Costa Rica FAQs
In which time zone is Costa Rica?
Costa Rica's time zone depends upon the time of year. Daylight savings is not observed here so during North America's daylight savings, Costa Rica observes Mountain Time while it observes Central Time the rest of the year.
Is Costa Rica family-friendly?
Costa Rica is one of the most family friendly destinations you can imagine. As Barry says, "On most family vacations, everyone goes their own way. But in Costa Rica, there are so many adventures & bonding activities that it really brings you closer." There are activities available that every member of your family can enjoy- from zip lining through the rain forest, to monkey feeding, to educational nature gondola rides.
Is Costa Rica safe?
This is one of the questions that we get the most- people hear about issues in other Central American countries and become concerned. There is no need for such concern- Costa Rica is very safe. That being said, you should exercise the same amount of caution you would at home: do not walk around alone at night, stay in well-lit areas, do not leave your belongings in your rental car, etc.
What currency is used in Costa Rica?
The legal currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rica colon (plural "colones"). Almost without exception, vendors will accept US dollars but return your change in colones. That being said, if you are purchasing from a small vendor (eg/ in a market) you will likely get a better rate if you pay them in colones. There is no need to use a money exchange service - if you would like to get some colones, we recommend using an ATM machine as they have the best rates we've seen.
Are credit cards widely accepted in Costa Rica?
Most businesses accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). Cash, either in US dollars or colones is always preferred and some places charge a surcharge if you pay with a credit card. Don't forget to call your credit card companies before you travel to let them know you will be in Costa Rica.
What electric current is used in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica 's electricity is the same as that in the United States (110V AC at 60Hz).
What are typical business hours in Costa Rica?
Retail shops are generally open from 9-6, banks from 9-3 and government agencies from 8-5.
Can I drink the water in Costa Rica?
The water in Costa Rica is safe to drink. However, if you have a sensitive stomach we recommend sticking to bottled water for drinking.
How do I pay the departure tax?
To depart Costa Rica by air, you must pay a departure tax of $29 US which must be purchased prior to check-in with your airline. When you enter the airport in San Jose, head to the right and you will find a bank of desks, where you show your passport and pay for your departure tax. This is best paid for in cash as your credit card company will treat it as a cash advance and charge you additional fees.
What documentation do I need to enter Costa Rica?
Visitors from most countries require only a passport to enter Costa Rica for a 90 day period. Check with your local government before booking to confirm the rules for your specific country.
Do I need an international driver's license to drive in Costa Rica?
Your home license is fine for you to drive on while you are in Costa Rica as long as your visa has not expired. Tourist visas last from the date of entry for 90 days.
My fiancé & I would like to get married in Costa Rica. How do we go about it?
First, you will need to find the perfect setting for your special day! We highly recommend our beachfront hotel, Alma del Pacifico, for a lovely sunset ceremony facing the Pacific Ocean. Check out our photo gallery to view ceremonies that we have held here before.
In order to get married in Costa Rica, you will and your fiancé will need your original birth certificates, affidavits confirming your single status, your police records, valid passports, and (if applicable) your divorce decrees. All of these documents will need to be authenticated. On the day of the wedding, you will need 2 witnesses, neither of which can be relatives.
How can I apply for residency?
There are 3 different categories of residency: pensioner, temporary resident or foreign diplomat. For more information, contact the Costa Rican consulate.
How long can I stay in Costa Rica?
With each entry into Costa Rica, you may stay for 90 days. If you decide you would like to enjoy Del Pacifico for longer, you must leave Costa Rica for 72 hours and then can return for an additional 90 days.
How does the healthcare system work?
Costa Rica is internationally renowned for having an exceptionally good healthcare system. The CIMA Hospital in San Jose, which is operated by International Hospital Corporation which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. CIMA also operates a clinic in nearby Jaco. Additionally, there is a new Costa Rican government owned regional hospital in Quepos (20 minutes) as well as a local clinic in nearby Parrita (10 minutes). Pharmacies are numerous, Fischel is a Swiss-owned international chain with several locations nearby. Pharmacies stock brand name prescription drugs (Merck, Pfizer, Aventis, etc), many of which are available without a prescription. Many of our female owners have been pleased to find that Retin-A is available over the counter without a prescription for about $20 a tube.
What are my options in a healthcare emergency?
Local ambulance services are available and in the rare occasion that transport to San Jose is necessary, helicopter transportation is available which is a 20 minute flight to SJO. Some hospitals are also in-network with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Quick facts about Costa Rica
The national bird is the clay colored robin
The national tree is the guanacaste tree
There are more Americans per capita living in Costa Rica than in anywhere outside of the United States. In fact, unlike any other Latin American country, there are more Americans living in Costa Rica than Costa Ricans living in the US.
According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Ricans are the happiest people on earth...Come see for yourself!