I                                                                         n                                               ...
The      Tropical       AdventuresFoundation     is   a     non-profitresource      for       empoweringindividuals   and ...
A                                                                                      b                                  ...
Costa Rican CultureCosta Ricans speak standard Spanish and           asked, will have a more positive opinion ofCentral Am...
One of the most breathtaking species of           There are over 200 species of reptiles inbutterflies is the morpho, with...
Pura VidaLiterally translated means "Pure Life" butmeans contextually something approximateto "Full of Life," "Purified li...
Time Zone                                       FoodCosta Rica is in the Central StandardTime Zone (same as Chicago), 6 ho...
Keeping In TouchCell Phone Coverage                               Keeping a Travel BlogIf you want to use your own cell ph...
Health and Safety                                For a list of which countries require their                              ...
When you leave home and all the things            How can you adjust to your new environ-that are familiar, you encounter ...
Sixth: acknowledge your progress in            Compassion is empathy. It is a quality ofadjusting to the new culture. Thin...
Arrival in Costa RicaAirport InstructionsThe following are instructions for those of      Follow the signs out to the bagg...
Pick-Up – IMPORTANTPlease print off the following information        We are very excited to meet you! You’ll beto bring wi...
IMPORTANT    Please ensure you print a copy of this             We do most often answer the phone, but in    page to leave...
Important to note:•If you have chosen to stay in a hostel or            • Sometimes there will be changes to yourhave purc...
What to BringThe best rule of thumb for packing for your trip to Costa Rica is to pack a few extra setsof clothes due to t...
Spanish Basics              Spanish                          EnglishBuenos dias                     Good morningBuenas tar...
What You Can Expect From Us                     • We expect you to speak with us immedi-                                  ...
Costa Rica Travel Guide / Volunteer Manual
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Costa Rica Travel Guide / Volunteer Manual


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This guide was initially created for volunteers joining the Tropical Adventures Foundation in Costa Rica. However, it's full of great and useful information that can be enjoyed by anyone planning a trip to Costa Rica. (updated 15 April 2012)

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Costa Rica Travel Guide / Volunteer Manual

  1. 1. I n t r o d u c t i o nWe are proud and excited to be We have created this manual toyour host in Costa Rica. We have help you prepare for your trip.fun volunteer projects and adven- Please take some time to readturous tours waiting for you! through it carefully if you have any questions, please let us knowThis is a land of beautiful, white by email atsand beaches, monkeys and lush info@tropicaladventures.comtropical vegetation. Costa Rica is or by phone at 1-800-832-9419.a family-oriented country. Beready to be welcomed with See you soon!opened arms!
  2. 2. The Tropical AdventuresFoundation is a non-profitresource for empoweringindividuals and communitiesinside and outside of Costa Rica.Our website address is www.TropicalAdventures.comOur goals are to:• Support the inherent value of What We Do: the individual, • Encourage Self-Discovery• Reduce poverty and injustice • Provide Volunteer Opportunities• Create safe environments for • Book hotels, transportation and women and children Tours• Promote international learning • Foster Respect through our and cooperation Projects• Foster personal and worldwide • Help create Self-Sufficiency in Peace our Communities
  3. 3. A b o uAbout Costa Rica t C o s t a RCosta Rica is an amazing and biologi- Many attribute that to the relaxed i ccally diverse country located in Central atmosphere and laid-back way of life aAmerica. Costa Rica is bordered to the here. The major exports of Costa RicaNorth by Nicaragua and to the South are bananas, coffee, sugar cane andby Panama. The official language of pineapple.Costa Rica is Spanish. Costa Rica is rich in natural beauty andCosta Rica is the “Switzerland of has many different micro climates,Central America” according to many which range from hot and humidwell-known guidebooks. Costa Rica is lowlands, spectacular volcanoes, tropi-a democratic nation with a Nobel cal rainforests, dry forests, and higherPeace prizewinner as its President, elevation mountainous zones. CostaOscar Arias. Costa Rica is a peaceful Rica has 7 provinces: San Jose (alsonation with no army since 1948. the capital city), Alajuela, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Limon, Heredia, andCosta Rica is about the size of West Cartago. Each province is unique geo-Virginia. It is approximately 20,000 graphically and culturally. Costa Ricasquare miles in area. The average life welcomes visitors from around theexpectancy here in Costa Rica is 76.1 world every year and those adventur-years, higher than that of the USA. ous tourists definitely do not leave unsatisfied. www.TropicalAdventures.com
