Costa Rica Extended Trip Details

Introduction

Welcome to Costa Rica!

This tropical paradise accounts for only .03 percent of the earth's surface but contains nearly 6 percent of the world's biodiversity!

A country where monkeys, jaguars, and panthers can be found throughout the rainforest. Costa Rica is a hub for sustainability and green lifestyle for both expats and locals.

Get to explore Costa Rica’s diversity as we venture deep into the rainforest around Arenal Volcano followed by adventure and relaxation at the beautiful beaches in Manuel Antonio.

There is no better place to open your mind, take a break, and learn about yourself than in the beaches and rainforests of Costa Rica. Discover why Time Magazine calls it the happiest country in the world.

Duration: 9 days, 8 nights

Start: Please be ready to go at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) at 3:00 p.m.

Finish: Trip ends at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) at 11:30 a.m.

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration--please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions.

What's Included

  • 9 days / 8 nights shared accommodations
  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, & 6 dinners
  • Ranch tour at Rancho Margot
  • Entrance fee to La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Entrance fee to the local hot springs
  • Entrance to the night walk tour in Monteverde
  • Local community activity at El Cocal
  • Entrance fee to Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Rappelling and Canyoning Tour
  • Private airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Private airport drop-off upon departure
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities at extra cost
  • The chance to meet some kick-ass people
  • Access to the Under30Experiences Community
  • Taxes are always included, never hidden fees, & NO blackout dates

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Costa Rica.
  • Local transportation, such as taxis at night
  • Meals that are not mentioned above or on the itinerary
  • This trip includes optional activities that are not included in the price.

Book with confidence: it's free to switch your trip more than 30 days out‍.

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration. Please wait until you get more instructions to book your flight.

All Under30Experiences trip prices are in USD.

Highlights

  • Sunset dinner at Playa Hermosa
  • Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica
  • Explore local waterfalls and hot springs
  • Get hooked on some of the best coffee in the world
  • Sunrise in Monteverde
  • Uncover the mysteries of Costa Rican rainforest while hiking
  • Get a taste of the local culture in Manuel Antonio & La Fortuna
  • Make your own adventure with optional activities like surfing, rafting and much more

Is this Trip for You?

Experience the best that Costa Rica has to offer by combining both of our best selling Costa Rica trips!

Spend half your trip soaking in the sun at the beaches of Manuel Antonio and the other half in the lush and lively rainforests.

This is the best way to see everything Costa Rica has to offer.

-Age requirement: 21+

-Group size: 18 max, average 15

-Physical rating: Moderate. Some activities might include moderate physical activity like hiking, walking, etc.

Travel Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

Before your trip you'll have the opportunity to join a custom WhatsApp Group and connect with others members of your group. Many travelers meet in the airport, or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a country after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment, where people feel safe to truly be themselves.

After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni, and part of our larger online Travel Community where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours, to hikes, to outdoor movie nights.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Breakfasts will be enjoyed at our eco-lodge in the rainforest and at our boutique hotel in Manuel Antonio. In the rainforest, most of the food will be grown right on the permaculture farm where you'll be staying.

Eat like a local with delicious Costa Rican dishes such as gallo pinto and some of the best fruit in the world.

Sample Breakfast Menu:

  • Fresh fruit, juice, coffee, gallo pinto (rice & beans), eggs, toast.

Sample Dinner Menu:‍

  • Casados
    A casado is a typical Costa Rican lunch consisting of: rice, beans, plantains, veggies or salad and chicken, fish, beef or pork. Paired with salads and smoothies or local juices.

We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Most meals can be modified for special requests and food allergies.

Transportation

You will be traveling by private and public ground transportation throughout your trip.

  • Private ground transportation to and from the airport (Included)
  • Private round-trip ground transportation to La Fortuna for activities (Included)
  • Public buses and taxis around Manuel Antonio & Quepos (Not Included)‍

Accommodation

You will be staying in shared boutique hotel rooms and hotel bungalows for the duration of the trip.

Laundry is available at some hotels for an additional fee. Ask your Trip Leader for details.

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality.

Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender.

Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability for an extra charge.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance with at least 200,000 USD in medical coverage is required to participate on our trips. This must include coverage for repatriation.

Please note that travel insurance covers trip related issues such as trip interruption, lost luggage, theft, etc. Travel medical insurance covers things like repatriation, medicine, ambulance rides, and hospital visits/stays. 

We strongly suggest that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please ensure that all of the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

Here are a few options for travel insurance that meet our minimum medical coverage requirements: Wanderwell, SafetyWing, and World Nomads. Some plans do not cover certain “high-risk” activities. Please make sure to read your plans coverage and make a selection based on your planned trip.

Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, selected by Under30Experiences.

We receive a fee if you purchase products through links on this page, at no extra cost to you.

We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using our affiliate links. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Cancellation Policy

Very Flexible

Give us at least 30 days notice and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 30 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company as they may cover you for some expenses. We are not able to transfer trips or hold experience credits within 30 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of our every Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries you visit, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects.

Tipping Trip Leaders: While gratuities for Trip Leaders aren’t mandatory on your trip, they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you are happy with the services provided, a tip is an appropriate way to thank them. Though it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspiring excellent service and is a part of the tourism industry across many destinations. If you’re pleased with their guidance, consider tipping 3-5 USD per person per day for Trip Leaders.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!

  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill from the tap.
  • Minimize plastic usage by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and shops.
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment.
  • Use "reef safe" sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate because they kill coral.

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. 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. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Below are our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with.  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and are organically inspired when possible.

Do not forget: water bottle, sunscreen, sandals, beach towel, waterproof rain jacket, sunglasses and a hat!

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you Under30Experiences will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Guidelines for U.S. Passport Holders:

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the last date of your trip. Please consult the U.S. Department of State with any more questions.

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

The tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink. Please bring a reusable water bottle and join us in our efforts to be environmentally friendly and keep Costa Rica beautiful.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling regarding physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Costa Rica from the United States but the Center for Disease Control suggests vaccinating for Hepatitis A, Typhoid and COVID-19.

If you are traveling to Costa Rica from South America you will be required to present proof of Yellow Fever Vaccine.

Mosquito borne viruses exist in most of Latin America. Please cover exposed skin and use mosquito repellent.

Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. For legal reasons, our Trip Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including over the counter pain medicine, antibiotics, etc.

Money & Currency

We suggest bringing 500 USD in cash to be used at establishments that do not accept credit cards.

This is not a total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your own spending habits for additional expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colon (CRC)

All businesses accept USD so you do not need to convert to Costa Rican Colones before arriving.

If you’d like a better exchange rate call your bank and order Colones before your trip.

In Costa Rica, a 23% charge is added on to almost every meal (13% tax, 10% tip).

Further tipping for wait staff is appropriate in the case of excellent service. When in doubt, ask your Trip Leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Remember to call your bank and credit card company to let them know you will be traveling overseas.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange App.

Please be advised that US Dollar notes that are slightly torn, heavily marked, or faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100 USD.

Safety & Security

Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance and passport with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.

Keep your passport and any valuables locked in the safe at the hotel.

Don’t leave valuables unattended.

Leave flashy jewelry at home.

US Citizens please consider registering with US State Department's “SMART Traveler Program” who can contact your family in case of emergency.

Uber works at the San Jose Airport and is the safest way to call a taxi. If you miss the shuttle, use the free wifi to call an Uber.

Although La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering around any town at night. We recommend staying in small groups, taking taxis to and from restaurants, and during night time activities. Taxis are the safest and easiest way to avoid any issues one might encounter on the streets after dark.

Taxis can be organized from reception of your hotel. Please take the address of the hotel with you.

Weather

The average temperature in Manuel Antonio is 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 75-80 at night.

The average temperature in La Fortuna is 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65-75 at night.

Please expect showers and thunderstorms most days that pass through the forests.

Dry Season of November-May

  • Most amount of sunshine of the year
  • Peak temperatures
  • Most popular time to travel to Costa Rica

Green Season of May-November

  • Less crowds
  • Lower prices
  • Jungle is green & waterfalls are gushing
  • Most rain

cultural information

Pura Vida is a lifestyle in Costa Rica that literally translates to "Pure Life". It's also a very common phrase that means hello, thank you, and much more.

Costa Rica is a very eco-conscious country. Please do not disturb the natural environment by feeding animals, removing shells, or littering.

Smoking is prohibited in public areas.

To say "you're welcome" Costa Ricans use “con gusto” instead of “de nada”. They speak formal Spanish mainly using "usted".

