Due to the tour concentrating on some less explored areas of Costa Rica we felt it was essential that this tour be led by a local expert. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group.
All journeys by private vehicles and boats. Travelling days between 2-4hrs.
On our Discovery Journeys the standard of accommodation varies. We aim to keep the price competitive while ensuring the basic comforts. Hotels/guesthouses are comfortable and attractive in most places, and you will be pleasantly surprised. This tour visits some of the more remote areas of Costa Rica, so accomodation will vary from place to place, but all with have ensuite bathrooms and a range of facilities.
Examples of hotels/lodges used on this journey include:
• San Jose: Don Carlos
• Tortuguero: Laguna Lodge
• Sarapiqui: La Quinta
• Rio Celeste: Celeste Mountain Lodge
• Monteverde: Monteverde Country Lodge
• Carara: Cerro Lodge
Breakfast daily; Dinner days 5,6,7 and 11; Full board days 2,3,4,7 and 10.
• boat trip down the canals of Tortuguero.
• nature walk in Tirimbina Rainforest reserve.
• Tenorio Volcano National Park and Rio Celeste hike.
• Selvatura hanging bridges.
• visit to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
• cooking class at local finca.
Summary of nights
12 days, 11 nights: San José 1; Tortuguero 2; Sarapiqui 2; Rio Celeste 2; Monteverde 2; Carara 2.
Included in the journey price
• Local tour leader throughout.
• All land transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified.
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities.
• Meals other than specified.
• Optional excursions.
• $15 local entry fee for Tortuguero.
The unit of currency in Costa Rica is the colón.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$40 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in San José: taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in many shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency in San José at the beginning of your trip, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are increasingly falling out of use. (American Express cheques are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can exchange sterling but the rate may be unfavourable and there are fewer outlets providing this service. US dollars cash is widely accepted for payments.
Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
Costa Rica is a country where activities are based outside in the nature, so a relative level of fitness will help you make the most of trip. Most excursions will involve some walking, but your tour leader can advise on each activity and make sure it is suitable. For the more active there are opportunites for longer hikes and adventurouse activities.
The trip covers climates ranging from tropical lowland to more temperate zones in the highlands. November to April visitors will encounter high temperatures in lowland areas, but cool evenings in the highlands and San José with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be lower at this time.
Clothing and special equipment
Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A waterproof jacket is also necessary. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper (it can be cool in the interior), and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos may be lurking. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.
Don’t forget your binoculars, long lens camera and field guide.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.
Reduce plastic waste
Journey Latin America has partnered with Water-To-Go to offer JLA Group Tour passengers the opportunity to purchase 75cl filtered water bottles for a 50% discount. The bottle can be refilled at any water outlet and has a filter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, allowing the water to be safe to drink. Please call your contact at JLA to add it your booking and it will be delivered to your address. More information about this initiative can be found on our website here
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to or via, the USA, you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online. This costs $14 per person, and must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.