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When to go to Costa Rica?

Discover the Pacific coast's most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica

A dream destination to explore all year long.

Costa Rica is known for its microclimate:  in town, you can pass from a tropical afternoon heat to a chilly evening. Having a sweater and an umbrella nearby is highly recommended, depending on the period and route chosen for your trip.

The best time to go to Costa Rica is from December to May as the weather is

  • nice and warm (30 °) on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts
  • humid in the Central Valley (22 °), and it hardly rains.

During the green season, you may get caught in tropical rains (late afternoon) but this season has its own benefits! There is a lot less tourists, it is much easier to travel with local transport as they are less crowded, prices are more interesting than in the dry season and the nature is at its peak !! That is why the rain season wears wonderfully its name of the green season!

There are only two seasons in Costa Rica:

  • The dry season («verano», summer) late November to April.
  • Wet season called Green («invierno», winter) May to October.

Christmas in the Tropics

During this period, an unavoidable event is bullfights which are broadcast live on television. Relaxed and peaceful, bullfights are kids friendly and bulls are of course never executed. However, during this period, tourists came in masse because North American (US, Canada) flock to spend the New Year in the sun.

Airlines companies

Below is a lists of airlines serving Costa Rica and departing from France.

Travel requirements

Entry formalities

Short stay

For stays shorter than 90 days, the citizens of the European Union, Switzerland and Canada can enter the territory of Costa Rica without a visa. They must present a valid passport of at least 6 months after mandatory return date. The return ticket is also required. No visa: the stamp upon your entry in the territory leaves you three months to visit the country as a tourist. Any overrun of the authorized stay entails payment of a fine.

Temporary residence or long-term

The French wishing to reside permanently in Costa Rica, for personal or professional raisons, must contact the migration authorities to begin a residency authorization procedure. Generally, this procedure is relatively long and complex. The paperwork involved to get a temporary residence card must be filed to the  Dirección general de Migración y extranjeria.

Caution: at your checking in the French airports, you must have a return flight or any other transportation ticket, within the next 3 months. If you can not justify your way out of Costa Rica, during the validity of your tourist visa, you can not board, unless you buy a return flight!

Exit formalities

Must pay an exit tax of 29 US $ per person ( by credit card, dollars or colones).

If you are transiting through the United States, make sure your passport allows you to do the procedure and you must register on the website of ESTA and pay $ 14 online.

USEFUL LINKS :
Official website of the Department of Homeland Security US (ESTA) 

Money

The currency of Costa Rica is the Colon

There are cash machines in virtually every community that will let you choose between colones or dollars:

  • Currency exchange rate for euros : 1 euro = 589,6226 colon du Costa Rica
  • Exchange rate in euros by unit of currency: colon Costa Rica = 0,0016 euro
  • Currency exchange rate for dollars : 1 dollar = 521,9207 colon Costa Rica
  • Exchange rate in dollars by unit of currency : colon du Costa Rica = 0,0018 dollar

Credit cards are accepted in any touristic place, whether it's a restaurant of a certain range, a hotel or just to pay for tours.

Prices are lower than in Europe: in average, expect $ 3 to $ 8 for a meal with drinks in Workers restaurants and $ 15 to $ 25 in a traditional restaurant.

Traveling with public transportation is very cheap, averaging $ 8 for a 5 hours bus ride.

For routine purchases, foods, souvenirs, drinks, bus, taxi ... it is better to have colones. However, dollars are accepted everywhere. It is even recommended to pay by dollar for touristic activities when prices are displayed in dollars.

Health

Before leaving, it is recommended to consult a doctor for advice on precautions to be taken depending on the country or countries you plan on visiting. It is therefore useful to take the drugs, vaccines and the necessary precautions to avoid medical problems likely to worsen.

A small health kit can avoid many inconveniences. As it can be difficult to find specific drugs in small towns, be sure to bring enough amount of all medications that you usually take, and a valid prescription in case you lose them.

No vaccine is recommended to enter Costa Rica. However, make sure your vaccinations are up to date!

Recommended vaccines:

  • universal vaccines (DTCP, HBV), hepatitis A, typhoid;
  • if you have passed through a country or affected region with the yellow fever, international certificate of vaccination against this disease

WORRY-FREE Travel

Costa Rica is considered the safest country in Central America, however it is useful to put in practice the same precautions of vigilance then in France.

  • Avoid walking alone at night in the big cities if you are staying in a sensitive area.
  • Always keep your passport in a safe place and only go out with a copy of it.
  • Beware of pickpockets and especially in public transportation. There are frequent stolen objects in local buses and in bus stations.
  • Passport, credit card and airline ticket are the most important elements. Do not leave them in your luggage during transports, keep them on you at all times, hidden under your clothes (waist bags are recommended).

USEFUL LINKS :
Bus schedules in Costa Rica