Costa Rica is located in Central America, between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The northern neighbor Nicaragua, to the south is that Panama. The land is about 10 degrees north latitude, about 1250km north of the equator means, and 85 degrees west longitude, da’s almost 8750km west of Greenwich.
Costa Rica is a small country of only 51000km², barely bigger than the Netherlands. Awakening to the Caribbean Sea and the same day, watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean can here easily because the distance between the two coasts is barely more than 200km. From the border with Nicaragua in the north to Panama in the south is about 625km away, also to drive a day through the Panamerican Highway.
Costa Rica is seven hours earlier than in Western Europe, in summer time the difference is 8 hours.
Costa Rica is traversed by a central ridge which splits the country in two. The Caribbean country area located north and east of the mountains and bordered by the Caribbean Sea. Pacific land area is south and west of the mountains and bordered by the Pacific, the Pacific Ocean. In both areas it is all year round tropical warm, but in terms of precipitation, there are notable differences. The Caribbean side is almost all year round are moist, and therefore with a very lush evergreen vegetation. The drier months since its February / March and September / October. On the Pacific side can clearly speak of two seasons; a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season runs from December to April, and is called by the Costa Ricans verano or’zomer’. The regentijd- invierno or’winter’- May to November, with often a dry period middle, sometime in July or August. In the rainy season the rain falls mostly in heavy showers after noon, while the rest of the day can be fully sunny. Rain is often a disturbing factor because it always stays warm. In the Central Valley (around San José), the average daily temperature 22 ° C in the lowlands (on the coast) is 28 ° C, and in highland destinations such as Monteverde and San Gerardo is around 18 ° C.
The official language in Costa Rica is Spanish, but with English you can come around here is pretty good, especially in tourist areas. Yet it is convenient and fun to learn a few words in Spanish, to promote contact with the locals. With each information packet from Trans Costa Rica Tours is a list of commonly used words and phrases in the Costa Rican Spanish.
The voltage in Costa Rica is 110 volts, and the sockets are American model. An adapter or adapter is necessary for charging batteries or use electrical appliances. In rural areas it is not unusual that the power fails, sometimes only for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours, so a flashlight is handy.
Customers Trans Costa Rica Tours upon arrival a free SIM card with a local number. With the balance on the card you can call 1.5 hours locally and internationally about 10 minutes. That balance can be easily increased by hundreds of points of sale throughout the country. Mobile phone with your SIM card is usually possible (depending on your provider), but a lot more expensive, of course. Today there is pretty good coverage for mobile telephony almost throughout the country, except in very remote and mountainous areas. International calls can also be very easily from any public phone (about ½ € per minute) or at the hotel (usually slightly more expensive).
Many hotels offer free Internet access, Wi-Fi or via a desktop computer at the reception. In almost all towns and cities are also internet cafes where one hour online costs rarely more than a few dollars.
Mail can be handed in at the hotel reception, or a direct presence in a post office, almost in every village. Airmail to Europe is on average one to three weeks on the road. On a postcard to Europe must have a stamp of ¢ 435 for North America is that ¢ 385.
The local currency in Costa Rica is the colon (¢), but that is almost impossible to get into Belgium or the Netherlands. The only foreign currency that can be easily exchange in Costa Rica, is the US dollar. At most hotels, restaurants and shops you can even pay in dollars, but avoid bills of $ 50 and $ 100, and damaged bills, because they are almost never accepted. At many places you can pay with credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Moreover, in almost all towns and villages ATMs where you can withdraw your debit dollars or colones (Cirrus, Maestro) or credit card, so bring cash for the whole trip is not necessary. To use a Belgian bank card outside Europe you must ask permission from your bank. The euro is not yet well known and can only be changed in some state banks such as Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica.
The exchange rate of the colon usually fluctuates between ¢ 530 and ¢ 545 for 1 US $. For the latest course see www.coinmill.com.
You can after arrival immediately redeem the airport, but that’s not recommended because that will give you a very unfavorable rate of less than ¢ 500 for US $ 1. To the best exchange at banks, bureaux de change or the front desk of your hotel . Never exchange money on the street.
Taxes and gratuities
In restaurants, you pay 10% service tax, which is not usually included in the amount which is mentioned on the menu. That 10% should be paid according to the law of the wait staff and can therefore be regarded as tip. An additional tip may leave on the table of course but is not common.
Gratuities for hotel staff, local guides and drivers usually amount to US $ 1 per person per day, if you are satisfied with the service, of course.
VAT in Costa Rica is 13%, which is levied on the room rate in hotels, meals in restaurants, and all consumer goods.
The departure tax is US $ 29 per person, to be paid (in dollars or colones) before checking in at the airport of San Jose.
Tropical diseases such as yellow fever and cholera in Costa Rica not, malaria and very few in a very limited area. Therefore, the country is not considered malaria area, but check with your doctor or a specialized institution such as the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Belgium, www.itg.be) or the National Coordination Centre for Travel Advice (Netherlands, www.lcr.nl).
What is still occasionally appears dengue or dengue fever, also transmitted by mosquitoes. Against this, however, there is still no vaccine, but you can easily protect yourself with insect repellent or spray. Moreover are few or no mosquitoes in many places, so the chances of you pricked and infected is very small by a dengue mosquito. The most common health problem here for the foreign visitor is traveler’s diarrhea, and even that is relatively rare. If that is still the case, then a day of rest, little food and lots usually drink an efficient remedy. If in doubt, always a doctor, who are present in every village and almost always speak English.
