Costa Rica & Manuel AntonioTravel Tips & FAQs

This tour has 77 Travel Tips.
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Caravan does not recommend or endorse any options that are not already included in your tour price. Please be advised that any additional options you purchase, you do so at your own risk, and they may not be covered by travel insurance.


Caravan believes shopping can be a vacation highlight. It is against Caravan policy to shop-steer (bring the group to a shop in return for a payment). With Caravan, you do not waste time in high priced tourist traps and you have ample time to shop plus the freedom to choose when and where to shop. We suggest you obtain a contact number and e-mail address from the vendor in case you have any questions about your purchases. When mailing purchases, please be sure to insure the packages, and obtain clearly written receipts from the places of purchase. Caravan does not endorse or recommend any shops. Even if Caravan passengers may have repeatedly done business over the years with specific shops, those shops cannot represent themselves as being endorsed by Caravan.

Sightseeing Changes

Occasionally, holidays, etc., may require a change in the sequence of your sightseeing in a given city. Your Tour Director will advise you in advance if any change is necessary.

Zip-Lining in Costa Rica

Caravan does not endorse zip-lining as there have been injuries, even though rare. However, the travel desk at your hotel can arrange a zip lining excursion. Please bear in mind that travel medical insurance (such as Caravan Travel Protection) may not cover any injuries sustained in these kinds of activities and the zip-line companies will ask you to sign a waiver accepting responsibility.


It is recommended that you bring a pair of binoculars for bird watching and animal viewing on all visits to Costa Rica’s parks and reserves.


In Costa Rica, the dress code is very casual. A coat and tie is not required for any activities on tour. Dress for dinner is “smart casual”. Caravan suggests clothing for warm and hot weather: 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 changes of shirts, a rain poncho, a swimsuit, and a sweater or jacket for the air conditioned bus. Quick dry clothing (especially a pair of convertible pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts) is recommended for your visit to the rainforest. All of the hotels offer laundry services for a fee. If you prefer to do your own laundry, there are self-service laundromats in Fortuna. Other must haves are a small flashlight, bug spray, tissue and sanitary paper products, sun screen, and a reliable travel alarm. When traveling in Latin America, you might also want to pack a washcloth. A few large “baggies’ are always useful for keeping clothes, books and camera free from damp in humid conditions. Some passengers take along something to do during the longer bus rides, especially those traveling with children.

Comfortable Shoes

The best friend you can have while sightseeing is a comfortable, sturdy pair of walking shoes. Caravan recommends footwear that has a bit of a tread and will not slip on wet surfaces. Walking shoes, sneakers or active sandals are all acceptable. If you wish to join in any of the hikes, please be sure that the soles of your shoes have good traction. Delicate sandals or high heeled shoes are not appropriate for walking in Costa Rica streets.


We suggest you bring a good flashlight (or a smart phone with a flashlight app) and keep it by your bedside at night.


As noted in the Terms of Travel, all handling of one piece of luggage is included in your tour cost. Due to space limitations and for your own convenience, it is suggested that you bring only one piece of luggage. Most airlines limit luggage to 60 linear inches (width plus depth plus length) and 50 pounds in weight. A second piece of luggage may be stored under the coach, but an additional $30 per piece service charge will be collected by your Tour Director to cover the handling of this extra luggage. A day bag (i.e. a backpack, camera bag or tote bag) may be personally carried on board the motorcoach in addition to a purse or handbag. Each tour member is personally responsible for handling his or her individual day bag at all times. If a tour member cannot personally handle his or her day bag without assistance, it will be stored under the bus and the additional luggage fee will be charged. For the comfort and safety of all tour members, wheeled bags are not acceptable as a carry-on day bag, and shall be stored under the bus and counted as additional luggage. Unlike an airplane, the motorcoach does not have sufficient room to store this type of luggage in the passenger area.

Luggage Tags

At the start of the tour, you will be provided with luggage tags to help with the handling of your luggage by your Driver and hotel bell staff. Please place the Caravan luggage tag on your main piece of luggage, which will be stored in the baggage compartment of the motorcoach. Please do not place the tag on your day bag carry-on.

