Costa RicaOfficial Name: Republic of Costa Rica
Passport only needs to be valid for 1 day after arrival
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays under 90 days and you must present a return ticket.
Yes. Yellow fever vaccinations if arriving from some countries in South America or Sub-Saharan Africa.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
USD$100 for every 30 days that you are planning to stay in the country. Monies in excess of USD$10,000 must be declared with customs.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
No minimum / Monies in excess of USD$10,000 must be declared with customs.
Embassies and Consulates
Calle 98, Via 104
San José, Costa Rica
Telephone: +(506) 2519-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(506) 2220-3127 and ask for the duty officer
Fax: +(506) 2220-2455
Costa Rica is a middle-income, developing country with a strong democratic tradition. Tourist facilities are generally adequate. While English is a second language for many Costa Ricans in tourist areas, knowledge of Spanish is necessary for legal matters and in non-tourist areas. Potential visitors or investors should carefully read the following sections on Safety and Security, Crime, Special Circumstances, the Overseas Security Advisory Council Reports, and the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Costa Rica for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Visit the Embassy of Costa Rica in the United States website for the most current visa information. For entry into Costa Rica, you must present both a valid passport and either a round-trip ticket or proof of onward travel to another country. Because of possible fines levied by Costa Rican Immigration, many airlines will not permit passengers without proof of return or onward travel to board flights to Costa Rica unless they have Costa Rican citizenship, residency, or a visa. Costa Rican Immigration now also requires that you be able to demonstrate financial capacity of at least USD$100 per month while you are in Costa Rica as a tourist. When you leave Costa Rica, you will have to pay a departure tax of USD $29.
Passports should be in good condition. Costa Rican Immigration may deny entry if a passport is damaged in any way. Costa Rican authorities may permit U.S. citizen tourists to stay up to ninety (90) days, but are not required to do so; shorter lengths of stay of thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days are also common. To request an extension, you must submit an application for an extension to the Office of Temporary Permits in the Costa Rican Department of Immigration. Extension requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Tourists who overstay the period of stay authorized by Costa Rican authorities without receiving an extension may experience a delay at the airport when departing, are subject to deportation and/or a fine of USD$100 for each month of overstay, and may be denied entry to Costa Rica on future visits.
Most Costa Rican educational institutions will assist individuals planning to study in Costa Rica to apply for a student visa, if a visa is necessary. Individuals with round-trip tickets who plan to study for less than three months do not need a visa and may enter for up to 90 days as a tourist. Individuals who plan to study for longer than three months and will be attending an educational institution that does not provide assistance to obtain a visa should verify documentary requirements in advance with the nearest Costa Rican embassy/consulate as well as with the pertinent airline.
All persons – including U.S. citizens – traveling to Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa must provide evidence of a valid yellow fever vaccination prior to entry. The countries considered at risk are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Venezuela. You can travel to Costa Rica no sooner than 10 days after receiving the vaccination. See “SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES” for information on requirements to carry identity documentation within Costa Rica and on travel by minors who are dual nationals or legal residents.
The most authoritative and up-to-date information on Costa Rican entry and exit requirements may be obtained from the Consular Section at the Embassy of Costa Rica at 2112 “S” Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 499-2991, fax (202) 265-4795. You may visit the Embassy of Costa Rica’s website or contact the Embassy via email. You may also obtain information from the Costa Rican consulates in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or the honorary consulates in Minnesota and Arizona. Please also see the Costa Rican Immigration Agency website.
It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington or one of Costa Rica's Consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements before shipping any items.
Visitors who plan to drive and/or rent an automobile in Costa Rica should be aware that the Costa Rican government may prevent any driver involved in a vehicular accident from departing Costa Rica until any/all injury claims have been settled. This is true regardless of whether the driver is covered by insurance and/or considered to have been negligent in the accident. The courts often delay imposing a settlement until any/all injured parties have fully recovered and the definitive costs are known, a prohibition on travel could be imposed for months, or even years, until a local judicial resolution is reached. Visitors should carefully consider the hardships such an extended stay in Costa Rica could impose on themselves and their families before deciding to drive in Costa Rica.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Costa Rica.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
The incidence of crime in Costa Rica is higher than in many parts of the United States and has adversely affected the traveling public. Pickpocketing and theft remain the most common crimes perpetrated against tourists, with theft from vehicles (particularly rental vehicles) or on buses being particularly frequent. U.S. citizens also have been the victims of violent crime, including sexual assaults, robberies, car-jackings and murders. Armed robberies can occur even in daylight on busy streets. U.S. citizen tourists and residents can take steps to protect themselves. You should exercise at least the same level of caution in Costa Rica that you would in major cities or tourist areas in the United States. Engaging in high-risk behavior, such as excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs, can increase the vulnerability of an individual to accidents or opportunistic crime.
