You are almost there! Now that you have planned out your dream vacation to Costa Rica with the help of our travel coordinators, there are only a few more things you need to think about before you can step onto the plane and take off to paradise! Costa Rica is the safest country in Central America and traveling here, including what you need to pack, will be a lot less complex than in other countries. So… what Do You Need To Bring?
Costa Rica has designated four groups of international countries with four visa requirements. If you are entering Costa Rica as a citizen of the first or second group, you will not require a visa. Only citizens of the third and fourth group will require a restricted visa, which must be applied for at least 90 days before expected travel. For more information check out our page on Visa Requirements.
First group citizens will need a passport with at least one day left before expiring. Second group citizens require a passport with at least three months left on its validity. Third and fourth group citizen require a visa and will need to inquire after the set laws for their country with their consulate or embassy before traveling to Costa Rica. For more information contact your local Costa Rica consulate or read more on our Visa Requirements.
Round Trip Ticket
First and Second group citizens need a return ticket to prove that they will leave the country within 3 months after arrival. You will either need a return flight to your home country or any other country, or a bus ticket to Panama, for example. For citizens of the third and fourth group, it is recommended that travel tickets should not be purchased until after a restricted visa has been approved as there is no guarantee a visa will be granted.
If you want additional information while you are here, we can always help you! If you are not traveling with us, make sure to contact your embassy or consulate with any questions you may have.
Please note that health information, warnings, and concerns change all the time. This information is not final and should in no way be considered health advice. It is always recommended that you check with your local health professional before traveling to a different country. Some recommended vaccinations for Costa Rica travel are vaccines that protect against contracting hepatitis A and B, measles, typhoid, and other. If you are traveling to Costa Rica from South America and Sub-Saharan Africa, you will require a Yellow Fever vaccination. Although Costa Rica also carries a risk of Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus, no vaccinations exist at this time. Some areas like the Caribbean Coast can carry a small risk of Malaria. No vaccinations exist for this but you can have pills subscribed. Some areas like Tortuguero, famous for its canals, will have a larger mosquito population. For a more information read through our Costa Rica Vaccines page.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT IT IS ALWAYS ADVISABLE TO CHECK WITH THE CONSULATE OF ANY COUNTRY YOU INTEND TO TRAVEL TO BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR PLANS TO ENSURE YOU HAVE THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT VISA AND VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS OR HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS. ALSO, NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT A TRAVEL INSURANCE.
We have collected some of the most recommended items and things to pack for your Costa Rica vacation. Possessions such as drugstore items, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, personal valuables, underwear, and others are missing on this list as we consider them as basics and staples in your suitcase/luggage.
Besides that, don’t forget to pack lightly especially if you are going to take domestic flights throughout your vacation. Local airlines impose weight restrictions. Furthermore, if you are staying at the beach we highly recommend taking quick-dry, lightweight clothes! Many resorts and hotels offer laundry service for a small charge.
Additionally, sunglasses, a beach towel, a swimsuit, and a hat are always a good idea for your beach outing. Make sure you also include sunblock that is resistant to water.
If you stay in San José or other mountainous regions in a national park or cloud forest, we recommend you take a sweater, a light jacket, and long pants as it can get chilly especially in the evenings and it might even rain. You might also take a day pack such as a backpack or fanny pack for convenience.
To conclude this list, you should also take your credit card, your driver’s license if you plan to rent a car or ATV, a Costa Rican guidebook, and an English/Spanish dictionary although approximately 90% of people working in tourism speak English.
Traveling with Pets
Do you have pets like dogs and cats? Sometimes you cannot find someone to take care of your beloved four-legged friend while you are away or maybe you even want to take your pet with you on vacation. When planning your trip, do not forget to tell our travel coordinators about your pet so that they can look for pet-friendly hotels, resorts, and transport possibilities.
Electricity & Voltage
There is no need for you to buy an electricity converter before you are traveling to Costa Rica from North America. Your normal electric-powered devices such as shavers, chargers, etc. functioning in an electrical wall outlet without any problems. If you’re traveling from outside North America you might need a converter and / or an adapter. The Costa Rican plugs and sockets are type A and type B. The standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
How much money you should take depends entirely on what you plan to do and buy, where you want to go and how you want to get there. We recommend you take your credit card as you can always withdrawal money at an ATM and as for cash you might get a better idea with this listing of average costs of food: You can eat and drink in local restaurants for around $7-12 or for up to $25-50 in more formal restaurants. Taxi or Uber services are usually cheaper than in the U.S. You can expect around $2-6 for 2 or 3 kilometers depending on local traffic.
In general …
You may be wondering about some additional things like the tap water or what specific measures you have to take during your trip to certain popular destinations. As far as the water goes, you can simply pack a water bottle with you because the tap water is safe to drink. This also means that you will not need to buy plastic bottles. Note that it does contain high levels of chlorine. As far as destinations go, it all depends on what you want to do. If you wonder what to bring for your rafting trip on the Pacuare river or your visit to La Fortuna, consult us or your tour operator. If you plan on driving you can always bring your own car but renting a car is better. Costa Rica is investing greatly in its roads and more are being built every day. Sone more remote locations will require a 4×4.
What Are You Waiting For?
Now that you have a better idea of what you need to visit Costa Rica, you can start planning your trip. If you have already done that, now is the time to lean back and count down the days until take-off!
Because in the end, having everything figured out for your vacation takes a lot of pressure off your back and you can now focus on all the beauty Costa Rica has to offer. You might want to download our Travel Guides for extra information on Costa Rica and your upcoming vacation to paradise! Whether it is for a hiking trip, surfing, scuba diving adventure or perhaps to see the great flock of sea turtles visiting our shores, you will want to be prepared. Don’t hesitate to Contact Us for any further information or concerns regarding the documents, papers, or items you need to take to Costa Rica. We wish all of our visitors a wonderful stay in Costa Rica!