Blanketed in pristine rainforest, lined by golden sands, and brimming with curious-looking creatures, Costa Rica is the ultimate family playground. Explore inland jungles and volcanic wonders in every way possible: soaring on a zip line, riding on horseback, and hiking misty trails. Then head for the Gold Coast on the Pacific Ocean for some sun, surf, and adventures out at sea.
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Life Monteverde Community Lunch, Tour, and Cooking Class, Monteverde
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Monteverde Institute Lecture & Reforestation Project, Monteverde. Arrival transfer. Naturalist guided cloud forest night walk. Canyon canopy tour in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Rio Negro Hot Springs and volcanic mud bath. Horseback riding and guided hike in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Palo Verde National Park guided boat tour. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Channel your inner Tarzan as you soar through the jungle canopy on zip lines, Join a naturalist on a night walk through the cloud forest, keeping your ears open for the symphony of hooting owls, croaking frogs, and chirping insects, Test your skills at a cooking class as you whip up delicious Costa Rican dishes, Jump into a natural mud bath, and swim in pools heated by area volcanoes.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Prices are based on double occupancy; all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will accommodate triples/quads whenever possible. Please call for further details.
Family Journeys are designed for groups traveling with children between the ages of 7 and 17. Your group must include a child in order to book, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
1. PROOF OF DEPARTURE
Costa Rica will not be allowing anyone to enter the country without proof of a departure ticket (bus, airplane, boat, etc.). If you are travelling through a few countries in Central America, you will need to show proof of your itinerary and a departure ticket from your last destination. Please print the itinerary and voucher and bring it with you.
Be prepared for rain and lower temperatures during the winter season (June-November), especially in Costa Rica’s central valley.
3. FAMILY INSURANCE
Options for family travel insurance are available. Please enquire with your Family Trip Specialist for more information.
Group Leader Description
All National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures group trips are accompanied by two of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues 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. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling and we encourage you to experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. It’s important to remember, that food may be different from what you are used to at home and that some things may not be available in other countries.
Some meals are included in the trip price, while others are not, to allow flexibility and choice to you and your family. For non-included meals our CEOs will still make arrangements for the group to eat together, which allows you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and approximate budget (per person) for meals not included.
Throughout this trip, breakfast is included daily (ranging from continental to buffet depending on the trip). Drinking water is available throughout (don’t forget your refillable water bottle as you will have access to either filtered water from hotels or as made available by the CEO). Healthy, local snacks will also be available.
Note that any special meal requirements or dietary restrictions need to be specified at time of booking.
Private vehicle, boat, horse, walking
About our Transportation
Private Vehicles will be used throughout the tour.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Odd number adult travellers in your family will be paired in twin accommodation with another adult traveller of the same sex for the duration of the trip.
Hotels (8 nts)
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Rooming is based on double occupancy (2 passengers per room); all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will try to accommodate triples/quad requests whenever possible and it’s important to note that rooming configuration can change from city-to-city.
Hotels vary greatly throughout Central America and even within Costa Rica depending on the location. We do our best to pick comfortable accommodations, but in popular locations options can be limited and we sometimes use various different hotel depending on seasonality. It also is important to remember that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common, even in upgraded hotels. We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.
Please also note that Monteverde is a fairly small centre with shopping and some great restaurants, but most of the upgraded accommodations are located outside of the main town/city centre – to take better advantage of the natural beauty of these area. Taxis are readily available.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Our driver will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign with your name on it, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. There most likely will be many signs, so please check carefully for your name.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival transfer or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 4001 8474
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. Porters may not always be available, so be prepared to carry your own bags.
Costa Rica Water Activities:
• Drybag (Will help keep cameras and essentials dry)
• Sport Sandals or Water Shoes (if you plan to do waterfall rappelling and/or rafting)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: Be prepared for rain and humidity at any time in Costa Rica – in particular during the “green” season (May-November).
Light weight, quick-drying, clothes are advisable; as well as a light waterproof jacket. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and sometimes cool evenings.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.
As of November 1st, 2007, the Costa Rica government, requires those entering Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, to have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. Those affected countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards with travellers cheques as backup is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Costa Rica airport exit tax: $29USD
Local tipping is included on this Family trip which covers local guides, drivers and gratuity for included meals. At the end of your trip if you felt your two Chief Experience Officers did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline; per CEO $3-5 USD per person, per day can be used.
For non-included meals in restaurant, a guideline is 10-15% of cost of bill.
