Frequently Asked Questions about Costa Rica



This section highlights some topics you must be aware of when traveling to Costa Rica, which will be useful and make your trip more enjoyable.

Do I need a passport to go to Costa Rica?
To enter Costa Rica, it is mandatory that every visitor has a passport with a validity of, at least, six (6) months. Completed immigration and customs forms, which are also required, will be surrendered upon entry.
Do I need a visa to go to Costa Rica?
Tourists may enter Costa Rica without a visa, depending on the country of origin. USA, Canada and most European countries have this privilege. Citizens from USA and Canada get a 90-day visa. You may obtain more info at:
Can I enter Costa Rica with a one way ticket?
To enter the country, all visitors are required to have an entry and exit ticket, either by air or by land, as the case may be.
How can I get a working visa?

You must apply for a working visa at the Costa Rican Consulate.

To be able to work in Costa Rica, foreign citizens must do one of two things: get a work permit through the employer or apply for residency, preferably through a lawyer. Such permit must be renewed on a yearly basis. The Costa Rican consulate may offer additional information on this matter.

What kind of inoculations do I have to take to Costa Rica?
No vaccines are required to enter Costa Rica. However, the yellow fever vaccine is required for travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas (with the exception of Argentina, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago) and for travelers who have been in transit more than 12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
How can I apply for legal residency in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica offers different ways to legalize your status; i.e.: temporary resident, pensioner, foreign government mission.

The Immigration Office will grant temporary residency for a period of time of more than ninety days to two years, to foreigners in different categories.

The Costa Rican consulate may offer additional information on this matter.

What is necessary to bring a pet into Costa Rica?
Dogs and cats entering Costa Rica must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, endorsed by a veterinarian service (VS). The examination for the certificate must be done 2 weeks previous to traveling to Costa Rica. The required vaccinations are: rabies (for animals 4 months or older). distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus.
If I decided to stay longer, can I get a visa while I am there?

You may request renewal of your tourist visa by following the established procedure. Fill in the form of affiliation that can be purchased at the

photocopier in the central offices of the General Directorate of Immigration (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería) in La Uruca or on its website. Without exceptions, tourism extensions will not exceed sixty additional days.

Is it advisable to go through a tour service agency to arrange for a trip to Costa Rica?
Yes, it will prove very convenient and beneficial because the travel consultant you work with should have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of all the hotels, tours and destinations in the country. They can provide you with advice as to the best options (accommodations, tours, activities, transportation, etc.) and can even design a tailor-made itinerary that best suits your needs. This may result in your saving precious time and money.
Which are Costa Rica location and boundaries?
Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the North: Nicaragua; South: Panama; East: Caribbean Sea; West: Pacific Ocean. Its total area is 51,100 sq km.
How many airports are there?

There are two large international airports: Juan Santamaría in Alajuela, near San José, which was recently ranked as the third top airport and the most improved airport in all the Latin America and Caribbean region. Then, Daniel Oduber Quirós, just outside Liberia, Guanacaste in the Northwest part of the country.

Other airports are Puerto Jimenez Airport (Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica), Quepos Airport (Quepos, Costa Rica) and Tambor Airport (Tambor, Costa Rica); besides, some 25 other. Some domestic airports are just landing strips, and do not have any additional facilities for passengers.

Are there domestic airlines that travel within the country?
Yes, there are airlines that travel to different destinations within Costa Rica. You may contact TAM to assist you (506) 2668 1415 or
Is shuttle service available?
Shuttle service allows passengers to commute from one tourist area to another. You may contact TAM to assist you (506) 2668 1415 or
Are there internal flights to the different areas?
You can choose to fly to your destination on either regularly scheduled flights or private charters. Regular flights serve most of the country’s tourist areas, including the North Pacific, Central Pacific and South Pacific areas, as well as Daniel Oduber International Airport at Liberia. You may contact TAM to assist you (506) 2668 1415 or
Do I need an international driver’s license to drive a car in Costa Rica?
An International license is not required. Tourists may drive on the driver’s license issued by their home country so long as the visa has not expired. The driver’s license and any insurance visitor may have, expire once the visa expires
What is the currency in Costa Rica?
The official Costa Rican currency is called Colon.
Are credit cards accepted in Costa Rica?
All major credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, large stores and restaurants. The US Dollar is also widely accepted throughout Costa Rica; however, small shops and restaurants do accept neither credit cards nor dollars. You will find ATM machines distributed throughout the country.
What is the best time to go to Costa Rica?
Most likely, anytime because Costa Rica has good weather all year-round.
How is the climate in Costa Rica?
It has two seasons during the year: a Golden (dry) Season between December and April and the Green Season (rainy) between May and November; except in the Caribbean Coast, where rain is spread throughout the year. The average temperature in the Central Valley is 72° F (22° C), and near the coasts it ranges from 70° to 90° F (21° to 32° C).
Is Costa Rica a political stable country?
Costa Rica is one of the most stable nations in Latin America.
What safety precautions do visitors have to follow in Costa Rica?

