Planning For Costa Rica

When traveling it is essential to plan ahead, so when you arrive at your destination, you lessen the chances of being at a loss of what to do. Knowledge gained from other’s travels can be invaluable, especially when planning to travel to somewhere you have never been before. The advice on this page is helpful to everyone planning a trip to Costa Rica.

Money

The money used in Costa Rica is called colons. You can change dollars into colons at the airports in San Jose and local banks. The exchange rates can be from the low 200s to 400s colons for each US dollar. (Now everywhere in Costa Rica you can buy or pay in US dollars, but I think things are cheaper if you pay in colons.) Other ways you might get colons is if you pay for something in US dollars, you will receive change in colons. During my stay at Costa Rica, I once paid a cab driver in US money, and I received change in the local currency. You should also make sure your dollars are not torn. Local banks and businesses do not accept torn US dollars. I tried to exchange a torn $50 bill, and the bank would not accept it!

Bringing Money

On my trip I brought my money half in dollars and the other half in American Express cheques. When a traveler cheque is used there will be a commission fee.

When to visit/weather

Costa Rica has two seasons – the dry season and the green season (or rainy season). The dry season is from December to March. The dry season is the busiest time in Costa Rica. Prices are much higher and it is harder to find a place to stay. Now in the green season you will find much cheaper prices. The green season is from April to November. During the rainy season it generally rains for a few hours and then clears up.

Traveling within Costa Rica

Bus – You can catch one to most parts of the country. There are a few places where the bus comes only once a day though…

Cab – There are red cabs throughout the country. If the cab driver tells you the meter is broker, just get out. First it is illegal for a cab driver to drive with a broken meter in Costa Rica; secondly he might just be trying to rip you off.

Renting a Car – You can rent a car, but to me personally I would find driving in Costa Rica difficult, since I’m not from the country and it seems there are a lack of street signs. Also the prices for a car rental can be pretty expensive.

Local airlines – You can catch local flights to places throughout Costa Rica. They are regularly scheduled and reasonably inexpensive.

Cities and Towns

Cities in Costa Rica are San jose (The Capital) Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Jaco, Liberia, Manuel Antonio, park, Pochote, Puerto Limon, Puntarenas, Parismina, and Tamarindo.

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