Planning a Costa Rica trip? Things you need to know

Tabacon Hot Springs, Arenal Costa Rica” by Wha’ppen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Costa Rica has been enjoying the status of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a long time. It allures visitors with its pristine tropical beaches, verdant landscape, wildlife, and scintillating culture. It also happens to be a hub of adventure tourism and that is why people from all over the world visit Costa Rica.

One must know the money exchange rate, visa requirements, and permissible duration of stay for Costa Rica travel. Read on for details!

Understanding the Money Exchange

Sloth Money” by wilmacompton is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The most important thing to know is taxis at the airport, restaurants, and hotels accept U.S. dollars. One should not try to exchange cash at the San Jose or Liberia air terminals. Instead, you should approach to exchange money.

Colon is the official Costa Rican currency. They come in bills of 1000, 2000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 Colons and depict Costa Rican wildlife.  Colon has a fluctuating exchange rate against the USD. Visitors should check with the Central Bank of Costa Rica for the most current exchange rate.

US Dollars

Carry smaller bills like $1, $5, $10, and $20. One might have to go to banks for larger bills. All bills should be in good condition. Ripped or torn bills are not accepted. Pay in U.S. dollars for items priced in U.S. dollars this will help to save exchange costs. Although U.S. dollars are accepted, you are likely to get changes in the local currency.

Canadian Dollars, Euros, and Pounds

Costa Rican merchants do not accept Canadian Dollars, Euros, and Pounds. Tourists need to go to banks to exchange these currencies. It is best to use credit cards that attract zero international fees or to withdraw Colons & Dollars using a zero-fee card.

Visiting Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an amazing country in Central America with abundant bio-diversity, scenic landscapes, and a wide variety of wildlife.  It also offers excellent surf and sun. Costa Rica happens to be a traveler-friendly country. But there are some restrictions on visas, residences, and permits.

Visa Requirements

Costa Rica issues four types of visas.

2007-4” by rezendi is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

1. Tourist Visa

2. Provisional Visa for students, teachers, residents, etc.

3. Visa for temporary residence in Costa Rica, and

4. Visa for permanent residence in Costa Rica.

Not everyone traveling to Costa Rica needs a tourist visa. It depends on nationality, country of residence, the purpose of visit, and duration of stay. Visa requirements follow international agreements or treaties and the visa does not guarantee confirmed entry which depends on the immigration officer.

However, the United States, Canadian and European Union, and many other nationals do not require a visa for traveling to Costa Rica. They must have a passport that is valid for at least one more day from the day of arriving in Costa Rica. They need to have a return ticket to the USA or other countries within 90 days. US nationals cannot stay in Costa Rica for more than 90 days on a tourist visa. They have to obtain a residence permit for that.

Visas for Non-Costa Rican nationals

They are grouped into four groups of countries.

Group 1

1. The first group of countries includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, EU countries, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the USA, etc.

These nationals do not require a Costa Rica visa. They are allowed a 90-day stay in Costa Rica. Their passports should be valid for at least one day more from the date of their Arrival. They should also have a return ticket to leave Costa Rica within 90 days.

Group 2

2. The second group of countries includes Antigua, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Turkey, etc. These nationals also do not require a visa. They must have a passport that is valid for at least three months and also have a return ticket to leave Costa Rica within the visa period.  The period of the visa depends on the immigration official at their point of entry. They are usually allowed to stay for 90 days.

Group 3

3. The third group of countries includes Bhutan, Cambodia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya, Kuwait, Nepal, Senegal, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, etc.

Nationals of the third group countries need a Costa Rica visa. Usually, they are allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 30 days. In some cases, the period may extend up to 90 days.

Group 4

4. The fourth group of countries includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Somalia, Sri Lanka, etc. Nationals from the fourth group of countries must obtain a visa from the Costa Rican consulate before traveling to Costa Rica.

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