Vista Costa Rica is a tourist guide magazine which publishes 30,000 copies per month and is distributed in Costa Rica at the airport by Costa Rican Immigration and Airport Taxi. We have inexpensive advertising rates. We get right to the tourist as they land on our soil ! The maps and tourist information that follow are all directly from our magazine.
WELCOME! We provide useful information to help you make the most of your time and money in Costa Rica.
Try to get around the country without back-tracking. You can easily make a circular route around the country starting from the capital, San Jose, and save your tours out of San Jose for the last.
Rain forests occur from the beaches up to where the air gets cool in the mountains and thatīs where the Cloud forests begin.
Each forest, volcano, beach, and town is distinct - but they have a lot in common as well. Pacific & Caribbean beaches are very different from eachother, volcanos are very different from one another, one cloud forest is much like another. Rain forests vary from one another. Guanacaste and Nicoya have dry forests that have no comparison. There is a variety animals, foods, music, arts & crafts, sports, and night life.
You can change dollars and travellers checks almost anywhere. Itīs best to change at the airport, your hotel, banks, never on the street. For nights and weekends, Soda Palace, avda 2 & calle 2, downtown San Jos?.
We use Ē to express colones, the national currency. So, for the tourists travelling light, the bus from the airport to San Jose costs Ē135 or about 50 US cents. The fare for a taxi ride with Taxis Unidos, the official airport taxi, is $10 to San Jose central. The fare is per cab not per person. They are very reliable to get you back to the airport at the end of your trip.
Hotels are available everywhere you go and in every price range. Towns are small, when you get to one enjoy walking around and finding a hotel to suit your taste. Reservations are not always needed.
A "Soda" is a typical restaurant featuring the national dish "casado" having combinations of rice, black beans, spaghetti, cole slaw, fried plantains, choice of meat. They charge a 10% tip. Conventional restaurants serve casados and specialties and charge 23% tax and tip. If in doubt, ask first!
Likewise, with all services ask beforehand about all taxes and tips. Rooms are assessed an additional 3% bed tax.
Costa Rica is presented to you in 5 zones. Starting at San Jose, in the central zone, you can take a circular itinerary. One example, go to Quepos (pacifico sur) for 3 nights, then to Monteverde (zona norte) through Puntarenas for 3 nights, then to La Fortuna and volcano Arenal for 3 nights. Finally finish back in San Jose for day tours for white-water rafting, Tortuguero, casinos, shopping in Sarchi, cruises.
You can get around nearly as well by bus or car, however cars offer convenience. Never leave valuables inside the car unattended for 1 second. Invest in a good road map, few roads are marked. Verbal directions are rarely accurate, even if you understand them.
Prepare for unexpected rain and cold in the mountains and very direct rays from the sun at the beach. (we're 9° from the equator - use sunscreen)
On the following pages you will find maps, descriptions of towns and beaches, national parks, where to find banks, gas, ATM's, buses, ferries, planes, tour destinations, and hotels.
All phone calls in the country are local. If you want to know if itīs rainy at a certain beach, call a few hotels in the area and ask!
You can dial direct to your home country from any public phone without coins or debit cards with a 0-800 number.
There are private internet cafeīs to check your email at around US $ 1.50 per half hour.
Taxiīs only use meters in San Jose, negotiate the price first with the driver.
If you are separated from your passport and money, credit cards, etc. You can rely on banks to give you a wire transfer in 10-14 days. There are international courriers and Western Union for emergencies.
Only MasterCard and American Express credit cards can be replaced the same day (M-F), and only in San Jose.
Most hotels in San Jose let you store luggage, safely at no extra charge, while you tour other areas of the country.
Donīt speed in your rental car, the death rate from car accidents in Costa Rica is extremely high, and the police enforce speed laws.