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These frequently asked questions are designed to answer many of your queries related to all aspects of travel to Costa Rica. Some of the questions have been compiled with the help of our Help Desk personnel, while others have been previous inquiries from past clients. Click on a question of concern below, and don't forget to keep checking back with us to find more Q & A's. And remember, there is more information about Costa Rica and traveling at General Information and Travel Tips.

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General Information Contact Form.

Q. Do I need a passport to travel to Costa Rica?

A. Yes, a valid passport is required to enter and visas are needed for certain nationalities so check ahead before traveling. For more information click here.

The citizens of the following nationalities can stay for 90 days without a consular visa if International Agreements exist.

Argentina Germany / Deutschland Panamá
Andorra Greece Poland
Australia Holland / Netherlands Paraguay
Austria Hungary Portugal
Bahamas Irland Puerto Rico
Barbados Island Romania
Belgium Israel San Marino
Brazil Italy Serbia
Republic of Bulgaria Japan Singapur
Canada Liechtenstein Spain
Croacia Letonia South Africa
Chile Lituania South Korea
Chipre Luxembourg Sweden
Czech Republic Malta Switzerland
Denmark Mexico Trinidad y Tobago
Eslovaquia Monaco United Kingdom
Eslovenia Montenegro United States of America
Estonia New Zealand Uruguay
Finland North Ireland Vaticane
France Norway  

  • Q. Can I drink the water?

    A.Yes, you can drink the water! Pure and suitable for drinking throughout most of the country.

    Q. Whom and how much should I tip?

    A. Upon arriving at the airport, tip the standard porter rate of $1 per bag; more if your luggage is very heavy.

When you arrive at your hotel after a long flight, first things first: If you take a shuttle van, tip the driver $2 per person. The bellman, who will be more than happy to assist you with your bags and the door, should receive $1 to $2 per bag. Tip when he shows you to your room and again if he assists you upon checkout. Tip more if he provides any additional service.

If you're taking a tour, tip a local guide $2 per person for a half-day tour, $3 for full-day tour. Tip a private guide more. If you are on a multi-day tour with someone who travels with you for several days and is essentially in charge - tip them anywhere from $5–$10 per person per day.

Most restaurants in Costa Rica include a 10% "service charge" on the bill but if the service is exemplary an additional 5 - 10% should be considered.

This tipping etiquette will hopefully give you a general idea of the standard tipping rate for different stops along your journey. You are always welcome to tip more when the service is excellent, and when you do, you are sure to see the red carpet treatment all the way. Enjoy your vacation, and don't forget to tip!

  • Q. What is the traditional menu I would expect to eat in Costa Rica?

    A. A traditional Costa Rican breakfast consists of "gallo pinto" (black beans and rice), eggs, tortillas and sour cream, with coffee and fresh fruit juice.
    A typical Costa Rica lunch known as "casado", includes: rice and beans, one choice of meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), salad, fried plantains (a type of banana, very sweet and very tasty).
    Dinner is pretty much whatever you like, and fish and seafood here is excellent, well priced, and fresh, as are the fruits and vegetables.
    Of course Costa Rica produces some of the finest coffee in the world and it's not uncommon to see bumper stickers around proclaiming that "Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee".

    Q. What air carriers fly to Costa Rica?

    A. U.S. carriers servicing Costa Rica include; American, United, Continental and Delta Airlines, Spirit Airlines and TACA the official Costa Rican carrier.

    Q. I have 35mm camera equipment should I buy my film here or buy it there.

    A. Film and batteries are expensive here so you should stock up before you leave. Bring fast film if you’re planning to shoot pictures in the rain forest. About 90 percent of the light gets filtered out at the canopy level and never reaches the jungle.

    Q. I also have a camcorder will I be able to buy film for it (8mm)and can I recharge my batteries with your electric current (I use 110 volt)?

    A. Same advice in regards to film applies as in the previous question. Standard current is 110volts, 60 Hertz

    Q. What should I pack and what kinds of clothes should I bring?

    A. Pack light: Baggage carts are scarce at airports, and luggage restrictions are tight. Bring comfortable, hand-washable clothing. T-shirts and shorts are acceptable in San José (during the day, if planning to go out in the evening slacks are highly recommended as some restaurants won't admit you in shorts or sandals). Loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and pants are recommended if you take any day trips out to smaller towns, where immodest attire is frowned upon. Bring a large hat to block the sun from your face and neck. Pack a light sweater or jacket for San José's cool nights and early mornings and for trips up volcanoes. Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots are essential if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and hiking. Waterproof hiking sandals or other footwear that lets your feet breathe are good for strolling about town, and also for beach walking, fording streams, and navigating the myriad mudholes you'll find on rain and cloud forest trails.

