Planning Your Dream Vacation
It would seem that the "perfect" vacation would include enough planning to ensure that you don't spend
all your time chasing details, but definitely leaves room for spontaneity. After all, it is your time to
get away from stress, relax, and hopefully experience things on your terms.
Here are some things to take into consideration:
- how long will your trip be? if you are going to have 1 week, or if you have 3 weeks makes a difference.
you may want a week golfing in a luxury hotel, a week hiking and staying in more rustic surroundings and,
perhaps a week at the beach to recuperate....if you are here for a week, or need to divide that week
between business and pleasure, perhaps you want to concentrate on doing things that don't fill up your day
with you sitting in a bus.
- what is your budget? are there things you would like to experience on a 4- or 5-star level, but others
not? perhaps you would like a hotel that serves food family style, has horseback riding and hiking but you
need an SUV to get there...can do...depends on you.
- do some research on your own and list the "must do's" of your trip. if you know, more or less, the things
you are sure you want to include, it will increase our ability to give you exactly what you want. while we
are good...we don't read minds, and we would hate to omit something you really would enjoy. we will be able
to plan your itinerary to include all that you want, and then to suggest other things you might not think
of on your own, or might not know about, and we can but the cherry on the sundae for you.
- you passport. your passport should have a MINIMUM of six (6) months on it BEFORE YOU EVEN LEAVE HOME!
you will not be allowed to travel if it isn't. it would be tragic to plan the perfect vacation and then not
be allowed to experience it because you thought that your passport is good for another month, and you only
are going to Costa Rica for 10 days, so.....this is a total non-negotiable.
- always have your passport with you for identification sake. Keep it in the safest place at all times.
you do not want to spend your vacation at the American Embassy in Pavas doing paperwork and waiting in lines
and calling emergency numbers, etc.
- have health insurance information easily accessible. even if you have none, if there is an emergency
situation, do not fear. if you go to a public health (Social Security) hospital, they will help you no
matter what. also be aware that should you need medical care/testing, etc., here, you will wind up paying a
fraction of what the same care would have cost you "up north", but the quality is in no way inferior.
- make sure you have $26 (or the equivalent in colones) for when you finally fly out of Costa Rica.
This exit fee is mandatory. If you arrive at the airport to leave, and you do not have it, you will
miss that special flight that you cannot change, revise, etc.
- bring some form of rain gear. Wet or dry (season)...this means a different thing if you are on
Caribbean side...dry does not mean not wet, but less wet. A poncho will be enough, and you can
always purchase something here if you don't want to pack any extras...but, especially if you are
hiking, etc., you may want to have something with you. When going in tours always ask us or ask the
tour operator beforehand what gear you will need. Spare plastic bags are always good to have.
Costa Rica, overall, is a very safe place to live and to travel. However, just like anywhere else in the
world, including your hometown, being aware and alert can save you from having an unpleasant experience.
Do not set yourself up as a victim. The many town markets and areas such as downtown San Jose, are full
of bargains, smells, sights, great stuff. However, as in any other substantially sized city, there are
people who prey on others. There are pickpockets who work in tandem with others, and a pocket can be
picked and the contents sold 2 blocks away before the victim reaches the corner. Keep your money, wallets,
etc. in your front pockets. It is much more difficult to get by unnoticed. Also, if you are carrying a
backpack...carry towards your front with the pockets facing towards rather than outwards. Just this small
adjustment can eliminate a potential negative experience that can cast a pall on your holiday. If you are
at the beach, do not stuff you wallet into your shoes and head out to the beach. Do not leave anything
of value out of sight. The few people who dishonestly eke their existence ruin it for the vast majority,
as always. Play it safe; play it smart.
Be aware of your surroundings. Do not follow someone you do not know who can "get you a good deal" on
something into a neighborhood with which you are totally unfamiliar. Again, 99% of the people here are
friendly, trustworthy, and would never harm you. Take into consideration the area you are in and the time
of day (or night)! Never change currencies in the street, be alert when using ATM's. When arriving at a
new town ask where the nearest police office and hospital or clinic is. Remember the adage: an ounce of
precaution is worth a pound of cure.
As with any great offer: if it just too good to be true...it probably is!
You have to pay $26.00 of tax for the exit in the airport of international flights, this tax can be payed
in banks, travel agencies and in the same airport.
Personal luggage doesn't have tax, including a list personal and professional articles, except for bigger
quantities for sale.
The international code for Costa Rica is 506. There are no other codes for the cities, and most telephone
numbers have 7 digits. Dial up 00 for the international calls, dial up 116 to communicate with the operators
in English for collect calls.
Important telephone numbers:
Police (San José) 117
Fire Department 118
Time of day 112
Rural Police 127
Red Cross 128