U.S. and Canadian citizens may visit Costa Rica for 90 days with a valid passport. A $26 departure tax is charged to those leaving the country by air.
Costa Rica, which has both Atlantic Caribbean and Pacific sides, averages 72 degrees in the highlands and between the low 70s to the high 90s in the coastal and lowland areas. The Atlantic side is driest from February to April. The Pacific side and Central Valley enjoy dry weather between January and March.
The geographic diversity of Costa Rica means that virtually all outdoor sports and activities are offered in abundance. Among the most popular are whitewater rafting, kayaking, camping, scuba diving, snorkeling, bird watching, horseback riding, sport fishing, sailing and ziplining through the rainforests.
A visit to Arenal Volcano in the country's north zone is a popular attraction. Arenal, the youngest of Costa Rica's volcanoes, is also in the top 10 most active volcanoes in the world, having been active continuously since 1968. Hot springs and waterways surround the volcano and make a nice place for tourists to relax and watch the eruptions.
Costa Rica also has a number of sophisticated cities, including San Jose, which is located in the highly populated Central Valley. The city, which is 2,900 feet above sea level, has top-notch museums, a 100-year-old National Theater, clubs, restaurants, shops, coffee plantations and the popular "drive-in volcanoes" Poas and Irazu. The port city of Limon is the center of the nation's Afro-Caribbean culture.
Generally, the U.S. and Canadian dollars do well against the Costa Rican colon, which means its myriad resorts and hotels are pretty good vacation deals. There is a 13 percent sales tax, and 10 percent service fees are added to hotel and restaurant bills, as of 2009. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.