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NYSAFLT Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world - a true Garden of Eden. Let Costa Rica mesmerize you as we explore its rainforests, rushing rivers, pristine beaches and towering volcanoes. This trip combines world-class highlights with more remote areas for an authentic adventure experience.

We are pleased to offer NYSAFLT members a very special opportunity to experience Costa Rica during the summer of 2013. NYSAFLT members can travel together, through GEEO, at discounted prices to experience this rewarding program rich in language and cultural experiences. NYSAFLT has chosen to work with GEEO on this program because of our shared values, flexibility and innovative post-trip curriculum.

This program may include other educators besides NYSAFLT members and their guests.


July 19 : San José

Arrive in San José at any time.

July 20 to July 21: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Begin with a bus ride over scenic mountains to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. The picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca’s white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation. Many optional activities are available, including bike rentals, snorkelling, and hiking in Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

July 22 to July 23: Tortuguero

Take a morning boat ride to Tortuguero, with spectacular wildlife viewing en route. The beaches here are a seasonal nesting ground of enormous Green and Leatherback sea turtles.

July 24 to July 26: La Fortuna / Arenal (1 Lunch included)

La Fortuna, at the foot of Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for area explorations. Optional activities include whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hiking, waterfall canyoneering (rappelling), a boat tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, or a relaxing soak in hot springs.

July 27 to July 29: Monteverde (1 Dinner included)

Climb into the misty mountain air of the Monteverde cloud forest region. We will have a tour of a coffee and sugar cane plantation. Spend a couple of days exploring the town with optional activities including a trail of suspended bridges through the canopy, a butterfly garden and a thrilling canopy zip line. Explore the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve on an included guided tour.

July 30 to July 31: Quepos / Manuel Antonio National Park

Quepos is a small Pacific town perfect for relaxing at the end of your tour. A short distance away, Manuel Antonio National Park offers excellent hiking, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife. There are beautiful white sand beaches and the warm turquoise water is ideal for swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing. The nightlife in the area is also some of the best in the country.

August 1 : San José

Return to San José for some last-minute shopping and a final night on the town.

August 2 : San José

Depart San José at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 19 : San José

Arrive in San José at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. There will be a notice in the front lobby to let you know when your group meeting will be.

Located in the central highlands, San José enjoys a moderate climate. The heat and humidity of the coast and lowland areas may affect you, with a general sense of lethargy and/or loss of appetite. This is no cause for alarm, it is simply your body’s reaction to the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water (bottled water is available everywhere) and do not attempt too much in any given day. We prefer fan-cooled rather than air conditioned rooms to avoid having to acclimatize to the heat and humidity every time you go outside. This is also a more eco-friendly approach.

Like most cities, San José has its good and bad sides. It is the center of government, theatre, and art, as well as of air pollution and congestion. It has beautiful parks and museums, and a few beggars on the streets. It is big and often noisy, but even from its crowded downtown streets, you’ll often enjoy a view of the surrounding lush mountains.

Start your exploration of the city in the main plaza, a great 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. A source of pride for the ticos (as Costa Ricans are known) is the National Theatre. Inaugurated in 1897, the building was paid for by coffee growers through a voluntary tax on every bag of coffee exported. The National Museum, housed in the Bellavista Fortress, offers exhibits on pre-Columbian art, colonial art and furniture and religious art within a 19th century building that was converted from a military fortress after the army was abolished.

The Museum of Costa Rican Art, located in La Sabana Park, was once the international airport; the museum is now housed in the old terminal building. The Jade Museum is on the 11th floor of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (National Insurance Institute) building. In addition to the marvelous collection of jade objects, you'll find pre-Columbian ceramic and stone works as well as displays with archaeological and ethnographic information. The Gold Museum is located underneath the Plaza de la Cultura. Its spectacular collection of indigenous gold art belongs to the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

The best and least expensive places to buy souvenirs in San José are the markets. The two main ones are the ones in Plaza de la Cultura, which is an outdoor open market, and the Central Market, where handicrafts are sold along with boots, fish, flour, herbal remedies, shirts and everything else you can imagine. Always watch your belongings and be ready for crowds. If you plan on spending a few days in or around San José after your tour, there are a number of activities within the city and outside city limits that you can participate in, many of them outdoors.

Probably the hardest thing you will do in San José, other than get safely across busy streets, is keep the street numbering systems straight. Street and avenue numbers are posted on buildings at the corners of some intersections. Keep looking as you walk, and you will eventually find one.