Cell Phone Use

As a courtesy to your fellow tour members, please restrict cell phone conversations to emergency use only while you are on the motorcoach. Please also remember to turn off your ringers; cell phone conversations and ringers are intrusive and can spoil other passengers' enjoyment of the tour. Outside the USA, using your USA-based cell phone can often result in very high roaming charges for voice and data. Some companies will allow you to add a temporary international data and/or voice plan to cover calls made from abroad. Please contact your service provider for information regarding cell phone reception areas, calling costs and surcharges. To reduce your data usage while out of the country you may also take the following precautions; power down your mobile phone entirely and change the settings on your phone so data is not automatically updated.

Contacting You While on Tour

Caravan does not recommend having mail sent to you on tour as delivery is unreliable and mail often fails to arrive. Caravan has sent you a hotel address list which includes the hotel telephone number for your friends and family. In addition, all hotels have internet access for a fee. In an emergency, if a caller cannot reach a Caravan guest at a hotel, please contact Caravan directly at 1-800-227-2826. If the office is closed, you will have an opportunity to speak with an emergency operator who can connect you with a Caravan staff member on duty. Caravan will do its best to assist in relaying an emergency message. We also ask callers to continue to try to reach their traveler independently.

Mailing Cards or Letters

When sending letters or postcards, the most reliable method is to mail the item yourself. If you would like the hotel to assist you, we suggest that you purchase the postage from the front desk and affix it to the mail yourself. All hotels either have boxes where mail can be deposited or you can give your stamped mail to the front desk and they will include it in their outgoing mail.

Alcohol Purchase: Religious Holidays

Please note that the sale of alcohol may be restricted in most bars and restaurants over the Easter period and other religious holidays.

Special Diets

While Caravan will make every effort to communicate specific dietary requests to the hotels and restaurants on tour, we cannot guarantee these requests will be honored. Most of the meals provided in Latin America are buffet style, which we have found allows for maximum flexibility for our tour members. Your Caravan Tour Director will be happy to talk with the various kitchens to determine how (and with what ingredients) dishes have been cooked, but please keep in mind that variety may be limited, especially in remote areas, including for vegetarian requests. For tour members concerned about cross-contamination for vegetarian, Kosher or gluten free diets or for passengers with food allergies or sensitivities, Caravan cannot guarantee food will be prepared free from certain ingredients (i.e. nuts, animal fats, wheat, dairy etc.). For most destinations, meals typical to the region will be served. Included meals are usually local or continental and are never Indian or other specialty Asian cuisine. In certain countries and regions it may be difficult to find Indian or vegetarian meals.


The best way to enjoy your flight and your vacation is to drink lots of water! At sea level, the human body loses about two quarts of water a day through air expired from one’s lungs and through the skin. At flight levels and higher mountain elevations, this loss can be up to 100% greater. This water has to be replaced. Therefore, to avoid dehydration and its symptoms, do as experienced flight crews do: drink lots of plain bottled water. Simple, and effective. Tap water is safe to drink in most, but not all, of Costa Rica. Most people consider the hotel tap water safe for brushing your teeth and drinking beverages with ice cubes. For larger quantities of water, and in rural areas, bottled water is recommended instead of tap water. Caravan provides purified water at all meals in Costa Rica, and free bottled water on the motorcoach.

Welcome to your Caravan Adventure!

We hope you find this information useful in planning your adventure. It can be helpful to be prepared in advance for some differences in the travel experience outside of the United States. You may find, especially in smaller communities, that plumbing, heating, ventilation, utility and telecommunication infrastructures are not as reliable as we have come to expect back home. This can mean hot water is not always available or that air conditioning may not work as efficiently as we would like. Our vendors are continually working to upgrade facilities but they themselves are often limited by local conservation initiatives and the existing public infrastructure. You may also see a difference in attitudes toward maintenance of public and private spaces. Please be alert to your surroundings. You may find that sidewalk potholes are not filled in or roped off, or that slippery surfaces have no warnings posted. Beaches and hotel pools are rarely patrolled by lifeguards, so please exercise caution and personally supervise your children. Differences in climate and land use often translate to different staple foods and flavors. Even familiar foods may taste different as a result of varied farming and grazing practices. Please be cautious around any animals and birds, domestic or exotic. They have become accustomed to human company but may still bite or scratch if approached. It is also not unusual to have insects or lizards visit your room, especially in park or beach areas. If you have any concerns, please let us know. We want your vacation to be a memorable adventure in the best possible way!

