Despite its small size, Costa Rica is home to nearly half a million species, making it one of the world’s most bio-diverse countries. Your Costa Rica trip might take in remote, jungle-fringed coastline with beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Or quasi-magical cloudforest with moss-cloaked trees, hummingbirds flitting between orchids and the elusive resplendent quetzal. Then there’s the volcanic central valley with waterfalls and hot springs, and wetlands that thrum with everything from minuscule poison dart frogs to caimans, crocodiles and manatees.
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
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: CST
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
U.S. credit/debit cards are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica and typically offer the best exchange rate.
Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.
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.
Electricity & 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.