This is a loosely categorized list of questions we've received at Cocorí. It has grown a lot so we've broken it down into several pages. We recommend browsing the complete list because many questions couldn't be strictly defined as belonging to only one category. If your question isn't answered here, ask now. If you have suggestions for improving this list please address your comments to

[Living in Costa Rica]
[Doing Business in Costa Rica]
[Traveling Around the Country]


Traveling Around the Country

How long can I stay in Costa Rica as a tourist?
Tourist visas generally are issued for 30 or 90 days, depending on your nationality. For example, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Japan and Italy are among countries of origin issued 90-day visas. Australia, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand and Venezuela are among those issued 30-day visas.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes. Water quality is monitored and controlled by the government water company. In some remote places there may be private wells that are not monitored. However, all tourist areas have monitored and treated water. Costa Ricans are aware of visitors' worries and bottled water is readily available, if you prefer.
Do I need a passport to visit Costa Rica?
Due to changes in international travel regulations, all visitors to Costa Rica must carry a valid passport.
How can I contact the Costa Rican Tourist Board?
ICT's mailing address is:
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo
Apartado 777-1000
San José, Costa Rica

Telephone in Costa Rica: (506) 222-1090 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (506) 222-1090      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 223-1733, ext. 277
Fax in Costa Rica: (506) 223-5452 or 555-4997

They also have a toll-free number in the US: 1-800-327-7033

You can visit their Web site at { }.

I will be traveling to Costa Rica with another lady. We are a bit concerned about safety. Are there areas we should avoid?
In general, traveling around Costa Rica is a safe prospect. The biggest problems are the pothole-riddled roads.

In San José there are certain areas of town that should be avoided, just as in any big city. Your hotel can be very helpful in steering you away from them. Travel around the city by taxi is cheap, easy, and a safe way to get where you are going.

A note of advice: Don't invite trouble. Walking around downtown wearing flashy or excessive jewelry will certainly catch the eye of a stalking pickpocket or street thief. When walking in crowded areas, keep close tabs on the items you are carrying.

Can I collect shells on the beach to take home?
Within Costa Rica's national parks and reserves collection of any natural materials--plants, rocks, shells, etc.--is strictly forbidden. In other areas, we ask that, if you must collect, please exercise restraint. And PLEASE, NEVER take living things.
Can I buy a parrot or macaw to take home with me?
Costa Rica is a member of CITES and subscribes fully to the recommendations of this authority. Parrots and macaws, as well as many other of our natural inhabitants, are protected by international law under CITES and trafficking is prohibited. So, when someone at the beach offers you a cute little green parrot to take home, politely refuse them--you won't be allowed to take it out of the country.
Is it possible to rent a villa with domestic help during my visit?
Yes. Unfortunately there are no listings of this type of property. If you can provide particulars about what you are looking for and in what part of the country, contact Jorge Fallas at PRIME Real Estate & Investments This experienced realtor has information on several places around the country. Another source of information of this type is the classified section of the Tico Times. You can find them listed on our Links page.
Can I play golf in Costa Rica?
You sure can. See our article Between the Greens for an entertaining look at golfing Costa Rica.
Are the beaches easily accessible?
Some yes, some no. The most popular can be reached by paved or maintained-gravel roads. Some others require four-wheel drive and the most remote beaches may not be accessible during the wet season. In some areas there is still coastline that is not serviced by roads.
Are the beaches safe for swimming?
You should always check with locals or a reputable Costa Rican tour agency about the particular beach you are interested in visiting. Many beaches are fine for swimming, but there are also many places that can have strong undertows.
Is a four-wheel-drive vehicle necessary to access the beaches or volcanoes?
Many beaches and the most popular volcanoes don't require 4WD. Some areas do require the high clearance and extra traction of a 4X4. And in some places access is easier with 4X4, although it isn't necessary. Ask the advice of your Costa Rican tour agency about the areas you plan to visit.
How much does a rental car cost?
Daily rates range from US$25 to around US$100, depending on class of vehicle. Most agencies have weekly rates, as well.

Agencies in Costa Rica generally do not recognize credit card insurance and will require you to buy theirs at a cost of US$12 to US$20 per day.

What kind of car can I rent?
Everything from 2-door subcompacts to deluxe 4X4s to minivans can be found at Costa Rica's many rental agencies.
Are my credit cards good in Costa Rica?
Almost all hotels and tourist establishments take at least one type of credit card. The most widely accepted are Visa and Mastercard. American Express is nearly as widely accepted. Most tourist oriented businesses will also cash travelers checks.
Can you tell me about ATM cards, particularly those on the PLUS system. I know there are PLUS machines in Costa Rica, but will they accept cards issued outside Costa Rica?
Yes, the PLUS machines will accept cards from everywhere. Your PIN number is good internationally.
My boss wants to take his wife and two teenage sons to Costa Rica during the holidays. His boys want to scuba dive. Any suggestions?
There is some good scuba diving here. The ultimate is at Cocos Island. Other than Cocos, there is diving on both coasts. If they aren't certified divers, they can even get a resort certification that allows them to dive while here. Several places offer this option. You can read more about diving in Costa Rica in the Cocori Library in the article Certifiable Kicks. There is a list of operators offering scuba at the end of the article.
I would like to stay in touch with folks back home during my stay in Costa Rica. I will have a computer with modem and wonder if I'll be able to retrieve my email while there.
There is a company here that offers the services you require and they are conveniently located in downtown San José. Kitcom is two blocks north of the Plaza de la Cultura in the OTEC building. Email { }. Telephone (506) 258-0303, Fax: (506) 258-0606. Additionally, there are Internet cafes all over the country and many restaurants and hotels now offer WiFi access to the Internet.
What immunizations are required or advised for tourist travel in Costa Rica?
No immunizations are required nor advised for tourists in this country.