Costa Rica

While Spain named it "Rich Coast" for the gold they found, tiny Costa Rica has become a tourist treasure, especially for the outdoor enthusiast, offering both beautiful resorts and adventure travel opportunities. Go whitewater rafting, trek through the rainforest, climb a volcano, snorkel or fish. Then there are the beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean, separated by just 75 miles of narrow peninsula.

Tours & Packages to Costa Rica

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Captivating Costa Rica
The capital San José, spectacular Arenal and its volcano, plus Monteverde; travel on your own with flights, hotel, coffee & chocolate tour included
7 days  •  from $1549 $1249
per person, double occupancy*
dates independent stay + flights
Costa Rica Pura Vida
San José, Tortuguero, Arenal & Monteverde; explore independently with flights, hotel, Tortuguero, hanging bridges, coffee & chocolate tour included
9 days  •  from $1849 $1549
per person, double occupancy*
dates independent stay + flights

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Costa Rica? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: San José
Population:  4.857 million
Currency: Costa Rican colón (CRC), but U.S. dollars (USD) are accepted as legal currency throughout the country
Languages: Spanish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: CST

Weather

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.

Entry requirements

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least 90 days after your return date, though we strongly recommend at least six months.

U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica for stays up to 90 days. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

Booked on one of our packages with Scheduled Dates? If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you are responsible for obtaining any necessary visas and meeting all entry requirements. If a visa is required, we recommend using a fee-based visa service, such as our preferred provider VisaHQ.

Costa Rica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry for passengers arriving from Yellow Fever Endemic Countries, such as Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador & Colombia. If your flight makes a stop in one of these countries, you may be asked to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival in Costa Rica. Find a local vaccination center.

More information about passports & visas.

Shopping

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.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Costa Rica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry for passengers arriving from Yellow Fever Endemic Countries, such as Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador & Colombia. If your flight makes a stop in one of these countries, you may be asked to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival in Costa Rica. Find a local vaccination center.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are no other 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

Power & Adapters

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.

Tipping

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are U.S. credit/debit cards accepted in Costa Rica?

    U.S. credit/debit cards are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica and typically offer the best exchange rate.
  2. Can I take my cell phone?

    See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.

Rave Reviews

My husband and I just returned from a 9 day tour to Costa Rica. I can't say enough nice things about how the trip was planned, the guides and the wonderful people of Costa Rica. To say we enjoyed those 9 days is an understatement. We will certainly use Friendly Planet for our next vacation.

Sue Woody, New Carlisle, OH
Captivating Costa Rica

Just wanted to thank Friendly Planet for a great trip to Costa Rica. We will definitely be planning more trips using FP...Thank you!

Pam Walker