  4. 4. Costa Rican CultureCosta Ricans speak standard Spanish and asked, will have a more positive opinion ofCentral American Spanish, but they, like someone who graduated from a publicmost other Central American countries over university.the years, have developed distinct patternsin their language. Because of the interest in education, most Costa Ricans firmly believe in education asCosta Ricans normally use the respectful a way to improve their life."Usted" form when addressing each other;this is somewhat formal and surprises some Costa Ricans usually greet one anotherSpanish-speaking foreigners when they with a slight peck on one cheek or in thearrive. Also, when they do use the familiar case of two men, a hand shake. If thatform, they often use the less polite vos situation is uncomfortable for you thenrather than tú, which is used in most other extend your arm and offer a hand shake.Latin American countries. Costa Ricans are respectful of this type of greeting especially when people meet forEducation is highly regarded in Costa Rica the first time and will not be offended.by most of the population. 6% of thecountrys resources are dedicated to educa- Costa Rica is generally a rather conserva-tion and it has been proved to have positive tive culture. Men and women typically holdresults as > 95% of the population is traditional roles and that is the norm of Aliterate. Costa Rican society. Alcohol use is legal for b o those over 18 years of age. The law in uPrimary (1st-6th grade) and secondary Costa Rica regarding recreational drugs is t(7th-11th or 12th) are free and mandatory that they are illegal even though in various C ofor all citizens. However, primary and parts of world they have been legalized. ssecondary public education is widely We encourage participants to abide by local tconsidered to lack the quality and a laws during their visit to Costa Rica. Rresources seen in private elementary ischools, therefore most of the middle class A person from the United States is normally c aand upper middle class populations opt to referred to as a gringo. For Costa Ricans,send their children to private institutions. the word "gringo" is slang for a United States citizen as "Tico" is slang for a CostaAt the university level, the country has four Rican. This term is widespread as Ameri-major public universities: The University of cans constitute a significant percentage ofCosta Rica (UCR),the Instituto Technoogico tourists in Costa Rica. Tourists are almost(TEC), The Universidad Nacional (UNA) always well-liked and treated hospitably.and the Universidad de Educacion aDistancia (UNED), this last institution is a If you are blonde (especially women), dontcorrespondence institution. Most of the be offended if you hear yourself describednational universities have institutional as la macha or ‘la machita’ (literally, theautonomy and considerable budgets that blonde) - it is used in polite speech in Costahave allowed them to become some of the Rica and is more a term of endearment thanmajor universities in Central America. anything else. You may also find that some men call out to you using this term while youDue to the four main universities inability to are walking in the street. It is up to youmeet the demand of the growing popula- whether you wish to return the greeting withtion, a great variety of private institutions a polite ‘hola’ or ‘buenos dias’ but ignoring ithave begun to appear in the country. usually prevents any unwanted advances.Despite this boom in private investment,private institutions are still fighting for theprestige mainly associated with the public www.TropicalAdventures.comuniversities, and most Costa Ricans when
  5. 5. One of the most breathtaking species of There are over 200 species of reptiles inbutterflies is the morpho, with its 15 cm Costa Rica, over half of them snakes. But(6-inch) wingspan and electric blue upper snakes are rarely encountered, even bywings. Floating over the rivers, usually on those looking for them. Often they aresunny mornings, they are a stunning sight. nocturnal or superbly camouflaged, and ifWhen they land, only their brown under- they lie perfectly still on the forest floor,wings are visible; a camouflage to protect they can be virtually impossible to detect.them from their enemies. More frequently seen are the countrysSuch camouflage is prominent in the lizards. The common Ameiva has a whitebutterfly community. Some species look stripe running down its back. Bright greenjust like the leaves and bark of the trees on basilisk lizards can reach a meter (3 ft) inwhich they rest. Yet others have wings with length. Their huge crests run the length ofspots that resemble eyes. Predators occa- their heads, giving them the appearance ofsionally attack their wings, leaving them a dinosaur. They are nicknamed "Jesuswith only minor injuries, their heads and Christ lizards" because they can runbodies safe from harm. across water when disturbed.Costa Rica is home to roughly 150 species Costa Rica is also home to crocodiles andof amphibians, some of which are turtles. The 14 turtle species include bothextremely colorful and exotic. There are marine and freshwater varieties. The larg- Atree frogs which spend their entire lives est of the marine turtles are leatherbacks. babove the forest floor, breeding in the Their shells are up to a meter and a half (5 o uwater of tank bromeliads or in holes in the feet) and they weigh upwards of 360 kg ttrunks of trees. Others, the poison-arrow (800 lb)! Marine turtles climb up sandy Cfrogs, are exuberantly