How is dominant Costa Rica


Entry & residence

For tourist purposes, Germans can stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa. A passport that is valid (for at least 3 months) is sufficient. Children also need their own passport with a photo. A residence permit must be applied for for longer stays or for other goals (studies, work, etc.). You can get more information from the Costa Rican embassy in Berlin and from the immigration authorities in Costa Rica.
You can obtain important travel and safety information from the Costa Rican embassy, ​​the Foreign Office, or the German embassy in Costa Rica.

Housing & supply

There is a lot in the central valley Apartments (partly furnished) and houses to rent. Since this is mainly done by foreigners, the prices are correspondingly high, especially in the climatically preferred areas of Escazu, Santa Ana and Rohrmoser. Attention should be paid to security (barred windows, security personnel, guarded systems). Real estate brokerage costs are borne by the landlord.

The supply of water (chlorinated), electricity and telephone (see below) is usually good and reliable. The mains voltage is 110 volts, the frequency is 60 Hz. Plug adapters (shallow pools) are required, as is often a UPS to compensate for voltage fluctuations for sensitive devices.

The supply situation (with food, household goods, clothing, hygiene articles, luxury goods, etc.) is very good overall. In the small shops on every corner you can get a lot for your daily needs, weekly markets are common in all parts of the city and the density of supermarkets with a large selection is high. More and more shopping centers are emerging on the outskirts of the cities, which in addition to large supermarkets and many small boutiques and luxury shops usually also house a large cinema. There are now various organic markets, such as the Feria Verde in Aranjuez and Colón or the Feria Orgánica El Trueque in San José.

A virtual one Pub crawl through San José offers the following article. The Currywurst for Costa Rica can be enjoyed at the Hotel Intercontinental in San José. In 2013 the first hard rock cafe and another Starbucks branch opened.

Costa Rica has implemented a strict no-smoking law: smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, offices, hotels, restaurants, bars and discos.

Money & Money Transfer

The Costa Rican currency is the Colón. The exchange rate is 726 CRC / € 1 (11/2020). Current figures on the exchange rate in US dollars can always be found on the business front page of the daily newspaper La Nación. Payments in dollars are also possible and customary throughout the country.

Payments by Credit card are very common. You can also withdraw cash (mostly up to approx. 300 euros) at many ATMs with credit cards (especially Master and Visa). As a rule, this can no longer be done with Maestro bank cards. In addition to credit cards, it is also advisable to take cash (euros or dollars) with you.

Accounts (including dollar accounts) can be set up at the major banks (e.g. Banco Nacional, Banco Central de Costa Rica). Costa Rican credit card companies often charge very high interest rates. Various money transfer companies also offer their services.

Travel, transportation & traffic

Costa Rica is a popular holiday destination and traveling within the country - and also to neighboring countries - is very common and also easy: there is a very well developed and inexpensive one Bus network. The various connections and departure points (there are different bus stations and individual stops) can usually be looked up in the usual travel guides. There is a bus schedule online with times and departure points from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. Taxis are also very common in cities.

If you have your own car or a Rental car is on the way, you should make sure to always park it in guarded parking spaces. An international driver's license is not necessary for stays of up to three months, but it is certainly helpful to avoid misunderstandings. In the event of an accident, the police must be waited for before the car is moved.

The current safety instructions of the Federal Foreign Office should be taken seriously for all transport routes and types.

The expansion of the roads, however, often does not allow rapid progress: poorly developed routes, potholes and, in some cases, high traffic density often hinder traffic, and the accident rate is high. Only about 12,000km (out of a good 44,000km) of the roads are paved, most of them in poor condition. In the central valley in particular, considerable traffic jams can almost always be expected. In addition, there are repeated storms and floods, some of which lead to landslides and major road damage. All-wheel drive is strongly recommended on unpaved back roads.

The international Airport Juan Santamaría (SJO) is located in Alajuela in the middle of the central valley, around 20km northwest of the capital San José. It was opened in 1958 and is served nationally and internationally. There is also another international airport in the northwest of the country near Liberia LIR. Another international airport is under construction. There are also numerous private and public, mostly national, small airports in the country.

