Costa Rica Family Holiday
from $2446
Duration: 10 Days
Discover the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica – and the culture shaped by the tropical wilderness – with your loved ones, on a trip that’s tailored for families. Pick produce and make dinner with a local family during an agricultural homestay, look for three-toed sloths in the thickets of the Manuel Antonio National Park and walk through the canopy of Monteverde’s cloud forest on a suspended bridge. Take a break from active adventure by soaking in springs heated by Arenal Volcano and lying beneath swaying palms on pristine beaches while the kids play nearby. This adventure takes you into the wild heart of a country many visit but few truly know.
  • Go beyond a biology lesson and immerse yourself in nature, from spotting rare birds in Monteverde to listening for the evocative call of howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park.
  • Harvest produce and come together to cook a rustic meal from scratch during a homestay with family in an agricultural community.
  • Get active on guided walks through forest and jungle, plus an incredible canopy walk along suspended bridges in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
  • Family holidays aren’t always relaxing, but this trip offers plenty of opportunities to take it slow in thermal springs and pools and on beaches.
  • End this adventure by hitting Manuel Antonio National Park, where the evergreen forest grows right up to the long, whitExplore e beaches and irresistible water.
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Agricultural tour
  • Santa Rosa de Pocosol - Cooking Class
  • Arenal National Park
  • Monteverde - Sky Walk
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - (Entrance fee)
  • Day 1 Location: San Jose
    Welcome to subtropical San Jose! Meet your leader and fellow family travellers at a welcome meeting at 5 pm at the hotel. If you arrive early there is plenty to see in this bustling city, and as the streets are laid out in a grid pattern it’s relatively easy to navigate too. Check out a few of the optional activities below, just note that as these activities are not included, they may incur an extra charge. The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, for example, is the perfect way to introduce kids (and adults) of all ages to Costa Rican biodiversity while getting some respite from the clamour of the city. After the meeting tonight, perhaps get a taste of ‘Tico’ food (and get to know the other families and your tour leader) with an optional dinner as a group.
    Day 2 Location: Santa Rosa de Pocosol
    Fuel up on breakfast and get some books or classic car games ready for the 3-hour drive to Santa Rosa de Pocosol. The tiny agricultural community of Juanilama (pop. approximately 200) in the Santa Rosa de Pocosol area is predominantly dedicated to milk production and raising cattle. It’s the perfect place to experience life in small-town Costa Rica – you’ll even be staying with a local family! Settle in and get to know your hosts before going on an agricultural tour. During the tour the children will learn how to plant vegetables as well as gather some produce to be used in tonight’s cooking class. You will have some free time to wander around the community before coming together to create a meal with the produce collected earlier. Vamos a comer (Let’s eat)!
    Day 3 Location: Arenal
    Today you’ll cross west through the north of the country to Arenal (approximately 1 hour), which lies beneath the volcano of the same name. Rising from verdant plains, Arenal Volcano shoots up 1633 metres in a perfect cone and in certain light resembles a storybook drawing. The landscape is mainly cloud forest and rainforest, cut through with rivers, lakes and -- thanks to the volcano’s inner workings -- thermal hot springs. On arrival you are free to explore the area at your own pace. Or perhaps you’d prefer to unwind by the hotel pool in view of the mighty Arenal Volcano. Your accommodation also features onsite hot springs where you can relax your muscles in preparation for an active day tomorrow.
    Day 4 Location: Arenal
    Head out for a guided morning tour of Arenal National Park. Take trails through dwarf cloud forest and listen to the birdsong of several species of hummingbird, as well as the melodious clay-coloured robin. The afternoon is then free for optional activities in the local area. Please note as these activities are not included, some incur extra cost. To get a closer view of the majestic volcano peak, you could take a hike past old lava flows on the Arenal 1968 Trail. There are two options on the 1968, including a shorter route suitable for families with younger kids. Or maybe a slow-paced soar on the Sky Tram is more your family’s speed? Chat to your leader about these and the many other options on offer today.
    Day 5 Location: Monteverde