As in any other country, there are some basic safety hints to take care about in order to enjoy a pleasant stay since most of the popular tourist destinations are safe.

  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself as a tourist.
  • Try not to carry devices such as iPhones, iPods, phones, laptops, jewelry, credit cards and passports. Do not leave such items unattended.
  • Do not drive a rented car at night.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not flaunt in public items such as jewelry, phones, cash or other.
  • Stay safe with common sense.
  • Should you find yourself the victim of a crime, contact a police officer.
  • In case of an immediate emergency, call 911
Besides typical food, could visitors choose other options?
The country’s typical food includes seafood, meats, vegetables, tropical fruits, and dishes prepared with corn. International cuisine is also available countrywide. Cuisines available include Japanese, Arabian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, and many others.
Are there good medical facilities?
Should a guest require medical services, while in Costa Rica, there are hospitals and private clinics in major cities to provide the highest standards of professional care and treatment. The concierges at large hotels will, in all likelihood, be able to provide an in‑house doctor.
What number should I dial in case of emergency in Costa Rica?
If an emergency arises, always call 911.
What current does Costa Rica use and what equipment will I need?

Outlets are 110 V, with standard US two prong plugs (or three prongs if grounded); 220 volts available in newer hotels Europeans, visiting Costa Rica, should bring an adaptor with them. It is always important to check before connecting any electrical devices.

Can I bring my laptop and use a local internet service provider?

You can easily find Internet connections in almost every city and town, as well as in business centers at major hotels since most of the larger/tourist-looking hotels have high speed wireless/Wi Fi access. In some places, there is paid internet access.

How about the availability of cell phones?

Now, you can move anywhere in Costa Rica with cellular service since you can now buy prepaid SIM cards in Costa Rica; provided that your phone is unlocked and support the right frequency.

SIMs can be purchased at the I.C.E. (acronym for the electricity/phone company) desks at the airport. They will help you put in the SIM. It is better to get this done at the airport; if not, you may find I.C.E offices all over the country.

An option is to rent cell phones at car rental companies or other companies that offer this service.

Are Costa Rica national parks and other sites wheel chair accessible?

After the Constitutional Court (the Sala IV) ordered all buses to be wheelchair equipped and under Law 7600, many hotels and venues have been implementing tourist services for the disabled i.e. transportation, ramps and toilets.

Is there a tour operator offering special tours for handicapped people?

There are agencies that offer some trips apt for the handicapped.

What should I bring?

Travellers will be exposed to different climates, geographical and weather changes. Thus, light casual clothing is recommended all year round.

When visiting the city, bring pants, a light jacket or sweater and comfortable walking shoes. In the Central Valley, the evening shadows bring cooler temperatures (60° to 70° F).

When going to the beach, do not forget your shorts, t-shirt and tevas.

But no matter where you go, try not to forget your swimsuit, sunscreen, cap, insect repellent, sunglasses, and raingear.

What should I bring when going to the rainforest?

Mountain gear is pants, light jacket, a rain coat with a hood, hiking boots; bring insect repellent.

What other type of tax is there?

Besides the 13% sales tax, restaurants will add a 10% service tax that serves as tip for waiters.

How much is the departure tax?

A departure tax of US$29.00 is payable when you leave; it can be paid in US Dollars, colones or combination of both or with a credit card. There are counters at the airports to pay; it can also be paid through a travel agency in Costa Rica.

They accept credit cards, but the transaction is treated as a cash advance and an extra fee of about $10 is added.

What options are there for visiting different places within Costa Rica?

It will depend on what you like most. There are many possibilities: from beach destinations, to national parks, deep sea fishing, rainforest or cloud forest spots, volcanoes or adventure outings.

Where can I practice whitewater rafting in Costa Rica?

You can practice it at Pacuare, Reventazon, Corobici, Sarapiqui, Naranjo and Savegre rivers.

Can I have my wedding in Costa Rica?

Planning a wedding in Costa Rica is simply a great idea since the country offers a range of options for destinations, accommodations, and an array of activities to share together.

Which region would be the best for a honeymoon?

Mostly all regions are very appealing for a honeymoon. Each zone features unique charm and beauty; it is a matter that the couple decides based on their preference.

Are there hotels for Gays and Lesbians?

There are Gay/lesbian hotels in San Jose, Manuel Antonio, Quepos and San Gerardo de Rivas, as well as Gay-friendly properties. Likewise, gays and lesbian visitors can enjoy their stay at cozy, luxury boutique hotels that offer privacy and seclusion or large 5-star hotels.

TAM Travel invites this community to experience this tranquil paradise with its rainforests, volcanoes, river and beaches and a variety of thrilling activities through our special custom-designed packages to making your stay comfortable and unique.

Are there gay destinations in Costa Rica?

The gay adult nightlife has been increasing in San José, in the area around Manuel Antonio, Quepos, and Jaco which have become extremely popular for gay tourism.

Should tourists give tips and where?

Restaurants will add a 10% gratuity to your check. It depends on the quality of service if you choose to leave an additional tip.

It is customary to tip bellboys, tour guides and drivers, at your discretion.

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