The International Airport
Juan Santamaría is located in the province of Alajuela, 22 kms away from
San José, the capital of Costa Rica. From the Airport to your host family,
the trip takes around 30 minutes with slow traffic and even 50 minutes if
traffic is very high.
110 Volt, plugs with three
prongs often need an adapter.
Potable in greater San José
area as well as in bigger cities. In the rural areas (mountains, beaches
and national parks) caution is advised.
The official currency is
the ‘colón’ (plural: colones) and its exchange is made via the Dollar at a
$1 = 500 colones.
Banks & ATM:
All national and
international financial transactions can be effectuated through the
national banks or with any private bank. Any bank changes Dollars to
Colones. International credit cards are generally accepted in most places
on the territory. ATMs generally accept cards with the plus sign and
MasterCard as well as VISA. ATM system is call ATH in Costa Rica and you
find it everywhere inside and outside the central valley.
In San Jose and the
surrounding cities internet cafes are abundant and access is cheap.
Outside of the cities, at the beach and in the mountains there are
internet cafes but their use is a lot more expensive.
In the Central Valley (San
José) there is a tightly strung net of public busses that are very
efficient and cheap. The busses also connect the city with all the suburbs
and cities at regular intervals. Almost all busses to the provinces depart
from San José. A large number of official, red taxis in the entire country
including 4WD taxis in some remote areas are available. There is a well-established
and functioning network of buses within and between provinces, as well as
Pre-Paid SIMS Pre-paid SIM
can be purchased at the airport and some other locations. This
requires a quad band unlocked cell phone. The vast majority of US cell
phones are NOT unlocked. They are locked to the company providing the cell
service and a pre-paid SIM will not work.
Traffic in Costa Rica could
be dangerous, so be careful. Pedestrians in general do not have the right
of way. As in any country in the world, some disappointing things can
happen. First working day IHCAI Foundation staff will provide instructions
for your safety. Also follow the recommendations given by your Costa Rican
family. Please be aware and follow the recommendations, if you prevent you
will be safer.
For all the IHCAI
Foundation programs a health insurance for traveller is mandatory. If you
do not have and you need one we highly recommend to get one on line with
HCC Medical Insurance Services, a recognized leader in
international life and health insurance offering coverage in more than 130
Malaria prevalence and
incidence is very low in Costa Rica. Is mainly located in the bananas
plantation in some remote areas of Limon Province and in the south of
the country. IHCAI participants do not travel for work or tourism to
these areas. We do not recommend taking any prophylaxis. Dengue
fever has been spread in the entire country during the last 10 years.
There is no medication for dengue prophylaxis, repellents are
recommended. Costa Rica is free of yellow fever since 1970.
CDC/ Yellow Fever &
Malaria information by country at:
A valid passport is
mandatory to enter Costa Rica. It should be valid during the following 6
months from the entry date to Costa Rica. Depending on your country of
origin you may enter Costa Rica without a visa. USA, Canada and most
European countries have this privilege.