Independent Airport Transfers

If you arrive a day early, there will not be an airport greeter, so in that case please pay for your taxi at the taxi booth inside the airport, just before the exit. This taxi booth sells taxi fares at a fixed rate for the official airport taxis. The official airport taxis are usually in better condition than the other taxis outside the airport, which are known as piratas, or "pirate taxis." The official taxi rate is currently $25 for 1 or 2 passengers traveling from the international airport to San Jose hotels. Caravan does not reimburse taxi fares for passengers arriving or departing on different days.

Arrival Hotels

Hotel rooms sometimes may not be available for immediate occupancy upon arrival at the beginning of the tour. The usual check-in time for Costa Rica hotels is 4:00 p.m., although rooms are often available earlier. If your room is not available upon arrival, you may wish to leave your luggage with the hotel’s bell captain until your room becomes available.

Costa Rica Airport Exit Tax

The airport exit tax (or departure tax) is included in most airline tickets. If it is not included, then this is payable when you depart Costa Rica by air but can be paid for in advance. As you exit the airport, you also notice a booth that sells an exit tax form. The cost is $29 for most foreign visitors.


Electricity in Costa Rica Is 110 volts, the same as in the United States.

Elevations on Tour

San Jose is 4,000 feet above sea level.

For Your Security

A practical suggestion before you leave home: make a list of all your credit cards, passport and airline ticket numbers. Make two photocopies: take one with you and carry it separate from your luggage for your reference in case these items should get lost or stolen while traveling. Leave the second copy with a family member or friend at home—in case of emergency or if you should lose both the copy and the items noted.

Lost and Left Behind Items

Before leaving any hotel or motorcoach, please check that you have not left any personal belongings behind. Hotels and motor coach companies have a very high lost & found volume and items are often discarded quite quickly. If located, international customs and shipping charges often exceed $100 for even a small item. If your item is found, please allow several days before the item is prepared for shipping. Lost cash is not covered by most insurance plans and many insurance plans cap coverage for expensive items such as jewelry and electronics. Most travel insurance plans offer secondary coverage, directing travelers first to claim on homeowners or renters insurance policies.

No Smoking

Smoking is not allowed while on motor coaches. On days where motorcoach travel is involved, frequent stops are made affording time for smoking outside of the coaches. By law, smoking has been banned in many establishments (bars, restaurants, public parks etc.) in Costa Rica. Please note that any damage done to property must be paid for before departure from the hotel. This includes a cleaning fee for smoking In a no smoking room. Such charges can amount to several hundred dollars as hotels cannot offer the room for several days after smoke exposure. Caravan does not cover such charges. Damage discovered after departure will be charged by the hotel.

Recording Devices

Should you plan to use a tape recorder, video recorder, camcorder, cell phone or other recording device while on tour, please be sure to ask the permission of any guides or your Tour Director before recording. You may find that some guides object to having their comments recorded, or they may be guiding you through a place which forbids recorders to be used. So, please, always ask first.


As in many major tourist cities around the world, there are professional pickpockets and robbers in San Jose; so please be very careful when walking in the city. If you walk outside your hotel, do not carry a purse or camera and do not wear jewelry. If you carry a wallet, please watch your wallet carefully. If you wish to explore the city center of San Jose, please be careful crossing the street as cars often do not stop at red lights and there are very steep gutters. Please also watch the sidewalks carefully, as there are often large holes in the sidewalk, and missing manhole covers. Caravan recommends against using the public buses. When traveling by taxi, only travel with the official taxis that work with your hotel or any other hotel that you may be visiting. Please use extreme caution if you walk in San Jose after dark. At any time of day you should not walk in a small area of downtown San Jose called the Zona Rona (red light district). When traveling away from home, it is always a good idea to leave your valuables at home, do not bring expensive jewelry or watches with you. On smaller roads and tour routes off the beaten path, your tour group may be accompanied by government provided security in response to isolated incidents over the years.

Tipping Suggestions

Tips to hotel porters, restaurant waiters for included meals and local guides are included in the tour price. Tips to the Tour Director, driver and hotel maids are not included. We do not include these tips in the price of the tour as we realize, in an unsupervised work environment, tips provide a strong incentive for exceptional service. Many tour members have requested guidelines, so in response to their requests, we offer the following suggestions: Most tour members compute these tips by allowing a certain amount per day based on the service they have received. If you feel that service has been superior, you may wish to leave an appropriately more generous tip. US $7 to US $10 per traveler per day for the Tour Director US $5 to US $8 per traveler per day for the Driver These tips should be handed directly to the Tour Director and Driver on an individual basis. As tips are a personal matter, we request that no group collections be made. Personal checks are difficult for Tour Directors and Drivers to deposit - cash is best! Tips to water craft personnel, local guides, waiters, porters and bellmen are also included in the tour price. Tips to airport porters on flights not arranged by Caravan are at your own discretion.

