About Costa Rica

Selecting Your Costa Rica Tour Company

Regardless of who you use for booking your independent travel, evaluate the tradeoffs of price versus service and security. Here are a few hints for the independent traveler in Costa Rica: How much do you know about your travel organizer? How long has it been in business? Do they provide you articles or ratings in […]

COSTA RICA MAP

Don’t be deceived by its small size; Costa Rica’s mountainous terrain means the shortest distance between two points is never a straight line. Earth quakes and torrential rainfall mean most roads are in poor condition. A limited national budget means that road signs and lane markings leave tourists in the dark about where the road […]

Weather and Climate in Costa Rica

Even though Costa Rica is only 8 degrees above the equator, Costa Rica is much more “temperate” than most North American locations: Costa Rica is cooled by two oceans and no matter where you are in Costa Rica, you are always within 70 miles of a coast. A typical day starts out about 65 degrees […]

Inoculations

Diseases, Medicines, and Inoculations for Travel in Costa Rica Mosquito borne illnesses Costa Rica had been relatively free of dangerous parasite diseases (malaria, dengue, yellow fever, typhoid) for a long time. In 1996 dengue and malaria reappeared in the two port cities (Puntarenas and Limon), and is pretty much contained to those areas. There have […]

Roads Driving

The worst in the world Well, probably not the worst, but the roads in Costa Rica are not up to American standards. Costa Rica has no military need to keep roads free of potholes. The people living in town and in the countryside do not own vehicles, so they have no appreciation of the advantages […]

SAFETY – CRIME

Traveling in Costa Rica: Crime and Safety Crime Yes, we have lots of “petty” theft — things stolen from parked cars, things stolen by pickpockets in markets. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is we have very little violent crime in Costa Rica (except related to drug trafficking, but even this is still […]

CURRENCY EXCHANGE

Costa Rican Currency, Exchange Rates, Travelers Checks, and Credit Cards Costa Rican Currency, Exchange Rates, and Travelers Checks Bring only U.S. dollars in cash which can be exchanged widely. Currency from other countries can only be exchanged at the central bank in San José, and is a long process (read: half a day!). The exchange […]

VISAS

Travel Documents Required for Entry into Costa Rica American, Canadian and most European citizens do not need a visa or any pre-entry permission to come to enter Costa Rica as long as they have a current valid passport. With a passport visitors can stay one to three months, and during the three months your driver’s […]

CUSTOMS

Arrival in Costa Rica: Customs Service & What to Declare When arriving in Costa Rica you will go through immigration, collect your bags, and then must pass through customs before you exit the terminal. The airlines will hand out customs forms on the airplane. The form asks you to declare everything you are bringing into […]

Costa Rica’s Time Zone

What is Costa Rica’s Time Zone? The current time in Costa Rica is : The length of days in Costa Rica varies by only half an hour between seasons, so Costa Rica does not observe daylight savings time. All of Costa Rica is in the GMT -6 zone, which corresponds to U.S. Central Time during […]

TELEPHONES

Making Phone Calls from Costa Rica Costa Rica’s rural phone system is quite good by neighboring country standards, but that means that even small towns have a phone. One payphone. Which is shared by all the people who live in the town. Prepaid sim cards are nowadays readily available at many utility stores and almost […]

WATER ELECTRICITY

Traveling in Costa Rica: Water and Electricity Drinking Water Parasitic infections are rare in Costa Rica, and drinking water quality in Costa Rica is excellent. Bottled water is readily available, and we keep containers in the vehicle with us. In all the areas we travel it is completely safe to drink the water straight from […]

Access for travelers with disabilities

Officially and legally Costa Rica has access for travelers with disabilities and access for Seeing Eye dogs, but in reality this vertical country does not really have adequate “American style” access everywhere. However, everyone is most willing to help whenever there is anyone wishing to enter a building or on a pathway in a wheel […]

Hot springs

Costa Rica hot springs Tabacón Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano The Tabacón River originates in Arenal volcano, coming to the surface with bubbling clear water in several places. A dozen commercial pools use the hot spring water to provide entertainment for tourists. The most famous of these is probably the Tabacón Resort, but there are […]

Volcanoes

Costa Rica volcanoes (specially Arenal volcano) Volcanoes – nature’s safety valve Arenal is the newest in the chain of active volcanoes forming the main spine of Costa Rica. Arenal was constructed by successive eruptions of the older Chato volcano, which now has a beautiful lake filling its calderas (the cone in the top of an […]

Rainforest

Costa Rica rainforest – what’s the significance of “primary”? There are major differences between a rainforest, a cloud forest, a primary rainforest, and a secondary rainforest. Most of the thousands or rainforests in Costa Rica are secondary — younger trees, dense undergrowth, and newer vegetation (average tree age of about 40 years). Secondary rainforests grow […]

Snakes

Yes, we have snakes, and lots of them, some extraordinarily beautiful. The most dangerous is the bushmaster, which is very common in the sugar cane fields. Fatalities from a snake bite for ANYONE in Costa Rica is extremely uncommon. LOCALS and TOURISTS killed in CAR ACCIDENTS is a lot more common! The most dangerous activity […]