Costa_Rica-027 Photo by Ramon via Flickr Creative Commons

Visas are not necessary for citizens of the US, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and many other nations for stays of up to 90 days, provided the traveler has a valid passport that is valid for at least six months, proof of an onward or return ticket and means to self-fund their entire stay. For more information on your nation’s requirements, check with your consulate or embassy.

Health and Safety

Costa Rica is generally safe although visitors should avoid dressing too flashy and keep valuables hidden. Car theft and damage is common so keep an eye on your bag and other possessions, particularly in crowded areas. There have been reports of attacks on tourists driving rental cars from San Jose’s airport so always stay vigilant and don’t trust strangers. Avoid strikes and demonstrations, which can take place on the streets without warning and become unruly without notice. Do not exchange money on the street.

There are no mandatory vaccinations for travel to Costa Rica, but immunization is recommended against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and tetanus-diphtheria. Tourists should use insect repellent to help guard against air-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, and get a recommendation from a doctor whether to take preventative medication for malaria. Tap water in large cities is considered potable although sticking to bottled water can reduce the risk of travelers’ diarrhea. Those visiting highland areas should be alert to the possibility of altitude sickness. Costa Rica has active volcanoes, including the popular Arenal Volcano so always check for updates and stay out of prohibited areas. Earthquakes are common and tropical storms can cause flooding and landslides so definitely check the weather reports before booking a trip.

Click here to learn about the History and Culture of Costa Rica