Travel Companions—Addresses

Caravan has included a name and address section in this itinerary so that you may record the names of the new friends that you make among your travel companions. Caravan distributes a list of passengers names. Due to respect for personal privacy. Caravan does not distribute a list of passenger addresses nor list the cities and states in which they reside.


Temperatures in all seasons may range from evening lows of 45 to 60 degrees to daytime highs of 70 to 85 degrees, depending on elevation and precipitation. Generally it is cooler in San José and mountain areas, and warmer in coastal areas.

Caravan Travel Protection

Purchasing travel insurance can save you tens of thousand of dollars should the unexpected happen. Please keep in mind that most medical travel policies, including Caravan Travel Protection, offer secondary medical coverage. In other words, the insurance will reimburse you for costs not covered by your primary medical insurance policy. In most cases, this does mean you will have to pay the hospital or doctor directly for your medical treatment and submit your claim for reimbursement on your return. Coverage for injuries or illness on tour generally requires a doctor visit while on tour as well. If you elect not to purchase a travel insurance plan (either from Caravan or an independent policy), please verify your existing medical coverage as many policies (including Medicare) do not include coverage for treatment outside the USA. If you need to cancel all or part of your reservation, please call Caravan (or your Travel Agent) as soon as possible at 800-227-2826 or 312-321-9800 outside the US & Canada. You must cancel any flight arrangements directly with your airline (or Travel Agent). Any additional travel arrangements must also be cancelled with the providers directly. Any claim under Caravan Travel Protection for flight costs should be directed to the insurance company, RoamRight at 866-892-2382 or (outside the US & Canada) 201-537-9871. Please note, Caravan Travel Protection does not cover an upgrade to a single room in the event a roommate cancels. Caravan Travel Protection includes cancellation of your tour for any reason. This Plan also includes coverage for air arrangements for covered reasons (as specified in the Description of Coverage)*, $50,000 Medical Expense*; $150,000 Emergency Evacuation or Repatriation*; $2,500 Travel Delay (maximum of $200 per day)*; $1,000 Baggage & Personal Effects and $300 Baggage Delay*; 24 hour global travel assistance for medical and legal emergencies.* * Coverage is provided by RoamRight, underwritten by Arch Insurance Company. For more information please see: A Description of Coverage which fully details the coverages, provisions, reductions, limitations, exclusions, and termination provisions is available at:

Drinking Water

Visitors are advised not to drink water from the faucet. Bottled water is provided by Caravan on the motorcoach. You are also advised not to use ice or ice products unless you are sure the products are made from purified water.

Fitness to Travel

Caravan can make no determination of your physical, mental or emotional fitness to travel nor guarantee your successful ability to manage a tour. If in doubt please consult your Doctor. While every tour is different in landscape and activities, all tours include some walking every day. All tours include travel by motorcoach, participants should expect to climb on and off the motorcoach several times a day. The average temperature, humidity level and altitude should also be taken into account when considering whether a Caravan Tour is right for you.

Fitness to Travel - Able Bodied Companion

If you need assistance with any personal care; including walking or wheelchair pushing, you must bring a companion to assist you. Caravan’s driver, tour directors and tour members cannot offer this assistance. Caravan’s tour directors must take care of a large group of other tour members and cannot offer any special supervision or monitoring of clients. Companions to travelers with cognitive difficulties should keep in mind that multi-day itineraries with rapidly changing environments can increase anxiety and distress. We recommend you review the itinerary with a doctor prior to travel.

Handrails & Walkways

Caravan has worked closely with the various visitor centers, nature trails and boat dock owners to ensure the installation of handrails. Please take advantage of these handrails to help maintain balance or navigate wet and slippery pathways. Many hotels and resorts have natural walkways running throughout their grounds. These walkways are not always evenly paved or a level surface, please exercise caution when walking on these paths. Please exercise extra caution in pool areas where surfaces are slippery.

