Do I need any mandatory vaccinations before travelling to Costa Rica?
No compulsory vaccinations are needed to visit Costa Rica, but it is usually recommended to update your shots against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Tetanus.
Is there a malaria risk in Costa Rica?
The risk of malaria exists in some rural parts of the Limón Province, on the Caribbean side of the country. The risk in the town of Limón itself however is minimal. For tour itineraries that include the Limón Province, it may be a good idea to check with your doctor and take preventative medicine.
What currency to bring/use in Costa Rica?
The Colón is the Costa Rican national currency, but US Dollars are used widely so you can get by mostly on USD when travelling in Costa Rica. US$ 20 bills and lower are best, since $50s and $100s are regarded rather suspiciously.
It may be a good idea to take USD and convert a small part of it in to Colóns. If you do want to do that, exchange money at a bank or a hotel. We do not recommend exchanging money at the Forex Counters at the San José Airport, because a lot of times their exchange rate is lower than what you would get elsewhere.
Are credit cards accepted in Costa Rica?
Credit cards are accepted in major cities/towns, hotels, restaurants, and shops that cater to tourists. Visa is the most widely accepted; Mastercard and American Express less so. Some hotels and shops may charge up to 7% surcharge for credit card payments.
It is recommended to inquire about credit card acceptance at a restaurant prior to dining if it’s not clearly indicated. Some local sodas or craft shops in rural villages may not accept credit cards, so it is always best to keep some cash on you.
What to pack for Traveling to Costa Rica?
It’s important not to overpack when traveling to Costa Rica. Domestic airlines and most shuttle transfers have luggage weight restrictions. Pack according to your itinerary. The jungles and beaches are mostly hot and humid so take loose, light clothing for these areas. A light jacket is essential if you travel to the highlands like Monteverde, where the temperatures can drop pretty low. When visiting Cloud Frosts and Rainforests, quick-drying clothes and a raincoat is ideal. Long lightweight pants are recommended to be worn on forest hikes – they will protect your legs from scratches and insect bites. Strong walking shoes are a must.
At most hotels dress codes are usually casual, though some of the 4/5 star hotels may expect guests to be more formally dressed (read smart-casual) for evening meals.
It is best to bring personal care items like contact lens solutions and sunscreen (at least SPF 20, waterproof) and any prescription medication with you. A pair of binoculars and a lightweight flashlight is highly recommended. Mosquito/insect repellent is also a must.
What is the Electricity like in Costa Rica.
Electricity in Costa Rica is the same as in the USA: 110 volts; 60 Hz. Plugs are typically the standard 2-pronged vertical flat type similar to USA, or 3-pronged if grounded. If your electrical equipments are not compatible, it is recommended that you take a voltage or plug adapter.
Spending the first and/or last night of your stay in San José?
This is not a must but is usually recommended depending on your flight schedule. Generally, it is not recommended to do inter-city ground transfers at night in Costa Rica due to largely poor and unlit road conditions. So if you fly in late in the evening, it is highly recommended to spend the night at a hotel near the airport (San José, Alajuela, etc.) and start your tour the next morning. Similarly, if your departure flight is before noon, it is best to arrive in San José on the previous evening and have a stopover night. Of course, this is also the case if you are flying in or out of the Liberia area.