Travel Costa Rica
Enter Costa Rica
US, Canadian, and European citizens can enter with a valid passport. Law requires that you carry your passport (or a copy of your passport) with you at all times. After 90 days you must leave the country for at least 72 hours. Many travelers often go to Panama or Nicaragua and enter the country again. Remember that your passport has to be valid for at least six months. The law also requires purchase an outgoing flight that is within one year of the entry flight, either a round trip ticket, or to another country, in order to gain entry to Costa Rica.
Departure Costa Rica
You must pay a fee at the airport, when leaving the country. Currently the fee is $ 27 and must be paid in cash or by credit card. Master Card is not accepted.
Getting around by car
If it is your plan to explore the countryside, plan on using a four wheel drive. In rainy season you will encounter potholes bigger than most cars, and you may also find yourself crossing rivers. If you get involved in an accident, don't leave the car but wait for traffic police. Never give money to the traffic police. They are not allowed to accept it. Never leave your car in San José in an unguarded parking lot. You will often find people on the street offering to guard your car. Give them some money but do not expect them to do so.
Getting around by bus
The bus system is widespread and cheap. You pay the driver when entering the bus. Always carry some coins in your trousers pocket, as you do not want to show your purse on the street or in the bus. Most of the streets in central San José are one-way roads. So the bus almost never takes the same way back and the bus stops are not in the same street .Some buses connect San José with one suburb. The busses are named after the suburb they pass. The bus stops are spread all over the city and there is no bus that connects them. You will have to walk if you want to take several busses. As well there is one bus which connects some suburbs so you won't have to go to San José. After that time you have to take a taxi. The last buses go between nine and eleven in the evening.
From San José you can go almost anywhere. The trips are very inexpensive as well. There are different bus companies for each region. You can choose between regular buses which stop often or direct buses which are a bit more expensive but faster. Going by regular bus is a good way to learn about the country and its people. In the direct busses you will find more tourists. The bus terminals are as spread all over the city although most of them are located in the Coca Cola district.
Getting around by taxi
Taxis are the quickest and most convenient (if more expensive) way of traveling around the city. Look for licensed cabs that are red with a yellow triangle on the door with running meters inside. If the driver doesn't turn it on, ask the driver to do so. If he refuses, then get out immediately and find a different cab.
Be careful of illegal taxis that look like regular cars, taxis without the triangle or even taxis with a painted triangle on the side. Regardless, they are all illegal and can take advantage of tourists. These "piratas" often charge double of the regular amount. If you know how much the fair costs, tell the driver he is overcharging you and do not pay more.
Women should sit in the back of the taxi, never in the front.
Best time for traveling
The main season in Costa Rica is from December through April. There is no rain during this time, therefore there are many tourists and the prices rise.
Late November is a good time to visit Costa Rica because the rainy season is almost finished and the tourists haven't arrived yet. Early July is also a good month for travel because it is the beginning of the rainy season but it rains less. If you want to go rafting you shouldn't come in the dry season because the water level of the rivers will be low.
If you don't mind getting a little wet in the afternoon, come during the rainy
(= green) season. During this time the country is lush and green, and if you are lucky you can have the beach to yourself. In the begriming of the rainy season, the day will be sunny and beautiful until 2pm.
Although Costa Rica is a very small country, it has many different climates. The Caribbean side has a different climate than the Pacific coast, which differs from the Central Valley, and so on. While the Pacific Side receives rain from July to November, the Caribbean Coast has a different rainy season. It rains during the whole year, but much less in October.