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Here is a collection of helpful tips that can make a transition in Costa Rica run a lot smoother and help one to integrate into the community with ease.



  • Learn some basic Spanish before coming to Costa Rica. This helps one to feel more confident, and it is very well received among Ticos.

  • If one does not plan on staying at a resort, it is recommended that you get out and explore the country and meet the people. It’s worth it.

  • Try and interact with as many Costa Ricans as possible to make the experience more authentic. Plus, one can run into more fun when with a Tico who knows the ins and outs of the country.

  • Make a passport copy and the stamp page showing the entry into Costa Rica just in case something happens and the passport is lost, stolen, or damaged.

  • It sounds silly, but look both ways before crossing any street, because there are all kinds of different vehicles on the road at the same time.

  • Even though hotels and restaurants add 10% service charge and 13% tax to the bills and tipping is not expected, it is appreciated.

  • Bring and wear sunscreen no matter where you're traveling to, even if it is cloudy. Costa Rica is only 10˚ North of the Equator so the sun is INTENSE and it is very easy to get burned very quickly.

  • If its the rainy season (May to November) bring a rain jacket, boots, and an umbrella.

  • Greet everyone in the room with a kiss and say good bye to each and every person or else one could be considered a very rude person.

  • Smile and say hello or "hola" to everyone, even in passing on the street. Costa Ricans are very friendly and will more than likely say hello first.

  • Costa Rican’s take a lot of pride in looking and smelling good-something they value very much. Because  it is hot and humid, people tend to sweat more so keep clean, bathe at least once daily, use baby power, foot spray, perfumes, colognes, soap, shampoo, and mouthwash. Try and dress nice as well and appropriately for the setting.

  • Brush your teeth at least three times a day just as the Costa Ricans do after every meal.

  • If possible, take a canopy tour, head to the beaches and try to see a volcano.

  • If on a budget take advantage of the public transportation.

  • Try and visit at least one National Park.

  • Dance or learn to dance the night away at local discos, bars, or restaurants.

  • Travel in pairs or groups, there really is safety in numbers.

  • Rent for at least 6 months before buying to make sure it is a desirable area that meets specific needs and wants.

  • If planning to purchase real estate in Costa Rica come and see the property and do research on the property to avoid getting scammed.

  • Enjoy trying the different varieties of food prepared in Costa Rica.

  • Head to the local farmers market to check out all the different varieties of fruits and vegetables that are most certainly not found in North America. Buy some to try, but ask how it needs to be prepared first.

  • Drink an agua de pipa or coconut water, it is very refreshing.

  • Enjoy a cup of fresh coffee in the morning or afternoon. Costa Rican coffee is some of the best in the world.

  • Try an Imperial or Pilsen Beer even if beer is not a normal beverage of choice.

  • Try and see as much of the country as possible. It is truly incredible.

  • Take a bunch of pictures to remember the trip.

  • Come back and explore all the things missed on a prior visit.

  • And most of all enjoy everything Costa Rica has to offer. It is a one of a kind experience!!!



  • Don’t get discouraged; even if someone knows Spanish, Costa Rican’s have their own dialect and their own slang so one may have trouble adjusting and understanding at first.

  • Try not to raise the arms in one of the metal showers, as one could receive a big shock literally.

  • Do not get too physical in public. Excessive demonstrations of affection in public are not well received.

  • Do not carry valuables around if it can be avoided. Keep them in a safe and hidden place if possible. Petty crime can happen anywhere in the world, so be proactive and protected. In fact, try not to bring anything too valuable.

  • Do not hike on unmarked paths which could lead to one getting lost or finding yourself in a dangerous area.

  • Do not take things like rocks, coconuts, live animals, or seashells from the beaches or rain forest.

  • Never feed the animals, no matter how tame they might seem. They are wild animals. Too many serious accidents have resulted from people doing this.

  • Don’t come to Costa Rica with the expectation that everything is going to be the same as back home. This will only lead to disappointment.

  • Do not take a taxi without negotiating a fare or making them turn on the meter known as a maria.

  • Don’t ever eat, drink, or smell anything a taxi driver offers. It could be laced.

  • In a car accident never move the vehicle. You will be considered at fault regardless of what happened. Wait for the traffic police to come.

  • Never drive or swim intoxicated.

  • Nude bathing is not widely received in Costa Rica.

  • Never pick up hitchhikers.

  • Never leave vehicles unlocked or valuables visible.

  • Try not to vacation in Costa Rica on Christmas or Easter weeks since prices are sky high, lodging is almost impossible to find, and a rental car is out of the question.

  • Don’t be surprised to see drugs and prostitution. Avoid San Jose at night if possible.

  • Don't let your guard down, that is when incidents can happen.


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