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Costa Rica

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Facts Costa Rica

 

Capital - San Jose

 

Currency - Costa Rican Colon (CRC)

 

Official Language - Spanish.

 

Some native languages spoken around indigenous preserves. English spoken in main hotels and tourist areas as well as major businesses.

 

Religion - predominantly Roman Catholic 76%, Evangelical 14%, other 7%

 

Electricity - The standard in Costa Rica is the same as in the United States: 110 volts AC (60 cycles).

 

Business Hours - Banks are usually open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 4PM, although many have begun to offer extended hours. Offices are open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM (many close for 1 hr. at lunch). Stores are generally open Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 6PM (many close for 1 hr. at lunch).

 

Stores in modern malls generally stay open until 8-9PM and do not close for lunch. Most bars are open until 1-2AM.

 

Tipping - Tipping is not necessary in restaurants, where a 10% service charge is always added to your bill (along with a 13% tax). If service was particularly good, you can leave a little at your own discretion, but it is not mandatory. Porters and bellhops get around 75 cents per package or piece of baggage. You do not need to tip a taxi driver, a tip is not usually expected.

 

Time Zone - Costa Rica is on Central Standard Time (same as Chicago and St. Louis), 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.

 

Costa Rica does not use daylight saving time, so the time difference is an additional hour April through October.

 

Passports - U.S. and Canadian citizens need valid passports to enter Costa Rica but they do not need visas. A photocopy of the photo page of your passport to carry with you in the country comes handy as ID when shopping with credit cards.

 

Emergencies - In case of any emergency, dial tel. 911 (which should have an English-speaking operator);

 

For an ambulance, call 128; and to report a fire, call 118.

 

If 911 does not work, you can contact the police at :222-1365 or 221-5337, and hopefully they can find someone who speaks English.

 

Water - Although the water in San Jose is generally safe to drink, water quality varies outside the city. We recommend playing it safe and sticking to bottled drinks as much as possible. Also avoid ice.

 

We strongly suggest you buy Travel Insurance before departing the US. Please contact us for more information, we can help you buy Travel Insurance in less than 5 minutes.

 

About Costa Rica

 

Characterized by an impressive scenic beauty, consolidated system of protected biosphere areas, social and political stability, high educational levels, and an efficient infrastructure and services, Costa Rica's "No Artificial Ingredients" formula welcomes over a million visitors per year not to mention those who decided to stay and enjoy the joy of retirement discovering a "Pura Vida" style.

 

Its predominantly green landscapes offer volcanoes, rainforests, rivers, mountains and great beaches.

 

Costa Rica's territorial division includes 7 provinces: San Jose, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Guanacaste,Puntarenas and Limon.

 

Together they offer an attractive tourist destination, of endless possibilities.

 

The Poas Volcano with its impressive crater and fiery smoke is just a short drive from downtown San Jose.

 

A further drive leads you into rainforest paradise, an evergreen eden of cloud forest or the Tabacon Hotsprings, its National Park and the Arenal Volcano. One of the most visited areas of the country.

 

The Pacific coast of Guanacaste welcomes tourists to area beaches and attractions.

 

Tortuguero, the northern region offers high surf beaches and lush tropical greenery, with the best green hues to take in and admire.

 

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