Information for travelers

We are eager to answer all your questions.

Some of the answers might be found in the list below, just click on the question, and you will see the answer. However, if you don’t find it here, please contact us! 

The difference between an online travel agency and a local expert is that experts are willing to help you and answer to any of your doubts Don’t hesitate in asking your questions!

 

Travel requirements

All visitors arriving in Costa Rica require a passport valid for more than six months. Citizens of some countries also need a visa to enter the country, so please check ahead before traveling. Camino Travel also recommends you to carry, additional to your passport, another proof of citizenship with a photo ID (for example, your driver’s license). Adults entering the country are permitted 500 g. of tobacco, 5 liters of duty-free wine or spirits, and 2 kg of candies or dainties. The Costa Rican government forbids incomers to bring fresh fruits & vegetables, plants, and live animals without official permission. The departure tax costs USD 29 per person and shall be paid in cash inside the airport the day of departure. Camino Travel recommends you to travel light when possible; prepare your travel documents with enough anticipation, photocopy your passport (it will help your embassy in case of loss or theft), and a small backpack for daily walks in the forests & beaches.

Money issues

Nowadays travelers prefer to carry as little pocket money as possible. The amount of cash to be brought depends mostly on the places you will visit and the type of holiday you are planning. If you have purchased a holiday in which lodging, transportation, tours, and meals have been paid for in advance, then you will surely need less cash than if you are traveling by public bus and staying at small rural hotels that do not take credit cards. Credit cards are widely accepted, mainly Visa and Master Card (American Express is taken in few places, and Diner’s Club is rarely allowed). When purchasing local currency – colones -, consider that Costa Rica handles almost only US Dollars; Euros are being changed in very few banks but on a very high commission. When you are in the country, bear in mind that most banks close at 3:30 pm (15h30) and do not open during weekends or special holidays.

Health & insurances

Medical services are available throughout the country, and many doctors speak English. All the main cities & towns have a public hospital: San José, Cartago, Limón, Puntarenas, Ciudad Quesada (near Arenal), Nicoya, Liberia, and Golfito. Rural communities usually have small medical offices called EBAIS, where you can head for primary attention. Before you travel, check the routine vaccinations (Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio). Contact your local health department at home for advice on going to the Central American tropics.

Starting August 01, 2008, the recent Executive Decree published by the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica declares the vaccination against the Yellow Fever mandatory to any person who wishes to enter our national territory coming from countries that are considered at risk. The states reported at risk of the transmission of the Yellow Fever are the following:

South America: Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia except Department of the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina.

If you should have any clients coming from any of the countries mentioned above, it is very important to inform them that they must receive the vaccine against the Yellow Fever in order to come into Costa Rica. The clients must carry the International Vaccine Certificate guaranteed by the World Health Organization and must be shown to the migration agent.

Additionally, we recommend you to bring all prescribed medications needed. Camino Travel suggests you to purchase in your home country a travel insurance that covers you overseas in case of illness or death, and to acquire trip cancellation insurances that reimburse you if you incur in last minute cancellations (most hotels and tour companies in Costa Rica do not reimburse late cancellations). Inform us if you have any particular health requirement (allergies, food restrictions, asthma, etc.), so that we can plan your itinerary accordingly!

Costa Rica Geography

Costa Rica is situated in Central America just 10 degrees north of the Equator. The country comprises a population of 4 million ¨Ticos¨ (local name for Costa Ricans) and a landmass of 20,000 sq miles (51,000 sq km). It is a rugged land with mountains, green valleys, active volcanoes, tropical lowlands, lakes, rivers and beautiful beaches with palm trees, and white-golden sands. The Central Valley forms the heart of Costa Rica. The capital city of San José and the larger towns of Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago are located within it, which is inhabited by around 60% of the nation’s population. Other important places include: Ciudad Quesada (near La Fortuna), San Isidro (Southern Costa Rica), and the coastal Liberia, Puntarenas, and Port Limón. Its privileged position, in the middle of North and South America, has nourished the country with a variety of wildlife, from dolphins to hummingbirds, and with a variety of flora (e.g., more than 1200 species of orchids!).

Costa Rica History

Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in the Americas. Since the civil war of 1948, the country has no standing army; in fact, the Constitution expressly forbids it. During the last 50 years, Costa Rica has established a well-developed conservation system, not only nature-wise, but also regarding its social and cultural wealth. As early as 1948, a free compulsory educational system was consolidated, resulting in a literacy rate of over 93%. Almost 90% of all high school students attend public institutions, and the four most prestigious universities are still public. Generous government budgets provide medical coverage for every working citizen, resulting in an extremely low infant mortality rate and average life expectancy of over 70 years.

