A Little Planning Before Your Trip
Call your Credit Card Companies: Let them know you will be vacationing in Central America. If they suddenly see lots of charges on your card from a faraway place they may think it’s been stolen or your number accessed, and they will deny use until you contact them.
Costa Rica is still principally a cash society: many locations do not accept credit cards at all and if they do it will most commonly be VISA, MC or Amex. Harbor Reef will accept Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Bring a limited number of large bills for major purchases, activities or hotels. Most restaurants, shops and businesses will have difficulty with $100 bills so bring smaller dominations. Most businesses will not accept business or personal checks written on U.S. or foreign banks.
Banks and ATM machines: Nosara has two banks, Banco Popular and Banco de Costa Rica. They have ATM machines that open at 6:00am and close at 10:00pm but you can only use VISA or MASTERCARD. You can exchange money in both banks; their schedule is Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00pm.
Calling Home: We recommend a telephone credit card or prepaid calling card from one of the major companies like AT&T, MCI or Sprint, OR buy ICE phone cards (CR calling cards) which are easy to use at any public telephone. Make sure you call them in advance to get their Costa Rica telephone operator access number.
Passports, Drivers License and Identification: A Valid Passport is required for your trip to Costa Rica. Please be certain that you have a minimum of 90 days remaining on your passport before its required renewal date. We recommend that you make photocopies of the front pages of your passport and place a copy in each travel bag and one to carry with you while in the country. It is also a good idea to write your destination and the hotels or resort telephone number on the copy. A U.S. Drivers License is valid in Costa Rica for 90 days.
What to Wear: We’re at the beach so think light weight; the temperatures here will be in the 80’s to mid-90’s day time and in the mid to high 70’s at night. Sundresses, light tops and shirts, light pants and shorts, bathing suits, and board shorts. Good pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals will pretty well take care of any occasion. A favorite here at the beach are the water shoes that work well for the walk to the beach, surfing and tide pooling.
Good Items to Bring Along: We recommend bringing along a waterproof flashlight, as there are not many streetlights. Also handy to have: Benedryl Cream and tablets, hydrocortisone cream and triple antibiotic cream. Costa Rica is a very healthy place no special shots are required. The sun can be very intense so we recommend a sunscreen of 30 or higher. Mosquitos are a consideration as are the no-see-ums in the evening, so a repellant is a good idea. Don’t worry if you forget anything, our shop carries essentials and there are stores in town that have a broad selection.
Traveling With Surfboards: Be certain that your airline will accept your surfboard at the time of your travel. Certain U.S. Carriers have time periods that they will not carry surfboards and are very poor about notifying you of this during the reservation booking process. You will also not be able to carry surfboards on the local commuter flights and many buses.
- Do not leave valuables inside your car.
- Most of the tap water in Costa Rica is potable and there is no problem in our area with the tap water.