Medical Matters

Another “before you leave” reminder: If you regularly take medicine, be sure that you bring along an adequate supply to last the whole trip. Please keep a second supply of essential medication in your carry-on bag or in your purse as insurance if your baggage is misplaced or delayed. If you wear glasses, a second pair, or a prescription from your eye doctor, is recommended for emergencies. If you use needles or other sharp disposable instruments, please be sure to bring along a sharps disposal container. If you do not have one, please ask your tour director if your hotel can supply one. Please do exercise special care when disposing of these items. Smaller items such as blood lancets can easily be lost and can injure housekeeping staff. All travelers, especially those with blood sugar related conditions, may wish to take along a small supply of snacks. Very occasionally the tour might experience a delay, causing the next mealtime to be delayed. Please be sure to let your Tour Director know if you have any medical condition that may require special attention. The information you give your Tour Director will be treated confidentially. A mandatory Yellow Fever vaccination may be required if you have recently visited an affected country. Please call your airline or the consulate in question if in doubt. At the time of printing, the USA and Canada are not on any affected list. Caravan does not have any doctors on staff and cannot give medical advice, so please consult your doctor at your earliest opportunity if you have any concerns. An unexpected hospital stay or emergency evacuation can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Please verify your medical coverage before leaving home, because many health insurance policies (including Medicare) do not cover policy holders for treatment outside the USA. Non-USA residents may also find they have no medical coverage when touring in the USA.   Short term travel medical coverage policies can be purchased from a number of sources prior to departure, including Caravan. (See Caravan’s $129 Travel Protection). Most forms of travel insurance offer secondary coverage, meaning you pay the provider directly and seek reimbursement on your return home. Some travel insurance plans have exclusions on pre-existing conditions. Some plans restrict cancellation coverage to specified medical conditions. And some charge more based on age or destination. Read your description of coverage carefully!

Medical Matters - Staying Healthy on Tour

Please remember that not all travel illnesses are transmitted through food and water. There are various highly contagious strains of “stomach flu” that are easily transmitted by person-to-person contact. The viruses and bacteria can survive on a hard surface for several days and once an outbreak is underway, it is very difficult to extinguish. Health authorities are agreed that the best way to avoid getting sick is to pay close attention to hand washing. Frequent cleansing, beyond one’s usual regimen, can help minimize exposure to sickness that might otherwise spoil your tour. Please take along a good supply of moist towelettes and/or hand sanitizer for times when soap and water hand-washing facilities are not available. Some travelers have found products such as Immodium or Peaceful Mountain’s Stomach Rescue to be very helpful for stomach problems. Caravan makes every effort to minimize the possibility of tour members becoming sick during their tour, but we cannot offer any refunds to clients who become sick during a tour (except where provided by our Caravan Travel Protection). We recommend that you bring a small first aid kit—medications may be hard to find when you need them most for headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhea, insect bites, motion sickness and sunburn. It’s wise to pack plenty of wet wipes and hand sanitize. Mosquitos are prevalent in the region and we recommend you bring a supply of mosquito repellent. Don’t forget a good supply of disposable plastic grocery bags, which are very handy for personal trash disposal and temporary storage of wet clothes or swim wear.

Insect Bites

Mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” are sometimes present at dusk and in the evenings. While the majority of mosquito bites are mere annoyances, certain mosquitos can transmit illness. Lightweight long sleeve pants and shirts can help prevent bites, but the most effective defense against mosquito bites is mosquito repellant. There are a variety of effective repellants available for purchase. Traditional mosquito repellants use DEET as the effective ingredient, often in different concentrations. Other more “natural” repellants include mixtures of essential oils like lemon grass, citronella or oregano. Oil based repellants are often available at health food stores or grocery stores, either as a spray or a wrist band. Insect repellant can also prevent bites from no-see-ums. You may not be aware of the insects until the next day when small, red and itchy bites appear. Out of courtesy to your fellow passengers, please refrain from applying insect repellent until you have disembarked from the motorcoach.

Travel Vaccines

At the time of writing, there are no vaccinations required to enter Costa Rica or Guatemala from the US or Canada. The governments of Guatemala and Costa Rica require proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US, but does include several South American countries and African countries. In some cases these vaccines must be administered at least 1-2 weeks before travel. Please call your airline or the consulate in question if in doubt. Caravan does not have any doctors on staff and cannot give medical advice, so please consult your doctor at your earliest opportunity if you have any concerns. The CDC recommends that all travelers stay up to date on all routine vaccinations and consult with your personal physician if you have any questions or specific health concerns. The CDC has extensive information on their web site:

Laundry Services

All of the hotels offer laundry services for a fee. If you prefer to do your own laundry, there are self-service laundromats in Fortuna.

