Costa Rica Travel Planning Articles
Planning a trip to Costa Rica? How exciting! Here you’ll find all our Costa Rica travel planning articles that will help you with your research.
But before you dive in below, read our Costa Rica travel guide if you are a first time visitor!
Costa Rica coronavirus
Costa Rica COVID-19 Trave
Introductory guide to basic Spanish words and phrases (plus free downloadable pocket guide)
Best mosquito repellent
Shots/vaccinations required for Costa Rica
Seeing a dentist in Costa Rica
Seeing a doctor as a foreigner in Costa Rica
Drinking tap water in Costa Rica
What to Know Before You Go
Costa Rica for first timers
Things to know about Costa Rica before you go
Costa Rica survival guide
Immigration and customs in SJO and LIR Airport
Costa Rica international airports
Costa Rica Weather
Costa Rica Safety Tips
Costa Rica tourist scams
Common questions about Costa Rica
Costa Rica travel insurance
Costa Rica entry requirements
Taking your pet to Costa Rica
10 mistakes to avoid in Costa Rica
When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?
Costa Rica prepaid sim cards
Best Costa Rica souvenirs
Costa Rica Grocery stores
Do’s and Don’ts in Costa Rica
Costa Rica maps
Finding cheap flights to Costa Rica
Why you should visit in rainy season
10 best destinations for first timers
Why visit the Central Valley
Useful and free apps
Booking guided tours
Costa Rica trip planning guideline
Christmas in Costa Rica
How to avoid crowds in Costa Rica
2 week itinerary: Arenal, Monteverde, Santa Teresa, Playas del Coco
1 week pre-planned itinerary
11 day pre-planned itinerary
1 week itinerary: Jaco, Manuel Antonio and Uvita
10 day itinerary: San Jose, Puerto Viejo and Manuel Antonio
5 day Guanacaste itinerary
Costa Rica honeymoon itinerary
1 month Costa Rica road trip
5 day San Jose itinerary
14 day itinerary: Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, Guanacaste
14 days: Tamarindo Monteverde, Bijagua, Rincon de la Vieja
5 days Arenal & Monteverde
Costa Rica itineraries for families
10 days waterfall itinerary: Rincon de la Vieja, Bijagua, Grecia and Manuel Antonio
What to Pack
Costa Rica packing list
Best footwear in Costa Rica
Packing for rainy season in Costa Rica
Money and Travel Expenses Planning
Handling money (Costa Rican currency)
Shopping and tipping in Costa Rica
The complete cost of traveling in Costa Rica
Tips to save money in Costa Rica
Cost of traveling for 1 week in Costa Rica
Hotels in Costa Rica
Airbnb in Costa Rica
All our hotel reviews
Best luxury hotels in Arenal
Best all inclusive hotels in Costa Rica
Where to stay in Osa Peninsula
Guide to finding accommodation
Best hotels near Liberia International Airport
Best hotels near SJO Airport
Flying to Costa Rica
Liberia International Airport
San Jose International Airport
Flying options from Seattle to Costa Rica
Costa Rica domestic flights
The complete guide to getting around Costa Rica
Crossing the border from Costa Rica and Nicaragua – Penas Blancas
How to get to Tortuguero
How to get to Rio Celeste
How to get to Manuel Antonio
How to get to Tamarindo
How to get to Playas del Coco/Papagayo from Liberia Airport
Driving/Renting a Car
Costa Rica road conditions
Costa Rica gas stations
Driving in Costa Rica
Tips for renting a car in Costa Rica
Costa Rica shuttles
Costa Rica car seats for kids
Driving around Costa Rica videos
Costa Rica car rental insurance
Driving from Liberia to Arenal
Types of cars to rent in Costa Rica
Tips for taking public transportation
Taking the bus from San Jose to Playas del Coco
Taking the bus from San Jose to Playa Jaco
Taking the bus from Jaco to Manuel Antonio National Park
Puntarenas Paquera ferry
How to take the boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay
Tips on taking a taxi
Costa Rica car rental discount
Diamante Eco Adventure Park discount
Pacuare River white water rafting discount
Guanacaste day tours discount
La Fortuna and Arenal Tours discount
San Jose day tours discount
La Paz waterfall gardens discount
Tortuguero packages discount
Club Rio Adventure Club discount
Tortuga Island cruise disount
Manuel Antonio/Quepos tours discount
6 great gifts for the Costa Rica travelers
6 things more expensive in Costa Rica
7 things cheaper in Costa Rica than the US
Thank you for your brilliant website, I have found it really helpful.
