Information for traveling to Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Jamaica

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 in Costa Rica Surf Trips

Planning Your Real Surf Trip to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic or Jamaica?

If you are planning a trip with us either tropical Costa Rica, the beautiful Dominican Republic or much-loved Jamaica, you are in for a special vacation. All three of these destinations are favorites of travelers for good reason. They all offer pristine beaches, plenty of sunshine and a host of activities. But all three countries have varying requirements and recommendations that international travelers should be aware of.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful vacation spot, popular with many North Americans. It may, in fact, be the most “Americanized” Central American country. If you’ve not traveled abroad before, then, Costa Rica may be a good choice for you. Its coastlines along both the Pacific and the Caribbean combined with the interior rainforests make Costa Rica a dream for vacationers who love the outdoors. Although Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, English is widely spoken.

Costa Rica, the rich coast, is known for its beautiful beaches. Visitors can discover both black sand and white sand beaches. Sand is made up of bits of eroded rock, and the type of rock determines the color of the sand. While black sand tends to be hot to walk on with bare feet, it is beautiful. The clear, blue water forms a beautiful contrast with the black sand.

White sand beaches are also popular in Costa Rica. White Costa Rican sand has a smoother, silkier feel than black sand. And like other beaches in Costa Rica, the white sands are beautiful against the clear blue sea, perfect for swimming and surfing. No matter the type of sand, visitors are sure the appreciate the beaches in Costa Rica.

What Documentation Is Required for people from the US to Enter Costa Rica?

People from the United States do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. However, they do need a valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica. It is recommended that your passport be no more than six months away from its expiration date. Length of stay is 90 days.

Is There a Fee to Enter Costa Rica?

No, Americans do not pay a fee upon entry.

Is There a Fee to Leave Costa Rica?

Yes, Americans pay a $29 departure tax when leaving Costa Rica. Most of the time now, the fee is included with your plane ticket.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Traveling to Costa Rica?

  • Although a developing country, Costa Rica is relatively safe, and the residents are amenable to foreigners
  • Bring bug repellant. This is a must when visiting not just Costa Rica but any tropical area.
  • Bring sun screen. Costa Rica is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing surf, and this means many visitors want to spend time in the sun. Don’t let a sun burn take away from your vacation.
  • Notify your bank or credit card company before traveling. Often, banks and credit card companies flag transactions in foreign countries as possible fraudulent charges. It’s frustrating to have your card be declined. You can avoid this by informing your bank or credit card company of your travel dates ahead of time.
  • In general, Costa Rica is credit card friendly; however, some businesses in remote locations only take cash.

The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is located on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. Known for gorgeous beaches, golf courses, and high-end resorts, the Dominican Republic is a favorite Caribbean getaway for travelers. Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, although many residents know some English.

The Dominican Republic offers gorgeous, clean beaches.. Visitors are likely to find more surf friendly waters during the winter season on the beaches that face the Atlantic Ocean, including the popular Punta Canta. However, even then, many days provide lovely weather. Many visitors to the Dominican Republic enjoy surfing, kayaking and kiteboarding.

What Documentation is Required for people from the US to Enter the Dominican Republic?

US citizens need a valid passport to enter the Dominican Republic. A visa is not required; however, if you do not have a visa, you will be required to purchase a tourist card upon arrival. A tourist card can also be purchased at the Dominican embassy in Washington D.C. or at any Dominican airport upon entry. Typically, tourist cards allow you to stay for up to 60 days, although extensions can be requested. Tourist cards cost $10 per person.

Is There a Fee to Enter the Dominican Republic?

Aside from the $10 tourist card mentioned above, there are no other fees to enter the Dominican Republic.

Is There a Fee to Leave the Dominican Republic?

Yes, travelers pay a $20 departure tax when leaving the Dominican Republic.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Traveling to the Dominican Republic?

  • It’s best to drink bottled water. Tap water in the Dominican Republic is fine for bathing and brushing your teeth, but bottled water is best for drinking. In this Caribbean climate, staying hydrated is important.
  • The food in the Dominican is a unique blend of European, African and local influences. Be an adventurous eater and get as much local flavor as you can.
  • Many businesses will let you pay with American dollars, although using local currency will tend to get you a better deal.
  • Be sure to take sun screen. Don’t let your Caribbean holiday be diminished by the discomfort of sunburn.
  • The Dominican Republic is generally safe. Of course, you should take the normal safety precautions that you would anywhere, but crime rates are not high.
  • Bring bug repellant. This is a must when visiting not just the Dominican but any tropical area.
  • Notify your bank or credit card company before traveling. Often, banks and credit card companies flag transactions in foreign countries as possible fraudulent charges.

Jamaica

Jamaica is a Caribbean island nation and is the birthplace of reggae. Jamaica offers many options to vacationers, including mountains, rainforests, and gorgeous reef-lined beaches perfect for your next surf trip. A number of resorts and hotels sit along the Montego Bay which offers diving and snorkeling. English is the official language of Jamaica, although many locals speak Jamaican creole.

Jamaican beaches offer calm, blue waters, and visitors often enjoy kayaking, water skiing, sailing and glass-bottom boat tours. While this is not the case with all beaches in Jamaica, some beaches allow vendors to wander the sand selling local treats, like jerk chicken, and allow music and dancing after dark, turning the beaches into a virtual nightclub. The eastern side of the island offers bigger waves, a draw for surfers. On many of Jamaica’s beaches, you’ll find musicians playing live, exactly what you’d expect in the birthplace of reggae and ska.

What Documentation Is Required for US Citizens to Enter Jamaica?

People from the US need a passport to enter Jamaica. A visa is not required for stays of less than six months.

Is There a Fee to Enter Jamaica?

Yes, Americans pay a $20 landing fee when arriving in Jamaica. Typically, but not always, this is included in the cost of an airline ticket.

Is There a Fee to Leave Jamaica?

Yes, Americans pay a $35 departure tax when leaving Jamaica. Typically, but not always, this is included in the cost of an airline ticket.

What Else Do I Need to Know about Traveling to Jamaica?

  • Most tourists visit Montego Bay, Negril or Ocho Rios, or a combination of these. All three are gorgeous and worth visiting.
  • By United States standards, Jamaicans tend to be relaxed and laid back. This makes Jamaica a wonderful destination if relaxation is what you crave as a traveler.
  • With that said, there are many world-class activities to enjoy during your stay in Jamaica. Montego Bay offers snorkeling and scuba diving, and Dunn’s River Falls is a must-see. It’s a waterfall over 900 feet high, and visitors can climb the falls.
  • The beaches tend not to be overcrowded. This is a huge plus if you are a beach-goer. Surfing is still a lesser known sport for the country so the waves are often empty, perfect for those who love to surf!
  • Because Jamaica is a Commonwealth country, people drive on the left side of the road. This is a often an adjustment for Americans.
  • It’s safe to drink tap water in Jamaica.
  • Bring bug repellant. This is a must when visiting not just Jamaica but any tropical area.
  • Bring sun screen. Jamaica is known for its beautiful beaches, and this means many visitors want to spend time in the sun. Don’t let a sun burn take away from your vacation.
  • Notify your bank or credit card company before traveling. Often, banks and credit card companies flag transactions in foreign countries as possible fraudulent charges.
  • Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is worth a visit. It is home to the Bob Marley Museum.

Real Surf Trips offers guests a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to learn surfing from our experts on one of the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  Come enjoy our fantastic staff, beaches, and luxury accommodations!

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