Room Assignments

Room assignments are made at random by the hotel. If you have a special request, such as a preference for two beds, please advise Caravan before the tour begins or inform your Tour Director at the beginning of the tour. Caravan is always happy to try to fulfill your special requests, although no guarantees can be made. All tour members are treated equally in regard to special requests. The room requests are made by the Caravan office and accommodated by the hotels when possible. If you are part of a group, we will do our best to place you in rooms near to each other as much as is possible. Sometimes, space limitations and the need to be fair to all tour members can mean larger groups may have to be split from each other. If you have any special group needs, please see your tour director. We do ask that any special group activities be conducted in private.

Single Rooms

As shown on the General Information page of the Caravan brochure, a limited number of single rooms are available on all tours at the single room charge shown on individual itinerary pages. Single travellers should expect to have a “seat companion” on the motorcoach.

Triple Rooms

Triple rooms offer two double or queen beds. Cots and rollaways are not available and local fire code regulations often limit the number of beds in a room.


You will travel in a modern, air conditioned motorcoach with a restroom in the rear. The motorcoach has a seating capacity for 48 passengers, and Caravan groups have a limit of 44 passengers.

Motorcoach Safety and Motorcoach Restroom

While Caravan coach drivers are renowned for their friendliness, for your safety and the safety of your fellow travelers, please refrain from conversing with your coach driver while he/she is driving, so their full attention can be on the road ahead. The motorcoach restroom is provided for your comfort, and should always be unlocked and available, although it is recommended just for emergencies and necessity. We understand that everyone’s needs are different. For your safety, please try to avoid using the restroom while the motorcoach is moving unless necessary. The coach driver may need to make a sudden stop or navigate a curve without any warning. While the bus is moving, it can be hazardous to walk down the aisle of the bus or to use the bathroom. Please be extremely careful if you must do so. Please note that if you move about the motorcoach or use the restroom while the motorcoach is moving, you do so at your own risk. While the motorcoach is parked, restrooms outside of the motorcoach are recommended, if comfortably available.

Seat Rotation

To ensure fair and equitable seating for all members of the tour, seating is usually rotated once or twice a day in a clockwise direction. Your Tour Director will advise you of their procedure. We regret we cannot fulfill any requests for a front seat for passengers, even when medically recommended. Please contact Caravan as soon as possible if you have any special needs, to discuss other options. Single travellers should expect to have a “seat companion” on the motorcoach (i.e. there will probably be another tour member seated next to you). Larger groups of travellers may be temporarily separated as the group rotates around the coach. We recommend that families or groups who want to stay together in the seat rotation either sit in front of or behind each other, and not across the aisle from each other. Please note that Caravan reserves the two seats on the motorcoach behind the driver for the tour director.

Tour Commentary

Your tour director may add considerable commentary during your time on the motorcoach. If you prefer quiet time, you might want to pack a comfortable pair of ear plugs or headphones and a restful eye mask. Please be mindful of others when talking with your companions while the tour director is speaking. Even low volume conversations can make it hard for others to hear the commentary.


The currency in Costa Rica is the colon, also referred to as colones. The current rate of exchange as of November 01, 2022, is $1 U.S. dollar to 615 Costa Rica colones. The currency exchange rate fluctuates every day, usually within a range of 600 to 630 Costa Rica colones to the U.S. dollar. U.S. Dollars are accepted in most stores and restaurants in Costa Rica (though US coins are not accepted). However, small snack shops and street vendors prefer colones. It is advisable to exchange about U.S. $20 per person into Costa Rica colones for “walking around money”. It is difficult to exchange traveler’s checks in Costa Rica. It is, however, easy to obtain money from ATM machines in most towns, or to use credit cards in the stores. Please bring dollar bills that are in new condition, without any rips, stains or marks. Bills are not accepted if they have rips, stains, marks or in old condition.

Hotel Incidental Charges

Many hotels require a credit card upon check in to secure incidentals, minibar or restaurant charges. If you make any telephone calls from your hotel room or incur any extra room charges (i.e. drinks or in-room movie charges), please be sure to pay the hotel for your incidental charges before you leave. Caravan will forward any unpaid hotel incidental invoices.

