Costa Rica Visas, Passports and Money Advice
When you book with us, our travel specialists will provide all the travel information you need to get your trip underway. Below, you’ll find some useful Costa Rica travel information, from visas to money advice. We’re here to make sure you get the most out of your Costa Rica trip.
Visa & passport info
UK passport holders can enter Costa Rica without a tourist visa and stay for up to 90 days. On arrival, you’ll need to present a valid passport, with at least one blank visa page, and a return ticket. The expiry date of your passport must be greater than 30 days from the date of your entry to Costa Rica.
Upon departing Costa Rica, you may need to pay a departure tax of US$28, payable in cash, however, all British Airways airfares are inclusive of this tax so BA flyers will not need to pay this separately. If you own a passport issued by another country, please check with your relevant embassy before travel.
Costa Rica flight info
British Airways flies direct from the UK to Costa Rica 3 times a week so this is usually the option we would suggest. Most other flights to Costa Rica make a stopover in the US, except those by European carriers such as Iberia. If you’re flying to Costa Rica via the US and want to use the Visa Waiver Programme, you’ll need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System Travel Authorization) in advance.
All travellers on UK passports (including children and infants) must have an individual machine-readable passport and must complete an ESTA prior to departure. Without an approved ESTA, you could be denied entry into the US and therefore denied boarding your flight(s). Also check with the US embassy ESTA website for current customs regulations, as they change frequently.
The currency of Costa Rica is the Colón, named after Columbus. There are notes of 10,000, 5,000, 1,000 and coins. Prices are also often listed in US dollars, and cash is accepted everywhere. The most common credit cards are Visa and Mastercard. If you have a debit card that is affiliated with Cirrus or Maestro, you can withdraw cash in Colón or in Dollars. For safety, you can’t withdraw money after 22.00 so keep some in reserve. Nearly all hotels will accept credit and debit cards.
Travelling to Nicaragua and Panama from Costa Rica
Cross border travel to Nicaragua and Panama is common for many people visiting Costa Rica. You can move freely across the borders for a small border fee. To enter Panama you will need to show proof of onward travel out of the country by showing either a plane or bus ticket.