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Practical Information

Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in Central America and it can be tough to avoid the numerous people and large-chain hotels that have sprung up.

However, our specialists have traveled extensively throughout the country to find the smaller individually-owned lodges and less travelled areas.

Getting around

Even with the country’s advanced development the roads can be pretty rough so we ensure all our drivers are skilled and used to the road conditions, but be ready for an occasional bumpy ride. Despite the relatively small size of Costa Rica at times we may suggest internal flights for some journeys.

Language

The official language is Spanish, although English is widely spoken.

Money and expense

The Colon is the national currency of Costa Rica. Travelers' cheques in dollars can be exchanged at any bank with a valid passport. We recommend not taking US$100 bills, as there is currently a problem with forgeries, meaning that many banks and Bureaus de Change will not accept them.

Food and drink

A wide range of cuisine can be sampled in Costa Rica from French to Chinese and local dishes. With two oceans as sources, seafood is a Costa Rican specialty, as are native dishes such as "Gallos (open-faced tortillas with beef, chicken or ham) and uniquely spiced and seasoned mashed black beans. Other native specialties are palm hearts, tamales and ceviche. Guaro is the national liquor, while a variety of local rums, beers, and flavored liquors are also available.

Social conventions and etiquette

Please remember to dress respectfully, covering shoulders and knees when visiting any catholic churches or monuments.

Tipping

Tipping for good service is an accepted fact. A 10% service charge and 13% sales tax are always included in restaurant bills.

Travel Advice

Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the State Department website.

When to go to Costa Rica

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

* This is a rough guide to when to travel in the country as a whole. It may not necessarily apply to a specific itinerary or part of the country.

  • The best time to travelThe best time to travel
  • A good time to travel, some factors to be aware of A good time to travel, some factors to be aware of
  • Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year
  • Snow or ski season Snow or ski season
  • Travel is not recommended Travel is not recommended
More Information
  • Flight Time

    6 hours 45 upwards dependent on airline (New York to San Jose)

  • Time Zone

    UTC -6