Demonstrations in Costa Rica generally are peaceful. However, demonstrators in Costa Rica have been known to block traffic on roads or disrupt travel, causing inconvenience to tourists. Visitors to Costa Rica may also be inconvenienced by infrequent work stoppages and strikes. The Costa Rica Constitution prohibits political activity by foreigners; such actions may result in detention and/or deportation. Travelers should avoid political demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by the Costa Rican authorities. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution if in the vicinity of any protests.
There have been no recent acts of terrorism in Costa Rica.
Beach Conditions Warning
On both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, currents are swift and dangerous, and the majority of dangerous beaches have neither lifeguards nor warning signs.
According to the Costa Rican Red Cross, 118 drowning type incidents involving death or near-death occurred in 2013 in Costa Rica due to treacherous rip currents. These rip currents have swept even strong swimmers out to sea. Visitors should carefully consider the safety of any beach before entering the water. There are reports of beachside hotels have removed signs warning against dangerous swimming conditions for fear that they may lose business. U.S. citizens are urged to always exercise extreme caution when swimming in the ocean and to never swim alone. Within the last year, eleven U.S. citizens drowned in Costa Rica. Crocodile sightings have also been reported along beaches, including those popular with swimmers and surfers.
There are many scenic areas in Costa Rica where a small incident may become life threatening due to the rugged terrain or remote location. Foreign visitors, including one U.S. citizen, have disappeared while hiking or traveling in Costa Rica. Extreme caution, whether swimming, hiking, or driving, is advised. Adventure tourism is popular in Costa Rica, and many companies offer white-water rafting, bungee jumping, jungle canopy tours, SCUBA diving, and other outdoor activities. U.S. citizens are urged to use caution in selecting adventure tourism companies. Although the Costa Rican government regulates most of these companies and local regulations require they meet certain safety standards and have insurance coverage, there is not uniform and effective enforcement of these regulations. Even where strictly enforced, safety measures may not be as stringent or as comprehensive as what you may be familiar with in the United States. Visitors have been injured or even killed due to improper, careless, or reckless operation of scooters, jet-skis, quads, and other recreational equipment. You should rent equipment only from reputable operators. You should use all appropriate safety gear and insist on sufficient training before using the equipment. In addition, travelers to remote or isolated scenic venues should be aware that they may be some distance from appropriate medical services, law enforcement, ATMs, or consular assistance in an emergency. The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) website has contact information for licensed tour operators and travel agencies.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime is a significant concern for Costa Ricans and visitors alike, and the U.S. Embassy reports a steady increase in crime. While the vast majority of foreign visitors do not become victims of crime, all are potential targets for criminals.
Criminals usually operate in small groups, but may also operate alone. The most common crime perpetrated against tourists is theft, with thieves primarily looking for cash, jewelry, credit cards, electronic items, and passports. Serious crimes, although less frequent, do occur. At least ten U.S. citizens were murdered in Costa Rica since January 2012. Daytime robberies in public places occur, and thieves are often armed and may resort to violence. Since January 2012, 20 U.S. citizens have reported to the U.S. Embassy that they were sexually assaulted, with at least five victims reporting that they were given date rape drugs. While the Costa Rican police claim to investigate all reported cases of sexual assault, there have been no convictions in which U.S. citizens were victims since January 2012.
While crimes occur throughout Costa Rica, they are more prevalent at certain times and in certain areas. The downtown area of San Jose for example, is a prime tourist destination during daylight hours. You are strongly encouraged not to travel to the area after dark. U.S. government officials are not permitted to stay in hotels in that area due to safety concerns. U.S. Embassy San Jose has received reports of a particularly high number of violent assaults and robberies in the Limon Caribbean costal region (from Tortuguero through Limon to Puerto Viejo), often involving invasions of rental homes and eco lodges, as well as attacks taking place on isolated roads and trails. If you plan to visit an unfamiliar area, you should consult with a trustworthy local (a concierge, a tour guide, etc.) regarding precautions or concerns.
