Costa Rica is a generally safe location to travel and explore. But, like any country, common sense will take you a long way to enjoying your trip. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your visit here.

Costa Rica Travel Tips:

Use the safe in your hotel room when available. If not available, ask the front desk to store your items in their safe. 

Never leave any items unattended, particularly on beaches.

Do not leave valuables in your car - even detachable face stereos.

Nearly all hotels have check in times between 2 PM - 3 PM and check out time between 10 AM  - 12 PM as industry standard. If you are unsure, please ask. 

Double check for your valuables when getting out of a transfer. Remember the small things you use most often are the most likely to be forgotten such as cameras, cell phones and ipods.

Double check for your valuables when leaving your hotel room.

You are required to carry your passport or a copy of it which includes the complete photo and data page as well as the visa stamp page.

The roads in Costa Rica are generally windy and mountainous. Take Dramamine prior to your transfer to alleviate motion sickness.

Never pull out your wallet in public or flash money.

Tips (10%) and taxes (13%) are supposed to be included in your bill at restaurants. Keep them honest by asking before ordering.

Tap water is safe to drink in nearly all locations. If you have a sensitive stomach, ask the hotel receptionist to be sure.

Use sunblock with a high spf value as burning occurs much more quickly in tropical areas.

Insect repellent is very expensive in Costa Rica. Bring it along if you think you will need.

Most cell phone carriers have roaming plans for Costa Rica. Contact your provider before your trip to avoid outrageous charges.

International calling cards are readily available at most stores.

Internet is available at most hotels and there are internet cafes at most popular tourist destinations.

You should contact your credit card company to inform them of your travels before visiting Costa Rica.

Car rental agencies usually require a security deposit of $750 – 1,500 on your credit card. Drivers must be 25 or older.

Spanish is the official language, though most people that work in tourism also speak English.

Do not walk alone at night.

Do not enter a situation where you can be singled out.

Bring your prescription bottles with the label on it in case of emergency situation.

This is generally the rainforest, so bring rain gear.

Check your vouchers for your packing list. After you have covered your tour packing list, pack clothing that you would be comfortable in in a tropical rainforest climate.

Learning a base of Spanish phrases is helpful and will be appreciated by locals, but not necessary.

Get to know and remember the current exchange rate. Everybody accepts the US dollar, but will give change in Colones.

Domestic flights have VERY restrictive weight limits. Check with your airline to ensure you do not go over the limit: or

Boats to Tortuguero and Drake Bay usually have a 25 pound luggage weight limit. Anything over this amount can be subject to an extra charge, though rarely enforced.

There is a 29USD per person exit departure tax. This is to be paid directly at the airport as it is part of your flight.


Tipping Guide:

Tour Guides - 2 – 5USD per person, per guide

Shuttle Driver - 2 – 5USD per person

Private Transportation - 10 – 20USD per group, per trip (sometimes more, please be fair :-)

Housekeeping – 2USD per night


It is simply not possible to cover all situations, but we do hope this has been helpful. For more specific details, please look into the following sites:

Passport/Visa Regulations, Embassy of Costa Rica:

United States Department of State:

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