack costa rica


We recommend quick drying
3-5 T-shirts, one or two long sleeved
2-3 pairs of shorts or convertible pants and one long pant
1-2 dressy shirts and slacks or dresses
Jacket or sweater for cooler temperatures in elevation or the cool coastal evenings

Swimsuit(s) and beach coverup
Underwear and Socks
Hat or visor
Bag for dirty clothes. Some hotels do have washers/dryers but expect to pay per item or by weight.


Water shoes
Hiking/walking shoes
Beach sandals/flip-flops
Dressy sandals or lightweight dress shoes


Money belt or passport pendant-somewhere to carry your documents
Passport including copies
Drivers license
Money (US Dollars) and credit/debit card (Ensure you have alerted your bank about travelling)
Insurance card and contact information (A Travel insurance is recommended)
Immunization records


Water bottle or bag
Mini Flashlight
Camera and Binoculars
Pocket knife
Glasses, contact lenses and cleaning solutions (Recommended to pack a spare set)

First Aid Kit (Basic)

Personal prescriptions should be filled before you leave home
Band aids®/ bandages
Eye drops or artificial tears
Imodium® OTC or Lomotil® (by prescription in the US) to treat diarrhea
Dramamine® or other motion sickness prevention
Neosporin® (over the counter) or terramycin® (by prescription in the US) to prevent infection of small cuts, scrapes, and insect bites
Tweezers- needle point/surgical
Insect repellent- > 95% DEET for mosquitoes
Pain relievers/fever reducers (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and/or Aspirin)
Sunscreen- at least SPF 30, waterproof

Items to Leave at Home

Other than your most basic key, don’t bring them!
Wallet and Purse contents – only carry what you really need. A debit card and some cash. Leave spare debit/credit card and cash at your hotel.
Sheets/Sleep sack-great for hostels in Europe, but not necessary in Central America.
If you’re visiting from the U.S. or Canada, you can leave the electric converters and plug adapters at home. The current and plugs are the same.


The main international airport, known as Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO in airport codes), is located near San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Be careful when booking flights to and from San Jose as the name and airport code are very similar to that of San Jose, California. The exact location oSJO Airportf this airport is in Alajuela, about 10 miles from San Jose. We can arrange transportation to and from the airport. We can also arrange private shuttle transportation to anywhere in Costa Rica. Should you decide to take a taxi from the airport, please be sure to only use the official orange taxis and discuss the cost prior to getting in for the ride.


The other international airport is located in Liberia, Guanacaste. Operating under the name Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR in airport codes), this airport is located about 7 miles west of the city of Liberia. This airport is ideal for those wishing to visit Guanacaste and the Northern Pacific coast. It is also in close proximity to dozens of beaches. 

Both airports are in the process of expanding its number of daily flights as well as the number of airlines that provide service. Be sure to shop around for the best deals!

National Parks

Considering the extensive and unparalleled beauty of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna, the country decided to declare around 25% of its landmass as protective parks and reserves in 1970. This was a measure taken in attempt to safeguard the lush, unique ecological zones of the nation from deforestation and logging. This movement led to creating 32 national parks, 51 wildlife refuges, 13 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves. lizard in costa rica

The Living Eden

Most national parks and reserves are easily accessible from anywhere in the country and offer affordable entrance fees. Because of the large quantity and accessibility of protected lands, Costa Rica stands out as the perfect destination for those who enjoy being surrounding by Mother Nature’s untouched, uninterrupted splendor. With Costa Rica’s natural masterpiece of 12 key ecological zones and 5% of the world’s biodiversity, Costa Rica is often referred to as ‘the living Eden’ by many scientists and naturalists from around the world.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Costa Rica also boasts 4 areas that have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. These areas include the Conservation Area of Guanacaste, La Amistad (Friendship) International Park, Cocos Island and the Stone Spheres. These areas are all a special treat to experience in real life, but it’s important to note that Cocos Island can only be accessed after receiving special permission from the Costa Rican government and does not have any places for tourists to stay.

