Costa Rica Adventure Family Holiday Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Family Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Costa Rica
Programmes:
Family
Trip Code:
FNR
Leisurely/Moderate

Itineraries at this level will have slightly longer days, often returning to the hotel mid to late afternoon. The level of physical activity may be slightly increased, such as including a few walks or activities requiring children to be outside and active a little longer. Travelling is still however kept to a minimum and journeys (aside from airport transfers) are unlikely to be longer than 2 hours. Weather conditions - heat or cold - are more of a factor on trips at this level, for example spending time outside in the height of summer. 

16 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
Designed for: Ages 9-12
Also for: Ages 13-16

Trip Overview

Costa Rica is a natural paradise, complete with volcanoes, rainforest, waterfalls, wildlife and beaches. Start your Costa Rica family holiday by travelling into the steaming jungle and explore the waterways of Tortuguero by boat, in search of monkeys, toucans and other colourful birds. Visit the Sloth Sanctuary and meet some of its famous inhabitants, stars of their own Animal Planet TV show. Enjoy a night walk in the rainforest, try white water rafting (optional) and splash around in thermal pools at a waterpark near Arenal Volcano. There's beach time too as we head to both Cahuita on the Caribbean coast and Manuel Antonio on the Pacific, where jungle cascades down to white sandy beaches.

At a Glance

  • Flights usually with British Airways 
  • Travel by minibus, boat and on foot
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader
  • 14 nights comfortable hotels

Trip Highlights

  • Discover abundant wildlife – monkeys, sloths, birds and frogs are easy to spot! 
  • Visit the beaches and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Meet the residents of Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary
  • Discover the beaches of both the Caribbean and Pacific Coast
  • Comfortable accommodation throughout, most with swimming pools to cool off at the end of the day 
  • Flexible itinerary with plenty of optional activities to choose from: zip-lining, white water rafting, chocolate tour and catamaran excursion! 

Is This Trip for You?

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)

Designed for 9-12 year olds, also suitable for 13-16 year olds. 

Our family activity levels are aimed at children in the primary or ‘Designed for’ age group. We are confident it is also suitable for those in the ‘Also for’ age range, however please note if your child is in this secondary category they may find it a little easier. Please see the family activity levels on our website for further information. When grading our trips we consider multiple factors, such as the pace, the level of activity involved, the amount of time a family will spend travelling and the weather is an important factor too.

Reaching Costa Rica will involve approximately 11 hours of air travel (or 14+ if you travel on indirect flights) and when you get there it can be hot and humid, which can be tiring.

This holiday aims to show you the best of Costa Rica using buses and boats. Whilst the driving distances are not huge and most roads are good, some sections are of poor quality/pot holed, which can result in slower driving times. The longest journey will be reaching Tortuguero on Day 3 (approx 6 hours of travel). The rest of the journeys are around 4 hours and all drives will be broken up with regular stops. On some travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise the time at our next destination.

There are some dangerous insects and snakes present in the jungle, although incidents are extremely rare. Advice from the guide must be heeded at all times – it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that children listen to the guide and don’t stray from paths.

The trip involves some short, easy walks in tropical conditions. There are also several optional activities, such as a zip wire canopy tour, rafting tour, etc. Experience of these activities is not required as a full safety briefing will be covered at the start, and all necessary equipment will be provided. Please be aware that some activities may be changed as a result of the weather.  

Please note that in the region of Tortuguero and Cahuita the sea has very strong rip currents and is not suitable for swimming from the beach. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
17
Child min age:
9
Child max age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
20

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
San Jose
End City:
San Jose

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

    The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Country Inn & Suites (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Morning visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens; relax by the hotel swimming pool.

    After breakfast, you will meet your guide at 9:00am in the hotel lobby for a short drive to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Located within the transitional forest between the Central Valley and the Northern Lowlands, La Paz Waterfall Gardens hosts a wide variety of plants and bird life amongst stunning scenery. A short walk along a trail within the rainforest brings us to a great viewpoint from which to watch the cascading falls. Entrance to the gardens includes a visit to the petting zoo, frog exhibit, aviary and butterfly observatory. In addition monkeys, sloths and toucans also inhabit this area, providing a great introduction to the incredible diversity of Costa Rica. The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the hotel swimming pool, or explore San Jose at your own pace.

    Accommodation: Country Inn & Suites (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    To Tortuguero N.P.

    We have an early departure this morning, leaving San Jose behind as we travel to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park in the Caribbean Lowlands. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's vast network of waterways, canals and swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is nestled on a small strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it’s possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean.

    Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Boat tour of waterways in Tortuguero N.P.

