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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Simply translated, it means “simple life” or “pure life”, but in Costa Rica, it is more than just a saying – it is a way of life. Costa Ricans (Ticos) use this expressions as a greeting, a farewell and as a way to express gratitude or satisfaction. It can also refer to someone who is nice and friendly.
A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica.
You may use you cell phone in Costa Rica but the international rates may be quite high. It is best to buy a prepaid phone at the airport when you arrive through Kolbi (ICE), Claro, and/or Movistar. Another option is to bring an UNLOCKED cell phone, and buy a SIM prepaid card in the baggage section of the airport. T-mobile and AT&T use the SIM/GSM technology; Verizon phones do not have SIM cards and will not work. At the airport, you may ask for the various SIM prepaid cards offered and it will be inserted in your handset. Some of them will include internet access.
As with your cell phone, you may use your smart phone but the data roaming charges can be quite high. Many Internet cafes, restaurants, attractions, airports and hotels offer free Wi-Fi where you may connect to the local system. Make sure to keep you smart phone in Airplane Mode to avoid unnecessary roaming charges.
Costa Rica does not practice Daylight Savings Time (DST). From November to mid-March Costa Rica is on Central Standard Time (CST). Between the months of April and October Costa Rica is on Mountain Standard Time (MST), Based on Greenwich Mean Time, Costa Rica is GMT-6.
Dial 911 for immediate assistance.
Hospitals are located in most of the major cities. Where there are not hospitals, you will find a clinic (clínica), which offer basic medical attention. Costa Rica has socialized health care that entitles all citizens to medical treatment, a fact that ranks the country very high in worldwide health care standards. A full list of private and public hospitals, as well as physicians, can be found on the US Embassy’s page. To learn more about the local medical facilities CLICK HERE »
The Red Cross provides ambulance service throughout Costa Rica – they may be reached directly by calling 128.
All visitors must have an entry and exit ticket, whether it is by air or by land, as the case may be, as a requirement to entre the country.
All residency applications are processed by the Costa Rican Department of Immigration (Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria http://www.migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/residencias.html In the past the Department of Immigration required that applications be filed in your country of origin through the Costa Rican Consular Office in your country of origin. Under the current law the Department of Immigration will, for a fee, accept applications filed directly in Costa Rica with the Department of Immigration. Pensianado Residency or Rentista Residency is available If you are planning to retire in Costa Rica and you have a pension or you receive investment income.
Citizens from most countries can stay for up to 90 days in Costa Rica. Citizens from some countries are allowed to stay for a maximum of 30 days, although they have the option to apply for an extension once inside the country. Refer to the Costa Rican embassy page and find your country: http://www.costarica-embassy.org/consular/visa/country-selection.htm If I decided to stay longer, can I get a visa while I am there? You have to leave the country for 72 hours and upon returning to Costa Rica the permit will be renewed automatically for 90 more days.
The Tico Times. www.ticotimes.net
You are permitted to drive with your country of origin drivers license for three months.
Simple! In the cloud forest, it doesn´t rain as much as in the rain forest. The species of flora and fauna that you might find differ from one to the other.
The water is potable in most of the country. We recommend using bottled water, specially in areas around the coast.
The Costa Rican currency is called Colon. US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted. LEARN MORE »
In nearly all restaurants a 10% service tax and a 13% sales tax will be included into your bill. Since the base tip is included in your bill, any additional tip should be based upon your amount of satisfaction.
Outlets are 110V, with standard US two prong plugs.
Dogs and cats entering Costa Rica must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, endorsed by a veterinarian service (VS) veterinarian. The examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to traveling to Costa Rica. The required vaccinations are: distemper, hepatitis, lestospirosis, parvovirus and rabies (for animals 4 months or older). http://costarica.usembassy.gov/catsdogs.htm
You must apply for a working visa at the Costarican Consulate.
Departure tax is US$29.00, can be paid in US Dollars, colones or with a credit cards.