Explore Nature

Costa Rica – What to do: Below you can find a brief description of some the Costa Rica’s most spectacular national parks and protected areas.

Arenal Volcano National Park

Throughout the world, Volcano hikes are becoming more popular than ever. Despite being considered “dormant”, Arenal volcano erupted in 2010 and is now considered one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanos. Another area highlight is Lake Arenal, which generates 40% of Costa Rica’s hydroelectric power.

Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park is one of the most amazing national parks in the country and protects Costa Rica’s biggest coral reef. Encompassing a land area of just 1,067 hectares, this national park protects over 22,400 hectares of ocean and marine life, and is one of the most gorgeous regions in the entire country.

Common inhabitants

Common underwater inhabitants here include; sea urchins, angel queen fish, blue parrot fish, green turtles, eels, barracudas, sea cucumbers, shrimps, lobsters, sponges, manta rays, remoras, 3 species of sharks and Carey turtles. Among the many mammals found on land are sloths, opossums, monkeys, coatimundis, frogs, pacas, iguanas, basilisks, porcupines and several bird species including ibises, herons, gulls and kingfishers.

Ecological Zones

There are several ecological zones present within the park, including a swamp forest, rainforest, littoral woodlands and coastal flora. Cahuita National Park is also unique in that it is the only National Park with the distinction of not charging an entrance fee but rather relying on donations.

Carara National Park

Bordering the Pan-American Highway, a rare feature of this park is that the Amazonian and Mesoamerican ecosystems converge here to form a distinct biological reserve where the climates of the dry, Pacific North meet the humid Southern coast. This national park is home to several ecosystems such as marshlands, lagoons, and gallery forests. Monkeys, crocodiles, armadillos, peccaries, waterfowls, opossums, sloths, boas, coati, kinkajou, tayra, margay cats, jaguars, white tail deer and ocelots can be found here, as well as a wide assortment of birds and other reptiles and amphibians. The Carara National Park is also one of the few places where visitors can get to see the rare Scarlet Macaws, Jacamars, and Trogons.

Corcovado National Park

Mostly undisturbed because of its isolation and inaccessibility, it is home to the beautiful Scarlet Macaws as well as the Resplendent Quetzals, the Red-Eyed Tree Frog and the Tapir, the largest terrestrial mammal in Central and South America. Encompassing over 41,000 hectares the park protects over 140 different mammal species; 400 bird species, 20 of which are endemic; 116 amphibian and reptile species, 40 species of fish and at least 500 species of trees. Habitat of the rare Harbor Squirrel Monkey and the Harpy Eagle, the Corcovado Park also is a great place to spot the poison arrow frog, indigenous wild cats, crocodiles, pumas and jaguars as well as four species of sea turtles.

Gandoca – Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge

This wildlife reserve is very important because it contains the only intact mangrove swamp in the Atlantic, and the primary lowland small rainforest found here is the only one of its kind in the region. A unique habitat, this reserve includes a 10 kilometer beach strip, a 740 acre forest, a coral reef and 2 swamps. The Refugio Gandoca Manzanillo is also the nesting area for several species of turtles, manatees, crocodiles, caimans, tarpons and dolphins. The turtle nesting season here lasts from March to May.

Manuel Antonio National Park/h4>
The most popular national park in Costa Rica, the Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited park in the country. The snorkeling here is terrific, while swimming conditions on some of the beaches in the park are fantastic. The four beaches here include; the Espadilla Sur, the Playita, the Manuel Antonio, and the Escondido. Of these the Playa Manuel Antonio is the prettiest beach with silky white sand and a stunning offshore coral reef.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Extending across eight distinct biological zones, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to more than thousands of species of plants and animals. The most popular birds in this region are the elusive quetzal and the three-wattled bellbird. Discover the flora and fauna, including jaguars, toucanets, pumas, monkeys and the red-eyed tree frogs. There are also 420 species of orchids and 200 species of ferns.