Some highlights you will like to visit to learn more about our history:
Costa Rican National Museum www.museocostarica.go.cr
Museums of the Central Bank www.museosdelbancocentral.org
Costa Rican Arts Museum www.musarco.go.cr
Costa Rican Art and Contemporary Design Museum ww.madc.ac.crWeather

Costa Rica benefits from a perfect tropical, never-ending-spring climate. The average temperature is 70°F (around 21°C) in the highlands. Lowland temperatures range from the high 70’s to the low 90’s (21 to 28°C). The rainy season goes from May to November, whilst the dry season lasts from December to April. However, consider that even during the rainy season mornings are, more often than not, bright and sunny; expect as well occasional showers during the dry season. Temperatures vary little between seasons; the main influence on temperature is altitude. Pack rain gear with you, as well as light sweaters or jackets for mountainous sites such as Monteverde or the Savegre Valley. Also do not forget humidity (in some regions, like in the Caribbean or in Sarapiquí, it can reach 90%). Hydration is important in the area, since you will surely sweat!
National Meteorological Institute: www.imn.ac.cr

Costa Rica as Destination

Costa Rica is blessed with endless beaches, active volcanoes, and abundant wildlife. It is also renowned for its peaceful tradition and the genuine hospitality of its people.

A safe setting with all the comfort of deluxe hotels, delicious cuisine, and exciting activities ranging from high-powered events to long sought-after relaxation, makes Costa Rica the perfect choice for you next vacation.

 

History

Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in the Americas. Since the civil war of 1948, the country has no standing army; in fact, the Constitution expressly forbids it. During the last 50 years, Costa Rica has established a well-developed conservation system, not only nature-wise but also regarding its social and cultural wealth.

As early as 1948, a free compulsory educational system was consolidated, resulting in a literacy rate of over 93%. Almost 90% of all high school students attend public institutions, and the four most prestigious universities are still public. Generous government budgets provide medical coverage for every working citizen, resulting in an extremely low infant mortality rate and average life expectancy of over 70 years.

Costa Rica is located in Central America, between the Caribbean and the Pacific Oceans. It has more than 5% of the total species of planet Earth with only 0.003% of the land, being the smallest of the twenty megadiverse countries in the World.

