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Starter Costa Rica Trip Details

Introduction

Time Magazine calls Costa Rica the happiest country in the world.

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, etc.

Duration: 5 days / 4 nights

Start: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
To ensure shuttle service: plan to arrive Day 1 by 1:00 PM

Finish: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
To ensure shuttle service: plan to depart Day 5 after 1:30 PM

What's Included

-5 days / 4 nights in villas with roommates
-4 Breakfasts and 4 dinners
-Airport transportation to and from San Jose Airport (SJO)
-El Cocal community cooking experience
-Under30Experiences staff members
-The chance to meet some kick-ass people

*Attendees are responsible for their own airfare
*Transportation to optional salsa & yoga not included

When should I book my flight?

Plan to arrive Day 1 by 1:00 PM and to depart Day 5 after 1:30 PM local time

*Please wait to book your flight until you receive an email from us with more details

Highlights

-Sunset dinner at Playa Hermosa
-El Cocal community cooking experience
-Enjoy the beautiful beaches on the Pacific Coast
-Get hooked on some of the best coffee in the world
-Get a taste of the local culture in Manuel Antonio & Quepos
-Make your own adventure with other optional activities like surfing, yoga, canyoning, etc.

Is this Trip for You?

You want to go where the locals go, dodge the touristy attractions, and spend time on some of the best beaches Costa Rica has to offer.

Get to know our community on our most affordable experience!

-Age requirement: 21+
-Group size: 16 max, average 15
-Physical rating: Moderate. Some activities might include moderate physical activity like hiking, walking, etc.

Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

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.

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

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

Fresh fruit, delicious coffee, lots of gallo pinto, casados (casado is a typical Costa Rican lunch consisting of: rice, beans, plantains, veggies or salad and chicken, fish, beef or pork), salads and smoothies or local juices

*Breakfasts and dinners can be modified to accommodate dietary restrictions

Transport

Private shuttle to and from the airport.

Public bus and taxis around Manuel Antonio & Quepos.

Some optional activities such as yoga and salsa lessons do not include transportation.

Accommodation

Boutique hotel rooms for duration of your trip

Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender

Laundry is available at the hotel for an additional fee. Ask your Trip Leader for details.

*Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability (for an extra charge)
*Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality.

Travel Insurance

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 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.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced trip leaders and community managers.

The goal of the trip leaders 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.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly
  • Bring a sustainable water bottle
  • Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment
  • Bring "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.

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 certified organic when possible.‍

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

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you U30X will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Passports and Visas (Guidelines for US 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 US Embassy 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

  • Please bring a reusable water bottle to refill from the faucet as the water is safe to drink. Join us in our effort to be environmentally friendly and keep Costa Rica beautiful.
  • Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads and has a minimum of $200,000 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.

Money & Currency

  • Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping.
  • Remember to call your bank and credit card company and let them know you will be traveling overseas.
  • Bring cash with you!  It will be helpful to have at least $300 USD cash on you during the trip for lunches, snacks, optional activities, souvenirs, etc.
  • Please be advised that slightly torn US dollar 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).
  • All places accept USD so you do not need to convert to the local currency Colones.
  • 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.
  • Basic exchange rate is 500 colones to 1 dollar.  If a meal is 5,000 colones you can give them $10.
  • For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the app XE

Safety & Security

  • Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance and passport with you.
  • Keep your passport and any valuables locked in the safe at the hotel.
  • Don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach.
  • Leave flashy jewelry at home.
  • US Citizens please register with US State Department's “SMART Traveler Program” who can contact your family in case of emergency: http://travelregistration.state.gov
  • 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 throughout any town at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time activities, as they 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. Also, take the address of the hotel with you.

Weather

  • 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.

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" we use “con gusto” instead of “de nada”.

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
  • Pura Vida-- Pure Life (Costa Rica mantra)

Optional Activities

Please bring cash with you! It will be helpful to have at least $300 USD cash on you during the trip.

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.

Includes: round-trip transportation from hotel, water, snacks, typical Costa Rican lunch.

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.

Tour times: 9am and 2:00pm. (3 hour lessons)

Includes: Transportation, local instructors, rash guards, fruit, surfboards

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.

Includes: Transportation and entrance fee.

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!

Includes: yoga instructor, mat

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.

Includes: Free drinks, appetizers, transportation

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.

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.

Staying longer or arriving early?

Come with us to the Rainforest of Costa Rica!

Recommended Accommodations in San Jose

Recommended Accommodations in Manuel Antonio

Still need to book your flight?

Check out this article on Travel Hacking

Read our Ultimate Guide to Traveling Abroad

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