    A morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day, wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river. The lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, or alternatively you can join a second boat trip, visit the beach or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Pachira Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 5

    To Cahuita on the Caribbean coast; relax on the beach.

    We leave Tortuguero the same way we arrived by taking a small boat to the pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the region of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, where we check into our hotel and have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the pool, beach or discover our new surroundings. Caribbean culture pervades this part of Costa Rica and is reflected in the music, food and laid-back lifestyle. Cahuita’s famous white-sand beach is fringed by tall palms behind which the dense, wet tropical forest of Cahuita National Park can be found.

    Accommodation: Atlantida Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 6

    Visit Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary; discover Cahuita N.P.

    After breakfast we drive to Aviarios del Caribe, Costa Rica's famous Sloth Sanctuary. This rescue and rehabilitation centre conducts research into sloths and works tirelessly with the goal of releasing sloths back into their natural habitat. It was recently the subject of an Animal Planet TV show called 'Meet the Sloths'. You'll learn all about these fascinating animals on a two hour tour of the sanctuary, where you'll take a boat tour along the river to see sloths, monkeys, butterflies and birds in the wild. This afternoon we return to Cahuita and visit the National Park, following a coastal trail through the rainforest. Cahuita National Park has 2711 acres of land and 600 acres of coral reef, which forms Costa Rica's largest reef system. 

    Accommodation: Atlantida Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    To Sarapiqui; night walk in Tirimbina Biological Reserve.

    We depart for Sarapiqui, a region blessed with abundant vegetation and the beautiful Sarapiqui River. Sarapiqui is one of the main areas of banana production in Costa Rica, although coffee, cardamon, cacao, corn and other fruits are also grown here. This region is also gathering a reputation as a great spot for adventure seekers with plenty of optional activities to keep you entertained! In the evening we take a night walk through Tirimbina Biological Reserve to have a different perspective on the rainforest and its many inhabitants.

    Accommodation: El Bambu Hotel or Quinta Sarapiqui (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Free day in Sarapiqui

    There are various optional excursions to try today: join a chocolate tour in Tirimbina Biological Reserve, take a safari floating trip down the Sarapiqui River, have a go at white water rafting on grade II and III rapids or join a canopy tour and zip-line through the forest. Alternatively, there are a number of nature walks to enjoy in the beautiful surroundings.

    Accommodation: El Bambu Hotel or Quinta Sarapiqui (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano; free afternoon for optional activities.

    We transfer to the area surrounding Arenal Volcano. Following a massive eruption in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. As well as the volcano, this region has plenty to offer with thermal waters, waterfalls and Lake Arenal waiting to be discovered.

    The rest of the day is free to explore the area either at your own pace or on one of the optional excursions available. You could take the Sky Walk (canopy walk) or Sky Trek adventure (which has an optional zip-wire through the canopy) or enjoy some time at the hotel swimming pool! 

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari or Los Lagos Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Guided nature walk in Arenal N.P.; visit thermal springs.

    This morning we have a guided nature walk through Arenal Volcano National Park. The park has a great system of trails passing through secondary forest and near lava fields created by previous eruptions. In the late afternoon we visit Kalambu Hot Springs as a group to enjoy a hot thermal bath from the volcanic spring water and have a chance to splash around – a refreshing end to the day. Please note that on weekends or Mondays we will visit an alternative hot springs called Ecotermales.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari or Los Lagos Hotel (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 11

    To the Pacific coast.

    We travel southeast along the coast, following the Pan-Am Highway to Dominical, passing African oil palm and teak plantations on the way. Our hotel is on the coast near Dominical, around 50 minutes south of Manuel Antonio. The hotel is set in lush gardens overlooking the river and just a short (20 minute) walk to the beach. We spend the next three nights in Dominical. Depending on our time of arrival we should have some time to enjoy various optional activities this afternoon, visit the beach or enjoy the hotel swimming pool.

    Accommodation: Villas Rio Mar in Dominical (or similar). Occasionally we stay in Cuna de Angel or Vista Ballena in Uvita instead. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Explore the beautiful trails and beaches of Manuel Antonio N.P.

    Today we drive to Manuel Antonio National Park. This park consists of a vast marine reserve as well as 1,700 acres of mangrove swamp, primary and secondary rainforest. The forest vegetation stretches as far as the high-tide line and provides a stunning backdrop to the expansive sandy beaches, forested islands and dramatic rocky headlands. We have a guided nature walk today which should enable us to have some very close wildlife encounters. White-faced Capuchin monkeys play in the trees and are frequently sighted on the beaches, whilst noisy Howler monkeys are usually heard moving through the trees and calling to each other before they are seen. The endangered Titi monkey (Squirrel monkey) are fewer in number but can sometimes be spotted in this area. Iguanas, agouti and two and three toed sloths are also commonly sighted in the national park. Manuel Antonio's beaches are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the country. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel.

    Accommodation: Villas Rio Mar in Dominical (or similar). Occasionally we stay in Cuna de Angel or Vista Ballena in Uvita instead. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day to relax, enjoy the beach or optional activities.

    Today has been left free for you to relax – make the most of the hotel swimming pool, visit the beach or explore the local area. There are a few optional activities available in the Dominical area, such as a whale and dolphin watching boat trip (seasonal, from mid-July to October and mid-December to March) or visit the indigenous territory of Boruca.   

    Accommodation: Villas Rio Mar in Dominical (or similar). Occasionally we stay in Cuna de Angel or Vista Ballena in Uvita instead. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To San Jose; relax by the hotel swimming pool or visit San Jose

    Today we return to San Jose. If you wish to travel into the downtown area by taxi you will have some time to see the modern capital and pick up some souvenirs. Alternatively you can relax by the hotel swimming pool.

    Accommodation: Country Inn and Suites (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End San Jose.

    The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it's time to bid Costa Rica and the rest of the group goodbye. Transfers to San Jose airport are available to all clients on group flights today.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

14 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges, all with swimming pools.

In Tortuguero we stay in a beautiful and tranquil lodge located directly across from the main canal. Rooms are comfortable with ceiling fans. The area of Tortuguero is perfect for wildlife viewing and bird watching.

In Cahuita we use accommodation located in this small laid back village on the Caribbean coast. Atlantida Lodge is a very short walk to the beach (this is one of the more simple accommodations we use on this holiday).  

In the area of Sarapiqui we tend to use either El Bambu Hotel or Quinta Sarapiqui, both of which have a swimming pool and tropical gardens. 

Whilst staying in Arenal we normally use the Arenal Montechiari Hotel which is a short walk from downtown La Fortuna and has views of Arenal Volcano. The hotel is set in tropical gardens full of plants and birds and has a small swimming pool. We also use the Los Lagos Hotel on some dates, which has comfortable rooms and multiple heated natural pools fed by spring water, as well as a few larger pools with water slides which are ideal for splashing about in.

Whilst visiting Manuel Antonio National Park we usually stay in Dominical, around 50 minutes to the south. This enables us to have accommodation away from the incredibly busy tourist areas of Manuel Antonio, in a lovely setting by the river, just 20 minutes walk from the beach. On a few departures we stay in Uvita, just to the south of Dominical. 

Please note that where triple rooms are booked, these usually consist of one double and one single bed, so these rooms are suitable for 2 adults and 1 child. We generally don't recommend 3 children in one triple room unless two of the children are comfortable sharing a double bed. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

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.

Single supplement from £570.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners are included in the price of the tour, allowing you plenty of flexibility for non-included meals to be taken as a family or with the group. 

Costa Rican specialities include 'Gallo Pinto', a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups, stews and fresh fish are also common, and most hotels offer International menu's as well. There is a lot of fresh fruit in the tropics - you may need to share your bananas with monkey's from the hotel gardens!  

Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests, vegetarians can usually be well catered for. 

Transportation

We travel in air-conditioned buses for the majority of the tour. Depending on the group size, we either use a 16 seater Coaster minibus or a larger 17 - 23 seater vehicle. Vehicles usually have WiFi too. There is a shared transfer to Tortuguero in a larger coach. 

In Tortuguero our main transportation will be motorboats. 

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Costa Rica is located 10º north of the equator and has an almost perfect tropical climate. The average temperature is 12ºC – 22ºC in the highlands, and from 22ºC - 27ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to November when there are daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine, so the midsummer is not necessarily a bad time to go. December to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain. Many areas visited on the trip are hot and humid throughout the year.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 days 

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways or United Airlines or Iberia (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting and ending in San Jose 

Your trip normally starts in San Jose in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure. The cost of a taxi is likely to be about USD30 should you decide to make your way independently.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
San Jose
Location end:
San Jose

What to Take

Essential Equipment

We advise you to pack light for your convenience as you will be on the move a fair bit on this trip. Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip - it is not an exhaustive packing list. You should try to be prepared for a variety of climates.

Lightweight waterproof jacket/trousers or rain poncho

Warm mid-layer (fleece or wool) - for cool evenings

Lightweight cotton (or “wickable” quick-drying fabric) clothes for low-lying areas

Long sleeved shirts and trousers will help prevent mosquito bites

Short trousers Lightweight walking/trail boots

Trainers/sandals for relaxing

Sun-hat

Swimsuit & towel

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 (jumidity 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.