The railroad, once an important means of transport, was completely shut down in 1995. In recent years it has been rediscovered, both for transporting bananas on the Caribbean coast and for suburban traffic in San José, and, since 2006, again as a passenger train from San José to Caldera on the Pacific coast or Limon on the Atlantic coast: "El tren a la tica ". At the end of 2012, Costa Rica and Spain signed a letter of intent to build an intercity rail project.

orientation, Paths and address details are sometimes not so easy, as the article 'Del higueroncito de San Pedro hacia ....' makes clear. But there are initiatives to clear the jungle of addresses, and a new postal address system is to be introduced.

Entry requirements & addresses

For tourist purposes, Germans can stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa. A passport that is valid (for at least 3 months) is sufficient. Children also need their own passport with a photo. A residence permit must be applied for for longer stays or for other goals (studies, work, etc.). You can get more information from the Costa Rican embassy in Berlin and from the immigration authorities in Costa Rica.

You can obtain important (travel) information from the Costa Rican embassy, ​​the Foreign Office, or the German embassy in Costa Rica. Here you will also find a contact list of doctors, lawyers and translators, among others.

There is a German school in San José (kindergarten, elementary school, secondary school).

General links and overviews of Costa Rica:

An extensive Link list Lanic.
The travel articles 'Ich Tarzan' and the land of the ticos and toucans give a good overview.

The time shift to Germany is seven hours in winter and eight hours in summer.

Security in the country

The security situation in the country is relatively good compared to many other countries. However, there is a growing one in Costa Rica too crime and violence. Theft and illegal firearms are an increasing problem. Appropriate, cautious and circumspect behavior is important here as elsewhere. This relates both to behavior in public (no big counting of money on the street, not walking around with an open camera, avoiding certain areas after dark, etc.) as well as securing the living area (bars or security service since windows are usually not burglar-proof, for example).

The Federal Foreign Office issues the latest security advice, also for tourists, who are now increasingly victims of theft and, in some cases, armed robberies. The German Embassy has put together important information on helping Germans.

In order to make the country even safer, the tourism minister announced in 2011 that the number of employees of the tourist police would be doubled. The tourist police can be reached under the nationwide toll-free emergency number 911.

Costa Rica are both with Volcanic eruptions as well as with earthquake to be expected. The volcanological and seismological observatory OVISCORI gives an overview of the topic and makes current data available. The national civil protection commission also provides information on the alert levels imposed. The German Embassy has issued information on precautionary measures and what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Caution is often required on the beaches where the Currents and the high waves are often unpredictable, even for good swimmers.

The 2005 Human Development Report on Costa Rica deals with the issue of security in cities and communities. In his article on "The Culture of Fear and Control in Costa Rica", Sebastian Huhn analyzes crime and, in the second part, the Costa Rican discussions about the security situation against a historical background.

Stay healthy

The medical care in Costa Rica can be described as good overall. Far fewer doctors practice in rural areas than in cities. The densely populated central valley - especially San José - has the largest density of doctors in the country. There are also some well-equipped state clinics there. There are also several private clinics (e.g. Clinica Biblica, CIMA, Clinica Católica) with modern equipment, in which complicated interventions can be carried out. You can find a lot of information on Costa Rican health topics on the website of GeoSalud. The German embassy in San José offers a list of German-speaking doctors in Costa Rica.

Compulsory vaccinations are not required upon entry, but vaccinations against hepatitis A, tetanus and diphtheria are also useful for short stays. A yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for those arriving from a yellow fever area.

The risk of infection is increased due to the climatic and, in some cases, hygienic conditions. During the rainy season there is an increased risk of infection with dengue and chikungunya fever as well as with the Zika virus. Malaria occurs in individual cases, but prophylaxis is usually not necessary. Travel medical information is available from the Tropical Institute, among others, and personal consultation with your doctor is recommended before you leave the country.

A good mosquito repellent is an important precaution in any case, as is paying attention to the hygienic conditions. A foreign health insurance is recommended.

Telecommunication, internet & digitization

The country code for Costa Rica is +506.

The telecommunications sector has meanwhile been liberalized, even if the state electricity and telecommunications institute ICE remains a dominant provider, especially in the fixed network area. Overall, the market shows solid growth in all areas.

Fixed line and Internet connections as well as cell phones (coverage now over 95%) are widespread. The number of providers, especially in the mobile communications sector, is high (152 in 2018). The three largest mobile phone providers are Kölbi (belonging to ICE) with a good 50%, Movistar with approx. 25% (belonging to the Spanish Telefónica) and with around 20% Claro (belonging to the Mexican América Móvil).