    Today is a travel day as you travel via Tilaran to Monteverde de Santa Elena (approximately 4–5 hours). Break up the journey with a snack stop for great homemade cakes and refreshments before continuing uphill to cool-climate Monteverde. In 1951 North American Quakers founded the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a sanctuary for the unique flora and fauna of Costa Rica. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call the reserve home, and over the next few days you’ll get acquainted with some of them. There may be time to make an optional visit the nearby Butterfly Garden today upon arrival (an additional cost). Otherwise, settle into your accommodation and enjoy the tranquillity of nature.
    Day 6 Location: Monteverde
    See the forest from a different perspective on an included canopy walk across the suspended bridges of Monteverde. The sheer variety of bird life in Monteverde is enough to make an ornithologist out of anyone, so don’t be surprised if younger children have a new answer to the question ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ While you’re up among the treetops look (or listen) out for the reclusive resplendent quetzal, the blue-crowned motmot or the emerald toucanet. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or partake in some optional activities. You could visit an orchid farm or whizz through the trees on zip-lines. If conditions are right, there might be a chance to hike through the forest at dusk, a unique opportunity to see the area’s nocturnal creatures begin to stir.
    Day 7 Location: Manuel Antonio National Park
    Wave adios to Monteverde and hit the Pan-American Highway for a southward journey past beaches and palm plantations to Manuel Antonio (around 6 hours). Arrive at your accommodation, located close to the national park, and spend an evening at leisure. Tomorrow you’ll have the opportunity to explore the evergreen forest and the long, white beaches it nudges up against. Tonight, maybe take the family for a traditional Costa Rican meal at a soda (local restaurant), where you can mix with locals and try some of the region’s incredible fresh produce. Please note this dinner is not included, but your leader can give you tips on where to go and what to order!
    Day 8 Location: Manuel Antonio National Park
    After breakfast enjoy a 3-hour guided walk along the trails that snake through Manuel Antonio National Park. Immerse yourself in nature and learn more about the area’s diverse wild and plant life from your guide. Look and listen carefully and you may be able to spot howler monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, iguanas and more. The afternoon is free to explore this magical area further at your family’s desired pace. Maybe you’d like to relax on one of the idyllic palm-lined bays while the kids splash in the water. Active types have the option to rent equipment to kayak, surf or fish in the glittering ocean (for an extra cost). There are no wrong choices in this balmy paradise.
    Day 9 Location: San Jose
    Rise and shine for your final morning in this beachside haven. Enjoy your last hours in Manuel Antonio with some free time before making the return drive to San Jose in the mid-afternoon (approximately 3 hours). There are no activities planned on arrival at San Jose but maybe head out as a group for a final optional dinner to reminisce about your time together.
    Day 10 Location: San Jose
    There are no activities planned for today. Please remember to comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times if you are leaving today. Can’t get enough of San Jose? Why not head out on a Tropical Rainforest and Chocolate Urban Adventure, which uncovers the chocolate and wildlife secrets of the jungle. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/San-Jose-tour-tropical-rainforest-and-chocolate-adventure.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    11APR2020
    Return Date:
    20APR2020
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04JUL2020
    Return Date:
    13JUL2020
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18JUL2020
    Return Date:
    27JUL2020
    2625NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25JUL2020
    Return Date:
    03AUG2020
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    01AUG2020
    Return Date:
    10AUG2020
    2510NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08AUG2020
    Return Date:
    17AUG2020
    2510NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09AUG2020
    Return Date:
    18AUG2020
    2510NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    15AUG2020
    Return Date:
    24AUG2020
    2510NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20DEC2020
    Return Date:
    29DEC2020
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    26DEC2020
    Return Date:
    04JAN2021
    2650NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    21 Jan 2020

