Google and the other search engines receive hundreds of thousands of inquiries about Costa Rica every day. A while back, I shared the first five of Google's top-10 queries (with my answers), and here are the final five:
The top 10 Google queries about Costa Rica (#5-10):
6. Do they use U.S. dollars in Costa Rica or do I need to change money?
These days, U.S. dollars are widely accepted in almost all areas that foster tourism in Costa Rica, including hotels, restaurants, airports, etc. ATMs usually give you the option to take out U.S. dollars, which you can then spend and receive local colones as change. But most people don’t need to hassle with changing money before they go or even when they get there. If you do change dollars to colones, do so at a bank or your hotel, but never on the street or with a freelance moneychanger.
7. Should I fly into Liberia or San José airport?
Both airports are great and offer many unique advantages depending on where you plan on visiting. The majority of travelers still fly into SJO – San José’s International airport – because of its central location and accessibility to the east or west coast.
But more and more vacationers fly directly into Liberia airport, in the northwest corner of the country in Guanacaste Province, which is where popular Tamarindo is located. It’s best to plan your destination in the country first, and then start searching for airfares and routes to the appropriate airport based on that.
8. What does “pura vida” mean?
Pura vida is a Spanish phrase that translates to “pure life.” It’s the Costa Rican national saying, used as a hello, a goodbye, a how are you doing, and also to express the chill, sunny, mellow vibe that people feel when they visit the country.
9. Do I need a visa to visit Costa Rica?
U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica, only a valid U.S. passport (make sure it is still good for at least six months after your trip) and proof of a plane ticket to exit the country. Residents of the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, and many other countries do not need a visa, and can enter and stay for 90 days as a tourist. But it’s a good idea to check with your embassy or the Costa Rican consulate just to make sure.
10. What’s the best place to book hotels/vacation houses/tours/package deals/transportation to Costa Rica?
The best way to ensure that you end up with the best vacation in Costa Rica is simply to contact a credible local tour operator. (I can suggest some I know and trust). They can advise you on the best and cheapest flights, arrange transportation from the airport and to and from your hotel, set up tours around the country, arrange plenty of activities, and even arrange a rental house or condo instead of a hotel.
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