Where will I go on a Costa Rica cruise?
This depends on your itinerary. Cruises that visit or depart from Costa Rica often transit the Panama Canal and include other ports in Central America.
When is the best time to take a Costa Rica cruise?
Cruises that visit Costa Rica are available year-round, but the dry season (December to April) is the most popular time to vacation in this region. Temperatures hover around 80 degrees regardless of the season, but annual rains (about 10 inches per month between June and November) can add some unwelcome humidity.
How long do these cruises last?
Cruises to Costa Rica vary greatly in length.
Will I need a passport or visa?
All cruises now require proof of citizenship. On some itineraries, a certified copy of your birth certificate and a driver's license or government-issued photo I.D. are sufficient, on others a passport is required. Visas may also be required on the more exotic itineraries. Your cruise counselor will advise you on documents you will need depending on your itinerary.
Is English spoken?
It is spoken and understood by residents connected to the tourist trade, but Spanish is the official language of the region.
What is the local currency?
The official currency in Costa Rica is the colón (CRC). U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted.
Is tipping a common practice?
Tipping is customary and a welcome reward for top-notch service. In fact, most servers and vendors in Latin America rely on gratuities for a large part of their income.
What should I wear?
Annual temperatures hover around the 80’s, so dress accordingly. Visitors should opt for breezy, free-flowing clothes made from natural fibers -- shorts and T-shirts make great resort wear during the day, while casual slacks, polo shirts and sundresses are perfect for evening activities. And remember that you'll be cruising through some dense, misty jungles -- pack a poncho or rain jacket to guard against showers.
What should I pack?
Bring your summer essentials when visiting this region. Sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits are a must; so are protective hats, insect repellent, good walking shoes and a sturdy camera.
Is the water safe to drink?
Some resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, but it might be best to stick with bottled water here. It's sold almost everywhere on shore, but you can pick up a few bottles before disembarking your ship, too.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots may be required for visitors from North America, and you should consult your health professional before boarding your cruise to see what precautions are necessary.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
Depending on your location, outlets can be either 110 or 220 volts. Ships are typically outfitted with standard U.S. plug fittings. Converters and adapters come in handy for international visitors.
How do I make a telephone call from this region?
Tourist resorts and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available. U.S.-based cell phones might not work here.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy?
Shoppers in Central America are in for a treat, especially if they're in the market for homemade handicrafts. From colorful woven hammocks and wood handicrafts to indigenous pottery, Costa Rica’s souvenirs promise plenty for the discriminating buyer. Open-air markets, souvenir shops, and upscale galleries are prevalent throughout the country and display a wide array of goods. Keep in mind that prices are fixed at most stores and art galleries, but bargaining is a helpful skill at craft markets and street stalls.
How do I get around?
Tour guides throughout Central America offer bus, boat and helicopter tours, while larger cities provide taxis, bicycle rentals and public buses and trains.
Can I rent a car?
Most of the countries visited on a Costa Rica cruise will allow you to rent a car if you're over 21 years old, carry a valid driver's license and can provide a major credit card to cover insurance costs. However, car rentals are rarely necessary for cruise ship passengers -- those not covered by group transportation included with their shore excursions can turn to public buses and taxis, a much cheaper (and largely safer) option here.
What can I do during a Costa Rica cruise?
Explore the rain forest on a horseback ride through the enchanting Valley of the Monkeys, where hundred-year-old trees are draped with orchids, ferns and bromeliads. You might see howler monkeys, butterflies, parrots and other colorful birds. Explore the largest crater and some of the most varied flora in the world on a breathtaking tour of Poas Volcano National Park. Learn the techniques of coffee-farming, harvesting, milling and roasting. Visit Pura Vida and enjoy the exquisite cuisine, beautiful gardens and native deer. Glide across the canopy of the rain forest in a tram at the Braulio Carrillo National Park.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers of the Costa Rica?
There's plenty of beauty to capture in this region, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter.