Costa Rica & Panama Quest
About Costa Rica
Where can you find world-famous coffee, surfing, and snorkelling? Well, technically this is a trick question because Costa Rica and Panama can both raise their hands for this one. This 16-day tour combines the best of activity hubs like Boquete and La Fortuna, with time to chill – or test your board skills – at the beach. From rainforests to the Panama Canal, this is the perfect Central America intro (or refresher) that’ll give your wallet a breather.
G Adventures for Good: Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative Tour, Sarapiquí
Recharge: Hot Springs, Arenal Volcano
Carte Blanche: La Fortuna
Carte Blanche: Monteverde
Carte Blanche: Quepos
Carte Blanche: Boquete. Guided cloud forest night walk (Monteverde). Free time in La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Quepos. Beach time in Bocas del Toro. Panama Canal visit. Miraflores Locks and museum visit. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Soak in the thermal hot springs of Arenal Volcano, watch the sunset over the Pacific, learn about coffee production and support a local community, stare out into the crystal-blue Caribbean waters in Bocas del Toro, take in the crisp air of the lush green highlands in Boquete, explore the Panama Canal.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. Costa Rica will not be allowing anyone to enter the country without proof of a departure ticket (bus, airplane, boat, etc.). If you are travelling through a few countries in Central America, you will need to show proof of your itinerary and a departure ticket from your last destination. Please print the itinerary and voucher and bring it with you.
2. Be prepared for rain and lower temperatures during the winter season (June-November), especially in Costa Rica’s central valley.
3. The max luggage allowance on domestic flights within Panama is 1 checked bag (14 kg) and 1 carry on (4 kg) per person. Any additional baggage is subject to fees of $3USD per kilo.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. 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. 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.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private vehicle, plane, boat, local bus, walking.
If required all local flights are included in the cost of your tours unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (15 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
Costa Rica Water Activities:
• Drybag (Will help keep cameras and essentials dry)
• Sport Sandals or Water Shoes (if you plan to do waterfall rappelling and/or rafting)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
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.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
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.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards with travellers cheques as backup is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Costa Rica airport exit tax: $29USD
Panama airport exit tax: $40USD (if not already included in flight)
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 CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer 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.
- Lost Canyon Adventures Canyoning (89USD per person)
- Whitewater Rafting (62-80USD per person)
- Stand Up Paddle (Lesson and Tour) (62USD per person)
- Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping (113USD per person)
- Hanging Bridges (66USD per person)
- La Fortuna Waterfall Swim (14USD per person)
- Ziplining (50USD per person)
- Monteverde Butterfly Garden Visit (15USD per person)
- Monteverde Hanging Bridges (35USD per person)
- Serpentarium Visit (15USD per person)
- Frog Pond Visit (14USD per person)
- El Trapiche Tour (33USD per person)
- Santa Elena Cloud Forest Guided Tour (35USD per person)
- Monteverde Horseback Riding (40USD per person)
Manuel Antonio National Park
- Surfing (55-75USD per person)
- Kayaking (69USD per person)
- Manuel Antonio National Park Visit (16USD per person)
- Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Hike (45USD per person)
- Whitewater Rafting (75-98USD per person)
- Manuel Antonio Catamaran Tour (80USD per person)
- Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos
Bocas del Toro
- Bocas del Toro Boat Tour (50USD per person)
- Red Frog Beach Visit (13USD per person)
- Surf Lesson (45USD per person)
- Starfish Beach Visit (5-40USD per person)
- Bat Cave Tour (35USD per person)
- Colón Expedition (40USD per person)
- Isla Bastimentos Tour (60USD per person)
- Scuba Diving (55-250USD per person)
- Zapatilla Adventure (45USD per person)
- Bioluminescence Tour (25USD per person)
- Jungle Cacao Tour (35USD per person)
- Sunset Snorkelling Tour (25USD per person)
- Isla Bastimentos Canopy Tour (55USD per person)
- Whitewater Rafting (65USD per person)
- Hiking (40-85USD per person)
- Coffee Plantation Tour (30USD per person)
- Horseback Riding (40USD per person)
- Lost Waterfall Hike (38USD per person)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. 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 jewelery 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 group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement 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.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: CRPQ, ID: 24880
Day 1 San José
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 San José/La Fortuna (1L)
La Fortuna is an excellent base for adventure. Opt to hike the area’s nature trails, swim in chilly La Fortuna waterfall or go canyoneering.
Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative Tour
Private Van with Wi-fi (4.00 hour(s), 150km)
Day 3 La Fortuna
Spend the day getting your adrenaline pumping, viewing local wildlife, marvelling at the Arenal Volcano and getting to know more about Costa Rica in La Fortuna. There are enough activities here to keep you busy all day long.
Day 4 La Fortuna/Monteverde
Travel across Lake Arenal into the mountains and on to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Arrive to spend time enjoying this nature-lover’s paradise.
Guided Cloud Forest Night Walk
Shared van (0.50 hour(s))
Boat (0.75 hour(s))
Shared van (2.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Monteverde
Enjoy a free day to explore the cloud forest region of Costa Rica. Opt to fly across canopy ziplines, walk across suspended bridges through the forest canopy, or go horseback riding in the hills.
Day 6 Monteverde/Quepos
Travel to the Pacific Coast. Enjoy Quepos or opt to visit Manuel Antonio National Park. The park offers excellent hiking, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife viewing. The park boasts beautiful white-sand beaches and the warm turquoise water. Opt to swim, fish, kayak, surf or take a sailing trip.
Private Van with Wi-fi (5.00 hour(s), 220km)
Day 7 Quepos
Enjoy a free day to visit Manuel Antonio National Park, sail, snorkel or surf in the Pacific. Opt to kayak through mangroves or relax on the beach.
Day 8 Quepos/San José
Opt to chill at the beach in the morning before the journey by bus back to the capital.
Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 190km)
Day 9 San José/Panama City
Panama City seamlessly blends a modern urban metropolis with history and colonial architecture. Spend time exploring Old Panama City, admiring sleek skyscrapers, or escape to nearby sandy beaches. Opt to join new members of the group for an evening welcome meeting.
Plane (1.00-1.50 hours, 500km)
Day 10 Panama City/Bocas del Toro
The islands of Bocas del Toro offer much wildlife found only in this region, making it a unique place to explore. The islands are mostly covered in rainforest, and have spectacular beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling or diving.
Day 11 Bocas del Toro
Enjoy free time to explore these beautiful islands. Opt to take a boat tour of the area, go snorkelling, take a swim, or just lounge in paradise.
Day 12 Bocas del Toro
Spend another day exploring the archipelago.
Day 13 Bocas del Toro/Boquete
Travel to the mountain retreat of Boquete. Nestled in a green mountain valley, this is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours)
Local bus (4.00-5.00 hours, 175km)
Day 14 Boquete
Use a free day to enjoy numerous hikes or whitewater rafting. Opt for a tour of a coffee plantation.
Day 15 Boquete/Panama City
Travel to David and catch a morning flight to Panama City. Upon arrival, visit the Panama Canal including the Miraflores Locks and on-site museum. Enjoy a final evening with the group.
Panama Canal Visit
Local bus (0.75 hour(s), 42km)
Plane (0.75 hour(s))
Day 16 Panama City
Depart at any time.