Costa Rica: Trip Preparation & Destination Information

Costa Rica: Trip Preparation & Destination Information

About Costa Rica


Costa Rica is a rugged, forested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.


Disclaimer: You will be staying in jungle lodges, and bugs are common (does NOT mean the hotel is dirty!). This applies especially to Monteverde and Arenal. But all of Costa Rica is tropical and bugs should be expected.


Turtle Nesting Activity: If this activity is included in your itinerary, please make sure to pack dark clothing and closed-toe shoes.


Capital City: San José

Population: 5.1 million (2020 est.)

Currency: Costa Rican colón (USD is also accepted in some tourist areas)

Time Zone: Central Standard Time (GMT-6)

Emergency Number: 911

Outlet: Type A/B

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Packing List

Speak The Language

Language: Spanish. A large portion of the population speaks English as a second language. 


  • Hello - ¡Hola! (O-la)
  • Goodbye - ¡Adios! (AH-dee-ohs)
  • Thank you - Gracias (GRA-see-as)
  • Do you speak English? - ¿Habla inglés? (Ab-la in-GLAYS)
  • I (don’t) understand - Yo (no) entiendo (yo no en-tee-EN-doh)
  • How are you? - ¿Cómo está? (KOH-moh eh-STAH)
  • I’m fine, thank you - Bien, gracias (bee-EN, GRA-see-as)
  • What’s your name? -  Cómo te llamas? ((KOH-moh te ya-mas?))
  • My name is… - Me llamo… (May ya-moh… )
  • Where is... -  ¿Dónde está… (DON-day es-tah...)

- The bathroom - el baño (el BAH-nyo)

- An ATM - un cajero (un kah-HEH-roh)


Google Translate: Download the Google Translate app or click here  





Fun Facts

  • Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos (males) or Ticas (females).
  • The Guanacaste is Costa Rica's national tree and the clay-colored thrush is the national bird. The national flower is the guaria morada, an orchid.
  • Costa Rica has a life expectancy of almost 77 years, one of the highest in the world.
  • There are more than 121 volcanic formations in Costa Rica, and seven of them are active. Poas Volcano has the second widest crater in the world (nearly one mile in diameter), and Arenal Volcano is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world.
  • Chirripo Mountain is the highest point in Costa Rica at 12,500 feet. The country's lowest point is 790 feet below sea level in the caves of Barra Honda National Park.
  • Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world's biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet's surface.


Tipping Suggestions: Tips for Guides, drivers and restaurants are not included. Tips provide supplemental income, and, while not mandatory, are greatly appreciated. If the local teams have added to the experience, please reward them.

Guides USD $5-15 per person/per day
Drivers USD $5-15 per person/per day
Restaurants (full service)  Taxes & tips are typically included in the total bill



Where can I find information on travel safety? Check out the US Department of State's website for the most up-to-date information on safety while traveling 


Is the water safe to drink? Tap water in Costa Rica is drinkable and, in many areas of the country, quite good. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, it is recommended to refrain from drinking tap water in most beach destinations. To play it safe, visit any supermarket and buy bottled water. 


Do I need a Visa? For Visa information, click here. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you return home and has two or more blank pages. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.


What about vaccines? For vaccination information, click here.


Do you recommend travel insurance? While not required, we highly recommend all travelers get travel insurance for their trip to protect themselves from the unknown! Check out travel insurance options from our partner,, or from a provider of your choice. 


How much should I pack? As we will be using shared transfers and spaces throughout our tour we recommend all travelers pack as lightly as possible. Please take a look at our luggage restrictions below.


What does public transportation look like? There are many ways to get around Costa Rica. Taxis are affordable and convenient, but be careful to only hire licensed taxi drivers. 


Is Uber or Lyft available? Uber is available in some cities. 

Luggage Restrictions

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