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Lesbian and Gay Travel to Costa Rica

Costa Rica (Comfort)

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Introduction


At OUT Adventures we strive to provide a safe, comfortable and fun environment for gay travellers, their friends and family. Get OUT and experience the real world in over 20 countries, with OUT Adventures.

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Trip Style - Comfort


Dive into the real world with a soft landing. Comfort trips are all about variety: the places, the people, the activities and the culture. If you want a few little extras, but don't want to compromise on a true grassroots travel experience, this trip style is for you. You're as likely to find yourself paddling a kayak as relaxing on a cruise along the Yangtze River.

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Itinerary


Day 1 San Jose

You are met on arrival at San Jose airport and transferred to your hotel (please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided).

Arrive in San Jose for a group meeting at NOON. Following the meeting, there will be an afternoon orientation tour of San Jose's the major sights and an optional dinner and evening out, for those interested.

San Jose sits in the middle of the fertile Meseta Central, ringed by volcanoes and jagged mountains begging to be explored. The city itself has all the sights and modern conveniences you would expect from a capital city. Although not the favoured spot for many tourists, the city is a great place for OUT Adventures. Not only are there great restaurants (such as Cafe Mundo) but also great shopping and nightlife (El 13!).

 

Day 2 La Fortuna

A 4.5 hour trip takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and surrounds. Set in the plains of Costa Rica, the volcano sits on the shores of Lake Arenal, a large artificial lake. The volcano has recently become quite quiet, but there are plenty of daytime activities to make up for it!

On day 3, we will have free time in the morning before our 4 hour journey to Monteverde by private vehicle and a shared boat across Lake Arenal.

 

Days 3-4 Monteverde

These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. The surrounding pastures were once covered in dense forest, but now only a small protected section remains; known as the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, it is lush amd full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise.

Our hotel is located at the edge of a reserve, where you will have exclusive access to the surrounding wildlife. The afternoon of day 4 is yours to explore, or perhaps relax on your balcony. Tomorrow morning you'll have a mix of free time and organized activity as we zip from tree to tree on our action-packed canopy tour. 

For a more easy going adventure, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk or watch butterflies in the specially created butterfly garden. The local guides are very knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation and in the local communities there are several cooperatives worth visiting. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world!

 

Days 5-7 Manuel Antonio National Park

Day 5 is a day of travel to Manuel Antonio (4-5 hour approximately). The town is laid back but has a fairly vibrant nightlife. Spend your time enjoying the best of the park. If you have jungle on the brain, head straight to Manuel Antonio National Park for a hike along its many trails. Keep one eye on the great views and the other looking out for the abundant wildlife. Spot monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches (including a good gay beach); it would be easy to spend your time here in or by the water. Go swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing. Which activity will you choose?

 

Days 8-9 San Jose

By midday on day 8 we travel back to San Jose (4 hours approximately) in time for a shower, farewell dinner and a final night on the town. The perfect way to end our adventure. You can depart at any time on day 9 as there are no activities planned.

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Itinerary Disclaimer


The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. Please note: occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you print, and refer to the trip notes in your pre-trip packet which is distributed to guests one-month prior to departure, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

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What's Included


This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in these activities, the cost will not be refunded.

  • 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches or Dinners
  • Orientation walk in San Jose, led by your group leader
  • Zip-line adventures and canopy tour in Monteverde
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Manuel Antonio National Park

Meals:

While travelling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the country you are visiting. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Although our groups tend to eat together, you are welcome to break away at any time.

Accommodation:

Three-star hotels (8 nights)

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Optional Activities


All optional activities are entirely your choice and are not included in price of this trip. The following is not an exhaustive list,  and should be used as a guide only. Prices are subject to change.

