It’s an useful piece of information for you.
Where should I arrive and depart?
If your vacation starts in the Central Region of the country, Heredia, Alajuela, San José, Cartago, or your first destination is the Osa Peninsula, Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Puntarenas or the east coast (Limon, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Tortuguero), you should plan to book a flight arriving at the Juan Santa Maria International Airport in San Jose, the airport code is SJO (Please make sure you don’t book a flight to San Juan Puerto Rico, or San José California, yes, it has happened!)
If your vacation ends at one of these locations, you should book your departing flight leaving from the same airport.
However, if at the end of the itinerary, you are staying in the North Pacific Coast, places like Liberia, Tamarindo, Coco Beach, Papagayo. Samara, Santa Teresa, Nicoya, you should plan to depart from the Liberia Airport, the airport code is LIR.
The reason behind this idea is that these regions are located at approximately 4-5 hours driving from the San José Airport, therefore it is more convenient departing from the Liberia Airport which is located an average of 1 hour depending on where you are staying, it may take 2 hours and from some locations it takes only 45 minutes.
If your vacation starts and ends in the North Pacific Coast, at one of the regions mentioned above, therefore a roundtrip to Liberia would be most convenient.
What happens if my flight arrives at an airport that is too far away from my destination, or if I depart from a region that is too far away from my departing airport?
No panic, we can organize any type of arrangements for you from any point of the country to get you on time to your Airport, just let us know where you are staying and your flight information and we will take care of you.
In restaurants and hotels, 13% Value Added Tax and a 10% tip are included in the final price; however, if you are more than happy with the service and want to leave a gratuity, it will be welcome.
An unlocked cell phone will work in Costa Rica. But remember to call your wireless provider before you go to add global roaming capabilities to your plan.
You can also buy a SIM prepaid card and use your unlocked cell phone in Costa Rica. Find SIM cards at the Kolbi (the national telecommunications company) booth at the airport, or in any telephone company store around, such as Claro and Movistar. A local line is not required to dial 9-1-1 just in case of emergency.
- The colón is the currency of Costa Rica.
- US$ dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.
- Bank transactions require a valid passport (not a copy nor a picture).
- ATMs are located throughout the country. Some of them remain closed from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Remember not to flash your cash.
- Sales tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) is 13%. It is included in the final price of every service or product purchase.
- The departure tax should be included in most of the airline tickets. For those flight tickets where it is duly stipulated that they do not include the departure tax, you must pay $29 per person, either in dollars, colones (local currency), credit or debit card.
It´s always best to travel light
When you’re headed to Costa Rica, travel light. If there’s a way to avoid checking baggage, do it. Play it safe and carry on. You’ll be able to take advantage of hotel washrooms and laundromats on your journey and the less you must keep up with, the better. If you are checking baggage, remember to weigh bags before you get to the airport.
Try to pack only what is necessary, cool clothes that are easy to wash and dry, since airlines and tour operators have weight restrictions on luggage, and you will probably move from one place to another.
Include in your luggage all the medication you may need if you have a medical condition, since some medications in Costa Rica require a certified prescription.
We want you to have an incredible time exploring Costa Rica safely:
- Always take care of all your belongings and valuables, even when traveling by bus.
- Carry your backpack in front of you.
- Avoid unsolicited help from strangers.
- Avoid walking in isolated places and places without lighting.
- Check your map and mobile phone in secure areas.
Keep safe on the road
Driving a car in Costa Rica gives you the freedom to navigate the beautiful landscape at your leisure. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you begin your adventure.
- If you experience a mechanical issue or a flat tire avoid stopping in lonely places and don’t accept unsolicited help from strangers. It is better to call the Rent-a-Car or dial 9-1-1 to request help.
- Don’t leave any valuables unattended in your car – such as credit cards, cash, jewelry, or your passport. Use public parking lot with surveillance.
- Use a GPS or a GPS navigation app. It’ll save time and prove convenient when exploring. Just make sure you have a chip or an international data plan!
- The terrain can get more adventurous depending on where you choose to go. So keep that in mind when renting your vehicle.
- Verify the condition of the car and its required safety equipment (warning triangles, reflective vests, lug nut wrench, spare tire and a fire extinguisher).
- When renting the car, read the contract thoroughly to understand what is covered and what is not. Ask for details of car policies and insurance. Be aware of all the details about the insurance policies.
When you’re headed on vacation, the idea is to keep it as stress-free as possible. Pay attention to the little things to avoid any snags. BRING THE RIGHT SHOES! There are a ton of fun things to do in Costa Rica and you don’t want your footwear to limit you or give you blisters. A pair of sandals and some decent sneakers should do fine. If you plan on doing some serious hiking or climbing, consider some heavier duty options.
Feel The Sand
- Costa Rica is a year-round destination! Go get a tan, go surfing and walk on the beach, but don’t leave your belongings alone when you do.
- Ask locals or surfers about the beach conditions and about rip currents.
- If someone is at risk, and you haven’t been trained in first aid, seek for help.
- When traveling with friends, don’t joke around in a way that may put your life or others at risk.
- Keep children, elderly people, or people with physical limitations close to you and avoid swimming alone.
Many Costa Ricans speak English quite well, but remember the native tongue is rooted in Spanish. But you do not have to worry, you are in a good hand, you will be most of your time with your Naturalist Guide or your local guide.