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COSTA RICA TRAVEL INFORMATION FROM ACCESS CULINARY TRIPS

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION

Arrival

You should arrive at San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). Group airport transfers are generally scheduled for late morning and late afternoon on Day 1 of the tour. We will not know the exact times until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled arrival time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.

Departure

You should depart from Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR). Group airport transfers are included on Day 8. We will not know the exact times of the transfers until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, you may choose to take the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.

Pick-up & Drop-off Information

We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs at the specified airports and times on the first and last day of the trip. We will be waiting for you with an “Access Culinary Trips” sign as you exit customs at SJO airport. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.

Note: We are not responsible for last-minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival and departure flights.

Flights

We do not book international flights to or from Costa Rica for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flight/visa or travel insurance, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.


TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR COSTA RICA

Travel Insurance

Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.

Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.

We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/

Passports & Visas

Travel to Costa Rica requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and US citizens do not require a tourist visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Costa Rica, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/Costa-Rica.html

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.


HEALTH & SAFETY IN COSTA RICA

Emergency Contact

If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.

Health Requirements

Guests with pre-existing medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for the prescription.

We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in Costa Rica: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/Costa Rica.


Fitness Requirements

Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours.

Safety & Security

To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.

For more information on safety and security in Costa Rica, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/costa-rica.html

Note: Most tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink and is quite good in many areas of the country. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, we recommend checking with your guides.

Age

Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.


COSTA RICAN CULTURE

Costa Rica is a vibrant, stable, and happy nation that blends progressive values with a rich cultural history. Costa Ricans, called “Ticos,” draw their heritage from a number of different influences, including indigenous populations, Spanish colonialism, and the nearby Caribbean. Costa Ricans are very proud of their country, are leaders in environmental sustainability, and embody the national phrase, “Pura Vida.” Out of respect for the various people we will meet in Costa Rica, please consider the following:

Try to speak their language – Costa Ricans will genuinely appreciate any efforts you make to speak some Spanish during your interactions (even a simple “gracias” will do!)

Be patient – Costa Ricans are relaxed people who tend to be in less of a hurry than most of us are used to

Greet them – when entering a store, restaurant, etc., give a polite greeting (in Spanish, if possible) before initiating your business with them.

Language

Costa Rica’s official and most predominant language is Spanish, although there are a number of other indigenous languages as well.


COSTA RICA’S CLIMATE

Our Costa Rica culinary tour explores historic San Jose, stunning Arenal, and tranquil Guanacaste.

Because of its proximity to the equator, Costa Rica enjoys a tropical climate year-round. There are two seasons – the dry season (“summer”) ranging from December to April, and the wet season (“winter”) from May to November.

The average high is about 80 degrees and the average low is about 63 degrees. January is the sunniest month.

Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.


CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN COSTA RICA

The national currency is the Costa Rican colón. There are exchange bureaus in the SJO airport, but their exchange rate is very high. We recommend using the exchange services at the hotels or local banks. Most counters require your passport for the transaction.

For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency

ATMs are available in all cities and major towns.

It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.

Spending Money

Meals: All breakfasts, six lunches, and four dinners are included. Please plan to bring at least $10-$15 per lunch and $15-$20 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.

Tipping: As a general rule, Costa Ricans do not tip. However, if you would like to tip, please see below:

Tour Guide/Drivers

If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US $10 -15 per day, per traveler for guides and US $5-7 per day, per traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US $5-10 per day, per traveler for guides and US $3-5 per day, per traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more. When there are additional guides or drivers involved for specific activities, such as during the market visit, we recommend tipping $1 to $2 per person per guide and driver.

Hotel & Restaurant Staff

Tips are already included in restaurant bills. If you wish to tip more, anywhere between 5 – 10% is sufficient. When you stay a couple of days in the same hotel, a tip of $2-5 per day to the maid service is appreciated, as well as $1-1.50 for help from porters.

Other expenses: There are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and other activities.


ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN COSTA RICA

In Costa Rica the power sockets are generally standard American sockets, although they may not include a grounding prong. The electrical current is 110 volts, AC.

There is wi-fi access in all the hotels.

Most US cell phones will not work in Costa Rica, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.


WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR COSTA RICA TOUR

We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.

We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment

  • Warm-weather casual clothes
  • Sandals with straps and sturdy walking shoes
  • A light jacket and a pair of long pants
  • Toiletries
  • Bug spray
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band-aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with photocopies)
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies)
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!


FINAL NOTES ON YOUR COSTA RICA CULINARY TOUR

This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.