Thieves often work in groups to set up a victim. A prevalent scam involves the surreptitious puncturing of tires of rental cars, often near restaurants, tourist attractions, airports, or close to the car rental agencies themselves. When the travelers pull over, "good Samaritans" quickly appear to help change the tire - and just as quickly remove valuables from the car, sometimes brandishing weapons. Drivers with flat tires are advised to drive, if at all possible, to the nearest service station or other public area and change the tire themselves, watching valuables at all times. Another common scam involves one person dropping change in a crowded area, such as on a bus. When the victim tries to assist, a wallet or other item is taken.
Take proactive steps to avoid becoming a crime victim. Do not walk, hike or exercise alone, and bear in mind that crowded tourist attractions and resort areas popular with foreign tourists are common venues for criminal activity. Ignore any verbal harassment, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash, jewelry, or expensive photographic equipment. Do not use smartphones and tablets on the streets. You should be particularly cautious of walking alone at night and should not leave bars or restaurants with strangers. Additionally, do not seek entertainment in groups of people you do not know. Do not consume food or drinks you have left unattended, or accept food or drinks from "friendly" people. Costa Rican immigration authorities conduct routine immigration checks at locations such as bars in downtown San Jose and beach communities. U.S. citizens questioned during these checks who have only a copy of the passport may be asked to provide the original passport with appropriate stamps. Be sure you are certain of the location of your passport and will have ready access to it.
Travelers renting vehicles should purchase an adequate level of locally valid theft insurance, park in secure lots whenever possible, and never leave valuables in their vehicles.
Please note that there are unlicensed “parking attendants” that will occasionally assist you in parking; however, parking where they indicate does not always guarantee that it is a legal parking spot. Drivers should be cautious of where they park their cars. The U.S. Embassy receives several reports daily of valuables, identity documents, and other items stolen from locked vehicles, primarily rental cars. Thefts from parked cars can occur nearly anywhere thefts most commonly occur at beaches, airport, restaurants, hotels, national parks, and other tourist attractions.
U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel on city buses due to safety concerns and must use caution when traveling on any other buses. If you choose to travel by bus, you are encouraged to keep your bag with valuables and identification on your lap. Personal items are frequently stolen from buses. Do not store your bags or other personal belongings in the storage bins, as theft from overhead bins is common. You should keep your belongings within your line of sight at all times and your valuables in your possession. If you choose to help another passenger stow their belongings, you should be especially cautious that your own belongings are not being stolen while you are doing so.
Travelers should use only licensed taxis, which are typically red with medallions (yellow triangles containing numbers) painted on the side. Licensed taxis at the airport are painted orange. All licensed taxis should have working door handles, locks, seatbelts and meters (called "marias"). Passengers are encouraged to use seatbelts.
Do not buy counterfeit goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you are also breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: Local law enforcement agencies have limited capabilities and different standards than U.S. law enforcement. If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
You may report any crime to the OIJ police (800.800.3000) and also to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at 2519-2000, from the U.S.: 011-506-2519-2000, or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the U.S. Embassy. This allows the Embassy to make the necessary notifications that may help catch criminals, including terrorists, who may try to buy or use the passport.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency service in the United States is also “911 in Costa Rica.”
In Costa Rica, there are various types of police. Those in uniform are La Fuerza Pública. Their role is crime prevention. Plainclothes police, known locally as “OIJ”, are responsible for taking police reports and conducting investigations. There are also tourist and traffic police.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including information on possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Costa Rica, you are subject to their laws and regulations even if you are a U.S. citizen. Some laws in Costa Rica differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Costa Rica’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. The law permits pre-trial detention of persons accused of serious crimes. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking illegal drugs into Costa Rica are severe, and if convicted, offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime and also prosecutable in the United States. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could land you immediately in jail.
You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. If you break local laws in Costa Rica, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not where you are going.
If you are arrested in Costa Rica, authorities are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned that the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest.
