Costa Rica Travel Tips

Costa Rica Travel Tips

Costa Rica in general is one of the safest countries in the world. With that being said, do not check your common sense with your luggage!!! The key to safe travel is to use common sense and have a basic situational awareness of your surroundings. Remember this and you should remain in control of every situation. Though many will view the following as mostly common sense, we would like to take the time to remind you.

Costa Rica Travel Tips:

  • Utilize the safety box for your valuables in your hotel rooms (where applicable). If a safe is not available in your room,nask the front desk if they can hold your items.
  • Do not leave your wallet / purse or any valuables unattended while swimming at the beach or anywhere else.
  • Never leave valuables in plain sight in your rental car. (This includes detachable face stereos).
  • ALWAYS double check for your items before getting off of a transfer or provided transportation. Remember the small items such as IPODs, books, sunglasses, etc., as these are usually the items that are forgotten.
  • ALWAYS double check for your items before checking out of your hotel room. Remember personal items, as these are usually the items that are forgotten.
  • Remember that you are always required to carry your Passport or copy of your Passport with you at all times. The copy of your Passport should contain the complete photo and information page as well as your temporary Visa stamp.
  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from your scheduled departure date.
  • You are required to have a departure flight in order to enter Costa Rica.
  • Costa Rican roads are notoriously windy and bumpy. It is advised to take Dramamine prior to any transfer, whether you are motion sensitive or not.
  • Never “flash” your wallet or money in public.
  • Tips(10 percent) and taxes (13 percent) are usually included in your restaurant bill. To keep honest people honest, ask prior to ordering.
  • Tap water is safe to drink in most parts of the country. To be sure, ask the receptionist at the hotel prior to drinking.
  • Protect yourself with sun block. Costa Rica is much closer to the Equator than most people are accustomed to. Burning can occur in a very short time.
  • Insect repellant and Sun block can be difficult to find and/or expensive. These are items that should be brought along.Some cell phone services work in Costa Rica, though you will need to contact your provided prior to your arrival.
  • International calling cards can be purchased at most stores at a rate of approximately $5 for 17 minutes.
  • Internet cafes are easily accessible in most towns. Most of these cafes have Skype systems set up for users. This is a free download and one that we highly recommend; for International phone calls.
  • Contact your credit card company (companies) prior to visiting Costa Rica and supply the dates of your vacation.
  • If renting a vehicle, the rental agency will block $750 to $1,500 (depending on the company) for security deposit on your credit card. (Rate also varies depending on the make / model of vehicle). If this is a concern, please ask.
  • Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. Most tour guides and hotel staff are bilingual.
  • Never walk alone at night.
  • Never allow yourself to be put in a situation where you can be singled out.
  • If you require medication, be sure to bring extra prescriptions. Also, be sure to use the prescription bottles with your name and the prescription label on it.
  • Check the weather patterns prior to arrival and be prepared. Please follow this link for your viewing pleasure: Costa Rica Weather
  • Check the recommended gear on our tour pages prior to arrival and be prepared. Please follow this link for your viewing pleasure: Costa Rica Tours
    Please bookmark our site for easy reference.
  • After reviewing weather patterns and recommended gear, please pack accordingly. You are the only person that can judge your comfort levels.
  • Though not necessary, learning basic Spanish phrases before your arrival will enhance your trip. Many of the operators speak English, but do appreciate when an effort to speak their language is made. Please follow this link for your viewing pleasure:
    Costa Rica Spanish
  • Become familiar with the current exchange rate.
  • You do not need to exchange money, as everyone accepts the American dollar.  They will however give you change in colones. You should spend the colones as you can. This will ensure that you will not lose much in the exchange rate charge when going back to the states.
  • Domestic flights have a weight limit of 30 pounds. Anything over this amount will be subject to extra charge.
  • Boats to Drake Bay and Tortuguero have a weight limit of 25 pounds. Anything over this amount will be subject to extra charge.
  • Costa Rica requires $28 per person exit tax. You can pay this direct at the airport prior to departure. The government can change this at any time. You should ask upon arrival.

How Much Should I Tip?

  • Tour Guides – $2 – 5 per person, per guide
  • Shuttle Driver – $2 – 5 per person
  • Private Transportation – $10 – 20 per group, per trip (sometimes more, Please Be Fair 🙂
  • Housekeeping – $2 per night

It is impossible for us to cover every situation that could occur during your vacation. We hope that these tips have been beneficial to you. We also encourage you to review the following websites for further information:

Embassy of Costa Rica:

U.S. Department of State:

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