Fast Facts: Costa Rica

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I need a passport? What is required for entry?

U.S. citizens must have a passport, which should contain at least 2 blank pages and be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible.

Many countries also require a travel visa for entry. Some countries issue visas upon arrival, but in most cases, you need to obtain visas prior to travel. Airlines and cruises may deny boarding and your tour may be disrupted if your visa is not in order.

For U.S. citizens booked on a tour or package with Scheduled Dates, we will send you complete visa instructions and application forms after you book.

If you hold a passport from another country, or are not booked on a tour with Scheduled Dates, you are responsible for obtaining your own visa and meeting all entry requirements. If a visa is required, we recommend using a fee-based visa service, such as our preferred provider VisaHQ.

What is the weather like?

Costa Rica is a year-round destination. Temperatures in San Jose and the Central Highlands are mild and springlike. The mountains can be cool at night. Coastal areas tend to be hot and steamy, but hot and dry in the Pacific northwest.

December through May is Costa Rica's relatively dry period. June through October tends to be wetter, but as a result the vegetation looks even more verdant during this time.

Check out the current weather conditions in Costa Rica.

Are there any health precautions I should take?

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are no required vaccinations for travel to Costa Rica, but immunization against typhoid and hepatitis is recommended. Also ask your doctor about malaria suppressants if you will be visiting the Pacific southwest region or the Caribbean shoreline. Be sure to take insect repellent and suncreen!

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

What is the currency?

Costa Rica's currency is the colon, but U.S. dollars are accepted as legal currency throughout the country. Please review the current exchange rate for the colon.

U.S. credit/debit cards are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica and typically offer the best exchange rate.

Are tips & service charges customary?

Most restaurants include the 13% restaurant tax and the 10% service charge. Check the bottom of the menu or ask your server if the charge is included. Add a small tip on top of the 10% service charge if you feel the service was excellent.

What are the best items to shop for?

Shop for pottery, traditional miniature painted oxcarts, jewelry made of semiprecious stones, hand-painted feathers, wood carvings, leather goods, and other high quality handicrafts. Tasty local treats such as coffee, rum, coffee liqueur, macadamia nuts and hearts of palm, also make great souvenirs.

What are the voltage requirements?

Voltage: 110-120 volts. Plugs A & B. You will probably need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Can I take my cell phone?

See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.

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