The number of Cellular connectionshas increased rapidly in recent years: in 2007 there were only 34, in 2018 there were already 170 connections per 100 inhabitants. For comparison: in Germany there were 118 in 2007, but "only" 129 in 2018. Three quarters of cell phones are prepaid cell phones. A good half of the cell phone connections are equipped with mobile internet.

The frequency bands operated in Costa Rica are 2G (GSM 850 & 1800), 3G (UMTS 850, 1800 & 2100) and 4G (LTE 1800 and 2600). They almost correspond to those in Germany and are much better equipped than the networks in neighboring countries - in Nicaragua there is no UMTS and no LTE, in Panama, however, there is LTE in the 700 MHz band. The broadband connections are the most developed in Central America. As early as 2016, 87% of cell phones had broadband internet access. This put Costa Rica in 19th place worldwide.

In the centers and urban areas, there are significantly more providers and connections. The Network coverage and their quality, the various providers and frequencies, can be checked. Opensignal also offers an analysis of the experiences of cell phone users.

Fonatel, a national fund for telecommunications, was set up to reduce the digital gap, especially in rural areas. This is used to build new infrastructure in areas without internet access and to supply public facilities with it. In this way, the expansion is driven forward and private individuals can be connected to the network.

Social media play a major role: 78% of Costa Ricans use them. Overall, 83% of Costa Ricans use WhatsApp, 77% Facebook and 59% YouTube, followed by Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. As in Germany and Nicaragua, the most popular mobile messenger services are WhatsApp and Facebook (3.2 million users). On the desktop, Facebook ranks first, ahead of Youtube and Pinterst.

One TV can be found in almost every household. A good half have a contract, 2/3 of which are cable TV. Both Landline connections, which had declined in recent years, more and more contracts are now being concluded with VoIP. Half of all households, around 17% of the population, have a fixed internet connection. Overall, including mobile Internet, the number of Internet users is 72% (2017) of the total population; in 2006 it was 25%.

The prices for the consumer are falling, also due to the increasing competition. A prepaid cell phone minute costs between 5 and 9 cents, a cheap internet connection with 8Mb is available from 12 euros, an ADSL connection with 60MBit costs 60 to 100 euros.

The state telecommunications regulator SUTEL (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaiones) publishes detailed reports with indicators on telecommunications and internet usage every year. You can also use BuddeComm to find out about the latest developments on the telephone and internet market. The UN agency for information and communication technology ITU also provides detailed data and statistics. In its condensed index IDI, which includes 11 indicators from the areas of access, use and competencies, Costa Rica ranks 60th (out of 176). In the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (which measures the willingness of countries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by information and communication technology), Costa Rica ranks 44th out of 139 in 2016.

When it comes to e-government and e-participation, Costa Rica ranks in the top third worldwide. In the United Nations E-Government Development Index, Costa Rica was 56th out of 193 in 2018, and 57th in the E-Participation Index.

An overview of the topic Internet security gives the study by the OAS and IDB, which was carried out in collaboration with the Global Cybersecurity Capacity Center (GCSCC) at the University of Oxford. It shows that most countries in America are not well prepared for cyber crime. The responsible Costa Rican ministry, MICITT, is in the process of developing a national strategy. Law 9048 enshrined cybercrime in criminal law in 2012, but implementation is difficult, especially due to a lack of capacity. Public awareness of the topic is also rather low.

Major national holidays

01/01: New Year
March 19: Día de San José, the patron saint of the capital
Easter week, Thursday to Sunday is a public holiday (Attention: even petrol stations are closed on Good Friday!)
April 11th: Día de Juan Santamaría, the Costa Rican national hero
May 1st: Labor Day
June 29th: Name day of Saints Peter and Paul
July 25th: Annexation of Guanacaste
02.08 .: Día de la Virgen de los Angeles: the national patron saint is honored with a procession to the basilica in Cartago
August 15th: Assumption of Mary
September 15: Independence Day
October 12th: Día de la Raza, day of the discovery of America by Columbus
December 8th: Immaculada Concepción de la Virgen Maria, Day of the Immaculate Conception
December 24th: Christmas Eve

With "time and date" the current public holidays can be called up.

The country information portal

The contributions in the country information portal (LIPortal) were supervised by proven country experts until December 2020 in order to give an introduction to one of approx. 80 different countries. The LIPortal thus offered orientation to country information in the WorldWideWeb - many references are still up-to-date.