International Travel with Minors

If you are travellling with children under 18 years old without both parents or legal guardians, carry a notarized letter of authorization signed by the missing parent(s) or guardian(s). A notarized birth certificate showing only one parent, a parent’s death certificate, or a court order of child custody may also be permissible. Failure to have proper documentation could result in denial of boarding by the airline, due to international child protection laws.

Proof of Citizenship

Costa Rica requires a current U.S. passport valid for six months after your date of entry. A 3 month tourist visa is automatically issued to U.S. citizens after clearing Costa Rica customs. Non U.S. citizens, please check passport and visa requirements.

Carry Your Passport at All Times in Costa Rica

Costa Rica requires foreigners to carry their passports on their person at all times in Costa Rica, but this requirement is waived for U.S. and Canadian citizens, who are permitted to simply carry a photocopy of their passport photo and information page, plus a copy of the Costa Rica entry stamp page in their passport. Please make two photocopies of your passport photo and information page, and two copies of your passport page which has the Costa Rica entry stamp: one copy for you and one copy for your tour director. Please carry these required photocopies with you, and you may leave your original passport in a safe place.

Language Spoken in Costa Rica

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. English is taught as a second language in Costa Rican schools. Your Caravan Tour Director, local guides and most hotel receptionists are bi-lingual, speaking both English and Spanish.

Time Zone

Costa Rica observes Central Standard Time all year round. Because Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Savings Time, in the winter it shares the same time as cities in the Central Time Zone such as Chicago, Houston and Winnipeg. In the summer, Costa Rica time is one hour earlier than Central Time Zone areas which observe Daylight Savings Time.

Costa Rica Immigration

After exiting your plane, you will first arrive at the immigration desk, and present your passport and a Costa Rica immigration form. (This form is provided to you by your airplane. On the form, you will write your name, passport number, nationality, occupation, and the motive for your visit - tourism or business.) After you are approved in the immigration computer, you take the escalator or elevator downstairs to the baggage claim area.

San Jose, Costa Rica Baggage Claim

When you arrive at the baggage claim area, you will find free luggage carts and clean restrooms. You can pick up a free map here at the Tourist Information booth.

Airport Porter Tips

If an airport porter assists you with your suitcases, please tip the airport porter $2 per person or more in the United States, and $1 per person or more in Costa Rica, depending on the amount of your luggage.

Caravan Does Not Arrange Airline Transportation

Airfare is not included or sold by Caravan Tours. Reserve your flight to San Jose, Costa Rica (airport code SJO), and not San Jose, California (airport code SJC). Try to schedule flights with as few connections as possible. If you have connecting flights, please allow enough time between flights so you can comfortably reach your connecting gates.

Costa Rica Customs

After you pick up your suitcase at baggage claim, you must stop at the customs table and put your suitcase on a conveyor belt through the scanning machine. This takes about ten seconds. Then the customs agent will signal you to exit the customs area.

Customs Duties for Items Purchased in Costa Rica

When returning to the U.S., U.S. customs allows each person an exemption of customs taxes on up to $800.00 U.S. worth of Costa Rican goods that are in your possession and personally accompany you. Items to be sent later are not included in your $800 duty-free exemption. If two family members are traveling together, they may combine their customs exemption. For instance, a married couple will have a total $1,600.00 customs exemption. A flat duty rate of 3% is applied to the first $1,000 of goods per person beyond the $800 per person exemption. The duty-free exemption applies ONLY IF you have not used any exemption allowance whatsoever in the past 30 days. For instance, if you have made another international trip within the past 30 days, and used even a small exemption of $10, you would not get the $800 exemption. For this reason, sometimes it is best not to use the exemption if (1) the value of your goods is very low, and (2) you are planning to use the exemption on another trip within 30 days. Duty on items you mail home to yourself is waived if the value is $200 or less.

Customs Duties for Personal Items in Costa Rica

There is no customs duties charge for your personal items in Costa Rica.

Drivers License

You can drive with your normal driver's license in Costa Rica for 3 months after your entry into Costa Rica. There is no such thing as an international driver's license, although there is an international driving permit which you can buy for $10 at an American Automobile Association office. These permits are valid for one year after date of issue, and are valid only when accompanied by a valid driver's license. It is not necessary to buy an international driving permit for a visit of under 3 months to Costa Rica.

