Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.
Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Costa Rica. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
Please note that Costa Rican authorities require a Yellow Fever Certificate for visitors arriving from some countries in South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela).
Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:
Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.
Every Imaginative traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your journey.
Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.
Vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up-to-date information. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return.
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in many less-developed tropical areas in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. Where malaria is considered prevalent in mountainous regions we prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller's cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.
No particular level of fitness is required however a certain degree of agility is best and you should be in good health.
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A soft-sided duffel or sausage bag is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option, but preferably one without a frame.
When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Keep in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.
Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.
The unit of currency is the Costa Rican colon and bank notes come in 50, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 denominations. There are also coins for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100 colones.
Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
It is becoming easier to find ATMs in Costa Rica, they can even be found in some smaller towns nowadays, but please do not rely on this. ATMs that accept American Express and MasterCard/Cirrus are probably a little harder to find than the Visa/Plus machines. Change all you can in San Jose as ATMs are much easier to find here. If you are going to take cash or travellers cheques into Costa Rica, then it is best to take US dollars. It is easy to change travellers cheques in US dollars, but you will be charged to change them, there is a smaller fee to change US cash. It can be a more lengthy procedure to change travellers cheques (make sure they are American Express, these are the most widely accepted). Make sure you get enough local currency when you first arrive at the airport as US cash is not accepted for taxis.
You will need to take money with you to cover those meals not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are drinking water, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short!
On this trip all breakfasts are included. We suggest that you allow approximately US$30 in Costa Rica, per day for your additional lunches, dinners, snacks and drinking water where necessary. Allow approximately US$15 per day for souvenirs and shopping, more if you are a big spender
In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Some departure taxes are now added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase. Others must be paid at the airport of departure and will need to be budgeted for. The following information was correct at the time of writing, please check the latest information with your travel agent: Costa Rica (International) US$28.
If you're happy with the services provided 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 Intrepid destinations.
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 S/5. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest S/10 per passenger 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 US$2-US$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.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
Please refer to your itinerary for the joining hotel name and address. Your final itinerary is provided approximately two weeks prior to departure.
If taking advantage of your complimentary arrival transfer, please ensure that we have been advised of your correct arrival flight details by either you or your travel agent at least 2 weeks prior to departure. Please look for your driver in the arrivals area outside the customs hall. They will be holding a sign with your name on it and/or our company logo. If you cannot see them, please call our local operator for assistance:
24 Hour Emergency:+502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914
If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival. You should use the official airport taxi company, which can be located just after the arrivals hall.
There will be a pre-departure meeting on the evening of Day 1 at 6pm. Please check on the message board for a note from your tour leader, confirming the time and location of the meeting.
If you want to take someone's photograph, please ask first . This is just normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, army barracks, and police stations).
Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.
In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.
Any luggage not required for your Costa Rican holiday can be left in the luggage room of our San Jose hotel.
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Occasionally sights such as museums and churches are closed to tourists on public holidays.
Partner organisations on the ground
Imaginative Traveller works with partner organisations in each country we visit. This ensures we provide employment opportunities within local communities, including our experienced local leaders. We minimise the negative impacts of travel and maximise the benefits to the regions we travel, through working with our ethical services providers.
For any assistance prior to travel, please contact your travel agent.
For assistance whilst you are travelling, please contact the local numbers listed on your travel itinerary, as your call will be received in the same time zone. Alternatively, if you have already joined your tour, please direct your enquiries to your local tour leader.
Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Real or similar, San Jose
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner
Accommodation: Casa Luna Lodge or similar, La Fortuna
Meals included: 2 breakfast
Accommodation: Historias Lodge or similar, Monteverde
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Los Almendros or similar, Manuel Antonio
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Real or similar, San Jose
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
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8 April 2014
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