Facts of Costa Rica

Below you will find important information related to your trip to Costa Rica

  • Language: Spanish
  • Capital: San José
  • Residents: 4, 8 million
  • Religion: Catholicism
  • Currency: Costa Rican colon
  • Surface: 51,000 km2

Worth knowing

Time difference

Costa Rica is 7 hours behind Sweden. When the time is 12.00 in Sweden, it is 05.00 in Costa Rica.

Transportation in Costa Rica

Bus The
buses in Costa Rica do not meet the standard we are used to in Europe. However, our buses have a good standard and air conditioning.

Price level

It is relatively cheap to eat at a restaurant in Costa Rica. You can get a lunch for SEK 50-70 and a dinner costs around SEK 100. So including drinks, you can manage with SEK 250 a day. Souvenirs and crafts are available in all price ranges, but much is relatively affordable.


In Costa Rica, tips are a natural part of the tourism industry. It is normal for a tourist to pay tips to bus drivers, local guides, hotel staff and to restaurant staff. Some restaurants add a sum for service to the bill, but you are of course welcome to pay a little extra tip. If a service charge is not imposed on the bill, it is good practice to add a little tip to the waiter.

It can be difficult as a tourist to know how many tips to put in, but with about one to two colón you are on the safe side.

It should be emphasized that even if tips are customary, it is not a compulsion but it is of course voluntary to pay.

Currency and credit cards

The currency in Costa Rica is called the colon (CRC).

On most trips to Costa Rica, you can manage with US dollars. Bills are usually returned in local currency and in that way you get some local currency without having to change. It is normally not possible to switch to colón at home in Sweden.

If you bring dollars from home, it is important that you do not bring banknotes larger than 20 dollar bills. For the most part, it is not possible to pay with 50- and 100-dollar banknotes, as these are often counterfeit.

Visa cards can be used at most restaurants, hotels and in larger stores as well as to withdraw cash at ATMs. MasterCard and American Express can also be used, but are not as widespread as Visa.


Costa Rica has 110 volts, 60 Hz. The sockets look different than in Sweden, so it is a good idea to bring an adapter.

Telephone and internet

According to Allcitycodes, the international country code for Costa Rica is +506. It is expensive to call home from Costa Rica, and therefore you should check with your mobile operator regarding coverage and prices.

Internet cafes are now available in most cities, but we know from experience that it can be difficult to have time to visit such places other than during your own time or completed day program. Most hotels in Costa Rica have internet service, but expect a slower connection compared to home. Some hotels charge extra for this.

Drinking water and hygiene

In Costa Rica, hygiene conditions are slightly worse than in Western Europe. Hotels and larger restaurants, on the other hand, usually meet modern / western standards. If necessary, bring some paper in your bag for toilet visits in the countryside.

You can drink tap water everywhere except in Tortuguero National Park. However, it may have a taste of chlorine. You can buy water anywhere in Costa Rica.

Customs and traditions

Tourists are generally welcome in Costa Rica. Although the locals are usually used to many tourists, it is expected that local customs and practices are respected. More important than anything else is nature conservation. Most often, the areas we visit are protected, and the preservation of these areas has the highest priority among the authorities and the local population. You should therefore listen extra carefully when the tour guide and local guide during the trip inform about nature reserves.


Smoking is prohibited during all flights and bus transport. Smoking is also prohibited in most restaurants and hotels. Costa Rica has recently introduced a ban on smoking in many public places, including hotels. If you are unsure, consult your tour guide about current smoking restrictions in Costa Rica.

Facts of Costa Rica