Printable travel guide for Costa_Rica
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Costa_Rica that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Costa_Rica Page.

Basic Facts

Official Country Name: Costa Rica
Capital: San José
Population: 4 200 000
Telephone Code: 506
Time Zone: GMT-6
Area: 51 100 km2
Language(s): Spanish
Highest Mountain: Cerro Chirripó, 3820m
President/Head of State: Abel Pacheco
Government: Presidential
Exchange Rate: 496 colones = US$1 (check www.bancobcr.com for updated exchange rates: euros or dollars)
Electricity: 110V/60Hz
Weights & Measures: SI

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Maps

Here you can include references to maps that are somewhere on the internet. Two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server.

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Getting there and away, Getting around by Air, Train, Bus, Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, Bicycle...
Dear visitors: there are a couple of interesting facts in regards to transportation in Costa Rica.
NUMBER ONE - many of our streets and avenues do have names and numbers, however, for some reason most of us don't know them. Instead, we use "physical signs" to give directions. For instace, a typical direction on how to get to the National Museum would be "In downtown San José, more or less 1km east of the National Theater" (and this is an easy one). To face this issue, a very easy thing to do is to take a cab, which brings us to...
fact NUMBER TWO - cabs are very cheap, but you should be aware that "legally licensed cabs" will have a yellow triangle painted on both of the front doors;
Inside the cab there should be a meter with little red numbers, and the driver should activate the meter when you get into the cab and not before.
Some cab trips have a set rate. For instance, from the Juan Santamaría Intl Airport to downtown San José the fair is about $17USD, or between 8mil and 9mil colones, but no more than that.
NUMBER THREE - the buses inside the city are easy yet difficult. It is easier and faster to just take a cab, unless you do the same route several times a week, in which case it is better to learn where to take the bus, when and how much it will cost you.
The buses from San José to most of the other places outside the city -including beaches and provinces- are usually quite efficient. It is only a matter of knowing which is the right bus for your destination, schedule, fair etc.
For any asistance in transportation please contact any of the local volunteers of HC Costa Rica.

Accommodation

If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or noone is available, here is what other members suggest. Hostels Hotels Camping Other Options

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Restaurants, Supermarkets, Street Food, Local Specialties ...

Money and Costs

Currency:Colon (named after Cristophoro Colombo-english version, Christopher Colombus; in spanish Cristobal Colon). Exchanging Money, Credit Cards,most credit cards are accepted: the usual master card, visa and american express. Tipping: we do not usually tip, there is a 23% tax added to your bill when go to a restaurant (13% sales tax, and 10% service). Nevertheless, if you are either very satisfied a tip will always be a good way to show your gratitude and it will definetly be a great incentive. Bargaining Costs Cars are rediculously expensive due to extremely high taxes. Yet, when it comes to food or lodging you will be able to find very reasonable prices.

Visa and Documents and Embassies

Who needs a visa? How to get it? Embassies & Consulates, of the country abroad and in the country

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members.

Photos

Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas...

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

Language and Useful Phrases

Events and Holidays

Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays...

Climate and When to Go

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Semanario Universidad: University of Costa Rica's news paper
La Nacion, is an hegemonic newspaper and they claim to be objective (you can draw your own conclusions on this) www.nacion.com
Other papers are The Tico Times (english newspaper) www.ticotimes.net, El Financiero (spanish paper for those interested in finances), and most of them have websites. Radio and TV Costa Rica is packed with radio stations, but most of them offer the same boring product: only music. Yet if you are interested in a innovative radio station, Radio U 101.9 FM (University of Costa Rica's radio station)offers an interesting multicultural-diverse blend of music and programs(spanish only). Nonetheless, none of them come out of the old shoe of radio stations functioning like CD players. Magazines
For info in Spanish on what's going on in San José, there is a monthly mini-magazine called SAN JOSE VOLANDO. It is free and you can find all sorts of info, from restaurants, movies, art exhibits and more. You can find it at bars, cafes, bookstores, museums and more.

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

Could not fit it into any of the categories above? Put it here...:-)

External Links

Official Country Website:
Only add really valuable resources here. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link. http://www.migracion.go.cr/ (Spanish)

Offtopic Messages

Here you can add messages that are not exactly related to the aims of the Hospitality Club (but related to the country). Do you need a visa invitation? Looking for an internship, job or a flat to rent? Just add this here, and if you are lucky other members will read it and contact you. Remember: do not send messages like this directly to members - after giving you this space here, we will fight spam even more strictly!
Disclaimer: The Hospitality Club has no control over the information above and accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone using this website. Please correct false information or send us feedback about it.
Copyright: Feel free to use the text on your website as long as you notify us and include a clearly visible link to www.hospitalityclub.org above the text.