    Q. We have read in our guidebooks that to drive in Costa Rica is not really recommended.

    A. Don't be misled by the information in the guidebooks about driving here. Although there are certain hazards to consider - the potholes and aggressive drivers being the primary ones, you shouldn't have any problems sticking to some good defensive habits and being patient. In Costa Rica it's generally not a good idea when driving to " as the Romans". Also, our traffic police is not prone to harass tourists nor extort bribes.

    Q. I know why I'm attracted to Costa Rica but can you tell me what are some of the top reasons that people are choosing Costa Rica today?

    A. The majority of visitors to Costa Rica come seeking the beaches and water related sports as demonstrated by the fact that 76.6% of exiting respondents have listed that as activities they participated in during their stay.
    67.3% participated in the observation of the flora and fauna, of which we assume a majority visited one or several national parks or reserves.
    49.2% went on hikes (guided or self-guided)
    47.2% listed birdwatching
    15.1% went rafting or kayaking
    8.6% surfed
    and 7.0% listed special interests.

    Q. What is the difference between a Cloud Forest and a Rain Forest?

    A. Actually what is commonly known as a "cloud forest" is an example of "lower mountain rain forest" which are found around the very tops of volcanoes. Here the forest has shrunk in stature, with the canopy at 35 to 30 meters tall, but with occasional oaks reaching upwards of 50 meters at the lower altitudes. Buttresses on trees are uncommon, and the understory is dense. The ground is covered with moss and herbaceous plants. The higher you go, the colder and mistier it gets, eventually stunting the plant growth enough to create "elfin forest".
    The tropical wet forest or "rain forest" is the most species-rich life zone in Costa Rica. The forest is tall and evergreen and has distinct layers to the vegetation. Canopy trees are 45 to 55 meters tall, with some emergents even larger. Trees tend to have high, well-developed buttresses. Subcanopy trees are 30 to 40 meters tall, and have narrow conical crowns and slender boles that are often twisted or crooked. Stilt-rooted palms are often abundant. There are lots or dwarf palms in the shrub layer.

    Q. What are some traditional food items for Costa Rican families?

    A. Due to its' geographical location and climate, Costa Rica has a wealth of fruits and vegetables that, when combined with the interplay of native and European ingredients and culture, translate into a unique costa rican flavor. The basic staples of the Costa Rican diet are: rice, beans, and tortillas, which consist primarily of corn. The ingredients used by Costa Rican cooks include simple native foods, such as chayotes, avocados, and the ever present corn. Costa Rican cuisine is also characterized by its' mildness and comes as a surprise to many North Americans who might have traveled through Mexico and expect to find the same love spicy chilies in Costa Rican foods. Chilies are used to some degree, however, they are most commonly used in hot sauces with accompany broiled meats and poultry. Tubers, such as sweet potatoes and cassava, commonly known as "yuca" frequently accompany lunch and dinner meals. In many dishes yuca is often substituted for potato, perhaps boiled and mashed, fried to exquisite crispness to accompany meat and sandwiches instead of fries, or simply boiled and served with butter and garlic. Plantains, a type of banana, are another Costa Rican favorite, and are most often boiled, mashed, stuffed with cheese, or fried to accompany meats or bean dishes. Unlike bananas, plantains are much larger and need to be cooked to be eaten.

    Q. I can't find the information I need. Can I email you with my question?

    A. That's just what we do, provide you with one-on-one travel assistance based on our years of living and working in Costa Rica.

    Q. How do I reserve a room at a hotel listed on your site?

    A. E-mail us at with the form provided in our site and tell us what dates you're interested in and what types of accommodations you require. One of our travel counselors will respond with availability and price information within 24 hours.

    Q. How does Costa Rica Tourism and Travel pick which places to list?

    A. Well, all the listings on the site come from our on site inspections conducted regularly to ensure that all of the places selected adhere to the highest standards possible. If you disagree with any of our assessments, please write to us. We welcome your input.

    Q. What if I know about a great place you don't cover?

    A. We're always on the look-out for terrific new finds, and we also need to know if you've suffered at a place that we list in our directory, so please write to us.

    Q. Something on your site is incorrect -- how do I tell you?

    A. We really want our information to be as accurate as possible, so please do write to us about errors -- we make corrections on a continual basis. Either write to or use our Contact form.

    Q. How can I get you to list my business on your directory?

    A. If you would like to be considered for evaluation, call us at Tel (506)4001-7885) /US Phone 786 289-0249 or fax us your brochure or information packet.

For further information concerning hotels, tours, trips, travel, reservations or comments,
please contact us at:

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Arthur Gustavo Ana Mariela Elizabeth Valeria Gerardo Marcela