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours so avoid wearing dark blue or green t-shirts.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Umbrella, camera with telephoto lens, binoculars for wildlife viewing, small daypack for walks, universal sink plug. We also recommend bringing a re-usable fabric tote bag so that you can avoid using unnecessary plastic bags whilst in Costa Rica.

Practical Information

Passport

Costa Rica

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them. All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Costa Rica's Timezone:
America/Costa_Rica CST (GMT -06:00)

Electricity

Costa Rica's Electricity:

120 volts AC, 60Hz. 

120 volts AC, 60Hz

Money

Costa Rica's Currency

The national currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colon (CRC), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2020) of approximately 785 to the GBP, 603 to the USD, 459 to the CAD, 647 to the EUR, 428 to the AUD and 400 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are increasingly available in Costa Rica and are now present in most tourist areas. A flat fee of up to USD3 and a small commission usually applies with debit card withdrawals. MasterCard and Visa are quite widely accepted in the bigger hotels, restaurants and tourist shops, though not, of course, in rural areas. Always check the handling fee when paying by credit card, as it can be high. We recommend that you bring some small denomination notes (USD1 and USD5 notes) since getting change is often a problem when paying for small items/taxis.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

US dollars are widely accepted as payment in Costa Rica, however change will likely be given in local currency and the exchange rate will fluctuate. We suggest taking some US dollars with you but then using ATM's to withdraw the rest of your money in local currency whilst you're there. 

You should allow extra to cover the cost of those meals not included in the price of the holiday. Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.

Coffee/tea USD 2-5
Soft drink USD 2-5
Medium beer USD 3-7
Local snack lunch USD 10
Three course dinner* USD 35
Bottle of wine USD 40
Bottle of water  USD 2
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant.

There are a wide range of optional excursions available on this trip. The prices below are the adult prices for paying in cash, which are usually slightly lower than if you pay be card. Child prices are usually slightly lower, depending on the activity. Some excursions require a minimum number of participants or have a minimum age limit.

Tortuguero:

Turtle nesting tour (July to October only) - approx USD40 and can only be booked directly with the hotel at check in.

Sarapiqui:

Tirimbina Chocolate Tour: USD 31
Safari Float: USD 58
White water rafting grade II and III: USD 58  (ages 9 and up only)
Canopy tour: USD 58
La Selva Biological Reserve Nature Walk: USD 35

Arenal:

Hanging Bridges: USD 27
Sky Tram/ Sky Walk: USD 70 
Sky Tram/Sky Trek: USD 84 (min height 1.20 m)

Dominical

Dolphin & Whale Watching: USD 90 
Ancestral Boruca Tour: USD 110

Optional excursions can usually be paid for by cash, credit or debit card.

Tipping

Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and - although it is always at your discretion - you will be expected to tip to reward service. Your group leader will be able to give you an indication of when and how much is appropriate. This can vary widely, but please allow £25 per person (including children) for this trip. Porters at the airport and hotels are normally tipped about US$1 per piece. Also, if you wish to tip your group leader and driver (in recognition of their contribution towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday) a suggested guideline would be approximately £1 to £2 per person, per day. Occasionally the tour leader will suggest organising a tipping kitty to facilitate these and other tips (such as waiting staff in restaurants) which will be collected in advance at the start of the trip.  

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we spend the nights in a combination of hotels and eco-lodges around Costa Rica, where most are family run establishments that employ local staff ensuring that we are benefiting the local community. In Tortuguero, we will stay in the Pachira lodge that is highly committed in using efficient resources and environmental protection. They have installed solar panels for energy independence and constantly promote good habits of consumption among their employees, customers and business partners.

Our local operator is one of the few companies in Costa Rica to obtain the Certification for Sustainable Tourism for Tour Operators achieving all 5 levels. This is awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to identify companies according to the degree they comply to the sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.

We are very conscious of our impact on the environment, always looking into how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation. Through the entrance fees, our visit to national and private parks will directly support conservation efforts. Our educational visit to a sloth sanctuary helps increase awareness of the dangers that sloths face and the rescue process for injured animals. We can also support local people and boost their economy by buying crafts in some of the remote regions we visit.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

Family trips

On all trips the staff are there to help ensure the holiday runs as smoothly as possible and, in the unlikely event that it does not, to sort out the best possible alternatives. What they cannot do is act as child minders or babysitters; they will treat your children as 'young adults', but it is your responsibility to look after your young ones. During free time or if you decide to opt out of part of the itinerary, you are responsible for your family and any arrangements that need to be made. Under no circumstances should this responsibility fall on our staff or any of your fellow travellers outside of your immediate family.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.