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You are here: Room reservations Costa Rica > General information about Costa Rica
    Below we give you some useful information about Costa Rica
    which you should know before arriving in Costa Rica

  1. How others can reach you in Costa Rica
  2. Car Rentals in Costa Rica incl. GPS and cell phone
  3. When should I start my car rental?
  4. Ground transportation within Costa Rica
  5. Arriving passengers can buy tax-free at San Jose airport
  6. You have to pay departure tax when leaving Costa Rica
  7. Domestic flights within Costa Rica
  8. Exchange rate US Dollars - Costa Rica Colones   -   Money   -   Checks
  9. Online checkin NOT needed before your departure from Costa Rica
  10. Avoid problems with your credit or debit card abroad
    Other links you can find on our website:
  11. Affordable boutique airport hotels near San Jose Airport (SJO)
  12. Rent a GPS with Costa Rica Map PLUS Costa Rica cell phone for $2 a day
  13. Costa Rica Maps of the most important cities and all provinces
  14. Passport Validity - Very Important
  15. Avoid the Credit Card Chargeback Scam
  16. Private transfers FROM / TO San Jose SJO Airport
  17. When leaving home or a hotel, check this list
  18. Costa Rica has high traffic fines
  19. Latest news about Costa Rica from news sources worldwide
  20. 300+ Links to Costa Rica information sites

    1.   How others can reach you in Costa Rica

    Most GSM (not CDMA) mobile phones work fine in Costa Rica.
    Quadband (4-band) GSM mobile phones will always work in Costa Rica.

    2.   Car Rentals in Costa Rica

    Before your arrival you can rent a car in Costa Rica on our site
    which only uses domestic car rental companies.
    Rates include third-party liability insurance, taxes, airport fees, unlimited mileage,
    unlimited additional drivers, free surf rack, free cooler box, free child seat.

    Your rental car will be delivered and picked up from most SJO Airport hotels for $9 each way.
    No credit card information has to be given before your car is delivered in Costa Rica.

    CDW insurance which covers damage to your rental car is optional.
    CDW insurance is often covered by your North American credit card if you pay with this card.
    Unfortunately has a limited number of cars available.

    3.   When should I start my car rental?

    Picking up a rental car at night CANNOT be advised because

    A. Safety
    Roads and highways in Costa Rica are at night also used by pedestrians, dogs,
    bikes and motor bikes without any lights.
    Most roads don't have street lights and road signs are not illuminated.
    At night you have a bigger chance it will rain and driving in the dark
    when it rains is no good recipe for a safe ride.
    Also, IF you get an accident at night it will take longer before the police
    and/or ambulance arrive !!

    B. Money
    If you leave Costa Rica in the morning you will save 1 day (24-hour period)
    car rental if you pick up the rental car in the morning too.
    Many car rental companies will deliver for a small fee the rental car to your
    hotel the morning after your arrival.

    4.   Ground transportation within Costa Rica

    You find the shared minibuses of Interbus on
    Click on Rates top-right and click in the left column on your Departure City
    Interbus does not go to all cities in Costa Rica
    Rates listed are per person.

    If you stay in our hotel and you want a private minivan with private
    driver exclusively for your party, please see
    A private minivan with driver is often cheaper than Interbus if your party is 3 to 4 persons
    Rates listed are for your whole party, not per person!

    You want the CHEAPEST transportation by public buses?
    See and click on Costa Rica
    Then select your Departure city and enter your Destination City !
    Estimated costs by public bus: Around $4 to $5 per ONE hour driving
    Rates listed are per person.

    5.   Arriving passengers can buy tax-free at San Jose airport

    Upon your arrival at San Jose International airport, you go first
    thru the passport control of the Costa Rica immigration.
    After the passport control you arrive in the baggage claim area.

    In the baggage claim area you find a small tax-free shop where arriving
    passengers can buy alcoholic beverages like rum, cognac, champaign, wines.
    Here you can also purchase cigarettes for $1.40-$1.60 per 20.

    Each person of 18 years and older can buy a maximum of 8 bottles.
    This is the cheapest place in Costa Rica to buy liquors!
    The tax-free shop closes at 10pm.

    6.   Departure tax when leaving Costa Rica

    All passengers leaving Costa Rica by international flight must pay $30
    departure tax per person in the departures hall BEFORE check-in can take place.
    Payment can be made in cash (US dollars or Colones) and by credit card / debit card.

    7.   Domestic flights within Costa Rica

    San Jose has TWO domestic airports!

    Sansa Airlines operates flights from the domestic airport
    2 minutes walk from SJO international airport.
    Sansa planes use the runway of SJO International Airport.
    See here the Sansa website

    Nature Air operates flights from Pavas or Tobias Bolanos Airport which is
    closer to San Jose downtown but 20-30 minutes drive from SJO International airport
    See here the Nature Air website

    8.   Exchange rate US Dollars - Costa Rica Colones   -   Money   -   Checks

    For the latest up-to-date exchange rate, please see below 'Tipo de Cambio'

    WARNING: Never change money inside the San Jose airport building,
    arrival hall or baggage claim area.     These money changers
    give 10% less Costa Rica Colones for your dollars or Euro's

    Make sure you have some cash dollars with you, preferably $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills.
    Then you can visit next day an ATM machine which you find all over Costa Rica.
    $50 and $100 bills are NOT accepted in most places in Costa Rica.

    Most ATM's give US dollars ($20 bills only) and Costa Rica Colones.
    For security reasons the maximum amount you get per card per day is US$ 400.
    ATM's are closed in Costa Rica from 10pm till 6am for security reasons.

    ATM's at San Jose (SJO) International Airport
    You find ATM's at SJO Airport on the Departure Hall level (1 floor above Arrivals Hall)
    One ATM is outside the departure hall against the outside wall.
    Inside the departure hall you find a few ATM's in the area where you have
    to pay the departure tax when leaving Costa Rica.

    Travelers Checks / Travellers Cheques
    These checks are NOT accepted at any place in Costa Rica!   Just forget them.
    A few bank branch offices will accept them if you have a Costa Rican bank account, but
    you have to wait 6 weeks till the checks are credited to your account.......
    Ask your bank for a debit card or credit card !!

    9.   Online checkin NOT needed before your departure from Costa Rica

    After arrival in the airport departures hall you should pay first the departure tax,
    then complete the immigration form (attached to the departure tax receipt) and
    wait in line for checkin by a live airline agent.

    Upon checkin your passport is scanned which brings your flight details
    on the agent's screen and prints out your boarding pass(es) automatically.

    So there is absolutely no need to print your boarding passes before arrival
    at the airport.     It doesn't save you any time at the airport.

    10.   Avoid problems with your credit or debit card abroad
    Before your departure to Costa Rica you should call the special
    24/7 number of your bank which you find on the back of your credit card.
    Tell your bank when and for how many days you will be in Costa Rica

    By doing this you avoid your credit card is declined, regardless your credit limit,
    by your bank's automated Fraud Protection System.
    Car rental companies are often the first place where people discover their card
    is declined because of 'suspicious activity abroad'

    If you didn't call your bank before your departure, it's a good alternative
    to pull first some money from an ATM machine with your PIN code.
    Then your bank's system will register in which country you are.
    ATM transactions raise the red flags less quickly because they take place
    in a more secure environment.

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