Costa Rica FAQ’s

This page features the most asked questions about Costa Rica, according to search engine giant Google.  You’ll also find our professional answers!  

Google accounts for about 70% of all internet search queries in the United States and Canada. Ok, 71% if you count the work I put in the on “The Goog” researching this article.

We’re intrigued by what questions people have about Costa Rica, for no other reason than we want to provide you with the best, most accurate, and most up-to-date information about the nation of pura vida (we’ll get to that soon).

So, here are the top 10 Google queries about Costa Rica…with our answers!

Costa Rica

Most Common Questions About Costa Rica

  1. Where are the best places in Costa Rica to visit?

There are so many possibilities because Costa Rica is filled with beautiful beaches, charming pueblos, majestic cloud forests, mountains, volcanos, and sceneic coast lines on both the Atlantic (Caribbean) and Pacific. The best locaton to visit really depends on what you want to do when you’re there (surf? party? hike? fish?)

But, the top detinations for tourists and travelers year after year include Tamarindo, Jacó Beach, the Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde cloud forests, Manuel Antonio, Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side, as well as Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and Malpais. Of course, most people make a stop in the capital city, San Jose!

  1. What are the best beaches in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has no shortage of water sports and activities for tourists, from scuba diving to surfing, snorkeling to turtle watching. But, if you’re looking for just stunningly gorgeous streatches of sand that will be your computer screensaver for life, check out the beaches on this short list: Manuel Antonio, Playa Uvita, Samara, Tortuguero, Malpais, Cahuita, Montezuma, Montezuma, Playa Gandoca, Playa Cocles, and in and around Tamarindo.

  1. When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

When people check in with Google about the “best time” to visit Costa Rica, they’re usually referring to the time with the best weather, a.k.a. the least rain. In most of the country, the driest period starts in December and extends through April, when there’s very little (or no) precipitation and the temperatures grow progressively hotter. (April is scorching!)

Of course, those are also the busiest months for tourists, so beaches are crowded and hotel rooms and resorts frequently sold out or more expensive.

The rainy season, or the “Green Season” in Costa Rica runs from May or June through November, and it’s still a great time to visit (except maybe in September and October, when rainfall is at its peak). During those Green Season months, it may rain every day but with plenty of patches of sun mixed in, all of the plants are green and blooming, and its far less crowded – or expensive!

  1. Do you need a visa to visit Costa Rica?

The good news is that U.S. and Canadian citizens DO NOT need a visa to visit Costa Rica! Travelers from the north can just fly in and go through immigration at the airport in Costa Rica with their passport, obtaining up to a 90-day stay. That’s also true for passport holders from Australia, France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Brazil, and Mexico. However, make sure that your passport is in good condition and valid for at least six months after the date of your planned departure from Costa Rica.

  1. Do I need to change my U.S. dollars to Costa Rican colones?

The currency in Costa Rica is called colones, but you’ll be surprised how much they use U.S. dollars in everyday transactions, too. In fact, most ATMs allow you to withdraw dollars or colones, and hotels, restaurants, resorts, airports, etc. usually will accept dollars. Most often, you can offer a big U.S. bill and get change in smaller colones denominations. Just be careful to mind the exchange rate and only covert money in banks or reputable establishments, not on the street!

  1. What is Liberia Airport/ What’s the other airport aside from San José Airport?

When checking flights down to Costa Rica, people often run into a second option aside from the largest airport right outside San Jose, the capital city. They get even more confused when they see the name Liberia, which leads some people to believe they just booked a ticket to northern Africa! But Liberia Airport is located in Guanacaste, the northwestern province that’s closest to Tamarindo, and has plenty of direct flights from the U.S. and Canada, so it’s a viable and great option!

  1. Is prostitution really legal in Costa Rica?

Yup. Costa Rica is known as a socially progressive nation, and that includes laws that legitimize prostitution, with unions, healthcare, and police protection when necessary. Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica – a far cry from the laws in the U.S. or Canada!

(And you thought no one was watching when you typed that into Google! It’s ok because you’re not alone – hundreds of thousands of others are asking Google for that same info apparently.)

  1. Is it true that Costa Rica has no army?

It is true – Costa Rica disbanded their army and military back in 1948 after the nation pulled through a civil war. At that same time, they also drafted their constitution, which is the oldest and longest-lasting in all of Central America. Costa Rica is known for being a peaceful and enjoyable nation, so the fact that they have no army is a perfect advertisement!

  1. What kind of wildlife can you see in Costa Rica?

If you’re looking for nature, flora and fauna, Costa Rica is literally the best place in the world to visit, as it contains nearly 6% of the globe’s biodiversity despite being approximately the size of West Virginia. In Costa Rica, you’ll have the opportunity to see, observe, and even interact with monkeys, turtles, dolphins, whales, sloths, iguanas, toucans, and more exotic fish, birds, and butterflies than you can count.

  1. What does “pura vida” mean in Costa Rica?

If you’ve been reading some blogs, articles, and travel advice about visiting Costa Rica, then you probably keep seeing this “pura vida” saying. In Spanish, the direct translation is “pure life,” which is every Tico and Tica’s (the name for Costa Ricans) favorite expression.

It’s used as a good morning, hello, thanks, goodbye, chill out, and just about everything in between, perfectly conveying the vibe in Costa Rica. Pura vida!