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Costa Rica Travel Guide

Best time to go, highlights, hotels & more
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Famously declared one of the happiest places in the world, Costa Rica has protected over 40% of it’s land as national parks and produces 99% of its power from clean, renewable sources. Although a small country there is a wide variety of climates and landscapes from the gushing rivers, waterfalls and coffee plantations of the Central Valley to the jungle canals on the Caribbean coast and the cooler cloud forest in Monteverde.

After a light aircraft flight, a ground transfer and a two hour boat trip through the mangroves and out into the ocean we arrived at Corcovado National Park, a truly remote tropical paradise.

A natural paradise, Costa Rica is a premier destination for wildlife, adventure activities and relaxation alike. Go to Manuel Antonio for monkeys playing on the beach and sleeping sloths in the trees above. Spot scarlet macaws and tapir in Corcovado national park on The Osa Peninsular and visit Tortuguero for nesting sea turtles and jungle canals. Fly through the air on a canopy zip line and enjoy natural volcanic hot springs in Arenal or travel to the Nicoya Peninsular and Guanacaste for top luxury hotels, perfect beaches and yoga retreats. Whether you want to visit the highlights of Costa Rica, or you are interested in more off the beaten path destinations, our experts will design the perfect itinerary for your trip.

Essential Costa Rica Travel Information

Best time to go

With a tropical climate, Costa Rica only really has two seasons, a ‘green’ season and a dry season. The best time to go is between mid November and April where most of the country is dry and sunny. The high season is from December to February where hotel rooms get booked up long in advance.

May to early November is the ‘green’ season with September and October receiving the most amount of rain. Although July is in the middle of the ‘green’ season there is usually a temporary lull in the rain which is referred to locally as the veranito (little summer). July is also a good time to go if you want to see the green sea turtles coming ashore at Tortuguero.


No visas required for visiting Costa Rica as a UK passport holder. On arrival you will be granted entry for up to 3 months as a tourist. You may be asked to provide proof of onward or return travel, details of your accommodation and proof that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay. Your passport needs to be valid up until at least one day after you plan to leave Costa Rica. If you are leaving the country by air you will have to pay a $29 dollar departure tax at the airport before you leave.


The local currency is colones, but US dollars are widely used and accepted in restaurants, hotels, by taxi’s and in supermarkets. If you pay in US dollars it is likely you will get change in colones at a fair exchange rate (usually around 525 colones for 1 US dollar). You would only really need colones for smaller roadside shops or markets. If you need to change some US dollars into colones we recommend you do this at your hotel that will give you a fair rate, rather than the airport where they take a very high commission and give a very bad rate. All major credit and debit cards are accepted and there are many ATM’s in towns and cities.

Time difference

6 hours behind GMT

Capital City

San Jose


Mainly 110v


You should confirm with your doctor that all courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain. For Costa Rica the course or booster that is usually advised is Hepatitis A. Other vaccines to be considered are Diphtheria, Rabies and Tetanus.

There is no risk of yellow fever in Costa Rica, however, a yellow fever vaccination and certificate is required for travellers who are over 9 months old and are arriving from a country that does have a risk of yellow fever or have transited through an airport for more than 12 hours of a country that has risk of yellow fever. This excludes Argentina, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago in South America. This means if you are flying directly from the UK to Costa Rica or arriving from Argentina, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname or Trinidad and Tobago you will not require a yellow fever vaccination or certificate.

Malaria is categorised as low to no risk throughout the country and antimalarial medication is not usually advised.

Disclaimer: All the information we provide here is purely for guidance purposes and we are not medical experts. We always recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor 6-8 weeks before departure who will be able to properly assess your personal medical history, give accurate advice and advise on exactly which immunisations or medical precautions you need to take.


These tours are just examples and can be fully customised to your tastes and particular interests. Please speak to one of our friendly Costa Rica experts about designing a trip that will be perfect for you.



Click the links below to learn more about the destinations we offer in Costa Rica using our essential destination guides.


At The Latin America Travel Company we take pride in the excellent relationships we have with our properties. Each and every hotel we sell has been visited either by a member of our team here in London or one of our partners on the ground in Costa Rica. Our specialists use their excellent knowledge to recommend hotels that will be best suited to you.


Check out the latest posts about Costa Rica by our specialists on our Latin America blog.

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