For visiting Costa Rica, you passport must have a validity of at least another 6 months if you are a US, Canadian or European Union citizen. You do not need a visa, and possible duration of your stay as a tourist is 90 days.
When leaving the country, an airport
departure tax has to be paid. For foreigners, the departure
tax is currently US $ 29 (May 2017) and may be paid in US $ or Costarican
Colones. Many airlines already include this tax in their international airfare, please check with your airline!
Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Costa Rica, all travelers arriving from or transiting through countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission are required to present proof of yellow fever vaccination.
It is recommended to have tetanus and polio protection (that you usually do have anyway) as
well as malaria prophylactic. Please also consult your doctor.
Costa Rica is six hours behind GMT
(Greenwich Mean Time), which means it is equivalent to Central
Standard Time in North America.
The difference to MET (Middle European Winter Time) is -7
hours / to Middle European Summer Time -8 hours.
Costa Ricas official language
is Spanish. At the tourist places, in many hotels and shops,
however, the Costa Ricans also speak English.
Weather & Climate
Rainy season: May to November; dry
season: December to April. Even during the dry season, it
may rain for some hours or sometimes even a whole day. During
the rainy season, you will experience real tropical
showers for 2 - 3 hours in the afternoon; the rest of
the day is warm and sunny. On the Caribbean coast, it is about
the contrary: the June to October and January to March months
are relatively dry; you have to expect heavy rainfalls in
More details on Climate & Weather in Costa Rica
and Price Level
Compared to other Central and South American countries, Costa Rica is relatively expensive. Nevertheless, the high prices are compensated by the exceptional natural beauty the country has to offer and may be explained by the country's high standard of living, the social security and health care, the educational system, the infrastructure, and the outstanding efforts to protect the environment. Local currency is the Colón. You can exchange dollars for colones at any bank, or at most hotels. major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard) and US $ traveler checks are accepted as well. When needing a bank’s service, you must expect to spend quite some time on this. There are some automatic teller machines in San Jose and surroundings for cash withdrawals using your international Visa or Master Card. Larger shops or hotels very often also accept US $ cash.
Current exchange rate (May 2017) 1 US $ = approx. 570 Colones; 1 EURO = approx. 640 Colones.
Currency converter: OANDA.com
The electricity voltage is 110V, European
electrical appliances require a US travel adapter.
January 1: New Year’s
Day, Easter: Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
April 11: Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas
July 25: Annexation of Guanacaste,
October 12: Columbus Day,
December 25: Christmas Day
More details on Festivals & Cultural Events in Costa Rica
Banks: Monday to Friday 8.30-15:00;
Offices: Monday to Friday 8:00 - 16:00; Shops Monday to Saturday
8:00 - 18:00, Supermarkets Monday to Sunday 8:00 - 21:00.
In San José many shops, pharmacies, hospitals, gasoline stations
and restaurants are open 24 hours daily.
Rice and beans are the main ingredients for every meal and are served together with eggs, meat, fish or chicken. There is a good choice of fresh fruit and vegetables all year round.
Fresh fruit juices are available almost everywhere in the country and can be as well enjoyed without any problems as the water that is of good drinking quality.
It is true that Costa Rica is an open-minded country with very friendly people. Crime in this country is not worse than anywhere else in the world.
In Costa Rica, time has another meaning than you may be used to in your home country. Patience and tolerance normally are the best means to reach a goal.
You will very soon realize that understanding of the culture does contribute to your „well-being“ during your stay.