Palo Verde National Park

This remote sanctuary spans more than 45,492 acres of land that includes lagoons, mangroves, limestone, grassland and forests. Additionally, Palo Verde protects one of the last remaining deciduous dry forests of the Neotropics. In addition to the substantial number of bird species, visitors to Palo Verde National Park will also see their fair share of animals, including some of Costa Rica’s treasured mammals like the howler and capuchin monkeys. White-nosed coatis and white-tailed deer can also be found within the park’s grounds.

Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Rincon is home to two volcanoes, the Rincon de la Vieja and the Santa Maria, as well as six different volcanic peaks, and thirty-two rivers and streams. Perfect for hiking and horseback ridin, the park contains fantastic sceneries, beautiful waterfalls, soothing hot springs, boiling mud pits, a fresh water volcanic lagoon, picnic areas and long-winding trails.

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Comparatively less crowded, one can enjoy the beauty that this cloud forest has offer at his/her own pace and take in the scenic splendor of the surrounding area. As it is a cloud forest, the weather here tends to be misty, moist and damp all year round. Aside from a small restaurant, coffee shop and gift/souvenir store, there is not much else to do on the reserve, except enjoy the quiet beauty of this cloud forest. Beside day tours, night time hikes can also be arranged.

Tenorio Volcano National Park

Named after the Tenorio Volcano, this national park has river views and plenty of opportunities for wildlife adventures. The park features four different life zones as well as the beautiful aqua-hued Rio Celeste. This park is considered one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets as well as one of the best places for hikers. Not only can travelers trek alongside the stunningly beautiful Rio Celeste while enjoying an abundance of flora and fauna.

Tortugero National Park

Frequented by tourists from all over the world, the Parque Nacional Tortuguero is another significant turtle nesting site in Costa Rica. Among the most important nesting areas in the Western Hemisphere of the endangered green turtle, the stunning Parque Nacional Tortuguero lies on Costa Rica’s beautiful Caribbean coast in the northeastern region of the country. Home to around 170 species of reptiles and amphibians, this park is also the habitat of 60 species of mammals and 300 different species of birds as well.

What’s in a Name?

Tortuguero which means ‘Region of Turtles’ in Spanish is nesting ground for sea turtles every year from March to mid-October. This nesting period known as the arribadas occurs when the moon is fading. Therefore, if you wish to see these turtles nest, it will be after 6:00 pm with a guide, as no one is allowed to explore the beach unaccompanied after this time. A great way to see the turtles nest is from a boat, canoe, or kayak off shore, so as not to disturb the turtles during their nesting or mating period.


How do tips work in Costa Rica? Do I tip?

10% service tax is generally included in restaurants and bars but an additional tip is welcomed if you feel you received a good service. Usually in Costa Rica, both the tip and the tax is included in the price you see for each item on a menu.

However, it is a bit more common in heavily touristed areas for these charges to be added onto the bill later. This information will be indicated on the menu, so it’s always prudent to carefully read the menu. Cleaning staff, bellhops, tour guides and drivers do not receive this 10% tip, so it is requested (but not mandatory) to tip them after the service.

Does the shared shuttle take longer than the private shuttle?

Yes it does. The private vans take the passengers directly from their requested pickup to drop-off points. However, shared shuttles have to pickup and drop off at many different locations for various clients. Additional time is set aside for snack and bathroom breaks, typically about 15-20 minutes. In general, there is an additional transportation time of about 45 minutes to an hour.

How long it takes to exit the airport?

On average, it takes 45 to 60 minutes to exit the Juan Santamaria/San Jose Airport. However, we have experienced cases in which clients do not exit the airport until 1 1/2 or even 2 hours after landing. This is not common, but certainly can happen. The exit time depends on the time of year, time of day, and how many other passengers are also going through Immigration and Customs.

Flights that arrive in Costa Rica around the 12:00 noon hour can expect to take a bit longer to exit the airport than flights arriving at other times of the day. Christmas time/end of year and the week leading up to Easter (Holy Week, or “Semana Santa”), also experience longer airport exit times than the rest of the year.

