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Currency

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. There’s at least one in most main towns. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. US dollars themselves are widely accepted.

When to go

Despite its small size, Costa Rica has a number of distinct microclimates. The Caribbean coast is humid all year round with the driest months being Sep-Oct; wildlife lovers, however, might prefer to visit this region from Jul-Aug to watch nesting turtles. The rest of the country experiences a dry season from Dec-Apr, when there is plenty of sun and temperatures are high, and a rainy season from May-Nov. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule for all regions: for example, the rainy season starts a month earlier in the south Pacific, while the northern areas, including the Guanacaste coast, are not as affected by the seasons and are generally much drier. The highlands and cloud forests have warm temperatures during the day but the high altitude means evenings are much cooler.

Language

Spanish.

Time difference

GMT -5 hours.  

Getting there

There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to San José (11 hrs) as well as non-direct flights via US and European hubs.

Combines with

A visit to neighbouring Nicaragua or Panama. There are land crossings to both, as well as international flights.

Key events

International Arts Festival: San José, March. Music, dance, film art exhibitions.
Monteverde Music Festival: Monteverde, Jan - Feb.

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