July 20 to July 21: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Begin with an incredible bus ride over scenic mountains to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. The picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca’s fourteen kilometers of incomparable white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation. There are several optional activities available. Rent a bike, or hike to Monkey Point through the Gandoca - Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Try snorkelling or take it easy and and explore La Isla Botanical Gardens.

Rent a boogie board if the waves are calling, dance the night away to reggae and calypso, taste flavourful Afro-Caribbean cuisine, and succumb to the natural beauty of this tropical paradise. This area of Costa Rica was quite isolated until a road was built a couple of decades ago, and it still hasn’t lost its charm.

Estimated Travel Time from San Jose: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 410 km

July 22 to July 23: Tortuguero

A morning boat ride takes us from Moín to Tortuguero, with spectacular wildlife viewing en route. The unique village has walking paths that extend into the National Park.

Tortuguero National Park was created in 1975 to protect the four species of sea turtles which nest along the beaches. The approximately half-day boat ride along rivers and canals starts just outside the town of Limón and ends in the village of Tortuguero, just outside the park perimeter. We may see herons, egrets, spoonbills, as well as amphibians and reptiles like the “Jesus Lizard” (it walks on water) and caimans. The tropical rainforest gives way to prime beaches, ideal nesting grounds for Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles. The latter nests from mid-March to May, the rest from July to September. The Caribbean Conservation Center, just outside of town, is an excellent source of information about the turtles and their tropical habitat.

Estimated Travel Time from Puerto Viejo: 8 hours
Approximate Distance: 140 km

July 24 to July 26: La Fortuna / Arenal (1 Lunch included)

La Fortuna, the town near the foot of Arenal Volcano is an excellent base for adventure. Hike the area’s nature trails, swim in chilly La Fortuna waterfall or go canyoneering (rappelling) and catch a bird’s eye view of the forest greenery. Other optional activities include full-day white water rafting on the Toro or Arenal Rivers, mountain biking, caving, horseback riding, or a tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Like much of Costa Rica, the area is a birders’ paradise, with over 600 species as permanent residents. Finally, after a long day of exploring, you can choose to take a relaxing soak at Baldi Hot Springs.

Set on the northern plains of Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano sits on the southeast shore of artificial Lake Arenal (77 square kilometers, or 48 square miles). Separating the mountain ranges of Guanacaste and Tilarán, the lake was created by a hydroelectric dam. Winds sweeping off the Caribbean Sea reach speeds of 48 to 72 km/hr (30 to 45 mph), across Lake Arenal you can find one of the best locations in the world to go windsurfing. The volcano, once quite active, has been in a dormant state since the beginning of 2011 but still is a dramatic backdrop to the town of La Fortuna.

Estimated Travel Time from Tortuguero: 9 hours
Approximate Distance: 200 km

July 27 to July 29: Monteverde (1 Dinner included)

From the central valley, we ascend into the cool, misty mountain air of the Monteverde cloud forest region. Here spend a couple of days exploring the town and a cloud forest reserve, truly a bird lover's paradise. This unique community has several co-operatives worth visiting.

While you're here, travel to a local ranch that has been converted into a hotel and enjoy a traditional meal. The ranch is set amongst the rolling green hills that made Monteverde famous.

Local guides are extremely knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation of this precious ecosystem. The unique community has several local co-operatives worth visiting including artist collectives and a cheese factory. If you're there at the right time of year, you may be lucky enough to see the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the most beautiful and elusive birds in the world. Optional activities include the Sky Walk, a series of suspension bridges through the jungle canopy, a butterfly garden and a thrilling canopy zip line.

Monteverde or Green Mountain, is exactly what you find at the end of the long, rutted dirt road through the mountains. The surrounding pastures were once covered with dense forest, but today only a few small pieces of it remain. One piece of forest has been preserved is the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, where all proceeds from the park profit the local community.. A cloud forest is much like a rainforest, but much of the moisture comes not from falling rain but from the condensation left by the nearly constant cloud cover that blankets the tops of mountains in many parts of the tropics. Monteverde Reserve covers 1600 hectares of forest and is home to a great variety of wildlife. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different species of mammals inhabit this small area.

Quakers from the United States founded the village of Monteverde in the 1950s. Looking to leave behind the constant fear of war and objecting to being forced to support continued militarism through their taxes, the Quakers chose Costa Rica because of its commitment to a non-militaristic economic path—Costa Rica’s army was dissolved in the 1940s. Since its founding, Monteverde has grown slowly as others who shared the original Quaker founders’ ideals moved to the area. Although the Quakers came here to farm the land, they recognized the need to preserve the rare cloud forest that covers the mountain slopes above their fields. The community is very different from those on the coast, and offers several souvenir shops and the Quaker cheese factory, which is definitely worth a visit. Make sure to try their ice cream!

