FAQ - Frequently asked questions

Which documents do I need to enter Costa Rica?

German citizens and citizen from the United States of America can travel visa free to Costa Rica for touristic motives for up to 90 days with their passport. Your passport should at least be valid for another 6 months. Travelers must be able to present a return flight/onward flight/bus ticket that states that they will exit the country, proof of financing for the stay in the country, as well as the address of their first accommodation (last will be asked on the entrance forms that are handed out on the plane).

Please note, if you are not a US-citizen, that you will need an ESTA-Visa for traveling through or having a layover in the United States of America. In case of traveling with a child, please note that the child can only apply for an ESTA-Visa if it is in possession of a childrens’ passport that was issued or renewed before 10/26/2006. In case your child is in possession of a childrens’ passport that has been issued or renewed after this date, or if it is only in possession of a childrens’ ID, your child is in need of a different visa.

Entry regulations are subject to constant changes. Therefore, no responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. Please check the current regulations for your country of origin prior to departure.

How can Kalkonu Travel assist me, when their office is in Costa Rica?

Of course, service is very important to us. Our costumer service happens via mail and phone calls. We are more than happy to give you a call, since personal contact is key. Due to time difference, we will work on setting an appointment that is most convenient for you. Don’t hesitate in case you have questions, we are here to help.

Is it safe to travel by rental car?

Traveling through Costa Rica by rental car is safe but you should take notice of some differences to your home country. You should expect to be on the road longer than you are used to from your home country due to a less developed infrastructure. Highways often have only two lanes and especially in the heartland, roads normally just have one lane. Even though Costa Rica is a rather small country, you will need longer for seemingly short distances. On the bright side, you will always be surrounded by nature, even on the highways. A round trip by rental car is definitely recommend.

Are there dangerous animals in Costa Rica?

Like in other tropical countries there are toxic animals in Costa Rica but encounters with them are rare. You are going to see a lot of different insects, and yes, some of them do carry poison. But if you are in good health conditions this poison is not going to kill you. Snakes and spiders are common in the rain forests and that is why travelers have to stick to the beaten path and always remember that animals only attack humans when they feel threatened. Therefore you do not need to fear the species but enjoy their beauty if you see them. Our motto is: live and let live!

What currency does Costa Rica have?

The local currency is the Costa Rican Colon and is quite stable at the moment. 1 US Dollar are approximately 580 Colones (data from 07/12/2019). You can also pay in US dollars, even though we recommend you to always have some colones in handy. You can exchange currencies at the airport or in local banks. Especially in hotels and bigger restaurants and stores you can pay with credit card.

What's the best time to observe turtles, wales and dolphins?

There are four different species of turtles living along Costa Ricas coasts.
Every species has a different hatching time. The Leatherback turtle can be seen in at the Carribean coast between March and July. The Olive ridley sea turtle can be observed between July and Feburary along the Pacific coast. Between May and November you might get lucky and pot the Hawksbill sea turtle at the Atlantic. In order to observe the Green sea turtle you should visit Santa Rosa National Park and Guanacaste National Park between October and March.

Wales are commonly seen in the months from December to April and from August to December. Although you can spot the humpback wales almost throughout the entire year due to their mating habits.

Dolphins can be seen on either side of the coast all year round.

What's the meaning of the Costa Rican flag?

There were many changes in the flag of Costa Rica. The current flag has been established in 1998. The order of the stripes was introduced in 1848. The colors are related to the former Central American confederation. The white symbolizes both, the connection between South and North America, as well as peace. The blue stripes symbolize the Caribbean and the Pacific oceans. The red color is a symbol for the daily work in the country. The design is influenced by the french revolution.

Are there popular sports in Costa Rica?

The most common and most liked sport is without a doubt soccer. You will see soccer fields everywhere in the country because ticos love to play this sport in their free time. They grow up with soccer, no matter if they play ball in a sports club or with friends on the weekends. Especially the sport clubs of Deportivo Saprissa, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense and Club Sport Herediano are well known in Costa Rica. Surfing is another common sport here, especially for people who live on the Caribbean coast. Sport enthusiasts from all over the world come here to surf the best waves. In the inland you will find many people biking. The mountains invite with their biking trails and amazing views. A country full of varieties when it comes to sports.

What does Pura Vida stand for?

Translated Pura Vida means the pure life. Costa Rica is a country with very happy and joyful people. Even though they don't have Western standards here, they are simply happy with what they have. The lust for life is one characteristic which makes this country so amazing and unique. Often the expression is also used in terms of hello and good bye. Being happy is not the goal, it is a way of life. Experience the Pura Vida spirit during your trip!

Do I get any travel documents from Kalkonu?

We will send you travel documents prior departure, including voucher for hotels and pre-booked tours. You will also find a detailed agenda of your trip. You should bring the documents along in case you need to present the vouchers to the tour providers or hotels.

Does an exit fee exist?

Yes, Costa Rica has an exit fee. When exiting the country via airplane, the fee is 29,- USD. Most airlines have that fee included in the ticket price already. Please ask your airline if the fee is already included in your ticket or not.

If you leave the country overland, the fee is 9,- USD (also payable in colones).

How is the medical assistance in case of emergency?

In comparison to other countries in Latin America, Costa Rica is cutting the edge when it comes to health care. The hospitals in the San Jose area are reaching a western standard. In regions that does not provide a good infrastructure, its often the case that the next hospital is further away. But do not worry even in smaller towns are doctor offices and most of doctors do speak English. The doctors in Costa Rica are very well educated and many of them went to medical school in the USA. Since Costa Rica is not a very big country, you will be able to reach a hospital quickly, if necessary.

What clothing should I bring?

You will definitely need swim wear for the beach but since the temperature varies a lot in the heart of the country, you should also bring a jacket. Therefore it is recommended to bring clothes for every occasion. Hiking shoes are also a priority because you will for sure do some exciting hikes through the tropical forests. In general, you should make sure to bring some long sleeves as well - that’s how you can avoid mosquito bites. For sun protection, you should also bring a had and sunglasses.

Which little things should I also pack?

In tropical countries, such as Costa Rica, you should protect yourself against mosquito bites. There is no need to buy a specific brand. All drugstores and pharmacies will be happy to assist you. A cream that treats stings can also be helpful.

Don’t forget to pack sunscreen because the sun is very powerful in Costa Rica.

If you want to be on the safe side, also bring a small travel pharmacy with medicine that you can use in case you need to do so. But of course, you can also buy the most of common medicine here in Costa Rica.

A torch is very handy to have here since short power breakdowns could occur at times.

How much cash should I bring?

For a start, 200 USD in cash are enough. On site, most hotels and bigger restaurants and stores accept credit cards. Furthermore, you can always withdraw more cash at the local ATMs. Some banks only offer the local currency, but others will let you withdraw US Dollars as well.

What insurance do I need for the trip?

Please note, that your health insurance won’t cover any emergencies abroad. Therefore, we highly advise our clients to close a travel health insurance.
In addition to that, you should also get a travel cancellation insurance because most hotels have very strict cancellation terms.

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