Services in Costa Rica

We recommend that you call your telephone carrier and sign up for an international plan. Remember to ask for the Costa Rica number access.

Preparing for departure

Here is a brief checklist to help you with your preparation before departure:

  • Make sure your passport is valid at least six months beyond the program end date.
  • If you are not a US citizen, check for visa requirements.
  • Make sure your bank/credit card companies know you will be using your cards abroad.
  • Check with your travel office for medical recommendations at least 60 days prior to departing for the program. Review:
    • Vaccination history and requirements for different regions.
    • Any prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you may need to bring.
  • Be sure to have all the necessary documents for re-entry into the US. 
  • Pay your fee directly to the Costa Rica partners.
  • Read the required background readings.
  • Turn in all required paperwork at USC.
  • Make sure to bring all necessary clothes and personal items (check What to Bring section)


All program participants are required to have a valid passport, which must be valid at least six months beyond the program end date


No visa is required for US citizens. All other passport holders should check with their respective visa requirements.

Medical recommendations

You may need a yellow fever vaccine if you are travelling from a country other than the US. Please check the CDC website ( to see if you will be required to get the yellow fever vaccine. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will be denied entry into Costa Rica.


Students are required to have international health insurance that is valid in the field placement site before initiating the practicum. Please consult Rose Park for further requirements.

What to Bring

Most airlines allow at least one piece of checked luggage plus one carry-on bag. Please contact your specific airline for more detailed requirements on size, weight and additional fees.

Clothing and Personal Items

This is just a guideline of the general items that probably will be required during different programs; please pack according to your own needs.

  • Long, lightweight pants (please do not wear tight yoga pants)
  • Short-sleeved shirts for field work
  • Long-sleeved, lightweight shirts
  • Shorts and t-shirts (OK for most days)
  • Business casual for site visits (long pants/collar-shirt, etc).
  • A sweater or jacket
  • Running shoes and/or hiking shoes (many site visits require closed-toe shoes)
  • Casual shoes
  • Bathing suit
  • Personal toiletries (including shampoo and soap)
  • Sunscreen (we recommend SPF 30 or greater)
  • Insect repellent
  • A small to medium backpack for your clothing and gear on field trips
  • Adapters to go from three-prong to two-prong cords
  • Phone charger
  • Any prescription meds (in your carry-on in original bottles with label)
  • Sunglasses
  • Eye mask and ear plugs if you are a light sleeper
  • Flashlight
  • Dry Bag for electronics (Apple laptops especially have a hard time with the humidity)


The best way to deal with money during your trip is to carry undamaged cash (no marks or tears and bills must be newish), a debit card to use at ATMs, and a credit card for travelling and/or emergencies.
Some important notes to keep in mind are:

You will need your original passport to change money in any bank.

  • Bills (and coins) are not accepted by the banks if they are damaged in any way. Please bring only crisp new bills with no tears or markings.
  • Remember to inform your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling to Costa Rica and using your cards.
  • Check with your bank to make sure your ATM card will work internationally.
  • Visa and Mastercard are the most widely-accepted credit cards in Costa Rica.
  • International airfare
  • USC tuition (course registration is required)
  • About 6 meals
  • Lodging and airport transfers outside of the trip dates.
  • Baggage fees on flights
  • Additional snacks, drinks, or purchases at hotels
  • Souvenirs and other personal items
  • Single supplement charges for hotels (if single room is requested)
  • Tips for bus driver and luggage porters (about $20 per person total)
San Vito Housing
Classrooms in San Vito
Balcony at San Vito- the lodge is inside a huge botanical garden