Immigration/Customs
  • Make sure your passport doesn’t expire within 6 months of your departure date.
  • Take a photocopy of passport in case of emergency (also keep one on your phone). Keep the original in the safe.
  • You need to provide proof of your return flight and intention of leaving the country.  Be sure to print your return flight information.
  • Save Money: If you think you will be drinking at home- buy some booze at duty free. Good Vodka/Tequila is 2-4 times the cost if you wait to get it in town
Cell Phones
  • Call your cell carrier to get your phone unlocked.  You can get a Sim Card to use in CR in town. With these, you can communicate and access any apps. Facebook IM and WhatsApp have free calls so let friends/family know. You can also use easyphoneunlock.com if your carrier refuses. It is about $15 but takes a couple days. 
  • Download Waze if you haven’t already, it is an easy GPS navigation system that seems to work well as long as you enter the destination of where you are going prior to leaving wifi zone. GoogleMaps also works well and you can download offline maps so you do not need wifi
Personal Care
  • Bug Spray and Sunblock: It is literally 2-3 times as much here. Bring the strongest bug spray you can handle for rainforest trips. I use Avon in Tamarindo, but Deep Woods Off (deet) in the forest.
  • Aqua Socks/Tevas/hiking sandals: These are handy if you plan to visit Waterfalls, Rainforest, hot springs, etc.  Flip flops get stuck in the mud and tennis shoes get ruined.
  • Girls: No need for fancy clothes or high heels.  The roads are rough, minimal sidewalks and tons of ditches. Much easier to wear flip flops or low wedges.
  • No need for fancy clothes here unless unless you plan to stay at an all-inclusive. Sundresses, shorts, tees, swimsuits are all you really need.
  • Safety: We feel safe here, walk around on our own, etc. That said: DO NOT bring anything valuable and leave it in your car or unattended. Leave valuable jewelry at home and put computers/tablets/etc somewhere hidden or in safe when you leave the hotel. Beware of leaving bags, backpacks and purses on the backs of chairs in restaurants. We hear about petty theft all the time.
Transportation/Car rentals
  • There are no addresses in Costa Rica. GPS (if you have one handy) and the Waze APP work great here. You can download the Costa Rica maps for free online.
  • If you are coming to Tamarindo we recommend https://www.tamarindotransfersandtours.com.  Only $20 per person and will drop you off anywhere in town. It is a shared shuttle but never takes more than 10 mins longer than a private. They usually have large group discounts too.
  • Rental Cars: ONLY use Budget or Alamo…The smaller local companies will require you to pay an additional $75 per day in “random insurances” that they only tell you about when you arrive and can’t get another option. Total cost per day should be around $30-40 with Mandatory 3rd party liability insurance and CDW waiver for a small SUV.
    • DO-Call your best travel credit card company and get a letter showing coverage for CDW. This will save you $20-30 per day. THIS NEEDS TO BE A PRINTED LETTER IN WRITING.
    • Mandatory insurance in Costa Rica is CDW and Third Party liability. Your credit card usually covers CDW but you need the above letter printed out. You will still have to pay the 3rd party liability.