Key Phrases
  • Hello -- Hola
  • Excuse me -- Perdon 
  • How are you? --¿Como esta?
  • Thank you -- Gracias
  • Please -- Por favor
  • A beer please -- Una cerveza por favor
  • Pure Life (Costa Rica mantra) -- Pura vida

Tipping Customs

While tipping isn’t customary, it is certainly appreciated especially when you have received great service.  Be sure to tip in the local currency (colones) to ensure the recipient does not have to pay additional fees when exchanging. Here are some common guidelines to follow:

  1. Dining at a sit down restaurant = 3,000 colones per person
  2. Bell boy = 2,000 colones per piece of luggage
  3. Hotel cleaning staff = 5,000 colones per night spent at the hotel
  4. Tour guide (non U30X activity leaders)  = 10,000 colones for a day tour 

Optional Activities

Manuel Antonio
  • Surf Lessons: ~65 USD per person
    This is a “must do!” Learn the Art of Surfing in one of the most popular surf towns of the Central Pacific Coast. Surfing lessons take place on the beach in Manuel Antonio every day. Our surf lessons are for people looking to develop their surf skills and those who just want to have fun.‍
  • Salsa Lessons: 15 USD per person (cash only)
    Learn the art of Latin dancing as your private group instructor walks you step-by-step through mastering the rhythm while enjoying great music. ‍
  • Secret Beach Hike: Free! (access to the trail closed)
    Hike 1.5 miles one way to Under30’s favorite secret beach. Enjoy a half-day adventure swimming and sunbathing in an untouched jungle paradise. ‍
  • La Feria in Quepos Farmer’s Market: Free!
    Throughout the year, a weekly Farmers Market is held in Quepos along the waterfront. You’ll find an abundance of fresh, local produce for good prices. You’ll also find free-range eggs, cheese, and freshly-baked bread and cakes.
La Fortuna
  • Sky Trek Zipline Canopy Tour: ~91 USD per person
    Sky Trek is a thrilling zip line circuit that’s located in Monteverde and La Fortuna. Your tour will start riding an open-air gondola from the ground to the heights where you’ll be dropped off at an observation area for fantastic views. From this area, you will start riding the most thrilling zip line in the country stretching across canyons and in between treetops.‍
  • Horseback Riding Tour: 55 USD per person
    Depart on horseback from our stables and behold unforgettable views of over 60,000 hectares of rainforest, Lake Arenal, Arenal Volcano, & Cerro Chato. This is a great way to take in the ranch and surrounding landscape!‍
  • Lake Arenal Kayak Tour: 55 USD per person
    Head out to the shores of Lake Arenal where adventure and relaxation await! Kayak towards Arenal Volcano, explore the abundance of life within the many inlets you pass along the way and feel refreshed as you jump into the lake for a swim.‍
  • Hot springs: ~8 USD per person
    Thanks to Arenal Volcano’s geothermal activity, there are plenty of natural hot springs throughout the area. Warm and soothing, these springs offer visitors an ideal way to relax after a day spent exploring.‍
  • Hiking in Arenal Observatory Lodge: ~10 USD per person
    Explore rainforest, waterfalls, streams, 7 miles) of trails, and see an amazing wealth of wildlife. Arenal Observatory Lodge is a renowned destination for bird watching in Costa Rica, with more than 500 species of birds noted so far in our forest.‍
  • White Water Rafting (Class III-IV): ~80 USD per person
    Bring on the adrenaline and navigate class III-IV rapids on the Sarapiqui River. This is the perfect Costa Rica rafting trip for adventurous paddlers. Whether you are a first-timer or a rafting expert, this rafting trip will guarantee to get your adrenaline pumping!
Monteverde:
  • Sky Trek Zipline Canopy Tour: ~91 USD per person - Sky Trek is a thrilling zip line circuit that’s located in Monteverde and La Fortuna. Your tour will start riding an open-air gondola from the ground to the heights where you’ll be dropped off at an observation area for fantastic views. From this area, you will start riding the most thrilling zip line in the country stretching across canyons and in between treetops.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve: ~50 USD per person - Highly trained professional naturalist guides will take your cloud forest experience to the next level with updated natural history information. Each of our guides not only knows the forest like the back of their hands, but they also love sharing their passion for the local biodiversity with visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the essence of Monteverde, its biodiversity, and the people who work hard every day to preserve it. A truly educational experience.

While your Trip Leader will assist you with optional activities available, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of the Under30Experiences itinerary. We offer no guarantees on the safety or standard of the activity.

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Always do your best to ensure your own safety and the safety of your fellow travelers.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself or ask someone.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When exposed to a different way of living than you’re used to, do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits in every situation, whether it is physical ability, emotional space, social situations, or alcohol consumption. If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Our Trip Leaders work in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something, it’s not because they want to hinder you, but because it is for a good reason, and they want you to have a good time!

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.

Staying longer or arriving early?

Hostel Recommendation in San Jose:

Hotel & Hostel Recommendations in Manuel Antonio:

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