Guanacaste DMO


Know Before You Go

A Tropical Paradise: Ticos, Nature & the Land of Pura Vida

Welcome to Costa Rica!

Costa Rica – the magical land of Pura Vida. The quintessential definition of tropical, Costa Rica is located in Central America – to its north lies Nicaragua, and to its south is Panama; its west coast faces the Pacific Ocean, and its east coast is right on the Caribbean Sea. An exotic destination where endlessly varied wildlife, diverse lifestyles, culture, fun, and a promising future all converge into what is considered the ultimate tropical paradise. Breathtaking beaches down the entirety of both coasts; lush, green rainforest boasting unparalleled amounts of flora & fauna; a range of active and dormant volcanoes whose slopes descend over miles of endless savannah overwhelmed by crops and colors; gourmet coffee plantations and an endless list of exciting things to do – Costa Rica, what a place!


Costa Ricans, often referred to locally as “Ticos”, are well-known for their sunny disposition and positive attitude toward life. Quick to smile, fun to mingle with and easy to befriend, Ticos tend to go to great lengths to help foreigners make the best of their Costa Rica experience, be it a vacation, an extended stay, or a permanent move. You will hear Ticos say it constantly, for, it’s more than just a catch phrase – it’s a way of life in Costa Rica; Pura Vida!

Wildlife at its Best

Costa Rica is the world’s top eco-tourism destination. Over 25% of Costa Rica consists of untouched territories; ever-extending beaches, virgin forests, clear waterways, and thick mountains are permanently under the protection of the law. When in Costa Rica, please do not feed wild animals, or leave food or trash lying around – human food will cause them mortal harm!

Spring All Year-Round

Costa Rica has two seasons – a Green Season from June to November (when it rains), and a Gold Season from December to May (when the sun shines). Temperature varies according to geographical location and elevation; warmer on the coastal plains, cooler on the interior highlands. Typically, mornings are sunny and afternoons are blessed with tropical showers – rain is rare in the Gold Season!

Entry Requirements

The majority of foreign guests, including U.S., Canadian and most European citizens, must present a valid passport with 6 months validity to enter Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica does in fact require visas from certain countries – so be sure to check with the closest embassy!

General Information

Time Zone

Central Standard Time all year-round – Costa Rica does not observe daylight saving!


Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. English is widely spoken throughout the country.


The national currency is named “Colon” (“Colones” for plural). The U.S. Dollar is widely accepted. The Central Bank controls the rate of the exchange. Euros can also be exchanged into Colones at banks and hotels.

Electrical System

Standard electricity in Costa Rica is the same as in the U.S. and Canada: 110 volts AC (60 cycles), and outlets are the same.


Costa Rica has been a democratic and independent republic since 1821. Free elections are held every 4 years peacefully and democratically.


Tap water in Costa Rica is generally considered safe to drink; however, water quality varies widely outside of major cities. To ensure a comfortable trip, only bottled water should be consumed!

Phone Network

International mobile service is efficient in Costa Rica. Make sure you activate the roaming service with your supplier. Internet service is widespread throughout the country. Wi-Fi services are offered in every resort.

Credit Cards

Most global credit cards are accepted throughout the country. Your photo ID will be required in most transactions.


Regardless of the party size, by law, a 10% gratuity will automatically be added to your restaurant bill. If you feel like tipping extra, it is at your discretion. Boat captains and crews, tour guides, and drivers expect gratuities – we suggest to tip 10% of the value of your experience!


An amount of 13% sales tax is added to hotel, restaurant and most service-industry bills.


Visitors should wear clothing designed for tropical countries. Cotton and other lightweight fabrics are recommended, and closed shoes, jeans, and long sleeve light shirts for outdoor adventures and horseback riding. A light jacket for long bus rides or visiting volcanoes, as temperatures can drop as low as 50°F.

In Case of Medical Emergencies

In San Jose, there are 3 private and 4 public national hospitals within 30 minutes from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). In Guanacaste, there are 2 private clinic-hospitals and 1 public national hospital within 30 minutes of the Liberia International Airport (LIR).

Emergency Phone Number

+506.8858.9638 (available 24/7!)

We are Costa Rica DMC Inc. Please leave a copy of this document with your relatives/friends in case they need to get in touch with you, through us.

Be Sure To Bring Along

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Insect Repellent
  • Swimsuit
  • Camera
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Closed Walking Shoes
  • Binoculars
  • Beach/Hand Bag