Costa Rica offers plenty to explore, but make sure you have the right protection in place so that you can enjoy it with peace of mind.
The Central American country has stunning beaches and rainforests for visitors to discover during their visit, with around a quarter of the land made up of forestry.
If you are looking to travel to Costa Rica for your next holiday, then make sure you have everything in place, including travel cover.
Our Costa Rica travel insurance gives you protection for potential medical costs and flights delays, as well as cover if your luggage is lost, stolen, delayed or damaged during your trip. It can also help protect you if you need to cancel your trip, as long as the cover starts before you are aware of the reason that you’re no longer able to travel.
It’s a country perfect for people looking for adventure, with opportunities to hike up volcanoes, explore caves and zipline through the woodlands. Active tourists can also surf at many of the surrounding beaches, while you can also relax in hot springs and enjoy the peaceful noise of the surrounding wildlife.
The country is ranked number one in the Happy Planet Index rankings and it’s easy to see why, as it has one of the highest average life expectancies in the world and abolished its army in 1949. Costa Rica also puts focus on appreciating and protecting nature, and the land makes up around five per cent of the world’s biodiversity, with so much to offer travellers looking to have a picturesque visit.
What travel insurance do I need for Costa Rica?
You would need to get a worldwide travel insurance policy for your trip. You can then choose between getting single trip and multi-trip cover. Single trip would protect you just for that trip, starting when you book the policy and then ending once you return to the UK from your holiday.
Annual multi-trip covers you for a one-year period, which means you can go on as many trips as you want and still have protection, as long as each journey is within your chosen trip duration limit of 31, 45 or 60 days.
You can also add adventure sports to your policy, which gives you protection for various activities, while you can also get additional cover for gadgets, golf holidays and business travel.
What documents do I need to travel to Costa Rica?
If you are a British national then you won’t need a visa for your holiday to Costa Rica, providing you are staying for no more than 90 days. If you stay longer than your planned visit, then you could be fined by the immigration authorities.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises that your passport should have at least one day of validity beyond the date that you are set to return home from your visit.
Ahead of your trip, you should ensure that your primary courses and boosters are still up to date, including MMR and the seasonal flu vaccine. The NHS also advises that you may want to get a booster for hepatitis A, and consider vaccines for diphtheria, rabies and tetanus. Travellers from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission will also need to obtain a vaccination certificate.
Malaria can also be a risk in some areas, although many tourist areas are low risk. The country also has risks of Dengue Fever and the Zika virus, which are both transmitted by mosquito bites. Advised precautions include covering your skin and using mosquito repellents.
The NHS suggests consulting your healthcare practitioner around two months before you travel to get advice on which vaccines and precautions you should take for your trip.
Costa Rica travel insurance is important to have in place before you fly, as it can cover you for unforeseen illnesses and accidents during your holiday. When getting a policy, you will need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions, otherwise you will not be covered for anything that arises in relation to the condition.
Costa Rica travel advice
If you are planning to drive, you can use either your UK driving licence or get an International Driving Permit. Many of the main roads are in good condition, although the heavy rain can sometimes lead to big potholes as well as landslides in some areas.
Rip tides are common at Costa Rica beaches, and you will find that there are usually no lifeguards in many areas. This can lead to dangerous situations with drowning becoming a common cause of accidental death in the country, but the government is working to try to make the beaches safer for tourists. Crocodiles are also present near some beaches on the Pacific Coast.
There is a lot of forestry to explore and it is one of the most appealing parts of the trip for many visitors. If you do decide to travel deeper into these areas, you should book a tour with a local guide, as this ensures that your visit is safe and that you are able to navigate through the reserve.
Costa Rica travel insurance should be an important part of your travel plan, as it means that you can enjoy your trip without having to worry about the costs of potential medical emergencies. Travel cover from Columbus Direct ensures that you have protection for numerous aspects of your holiday, and it includes additional extras for free, such as health information and GP access 24/7 with Babylon, as well as airport lounge access if your flight is delayed for more than one hour.
Is it safe to travel there?
Costa Rica has a larger crime rate than some countries, including a higher crime index than Iran, Egypt and the United States. In most cases tourists are unlikely to experience any problems during their trip, but it is always advised that you stay vigilant, especially when travelling in quieter, secluded areas. You should also take precautions to avoid drinks being spiked and should only use registered official taxis.
One common issue in Costa Rica has been methanol in alcoholic drinks. These have led to serious illness and deaths among numerous people. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) advises that you should seek immediate medical attention if you show signs of methanol poisoning, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or vision loss.
Costa Rica travel insurance can be important for helping with potential medical costs during your trip, without suitable protection you could face unexpected medical costs. You would also have cover for instances when your possessions or luggage is damaged or stolen while you are on holiday.
The country normally experiences a rainy season between May and November each year, which can lead to heavy rain and landslides, while there is also a risk of hurricanes during this time of year. There is regular earthquake activity, with the last major earthquake taking place in November 2017. The country also has several volcanoes, with some of them still considered to be active and at risk of eruption.
There haven’t been many recent incidents of terrorism in the country, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. As with any trip, visitors are advised to stay cautious, particularly when travelling in busy tourist areas.
Things to do in Costa Rica
There are plenty of natural sights to enjoy in the country, with stunning coastlines providing a chance to relax. Many of the national parks host wild animals, insects and plants, including some that can’t be seen anywhere else.
Monteverde Cloud Forest is a popular spot for visitors, as it offers a unique view for birdwatchers and people looking to spot animals in the wild. There are also thousands of different plants to discover, and you can visit with the knowledge that the entrance fees help contribute towards ongoing research projects. Some of the animals you can find here include sloths, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys and deer.
The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is another popular attraction and guides tourists through the forestry. There are several hanging bridge tours to choose from, offering you different sites depending on what you’re interested in. You can see wildlife, hot springs, nature and volcanoes during the tours.
If you are keen to visit a volcano during your visit, Arenal Volcano National Park is a good place to visit. It includes the active Arenal volcano, as well as the inactive Chato volcano. You can do hikes and one-day tours, which give you up close looks at the natural wonder.
If you plan to go hiking, we include cover for hikes up to 4,000 metres altitude, with no overnight stay, with the 150 sports and activities that are included for free in Costa Rica travel insurance policies. Other activities that are part of the cover include ziplining, kayaking up to grade 3 and scuba diving up to 30 metres.
When to travel there
If you want to avoid the rainy season, then you will need to travel outside of May-November, although some visitors choose to go there in July and August despite the rain. This is because it is often when there are less people, and you can get cheaper packages. January-March is usually the best period if you want to enjoy dry, sunny days during your visit, but it is often more crowded during this period.
If you’re not sure when you want to travel, it is worth researching what you can expect during certain months, and then you can choose the time of year that matches what you want to get out of your visit.
If you’re planning to visit the country this year then make sure that your Costa Rica travel insurance is in place after you book it. Then you can relax knowing that you have cancellation cover if something arises that prevents you from travelling, while you also avoid a last-minute rush to get your cover in place.