Important Paperwork



Americans do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. However, they must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica. (Either to return to your country or to go to another country). US passport must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica.
Citizens of other nationalities do not need a tourist visa to enter Costa Rica if they have a tourist visa, a visa for crew or a business visa (multiple entry) from United States of America or Canada. Note: Such visa must be stamped in the passport and be valid for at least 1 day (The length of stay may not be greater than the validity of the visa and may not exceed 30 days)

Return Flight Info

A proof of departure ticket (bus, airplane, boat, etc.) is mandatory for entry into Costa Rica. If you are travelling through a few countries in Central America, you will need to provide a departure ticket from your last destination and proof of your itinerary. Print your itinerary and voucher and bring it with you.

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Credit/Debit cards

You can find ATMs in all of Costa Rica's major cities and even in some hotels in San Jose. Just using your debit card to get money is better than carrying cash and exchanging it in hotels.
American Express, Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted throughout the country, but Visa is generally considered to be the most widely used.


You can exchange in the airport where you pick up your baggage but the rates are typically high. Tourists should not exchange money before leaving the U.S., as American agents will give them significantly worse rates if even available. We advise to use an ATM when arriving in Costa Rica and to pull out Costa Rica Colones. This is a much easier option of going to a bank. There is an ATM at the baggage terminal in the San Jose International Airport (SJO).



If you will be traveling to Costa Rica from South America and/or sub-Saharan Africa, you will need the Yellow Fever Vaccine. 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 ten days after the shot.

Consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.

International Driver’s Permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information. It translates your identification information into 10 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don't. Most countries highly recommend an International Driving Permit. AAA offers a few different ways to apply. It is a very easy process and no driving test was required. For more info, click here.