La Fortuna/Arenal:

  • Rafting (Full day) $85 (incl. lunch) 
  • Cave tour $45
  • Caño Negro Reserve $50 (full day leave at 6:30am) 
  • Volcano hike $25
  • Safari Adventure $40 
  • Horse trip to waterfall $45
  • Tabacon Hot Springs $65 (entrance with dinner)
  • Baldi Hot Springs $28
  • Fishing, half day on Lake Arenal, $120 for boat (holds 3 pax)

Monteverde:

  • Sky Trek and Sky Tram $60 
  • Sky Walk $30
  • Sky Tram and Sky Walk $50
  • Horseback riding $30
  • Butterfly garden $10 (entrance) 
  • Coffee tour $25
  • Serpentarium $8

Manuel Antonio:

  • Mangrove tour (kayak) $65 (incl. lunch) 
  • Mangrove tour (boat) $70 (incl. lunch) 
  • Rafting (Rio Naranjo) $90
  • Rafting (Savegre) $80
  • Sea Kayak tour $70 (incl. lunch) 
  • Dolphin watch $70 (sunset tour also) 
  • Manuel Antonio Park $20 (entrance) 
  • Guided tour of park $45 (incl. entrance)

San José:

  • Irazu Volcano $43 
  • Grecia & Sarchi $31 (oxcart & handicrafts) 
  • City tour $30
  • Poas Volcano $43 
  • Rafting (Pacuare) $95
  • Rafting (Sarapiqui) $75
  • Braulio Carara Reserve including breakfast and lunch $88 
  • Coffee Tour $52
  • Butterfly Farm $25
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Joining/Finishing Point


Colours Oasis
Esquina Noreoste del Triangulo del Bulevar
Rohrmoser, San Jose
Costa Rica
Phone: +1954-241-7472

Instructions:
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer, please clear Customs, then walk out to the "Arrivals Hall". Please make sure you walk out through the right door, instead of the left door. The left door is exclusively for airport taxis. Your driver will be holding a sign with your name on it. and have not made contact with our representative within 20 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Joining Point Hotel.

No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.

Taxis from San Jose airport:
In Spanish (directions for your taxi driver): Esquina noroeste del Triangulo del Bulevar Rohrmoser, 200 metros antes del final bulevar, edificio gris oscuro en la esquina.

Arrival Complications:
If for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your trip leader. Alternatively, contact our head office at +1-416-531-8795 or info@out-adventures.com.

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Important Information for your trip


Visas: Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going, however most of our guests do not require a visa to travel to Costa Rica.

Departure Tax: All visitors are required to pay USD 29 upon departure from Costa Rica

Vaccines: There are no vaccine requirements for this trip.

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Emergency Contact


In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact our head office at +1-416-531-8795 or info@out-adventures.com.

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Culture Shock Rating - 2


The trip includes a range of accommodation, such as simple, but clean and comfortable hotels or bed and breakfasts. Days of being on the move are well interspersed, communication with the outside world is ever-present and a wide variety of food is commonly available.

This trip travels to a somewhat conservative area. We encourage you to experience the destination and culture with the following in mind. Public Display of affection are not common in this area however in some cases holding hands is acceptable. Gay-specific activities and gay-hosted events, meals or day tours may be included as part of this itinerary. 

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Physical Rating - 2


You are required to carry your bags on and off trains and buses, up hotel steps, etc. Your itinerary may include easy paced walks or other physical activity, but these are on mainly flat ground.

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Money


Spending Money: Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities and tipping.

Emergency Funds: Please make sure you have access to an additional USD 400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside of our control (eg. a natural disaster or civil unrest) necessitate a change to our planned route.

Meals Not included: We recommend budgeting approximately $500 for meals not included in this itinerary. This budget will vary based on your eating and drinking habits.

Money Exchange: With ATMs being widely available in Costa Rica, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money - note though that charges are made for each transaction. Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.

It is also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars are the most readily changeable currency.

VERY IMPORTANT: US $100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

 

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Tipping


If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many OUT Adventures destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. More up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-15% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio o cubiertos. 

