You really can enjoy some great dives in Costa Rica, with a diverse marine life ranging from the smallest shrimps to giant whale sharks !
Costa Rica is bordered by the Pacific ocean to the west and the Caribbean sea to the east. The Coco Islands rank among the world’s best dive sites, being home to a great number of shark species including hammerheads, whale sharks and whitetip reef sharks.
Water temperatures vary from 30°C in the Green season to 20°C in the dry season. Underwater visibility averages approx 15m, but can vary greatly depending on the weather and the dive site you’re visiting.
As a popular travel destination, Costa Rica is a wild paradise for outdoor lovers, offering a wide range of experiences and adventure activities to enjoy in thick green jungles, volcanoes, crystal-clear waters and at breathtaking sandy beaches.
Exploring Costa Rica
Costa Rica, nicknamed “the Switzerland of South America”, is considered a safe destination. Those traveling on a tight budget (dorms, cheap meals and local bus), expect to pay about USD40 per day per person. Sleeping in mid-range hotels, eating at tourist restaurants and traveling in 1st class will cost you between USD40-100 per day per person.
How to get to Costa Rica
The main airport is Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO), near the capitol San Jose. One thing to be aware of is that you will have to pay both an exit fee when you arrive in Costa Rica and a departure tax when you fly out. You can pay in US dollars or by Visa card.
If you are heading for the Pacific northwest coast, fly to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) near Liberia in the Guanacaste province.
For domestic flights in Costa Rica, you will fly in/out of the Tobías Bolaños International Airport in San Jose.
Money and ATMs
The colon is Costa Rica’s currency. Most banks will exchange foreign currencies and Travelers Checks. In addition, you will be able to pay with most credit cards throughout the country.
US Dollars, considered more stable than the local currency, is readily accepted. Although It’s not quite the case for the Euro. Make sure your US Dollar bills are in good condition.
One thing to note is that tipping has become common in tourist places (between USD1-5 for waiters, USD15 for tour guides). Also a 15% tax and 10% service charge are usually added to the bill in most restaurants and hotels.
Visa and Embassies in Costa Rica
European nationals, Swiss and Canadians may enter Costa Rica for 90 days as tourists without any visa. They will need to provide a round-trip air ticket and a passport valid at least 6 months after their departure date.
Please note that if you are traveling from Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia or Ecuador, you will have to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Health in Costa Rica
There are no required vaccines to get into Costa Rica. The main health hazard comes from mosquito bites. Break-out of dengue fevers are not unheard of and mosquito repellent containing DEET as well as long-sleeves are recommended, in particular during the Green season.
Tap water is drinkable in most parts of the country.
Costa Rica Seasons
Costa Rica has two main seasons : the dry season and the Green season. The dry season attracts most tourists from December to April. The Green season with some of the best diving conditions lasts from May to November and the rainy month is October. Also for the more adventurous traveler, Costa Rica’s strong winds turn the Pacific ocean into the perfect surf spot.
Temperatures are quite constant throughout the year, starting 17°C (63°F) up to 35°C (95°F), but variations can be observed from one part of the country to another.