Estimated Travel Time from La Fortuna: 4 hours
Approximate Distance: 60 km

July 30 to July 31: Quepos / Manuel Antonio National Park

This small town on the Pacific coast is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun and nearby sea. A short distance away, Manuel Antonio National Park offers beautiful white sand beaches and warm turquoise water, ideal for swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing.

Quepos sits on the outskirts of the Manuel Antonio National Park (about 20 min drive) and is a great introduction to the laid-back “Tico” lifestyle. This town is very popular with younger international travelers, and the nightlife in the area is some of the best in the country. If you have the jungle in mind, then we recommend that you head into the National Park. Although this is Costa Rica’s smallest National Park, it is also one of the most popular and it won’t take you long to see why. This park has fabulous beaches, abundant wildlife, and a great trail system for those who want to spend the day hiking. Look for monkeys, armadillos, coatimundis, sloths and over 350 species of birds!

Estimated Travel Time from Monteverde: 6 hours
Approximate Distance: 220 km

August 1 : San José

Return to San José for some last minute shopping and a final night on the town.

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 190 km

August 2 : San José

Depart San José at any time.

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Trip Notes

Please note: As of November 1st, 2007, the Costa Rica government requires those entering Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, to have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. Those affected countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.

Service Level


Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading


Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense 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 also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential. Here is some advice from past GEEO Costa Rica Travelers:

"Almost everyone needed to pack fewer clothes. The only place we needed a little warmer clothes was the Cloud Forest so pack for humidity, beaches and heat."

"I over packed. Keep it light and simple. Go to Walmart and by several water proof bags in the camping section. That way you can keep you close dry, and keep you stinky close separate from your good ones."

"I was very glad that I purchased clothing that was wicking and chaffing bar. We are very active individuals and did a great deal so having clothes for each day then a change of clothes with the bar for arms and legs made the activities effortless when it came to the motion in the countries climate."

"You'll have a few chances to do some laundry in the middle of the trip (La Fortuna especially), so you should only need to pack enough clothes for 7-9 days."

"Bring along some padding for the 5 hour boat ride. The seat are hard and a pillow or some clothing will literally help save your butt."

Please note: As of November 1st, 2007, the Costa Rica government requires those entering Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, to have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. Those affected countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.

Suggested Checklist

- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- Certificate of Yellow fever vaccination if coming from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa
- 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
- Head lamp or flashlight
- Binoculars
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Cover or plastic bags for backpacks
- Thick wool socks (to wear under rubber boots)
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- Raincoat/poncho
- Sun hat
- 3 pairs of shorts (quick drying)
- 2 pairs of covertible hiking pants/track pants
- 8 quick dry shirts/t-shirts
- 1 long sleeved shirt
- Sturdy close-toed walking shoes, with proper hiking socks
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting and/or waterfall rappelling/abseiling)
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Zip-lock Plastic bags for wet/muddy clothes
- Water bottle
- Pocketknife
- Alarm clock
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, motion sickness remedy, after-bite salve and extra prescription drugs you may be taking, including the prescription itself).

Optional Checklist

- Camera and film and/or memory cards and charger
- Reading/writing material


Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.


Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers 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

Debit and credit cards are very useful for cash advances, but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs.). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will work in all of the ATMs in Latin America due to their affiliation with certain card systems. Credit cards can be used in major cities and towns ONLY but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. 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 dollar 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.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers 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. Travelers 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 travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers 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 above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Puerto Viejo

Snorkel rental $10/day
Botanical Garden tour $7
Kayak (2hrs) $50 

Dolphin Watch Sailing tour(L) $100

Rent a Bike $5 to $10

Manzanillo Natural Reserve hike with local guide(4hrs) $30

Surf Lesson (1hr) $50

Scooter rental $70 - $100 

Boogie Board/Surf Board Rental $15 per hour 

Waterfall Tour (3 hrs) $25 


Night turtle watch $25 (incl. Entrance + guide) 

Morning baby turtle watch $15 (incl. entrance + guide) 

Tourist center $2 

La Fortuna/ Arenal

Rafting Class III and IV (Full day – 7 hours) $75 (incl. Lunch and fruit on the river)

Rafting Class II and III (half day – 4.5 hours) $55 (incl. Lunch and fruit on the river)
Canyoning/Rappelling tour $75 (includes breakfast or lunch depending on tour time – 4 hours)

Mambo Combo (Rafting II and III with Canyoning) $139.50 (8 hours)

Venado Cave Spelunking $55 (4 hours) 

Stand up Paddle $65 (4 hours) 

