Entry requirements for visitors differ depending on your country of origin. US citizens, Canadians, and United Kingdom tourists need a valid passport but do not require a visa. The maximum stay under these conditions is 90 days but can be extended an additional 90 days through a travel agent or within the country through immigration. Vaccinations are not required for malaria and other diseases to visit Costa Rica.Get additional information at tips on traveling to Costa Rica from the US.
The water in most areas is safe to drink. Some coastal areas are exceptions however. Bottled water is recommended simply due to taste considerations. If you are at the Multiplaza mall in Escazu for instance the water is perfectly fine to drink. Smaller communities on the coast can be problematic however. Costa Rica has the best fruit in the world in my opinion. Eat anything and everything in sight!
Driving in Costa Rica is an adventure! A stop sign in Costa Rica is treated like a yield sign in North America. Potholes in certain areas are HUGE. If renting a car consider the following:
Do not leave valuables in the car. Rental agencies look for any trace of dents and dings Roads are narrow and guard rails are usually not present
Did I mention POTHOLES: Electricity is standard 110v like in the USA but generally not grounded. This means that any device requiring a three prong plug will not work without an adapter to two prongs. So, bring an adapter for anything requiring three prongs.
English is widely spoken in tourist areas and major metropolitan areas. Driving a rental car all over the country with no knowledge of Spanish might be problematic. It is generally easy to find someone to help you in English in tourist areas and big cities however.
Medical facilities are available throughout the country. Remote areas, however, only have clinics for minor issues and often have few English speaking staff members. San Jose has excellent medical facilities and English speaking doctors are quite common. Ask the proprietor of the hotel you chose about medical facilities in the area if you have health concerns.
Emergency service in Costa Rica is available by dialing 911. Holidays are taken seriously in this country. Visit around Easter or Christmas and it will seem that the entire country is shut down. The Easter and Christmas holiday’s are celebrated for more than a week!