Perfect destination for a wildlife and bird watching holiday, with a touch of adventure and beaches!
Here is a little practical information about the destination to help with your planning, but please do contact us with any questions that you might have.
San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and the official language is Spanish, although English is widely spoken.
No vaccinations are compulsory, but always consult your own doctor’s surgery for up to the minute advice. No treatment is required to prevent malaria, but mosquitoes can carry dengue fever and other diseases, so it is advisable to use insect repellent as a precaution.
No visas are required for UK, US, Canada or European passport holders but your passport must be valid for 6 months.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth website. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
There are now non-stop flights with BA from London Gatwick to San Jose. There are also many other options from other airports, all of which require a change of plane in either a US or European airport.
The US dollar is widely accepted in the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica. However, the official local currency is the colón (plural 'colónes'), consisting of 100 céntimos. We recommend that you always carry some colónes. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted in city shops, hotels and restaurants. Travellers cheques in dollars an be exchanged at any bank with a valid passport.
Tipping for good service is an accepted fact. A 10% service charge and 13% sales tax are always included in restaurant bills.
If good weather is your priority, choose the dry season Dec - Apr when there is plenty of sun but remember it does not mean that it doesn’t rain in the dry season, just that it rains less! The hottest months are March and April. The rainy season is from May – Oct and it is quieter in terms of number of visitors. Tropical storms are possible July – Oct. Costa Rica's weather is also influenced by altitude.
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 speciality, 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 specialities are palm hearts, tamales and ceviche. Guaro is the national liquor, while a variety of local rums, beers and flavoured liquors are also available.
Please remember to dress respectfully, covering shoulders and knees when visiting any catholic churches or monuments.