Costa Rica Travel information

Costa Rica


Costa Rica is located in Central America.

Official language is Spanish. Costa Rica uses metric system (kilograms, centimeters, °C). Time zone is UTC-06:00.

Passport & visa

Visa not required

Visa is not required to visit Costa Rica as a tourist.

More info

For more information please contact Embassy of Costa Rica in Spain.

Sockets & plugs

Adapter required, transformer optional

Costa Rica uses 120V, 60Hz with sockets and plugs Type A and Type B.


Type A
Type B


Money

Currency

1,000.00 CRC = €1.46, €1.00 = 682.26 CRC

Costa Rica uses the Costa Rican colón (symbol: ₡), code CRC.

Banknotes come in denominations of 50000, 20000, 10000, 5000, 2000 and 1000 colón. Colón is subdivided into 100 céntimos. Coins come in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 colón.


Cost of living

6% more expensive than in Spain
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)
€5.83 (3,982.19 CRC)
-42%
Meal (2 people, mid-range, three-course)
€26.38 (18,000.00 CRC)
-25%
Water bottle (1.5 liter bottle)
€1.76 (1,205.07 CRC)
+221%
Beer (0.5 liter bottle)
€1.37 (937.82 CRC)
+74%
One-way ticket (local transportation)
€0.66 (455.00 CRC)
-56%
Gasoline (1 liter)
€0.87 (597.12 CRC)
-25%


Source: Numbeo

ATMs

Very common

Automatic teller machines are very common in Costa Rica. You can find them in both large & small cities, tourist areas etc.

You do not need a chip & PIN card to use an ATM — your standard magnetic card will work fine.


Tipping

Expected to tip

Tipping is quite common in Costa Rica and it's good etiquette to leave one. How much money you leave depends on the service and how happy you were with it. Receipts might sometimes include a service charge.


Communications

Internet

72% slower than in Spain

Internet speed in Costa Rica is on average 3.4 Mbps which is 72% slower than in Spain (12.1 Mbps).

WiFi

WiFi coverage in Costa Rica is moderate. It's relatively easy to find one when needed.


Mobile phone

56% cheaper than in Spain

You can buy a SIM card for about 7,376.17 CRC (€10.81), which includes 1 GB of data plan. You can choose from 3 telecoms: Claro, Kolbi or Movistar.

Mobile phones

Costa Rica uses similar GSM mobile networks (GSM 850 and GSM 1800) as Spain so you should be able to normally use your mobile phone.

Roaming

If you don't want to buy SIM card in Costa Rica upon arrival, make sure to check the roaming charges with your telecom provider before your departure so there are no surprises when you return home.


Dial code

+506

To call Costa Rica from Spain, dial + or 00 (exit code for Spain), then 506 (the country code for Costa Rica), then the area code and the local number.

Calling from Spain
+  506 1234567
00 506 1234567
Local call
1234567

Health & safety

Crime

Moderate crime rate

Costa Rica has a moderate crime rate (higher than Spain). Take precautions to avoid mugging, bag snatching and pickpocketing. Be particularly vigilant at airports, railway stations and crowded public gatherings. Do not leave valuables unattended.

Pickpocketing/theft

It's recommended to follow security precautions like wearing a money belt, leaving valuables in your hotel room safe or well out of sight, securing your bag, staying vigilant in crowds and steering clear of commotions.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations listed are recommended

The following vaccinations listed for this country are recommended for your protection and to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.


Typhoid fever
Yellow Fever
Hepatitis A

These apply only to select travelers or persons on work assignments.

Rabies

Travel advisories

No country advisories
World-wide advisories

Advisories that are issued on a world-wide level (may not be related to Costa Rica).

Driving

Road rules

In Costa Rica you drive on the right side. Most cars have manual transmission (stick).

Speed limits

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limits for cars and motorcycles are as follows: 40 km/h (24 mph) in all built-up areas, 40-60 km/h (24-37 mph) on undivided highways, 80-100 km/h (49-62 mph) on motorways and 80-100 km/h (49-62 mph) on expressways.

Alcohol

Driving license

IDP is required

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required alongside your original license. IDP can be issued by your local automobile association before you leave home.

Rent a car

In order to rent a car:

  • you must be over 25
  • must hold a full license for at least a 1 year
  • almost always have a credit card (Visa & MasterCard are the best)
Alcohol, drugs & prostitution

Alcohol

Legal

Minimum age to purchase and drink alcohol is 18 years old.

Drugs

Cannabis is illegal, but decriminalized

Although drugs are illegal (including cannabis), cannabis (marijuana) is decriminalized meaning you will not go to jail and it will not be on your criminal record if you get caught. However, you could still get a fine, rehabilitation, community service or a combination of the three.

Prostitution

Legal

Prostitution is legal (in a way of exchanging sex for money). Brothels are legal.

Other

Emergency numbers

Police
911
Ambulance
911
Fire department
911
Mobile phones
112