Capital: San Jose
Time zone: GMT – 7
Telephone services: Country Code: 506
Outgoing Code: 00
Emergency telephone numbers: Police – 104, Fire – 103, Ambulance – 225/1436 and 228/2187.
Tourist information: Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), Apartado 777, Edificio Genaro Valverde, Calles 5 y 7; Avenida 4a 1000 San José, Costa Rica Tel 223 1733 or Fax: 223 5452.
Passport information: Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from date of arrival, except Canadian and US citizens with proof of identity for visits not exceeding 90 days. Return Ticket Required. Requirements may change at short notice. Contact the embassy before departure.
Visa information: Not normally required. Check with the embassy and consulate for the latest information.
Health information: Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination recommended.
Malaria: Exists throughout the year in the Vivax variety in the rural areas below 700m.
Other Health Risks: Bilharzia – do not bathe in untreated water, Dengue fever – Avoid mosquito bites (deaths from secondary infections have occurred).
Food & drink: Water is untreated and not safe to drink
Currency: Costa Rican Colón = 100 centimos
Exchange: Gambios will give the best exchange rates.
All major credit cards are accepted. Travellers cheques in US dollars only will be accepted.
ATM availability: Over 150 locations.
Cost of living: More expensive than other central American countries but still cheaper than North America. All accommodation is graded.
Languages: Spanish. English is also spoken.
Weather: Coastal areas are much hotter than inland valleys. The raining season = May – Nov.
Electricity: 110/220 Volts 60 Hz. 2 pin plugs are standard.
Post: 6 – 10 days.
Transport: FLIGHTS: A number of operators offer domestic flights, but reservations can not be made out side of San José. ROADS: Generally very good standard but heavy traffic can make driving arduous. DOCUMENTATION: A national driving licence is required. BUS: Services operate between most towns but book in advance because overcrowding is common.
Special information: Christian names are preceded by Don for a man and Donna for a woman. Casual dress is acceptable for most occasions but beach-wear should be confined to the pool / beach. Muggings and theft from cars are common.