colored, ranging beaches to lay their eggs, a spectacular o sfrom bright red with blue or green legs to sight because it happens en masse. Olive tbright green with black markings. These Ridleys nest synchronously -- tens of thou- a sands of females sometimes emerge from Rfrogs emit skin toxins that are distasteful or ilethal to their potential predators, and their the sea in a single night! cbright coloration serves to warn predators aof their danger.Costa Rican WeatherAlthough Costa Rica is a small country in terms of area, there is a lot going on here in termsof weather in Costa Rica. With a climate that is diverse and varied, Costa Rica can bedivided into several climatic zones, each of which is distinct and individual. Though generallyclassified as a tropical country because of its close proximity to the equator, Costa Rica hasno real winter period, and the sun shines here throughout the year. With over 12 hours ofsunshine a day, the sun rises at about 5 am and sets at about 6 pm consistently throughoutthe year.Here is a pretty handy chart. It shows our project locations and dry / wet season info:
  6. 6. Pura VidaLiterally translated means "Pure Life" butmeans contextually something approximateto "Full of Life," "Purified life," "Goinggreat," or "Cool!". Some foreigners view thephrase as an expression of a leisurelylifestyle, of disregard for time and wantonfriendliness. However, Costa Ricans usethe phrase to express something akin to aphilosophy of strong community, persever-ance, good spirits, and enjoying life slowlyand celebrating good fortune of magnitudessmall and large alike. Indigenous PopulationsThe Indigenous populations in Costa Rica are rapidly decreasing in numbers as theirchildren are forced to adapt to modern culture in an effort to survive. As these children leavefor the cities they often leave part of their culture behind. Tropical Adventures works withother non profits and strives to create and implement programs that assist these local tribesin empowering themselves while maintaining their cultural traditions. ACosta Rican Wildlife b o u Over 200 mammal species have been recorded in t Costa Rica. Observant visitors to the national parks C o and other protected areas are almost certain to see s one of the countrys four types of monkeys -- howler, t a spider, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkeys. R i The country is also home to a wide assortment of c a tropical mammals. There are two types of sloths: the more commonly seen three-toed sloth, and the more rarely seen two-toed sloth. Three types of anteaters, reside in Costa Rica; the tamandua is most commonly seen, while the others, the giant and silky anteaters are rarely glimpsed. Visitors to Costa Ricas rainforests are likely to see armadillos, agoutis, coatis, peccaries (wild pigs), kinkajous, raccoons, squirrels and bats. However, some rainforest animals are almost never seen. Jaguars and tapirs, for example, are now consid- ered endangered species. Still, their tracks are regularly seen in the more remote, larger expanses of undisturbed forest such as that surrounding the Rara Avis Reserve. Over 35,000 species of insects have been recorded in Costa Rica, with thousands more still undiscov- ered. Most noteworthy among these are the butter- flies. It is estimated that 10% of the worlds butterfly species reside in Costa Rica.
  7. 7. Time Zone FoodCosta Rica is in the Central StandardTime Zone (same as Chicago), 6 hoursbehind Greenwich mean time. Costa Ricadoes not use daylight saving time, so thetime difference is an additional hour Aprilthrough October.Electricity & WaterWater and electricity are things that weoften take for granted in first world coun-tries. In Costa Rica, there are often distur-bances in the delivery of these services The food in Costa Rica is based arounddue to rationing or poorly maintained rice, beans, some meat and plenty ofpipes/lines. You might consider bringing delicious tropical fruits. For breakfast,anti-bacterial gel for hand washing should expect wonderful, fresh fruit along withyou find yourself in a water or power eggs and “Gallo Pinto,” a national dish of Aoutage (sometimes water pumps are run fried rice and black beans. Typical lunch bon electricity). In Costa Rica they use110v and dinner meals include rice and beans, o uelectricity therefore adapters/converters salads, and either fish, chicken or beef. tshould not be needed for those coming On the Caribbean Coast you will also find Cfrom the United States and Canada. delicious homemade Caribbean-style o s food, such as jerk chicken or curry dishes. t The food will vary depending on which a center or host family you are staying with. R i c a Toilet Paper The Costa Rican plumbing system has very low pressure in all but the best hotels and more modern buildings. Often, putting toilet paper into the bowl clogs up the system, so a waste receptacle is provided for the soiled toilet paper. This may not seem particularly sanitary but it’s much better than clogged toilet bowls. In places where toilet paper baskets are provided, volunteers are urged to use them. Pretty much every host family, hostel and restaurant will require that you place your toilet paper in the trash. It may seem a bit strange at first, but it won’t seem as uncomfortable as asking your host family to help you when the water from the toilet is flowing all over the bathroom floor if you decide to flush the paper down the toilet instead and it all gets clogged up!
