The weather in Costa Rica is characterized by two different seasons. The dry season in the highlands and on the Pacific coast prevails from November to April, the rainy season runs from May to October. However, it usually only rains in the afternoon, but then in abundant showers. The average temperatures on the coast are at 30°C (86°F) and in the highlands at 23°C (73°F).
Cocos Island has its own climate which is characterized by high humidity. The average air temperatures are at 28°C (82°F). The seasons are not as pronounced as on the mainland. Showers are frequent. Whatever the weather, the diving is first class all year round.
Visa & Passport requirements
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Costa Rica for the most up to date information.
If you are travelling to Costa Rica through the United States of America (USA), or if you are transiting in Honolulu or other USA points of entry, you are required to meet USA entry/transit requirements. Make sure you check with your nearest US Embassy or Consulate for your visa requirements well in advance of travel.
Visitors from the US, Australia and most European countries do not require a visa for Costa Rica for a stay up to 90 days. All visitors are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay and documents required for their next destination.
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity from your trip end. You should carry a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
NOTE: As visa requirements can change at any time, we recommend you confirm visa requirements prior to your departure.
Public medical facilities are of a reasonable standard in the capital San Jose, and very limited in smaller towns and rural areas. Private medical facilities are available and well equipped. Doctors and hospitals require cash payment prior to providing treatment. Serious medical emergencies may require evacuation, at considerable cost, to the USA where the cost of medical treatment is very high. The cost of a medivac could exceed $A65,000.
Costa Rica has decompression chambers on beach resorts such as Liberia and Samara.
If you are planning to visit Costa Rica mainland, Malaria and other insect-borne diseases are common in many regions. We encourage you to take prophylaxis against malaria and use insect repellent. Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis and rabies) occurring from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations such as tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and B before travellling.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations and disease outbreaks overseas. Please consult with them to get up to date and personal health advice for your trip.
Costa Rican authorities require a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate for visitors who within the last six days have travelled to some countries in South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru and Venezuela) and some Sub-Saharan African countries.
By far the greatest threat to health is sunburn. Give this your most careful attention. Always wear a sunscreen. Sunburn, seasickness, fatigue, coral cuts, fire coral burns, cuts and bruises are health hazards to be anticipated and can be avoided with common sense and care.
Medical kit suggestions
- Insect repellent
- Anti-seasickness medicine
- Suntan lotion
- Sunblock cream
- Band aids (some large ones)
- Ear Drops alcohol/vinegar based. Daily use will prevent outer ear infections.
- Antibiotic ointment for coral cuts. Please your physician.
The national currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rica colon.
Most prices are frequently listed in US Dollars and US currency is widely excepted.
Incidental charges can be paid by Visa, Mastercard or cash with the liveaboards. Operators in more remote locations may only accept cash. Some permit fees may only be paid in cash. For credit card payments, service charges will apply.
A departure tax for all international flights applies in cash (USD 29.00).
Costa Rica is -6 hours behind GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
Official language is Spanish. English is spoken on all liveaboards.
110 volts, for the sockets a two pin US adapter is needed.
Certification requirements & dive gear hire
Please remember to bring your certification card with you. All certified divers must present their certification cards in order to dive.
Liveaboard dive operations to Cocos offer the possibility to hire dive equipment at extra cost. Tanks, weights and air fills are included in all cruise packages.
Please note that all tank valves are INT. If you have DIN fittings on your regulator, make sure you bring an adaptor.
All dive operators promoted by Diversion Dive Travel adhere to very high standards for safety and equipment. A current Diver Evacuation & Accident cover is recommended for all diving arrangements. For a nominal yearly membership fee, the DIVERS ALERT NETWORK (DAN) provides year-round diver evacuation and accident cover. For more details on membership and insurance options, please contact your regional DAN office according to your area of residence:
In view of the heavy cancellation penalties applied to cancelled travel arrangements, Diversion Dive Travel strongly suggest you consider taking out suitable travel insurance at the time of booking. Travel insurance policies are designed to cover losses such as cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, sudden illness or serious injury whilst abroad, and lost, stolen or damaged baggage and personal items.
Casual & comfortable clothing including a light jacket is recommended, as evenings can get cool and liveaboards usually keep their airconditioning high in all indoor areas. Please keep sun protection in mind and be advised to respect local customs by not wearing swimsuits, short shorts, or other inappropriate clothing in towns, villages or public places.
Costa Rica does not have a strong tipping tradition. Tipping at restaurants, bars and coffee shops is optional. A ten percent service charge is already added to the bill. Tipping is a very personal decision, tips are your ways of expressing satisfaction. On boats it is customary to give the tip to the skipper and ask it be distributed amongst the crew.
Costa Rica is a fascinating country. Like any other place in the world it has its downsides as well. The travel advisories of some countries do warn to take extra caution if you travel to Costa Rica due to a high risk of crime. As a rule of thumb, you are safe in your hotel or on your dive boat. Use normal caution around airports and in bigger cities, avoid being out at night alone, especially in bigger towns. Petty crime is common, so pay careful attention to your luggage and personal belongings.
Links to more information
The following information is supplied by the foreign affairs section of the relevant country or the tourism authority of the destination. Please check the links for up to date information on visa and safety requirements, embassy and consular contacts, general information: