Country Information for Costa Rica

Climate/ When to Travel
Although Costa Rica is a small country in terms of geographical area, the climate is variable to say the least. The country can be divided into several climatic zones, each of which is distinct. Though generally classified as a tropical country because of its close proximity to the equator, Costa Rica has no real winter period and the sun shines throughout the year. With over twelve hours of sunshine a day, the sun rises at about 5am and sets at about 6pm year-round. The best time to visit Costa Rica is generally between December and March but with various climatic zones and micro-climates it can be considered any time..

Time Zone
Costa Rica standard time is 6 or 7 hours behind the UK, depending on our daylight saving hours.

Costa Rica uses two currencies; the Costa Rican Colone (CRC) and the US Dollar (USD). It is easiest to bring any cash in US Dollars although be prepared to receive change in Colones. ATMs are common and credit cards (except American Express) are widely accepted, although travellers cheques can be difficult to use.

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica although Patoire is still spoken in some areas.

Visa Requirements
Visas are not required by UK nationals, unless intending to stay longer than 90 days. To enter Costa Rica, a passport must be valid for the duration of the tour – to be on the safe side, visitors should have at least six months left on it, plus plenty of spare pages. You may be required to produce proof of your exit ticket, on arrival.

Medical Information
You should contact your GP around 8 weeks prior to travel to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventative measures. The Foreign Commonwealth Office and NHS Fit For Travel websites also carry up-to-date medical information.

We can arrange Discover the World insurance which covers you for any included activity. Please refer to your price guidelines for the current costs. If you choose not to take our insurance please ensure you notify us of your insurance company, your policy number and 24 hour contact number.

The sun is much stronger than in the UK, and groups should ensure they take appropriate care, including the use of sun cream, hats and sunglasses. You should also take care to stay hydrated. Our Costa Rica Risk Assessment has further information on safety.

Local Culture & Customs
Tipping is common in Costa Rica but is not an obligation. However, tipping your guide(s) and driver(s) at the end of your visit if you feel that the service they have provided merits it is always appreciated. Tips aren’t necessary in hotels or restaurants.

Emergency Services
The emergency services contact number in Costa Rica is 911.

Science and Cross-Curricular Trips