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How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Tortuguero and San Jose are served by Juan Santamaria International Airport (IATA code SJO), which is located 17 kilometers (approximately 10.5 miles) northwest of downtown San Jose.

There is a local bus stop outside the airport (on the other side of the multi-story parking garage outside of arrivals). It costs less than 570 colones (about$1) and takes you right downtown. You can put your luggage in the storage area below on the bus. The least expensive option is taking the bus into downtown and get a taxi there to your final destination. Make sure you have some smaller colones bills as the may not take larger bills.

The taxis charge 17,000 colones (about $30) to take you to the city, be sure to take one of the licensed orange taxis that say `Taxi Aeropuerto.` There are many unlicensed taxi drivers who will charge you almost twice as much as Taxi Aeropuerto. There is an ATM by the entrance to the departures where you can get colones currency.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Officially licensed taxis are colored red or orange; if a taxi is any other color or lacks the inverted yellow triangle on the doors, it’s a `pirate taxi` operating illegally. When boarding the taxi ask the taxi driver `Puede poner la maria, por favor?` (Could you please turn the meter on?), otherwise, you will pay a higher price. For a taxi, call Coopetaxi (tel. 506/2235-9966) or Coopetico (tel. 506/2224- 7979).

Should I rent a car in Tortuguero?

No. If you are staying close to San Jose, there are no cars allowed in Tortuguero National Park. Only consider a car if you want to plan a side trip exploring Costa Rica. Renting a car in Costa Rica is probably one of the best ways to enjoy all the sights of the country. Some of the advantages are obvious – go where you want, when you want. Make your own agenda and have more freedom.

Is Tortuguero a walking city?

Yes, walking is an excellent way to get around Tortuguero National Park. The village itself is small enough that you can easily walk anywhere. There are no cars in Tortuguero, so there is no need to rent a car. The lodges are located outside the village. You can reach the village of Tortuguero if you staying at the Mawamba Lodge (it is a 10min walk) and Laguna lodge (30 mins). Most of the main accommodations for food restaurants and entertainment are within walking distance.

Is Tortuguero a dangerous city? Are there any areas I should avoid?

No, for the most part, Tortuguero National Park is a safe area. There have been robberies near the entrance of the park in the past. If you want to lower your risk of being attacked, then travel with or behind the tourist buses and hotel buses into and out of Tortuguero in the mornings. The convoy of tourist buses and hotel buses drive from Cariari to Pavona between 9.30 a.m.. and 10.30 a.m. in the mornings during high season. During low season, it is safer to wait until a line of cars has formed on the road in Cuatro Esquinas, so that you don't drive alone on that road from Cuatro Esquinas to the Pavona dock.

What are the customs for tipping in Costa Rica? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Costa Rica is the Colon. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for colones upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city.

I do not speak Spanish. Do many people speak English?

No, about 90 percent of Costa Ricans speak Spanish as their first language. English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest that you get a good English-Spanish dictionary and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

Do I need a visa to visit Costa Rica?

No, U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica for stays of less than 90 days. However, they must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica. (Either to return to the U.S. or to go to another country). The U.S. passport must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica.

Are Vaccinations required to visit Costa Rica? Are there any other precautions I should take?

No, there are currently no vaccination requirements to visit Costa Rica. There is no risk of yellow fever in Costa Rica. The government of Costa Rica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US.

Zika is a risk in Costa Rica. Because Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects, women who are pregnant should not travel to Costa Rica. All travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus during and after the trip. For the latest updates visit the CDC page on the internet.

What kind of food is available in San Jose?

A typical breakfast is hearty and consists of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans - sometimes served with scrambled eggs). Lunch is solid too, the typical dishes are Casado (rice and beans, served with meat or fish, fried plantains, cheese and corn tortilla), Ceviche (fish marinated and cooked in lime juice, coriander, and pepper). There is not a dinner culture in Costa Rica. An afternoon snack consists of bread and coffee.

Can I drink the water in Costa Rica?

No, the water is not drinkable in Costa Rica. We suggest that you carry bottled water with you. Most tourist areas will have bottled water available for purchase.