Travel Tips for Vacationing in Costa Rica

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Hello from Costa Rica Learn

Travel Tips for Vacationing in Costa Rica.


You can spend US dollars. Take small bills $5 $10 and $20
Change will be given in colones (the money in Costa Rica)

Take 20 $1 dollar bills for tips.

I generally do not exchange money.  I just use my US dollars…however,  be sure to memorize the exchange rate -check exchange rate on google immediately before departing for your vacation.  so you do not get mixed up.  Change will be given to you in colones.

Dont exchange dollars to colones at the airport.  Very poor exchange rate.

ATM machines are located at banks and in some grocery stores and shopping malls.

I take my money inside a money belt (under my clothes) also keep my passport in this money belt.  Make copy of passport and put in a differrent safe place. Also copies of your credit cards incase they are stolen

Amex is not widely accepted in CR. Master charge and Visa are widely accepted. keep copies of front and back of your credit cards in a safe place.

Keep receipts of all your purchasing on credit cards wile visiting Costa Rica.

US Dollars–Torn bills and bills written on are not accepted.


Petty theft is common. do not leave cameras, smart phones, computers unattended. Police report must be made if you plan to claim any loss on insurance. If renting a car..Keep doors locked at all times .  Don’t leave anything visible inside the vehicle such as cameras, computers, etc.  (even your suitcase)

emergency number for police is 911

Cell Phones

Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica?  A Smart phone will allow you to use a prepaid SIM Card-  Your phone must be “unlocked”

In both international airports you will find a desk which sells prepaid SIM cards. This desk is located immediately after you leave the area where you recover your luggage. Look for a big sign “ICE Kolbi”  You will get all the help you need from the personal at this desk.

Your smart phone must be unlocked for the SIM card to work. The back of your smart phone is removed. Then the attendant can help you remove the existing card and place the prepaid SIM card in this space. (Remember to put this card in safe place so you can put it back ..after departing CR.) This Sim card allows you to prepay the amount of money you want to make all the calls, texts, etc. while in CR. You can pay more and be able to make calls, text, and email outside CR.  Attendant will explain all this to you when you buy the card.

Text to USA for free   NOTE: I recently downloaded an app to my smart phone . The app is called Viber. With this I was able to send and receive texts from my friend while she was visiting Paris, France. I’m sure the same is true for Costa Rica.

MEDICATIONS Take all your meds with you including Pepto Bismol for stomach upset. Pharmacies will dispense (without perscription) .all kinds of meds except narcotics and antibiotics.

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT:  sun screen, bug spray,  (bugs come out after 4.30 pm in afternoon) and sun hat. Sun is very strong in Costa Rica.  Best old walking shoes you own.
Light weight Waterproof rain jacket …

CLOTHING:  Mostly casual.  cottons are best.  good “broken in” walking shoes like tennis.  If long hikes- take your most comfortable hiking shoes. Light weight water proof jacket.  In rainy season small folding umbrella.

LANGUAGE.  English is spoken among the travel industry in Costa Rica.

Electricity-   same in Costa Rica as in North America

WATER.  Generally is good in Costa Rica.  However, I tell my tourist just to be on safe side to drink bottle water.


for individualized vacation planning contact Ann, the costa rica travel expert.   www.costaricalearn.com