  8. 8. Keeping In TouchCell Phone Coverage Keeping a Travel BlogIf you want to use your own cell phone, you We would also love to post your story or blogneed to know the following: entry about your experience in Costa Rica on our Tropical Adventures Volunteer Blog K1 Your telephone must by a GSM phone (www.crazyjungle.com). Please email your ewith either Tri-Band capacity or work on the e story to info@tropicaladventures.com, p1800Mhz frequency along with a few pictures. Prospective volun- i teers love to hear about what it was like in n g2 Your telephone must have the bands Costa Rica and what they can expect. I"unblocked". Many carriers in the U.S. like nAT&T, T-Mobile and Cingular block their Many of our volunteers like to keep an online T obands when you the telephone is included account of their travels and experiences to uon their plans. If your telephone is blocked it show their family and friends back home. c We can recommend TravelPod – hwill not work in Costa Rica. www.TravelPod.com. All you have to do is register for a free account using your email3 Most European phones are not blocked address; you can then write about your expe-and will work well in Costa Rica if you meet riences, upload photos and create a map ofthe criteria in item 1 above. your journey. It’s a nice way to show peopleCosta Rica now allows non-residents the back at home what you are doing and a goodopportunity to buy prepaid SIM cards to use souvenir for when you get back!in your phone. We recommend buying a SIMcard in the airport upon arrival from one ofthe ICE phone company booths. One ofthem is conveniently located by the luggagecarousels The cost is 5,000 Colones (about$2.50 USD) and will come with a credit of5,000 Colones so you can immediately beginto make phone calls.
  9. 9. Health and Safety For a list of which countries require their citizens to get yellow fever vaccinations,Your health and safety is of the utmost please refer to the Centers for Diseaseimportance to Tropical Adventures. The Control website:water in Costa Rica is safe to bathe with http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinatioand certainly is much safer to consume ns/costa-rica.htmthan other Central American countries, but Neither Canada nor the United Statesit is not up to the standards of North require this vaccination.America or UE. In most areas drinkingwater is totally safe. However, we suggestthat you drink bottled water during your visit Prescriptionsto Costa Rica if you have a sensitive Please pack your prescription medicationssystem or are nervous about getting ill. in your carry-on luggage and carry prescrip-Bottled water is readily available at stores, tions in their original containers. Bringrestaurants and bars. The ice is safe to along copies of your prescriptions in caseconsume. We strongly encourage all volun- you lose your pills or run out and carry theteers to drink much more water than they generic name of prescription medicines.would normally at home. The heat andhumidity of Costa Rica combined with Culture Shockphysically challenging volunteer projects Culture shock is a feeling of discomfort (thiswill require more hydration for your body. can be physical, emotional or both) as aHeat stroke is a common ailment for result of being away from the comforts oftourists and we don’t want any of our home and being in a completely new envi-participants to become victims of heat ronment. Having to contend with a differentstroke. language, new foods, different customs and a different pace of life may leave you feelingWe recommend that participants who want a little under the weather at first. Symptomsto explore the local area do so in small may include:groups just as a standard safety precautionwhen traveling to any foreign land. We ask - Anxietythat volunteers be wary travelers and to not - Homesicknesscarry their passports, large amounts of - Tirednessmoney, etc with them when not needed. - ApathyYour belongings will be safe in your host - Digestive discomfort - Obsessiveness over cleanliness Kfamily homes and if there is a safe in your ehostel or near your project location, we - A disliking of your new eencourage participants to utilize this free environment p iservice. - Feeling isolated n gIf you become ill, please contact your Tropi- COPING WITH CULTURE SHOCK I ncal Adventures Volunteer Coordinator right Most people experience culture shock at Taway. Please familiarize yourself with the some point during their travelling lives and omedical insurance we offer and the add-on this is something you may experience when u ctravel insurance we have available for you arrive in Costa Rica. We have found hpurchase.More information available at this more common with first-time travelers.http://medical.tropicaladventures.com These feelings are usually mild and you canNo vaccinations are required to enter Costa deal with them and settle in more quickly ifRica for citizens of most countries, but we you are aware that what you are experienc-would recommend that all participants have ing is simply a natural reaction to being in aup-to-date typhoid, hepatitis A, yellow fever new environment. You will find that theand tetanus vaccinations. For more infor- Costa Rican people (Ticos) are very friendlymation about requirements and sugges- and polite, and will try and help you settle intions, please see our Frequently Asked as quickly as possible. But dont worry if youQuestions section of our website. still feel out of your comfort zone - this is natural!
