Welcome to Starter Costa Rica!
Our experienced Trip Leaders take you to some of the best beaches in the world, introduce you to a unique to a cultural experience, and let you choose plenty of other adventures like off-the-beaten-path hikes, surfing, yoga, canyoning, and much more.
Enjoy this Central American oasis and discover why Time Magazine calls Costa Rica the happiest country in the world.
Duration: 5 days, 4 nights
Start: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) -- San Jose, Costa Rica
To ensure included transportation: plan to arrive Day 1 by 1:00 pm.
Finish: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) -- San Jose, Costa Rica
To ensure included transportation: plan to depart Day 5 after 1:30 pm.
Airfare booking details will be sent after registration – please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions.
Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Costa Rica
Transportation to optional salsa & yoga not included
Get to know our community on our most affordable experience!
Go where the locals go, dodge the touristy attractions, and spend time on some of the best beaches Costa Rica has to offer.
Whether you're looking for an active adventure, or a laidback vacation, this trip offers something for all travelers interested in Costa Rica.
-Age requirement: 21+
-Group size: 16 max, average 15
-Physical rating: Moderate. Some activities might include moderate physical activity like hiking, walking, etc.
Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.
Once you come on a trip, you become part of our Travel Community forever.
From U30X Alumni resources (and a secret group) after your trip, to custom Facebook groups before your trip, to meetups around the world, you will have the opportunity to meet and stay connected to other like-minded adventurers.
More than 70% of our travelers come solo but they all leave with friends.
Whether you have joined us on a trip or are looking for a group of like-minded people, we welcome you to the Under30Experiences Travel Community.
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.
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:
Sample Dinner Menu:
We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Most meals can be modified for special requests and food allergies.
You will be traveling by private ground transportation and public bus and taxi throughout your trip.
Some optional activities such as yoga and salsa lessons do not include transportation.
You will be staying in shared boutique hotel rooms in the heart of Manuel Antonio for the duration of your trip.
Laundry is available at the hotel 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 is mandatory in order to participate on any of our trips.
When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all travelers must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt or 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.
Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads.
All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.
The goal of the 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 visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
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.
We highly recommend packing active gear as we'll be exploring hidden beaches, hiking to waterfalls, and staying active throughout the trip.
Below includes 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 organically inspired when possible.
Some of the 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.
Guidelines for U.S. Passport Holders
Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for 60 days after your trip. Under30Experiences recommends that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after 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.
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.
Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads and has a minimum of $200,000 USD coverage.
Please consult with your doctor before traveling in regards to 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 and Typhoid.
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.
The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colon (CRC)
Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to additional expenses such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, souvenirs, and optional activities.
We suggest bringing at least $300 USD in cash for the duration of the trip
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.
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 app XE
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 Manuel Antonio & Quepos are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering around any town at night. We recommend staying in small groups when traveling at night.
Make sure you have the address of your hotel in the event that you're separated from your Trip Leader.
Average temperature in Manuel Antonio is 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 75-80 at night. Please expect showers and thunderstorms most days that pass through the tropical forest.
Dry Season of November - May
Green Season of May - November
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" we use “con gusto” instead of “de nada”.
Please bring cash with you. It will be helpful to have at least $300 USD in cash.
Quepo Canyoning - $85 per person
This tour combines all the BEST elements of the most exciting adventure tours in Costa Rica: Skilled Suspension Bridges, Waterfall Rappelling, The Famous “Monkey Drop”, Inclined Rappel, Tree Climbing Ladders, Canopy Tour Zip Lines, and Tree-Top Rappelling.
Surf Lessons - $60 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 Manuel Antonio main beach every day. Our surf lessons are for people looking to develop their surf skills and those who just want to have fun.
Salsa Lessons - $10 per person (cash only)
Learn the art of latin dancing as your private group instructor walks you step-by-step through mastering the latin rhythm while enjoying great music.
La Ceiba Waterfall Hike and Swim - $7 per person
La Ceiba Waterfalls in Costa Rica is the ideal place for lovers of nature and adventure where the tourist can expand the cavalcade, walk, swim, climb, jump, take pictures and enjoy a wonderful day, in one of the most beautiful places beautiful of the pacific south of Costa Rica.
Hike to La Ceiba Waterfall. It is a 3.5 mile hike in to the famous falls one way, and you will be picked up on the way back.
Yoga - $15 per person (cash)
Take a relaxing yoga class with Under30Experiences’ very own private yoga instructor. Listen to the sounds of the jungle as you stretch out your body after the week's adventures. This is a class for all levels, beginners and advanced yogis are welcome!
Secret Beach Hike - Free!
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 (Farmers' 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 breads and cakes.
Farmers set up every Friday mid-afternoon and sell their products until noon on Saturday.
Los Campesinos Hike and swim with lunch - $18 per person
This includes 100 to 600 meters of hiking trails, an access to the waterfalls, natural swimming pools and the 127 meters long and 40 meters high suspension bridge, plus parking service. The estimated walking time is 30 to 40 minutes, but you can stay as long as you want in the pools
Sunset Catamaran - $80 per person
Spend the afternoon on a boat soaking in Costa Rica’s stunning coastline. Watch for dolphins and other marine life and take advantage of an opportunity to jump off the boat or ride down the slides.
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.
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.
Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.
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.
Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with 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! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and 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.
Trip leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because 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 of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.
Hostel Recommendation in San Jose
Accommodation Recommendations in Manuel Antonio
Check out these popular posts on Travel Hacking from our Award Winning Blog!
To avoid missing out on special offers and community updates from Under30Experiences, get our newsletter here.
U30X is such an amazing travel community. Once your trip is over, the experience is not. They keep in touch with their alumni & provide platforms for travel questions, personal development, & community connections in your own backyard! If you're a young person looking to travel I highly recommend U30X!
There are not enough ways for me to describe how amazing this company is. After my first trip I always told people, it wasn't about the location, but the experience that u30x gave me. I have some of the best experiences of my life with u30x, and now a passion for travel. Also, their alumni community and groups are awesome too!
Traveling with U30X has been life changing for me. I've made lifelong friends with both travelers and staff. I can't come up with enough good things to say about the company, the people, and the experiences I've had!
Just returned from my second trip with Under30Experiences. My first trip was to the Costa Rica rainforest. My most recent trip was to Iceland. Both trips were such an amazing experience. I loved learning about Iceland and its origins. I enjoy the small groups and I made some great new friends! Recommend them for anyone wanting to travel alone or with a couple of friends.
I was so scared to travel abroad alone and then I came across their website and they made international travel so easy! And the people I’ve met on the trips are some amazing individuals! I’ve done 6 of their trips and plan on continuing to do even more!!
My Hike the Inca Trail trip was beyond amazing, and I couldn't have asked for anything more from a trip. Our leaders made us all feel instantly comfortable, and the group was fantastic. The trip was well planned and the hike was unforgettable. Memories to last a lifetime.