To visit Costa Rica No vaccinations are required. As a rule, however, the following vaccinations always recommended for any trip to a developing country in the tropics: typhoid fever, Hepatitis A and DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio). Please also tidbits ask your GP or above settings.
Food and drink
Costa Rican cuisine is simple and not too spicy, but very tasty and healthy, and for very little money you can here very good and varied food. A local plate- casado – consists of rice, beans, vegetables or salad and a choice of meat, chicken or fish, but also offers almost every restaurant a lot of other dishes such as pasta, steak, seafood, etc. Also a smaller bite. such as sandwiches or salads are easy to get and fresh fruit, including pineapple, mango, watermelon and papaya, is served daily for breakfast. Of the same fruit or refrescos naturales are also made fresh juices offered almost everywhere, in addition to soft drinks and a good selection of alcoholic beverages. Also good coffee is everywhere because Costa Rica is one of the leading gourmet coffee producers in the world.
In almost all of the country’s drinking water, but still prefer to buy bottled water because most visitors who have to get around very easily. Vegetable and fruit salads, ice cream, etc., however, can be consumed without problems.
Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Latin America, but you also need to be careful here with your belongings. Let expensive watches, jewelery, etc. at home, do not take more cash than it needs, and be discreet with cameras, phones, i-pods, etc.
Be extra alert in major cities, bustling markets and bus stations, do not just walk in very remote places and never leave valuables unattended on the beach. Passport and other documents allows you better back in the hotel, in a safe in the room or at the front desk and bring only a copy.
For you do not need a visa to visit Costa Rica, only a passport valid for at least six months after the end of the trip.
If you are traveling via the United States, you must be in possession of a digital passport, you must apply for an electronic travel authorization from the US government. That can quickly and easily via the website www.cbp.gov/esta
We strongly encourage you to a travel insurance with coverage for both luggage, medical expenses and repatriation. Moreover, it is also recommended cancellation.
Every trip in Costa Rica goes through tropical lowlands, but mostly in part also by mountain areas where there is more temperate climate. therefore mainly take light cotton clothes, but also long pants and sweater or light jacket for cool evenings. A raincoat, poncho or umbrella can not be missing because while it is dry on the Pacific side can rain on the Caribbean side and vice versa.
A pair of good walking boots
A pair of sandals or flip flops
Bathing suit and towel
Light trousers for jungle walks
Toiletries and sunscreen (minimum SPF 15)
Sunglasses and hat against sunlight
Insect repellent (with DEET best)
Camera and plenty of memory cards (here often expensive)
Binoculars, flashlight, pocket knife and travel alarm clock
International adapter or adapter
Small first aid kit (with bandages, antiseptic, aspirin, etc.)
Passport and drivers license if you rent a car, plus a copy of both
Travel Insurance and an emergency phone number
Small backpack or shoulder bag for day trips
Belt pouch for safekeeping money and passport copy
Dry bag for camera, money, passport, etc. to keep dry during rain.
Cash (little cash in dollars, credit card and debit card)
Strong dose of good humor and wanderlust
During holidays, all government agencies, schools and banks closed, but most shops remain open. Except during Semana Santa, Holy Week before Easter, it takes almost the whole of the country holidays. On Thursday and Friday of that week, all shops closed, there is almost no public transportation, and even a lot of restaurants and bars close the door because on days there is also a ban on alcohol sales. The Holy Week and the week between Christmas and New Year are by far the busiest weeks in Costa Rican beach resorts because then keep most Costa Ricans seaside holiday.
The official holidays in 2014 at a glance are:
January 1: New Year
April 17: Maundy Thursday (Jueves Santo)
April 18: Good Friday (Viernes Santo)
April 11: Day of Juan Santamaría
May 1: Labour Day
July 25: Day of Guanacaste Connection
August 2: Day of the Virgin of the Angels
August 15: Assumption of Our Lady, Mother
September 15: National Day (Día de la Independencia)
October 12: Day of Cultures (Día de la Raza)
December 25: Christmas
Hard to say because the country is basically all year round easy to visit, even though it is one month what printer or wetter than others. The tourist season here is from November 15 to April 30, the period which approximately coincides with the dry season on the Pacific side of the country, and from 1 July to 31 August. Many hotels get quickly booked up, especially around Christmas and Easter, so booking for those periods can be best well in advance. The season runs from May 1 to June 30 and from September 1 to November 14 and here is also called ‘the green seizoen’ because it is rainy season and the country is very green with lies. It is a lot less crowded and a lot of hotels and rental car companies lower their prices for that period, twice advantage so. that period also includes terms of weather bad. Rainy season does not mean it really is raining the day, on the contrary. Usually not raining until after the afternoon or evening, many days and it always stays warm. The driest months are February / March, the wettest September / October.
The flight time from Europe to Costa Rica is about 12 hours, but most airlines make at least one stop along the way, as the journey lengthens to about 14 or 15 hours. American Airlines flies to San Jose from New York, Dallas and Miami, United Airlines from Houston and Newark, and Delta through Atlanta. Iberia flies via Madrid with KLM from Panama City.
Also in Liberia (in northern Costa Rica, about 4 hours drive from San José) is an international airport. Almost all of our tours can be easily adapted to arrival and / or departure from this airport.