Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in this Central American country.
Costa Rica is known for its ecotourism and adventure activities, and the country has taken proactive measures to ensure its tourism sector is sustainable. There are a number of well-known national parks and ecologically protected areas in the country, making it a desirable hotspot for flora and fauna enthusiasts. When you’re done with the outdoor adventures, Costa Rica has two coastlines worth of beaches on which you can relax.
The capital of San José also has a number of sights worth seeing, including the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica (National Theatre) where you can still buy performance tickets and the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. Both offer glimpses into the country’s Spanish colonial architecture and culture.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends travellers have their routine vaccinations are up to date.
- Hepatitis A– A liver disease caused by the consumption of contaminated food and water. You can contract this disease regardless of where you’re staying.
- Hepatitis B– This contagious liver disease is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, unprotected sex, and coming into contact with an unclean tattoo needle or piercing tool.
- Rabies– In Costa Rica, the rabies virus is most often transmitted to humans through bats, though other mammals may also be infected. The rabies vaccine is recommended if your travel itinerary involves a lot of outdoor activities.
- Typhoid Fever– The typhoid fever vaccine is recommended for travellers spending extended periods of time in rural and remote regions of Costa Rica.
To learn more about these vaccines and others that may be recommended based on your medical history or itinerary, see our full vaccinations page. A Passport Health travel specialist will guide you through what vaccines are right for you and when is best to receive them. Schedule your appointment before you go either online or by phone at +39 392 0056499.
Travellers should take precautionary measures against mosquito bites. Central American mosquitoes can carry a variety of diseases, including Chikungunya and Dengue fever. There is a low risk of malaria in Costa Rica, though neighbouring countries of Panama and Nicaragua do carry a risk of the disease.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are an evolving threat with information changing almost daily. Check back on this page or speak with a Passport Health travel specialist about what is currently happening in Costa Rica or wherever you may be traveling. Passport Health specialists are ready to help you, simply schedule your appointment by calling +39 392 0056499 or online.
Due to Costa Rica’s position close to the equator, it experiences no real seasons. Here are a few variations travellers should know about:
San José: The capital city is best visited in December and January when there is little rain and moderate temperatures. San José is at an elevation of nearly 1,200 metres, which regulates temperatures to between 17° Celsius and 30° Celsius.
Quepos: December to March are the most pleasant months to visit Quepos, a popular travel destination on Costa Rica’s western coast. Winter and spring often bring scattered rain showers and cooler temperatures. The average temperature throughout the year ranges from 24° Celsius to 26° Celsius.
Monteverde: This is a mountainous city in the northwest of Costa Rica. As a result of its 1,400 metre altitude, the city is misty and humid, with temperatures averaging 18° Celsius. Since this is a popular ecotourism destination, you will want to be closely checking weather conditions with your tour company.
Hurricane season in Costa Rica runs from June to November, the time of year when it is also the rainy season. Flooding and mudslides can occur and may affect travel plans.
Petty crime is common in Costa Rica, especially since foreigners are assumed to be wealthy. Avoid carrying items such as smartphones and jewelry, and carry minimal amounts of money. Crime hotspots include tourist areas, including bus stations, airports, and resorts.
If you’ve been a victim of crime, report the incident to the Oficina del Organismo de Investigación Judicial (Judicial Investigation Department Office). Passport theft is increasingly common, especially during tourism peak periods. By reporting the theft of your documents, you will protect yourself if they are later misused by the perpetrator.
Violent crime, assault, and kidnappings do occur among foreigners. In these instances do not resist the criminals. To protect yourself, use only official taxis, which are orange at the airport and red with a yellow triangle elsewhere.
Illegal drugs are frequently smuggled through and into Costa Rica. There are heavy penalties and potential jail time for anyone, including foreigners, caught using or trafficking drugs. Never transport a package for a stranger and watch your bags at all times, especially at transit ports.
It is illegal to take photos of official buildings. If you’re unsure if this applies to a place you want to photograph, ask first. Do the same before taking photos of women and children, as this is not always a welcome practice.
While watersports can be a fun part of a visit to Costa Rica, riptides are prevalent in the area and have caused many drownings. Ensure water activities are done with a reputable company.
In addition to the basics, Canadians should consider packing the following important items:
- A copy of a recent bank statement: Travellers to Costa Rica must prove financial stability. The Costa Rican government deems this to mean you have at least $100 USD in your bank account for each month in the country. Bring a print out of your bank statement as proof at the border.
- Copies of your important documents: Passport theft is a common occurrence for Canadian travellers. If you must carry identification, have it be a scan of your passport. Make several copies of the original, and have a scan of your Costa Rican entry stamp.
- Casual clothing: While your travel wear may already be more relaxed than your at-home wardrobe, casual clothing will be key for your time in Costa Rica. With the exception of San José, Costa Rica is very laid back style-wise, and you’ll stand out more if you look too fancy.
- Dry bags: These are key if planning to partake in water adventures or simply to protect your electronics and valuable documents from the Costa Rican humidity. If you don’t want to buy speciality gear, Ziploc bags should do the trick.
- Backpack or suitcase cover: This is important for when you arrive at the airport. Even if it’s not raining in your trip origin location, it could very well be drizzling when you get to Costa Rica. Luggage carrier trams are often not covered, and a backpack or suitcase cover will ensure your luggage isn’t waterlogged when it gets to you.
All Italians visiting Costa Rica should register with the Italian Embassy in Costa Rica before departure. This will inform the office of your travel plans within the country and will allow them to reach out to you in the case of an emergency or evacuation. If you plan to purchase a local SIM card you can also enter your phone number to receive SMS updates from the office.
Ambasciata d'Italia a San Josè
5ª entrada del Barrio Los Yoses-Casa blanca esq. 2 pisos.
1729-1000 SAN JOSE
Tel. : (00506) 2224 6574/2224 1082/2234 2326/2224 6467
24/7 Emergency Line: (00506) 8828-6286.
Visit the Embassy of Italy to Costa Rica website
A tourist visa is not required for Italian travellers to Costa Rica so long as stays are 90 days or less. To enter the country, travellers need a Italian passport valid for six months beyond the intended departure date and a return or onward ticket out of Costa Rica. Travellers must demonstrate they have sufficient funds to be in the country. Print a copy of your latest bank statement. Travellers are considered to have sufficient funds if they have at least $100 USD in their bank account for each month in the country.
Overstaying your welcome in Costa Rica is not recommended, and anyone who stays past 90 days without getting an extension can be deported from the country. Travellers who are deported will not be allowed to return for a decade.
There is a departure tax of $29 USD which can be paid at the airport using cash or credit card. This tax may be included in your airline ticket or tour company fare, so check before you leave.
If you have any questions about travelling to Costa Rica or are wondering what shots you may need for your trip, schedule an appointment with your International Health Passport clinic today by calling +39 392 0056499 or using our online scheduler.