In general, the best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season from December to April. However, dry season does not mean that it is not raining, just that it rains less. Costa Rica schools are closed from December to February. The seaside resorts are quite crowded, especially on weekends. Accommodation during Semana Santa is usually booked months in advance.
The first months of the rainy season (May to July) are also a very good time to travel in Costa Rica. Later in the rainy season, travel becomes more difficult as rivers swell and roads can become muddy. Remote locations may then no longer be accessible by public transport.
Surfers find bigger and faster waves on the Pacific coast during the rainy season, with peaks in the rainiest months of September and October. The Caribbean has good waves between November and May.
The best time to observe the quetzal is between November and April, for leatherback turtles from April to May, and for green turtles from August to September.
Costa Rica climate
According to dentistrymyth, the tropical climate in Costa Rica has two seasons : a rainy and a dry season. The dry season is usually between the end of December and April, the rainy season lasts the rest of the year. The amount of precipitation in the individual regions varies considerably. As with most Central American countries, the side of the country that faces the Caribbean receives much higher rainfall than the lowlands on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. In San José, 1,867 mm fall annually, in Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast almost twice as much with 3,518 mm.
The temperatures in Costa Rica vary little between seasons, the greatest impact on the temperature has the height. The plateaus are cold: in San José and in the Central Valley there is an “eternal spring” with minimum temperatures of around 15 ° C and highs averaging 26 ° C. Both the Pacific and the Caribbean coast are relatively hot and humid all year round, and the humidity can be a burden.
Costa Rica – money
Local currency: 1 Costa Rican Colón equals 100 Céntimos
Currency code: CRC
Banknotes are issued in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 CRC, coins in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100 and 500 CRC. The US dollar is often accepted when making payments for tourism services.
Currency Exchange: in banks and exchange offices (Casas de Cambio). US dollars are the easiest to exchange, but euros are now also exchanged in all major cities in Costa Rica (including branches of the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica). In principle, only banknotes that are in good condition are accepted. You should still take US dollars in cash with you. Exchange in hotels and travel agencies is a little faster, but high commissions are often taken.
Exchange rate Costa Rica Colon
Currency converter at OANDA
Credit Cards: in higher-class hotels and restaurants, travel agencies and car rental companies in Costa Rica it is possible to pay by credit card (watch out for possible commissions of up to 7%). Visa and MasterCard credit cards are usually accepted, but American Express is rarely accepted. In some regions only Visa credit cards are accepted. Sometimes the credit card’s liquidity check is disturbed, so you should have enough cash (preferably in US dollars) with you. If you lose your credit cards, you should have the credit card numbers and the respective telephone numbers of the credit card organizations at hand.
ATMs: there are more and more ATMs in cities that accept cards with the Cirrus and Maestro symbols. In San José you can also withdraw US dollars or the local currency Colones with your EC card and PIN.
Travelers checks should be made out in US dollars, with American Express travelers checks being the most popular in the country. Most banks and travel agencies change travelers checks (1 – 3% commission), some hotels accept travelers checks as payment.
Foreign exchange regulations: both local and foreign currencies may be imported without restriction. For export, currencies of a total amount of 10,000 US dollars or more must be declared.
Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. / 5 p.m.
Health and Diseases in Costa Rica
When entering from a yellow fever area, all travelers who are older than 9 months are required to provide proof of a valid yellow fever vaccination in their international vaccination pass. The vaccination will take effect 10 days after the yellow fever vaccination. If the yellow fever vaccination cannot be proven, an entry ban threatens.
The Federal Foreign Office’s health service also recommends vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A and diphtheria, and vaccinations against hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies for longer stays (more than 4 weeks) and / or special exposure. The standard vaccinations for adults and children should be up to date.
Dengue disease has increased significantly in Costa Rica in the recent past. In 2007 there were more than 25,000 dengue diseases, 7 of which were fatal. A further increase is expected in 2008.
Dengue fever is transmitted by the diurnal mosquito Stegomyia aegypti. Occasionally, serious damage to health, including death, occurs in the course of the disease. The greatest dengue risk is on the central and northern Pacific coast (especially around Puntarenas) and in the Limón region. However, there is a lower dengue risk in all regions of Costa Rica. The Ministry of Health of Costa Rica started a comprehensive awareness campaign to familiarize the population with possible protective measures.
In 2005, 3,500 malaria infections were reported in Cosat Rica, for the most part the less severe malaria tertiana (Plasmodium vivax). In 2006, however, there were 13 cases of dangerous tropical malaria in the Caribbean province of Limón for the first time in 10 years. Nocturnal Anopheles mosquito is responsible for the transmission of malaria. If malaria (especially tropical malaria, which is rare in Bolivia), remains untreated, it can be fatal in non-immune Europeans. Malaria can break out weeks and months after the actual mosquito bite. Therefore, even after returning from Bolivia, if you have a fever, you should consult a doctor who should be advised of your stay in the malaria area.
There is a risk of malaria all year round in Costa Rica. Middle malaria risk exists in the cantons of Matina, Los Chiles (Alajuela Province) and Talamanca (Limón Province), a low malaria risk ibesteht in rural areas of the rest of the country, in the highlands and cities comes k malaria before.
Depending on the route, chemoprophylaxis (taking tablets) may be recommended in rare cases. There are various prescription drugs on the market for malaria prophylaxis (for example Doxycycline, Malarone or Lariam). An experienced tropical or travel doctor can advise you on the choice of medication, their intolerance and side effects and personal adjustment.
In addition to malaria, mosquitoes transmit other infectious diseases, which is recommended as a preventive protection when traveling in Bolivia
- wear light-colored clothing covering the whole body (long trousers and shirts). This both during the day (dengue fever) and in the evening (malaria).
- Regularly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body
- to use a mosquito net in the regions mentioned above
HIV / AIDS
The risk of a life-threatening infection with HIV / AIDS always arises from sexual contact and drug use (for example unclean cannulas or syringes or cannulas). The use of condoms is therefore always recommended, especially with casual acquaintances.
Diarrhea and cholera
Most diarrheal illnesses can be prevented with proper drinking water and food hygiene.
When traveling in Costa Rica, follow some basic rules if you want to prevent illness: Never drink tap water, for example bottled water. If bottled water is not available, filter and disinfect or boil water. Also use drinking water to brush your teeth or wash the dishes. Peel, boil or disinfect food. Make sure that no flies get to your food. Hands should be washed often with soap, always after a bowel movement, before food preparation and before eating. If appropriate, disinfect your hands as well, use disposable towels.
In the capital, San José, general medical care is good, but in rural areas there may be bottlenecks in medical (especially emergency) care. The emergency number in Costa Rica is 911.
Before leaving for Costa Rica, you should seek advice from a tropical or travel doctor.
In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:
A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information and liability for any damage that may occur cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.