    Trip title

    Costa Rica Family Holiday

    Trip code

    QCFM

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Discover the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica – and the culture shaped by the tropical wilderness – with your loved ones, on a trip that’s tailored for families. Pick produce and make dinner with a local family during an agricultural homestay, look for three-toed sloths in the thickets of the Manuel Antonio National Park and walk through the canopy of Monteverde’s cloud forest on a suspended bridge. Take a break from active adventure by soaking in springs heated by Arenal Volcano and lying beneath swaying palms on pristine beaches while the kids play nearby. This adventure takes you into the wild heart of a country many visit but few truly know.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Family,Wildlife

    Transport

    Private Minivan

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    KC Hotel

    Morenos Street

    Sabana Sur

    San Jose

    10101

    COSTA RICA

    Phone: +506 25194100

    Joining point description

    KC San Jose is a comfortable hotel, strategically located in the Sabana Sur neighbourhood of San Jose. Offering free Wi-Fi, the elegant rooms have ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffeemakers. There's a stylish, glass-fronted restaurant which serves international fare, as well as an outdoor pool.

    Joining point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged arrival transfer service from San Jose International Airport [SJO] at an additional fee. If you have pre-booked this service, please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. If you plan to arrive earlier, this transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. If you have pre-booked this service; you will be met after exiting the terminal building to the outside. As you exit please look for the Intrepid sign with your name on it. There is no designated area for transfer drivers to wait inside the building so please take your time to look around after exiting to the outside through the last glass automatic door. If you have any problems and cannot locate your driver on arrival, please call our Intrepid Emergency number listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. If you don’t have a device or mobile coverage, San Jose Airport has a free Wi-Fi connection so you can call that same number via an online application such as Skype. There are also several information desks and tourist information desks around if you require further assistance. Otherwise, you can travel from the San Jose Airport to the hotel by taxi. We recommend you use either the authorised taxi services organised from inside the terminal, or the authorised orange taxis outside the terminal building. They will charge you approximately USD$30 for a trip to downtown. The drive to where the hotel is located is approximately 35-45 minutes depending on traffic.

    Alternate Joining point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.

    08 Aug 2020 (QCFM200808)

    Autentico Hotel

    Calle 40 with the corner of Avenida 5

    San Jose

    10101

    COSTA RICA

    Phone: +506 22225266

    Alternate Joining point description

    This streamlined modern hotel is a 15-minute walk from Contraloria train station. Unfussy rooms with warm decor offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers, as well as safes and ceiling fans. Breakfast and parking are complimentary. Other amenities include a landscaped garden with an outdoor pool and seating, and an understated restaurant and bar that hosts regular themed buffets.

    Alternate Joining point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged arrival transfer service from San Jose International Airport [SJO] at an additional fee. If you have pre-booked this service, please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. If you plan to arrive earlier, this transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. If you have pre-booked this service; you will be met after exiting the terminal building to the outside. As you exit please look for the Intrepid sign with your name on it. There is no designated area for transfer drivers to wait inside the building so please take your time to look around after exiting to the outside through the last glass automatic door. If you have any problems and cannot locate your driver on arrival, please call our Intrepid Emergency number listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. If you don’t have a device or mobile coverage, San Jose Airport has a free Wi-Fi connection so you can call that same number via an online application such as Skype. There are also several information desks and tourist information desks around if you require further assistance. Otherwise, you can travel from the San Jose Airport to the hotel by taxi. We recommend you use either the authorised taxi services organised from inside the terminal, or the authorised orange taxis outside the terminal building. They will charge you approximately USD$30 for a trip to downtown. The drive to where the hotel is located is approximately 35-45 minutes depending on traffic.

    Finish point

    KC Hotel

    Morenos Street

    Sabana Sur

    San Jose

    10101

    COSTA RICA

    Phone: +506 25194100

    Finish point description

    KC San Jose is a comfortable hotel, strategically located in the Sabana Sur neighbourhood of San Jose. Offering free Wi-Fi, the elegant rooms have ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffeemakers. There's a stylish, glass-fronted restaurant which serves international fare, as well as an outdoor pool.

    Finish point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service to San Jose International Airport [SJO] at an additional fee. If you require this service, please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have pre-booked this service, your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3.5 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to call our Intrepid Emergency number, listed under ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. Alternatively, you can travel from the hotel to the airport by taxi. The hotel reception will be able to assist you with a taxi. The drive to the San Jose Airport will take approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic and will cost approximately USD$30.

    Alternate Finish point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

    08 Aug 2020 (QCFM200808)

    Autentico Hotel

    Calle 40 with the corner of Avenida 5

    San Jose

    10101

    COSTA RICA

    Phone: +506 22225266

    Alternate Finish point description

    This streamlined modern hotel is a 15-minute walk from Contraloria train station. Unfussy rooms with warm decor offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers, as well as safes and ceiling fans. Breakfast and parking are complimentary. Other amenities include a landscaped garden with an outdoor pool and seating, and an understated restaurant and bar that hosts regular themed buffets.

