- Anywhere Costa Rica (www.anywhere.com/costa-rica) Excellent overviews of local destinations; run by a tour agency that gets good reviews.
- Essential Costa Rica (www.visitcostarica.com) The Costa Rica Tourism Board website has planning tips and destination details.
- Yo Viajo (www.yoviajocr.com) Enter two destinations anywhere in the country and view the bus schedule and fare.
- Guanacaste Costa Rica (www.caturgua.com)The bilingual magazine of the region's tourism board has cultural articles, recipes, helpful maps.
- The Tico Times (www.ticotimes.net) Costa Rica’s English-language newspaper’s website; its searchable archives can be helpful for trip planning.
- Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.
- In Costa Rica, things have a way of taking longer than expected – Tico time is in effect. Make space for leisurely meals, don't overschedule, learn to relax into delays and take these opportunities to get to know the locals.
- Avoid driving at night – pedestrians, animals and huge potholes are difficult to see on Costa Rica’s largely unlit roads. Also keep an eye out for impatient drivers passing on two-lane roads – tailgating is a national custom.
- Take public transit. There's no better way to get to know the country or its people.
- If you need directions, ask a few different people before setting out.
- It’s often cash-only in remote areas. Keep a stash of colones or dollars, because ATMs do run out.
- Ticos use quite a lot of local slang, so even experienced Spanish speakers might need to adjust.
What to Take
- Bathing suit
- Flip-flops, hat, and hiking boots
- Sunscreen – it’s expensive in Costa Rica
- Refillable water bottle
- Bug repellent with DEET
- MP3 player
- Phone charger
- Waterproof case for passport
- Flashlight or headlamp
- First-aid kit
- Small day pack
What to Wear
Although the coastal areas are sunny, hot and humid, calling for a hat, shorts and short sleeves, you’ll want to pack a sweater and lightweight jacket for popular high-elevation destinations such as Volcán Irazú and Monteverde. If you plan to hike up Chirripó, bring lots of layers and a hat and gloves. Additionally, while hiking through the rainforest is often a hot and sweaty exercise, long sleeves and lightweight, quick-drying pants help keep the bugs away. A lightweight rain poncho comes in handy in quite a few places.
- Check the validity of your passport
- Check the visa situation and government travel advisories
- Organize travel insurance
- Check flight restrictions on luggage and camping or outdoors equipment
- Check your immunization history
- Contact car-insurance provider about foreign coverage
- If you plan to rent a car, bring your driver’s license and a copy of your insurance policy