Travel in Latin America

Things to know when traveling to Costa Rica
By:Paul Orr

Before traveling outside your native country to another country you should prepare yourself. Learning about the country before you go can prevent common problems or confusion. Cultures vary throughout the world and sometimes a simple misunderstanding can become a big deal. Learning about the basic life, culture and laws of a country you are traveling to can help you to be prepared and have an enjoyable vacation.

The basic things you need to know include how to get around, business hours and various other points. Once you get to Costa Rica you need to know how to get around from place to place, especially if you are not within walking distance of your destination. Buses are the main form of transportation. It is the most cost efficient and easiest way to get around. Do be aware that the buses in Costa Rica are small and sometimes cramped. You will not be able to take along luggage and if you need a lot of legroom you will be in trouble. Another form of transportation is a rental car. They are quite more expensive and you need to have insurance that will cover the rental car in case of an accident. Also know that most rental cars are standards, so if you do not know how to drive one you may be out of luck. Business hours in Costa Rica are much like that in the United States. Typically they run from 8 or 9 AM to 3 or 5 PM. Everyday a lunch break takes place between noon and 2PM. Also on Sundays most places will be closed. Costa Rica runs on Central Standard time, which means some of those traveling from the US may get to avoid jet lag all together. The healthcare system in Costa Rica is very advanced. They have an excellent system that offers up-to-date medical care in modern hospitals. You can most often find doctors that speak English as well. These basic facts will help you to get used to life in Costa Rica, but there are some more things you should get to know.

In Costa Rica there are some legal things you need to know. If you are renting a car be aware that Costa Rica is a good place to have an accident. Drivers here rank low for auto accident rates. The speed limits are posted either on signs or painted on the pavement and you should always be aware of them. The speed limits range from 45 to 55 MPH in general. Costa Rica laws require that all luggage is screened through customs and declarations must be filled out for certain items like food and anything valuable. Alcohol is legal for those over the age of eighteen. Also be aware that prostitution is legal in Costa Rica for those over eighteen. When you are ready to leave Costa Rica you should know you will be required to pay an exit fee approx. 27.00. These helpful hints about legal do's and don'ts will help you avoid problems while in Costa Rica.

It is always nice to know about little things that are often overlooked on travel websites or in brochures. The water heaters in hotels in Costa Rica are not like those in the United States. You will find they are mostly plastic tubes with an electrical gadget in the nozzle. This means hot water may not always be hot. The busiest time in Costa Rica is during what is called the high season. The high season is between December and May. You may find that getting reservations can be difficult during this time. You usually do not have to tip while out in Costa Rica. A 10% tip is added to your bill. Another good thing to know is that the sewer systems can handle toilet paper unlike those in other countries. The water system in Costa Rica is treated and safe to drink. The electricity in Costa Rica is the same as in the United States. They do not use the grounding prong in some locations, so be aware of the need for adapters for this reason. Dancing is big in Costa Rica and you can find dance clubs all over. Laundry mats are not common in Costa Rica. Most people send their laundry out to be washed. Some vacation rentals offer a washer/dryer as an amenity. These helpful little hints can help you get through your vacation without a mishap.

Costa Rica is a lovely, peaceful country. There is a lot to see and do. Once you have decided on Costa Rica get to know a little more about the country so you can enjoy everything it has to offer.

We traveled to Costa Rica on vacation in 2001. Fell in love with the people and their country. Purchased property on the last day of our vacation and built a villa in 2002. Handles villa rentals for five additional villas. Two, three, four and five bedroom villa's available, all of which are surrounded by Costa Rica’s biodiversity and over looking the Pacific Ocean. Find more useful information about Costa Rica by visiting our web site. http://www.costarica-vacation-getaway.com.






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