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest USD 2 per person per day for local guides.

Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of USD 1-2 per day is generally appropriate.

Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5-10 USD per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

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Your OUT Adventures Group Leader


All OUT Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our gay or gay-welcoming group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best vacation possible. 

Your leader will provide information on the places you are traveling 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 places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. OUT leaders aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit - and who better to hear it from than the locals themselves? If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

If you are happy with the level of service provided by your group leader, we recommend that you reward them with a tip of $5-10 USD per person, per day.

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What To Take/Checklist


This packing list is to be used as a guideline only. Generally speaking, we recommend that you pack as light as possible. On this trip you will be expected to carry your own luggage from time to time, and you should keep the weight of your main bag under 20kgs/40lbs. You may also want to bring a daypack for any items that you'll need throughout the day when you won't have access to your main bag. There will be opportunities during the trip to do laundry, so there is no need to overpack.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport & any Visas required for this trip
  • Travel Insurance information including 24 hour emergency collect phone #
  • Flight confirmations
  • OUT Adventures Invoice Receipt
  • Pre-trip packet
  • USD Money/Credit card/ATM card (store card numbers/phone numbers in a safe place in case of theft or loss)
General Health Items:
  • Mini first aid kit
  • Personal medication
  • Sunscreen/lip balm
  • Insect repellent/bite cream/antihistamines
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Extra glasses/contacts if necessary
  • Toiletries
General Personal Items:
  • Eye mask/ear plugs
  • Smartphone/tablet/mp3 player/charging cords
  • International travel plug/adapter
  • Camera/extra batteries/charging cord
  • Daypack
  • Luggage lock
  • Guidebook/phrase book
  • Reading material
  • Travel size towel 
  • Sunglasses
  • Shoes - sandals, comfortable walking shoes & semi casual dinner shoes
  • Small umbrella
  • Reusable water bottle
Clothing:
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Hat
  • Sweater for cool nights
  • Semi-casual collared shirt for upmarket dinners
  • Casual pants/jeans/shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Socks/underwear
For Activities:
  • Comfortable hiking/walking shoes 
  • Comfortable hiking pants/shorts
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Keeping In Touch


If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend email. Wifi is generally available throughout the regions we visit, although it is possible you may be without email contact for several days on some itineraries. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our emergency contact details. We don't recommend that family and friends try to contact you through hotels, as they are subject to change and the reception staff may not speak English.

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Issues on your trip


While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit, sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner right away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

 

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Health


All OUT Adventures travelers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in the group travel experience. If, in the opinion of our group leader, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, OUT Adventures reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. We therefore ask that you read the itinerary in these Trip Notes thoroughly and then realistically self-assess your physical ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your doctor if you have any doubts. If you have a pre existing medical condition, please make sure you discuss the trip with your doctor.

Please contact your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial requirements and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travelling. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses/contacts). Please be aware that we are often in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Vaccinations:

Based on the entry requirements for countries visited on this trip, there are no vaccinations needed for entry. However, for more detailed information and to determine if you should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of illness, we recommend you consult your doctor or a travel medical clinic. OUT Adventures cannot provide vaccination recommendations.

 

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Your Fellow Travellers


You will be travelling with other gay travellers and occasionally their friends or family. As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers 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.

Please note that due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travelers booked on your trip prior the the pre-trip email approximately one month prior to departure.

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Single Travellers


Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation although a single supplement is often available for an additional charge. For no additional cost, single travellers share with a roommate of the same sex for the duration of the trip in a twin room (2 beds).

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A couple of Rules


We believe in having fun exploring new cultures, while being responsible travellers. On our trips, generally there are only two rules: No drugs and no prostitution. These two activities can put the entire group at risk, and will result in removal from the trip by our group leader. We appreciate your cooperation.

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Feedback


After your travels, we would love to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 4 weeks of finishing your trip. Go to: www.out-adventures.com/feedback for more information.

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