Fishing in Costa Rica

You can charter a deep sea fishing boat while you are staying on the Pacific Ocean. Quepos, has world class deep sea fishing. Chartered deep sea fishing boats are available for prices from $500 to $1,000 or more a day. If you decide to go fishing, please wear your life jackets at all times.

Activities in Costa Rica if Arriving a Day Early or Staying a Day Longer

Some clients participate in rafting tours or zip-line canopy tours. Caravan feels that these activities sometimes can be risky and dangerous. Others sign up for tours of Lankaster Gardens to see flowers, or horseback riding trips. There are travel desks at the hotels and numerous travel agents in San Jose, Fortuna who can arrange activities for you if you wish.

My Tour Price Includes

Virtually everything! Hotels, most meals, all of the activities described in the itinerary, airport departure transfers, gratuities to hotel porters and restaurant staff. Caravan’s professional Tour Directors and local guides will be with you every step of the way, ensuring a worry free vacation. They are fluent in English, experienced and fun, ensuring a worry-free vacation.

Preparing for the Tropics

It is recommended to bring at least one pair of quick-dry pants and one quick-dry shirt. The quick-dry pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts are particularly popular. Be sure to also bring a sweater or jacket for the cooler night temperatures. Caravan does not make product endorsements, but many feel that Avon Skin So Soft oil (not cream), or Avon's Expedition anti-mosquito spray is effective protection against mosquito bites in the jungle. Caravan does not endorse any vitamin, but please note that Central American pharmacies sell 500 milligram Vitamin B-1 tablets, a non-prescription vitamin, as "anti-mosquito" pills. Many people take Vitamin B-1 pills and eat garlic for about two weeks prior to and during their visits to the jungle because they believe that the smell of Vitamin B-1 and garlic repels mosquitoes. If you believe this may be of value, consult your doctor for further information on Vitamin B-1 and garlic. Many also avoid eating bananas in the rainforest, as it is believed that this smell attracts mosquitoes. Also, it is wise to wear light-weight quick-dry long-sleeved pants and shirts in these tropical areas.

Are meals included?

Included meals for each tour are listed at the end of each day. Meals are shown by B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner). Full, buffet, or deluxe continental breakfasts are included everywhere. Free bottled water is provided on the motorcoach. Alcoholic beverages are not included unless specified.

Children on Tour

Children age five (5) and older are welcome on tour when accompanied by an adult. Usually, children travel during the school vacation months of June, July and August, and also during spring and winter school breaks.

Family Trips

Families are always welcome on any of our tours, but we do not have any programs specifically for or limited to families. Families can make specific requests for connecting, adjacent, triple or quad rooms, when available. Children must be at least 5 years old.

My Tour Price Does Not Include

Prices do not include air travel, country entry or departure fees, airport porters, visas, phone calls, valet, laundry, all items of a personal nature, extra food and beverages not on the regular menu, and tips to the Caravan Tour Director, driver, and local guides. General fees and taxes are additional and listed separately beneath each tour’s price.

Age of Travelers on a Caravan Tour

Usually, you find a mix of different age adult travelers on a Caravan Tour. Children age five (5) and older are welcome, and children usually join tours offered during Christmas holidays, summer vacation and spring break vacation.

Forms of Payment

Caravan accepts payment (in U.S. funds only) via MasterCard, Visa, or Discover.

Many Tours Sell Out Each Year

The farther in advance that you book, the more likely it is that your preferred tour will be open. Late bookings are welcome if the space is still available.

Fully Guided Tours Since 1952

Caravan has been offering fully guided tours worldwide under the same family ownership and management since 1952. Caravan understands and truly cares about your great expectations.

Size of Tour Group

Group sizes will vary depending on the reserved rooms at the hotels and the capacity of the boats and motorcoaches used. Usually, group sizes range from 30 to 44 passengers.

A Well-Paced Itinerary

A well-paced and unhurried itinerary is our goal, after all, you are on vacation! Touring days begin and end at reasonable hours and include frequent stops. While the occasional early morning departure is necessary, we do our best to ensure a leisurely vacation.

Caravan’s $129 Travel Protection

Caravan Travel Protection offers peace of mind if you cancel for any reason whatsoever prior to the departure of the tour. The travel protection plan also includes air, baggage, evacuation, medical, and quarantine coverage. The cost is $129.

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