Costa Rica

Travel Facts

US State Dept Travel Advisory

The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens exercise increased caution in Costa Rica due to crime. Consult its website via the link below for updates to travel advisories and statements on safety, security, local laws, and special circumstances in this country.

Passport/Visa Requirements

US citizens should make sure their passport will not expire for at least 6 months after they enter the country even if they do not intend to stay that long. They should also make sure they have at least 1 blank page in their passport for any entry stamp that will be required. A visa is not required as long as you do not stay in the country more than 90 days, but a return ticket is required.

US Embassy/Consulate

[506] 2519-2000; US Embassy in San Jose, Calle 98 Vía 104, Pavas, San José, Costa Rica;;

LGBTQIA+ Travelers

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) travelers can face unique challenges when traveling abroad. Laws and attitudes in some countries may affect safety and ease of travel. Legal protections vary from country to country. Many countries do not legally recognize same-sex marriage. Approximately seventy countries consider consensual same-sex sexual relations a crime, sometimes carrying severe punishment.

Telephone Code


Local Emergency Phone



An International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever is required for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for travelers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. See WHO recommendations.


Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands

Currency (Code)

Costa Rican colones (CRC)

Electricity/Voltage/Plug Type(s)

120 V / 60 Hz / plug types(s): A, B

Plug Type APlug Type B

Major Languages

Spanish, English

Major Religions

Roman Catholic 71.8%, Evangelical and Pentecostal 12.3%, other Protestant 2.6%, Jehovah's Witness 0.5%

Time Difference

UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Potable Water

Opt for bottled water

International Driving Permit

Suggested; additionally, if you plan to drive in Costa Rica, you will need an Inter-American Driving Permit issued by the AAA

Road Driving Side


Tourist Destinations

Manuel Antonio National Park; Poas Volcano National Park; Arenal Volcano National Park; Monteverde and the Cloud Forests; Cocos Island; Tamarindo; Mal Pais and Santa Teresa; Tortuguero National Park

Major Sports

Soccer, basketball

Cultural Practices

Costa Ricans are incredibly polite and courteous; therefore, shouting, confrontation and accusations are not considered to be acceptable behavior, especially in public.

Tipping Guidelines

Many restaurants will add a 10% service charge to the bill. If the service was good, you may leave a little extra for the server. It is standard to leave 500 CR (or $1 USD) per drink at bars. Tip tour guides between $10-15 (USD) per person depending on the size of the tour. Give $1-5 (USD) for taxi drivers depending on the distance. Round up for shorter distances. It is considerate to tip bellhops $1 (USD) per bag and leave $2 (USD) per day for housekeeping.


Coffee, hammocks, ceramic and wood bowls, wooden macaw statues and other carved items, leather rocking chairs, handmade earrings and threaded necklaces

Traditional Cuisine

Gallo Pinto — kidney or black beans or pigeon peas and rice cooked together and mixed with Lizano sauce; often served as breakfast

Please visit the following links to find further information about your desired destination.

World Health Organization (WHO) - To learn what vaccines and health precautions to take while visiting your destination.

US State Dept Travel Information - Overall information about foreign travel for US citizens.

To obtain an international driving permit (IDP). Only two organizations in the US issue IDPs:
American Automobile Association (AAA) and American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA)

How to get help in an emergency? 
Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, or call one of these numbers:
from the US or Canada - 1-888-407-4747 or from Overseas - +1 202-501-4444

Page last updated: Wednesday, September 06, 2023