Please could I ask for your advice about tipping in Costa Rica.
We have some preplanned excursions and transfers booked. Would you normally tip the drivers?/ tour guides? and how about staff in hotels?
Also – thinking about cash – how easy is it to locate cash points and are both dollars and local currency usually accepted? and Do most restaurants etc accept credit cards?
Hi Laura, please check the following posts to answer your questions
Handling money in Costa Rica
how much to tip in Costa Rica
Bryan Buss says
Adobe states that their Jaco location is closed. Best alernative? I would greatly appreciate some help.
Hi Bryan, their Jaco office is closed but they offer free delivery and car pick up to Jaco still. You can select San Jose and then write in the comments the hotel you’re at in Jaco and what time you’d like the car delivered or picked up (830 AM to 430 PM).
Yugo Takahashi says
What a fantastic site! An extensive amount of useful information for someone like me who has always been interested in visiting Costa Rica. I do have one question…How bad are the mosquito? I am trying to plan a family vacation with my wife and toddler son to Guanacasta this August and my wife is very concerned. She is often the target of mosquito bites. Any suggestion other than bringing bug repellent?
Hello Yugo, I’m glad you find the site helpful 🙂
August is right in the middle of our rainy season and mosquitoes are worse during that time of year. Honestly, the best protection is bug repellent and wearing long layers. Unfortunately there isn’t much escaping the mosquitoes since they’re everywhere. Whenever we go out at night, I will always bring a long scarf to cover my legs or wear a long dress/skirt. Then I use insect repellent.
Yugo Takahashi says
Thank you for the quick response and suggestions. I look forward to continuing to explore you site.
Sarah Stevenson says
Just wanted to say thank you so much for all the information on your blog!! It was incredibly useful as we were planning our honeymoon. We just got back and had a wonderful time!
Hi Sarah! I’m so glad to hear that and that you had a nice honeymoon! Thank you for reading our blog!
This is wonderful! So excited for my trip to Monteverde next month 🙂
Millionaire Dojo says
Thanks so much for creating this website! I’d be clueless without it. Taking our first trip there in a couple of days and I feel comfortable with our plans after reading through a lot of your posts.
Hi Debbie! I’m glad the blog has been helpful for you trip! As for Braulio Carrillo national park, it is about a 45 minute – 1 hour drive outside of San Jose so if you can get there by 12 PM, you can visit for an hour or so walk in the afternoon. I actually highly recommend going to this eco park: Rainforest Adventures. They’re right next to the national park and have a nice trail, aerial tram and ziplining tour.
For renting a car for a day, you can definitely do that but some companies require a minimum of 3 days or else they have to charge the 3 day amount. Mytanfeet has a partnership with Adobe Rent a Car to give our readers up to a 20% discount on the car rental with extra benefits. You can check rates here: Costa Rica car rental discount and don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any questions!
Debbie Creekmore says
I have used your resources to plan a 10 day trip to Costa Rica in February! Thank you for so much information!
We will be flying from Drake Bay to San Jose at the end of our trip. Our flight lands at 10am and we don’t fly home until the next day. Do you think this will be enough time to visit Braulio Carrillo park? Or would there be another option that you would recommend? We are staying just outside of the airport. Also, would you recommend a car rental for the day or would there be another option?
