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Vacationing in Costa Rica    Travel Tips and Travel Advice

Passport must be good for 90 days past the date you enter Costa Rica

If renting a vehicle either take your GPS or rent one there (very useful since roads are not always named.)

Pack Light- Casual Dress-Cottons are best,  swim wear,  water sandals –water-proof light weight  rain jacket,  small folding umbrellas –very good walking shoes or hiking take a good pair of tennis shoes.
Small backpack to put bottle water , camera, sun screen, and mosquito repellent.

ALSO TAKE A  small flashlight    2 flashlights if you are staying in different rooms.

In case of earthquake exit the building to the outside.

Mosquito repellent -I like skin so soft –cream from Avon for mosquito repellent–you can get it on their web site.

Drink bottle water only

Take Pepto Bismol Tablets  for possible stomach upsets

Keep valuables locked in safety box in your hotel room.  Do not leave anything valuable in the room that is not locked up in the safety box    If you have a rental car do not leave anything inside the vehicle- unless you can see the car from where you are sitting in a restaurant.  Don’t park your vehicle  with your  suitcases inside at a National park and  enter the National park.   Even if the vehicle is locked.

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a different place.  Also a copy of your credit card.
US dollars–do not take any that are torn or written on-the CR banks will not accept them.
Yes you can use US dollars however: it is best if you take them in small bills-$5  $10  $20  and take 20 $1 bills.  You will receive change in colones so get familiar with the exchange rate.

American Express is not widely accepted in CR.  Visa and Master Charge are widely accepted.  Some places–but not all–will accept Discovery Card.

Travelers checks–some places accept and some places do not.  Better to check ahead of time…..
I keep my money, passport, and credit cards, in a money belt  under my blouse–but not everyone likes a money belt.   A fanny pack (around your waist) is better than carrying valuables in a  purse.  But -still- I think a money belt is better.
You can use  US dollars in CR but will be given change in colones.  So memorize the exchange rate.    Exchange rate around 500 colones to one dollar.

Do not exchange money at the airport–the exchange rate is very bad.

Electricity  in CR is same as in US.

Petty theft is COMMON -pick pockets are common.  Be careful not to leave cameras etc unattended.

At Manuel Antonio Beach- leave your valuables in the safety box at the hotel.  Take only money to pay the entrance to the park and tip the guide.  And to pay lunch  if you want to eat outside the park.
Monkeys  have been know to run off with your backpack if you leave it on the beach to go swimming.
Also leaving cameras, etc on the beach and going into the water is not a good idea.  Can be stolen by monkeys or people.

Restaurants already have a 10% tip added to the bill.  If you get very good service you could give a  extra tip.

Can  Drink the Water?–I recommend that you drink bottle water.  You can buy it everywhere and it is not expensive.

Guides and driver do expect tips.  Drivers for a long distance around $10  and guides–use your discretion            $1  per suit case  for bell boys

Take all your medication with you–in your carry on-backpack–etc   Dont check them in your suitcase.

Pharmacies  have someone to help you if you need a medication–often the Pharmacist is available for consultation.  However, antibiotics  cannot be sold without  a doctors prescription.

Lock suitcases before checking them in at the airport and good idea to tie a colorful ribbon on them.  Label each one with a luggage tag.  (all the suitcases coming off the luggage ramp tend to be black and all look alike.

If you rent a vehicle keep it locked at all times.  Dont leave visible valuables in the car when it is unattended.  Try not to drive at night.  Park is designated parking lot only.

Departure tax is $27 per person which is paid upon departure at the airport.    Paid in dollars, colones, or Master Card or Visa–American Express is not accepted.

Be at the airport 2 hours before departure time.

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