Using your ATM/debit card will generally give you the average exchange rate available. There is an ATM machine located within campus and two nearby the campus. Make sure to retrieve your bank card immediately after finishing your transaction — some ATM’s take in your bank card 15 seconds after the transaction has ended. This happens to make sure that if you forgot your card, nobody else will take it. It is also good to have a few traveler’s checks (VISA would be best) on reserve even though you plan to use your ATM card. Traveler’s checks can only be cashed with your passport at a bank.
We advise you not to withdraw money or exchange dollars at the airport unless necessary, since the exchange rate is much higher. It is wise to have some money on hand, so you can do so when you get to the city. Keep in mind that there’s an ATM on campus, and you can exchange your dollars at our Finance Office.
WHAT TO WEAR
Costa Rica has two seasons: the rainy season, “invierno” (winter), which goes from November-December to April, and the dry season, “verano” (summer), from May to November.
Light, comfortable and cotton clothing is best to stay cool in both seasons. Be sure to bring a light jacket and an umbrella during the rainy season! VERITAS is located in the city, so you are able to wear your everyday clothes. However, be wary not to stand out too much –just as you would in any other city– to avoid being a target. Bring walking shoes, sandals, a hat, sunblock, mosquito repellant and a beach towel for your weekend excursions. Bring dressier clothes and shoes for nice restaurants and nighttime clubs.
The local “ticos” wear mostly jeans and shirts-blouses, like a shirt you would wear to dress up a little. The boys wear beach tank tops or t-shirts; whereas the girls’ typical wardrobe is jeans, heels or flats, and a dressy shirt. If you want to fit in, pack a pair of jeans or pants. They don’t normally wear a lot of shorts, so only bring a couple. That goes for dresses as well, most “ticas” do not wear many daily dresses.
Also, when traveling to different locations around the country it is important to remember to bring clothes for the cold and warm weather, because the temperature can change fast and drastically. You can go from hot, humid beach weather to cold misty mountain weather in less than an hour.
If you are bringing your smart phone, we recommend you find out wheter it is blocked or unblocked. If it is unblocked you can buy a SIM card on campus. If you want to make sure you wont have problems with this, you can contact your phone company to confirm. SIM cards can be purchased on campus. Some cell phones are blocked and will need to be “unlocked” prior to your arrival in Costa Rica. If unblocking your device is impossible, you can buy a simple cell phone – which are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased on campus or at local malls.
There are also public phones available almost everywhere in the country. They can be used to make calls anywhere in the world. These telephones function by using public telephone ICE cards. Buy them in 500, 1000, 5000 colones denominations at many authorized dealers –mini-markets, pharmacies, and liquor stores– that display the blue and yellow ICETEL sign.
Costa Rican phones operate similarly to those in the US. In all of Costa Rica, the area code (lada) is 506 and a number is usually written like this: 2246-4646. If you want to dial this number from the US, first dial 011 (international code) + 506 (Costa Rica code) + the number; like this: 011 506 22464646.
Universidad VERITAS | Student’s name | Center for International Programs Apdo. 1380-1000, San José, Costa Rica
Universidad VERITAS | Student’s name | Center for International Programs | 1 km oeste de Casa presidencial, carretera a Zapote
San José, Costa Rica | Phone: (506) 2246 4646
There is a charge for each package received from the P.O BOX service in U.S.A., so only use these addresses for secure mail letters or packages. Important: Medicines, electronics and new items are subject to taxes at customs.
PLUGS | OUTLETS
Electric power in Costa Rica is supplied at US standard 110 volts, 60 cycles. At some houses, some of the plugs and sockets can be two-pronged, non-polar –like the old pre-1970’s US plugs and sockets. Therefore, it is advisable to bring adapters for your appliances with two-pronged polar or three-pronged plugs..