Jaffrey NH USA
Hi Brandon, you will need to do a visa run and you can do it in one day to either Nicaragua or Panama. If you don’t, when you exit the airport, the airport officers will see you overstayed and will fine you I think $100 (but you’re supposed to pay beforehand so they can deny you or fine you more) and you aren’t allowed to come back in for 3 times the amount you overstayed. One way people do a visa run and make it into a fun activity is to take the 1 day tour to Nicaragua from Guanacaste. If you’ll be in the Tamarindo, Liberia, or Coco area you can do the tour and you can get a new stamp plus see Nicaragua at the same time. You can read more about it here: Nicaragua one day tour from Costa Rica.
Also, depending on which airport you are flying out of and which airline, they will ask you for your return date. Every time I fly with United and American, they have asked us for a return date within 90 days. You need to show them that at one point you’re leaving CR since your ticket is 92 days and proof of the ticket. You may be able to show them a bus ticket or the tour confirmation that you’ll be leaving the country. However, since it is the airline, I am not sure if that is accepted. I always buy a cheap refundable ticket and refund it when I’m past security since that is guaranteed accepted.
Brandon hatch says
I just realized that my plane tickets span 92 days because of November and December having 31 days. Will they still allow me in the country? Will I have to cross the border at Panama or Nicaragua? If so how long would I have to stay out of Costa Rica to extend my stay for the two days? Love your site thanks for all the help
Hello, I’ve been reading up on your blog and it has great resources. I also booked a vehicle through your website. Our group is driving from La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio later this month and was wondering if you had any recommended stops on the way to break up the drive a little bit. Nothing overnight – more like a great short hike or restaurant recommendation for lunch, etc.? Thanks!
A lot of people like to stop by the Tarcoles bridge to see the crocodiles, that is near Jaco. There is also a nice waterfall called Las Musas that is in San Ramon which you will pass through that is a nice and short walk to the waterfalls.
Hi Denise, Manuel Antonio is the name of the entire area of the national park and the hill. So from Quepos, which is the town next to it, you have to go up a windy hill to get to the national park and beach. Many hotels are on the hill with a few on the beach and near the national park entrance. There is a bus that goes from Quepos to the national park every day every 30 minutes or so so it’s easy to get around. It doesn’t really matter where you are stay in that aspect, but if you want to stay somewhere with a view of the national park, you will find many 5 star luxury hotels on the hill with great views such as Mariposa, Mansion Inn, Arenas del Mar, Parador.
Manuel Antonio area itself is relatively small so you can cover that very well in several days (national park, relaxing at the beach, night walks, mangrove, etc.) But it’s also very accessible to other destinations such as Jaco (1 hour away), Dominical and Uvita (about 45 minute drive) so you can definitely go and explore different areas.
I have a few posts that will help your planning.
Maneul Antonio National Park
Hiking Manuel Antonio National Park
Things to do in Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica 1 week itinerary including Jaco, Manuel Antonio and Uvita
Denise W. says
I just came across your blog and it’s one of the best resources I’ve found for Costa Rica! We spent 2 weeks this March in Tamarindo and loved the beach town vibe with all the amenities such as bars, restaurants, shopping and tour operators. We are thinking of going to Manuel Antonio next and are wondering if MA is as big as Tamarindo. Does it have the same number of restaurants, bars etc.?
I read some where about staying on the “hill” or on the beach, what does this mean? Is one better than the other? We are interested in seeing wildlife, taking a couple of tours and enjoying the beach, will we have enough to keep us occupied for 2 weeks in MA?
Jodi Weening says
Hello, we have really enjoyed your blog here – thanks for some great information! You seem to advise against travelling during Semana Santa; however, we are here now and really wanted to take in some of the processions and other festivities. We are near Neuvo Arenal and are willing to go as far as Liberia in order to get the best cultural experience we can. We have not had any luck online looking for dates/times/places… Are you able to help us or direct us to the information?
Hi Jodi, Semana Santa gets suuuuuper crowded at the beaches and it’s really expensive which is why we don’t particularly recommend visiting during this week. I’m honestly not sure of anything going on, I know LIberia usually has a Good Friday parade. I am not sure if there are any fiestas going on (but there is always on somewhere) in the area. If you go to Liberia, there might be something going on at the park this weekend.