1Will my trip cost me more if I book it through you?
No, your trip will not turn out more expensive if you book it through us than if you book each service directly. The reason is simple: Camino Travel works on a commission base with its suppliers, which makes it possible to come out with the same prices than those offered by each supplier (hotels, car rentals, and activity service providers). Plus, you will have experts constantly advising you on the feasibility of your travel plans, the best tour options, properties, and helpful tips.
2What other benefits do I receive if I book my trip through Camino Travel?
1- You only have to pay once for your holiday, and we take care of everything else. You do not have to worry about putting together your itinerary, contacting each service provider, waiting to receive confirmations, and all the little details involved in planning a trip. 2- We give you professional advice during all the process of trip preparation. We know Costa Rica and we constantly travel throughout the country researching new properties. Since 1991 we are receiving people with the most diverse interests, which gives us the expertise to advise you what best fits your interests and desires. 3- You can travel unworried knowing that there is a support company that will respond to any, question, need or problem while you are in the country. We have a 24-hour emergency number.
3How should I book with Camino Travel?
Planning your trip with Camino Travel is very simple. 1- You send us an e-mail (sales@caminotravel.com) or fax (+ 506 – 225 6143) in which you tell us about your interests, questions, and ideas for your holidays according to the information you have read in this website. If you already have your travel dates and flights, it helps us have a closer approach to what your trip can be. 2- We listen to you, make our suggestions and send our advice regarding the logistics of your itinerary and the locations that best suit your interests. We propose with a day-by-day itinerary and pricing. 3- Once you decide on your trip plan, and upon your approval, we proceed to book all the services requested. After receiving the written confirmations from all the different suppliers, we send you an e-mail or fax in which we state to inform you the status of your bookings. In case there is no space available in one or several services (hotels, tours, etc.), we suggest you other properties and give you new pricing (we try to keep the pricing as close as possible to the original quote). As soon as everything is booked and confirmed, we send you an invoice with the total holiday amount, and once we receive your payment, we proceed to issue the service vouchers that you will receive when you arrive in the country.
4Which penalties apply if I cancel my services?
All services must be paid immediately after confirmation. If, by any chance, you must cancel your trip or any particular bookings, please bear in mind that all cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received with a minimum of 30 days before arrival receive a total refund, less a handling charge of USD 100. Twenty days before arrival, a 30% of the total amount is subject to forfeiture. Eleven days prior to arrival, 50% of the total amount is subject to forfeiture. Ten days or less prior to arrival, 100% of the total amount is subject to forfeiture. Camino Travel is not responsible for non-recoverable expenses incurred by travelers in preparing for a canceled trip, such as a non-refundable advance purchase hotel, transfers, tours, etc., nor for any necessary additional arrangements should the applicant have embarked before the departure date. Certain hotels have more strict cancellation and refund policies. These vary according to each hotel and depending on additional circumstances (time of the year, occupancy rate). Camino Travel strongly recommends its clients to purchase trip cancellation insurances to avoid any inconveniences.
5Can I buy my international airplane ticket through Camino Travel?
Being Camino Travel an incoming tour operator (in other words, that handles travel services only within Costa Rica), the company does not issue any international airline tickets. We do recommend you purchase your tickets at home with enough anticipation. If you book arrival and/or departure transfers with us, your Camino Travel advisor will certainly ask you your flight number and time of arrival/departure at least ten days before you arrive.
6Which airlines fly to Costa Rica?
Flights and connections to Costa Rica have increased in the last couple of years. Travelers can now arrive both in San José or Liberia (Guanacaste) International Airport. See which airlines reach the Costa Rican territory: Arriving in San José: • American Airlines: via Miami & Dallas • Continental Airlines: via Houston & New York • Copa Airlines: via Lima, Panama, Guatemala, Quito and Santiago de Chile • Delta Airlines: via Atlanta • Iberia: from Madrid via Miami • Taca: via Lima, México, Orlando, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Panama, Quito • United Airlines: via Los Angeles, México, Washington D.C., Chicago Arriving in Liberia: • American Airlines: via Miami • Continental Airlines: via Houston • Delta Airlines: via Atlanta • Northwest Airlines: via Minneapolis • Sky Service: via Montreal & Toronto • Taca: via Miami
7How do I know if someone will pick me up at the airport?
If you have booked an arrival transfer through Camino Travel, then an identified driver (usually with a Camino Travel T-shirt) will be waiting for you at the airport. This person will hold a board with your last name written on it, so pay attention to the signs to spot your driver. He/she will take you to your hotel and will give you your service vouchers and information package. If you are traveling with a group, then your Costa Rican tour guide will wait for you at the airport as well.
8How is the weather in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica benefits from a perfect tropical climate. The average temperature is 70°F (around 21°C) in the highlands. In the lowlands, temperatures range from the high 70´s to the low 90´s (21 to 28°C). Costa Rica does not have four defined seasons; what can be called seasons is rather defined by the amount of rainfall. There is a rainy season from May to November. The dry season lasts from December to April. However, even during the rainy season, the mornings are, more often than not, bright and sunny. Temperatures vary little throughout the year; the main influence on temperature is altitude. Always pack an umbrella or raincoat, just in case!
9What should I pack to come to Costa Rica?
• Sunscreen lotion • Sunglasses • Hat or Cap • Insect Repellent • Swimsuit • Beach towel • Sandals, and comfortable hiking/walking shoes • Binoculars • Camera • Film for your camera (it can be more expensive to buy it here than at home) • Raingear (umbrella, raincoat, waterproof shoes) • Comfortable, fresh clothes for the beach (shorts, T-shirts, light dresses) • Comfortable, warm clothes for the mountains (jacket/light sweater, long trousers) • A small backpack that can be used for day tours • Your passport along with two photocopies • Another ID (e.g., drivers license) with your photograph on it • A Spanish /English (or your mother language) dictionary
10Are there any particular discounts if I travel with children?
Children sharing the room with their parents or adults in charge usually pay less than the regular fare. The policies regarding children’s discounts and age limits vary from one hotel to the other, so make sure you inform us the age of your children so that we can check on special rates when quoting your itinerary. Also, take into consideration that children sleeping not sharing the room with their parents (e.g., two children staying in one room while their parents remain in another room) do not benefit from any lodging discount.
11Where and how can I access money in Costa Rica?
There are numerous banks in San José and within the Central Valley. There you can change travelers’ cheques, and buy colones (local currency). Take your passport with you; it will be requested. Also make sure your signature is the same as in your passport. Otherwise your transactions will be immediately rejected. Outside of San José, you might find banks in the main towns both in the beach and in the mountain and lowland areas. When you go to the bank, it is a good idea to ask the counter for the branch offices throughout the country. Banks are usually open from Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. They are closed on certain holidays (Dec. 25th, January 1st, Holy Thursday, and Friday), so inform yourself well in advance. ATH automatic expenders are also available in San José and the main tourist areas, but do not be too confident that you will find one in every place.
12Will I Travel alone throughout the country?
Since the majority of our holidays are tailor-made, most of our clients travel with private transportation services. This means that they will travel only in the company of their driver. However, for those clients who wish to reduce their transfer costs, there is the possibility of taking Seat-in-Bus transfers. The SIBs work on pre-established routes. They are door-to-door transportation services that have particular schedules and that take people from different hotels. An individual client usually travels with other tourists that he/she does not know.
13Are there any particular restrictions I shall consider when booking a one-day tour?
Several activities, especially adventure tours, do have specific regulations to avoid accidents. For instance, most canopy tours have a weight limit of 225 pounds per person. Whitewater rafting companies need to know if the clients are too tall, or weigh more than 230 pounds, to provide the corresponding life vests and helmets. Weight limits also apply for horseback riding tours. Please let us know with if you have any restriction before booking your tours and activities.
14What shall I do in case of emergency?
For any emergency within Costa Rica, dial 911 or 128 (Red Cross). If you are driving, try to reach any public place (gasoline station, mini market, restaurant), to ask for help. We also provide a 24-hour emergency number for you to contact us. As a safety tip, always carry the telephone number of a contact person at home (if possible, give us this information as well before you arrive in Costa Rica), and give a copy of your itinerary to your loved ones in your country, as well as the telephone numbers of the hotels you will be staying at.