- Monteverde Hanging Bridges (35USD per person)
- Santa Elena Cloud Forest Visit (17USD per person)
- Ziplining (50USD per person)
Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park
- Butterfly Garden (15-20USD per person)
- Rio Negro Tubing Adventure (35-55USD per person)
- Hot Springs and Volcano Mud Bath (Free)
- Sunset Sail (85USD per person)
- Yoga – Playa Potrero (Free)
- Horseback Riding (55USD per person)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information.
Safety and Security
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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer 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. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety
Like any city where tourism is on the increase, crime also tends to increase and while San José is not a noticeably dangerous city, there are certain precautions you should take. Make sure that you are aware of your things at all times and don’t go out carrying expensive gear or jewellery.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we will send it on to you.
Minimum age of 7 years for this trip.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: CRSNF, ID: 25169
Day 1: San José
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Costa Rica has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and is a top destination for nature lovers. As such, there is a lot of rain, regardless of the season, allowing for its lush green rain forests and cloud forest, in which flora and fauna thrive. Please come prepared for the possibility of wet weather and variations in temperature.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Arrival Airport Transfer
Day 2: San José/Monteverde (1B, 1L)
This morning, travel up into the misty cloud forests of Monteverde, where we’ll visit a working farm and coffee cooperative for an earth-to-table lunch, followed by a property tour. Learn the secrets of Costa Rican cuisine and test your cooking skills at an afternoon class, then attend a coffee-making demonstration. Enjoy some free time to get settled in our hotel. This evening, follow a naturalist into the forest to seek out the fascinating nocturnal creatures that spring to life after the sun goes down, from red-eyed tree frogs to spiny porcupines.
The town of Monteverde is fairly small with shopping and some great restaurants, but most of the upgraded accommodations in this area are located outside of the main town centre – to take better advantage of the natural beauty and stunning landscapes of the area. Taxis are readily available to take you into town and back and can cost approx. $10USD each way.
Accommodations tend to be a bit more simple here, with fewer amenities. Its important to remember that the cloud forest sits at a higher elevation and offers a cooler but humid climate – which is why hotels in this area do not have A/C. It can also feel damp in rooms which is unavoidable in such a climate.
Life Monteverde Community Lunch, Tour, and Cooking Class
Guided Cloud Forest Night Walk
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 155km)
Day 3: Monteverde (1B)
Visit the Monteverde Institute, a research and educational organization supported by National Geographic. Hear about reforestation projects spearheaded by the institute, then roll up your sleeves and lend a hand in the tree nursery. The rest of the day is free for poolside relaxation or optional excursions in the clouds, including zip-lining, hiking in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, or a walk through the forest canopy across hanging bridges.
Monteverde Institute Lecture & Reforestation Project
Day 4: Monteverde/Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park (1B, 1D)
Today we travel into Rincón de la Vieja National Park, an otherworldly land of smoking volcanoes, bubbling mud pots, and thermal hot springs—all shrouded in thick tangles of rainforest. Channel your inner Tarzan as you swing across zip lines strung through the forest canopy; then visit thermal hot springs and mud baths, where playing in the mud isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged. This evening, visit the local butterfly garden, if you like.
Zip Line Rincon de La Vieja
Hot Springs and Volcano Mud Bath
Private Vehicle (4.00-4.50 hours, 152km)
Day 5: Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Rise early for a full day of adventure in the national park. Saddle up for a horseback-riding excursion, get introduced to the park’s creatures on a naturalist-guided wildlife hike, and swim beneath the soaring canyons and tumbling waterfalls of the Río Negro. There is also the option to stay back at our hacienda and relax by the pool.
Horseback Ride and Hike to the Cangreja Waterfall
Day 6: Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park/Playa Potrero (1B)
Journey toward the Pacific Ocean to Playa Potrero on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica. The afternoon is free to play in the sand and surf; or opt to set sail across the bay and around the Catalina Islands.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 110km)
Day 7: Playa Potrero (1B)
The day is free to do as much or as little as you like. Relax at the pool or on the beach in this tropical paradise. Opt to join a yoga class, take a long walk along the beach, or go horseback riding.
Day 8: Playa Potrero/San José (1B, 1L, 1D)
Leave the beach behind for our return trip to the capital. Stop en route for a jungle boat cruise through Palo Verde National Park. The river is a wildlife-lover’s paradise: crocodiles glide beneath the water’s surface, monkeys swing through the surrounding treetops, and numerous winged wonders wade and fly at the river’s edge—including ospreys, wood storks, and roseate spoonbills. Continue to San José and celebrate our adventure at a farewell dinner.
Palo Verde National Park Boat Tour
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 82km)
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s), 180km)
Day 9: San José (1B)
Depart at any time.