On the cusp between North and South America, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse nations on the planet. Within the country's only 20,000 square miles, visitors can explore rainforests, mountains, beaches, nature reserves, national parks and volcanoes.
- Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
- Must-See Landmark: The Crestones of Chirripó National Park
- Must-Try Food: Gallo Pinto
- Most Common Language: Spanish
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 911
Traveling During COVID-19
As countries reopen for international travel, rules and requirements may change quickly. We recommend learning more about the country's safety requirements. Costa Rica's COVID-19 entry requirements can help you decide what you need to travel during this difficult time.
If you do decide to travel, please note that Costa Rica now requires visitors to have travel insurance covering their accommodations and medical expenses should they need to be quarantined or hospitalized due to COVID-19. Safe Travels Voyager is our best plan to meet Costa Rica's entry requirements at this time.
Travel Insurance Plans for Costa Rica
Travel Insurance is now mandatory for travel to Costa Rica, but with a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to select a plan. Currently, our only plan which meets all of Costa Rica's entry requirements during COVID-19 is Safe Travels Voyager.
Visas and Documentation
If you are visiting Costa Rica for more than 90 days, you will be required to obtain a visa. If you are visiting Costa Rica for 90 days or less the visa requirement may be waived depending on your home country.
If you are visiting Costa Rica from some countries, you will be required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccine at least 10 days before travel. This applies to the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Venezuela.
Weather and What to Pack
Different regions of Costa Rica have vastly different amounts of rainfall, but wherever you are in the country, throughout the year it is likely to be warm and damp. Be sure to pack warm weather clothes that will be appropriate for whatever activities your plan as well as light raincoats and umbrellas for probable rain.
Common Words and Phrases in Spanish
- Yes: Sí [see]
- No: No [no]
- Please: Por Favor [por-fah-vohr]
- Thank You: Gracias [grah-see-ahss]
- Cheers: Salud [sah-loohd]
- Hello: Hola [oh-la]
- Goodbye: Adiós [ah-dee-ohss]
Etiquette and Cultural Norms
Manners and etiquette are generally very relaxed. Handshakes are a good way to greet someone new and cheek kisses are appropriate for people who are well acquainted and of the same gender. Costa Ricans routinely arrive around 30 minutes late to social engagements and most appointments other than films and state-sponsored health appointments will be treated as loose times rather than hard start times.
Direct confrontation and putting feet on furniture is considered rude and, if you visit local religious sites, it is important to adhere to local customs.
- San José: Costa Rica's vibrant capital city is full of art, museums and culture. Costa Rica is rich with beaches and natural vistas, but if you want a bustling city, San Jos is the best place to go.
- The Caribbean Coast Large, white-sand beaches and a diverse company of plants and animals make Costa Rica's east coast a must-see location for any visitor. Additionally, Puerto Viejo is a great stop if you're looking for a laid back beach town along this coast.
- The Pacific Coast: On the other side of the country, the Pacific coast is home to some of the best beaches and the best waves for surfers in Costa Rica.
- The Cloud Forests: In the highlands of the country, could forests contain rich foliage. This combined greenery, heat and humidity, create an almost constant cloud cover. Visitors can explore amazing rainforests, ziplines, suspension bridges and more.
- Tortuguero National Park: Only accessible by boat or small plane, this national park is one of the best places to marvel at the natural beauty and diverse wildlife of Costa Rica. If you visit between February and October, you may even be able to see sea turtles nesting on the beaches.
Health & Safety Tips
While corruption and fraud are a problem in Costa Rica, a tourist is unlikely to experience these issues.
The most common issues for tourists are insect and water-borne illnesses. Drink only bottled water, sodas and order drinks made without tap water and ice. Be sure to pack environmentally-friendly bug sprays and sunscreen as bug bites, infection and sunburn can ruin a trip.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for Costa Rica: hepatitis A, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. Some travelers might also consider vaccines for hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever and rabies, depending on their histories and activity plans in Costa Rica.
A COVID-19 vaccine may be required once it is available in your area.