  10. 10. When you leave home and all the things How can you adjust to your new environ-that are familiar, you encounter many new ment? How can you make a successfuland confusing situations. These situations transition to living in a new culture?naturally create stress (culture shock). First: understand that there are andSome of the differences between life at there will continue to be uncertainties andhome and life in a new place are obvious: confusion. Imagine how a local resident might react to living in your country.• Language• Climate Second: observe how people in your• Religion new environment act in situations that are• Food confusing to you. Try to understand what• Educational System they believe and why they behave as they• Absence of family do. Avoid judging things as either right or wrong; regard them as being merelyOther differences are not as obvious: different.• How students relate to teachers Third: remember the ways you have• How people make decisions been able to reduce stress in difficult• How people spend their leisure situations in the past and apply those time methods in your present circumstances.• How people resolve conflicts For example, you might take a long walk,• How people express feelings and go to a movie theater, or write a letter to a emotions close friend or relative. Try to see the humor in confusing situations that youThese differences cause feelings of encounter; laughter is often the bestuncertainty and anxiety: "medicine."• "Am I speaking properly?"• "Will I be a successful student?" Fourth: accept the difficult challenge of learning to study and live in a new cultural• "Will I find friends?" K setting. Believe that you can learn the• "Should I discuss my personal e skills to make a satisfactory transition. e beliefs or my political opinions?" p Gradually try to apply some of the skills• "What does it mean when some i you are learning. n one looks directly into my eyes?" g• "Should I trust this friendly I stranger?" Fifth: recognize the advantages of n spending time in a different culture. Your T life will be enriched by meeting people oAll of these uncertainties . . . and more . . . uare confusing. You may also feel that you whose cultural backgrounds are not the cdont know what to do in certain situations. same as yours. Share your time with hProbably you did not think about these many different people. Avoid havingthings at home because you knew what to friends only from your country but main-do and what to expect. You also knew how tain strong personal ties to your cultureother people acted and thought. In other while you are away from home. Thinkwords, you understood "the rules" and about how you can help local residents"the signs." Life was easier at home. learn how people from your country believe and act. www.TropicalAdventures.com
  11. 11. Sixth: acknowledge your progress in Compassion is empathy. It is a quality ofadjusting to the new culture. Think of all being with someone. It’s not a “doing”that you have learned since the day you thing. You can’t pretend to know why. Justarrived. Recognize that, like other people be willing to through the experience withwho have lived in an unfamiliar country, the other person(s).you can and will make a successfuladjustment to the other culture. You will likely see and smell things that you have never encountered before whichIf you believe yourself to be suffering from will be an eye-opening experience. Costasymptoms of culture shock, you should Rica is a beautiful tropical paradise, but itspeak with your Volunteer Coordinator, or is still a developing country. There aresomeone in the Tropical Adventures exotic species of plants and trees thatoffice. exist only in Costa Rica and among the beauty there are often issues withHere are some other suggestions for your garbage strewn along roadsides,consideration: potholes, temporary blocked/closed roads, and malnourished street dogs. There is no Right or Wrong. Things arewhat they are. Please do not think that Typically here in Costa Rica you will seebecause you’re coming to Costa Rica, a some families living in poverty, but Costadenominated “third world country” that Rica has an ever growing large middlepeople are not happy just because they class population which own vehicles andmay not have access to the material com- have modest cement block homes on amodities that the average US citizen has. small plot of land.Costa Ricans are well known as beingvery happy people who work to enjoy life We strongly encourage participants toinstead of living their lives to work. ask questions about vegetation that they see, wildlife that is observed at volunteer Remember, there’s a thin line between sites or en-route to these areas, and about“Sympathy” and “Compassion.” Sympathy any cultural customs that are new or seemis feeling sorry for someone, and it leads unique.to over-responsibility. K e e p i n g I n T o u c h
