Costa Rica

Search Backpacker Advice:

Backpacker Advice Logo
Backpacking Checklist
Things To Take Travelling
Advice Blog
Top Backpacks

Costa Rica

  • Entry
  • Getting Around
  • Accommodation
  • Food And Health
  • Weather And Time To Go
  • Communications
  • Dangers And Considerations

  • Recommended Reading

    Related Advice

  • Reasons To Go To North America

  • North America

    Area - 24,709,000 sq km

    Population - 528,720,588


    Central: Low-Medium

    Carribbean: Low-High

    North: Medium-High


    North America

  • Canada
  • United States
  • Central America

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Caribbean


    Antigua and Barbuda




    British Virgin Islands

    Cayman Islands

  • Cuba
  • Curacao


    Dominican Republic




  • Jamaica
  • Martinique


    Puerto Rico

    Saint Kitts and Nevis

    Saint Lucia

    Saint Martin

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

    Trinidad and Tobago

    Turks and Caicos Islands

    United States Virgin Islands

    Recommended Vaccinations

    Always consult your doctor before travelling - the information below is only a guide. Vaccination requirements can change.

    Routine Boosters (MMR, DPT and Polio).

    Hepatitis A.

    Hepatitis B (optional).

    Rabies (optional).

    Typhoid (Central America and The Caribbean).

    Yellow Fever (Southern countries).

    Free Newsletter

    Keep updated. Subscribe to our mail list:

    Backpacking Costa Rica Need To Know


      Language: Spanish
      Capital: San José
      Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
      Dial Code: 506
      Emergency Services Number: 911
      Time Difference: GMT -6


    Citizens of most countries (including all EU countries, The US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica. You can stay as a visitor for up to 3 months, although the exact period is at the discretion of the immigration officer on arrival.

    Entry to Costa Rica may be refused if you are unable to produce evidence of return or onward travel.

    Yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

    Your passport should have at least one day’s validity from the date you are leaving Costa Rica.

    For official information visit your home government travel bureau.

    Getting Around

    Avoid using unofficial taxis or ‘taxi piratas’. Official taxis are red with a triangular sticker and plastic box on the roof with the name and number of the taxi company. Ideally, use radio-dispatched taxis. Make sure the driver’s ID is clearly visible on the dashboard and that the driver uses the meter.

    More detail is to come in this section, but you can read about general advice regarding Getting Around When You Get There


    Costa Rica has a wide variety of hostels and you should never have any problem finding one.

    The average price of a hostel is 5,000-8,500 CRC (£6-10) a night. Hotels can also be relatively cheap, but vary in quality.

    All hostels in Costa Rica will provide linen and bathroom facilities. Usually there will be internet facilities as well as common and laundry rooms.

    Read more about Accommodation When You Get There and Living in Hostels

    Food And Health

    Food hygiene and safety is acceptable, but use your instincts; if the place looks dirty, don't eat there; if your food isn't piping hot, don't eat it.

    Water is generally safe to drink in urban areas, but it is best to buy bottled or boil.

    Medical care in Costa Rica is of a high standard. Only emergency medical treatment is available without charge for visitors, so make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

    Mosquito borne viruses are present in Costa Rica, so you should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Always contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Visit here for Recommended Vaccinations and read here for more about Travelling Health In General

    Weather & Time To Go

    The climate is tropical, so very hot and humid throughout the year. It is best to visit in the dry season; December to April. The rainy season in Costa Rica normally runs from May to November.


    Internet and wifi is widespread and accessible in most hostels. Local pay-as-you-go SIM cards for your mobile phone and international calling cards are cheaply available.

    Dangers And Considerations

    Crime isn't particularly high; petty theft of personal items including passports is the main problem, but gang muggings and armed robberies can occur even in daylight on busy streets. Criminals often work in gangs, some distracting you while the others commit the crime, so be alert and try not to get distracted around tourist attractions and cash points. Lock valuables in a hostel safe or security box.

    Be vigilant when using buses. Bags in overhead compartments are particularly vulnerable.

    Drink spiking is common - buy your own drinks and keep them within sight at all times and don’t accept lifts from strangers.

    Don’t get involved with drugs of any kind. The Costa Rican authorities treat drug trafficking severely. The minimum sentence is 8 years imprisonment.

    If you’re visiting jungle areas you should go with an experienced local guide.

    Costa Rica experiences regular seismic activity. If you visit a volcano pay strict attention to restrictions on entry to dangerous areas.

    Take special care when swimming from all beaches in Costa Rica. Rip tides are very common and there are regular sightings of crocodiles along the Pacific Coast from Playa Azul down to Playa Esterillos. You should seek reliable local advice.

    There is a departure tax of $29 when leaving the country by air.

    Dangers constantly change. Always check with your foreign office (British Foreign Office webpage) or travel advice bureau for the latest information regarding your destinations safety.

    Read more about Safety And Security here

    Share This

    Recommended For Further Information

    You May Also Like To Read


    North America
    South America

    Keep updated by subscribing to our newsletter:

    Did you find this helpful?

    If you can't find the answer you are looking for Visit Our FAQ

    If you still have unanswered questions in regards to this article, or anything else on this site, please Contact Us

    Building and maintaining a website takes a lot of time, effort and money. If this website has helped or inspired you, a donation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Return to top of page

    If we have helped you, please help us by liking our Facebook page:

    X Close