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Trek Hidden Costa Rica

About Costa Rica

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Think you know Costa Rica? Trade in the same old settings for the real deal. Trek into the heart of the jungle to live with three families in a remote village. Discover the emerald core of a diverse land while bunking down behind a massive waterfall in a hidden cave. Learn about the medicinal plants native to these parts and how to make sugarcane candy. This is a spectacular country with opportunities for waterfall rappelling, surfing, and whitewater rafting. This is what adventure is all about.

What's Included

Hiking excursion to Piedras Blancas (4 days). Hiking excursion to Diamante Verde Cave (3 days). Waterfall rappelling. Whitewater rafting on the Savegre River. Trapiche explanation. Ziplining. Traditional sauna and medicinal plant talk. Bread, tortilla, and chocolate-making.

Highlights

Trek into a remote community to live with the locals, sleep in a cave behind twin waterfalls, make your own sugarcane candy, experience a traditional sauna and learn about medicinal plants, rappel down hidden waterfalls, whitewater raft on the Savegre River.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

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

Important Notes

Costa Rica will not be allowing anyone to enter the country without proof of a departure ticket (bus, airplane, boat, etc.). If you are travelling through a few countries in Central America, you will need to show proof of your itinerary and a departure ticket from your last destination. Please print the itinerary and voucher and bring it with you.

Group Leader Description

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 10.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Local bus, pickup truck, van, raft, hiking.

Solo Travellers

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotels (6 nts), jungle homestay (3 nts, multi-share), fully equipped cave (2 nts, sleeping bags, no electricity).

My Own Room Exceptions

Days 3-5 and Days 7-10

Joining Hotel

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Joining Instructions

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your Chief Experience Officer (CEO). If you are unable to get in touch with your CEO, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). You must be able to carry your luggage to our accommodations and should be prepared to load it on and off of transportation, as porters are usually not on hand. A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

- Fleece top /long sleeve top (for hikes, jungle treks etc..)
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 6 shirts/t-shirt (some good for hiking)
- Water shoes/sports sandals (for rappelling and whitewater rafting)
- Sun hat
- 4 pairs of shorts (some good for hiking)
- 2 pairs of comfortable trousers
- underwear (plus sports bras for women)
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Rain poncho/umbrella
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Pocketknife
- Flashlight or Headlamp (recommended)
- Insect repellant
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Plastic bags or cover for backpacks
- Dry bag (optional, but useful)
- Day pack (large enough to fit 2 days worth of clothing)
- Lock for luggage

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency in Costa Rica is the Colon (CRC).

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.

You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in Costa Rica.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

Costa Rica airport exit tax: $29USD

Optional Activities

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES ON TOUR
All prices are per person, in USD amounts, and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

San José:
Adventure Combo (Canopy & Horseback Riding) (L) $107
Adventure Combo (Canopy & Rafting) (L) $107
Combo Tour (Doka – Poas – Cataratas) (B,L) $96
La Paz Waterfall Gardens (Late departure) $75
Poas Volcano (Half-day) $46
San Jose City Tour $39
The Best of the Pacific (Punta Leona) (B)(L) $115
Rafting Class IV Pacuare (B)(L) $99
Irazu, Orosi and Lankaster Gardens(L) $81
RAM LUNA (Show and Dinner) $69

Uvita:
Combo tour (4 hours, snorkelling and national park visits). Includes bilingual guide, national park entrances and snorkelling gear $70
Caño Island Biological Reserve tour (full-day). Includes bilingual guide, snorkelling gear, national park entrance and lunch $120
Corcovado National Park tour (full-day). Includes bilingual guide, national park entrance and lunch $120
Snorkelling tour (2 hours). Includes bilingual guide, national park entrance and snorkelling gear $50
Caño Island and Corcovado National Park combo tour (full-day). Includes breakfast, bilingual guide, snorkelling gear, national park entrances and lunch $140
Hiking in Marino Ballena National Park. Includes guide, snorkelling gear and national park entrances $50

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure.

Petty theft, bag snatching and muggings have been on the rise in San Jose. Though not common, there are certain precautions you should take when visiting the city. Although the cities visited on our tours are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions, as they are the safest and easiest way to avoid any issues one might encounter on the streets after dark. In addition, always leave your passport (It’s better to carry a photocopy of it instead), credit cards and money that you won’t be using in the hotel. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes in the room, or a general one at reception, this is always the safest method of storing your valuables. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Remember that like in any other city, you should never leave your bags unattended, nor flaunt jewellery, cameras etc
. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Stick to the main streets only during the day, and after sundown, please take a taxi. Taxis can be organized from reception of your hotel. Also, take the address of the hotel with you.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Planeterra is G Adventures’ non-profit foundation created to make a positive difference in the communities where G Adventures takes travellers. Planeterra supports sustainable social and environmental solutions in destinations travellers love to visit.

As travellers, it’s natural to want to give back to the places we’ve come to love. But to truly impact poverty, we work to build self-sufficiency, not dependency.

Planeterra partners with grassroots organizations with firsthand knowledge of local culture and true community needs. This ensures that solutions come from the people we support. Then G Adventures brings travellers to visit, fuelling sustainable local income in these communities. This model is helping many rural and marginalized communities on their way to self-sufficiency because they are harnessing the power of the tourism industry as a force for good. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit planeterra.org.

MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT
Fifty percent of our planet lives on less than $2/day. For the price of a coffee, you can make every day of your trip count by giving back to the communities you visit through Planeterra.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking).

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.

Max Pax

16

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD235-305 for meals not included.

Meals Included

5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners

PRODUCT_LINE: CRAC, ID: 22977

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.


Itinerary

  1. Day 1 San José

    There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. As it is located in the central highlands, San José enjoys a moderate climate.

    Amid the hustle and bustle, San José has beautiful parks, museums and the ornate National Theatre downtown. Enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains from the downtown streets.

    The central plaza is a good place to people-watch. A mime, juggler, marimba band, magician, or storyteller may be performing for whatever is collected when the hat is passed. Artisan booths are common, creating a regular arts and crafts fair atmosphere.

    Included Activities:
    Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

  2. Day 2 San José/San Isidro

    Early morning departure to San Isidro de El General. Located near three rivers and Costa Rica’s highest mountain, Mt Chirripó, this region is well-known but few travelers stay to find out why.

    Additional Notes:
    Please note it will be necessary to repack your bags according to the packing list provided for our excursion to Piedras Blancas as it is an early departure on the morning of Day 3.

    Transport:
    Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)

  3. Day 3 San Isidro/Piedras Blancas (1L, 1D)

    Today we embark on a three-day, three-night excursion with a locally owned and operated adventure company to the community of Piedras Blancas, found in the heart of the Zona de los Santos region.

    The journey is always half the fun, so we will leave town in the back of pickup trucks, traveling like the locals to find our trail head in the small town of Brujo.

    Additional Notes:
    We will be welcomed with open arms and a much needed home-cooked meal at the Lopez family home. Once home to 18 children (most of whom are now adults), there are plenty of beds for everyone all under one roof. The night will be spent eating, sharing stories of the day’s trek, and playing cards with the family members around the stove.

    Included Activities:
    Jungle Trekking to Piedras Blancas

    Transport:
    Pickup truck (2.00 hour(s))

  4. Day 4 Piedras Blancas (1B, 1L, 1D)

    Participate in various activities in and around the Lopez family farm. In small groups, make ‘dulce’ (candy) at the family’s traditional ‘trapiche’ (sugar cane mill).

    Hike one hour to the Granados household and stay the night. While there, local guides and members of the family will explain how to make fresh cheese and breads.

    Take a late-day dip in the river, enjoy tasty traditional Tico cooking and head to bed for a well-deserved rest.

    Included Activities:
    Bread Making

  5. Day 5 Piedras Blancas (1B, 1L, 1D)

    Start the day with a delicious home-cooked breakfast and fortify for the two-hour hike through the rainforest to Los Fonseca’s retreat.

    Cross over the Savegre River to the house by cable car. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the rushing waterfall directly in front of the dining area. Watch wildlife and hummingbirds up close.

    End the day with a traditional ‘Temascal’ sweat sauna and reflect on the day’s events. Reward yourself homemade chocolate made from cocoa beans collected right from the garden.

    Included Activities:
    Hike to the Fonseca family
    Ziplining
    Sauna
    Chocolate Making

  6. Day 6 Piedras Blancas/Dominical (1B, 1L)

    Today is a full, action-packed day. Set your alarm for an early morning start and a two-hour hike back to Brujo where we jump into rafts and head off on the Savegre River.

    Paddle toward the Pacific coast, then take a van to Dominical. Spend the rest of the day at the local bungalows, in the swimming pool or walking along the beach.

    Additional Notes:
    Bags are taken to our overnight stop in Dominical, while the activities continue with a rafting excursion.

    Included Activities:
    Hiking
    Savegre River Whitewater Rafting

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))

  7. Day 7 Dominical/Tumbas (1L, 1D)

    Time to put the boots back on and hike to Catedral de Piedra
    (‘Cathedral of Stone’).

    A free day for exploring the area, the local guides will plan a number of activities depending on the group’s interest and energy levels.

    Options include a number of hikes to the surrounding falls, waterfall rappelling, cliff jumping and swimming in the natural pools.

    Additional Notes:
    Twin 85-foot waterfalls cascade over the cave accommodation. Don’t think tight spaces – this is what we call an open cave and you will have no trouble enjoying the surroundings. There are hand-crafted stone beds to sleep on, composting toilets and a fully working kitchen inside the cave itself.

    Included Activities:
    Hike to La Catedral de Piedra

  8. Day 8 Tumbas (1B, 1L, 1D)

    Sleep in a

    Included Activities:
    Rappelling near Diamante Falls

  9. Day 9 Tumbas/Uvita (1B)

    Wake up early and set off on foot back to Las Tumbas. At the trail’s end, hop in a private van and enjoy the ride to Uvita, a small beach town on the southwestern Pacific coast.

    Take some much deserved time to rest and relax.

    Included Activities:
    Hike from La Catedral de Piedra

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))

  10. Day 10 Uvita

    This is a perfect day for some quality hammock time. Still need to move? There’s lots to do. Take a surf lesson, visit the Ballena Marine National Park (December to April is prime-time to see humpback whales), horseback ride, snorkel, SCUBA dive or take a trip to nearby Caño Island.

  11. Day 11 Uvita/San José

    Transfer back to the capital for a final evening with the group.

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))

  12. Day 12 San José

    Depart from San José at any time.

Contact our travel experts for more details

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