    Alternate Finish point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service to San Jose International Airport [SJO] at an additional fee. If you require this service, please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have pre-booked this service, your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3.5 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to call our Intrepid Emergency number, listed under ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. Alternatively, you can travel from the hotel to the airport by taxi. The hotel reception will be able to assist you with a taxi. The drive to the San Jose Airport will take approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic and will cost approximately USD$30.

    Important information

    Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you. Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old. A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel. A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Day 2 at the homestay WEATHER: Costa Rica is a tropical country so rain can be excepted at any time. The rainy season in Costa Rica runs from May – November. While July and some of August does experience dry spells, families need to be prepared for the rain. Rain does usually come in the afternoons and it can pour. So you will need to be prepared with wet weather gear. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences. HOTEL LOCATIONS: Many hotels outside of San Jose have been built further out from the centre of town so travellers can enjoy the countryside, rainforests and views, where people can wake up to birds not cars. Many of the hotels we use are in such locations. FOOD: Costa Rican food is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals. Meals in Costa Rican are more expensive than its neighbouring countries.

    Group leader

    All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.

    Safety

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Though obvious please don't allow your children to carry their own passports while on tour. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. When travelling in private mini vans or trucks all children (and adults) must wear a seat belt. No children are allowed to sit in the front seat of a vehicle. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. LIFE JACKETS: While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water with your children, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

    Visas

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you and your family are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you and your family will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

    Why we love it

    Go beyond a biology lesson and immerse yourself in nature, from spotting rare birds in Monteverde to listening for the evocative call of howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park.

    Harvest produce and come together to cook a rustic meal from scratch during a homestay with family in an agricultural community.

    Get active on guided walks through forest and jungle, plus an incredible canopy walk along suspended bridges in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

    Family holidays aren’t always relaxing, but this trip offers plenty of opportunities to take it slow in thermal springs and pools and on beaches.

    End this adventure by hitting Manuel Antonio National Park, where the evergreen forest grows right up to the long, whitExplore e beaches and irresistible water.

    Is this trip right for you

    Make sure you pack some sturdy and comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking around cities and towns and through forests and jungles on this trip. There are a few days of long travel on this trip as you’ll be covering a lot of Costa Rican ground. These drives are along smooth roads in new and comfortable vehicles, and are great for games, chats and scenery spotting. You’ll also make interesting stops along the way to break up the longer drives. Is it hot in here? You’re in tropical Central America so it can get very humid. Carry plenty of water, dress in light clothing and we’ll give you every opportunity to cool off with a swim. It’s a good idea to try and brush up on as many Spanish words as you can. Costa Ricans have a reputation for being welcoming but somewhat reserved, so knowing some local lingo is a great way to break the ice and show you care about them and their culture.

    Health

    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip for your family please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess you and your entire families ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please also consider any medication you may require for your children. DRINKING WATER: As a rule we recommend you and your family don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies. YELLOW FEVER: A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting. TSETSE FLY: It is best to avoid dark coloured clothes such as blue and black while on safari. These colours can attract the biting tsetse fly.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you and your family experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Please ensure you tell them of any dietary requirements you and your family may have. We know children can be fussy eaters at times so we do recommend you bring any snacks from home to have throughout the trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you and your family to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

