Costa Rica Info
Travel Destination Costa Rica
Situated between Panama in the South and Nicaragua in the North, Costa Rica is one of the favorite travel destinations for European- and US Tourists in the Caribbean and Latin America since many years. Besides its endless beaches on two different oceans (Atlantic and Pacific), it is also the unique landscape with its numerous National Parks and Reserves, which make Costa Rica so interesting. From the steaming-hot Caribbean rainforests and beaches, over the cloud forests of the higher regions and numerous peaks and active volcanoes with an altitude of more than 10.000 ft., mountain regions which remind one of Switzerland, down to the flat and dry Northeastern region or the numerous dream beaches on the Pacific site: Costa Rica offers it all at short distances. Additionally, you will encounter an incomparable flora and fauna.
Another reason to choose Costa Rica as your next holiday destination, is the very well developed infrastructure in tourism, with good public transportation, a wide range in accommodations (from comfortable-rustic places starting as low as US$20 for a double room, up to modern, luxury rooms or bungalows at approx. $60-$90 per double room), numerous restaurants and many exciting activities (white water rafting, scuba-diving and snorkeling, mountain-biking, canopy tours, hiking, paragliding, fishing, motorcycling and many more). English is spoken in most hotels, restaurants and travel agencies, so you can easily do a Costa Rica trip without speaking Spanish. The local currency is the Colón (click here for the current US$ exchange rate at the Costa Rica Central Bank), but in many hotels, restaurants and shops, US-Dollars are also accepted.
Costa Rica can be counted among the safest countries in Latin America. Since decades, Costa Rica has been the destination for tourists from around the globe, many of them having returned several times, because it is such a beautiful and safe place to travel. Not only the low crime-rate, but above all its very friendly inhabitants make this country a perfect holiday destination. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to take standard safety-measures such as:
Do not leave luggage unattended in your car! In crowded places, carry your valuables on your body! Do not leave valuables unattended at the beach! Take part of your money in traveler’s checks or use a credit card!
85 % of the population are Catholics; Most the remaining 15 % belong to the increasing number of protestant congregations. In Costa Rica, there is no threat by any terrorist or militant groups. The country, which emphasizes on its neutrality, has never experienced any disturbances such as its neighbor Nicaragua in the years 70´ s and 80´ s. Costa Rica has no army, but a very well educated police force (Fuerza Pública). In every larger city, you can easily find English speaking police officers, doctors, lawyers, etc.
The hygienic standards in Costa Rica are high, compared to other Latin American countries. You can even drink the tap water in most places and you do not have to worry about eating fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry or meat. There are no vaccinations required by immigration, but it is advisable to get hepatitis A/B, tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations. Costa Rica is practically free of malaria, so it is totally sufficient, to protect oneself with a standard insect repellent.
Public Transportation, Car Rental or Motorcycle Rental?
Costa Rica has a very well developed public transportation system. There are busses to almost every corner of the country, as well as numerous domestic flight destinations offered by the local airlines SANSA and Nature Air. If you have limited time only, you should consider to rent a car or a motorcycle for at least a part of your stay, as bus rides can be very time consuming. The center of the country offers a variety of national parks, volcanoes, lakes and mountain ranges, which can be best explored with an own vehicle. If you ask us for our opinion, we would always recommend to rent a motorcycle as the best way to discover this true paradise for 2-wheel riders.
The road system is well developed; All larger cities are connected by paved highways (2-4 lanes). However, you do have to expect numerous huge potholes even on main highways, which is why your average speed will be slow. Who prefers to go off-road, has plenty of opportunities to do so. The roads to smaller villages up in the mountains or along the coast are mostly graveled slopes. On other trails, there are river crossings to be mastered and in the rainy season, some roads are quite muddy. All our rental cars are 4-wheel drive with high ground clearance and therefore perfectly suited to discover this country. Who rides a motorcycle will be able to go even more off-road, as many small trails cannot be done by car, but only by horse, by feet or on two wheels. We only offer dual sport motorcycles (suited for on-road and off-road).
Traffic in Costa Rica is right hand drive and therefore like the US and most of Europe. Orientation is not always easy, but we will provide you with good road maps and detailed directions how to get to your chosen destinations. If you should get lost, the local people are glad to help tourists to find their way and most of them speak at least a little English. There is an obligatory state insurance on all vehicles operated in Costa Rica and in case of an accident, traffic police is usually quick at the spot.
What Do I Need?
For a 4×4 car rental or a dual sports motorcycle rental from Wild Rider, you need to show your valid passport and driver license, as well as a Credit Card for the safety deposit (for prices and deposit please check the section Motorcycle-/Car Rental).
For motorcyclists, we also provide helmets, locks for the bikes, and bungees to fix your luggage onto the bike (most motorcycles have a luggage carrier). We cannot provide boots, jackets and rain gear. Who wants to bring his motorcycle gear, should make sure that jacket, pants and boots are not too warm.
The main tourist season in Costa Rica is December to April. This period also corresponds to what is called “verano” (summer) and which is the dry season in Central and Western Costa Rica. There is also an intermediate tourist season in July and August, which are two months with less rain. And the weather is never the same throughout the country. At the Caribbean Coast, August is the month with the least rain and September and October are mostly sunny. An ideal month to travel in Costa Rica is also November. The rainy season is almost over but the main tourist-season has not yet started. Who is not annoyed by occasional rain showers, should think about traveling in the off-season period, as most hotels reduce their prices significantly and you will encounter fewer tourists.
Ein idealer Reisemonat ist auch der November: Die Regenzeit ist (fast) vorbei, und der richtige Besucherstrom beginnt erst Mitte Dezember. Wer sich an gelegentlichen, zumeist kurzen Regenschauern nicht stört, kann außerhalb der Hauptsaison ungestörter und billiger reisen, da die meisten Hotels in dieser Periode ihre Preise erheblich reduzieren.
A Costa Rica trip can never be too long. Despite the rather small size of the country, there is an awful lot to see, thanks to the diversity of the landscape. As a minimum we recommend 2 weeks, of course, 3 weeks would be much better. The Caribbean coast can be easily reached by bus. Including a two or three days’ trip to the national park of Tortuguero, you should calculate five to six days for this part of the country. For trips to the center of Costa Rica and along the pacific coast one should consider to rent a car or a motorcycle at least for a while. Traveling by bus in these areas can be very time consuming and takes away the opportunity to just stop wherever you want. You can combine bus, car rental and motorcycle rental. We will be glad to help you, finding the best combination for you.
How do I plan my trip?
We do not just rent cars and dirt bikes; we also take the time to advise you carefully how to plan your Costa Rica trip best. Not only for the time you rent a vehicle from us, but also when you decide to go on by bus. We tell you which areas are recommendable at the various seasons, what to see, where to stay and what to do. We can make hotel- and airline reservations for you. For the bikers, we also offer pre-planned tours, which you can discover on your own or with a tour guide. If you need any information up-front, please send us an e-mail with your questions.