Mountain biking $59 (4 hours) 

Caño Negro Reserve $55 (8 hours) 

Volcano walk/viewpoint/dinner and entrance to hot springs $45 (incl. transportation)
Viewpoint/dinner/entrance to hot springs $36 (incl. transportation) 

Hot springs only $20

Hot springs with dinner $25 

Cerro Chato Extreme Hike (6 hours) $59 

Safari float $45 (4 hours) 

Horse trip to waterfall $42 (4 hours) 

Bike Rental &15/day 
Volunteer Program at Proyecto Asis (feeding animals, playing with animals, baby monkey, and some physical work, includes snack) $59 (4 hours)


Ziplining $45 

Hanging bridges $25

Horseback riding ($25 for 1 ½ hours, $30 for 2 hours, $45 for 3 hours) 

Butterfly garden $12 

Trapiche Tour $30

Coffee tour $25 

Frog Pond $12 

Serpentarium $10 

ATV $50 for a single, $75 for a double

Night Walk $22 

Orchid Garden $10 

Cheese Factory $10 

Bat Jungle $10 

Manuel Antonio

Mangrove tour (kayak) $65 (incl. Lunch) 

Mangrove tour (boat) $70 (incl. Lunch) 

Rafting (Rio Naranjo) $78 

Rafting (Savegre) $98 

Sea Kayak tour $70 (incl. Lunch) 

Dolphin watch sailing tour $75 (incl. Lunch and snorkeling) 

Cycle tours $25-$55 

Manuel Antonio Park $10 (entrance) plus $25 guide if wanted 
Surf lessons $55 (3-4 hours)
Scooter rental $70 

Boogie Board/Surf board rental $8 per hour

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


Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip. Here is some advice from past participant:

"Be prepared to spend money on everything "extra." You can skip those experiences, but you'll regret it. All tours are more money that you think they will be, but they are all worth it. Budget at least $1000 (more if you can) for food and tours combined."

Tour Company Fee

$1379 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD(Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$350-$600 USD
See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.

International Airfare from USA

$500-$900 USD (Can vary widely) See our FAQ for flight advice.


$35- $200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD. We strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.


We recommend $50 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $90 USD to tip guides and drivers for other activities.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

roughly $400-$600 USD (Food is expensive in Costa Rica! $12-15 per lunch, $7-10 per breakfast, $15 for dinner)

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

Make sure you budget for these types of expenses

Airport and Departure Taxes

$28 USD

Airport Transfers

Taxi fixed (official) rates at the airport counter as of 2012

Arrival Transfer:
* 1 passenger - $20.00 USD / passenger
* 2 to 100 passengers - $10.00 USD / passenger


(It all depends on what you don’t have already/what your insurance covers.)


Visa: $0 (American citizens don’t need a visa for travel in Costa Rica. Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)




What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up anywhere from 1-3 school visits per program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Costa Rica. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other.

In May G Adventures will contact you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee for this trip of $599 USD.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO 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 affordable. 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 group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We ran the Costa Rica program for the first time in 2011. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to Costa Rica for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Your trip begins and ends in San Jose. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in San Jose by. You can arrive at anytime of the day you choose. You can depart anytime on the final day of the trip.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

When should I purchase my flights?

You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically we have the minimum amount needed by the end of April. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $35 card (The individual plus option) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option.

Another option is They offer different options from many different companies. You can also get your insurance directly through G Adventures if you wish.

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD.

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in San Jose so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later. G Adventures can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. The price for extra hotel nights for this trip can be found in the costs tab.

In May we will send you a form that allows you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, ( who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

As of November 1st, 2007, the Costa Rica government, requires those entering Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, to have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. Those affected countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

Not really. You may get more attention than you like if you dress provocatively.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Most hotels in Costa Rica use the same plug design used in America, a type A plug. Their voltage is 120 Volts, the same as U.S. outlets.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

What is the weather like?

Costa Rica's weather varies from region to region, but is generally hot and humid with occasional rain shower.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"Expect to spend a lot of money on water, food and tips. Do not expect Costa Rica to be cheap, in my experience prices were equal or greater than what you are used to in the U.S."

"Pack plastic bags to keep dirty/wet clothes in, you move from place to place too quickly for your things to have time to dry out in the humidity."

"The focus of this trip is interacting with nature. For those who are interested in history and culture perhaps another GEEO trip would be more interesting to them."

"Everyone in Costa Rica takes USD. Bring a bunch of that and expect to spend it. The big tour companies also take credit cards. Even some of the banks there let you take out USD. Make sure you look at the optional activity list and budget accordingly. I think many of our group members ended up spending much more than we expected on additional activities. It was not a problem for me, but some people were feeling strapped by the end of the trip."

