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Safety guidelines

  • Requirements to enter/leave any establishment and closed spaces require that you use a face mask and most places will ask you to wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer before entering. Some places will measure your temperature before you enter.
  • For closed spaces: If you’re sitting with your social “bubble”, most establishments will allow you to take off your masks. If you need to use the toilet or leave the table or sitting arrangement, you’ll be asked to put on your mask.
  • For open spaces such as beaches, tour sites: one of the beauties of the Costa Rican landscape is that it permits lots of open space without having to be arm-to-arm with strangers. Most likely, you’ll be able to enjoy the beach, hikes, rainforest without your mask on and only use it when encountering other groups. However, if you’re on guided tours you will be asked to use a mask at all times.
  • You’ll find that one of the wonders of Costa Rica is the amount of open air space that you have for yourself and your travel companions. However, it’s important to take into consideration peak seasons (read below) as it’ll be likely that you may find overcrowded open spaces (depending on your dates and destinations).

Restrictions

Driving
  • Rental cars don’t have any license plate restrictions, so you’re free to roam every day of the week, but you do have to adhere to the allotted driving schedule.
  • As of December 20, 2021, you’re allowed to drive between 5 a.m. and 12 midnight (before December 20th, it’s until 11p.m.). You will get a ticket if you get caught driving between midnight and 5 a.m., costing approximately $170 USD. 
  • Driving restrictions will be waived only on December 25th and January 1st. 
Establishments
  • Bars and restaurants have the same restrictions as the driving restrictions, so you’ll find that they’ll close sometime before midnight.

A “crowded” beach in Costa Rica (doesn’t apply to Tamarindo). Photo property of Tradewind.

This was taken on Marino Ballena National Park in Uvita, in July 2021. Courtesy of our Commercial Director in Costa Rent-a-Car.

Crowds

Consider most crowded seasons:
New Year’s:

The week after Christmas is most definitely the busiest week of the year in all of Costa Rica except city centers. Locals and tourists alike will visit many of our country’s destinations and you’ll find traffic, queues and overall less open space available.

Easter week:

Easter week is another busy season in Costa Rica. However, keep in mind that Costa Rica’s Easter week is guided by the Catholic calendar, which means that it falls on the week of April 11th, 2022…which would be the busiest week in between March and April. Nonetheless, the weeks before and the weeks after are usually quite busy as North America has their spring break set at different timelines during those two months.

High Season

Overall, in tourism we have a marked peak season, which commences mid November and  ends just after Easter. Additionally, we have what we call the green season which is between July and September. The less visited months are usually May-June and October. 

Consider most visited destinations:

It’s important to consider that you’ll not only find international visitors in Costa Rica, but also during the holiday season (most specifically New Year’s and Easter week) many locals will be on vacation and will be traveling to many of these destinations as well. 

North Pacific

The north pacific coast is probably the most visited destination and where you’ll definitely find the bigger crowds. Some destinations worth mentioning:

  • Guanacaste: Tamarindo Beach (especially), Flamingo Beach, Conchal Beach and Potrero Beach.
  • Northern Highlands: La Fortuna (Arenal) & Monteverde.
  • Nicoya Peninsula: Santa Teresa / Malpaís Beach, Nosara and Sámara Beach.
Central Pacific Coast

The second most visited region is the central pacific coast, most specifically Jacó and Manuel Antonio.

South Pacific Coast

And lastly, probably a bit less crowded but will be visited nonetheless is the south pacific region, including Uvita and the Osa Peninsula.

What about the Caribbean?

Costa Ricans are aware that the Caribbean region (Puerto Viejo and surrounding beaches, and Tortuguero National Park) usually receives rainfall during December and January, so it’ll be most likely that you’ll find more international visitors than locals during this season. Its peak season is usually in its driest months which are February-March (less so) & September-October (more so).

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