If you are planning a Costa Rica Vacation it is very important you get ready for it. Before you board the plane though, there are a few details and Travel Tips that we would like to share with you.
Although Costa Rica is a small country and the distances between sites are relatively short, due to the conditions of winding, bumpy roads, participants should expect long travel times from one point to another. We mention these details to prepare you mentally for a trip, which fits appropriately under the title of “Adventure Travel”.
1- Money Exchange: Once at the Costa Rica International airport, please do not exchange money due US dollars and credit cards are wide accepted in the country. Just make sure you bring small bill’s denominations. Costa Rica’s currency is the Colón. Please bring USD cash only, which can be exchanged at any bank. Mastercard, American Express, Visa and Diners Club are all accepted in larger centers. Best thing is to bring USD. Note, if you plan to use your credit card for purchases or cash advances in Costa Rica, you might want to contact the applicable card company prior to departure. Advise that you will be visiting Costa Rica and that charges should be allowed on the card while you are out of the country.
2- Passports: Please make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your date of arrival in Costa Rica. Naturally, your passport is your most important travel document; please keep it as safe as possible. Bring along a photocopy of your passport and keep it separate from the original. This can prove very helpful should your passport be lost or stolen.
3- Health & Vaccinations: Your health is of paramount importance. If you have not already contacted your Doctor or local Travel Clinic, please do so at your earliest convenience. Your doctor or Travel Clinic can provide you with the most up-to-date recommendations. Our recent information advises travelers to obtain vaccinations for hepatitis A & B, typhoid, measles, and make sure your tetanus; diphtheria and polio vaccinations are up-to-date. Bottled water is available everywhere. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption.
4- Departure Tax: There is a $29.00 USD departure tax, payable upon leaving San Jose.
5- Clothing: Casual clothing for city traveling, Shirts – cotton or light synthetic, long and short-sleeved, Pants – cotton or light synthetic (Jeans not recommended – slow drying), Hiking shorts, Footwear – running shoes, waterproof lightweight hiking boots, sandals. Socks – bring extra pairs in case feet get wet. Rain gear – poncho, raincoat and umbrella. Hat – with visor for rain and sun protection. Sweater or jacket. Swimwear. Sunscreen, bug spray. Collapsible hiking/walking sticks (optional).
6- Luggage: Please bring just the necessary items. Also, please remember that travelers who pack lightly travel faster. Please limit your bags to one carry-on and one checked piece. The basic rule of thumb is “if you can’t carry your bags 100 feet, you’re taking too much”.
7- Tipping: We have had a number of requests asking for clarification on the subject of tipping. Firstly, we would like to begin by telling you that tipping is not mandatory and should be reserved only for services performed well. Even then, if you prefer not to tip, that is your right. However, we have found that tipping encourages excellence and it is with this in mind that we advocate tipping. In the world of tipping, there are no hard and fast rules, but as a recommendation, a tip of $3-$5 USD per activity / tour per person will be highly appreciated by the tour guides / drivers.
Finally, we suggest you pack all valuables, medication and at least one day changes of clothes in your carry on. You may also find it helpful to take a copy of your passport, with you and keep it separated from the original in case your passport becomes lost or stolen.