  12. 12. Arrival in Costa RicaAirport InstructionsThe following are instructions for those of Follow the signs out to the baggage claimyou who are flying into the San Jose Juan section where you can claim your luggage.Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Its in this section where you can purchase a pre-paid SIM card for your cell phoneMost airplanes arrive at a gate, but be from the ICE phone company booth. Onceaware sometimes there isn’t any room at a you have all your luggage, head towardsgate and you will park on the tarmac. If that the exit. You’ll have to stand in line againhappens, you will deplane using the stairs, and place all your luggage on the conveyorboard a bus and be driven to the terminal. belt.In either case, you want to look for the The customs officials scan your bags, yousigns that say “Immigration.” Follow the pull them off the conveyor and you handsigns to the Immigration area and stand in your last remaining piece of paperwork toone of the left lanes that say “Tourist.” This the officer standing by. (Note: Sometimesprocess is usually pretty fast, but it they are too busy and don’t even collect Adepends on how many people and your paperwork.) r rairplanes arrived at the same time you did. i Continue walking outside. The exit is very vThe Immigration official will need your obvious. Be aware that a million taxi drivers apassport and the paperwork you filled out will be asking if you need a ride. Either lon the airplane. Most of the time they don’t ignore them and focus on getting out, or i nask you any questions, just stamp your just politely say “no gracias.” Cpaperwork and hand back one of the Rsheets of paper to you, along with yourpassport.
  13. 13. Pick-Up – IMPORTANTPlease print off the following information We are very excited to meet you! You’ll beto bring with you. greeted by one of us and we will take care ofUnless you have been advised otherwise, your immediate needs (ATM, food, etc.).our friendly driver, Manuel, will be waiting at Unless you arrive early enough to continueSan Jose International Airport to collect you. on to your project, you’ll be taken to a nearby hotel to rest until the morning, when we will pick you up and get you transported to your project location. Our goal is to make your trip comfortable – and FUN! Tropical Adventures 24-Hour SupportAs you exit the final door of the airport youwill see a wall of glass in front of you. Yourdriver will normally be standing there behind Tropical Adventures experienced bilingualthe glass holding a sign with your name(s) staff will be available 24 hours a day duringon it. Acknowledge them and then continue your stay here in Costa Rica. Once here inwalking out the exit toward the right. Costa Rica, you can call any of us collect if anything at all goes wrong or you need help.If you miss your driver or can’t find them for This is how:some reason, simply go to the pay phonearea and they will find you. The pay phones 1. Pick up the phone and Dial 1110are to the right as you exit to the street. 2. After the opera-tor sasy a sentenceManuel’s number is 8318-4750. or two in Spanish, press 1 3. After another sentence in Spanish,You need to please call us if you miss your enter 2575-0410 (our office)flight, or if for any reason you will bedelayed. Our number is toll-free at 4. One last sentence and a beep, then1-800-832-9419.If you miss your flight and say your namedo not advise us, we can not advise yourdriver. If this happens and they go to wait for 5. Wait a minute or two. Either you’llyou at the airport for no reason, they will hear us come on the line or the operacharge you for a second trip to the airport. tor will tell you we weren’t available.PLEASE be careful of your bags. Do not Should we not be available, repeat theleave them unattended for even a minute. above, substituting the following numbersPetty thievery is an issue at this – and all for instruction number 3.airports around the worldOnce here in Costa Rica, if you need any Ahelp or anything goes wrong, please contact rus using the support numbers on this page. r i vAs mentioned above, this is Costa Rica. On a lthe rare occasion, something goes wrong i(traffic, accident, or any number of other nuncontrollable issues) and we will be late, Cplease wait at the airport. We know you are Rcoming and are on the way to get you. Butfeel free to call at any time. We are here foryou!
