Business Travel Information
Business travelers will enjoy the advanced telecommunications system, modern infrastructure and excellent array of hotels and restaurants while traveling in Costa Rica.read more close
Costa Rica has a wide selection of modern hotels that cater to business travelers. Hotel amenities often include: fax, phone, high speed or wireless Internet, conference rooms, computer equipment and audio-visual equipment.
Banking and Currency
The national currency is the colon. U.S. dollars and the Euro are easily exchanged in most banks. Other foreign currency can be exchanged through private agencies. Credit cards are widely accepted in heavily touristed spots, but you can't use them in some of the more rural areas. Hotels and restaurants will generally accept credit cards and dollars, but once you fan out from San Jose, small businesses, restaurants, and hotels will ask for cash payment in colones. ATMs are scattered throughout the country, and usually offer good exchange rates.
Restaurant bills will almost always include tax and tip, except in certain tourist areas. Before you buy, look for I.V.I. on both the menu and bill which means that a 13% sales tax and 10% tip have already been added. Note: 10% can seem like a stingy tip, but in Costa Rica, it's perfectly acceptable. If service is exceptional, feel free to round up or add a small additional tip. At hotels and the airport, $0.50-$1/bag is an appropriate tip for the concierge or baggage handlers. On the street, you'll often find area guards willing to watch your car until you return. For their services, a $1 tip is appropriate. Tip tour guides $5-$20 per person, depending on the guide's knowledge and the cost of the tour.
Phones: The country code for Costa Rica is 506. An area code is not necessary when dialing inside the country. All calls within Costa Rica are considered local calls. Phone calls made from Costa Rica to the U.S. are 27 cents per minute, regardless of the time of day.
Cell phones can be rented from local tour operators, car rental companies and hotels for as little as $5 per day, but often come with additional minimum calling fees per day.
Internet: Internet service is widely available throughout Costa Rica and Internet cafes can be found in almost every city. Central Valley cities and popular beach destinations have high speed Internet (through cable modem, satellite or ADSL) and there are several Wi-Fi hot spots in and around San Jose.
Post Offices: There are postal and telegraph offices in cities and towns throughout the country. The Central Post Office is located in San Jose on Second Street between Avenues 1 and 3, and is open Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm and Saturdays from 7am. to 12 noon. Radiografica Costarricense is located on Fifth Avenue between Streets 1 and 3. This company provides telex, fax, international data transmission, and many other services (including Internet access).
A typical Costa Rican meal, commonly known as a casado, consists of rice, beans, sweet plantain, salad and some type of roasted or fried meat or fish. The plate of the day, or plato del dia, is typically accompanied by a natural fruit juice (blackberry, pineapple, papaya etc.). Costa Rica has many modern malls, shopping plazas, supermarkets, restaurants and fast food chains where visitors can enjoy local or international food. In larger towns, American food is easy to find, as is European, Middle-Eastern and Asian cuisine.
Costa Rica's official language is Spanish, though a large number of its citizens are at least moderately bilingual. In fact, all Costa Rican public and private schools require a second language and to graduate, all students must pass an English or French exam.
English, due to its status as the international language of tourists, is the most common second language in Costa Rica. In most areas frequented by tourists – hotels, restaurants and national parks – visitors will find signs in English and employees who speak it fluently. In addition, the Caribbean coast considers its local creole, which is very similar to Jamaican English, as one of its unofficial languages.
Any foreigner who is temporarily in the country has the right to receive health care at hospitals and clinics in case of an emergency, sudden illness or a chronic disease. Costa Rica has a modern public health system with hospitals throughout the country administered by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).
Excellent private health care is also available; several modern hospitals such as the renowned CIMA hospital in Escazu cater to foreign residents in Costa Rica. CIMA has a staff of internationally trained doctors that speak English and other foreign languages.
Currently there are no travel warnings for Costa Rica. It is one of the safest countries in the world to visit. Visitors should be aware that car break-ins are becoming increasingly common, especially in urban areas and on remote roads in national parks. Travelers should carry their passports (or a copy with most recent entry stamps) and money on their person at all times. Many hotels offer secure in-room safes. Contact your country's embassy as soon as possible after loss or theft of a passport.
With a valid passport and onward airline or bus ticket, U.S., Canadian and most European citizens may visit Costa Rica for up to 90 days as tourists. A departure tax of $28 is required if you exit the country by air, and is payable by cash or credit card at the airport.
If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you may need a visa to enter Costa Rica. For current visa entry requirements, please visit our Passport and Visa page.