Due to the smaller size Liberia airport, the exit time is generally quite short and can be a little as 15-20 minutes some days.

How long prior to my flight departure should I be on the airport?

We recommend to be at the about 3 hours prior departure in order to check-in, pass through security, and find your gate.

What happen if a book a shared shuttle and I am delay with my flight?

Because there are other passengers, shared shuttles are only authorized to wait 10 minutes after the assigned pick up time. If you do not show up in time, it will be considered as a no show and no refund applies.

Do I need to carry Costa Rica currency?

Most hotels and restaurants accept US Dollars and return the change in Costa Rican Colones. This is not always done at the current exchange rate (sometimes done at a rate of 500 colones to 1 dollar), so it is best to ask before making purchases. It is generally advised to pay in dollars when prices are listed in dollars and to pay in colones when prices are listed in colones.

Since many places accept dollars, it is generally not necessary to have a large amount of colones. If you decide to exchange any currency for colones, we recommend doing so at a bank where the exchange rate is the best. Just don’t forget to bring your passport to the bank as the bank does not accept a copy of your passport as a valid ID.

When is the latest that I can book a shared shuttle service?

We recommend to book at least 48 to 72 hours prior departure time in order to avoid problems. During high tourist season, shared shuttles can be full if you wait too long.

How is Costa Rica weather, what is the best time to travel?

For most parts of the country except the Caribbean, the rainy season is generally May – November with the dry season being December – April. The Pacific Coast has a dry season (November – April) and a rainy season (May – October). The further north you go up the Pacific, the drier the climate and the shorter the rainy season. In this region, the peak of the rainy season is September and October. Further down south, you have a longer rainy season, but it’s usually dry in the morning and then starts raining in the afternoon.

The Caribbean coast does not have a distinct wet and dry season. There is rain and sun all year long, with months where the sun wins and months where the rain wins. Typically, November, December and July are the rainiest months. Best time to visit is September and October, followed by March, April and June.

Which vaccines are required to enter Costa Rica?

While there are no specific vaccines required to enter Costa Rica, your country should have a list of recommended travel vaccines. We recommend ensuring you have been vaccinated against Hepatitis A ,Typhoid, and are current on your Tetanus shots. One exception to the “no vaccines required” rule is if you are coming from a Yellow Fever country. In this case, Customs will not allow you entry unless you can show your vaccination card for Yellow Fever.

Is Malaria a problem?

No, Malaria is not common. However, if you are concerned, please speak with your doctor about obtaining antimalarial treatment. Protecting yourself against mosquito bites is the first step to avoiding a mosquito-borne illness.

Will the restaurants accept credit card payments?

Yes, the majority of restaurants and supermarkets do accept credit or debit card payments. However, do expect that in rural areas and smaller towns, as well as in some sodas (local restaurants), only cash will be accepted and getting change for large bills may be impossible. It’s advised to carry dollars in denominations of $20 or less as many establishments cannot accept $50 or $100 US bills.

Do I need to carry cash for my whole trip or are there ATM machines everywhere?

We do not recommend carrying large amounts of cash. There are usually ATMs or cash machines in each town. However, if you go off the beaten track, make sure to bring enough cash. Please check with your bank as some Costa Rican banks do not accept debit cards or certain type of credit cards. Be sure to ask your bank about a travel notice so they do not block your card.

What is the cost of the exit tax at the airport?

The exit fee is $29 and it can be paid in dollars, colones, or by credit card. However, please check with your airline because it may be included in your ticket price. As of October 2016, some airlines have already begun including the Exit Fee in the cost of their flights from Costa Rica. If your airline does not icnlude the exit tax, you will need to wait in line at the airport to pay this tax before you will be allowed to check-in with your airline.

Can I go with my rental car to Nicaragua or Panama?

Unfortunately not. In order to drive into another country with a vehicle, you must be the registered owner or have a notarized permission to drive the vehicle. This is not an option with most rental car agencies.