  14. 14. IMPORTANT Please ensure you print a copy of this We do most often answer the phone, but in page to leave with somebody at home. the event you cant reach us, please leave us a message on more than one number Your family can call any of us if there is a and we will get back with you just as soon need to get a message to you. Here at the as possible. Tropical Adventures Foundation, your safety is our primary concern. In the event Our office numbers are: of any emergency, please use the follow- Toll-Free from the US or Canada: ing information to contact us here in Costa 1-800-832-9419 Rica. International Direct-Dial: +506 2575-0410 Please be aware that we not only live in a developing nation where communication If you cant reach anyone in the office and technology are inconsistent, but we (nights, weekends, and holidays), please also work in remote areas. start calling people from this list. To dial a +506 number from the US or Canada, please dial 011-506 and then the rest of the numbers: Susan Schuetze Travel Coordinator +506 8358-6161 Manuel Driver +506 8318-4750 Scott Pralinsky Executive Director +506 8868-0296 Steven Marín Office Assistant +506 8791-1224Medical InsuranceTropical Adventures offers insurance at noextra charge to our volunteers (not tour-only or voluntour clients) as part of ourbasic package. Additional coverage isavailable for $25 per week for those tour- • Emergency Medical Evacuationonly and voluntour guests, as well as • Travel Accident Coveragethose volunteers seeking coverage in • Luggage Loss or TheftCosta Rica before or after their volunteer • Sporting Equipment Loss ortime. Damage • Trip Cancellation or InterruptionPlease see our Medical Insurance web-page at: You can read more about the insurancehttp://medical.tropicaladventures.com they offer at: Afor more detailed information on the insur- http://medical.tropicaladventures.com. rance policy. We highly suggest you r iconsider purchasing some additional and Please note: if you purchase the insurance vaffordable insurance for your trip. We have using the link above, Tropical Adventures a la great relationship with an international will receive a 10% commission and 100% icompany who provides insurance that of the money will be used directly to ncovers such things as: support our projects. The cost to you will C R be the same as if you went to the provider• Medical and Dental Emergency yourself. Thank you for your continued Coverage support!
  15. 15. Important to note:•If you have chosen to stay in a hostel or • Sometimes there will be changes to yourhave purchased an upgrade to a hotel, you itinerary which are beyond our control. Wewill be responsible for buying your own are always available to help you makelunch and dinner ($20 per day should other choices and adjustments.cover that easily). • If we are unable to accommodate you on•Transportation between projects and your chosen date, we will, at your option,back to the airport is not included in your either reschedule your date or refund yourpackage. Depending on how you decide to payment.travel (bus versus shuttle van), transporta-tion between projects and to the airport will • Full payment is required at the time oflikely vary anywhere between $1 and $45. reserving with Tropical Adventures to secure your spot. We will email you a•You will be required to pay a $28 exit tax confirmation of payment received.at the airport per Costa Rica law. • Different Tour Operators have different•If you fly in late or depart early, you’ll likely cancellation policies. Please ask aboutneed to stay in a hostel or hotel near the these at time of booking.airport. We are happy to help you with thereservations, but this is not an included • Should your plans change and you areprogram cost. To avoid this cost, please fly unable to make your tour, we will work within before Noon and depart as late in the the tour vendor to either accommodateday as possible. you on another tour or refund your money. However, many tour companies haveTour Info already committed resources to your tour when you book it so refunds are notTropical Adventures offers many tours. It’s always guaranteed. The more notice youmost likely that you have already booked give us, the more likely we will be able tosome through our Tour Department. Here accommodate your request.are some things we want you to be awareof: • Prices on our website and in our emails to you are subject to change (this happens• Most tours run daily but have a minimum when the Tour Operator changes pricesnumber of persons required for the tour to and hasn’t notified us in advance).operate. They may also reach their maxi-mum number of clients they canaccommodate A r r i v a l i n C R
