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Costa Rica is on United States Central Standard Time and does not observe daylight savings.
A tropical country with two seasons, where its temperatures vary little since the main influence on temperature is the altitude. Average temperatures in the Central Valley area are 70°/75° F. (20-25°C.) and along the coasts it may vary from 75° to 95° (27-36° C.). The dry season begins in middle November and ends at the end of April. The rainy season begins in May throughout October approximately. During the months of June and July there is a dry period or “Indian Summer” popularly called “Veranillo de San Juan” (San Juan’s little summer). September and October are the driest months on the Caribbean Coast. So if you are planning on coming during this time of the year, make sure to spend some time on the Caribbean side.
The official currency is the “Colón”, named after Christopher Columbus. However U.S dollars are widely accepted. Currency can be exchanged at hotels, banks and at the international airports. The currency rate fluctuates daily and can be check at the local newspapers. Most of credit cards are accepted by businesses, the most common are: Visa, Master Card, Amex, and Diners Club. Please note that some small businesses located in remote areas could only take cash.
Costa Rica has a very good health care system and its sanitary standards are high. Public hospitals and private clinics can be found in San Jose and around the country. Most of the hotels have a resident doctor or paramedic. If not, they have the contact number of a local doctor in the area. There is no need on taking medications or vaccinations for Malaria, Dengue or other tropical diseases. These medications cause side effects that can make you feel sick during your trip. Our recommendation would be to buy a good insect repellent while you are here and apply it to both skin and clothing. The most effective repellents are those containing N,N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET). Most of the cities/towns in the country have potable water and in very remote areas it is recommended to buy bottled water.
It will not be difficult to stay in touch with your family, business and check the world news since the country has an advanced telecommunications system. Public telephones, fax machines, Internet Cafes, cable/satellite T.V. around the country.
Electricity in Costa Rica is 110-120 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Costa Rica with a device that does not accept 120 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
Restaurant bills include a 10% service tax plus a 13% sales tax. We feel tipping is a personal decision based on your judgment about the service provided to you, but you can estimate a 5% to 10% of the total of your restaurant bill. The tipping for drivers, bellboys, hotel maids is acceptable. For tour guides is between US$10 to US$20 dollars, per tour, per day.
On the map, it seems that you could cross Costa Rica from coast to coast easily, but unfortunately, this is not the case. In spite of the efforts of the administrations thru the years to develop a better infrastructure on roads, some are not in the best conditions. One of our goals designing a customized journey is to take advantage of your time in the country and with our expertise recommend the best transportation ways to get around the country trying to make it not too tiring nor frustrating for you.
The nickname “Ticos” come from our accustomed form of using diminutive words in our daily conversations. For instance, if we would like to ask for a small amount of coffee in a cup we would say “un poquitico de café”. Open your ears and perhaps you will notice the “tico” sound in some words….But in general we are friendly, hospitable helpful and peace lovers’ product of living in one of the oldest and most stable democracies in Latin America. We have a public education system since 1869 giving us one of the highest literacy rates in the world of 96.2 %. And our life expectancy is between 72-76 years thanks to the socialized medical system. Our ethnic origins are a blend of native inhabitants, Europeans and Afro-Caribbean immigrants and we all share different cultural life styles. Do not be surprised if you are invited by a Costa Rican family to see their home, farm, and even share “un poquitico de café”…