"Be ready for the mosquitoes in Costa Rica. They bit up SO many people and left nasty bites that hurt. Deet is important!!!!"

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include anywhere from 1 to 3 school visits per program; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend. In the past we have offended schools that were expecting ten visiting educators and only three came.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office in San José, Costa Rica. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures San José, Costa Rica,
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm local time (GMT –6).
Tel: Int. Dialing Code +506 2296 6994 .

Costa Rica Emergency Cell Phone: +506 8322 9140 (after office hours).

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office in Costa Rica,
they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600
Calls from UK: 0844 410 1030
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: 1 416 260 0999

Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

You can if you wish. Please keep in mind it is important for you to pack light for your trip and school supplies can take up a lot of space. Sometimes school visits are at the end of the trip so you may be carrying the supplies for the entire trip. Sometimes we aren't able to arrange a school visit at all so you would then have to figure out a way to give them out yourself.

Our advice is to bring little if any supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally when your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy. We encourage you to establish relationships with the schools that we visit. In the past some of our participants have run fundraisers for needy schools and have mailed supplies to the schools.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Like any city where tourism is on the increase, crime also tends to increase and while San José is not a noticeably dangerous city, there are certain precautions you should take. Make sure that you are aware of your things at all times and don't go out carrying expensive gear or jewellery. Puerto Viejo has a fairly big drug trade, be very cautious at night and bring a buddy with you.

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. 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. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader 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 tour leader 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. Although the cities visited on tour 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.

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 G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders 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.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, 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 information on our website 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.

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

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, These grants can be used on GEEO trips. Please note that they are only offered to teachers in a limited number of pre-selected school districts around the country.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 500 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

What happens if GEEO doesn't reach the minimum number of participants needed for this trip?

Typically we reach the minimum number for our groups in the month of April. If we do not have the minimum number of participants needed we will re-price the trip for the amount of people signed up, adding on a surcharge. It will be up to each individual whether they still wish to travel with the group at the new rate. If they choose to withdraw from the program at that time they will be issued a full refund. If need be we will cancel a trip and issue the entire group a full refund. It is important that you do not book your flights before a group is confirmed! It is pretty rare for us to have to cancel trips.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Please note that 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. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

There are Internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/netbook/tablet computer if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of you valued items.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

"Almost everyone needed to pack fewer clothes. The only place we needed a little warmer clothes was the Cloud Forest so pack for humidity, beaches and heat."

"Most places have safe water to drink. Ask your guide before buying a bunch and adding to the plastic water bottle trash."

"I over packed. Keep it light and simple. Go to Walmart and by several water proof bags in the camping section. That way you can keep you close dry, and keep you stinky close separate from your good ones."

"I was very glad that I purchased clothing that was wicking and chaffing bar. We are very active individuals and did a great deal so having clothes for each day then a change of clothes with the bar for arms and legs made the activities effortless when it came to the motion in the countries climate."

"You do not need to use Colones throughout all of Costa Rica. I didn't see one place that would not accept US dollars. I recommend taking a minimal amount of US dollars with you and use ATM machines to take out money as needed."

"Be prepared to spend money on everything "extra." You can skip those experiences, but you'll regret it. All tours are more money that you think they will be, but they are all worth it. Budget at least $1000 (more if you can) for food and tours."

"You'll have a few chances to do some laundry in the middle of the trip (La Fortuna especially), so you should only need to pack enough clothes for 7-9 days."

"Expect to tip a lot - drivers, guides - you'll need lots of small currency."

"While GEEO's trip notes did mention this, I was still surprised how expensive the food ended up being. If you eat with the group ($12-15 per lunch, $7-10 per breakfast, $15 for dinner)"

"Bring along some padding for the 5 hour boat ride. The seat are hard and a pillow or some clothing will literally help save your butt."

"Some of the hikes were very strenous, and based on conversations with other tour members, some tours should not be taken by people who can't do strenous work or walking or hiking."

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, one fiction and three non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Costa Rica, A Literary Companion edited by Oscar Arias (short stories by Costa Rican writers)

Non Fiction:
The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica by Mavis Hiltunen Biesanz
Monkeys are Made of Chocolate: Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica by Jack Ewing
The Costa Rica Reader: History, Culture, Politics Edited by Steven Palmer and Iván Molina

1379.00 USD

*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • Boat tour to Tortuguero, Local barbeque at cloudforest ranch, Guided visit to Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.

  • G Adventures tour leader throughout, local guides.

  • Transportation: Public bus, Van, Boat

  • Hotels (14 nts)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions