There are so many frequently asked questions, that we have picked 8 that for us seemed to be the most asked ones...
1- How is the weather in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica lies in the middle of the tropical region of the Americas. Located between Panama (south) and Nicaragua (north), and 10 degrees north of the Equator. There are only 2 season well marked on the pacific side and central valley. Dry season, that goes from mid-November to mid-April and then the rainy from mid-April to mid-November. Between June and July there is a small break in the rainy season called “Canicula” or “Veranillo de San Juan”, it lasts around 2-3 weeks, and it is a period were rains don’t stop completely but are more light. October is the rainiest moth of the year in this part of the country. The Caribbean slope does not have a prolonged marked season but the rainy. Mid-May and the months of August thru October being the driest, but presenting light rains and showers in the afternoons. Occasional storms and fronts can bring more several days of non-stop rainy conditions. Temperature in the central valley ranges between 60 and 80 degrees, on coastal are s it is usually around the high 90’s. High mountains tend to have much cooler temperatures than the central valley.
2- Can I drink the water?
Our different governments have made investments in the order of hundreds of millions of dollar to provide safe and drinkable water to all costaricans. Even though there are areas were water is still not the best to drink, most of the country has access to the different local aqueducts that provide clean water to these communities. Even that the quimical composition of the water found in Costa Rica might be slightly different than the one you are used to, it is VERY safe to drink our water and have as much ice as you want. If these is not enough for you to feel safe about this, you can buy bottled water everywhere, the only bad thing about this is, the amount of plastic that is wasted when you get water like this, besides the money that you have to pay for it. Almost every hotel and restaurant provide water in jugs, so you can refill your own bottle if you want.
3- Can I eat fruits and vegetables?
Sure you can! They are a very important part of costaricans diet. We consume them almost with every meal. Now these days, big part of the vegetables that are offered in the market are organically grown, and the fruit are exportation quality, ensuring you that they are grown under some of the most strict quality and environmental controls. Enjoy the green salads, and fruit juice smoothies with every meal and eat healthy!
4- What kind of clothing and footwear is the most appropriate?
If what you want is to be outdoors, we recommend quick dry fabrics for both pants and shirts. They are cooler and as the name says they dry pretty quickly. Good hiking or tennis shoes are the most appropriate for hiking in the forest, sandals that strap around your ankle are the best for rafting and water activities. Rain jacket, ponchos or umbrellas are almost mandatory on a trip to Costa Rica. Long sleeve shirts or a fleece will become handy as the temperatures tend to go down a bit almost everywhere. If you are spending a few days in a mayor town, a couple of cotton pants and button shirts can be more appropriate. In general in Costa Rica we are very casual in the way we dress. Not lot of suits and ties unless you are looking for more refined activities.
5- Which is the best time of year to visit Costa Rica?
A lot of people as this because they want to visit the rainforest....when it’s dry!!!! That is one of the best things of this little piece of earth. There are things to do and see any time of year. Whether you like to visit museum, practice sports or just relax at the beach, we have the right place for you. Yes it rains a bit more one month than the other. But this has advantages, less people, lower rates... be different, visit the rainforest and don’t be afraid of getting wet, after all, it is the RAIN forest.
6- Which are my paying options while travelling in Costa Rica?
Mayor credit cards are accepted in most of the commerce, with the exception of small stands along the roads. US dollars are widely accepted (small denominations 5, 10 and 20’s, bigger ones will be a bit harder to be accepted, but can be changed for smaller in banks), you can pay in cash and most of time you will get the change back in our currency the “Colon”, named after Cristopher Columbus. The exchange rate goes up and down between 496 and 505 colones for 1 USD dollar.
7- Is it safe to travel in Costa Rica?
In general it is. Like all countries we have our issues with drugs, car theft, and others, on a smaller scale though. When you visit, use your common sense and take the same precautions that you will take when you go to any mayor city in your home country, or a local beach or park. Try not to over expose your belongings on the beach or walk around wearing all your jewelry or with your wallet or laptop in hand, these are objects that attract attention and for sure you will become an easy target for opportunist that are just waiting for one to look somewhere else so they can do their thing. We don’t have an army (since 1948), but we do have a large police force that include the tourist, rural and metro police, highway patrol, border control, coast guard, drug enforcement, etc., and there is a relatively good presence all around. The tourist police can be found in the most visit areas of the country and most of them are English spoken in case you need assistance.
8- Do I need to know how to speak Spanish?
Well, not really, but it sure will help in the relation with locals. It is a sign of courtesy to at least try to speak the local language, and even if you cannot, trying is better than nothing and will be greatly appreciated. Thanks to our great levels of education, big part of the population are bilingual (english-spanish), and a large percentage speak 3 or more languages, being German and French the 2 other more spoken. Most of the public education system is now bilingual, and the private sector is entirely bilingual.