    Money matters

    When it comes to money matters on the trip, every family is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document). One important thing to note: Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America, particularly compared with its neighbouring countries Nicaragua and Panama. Expect meals, souvenirs and optional activities to cost as much as they would in western countries. That said, Costa Rica has done a great job of looking after its natural wonders yet maximising their potential as tourist attractions. So, while optional activities are pricey, you can expect a high standard of service, well maintained gear, clear paths and signalling and well trained local guides that allow you to make the most of every activity. CURRENCY INFORMATION: Costa Rica currency information - The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón (CRC). You can pay with major credit and debit cards at many hotels, restaurants and stores. You can use major credit cards and some debit cards to withdraw colones from ATMs and over the counter at banks. US dollars are widely accepted except for taxi fares (so if you arrive by plane please ensure you get some local currency at the airport before taking a taxi). CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 per person for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. MEALS NOT INCLUDED: For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out? Breakfast - is included for the duration of your trip. If you have booked additional time in Costa Rica expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café. Lunch - If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15. Dinner - At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main. These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries. CREDIT CARDS & ATMs: ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities across Latin America. Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only. Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to and what their fees and charges are. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. If bringing over cash, please note USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks. TIPPING If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The recommended tipping amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers. We do however recommend that you tip in the local currency - Hold on to your smaller notes and coins to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: - Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$5. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% of your bill. - Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide. We suggest US$3-5 per passenger per day. - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest US$3-6 per day for drivers. - Local guides: There might be times during the trip where you’ll have a specialist local guide alongside your trip leader. We suggest tipping these guides about USD$2-3 per day. - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD$2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to your family.  Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT: Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. Be prepared for a variety of temperatures and to protect against mosquito bites, you should pack some light-coloured, closely woven clothes with long sleeves/legs - mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours so avoid wearing dark blue or green t-shirts. * A windproof/ waterproof jacket/kagoul * Warm mid-layer (fleece or wool) - for cool evenings * Lightweight walking/trail boots * Trainers/sandals for relaxing. Sandals in case of wet weather * Sun-hat * Swimsuit & towel * Binoculars for wildlife viewing * Torch. * Sunglasses, sunscreen and lipsalve * Water bottle * Insect repellent * Personal first aid kit Some plastic bags (or dustbin liners) to protect the contents of your baggage from dampness. Humidity or dampness can be a problem for cameras - a plastic bag can help to protect it. A laundry service may be available in some hotels, but we recommend you take bio-degradable travel detergent so you can wash clothes as you choose. Universal bath plug may be useful. WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation or simply refill with tap water (your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination). When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day. Phone and internet access With the modern world you may want to bring along tablets of smartphones for the children to document their adventure - there are a wide variety of apps out there which we suggest downloading before you depart. There will be opportunities to charge ( just make sure you bring the correct adapter) and there will be wi-fi available on your trip, although it will probably not be at the speeds you are used to at home and it won't be available everywhere.

    TECHNOLOGY With the modern world you may want to bring along tablets of smartphones for the children to document their adventure - there are a wide variety of apps out there which we suggest downloading before you depart. There will be opportunities to charge ( just make sure you bring the correct adapter) and there will be wi-fi available on your trip, although it will probably not be at the speeds you are used to at home and it won't be available everywhere.

    Climate and seasonal

    HURRICANE SEASON: Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Pre-departure checklist

    Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip.

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ Intrepid’s Local Operator: +506 6022 4721

    Responsible travel

    Every place Intrepid visits is special – and we want it to stay that way. Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to local communities. On all our tours we strive to work in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Contributing to local environmental and cultural conservation, we are not only helping the community but giving our travellers a more authentic experience, whether it's enjoying a homestay in a tribal village or sleeping in small, family-run accommodation. Intrepid and Playground Ideas. Playground ideas was started in response for a worldwide need for more playgrounds. Using largely locally found materials means these playgrounds are cheap and can be put together by local people. Children provided with the opportunity for stimulating play in early childhood have improved ability and desire to learn leading to long term outcomes such as higher rates of employment and increased wages. Research has proven play interventions to be powerful, cost effective poverty reduction tools with sustained impact. We are also proud to have Playground Ideas as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards building playgrounds. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/playground-ideas

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert. GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS: Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room. Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in a handful of places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room. Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

    Your fellow travellers

    As you and your family travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow families will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too (for both parents and children). We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow  families is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you and your family have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow families booked on your trip prior to departure.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only and are subject to availabilities. For our families we have priced an all inclusive package including entrance fees, transport and local guide where relevant to assist you with budgeting the exact amount required on tour. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. The optional activities listed in your itinerary are activities that are available to you as a guideline and have been checked locally. The decision to partake in any activity not listed above is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to Intrepid Travel.

    Accommodation

    Hotels (8 nights),Homestay (1 night)

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