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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Costa Rica

When to go

Costa Rica is snug at the heart of the isthmus - or bridge of terrain - that connects Central and South America. That gives it a beautiful climate where it's always over 20°C, edging closer to 30°C in the dry season.

Although it's hot all year around, you should know there are two distinct seasons in Costa Rica. First is the Green Season, rich in tropical rainfall. Then there's the High Season, where the sun blazes all day every day. Given that High Season runs between December and April, many visitors choose cheap Costa Rica holidays in the spring, with the hottest months being March, April and May. The capital, San Jose, enjoys the most balanced temperatures, which average 22°C all year round.

Health and safety

As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and family on your trip. Costa Rica's Mayan ruins and jungle treks are sensational adventures, but you want to ensure you're covered while braving the fun of the rainforest.

If you're going on Costa Rica holidays specifically to take part in sports or watersports, including hiking, you should make sure your insurance covers this. See our holiday extras page for more information, and for the latest health and safety information visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/costa-rica/health.

Passports and visas

British citizens don't need a visa to enter Costa Rica if they're visiting for up to three months, but must have a valid passport. By law, you must carry your passport with you and may need to show it when paying by credit card. For the most up-to-date passport and visa info, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/costa-rica/entry-requirements.

Getting around

Costa Rica is a narrow country, where you can drive from the Caribbean shoreline to the coast of the Pacific in a handful of hours. That makes car rentals popular, although the country also benefits from a robust bus network that winds through the beautiful forests and mountains that define Costa Rica.

There's also a train that runs every half hour between Heredia and San Jose, where tickets cost as little as 70 American cents. Due to Costa Rica's enthusiasm at welcoming tourists, a lot of information regarding buses and trains is easy to find online.

Advice for travellers with children

Costa Rica abolished its military before 1950, runs on around 95% carbon neutral energy and is consistently praised as having the highest quality of life in Latin America. It's therefore no surprise that families, couples and groups of travelling friends are consistently made to feel welcome in this deeply friendly, tranquil country.

Family values are part of the heart and soul of Costa Rican people - or 'Ticos', as they nickname themselves - so you can rest assured this is a popular family destination. From the ancient mysteries of bygone civilisations to ziplines over rainforest canopies, Costa Rica welcomes young and old alike.

If your little ones love animals, you've got tons of options open to you. You can spot leatherback turtles at Tortuguero National Park, meet dolphins and whales on a boat tour at sea, or surround yourself with pretty colours at the butterfly parks. For more adventurous youngsters, you can all pile into a boat to drift down the Corobici River, visit active volcanoes or take a mountain bike trip through the lush rainforest.

To take the stress out of travel with kids, many people opt for All Inclusive Costa Rica trips - and there are plenty of great options available.

Electricity

Connector type: Type A, NEMA (as used in the United States, Mexico, etc.) Voltage Info: 110V

Emergency information

Simply dial 911 and tell the operator which service you need. Costa Rica uses the same emergency number as the United States, which makes it easy to remember if you're in a pinch and in need of emergency services.

British Consulate

If you're a victim of crime or affected by a crisis overseas, or if something happens to a relative or partner contact the British Consulate in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.

Address: Edificio Centro Colón, Paseo Colón and Streets 38 and 40, San Jose, Apartado 815 - 1007, San Jose Email: ukin.costarica@fco.gov.uk

Phone (from within Costa Rica): 2258-2025 Phone (from the UK): +506 2258-2025

Hospital

San Jose is where most of Costa Rica's advanced medical knowledge is located, so many people favour Hospital Cima San Jose.

Hospital Cima San Jose Address: Autopista Próspero Fernández, San José, San Rafael

Phone: +506 2208 1000.