Costa Rica travel tips

Getting around is a breeze with these Costa Rica travel tips.

Before you arrive, there are some basic Costa Rica travel tips you should have under your belt.

Passports and travel visas

You’ll need a passport before you depart. But do you also need a travel visa for Costa Rica?

If you’re coming from the US, Canada, Mexico, or the European Union, then no. However, if you’ll be conducting any kind of business, you’ll need either a business or work visa. If the trip is a vacation, then all you need is a passport.

Weather forecast

The misty, verdant Monteverde cloud forest.

More than likely you know what kind of weather to expect – rainy or dry season – since you’ve researched that before you booked your trip.

Before you travel to Costa Rica, check out the weather forecast for the next week.

What time is it?

The Costa Rica time is probably going to be different than where you’re coming from. It wasn’t much of an adjustment for us; coming from the US east coast we just had to set our watches back an hour. (This was in August, by the way.)

The Costa Rica time zone is GMT-6 (6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time).

Exchanging money

Once you get your bearings and you know what time it is, you’ll probably start spending money. For that, you’ll want to know about Costa Rica currency and currency exchange.

We didn’t carry huge amounts of cash – a good travel tip is that debit cards and credit cards are way more convenient and handle exchange rates for you with little or no fees. For those remote areas that we traveled to, it was helpful to have some cash on hand for incidentals (snacks, drinks, gas).

You can go your own way

Of all the Costa Rica travel tips I could give, I highly suggest you rent a car and DRIVE through the country. Driving in Costa Rica is an EXCELLENT way to experience the country.

Sure you can ride a tour bus, but those things can get bumpy on the rough roads you’re going to encounter. Plus they can get a bit cramped for my tastes.

When we were looking into Costa Rica vacations for our honeymoon, we immediately fell in love with the tour package we found. Basically, we landed in San José, hooked up with a tour company who gave us a rental car, a cell phone, hotel vouchers, and a stack of brochures and sent us on our way.

If you do that, prepare for some adventure! Driving in Costa Rica is an experience in and of itself. Truly, this is where some parts of our honeymoon were not about the destination, but the journey! You’ll see and experience terrain and sights that you otherwise might not have.

You may find Costa Rica travel tips in other guides and sites that caution you against driving at all, but if you have just a little bit of a sense of adventure, and are willing to be a good defensive driver, you’ll be more than fine.