Money is always an important subject when it comes to travel. For those traveling from the United States you will be in luck because the monetary exchange will be much simpler. This is because most prices are listed in U.S. dollars and many facilities accept the U.S. currency. However, it will still be wise to exchange some of your money into the colon (Costa Rica's national currency).
In addition, it is possible to pay your way through the country using credit cards, however you will be hit with a large fee. Unlike other countries in the area, Costa Rica will charge a large fee on all credit card transactions (the location and the bank used will vary the actual fee). You will also run into what is called "Tourist Tax," which can be as high as 13 percent on some goods and services. This tax will vary as it is the individual businesses who charge the taxes, however 13 percent is a common amount charged at higher end hotels and restaurants.
If you are traveling to Costa Rica from the United States or Canada, all you will need is your passport. You will not be required to get a visa and you'll be granted permission to stay 90 days. Visitors from a select few European nations (Iceland and Russia) will be granted a 30-day stay. But visitors from all other nations must apply for a visa (this can be done at customs).
Earthquakes and Riptides
While in Costa Rica, be prepared for the ground to shake beneath your feet. This is because the country is prone to earthquakes. The nation is positioned right on a a tectonic plate. Normally these are just small movements with nothing to be alarmed about. However, occasionally the country will be hit by a deadly quake. There is really not way to prepare yourself for such a thing, but be warned.
In addition, don't venture out too far when swimming in the ocean. This is because of the strong riptides which line the country's ocean. It is recommended that if you find yourself caught in a riptide to not struggle, because this will exhaust you. Instead, allow yourself to be taken back until the riptide dissipates, than swim back to the beach (with the aid of the tide).
Hiking is a popular pastime for many tourist who venture to Costa Rica, however not all come prepared. Because of the high temperatures and long days, you may experience heat while trekking like you've never felt before. In Corcovado, which is one of the top hiking locations, at least one person dies every year from heat exhaustion. Also, when walking through the rain forest trails, make sure to bring a map and a compass because it is easy to become lost in the vast expanse of the jungle.