  16. 16. What to BringThe best rule of thumb for packing for your trip to Costa Rica is to pack a few extra setsof clothes due to the heat and humidity of the tropics.Here are our suggestions for things you should consider bringing:• Insect repellent with Deet• Sun block (SPF 25+)• Hat• Sunglasses• Anti-bacterial hand gel and/or hand wipes• Personal Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush etc)• A small first aid kit with items for cuts and bites (make sure you include some ant iseptic ointment of some sort – it is important in this climate to ensure any cuts are kept clean).• Towel• Light-weight cargo pants• Light-weight long-sleeve shirt• A good supply of cotton T-shirts• Sturdy, open air shoes (such as Keens)• Light clothes....it can be hot and humid• Mosquito net (optional, but nice to have)• Rain coat• Bathing suit• Small umbrella (this is indispensible during the rainy season!)• Snack bars (you will receive three meals if with a host family and breakfast if at the hostel, but these come in handy!)• Flashlight (non-battery if possible)• If volunteering at a school, youll have to have sleeves and you must wear pants or a skirt. You might also want to bring stickers, temporary tattoos or other small gift to hand out as prizes in class.• Backpack• Camera (don’t forget extra batteries and memory cards)• Passport and at least two copies• Copies of your other legal documents – e.g. insurance policy, flight tickets etc.• Money (small USA bills) and ATM card• English / Spanish Dictionary• Possibly gift(s) for your host family (if applicable), such as photos of your family, post cards and a map from your community, a "treat" local to your area such as maple syrup or something fun to share.• Any required medications in their original containers• A few plastic bags to keep soiled/wet clothing in• Consider filling up any extra space with donations! A r rIf you are working with our turtle project, there are a couple of extra points to think about: i v a• Bring dark clothes l• Bring closed-toed shoes (like sneakers) that you wont mind getting dirty from i n walking on the beach C R
  17. 17. Spanish Basics Spanish EnglishBuenos dias Good morningBuenas tardes Good afternoonBuenas noches Good nightBuenas HelloGracias Thank youCon mucho gusto It’s my pleasure / you’re welcome You will hear this a lot in Costa Rica.Disculpe Excuse me (sorry)Con permiso Excuse me (let me by) May I enter the house? May I leave the table?Por favor PleasePor favor, hable mas despacio Please speak more slowlyDisculpe, no hablo español Sorry. I don’t speak SpanishMucho gusto Nice to meet youBaño BathroomMe presta el baño por favor May I use the bathroom?Izquierda LeftDerecha RightDirecto Straight (direction)Me regala… Literally: “Gift me” But used when ordering food or buying something instead of “sell me”Cuanto es…? How much is…?Cuanto vale…? What’s the cost…?Cuanto cuesta…? How much does it cost…?Voy a… I’m going to…Va a…? Are you going to…?Me nombre es… My name is AnnaPura Vida / Tuanis Tico expression meaning “right on,” “great,” “thanks” and many more things.Donde esta…? Where is…?Tengo hambre I’m hungryMe regala agua por favor May I have some water pleaseQue hora es? What time is it?Don Timoteo/ Doña Pastora Mr. Timoteo/ Ms. Pastora A r The use of Don o Doña is an address to r i older people as a form of respect. vComo te llamas? What is your name? a l i n C R
  18. 18. What You Can Expect From Us • We expect you to speak with us immedi- ately should you encounter an issue, or ifOur goal is to help you have an exciting, something is not right about your lodging orfun, rewarding and learning experience. project.Hopefully you’ll remember your trip to CostaRica as one of the best trips you have ever • Should you need to change something ontaken! your itinerary, we expect you to notify us immediately (this will save you money and• You can expect that our number one heartache).concern is your safety and that we will doour best to help you have a safe trip. Should • We expect you to notify us of any changessomething happen to you, you can expect or deviations you are going to make to yourwe will go out of our way to help by getting itinerary. This will help us know where youyou get to a doctor, hospital or to do what- are so we can best care for your safety andever is necessary. find you in the event of an emergency.• We are very aware that sometimes people Fundraisinghave a different expectation of what CostaRica or their project will be like. You can If you would like to do some fundraising atexpect us to do our best to educate you in home to help reduce your program fees –advance so you have a pretty darn good or to pay for them in full – please contact usidea of what to expect when you arrive. at: info@tropicaladventures.com.However, if you encounter an issue withyour hotel, host family, staff, professor orproject, you can also expect us to listen and Bringing Donations and Howdo our best to make any changes within our to Help from Homemeans to assist you. As you know, Costa Rica is still a develop-What We Expect from You ing nation. That’s why we exist. We can always use help and donations of cash or• We expect you to engage, participate, do materials and supplies. Please seeyour best – and to have FUN! http://help.tropicaladventures.com or contact us for more information as to what• You have already agreed to our Enroll- you can bring with you and how you canment Policy at the time of enrollment. We help.expect you to adhere to these policies at alltimes. See you soon! A r r i v a l i n C R www.TropicalAdventures.com