Jodi Weening says
Thank-you for your reply. We ended up driving to Tilaran and participating in their church service and Good Friday procession. It was a very neat experience – nothing like anything we had been involved in before. Have a happy Easter Weekend and thanks again 🙂
That’s great! Glad you were able to find something, Tilaran isn’t nearly as crowded as the beaches so I’m sure it was lovely.
Jean-Yves Fillion says
Hi guys. I am returning this year to Esterillos for 1 week. In a few years i would love to stay for months there but i would love to drive with my car from Montreal. I heard that going through Mexico is somewhat dangerous by car . What do you suggest?
Thank you for reading our blog! Regarding your question we have no experience about driving all the way from North America, we have seen campers here with a Canada o USA plate but to be 100% honest we don’t know. Good good in your trip.
Honestly we don’t know too much about it since we’ve never done it before. There is a Backpacking through Central America FB group that talks a lot about this I’m sure you can find someone who has done it before.
Hi Carol, if you can stay two nights in Tortuguero, that would be perfect. You don’t need a lot of time in Tortuguero but two nights is good just in case you don’t see any turtles the first night or if you want to go kayaking in the national park (highly highly recommended) or relax. Also since Tortuguero is a bit of an adventure to get there as it takes an entire day, it’s worth it to stay two nights.
As for Puerto Viejo, there are a lot of things to do in that area like all the beaches, Cahuita National Park, the wildlife refuge, Jaguar Rescue Center and exploring town. If you find yourself getting a bit bored at the beach, you can go snorkeling, surfing or rent a bike. Since you guys have a car, you can also visit the BriBri reservation to take a chocolate tour from the indigenous people (awesome tour, you can read about it here: Bribri chocolate tour). On your way back from Puerto Viejo to San Jose, you can stop by Rainforest adventures to go ziplining or ride their aerial tram. This eco-park is amazing and has tons of wildlife (You can read about it here: Rainforest Adventures Atlantic. You can even stay a night in their lodge too if you don’t feel like staying in Puerto Viejo the whole time. I highly recommend doing that if that’s something that sparks your interest because they are right next to Braulio Carillo National Park so you have a chance to see so much wildlife like toucans, tapirs, anteaters, snakes and lots more.
Hi- Great website, thanks for sharing all the useful tips! We are coming to CR May 11-20 for our second trip to this beautiful country. The first time we focused on the Pacific side of the country (which we absolutely loved!). This time we’re going to explore the Caribbean side. We booked a night in Tortuguero after reading one of your posts. Any other advice or recommendations for exploring the Caribbean side? We arrive in San Jose at 12pm on May 11 (booked a rental car through you guys with Adobe- thanks for that!) and plan on driving to Puerto Viejo as soon as we pick up the car. We don’t fly out until 1pm on the 20th, and I am starting to get serious about planning our itinerary. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!
I definitely recommend renting – the bus system in Guanacaste is not super efficient and though there is a bus from LIR to Tamarindo, it takes awhile. With a car you can go anywhere you want, explore the area and check out other beaches and towns other than Tamarindo. You can find a lot of real estate resources in Tamarindo on the Internet. You can read more about renting a car here: Costa Rica car rental tips
Hi, we are thinking about a 10-day exploratory trip to the Tamarindo area to see if we want to buy a place there. We would not be living there full-time, maybe 4-6 months there and then the rest in the U.S. We will be flying into LIR which is an hour away. Do you think it would be best to rent a car in Liberia or take a shuttlle/bus and rent one in Tamarindo? Also, can you recommend any real estate companies/realtors in Tamarindo? We have thought about renting our place out there and are curious as to what the rental market is like (we could put it on AirBnB.com too). I think our plan will be to get a Retiree Citizenship if we like it enough to buy a place there.
Hi Diego, thanks! We wrote a packing list for CR which has mentions of the places on that tour (Monteverde and Guanacaste) you can check out here: Costa Rica packing list Monteverde is considerably cooler so make sure to bring long pants and a jacket.
We have a specific guide to packing for rainy season here: Rainy season packing list Costa Rica This post is super helpful since rainy season is starting and it will be well under way in certain areas when you are in Costa Rica.
The key items to bring are mosquito repellent and sunscreen. You can read our recommendations for both here: Best mosquito repellent and Sunscreen recommendations
Have a great time on the tour!
Your website is awesome! Great information. We are going for our honeymoon to Costa Rica in 3 weeks and doing the Essentials(7 days ) tour thru Monkey Tours. I think you guys also did a video on that. We were wondering if you have a “specific” packing list for those locations/events or recommend a must list.
Thank you for the help!
Hi guys, glad you like the site! As for renting a car, our partnership with Adobe, a Costa Rican car rental company gives the best discount and benefits you’ll find! You can read more about it and book your car here: Costa Rica car rental discount Adobe is a highly reputable car rental company in CR and you won’t find benefits like ours anywhere else 🙂
As for the route, you’ll take Ruta 1 (Interamericana 1 through Puntarenas to San Jose) from Rio Perdido. You can find the route on Google Maps. Honestly, there’s nothing really that spectacular on this route. You can stop at Puntarenas, which is an important port in Costa Rica to check out the beach and then once in San Jose you can explore the city and Central Valley. In San Jose, you can get the best cultural experiences since that is where majority of the Costa Ricans live and work.
There are a couple of museums, The Gold and Children’s Museum and a national theater (National Theater) that are excellent for history and culture. I also highly recommend walking through downtown San Jose, this is the best way to observe local city life.
joy mccalla says
I just stumbled on your website and love it! I am a single mom with a 15 year old daughter. In June, we will be coming to Costa Rica for for 7 days, flying into Liberia and flying out of San Jose. We are staying at Rio Perdido near Bagaces for 4 days and then have 3 days free and need to end up in San Jose. We should rent a car through your website, right? What route should we take and what should we see on the way to San Jose? I am really interested in experiencing the culture.
Joy and Lily
Hi Samantha and Yeison….. We are a group of 4 and are interested in visiting Costa Rica in June 2016. We have approx. 14 days total. This is our first time in Costa Rica. Can you recommend a good tour company that offers a tour package that includes hotels, tours, meals, and transportation for reasonable price. We love your “list of 50 must dos”. We won’t have time to do all of that, but would love to have a piece of that adventure. Please help. Nee
We really like Costa Rica Monkey Tours, they have pre-made itineraries that includes hotels, tours, transportation and some meals or they can customize for you which will include everything. They’re excellent at putting itineraries together and can help you put together a package perfect for you. Feel free to email them at email@example.com and let them know we sent you, they treat Mytanfeet readers very well 🙂
Hi, I am planning on visiting Costa Rica the end of March into April for 9 days and just realized it is over Easter. I understand that it is extremely busy and was planning on visiting Arenal, Monteverde, and Partita (near Manual Antonio). Do you suggest I do one area over another first to avoid crowds since we did rent a car from Abode so we will be driving? I am not sure exactly which dates are busy if it is before or after Easter. Also, with Adobe is it unlimited miles? I did not see it written on my confirmation. Thank you!
Hi Judy, Semana Santa is March 20-26 and vacation for locals starts the Friday before, the 18th all the way until the Monday the 28th. Honestly, no matter where you go it’s going to be crowded since all those areas are very touristic and popular. Alot of locals take that whole week off too and go on vacation with their families. I think Monteverde might be a tiny bit less crowded than Arenal and Manuel Antonio since most of the locals like to go to the beaches and national parks for vacation. Do know that rates for the week of Semana Santa increase quite a bit and places fill up really fast, so make sure you book your accommodation asap. Make sure you arrive early to the national parks, stock up on items at the supermarket and just be prepared because it is really crazy in Semana Santa. Adobe has unlimited miles.