Getting into Costa Rica (Visa?)
Who needs a Visa to travel to Costa Rica?
As a European tourist, you’ll get to Costa Rica through the Juan Santamaría Airport, which belongs to the capital San José. The airport is located about 20 km northwest of San José, in the small town of Alajuela.
From Germany, Costa Rica may only be reached directly with Condor. The other available airline is Iberia, but changing the plane in Madrid. All other airlines fly over the United States, which requires a grueling leaving-act.
The airport is located near the city of Alajuela. San José is reached after 15 to 40 minutes of driving (depending on traffic). Taxis are available outside the airport terminal; you can also arrange a pick up after arriving. You may also take the bus without any problem. These pass by the north side of the airport (at the Pista). It is a bus line that connects San Jose with Alajuela.
The custom and passport control is usually easy; you just have to note a few things. On the plane you will get a tourist card that you should fill before landing. In it, you must specify the intended stay; the maximum is 90 days for European visitors. Furthermore, you will be asked your address in Costa Rica; here you will specify the name of the hotel where you booked the first night. We are happy to take care of the hotel-booking.
It is required, when entering the country, a valid yellow fever vaccination for all travelers older than 9 months (almost all the countries in South and Central America), and must be proven by an International Vaccination Certificate (yellow). The vaccination must be at least 10 days old. If you cannot provide a vaccination certificate, you may not enter. This is usually already checked at the departure airport, so you will not be able to check it in the aircraft.
Since 2009 the outbound visitors will be charged with a departure tax, with the amount of U.S. $ 28. Concurrent with this action, the government has eliminated the constantly payable tourist tax of 3%. Therefore, the country is now a little cheaper.
A Visa is required for anyone planning to stay longer in Costa Rica, for example, if the reason for the stay other than tourism (e.g. Au- Pair, internship, volunteer work).
Therefore, you will need a country issued police clearance from your home, among others. (No entries. This must be also legalized by the Costa Rican consulate in your country home. This costs about 32 €. You can find information on visa requirements at the immigration office. The organizations support their participants in this process.
Another legal trick (but may not apply to you forever) is a departure after the 90 days of the tourist visa. Many "long-term tourists" do that, so that they leave for at least 3 days to Panama or Nicaragua.