Land Ownership and Shoreline Property: U.S. citizens are urged to use extreme caution when making real estate purchases or investments, to consult with reputable legal counsel, and to investigate thoroughly all aspects before entering into a contract. Civil archives recording land title are at times incomplete or contradictory. Check the Embassy website for a list of local lawyers. You also are encouraged to review the Investment Climate Statement for Costa Rica on the State Department’s website. Coastal land within 50 meters of the high tide line is open to the public and therefore closed to development, and construction on the next 150 meters inland is possible only with the approval of the local municipality. Expropriation of private land by the government without compensation considered adequate or prompt has hurt some U.S. investors.
Squatters: Organized squatter groups have invaded properties in various parts of the country.
These squatter groups take advantage of legal provisions that allow people without land to gain title to unused property. The Costa Rican police and judicial system have at times failed to deter or to peacefully resolve such invasions. Victims of squatters have reported threats, harassment, and violence. There is very little that the U.S. Embassy can do to assist U.S. citizens who enter into land or business disputes in Costa Rica; you must be prepared to take your case to the local courts, which is often a very long and expensive process.
Delays in Judicial Process: The legal system in Costa Rica is backlogged, and civil suits on average take over five years to resolve. Some U.S. firms and citizens have satisfactorily resolved their cases through the courts, while others have seen proceedings drawn out over a decade without a final ruling.
Documentation Requirements: Visitors are required to carry appropriate documentation at all times. However, due to the high incidence of passport theft, Costa Rican immigration authorities permit tourists to carry photocopies of the data page and entry stamp from the passport, leaving the passport in a hotel safe or other secure place. However, as noted under the CRIME section of this report, Costa Rican immigration authorities conduct routine checks for illegal immigrants, especially in bars located in downtown San Jose and in beach communities. A U.S. citizen questioned during one of these checks and carrying only the copy of the passport will be required to produce the original passport. In addition, tourists should carry their actual passports when taking domestic air flights, when driving, when planning to use a credit card, when traveling overnight, when traveling a considerable distance from their hotel, or when they would otherwise be unable to quickly retrieve the actual passport. Local authorities have the right to detain U.S. citizens until their identity and immigration status have been verified. Tourists who carry passports are urged to place them securely in an inside pocket.
Exit Procedures for Costa Rican citizens and legal residents: All children born in Costa Rica acquire Costa Rican citizenship at birth, and may only depart the country upon presentation of an exit permit issued by immigration authorities. This includes children born in Costa Rica to U.S. citizens. Unless the child is traveling with both parents, legal documentation is required to demonstrate that both parents grant permission for the child to leave the country. This policy, designed to prevent international child abduction, applies to dual national U.S./Costa Rican citizens as well as U.S. citizens who are legal residents in Costa Rica. Parents of minors who obtained Costa Rican citizenship through a parent or through birth in Costa Rica are advised to consult with appropriate Costa Rican authorities prior to travel to Costa Rica, especially if one (or both) parent(s) is not accompanying the child.
Disaster Preparedness: Costa Rica is located in an active earthquake and volcanic zone. When planning travel to the area, you should consider that such a disaster might strike without warning. Tsunamis may result from significant earthquakes occurring nearby or across the ocean. Serious flooding occurs annually in the Caribbean Province of Limon and the Pacific Province of Puntarenas, and flash floods and severe landslides occur in many parts of Costa Rica, depending on the time of year and rainfall.
General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page.
LGBT Rights: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals enjoy full rights in Costa Rica. The LGBT community is protected by anti-discrimination laws, and there are no legal or governmental impediments to the organization of LGBT events. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
Accessibility: While in Costa Rica, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation limited. Costa Rica has legislation that mandates access to transportation, communication and public buildings for persons with disabilities, but the government does not effectively enforce these laws. Many buildings, including hotels, restaurants, and bars, remain inaccessible, and the Costa Rican Ombudsman’s Office has received several reports of noncompliance with accessibility requirements or malfunctioning of hydraulic wheelchair lifts for public transportation. We are not aware of any special currency or customs circumstances for Costa Rica.
Costa Rica actively promotes medical tourism. While the perceived advantages are affordable costs, quality health care, and a chance to recuperate and have a vacation at the same time, there are also risks.
Medical tourists should confirm that the facilities and professionals they intend to use are accredited and have an acceptable level of care. They should also purchase medical evacuation insurance before travelling, and should confirm that the cost and payment for their treatment is clearly understood by both parties. Persons with unpaid or disputed debts in Costa Rica may be legally prevented from leaving the country.
In the event of unforeseen medical complications or malpractice, medical tourists may not be covered by their personal insurance, and malpractice lawsuits are less likely to be successful than in the United States. Although many hospitals and clinics abroad have medical malpractice insurance, seeking compensation can prove to be difficult because insurance laws and legal options may not exist. Be aware that if you should need or wish to be transferred to a hospital in the United States and do not have medical evacuation insurance, an air ambulance flight can cost upwards of US$20,000 and will often take place only after you (or your loved ones) have paid for it.
Medical care in San Jose is generally adequate, but is limited in areas outside of San Jose. There are limited beds in the emergency room at the largest hospital in the Liberia zone, an area frequented by U.S. tourists. In other more remote areas basic medical equipment may not be available. Ambulances may not have emergency equipment and can sometimes offer nothing more than transport. Most prescription and over-the-counter medications are available throughout Costa Rica.
Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. A list of local doctors and medical facilities can be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in San Jose’s website. An ambulance may be summoned by calling 911. Most ambulances provide transportation but little or no medical assistance.
Malaria can occur in some rural locations, but is not commonly encountered. However, Costa Rica regularly experiences outbreaks of dengue fever in much of the country. Unlike some of the other mosquito-borne illnesses, there is no medical prophylactic or curative regimen for dengue. Travelers should take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes to reduce the chance of contracting the illness, such as avoiding standing water, wearing long sleeves and pants in both day and night, and applying insect repellent with DEET regularly. On July 2, 2013, the Ministry of Health declared a health alert due to the increase in cases of dengue.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Costa Rica, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Costa Rica is provided for general reference only, and may not apply to a particular location or circumstance.
Roads are often in poor condition. Large potholes with the potential to cause significant damage to vehicles are common. Traffic signs, even on major highways, are inadequate and few roads have clearly marked lanes. Except for the principal highways, few roads have names, making it difficult to find addresses. Shoulders are narrow or consist of drainage ditches. Visibility at intersections is often limited by hedges or other obstacles. Bridges, even on heavily traveled roads, may be only a single lane requiring vehicles traveling in one direction to cede the right of way to oncoming vehicles. Pedestrians, cyclists, and farm animals are common sights along or on main roads, creating additional potential driving hazards. Buses and cars frequently stop in travel lanes, even on expressways. Traffic laws and speed limits are often ignored, turn signals are rarely used, passing on dangerous stretches of highway is common, and pedestrians are not given the right of way. The abundant motorcyclists, in particular, drive without respect to rules of the road, often passing on the right, weaving in and out without warning, and creating lanes where none officially exist. As a result, the fatality rate for pedestrians and those riding bicycles and motorcycles is disproportionately high. All of the above, in addition to poor visibility due to heavy fog or rain, can make driving treacherous. Landslides are common in the rainy season. Main highways and principal roads in the major cities are paved, but some roads to beaches and other rural locations are not. Additionally, rural roads sometimes lack bridges, and motorists are compelled to ford waterways; you should exercise extreme caution in driving across moving water, as a small trickle in the dry season may become a strong torrent after a heavy rain upstream. Even a few inches of moving water may be sufficient to float your vehicle, and the riverbed may not be stable.
In order to drive in Costa Rica, drivers need to show a valid U.S. driver’s license or an international driving permit. Traffic is heavy in the San Jose metropolitan area. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, residents in the San Jose Metropolitan area lose 15 days per year because of traffic jams. Drunk driving is illegal in Costa Rica. Driving while using a cell phone is illegal. As mentioned above, visitors contemplating driving in Costa Rica should carefully consider the implications of not being allowed to depart the country for many months or longer in the event of a vehicular accident. Additionally, fines for routine traffic violations can be upwards of USD$500.00. U.S. citizens have occasionally reported to the Embassy that charges for unpaid traffic tickets have appeared on the credit card that was on file with the rental car company. The Embassy cannot intervene in such cases and can generally only refer citizens to the rental car company representatives and to a list of attorneys maintained on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
Many destinations are accessible only with high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles. When staying outside of urban areas, travelers should call ahead to their hotels to ask about the current status of access roads. Travelers should also minimize driving at night, especially outside of urban areas.
Costa Rica has a 911 system for reporting emergencies. In the event of a traffic accident, vehicles must be left where they are and should not be moved from where the accident occurred. Both the traffic police and an insurance investigator must make accident reports before the vehicles are moved.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Costa Rica’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA website.