Terms & Conditions for Fixed Departures
TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR FIXED DEPARTURE (GROUP) TRIPS
INFORMATION FOR PARTICIPANTS ON GROUP FIXED DEPARTURES
1. Who Should Go? Fixed departure trips are open to everyone. Travelers should expect co-participants of all ages, nationalities, cultures and physical abilities. Also additional guests may be added to any portion of any fixed departure itinerary. We are happy to accept children 12 and older. For families with children younger than 12, we have family departures.
2. Hotels & Lodges: For the Costa Rica Connoisseur, we reserve the right to change hotels in San Jose or Arenal at the last minute. Our ability to guarantee departures with as few as two participants with the price structure currently in effect is in large part due to the fact that we are able to change hotels. We will do our best to keep you informed of which hotels we are planning to use for each departure. Travelers who find these conditions unacceptable should choose a custom individual itinerary in which hotels are not likely to change under normal circumstances.
3. Itinerary Order: While the services provided remain the same, we reserve the right to change the order of the itinerary. Normally, we will advise participants of foreseen changes at the time of booking; however, occasionally changes are made at a later date. The same services are included regardless of the order of the itinerary.
4. Breakfasts in San Jose: One breakfast is included at your San Jose hotel for each night you stay there as long as the hotel restaurant is open. If your departure from the hotel is prior to the time that the restaurant opens, you will not be able to have breakfast and there will be no refund for the meal.
5. Pack Carefully! Hiking shoes are necessary: Some participants prefer tennis shoes; however, if you choose not to bring hiking shoes, bring two pair of tennis shoes so one can be drying if they get wet. Binoculars (8 x 42 min. recommended) add a whole new dimension to an adventure and are not easily available for rent in Costa Rica. Please also remember that it may be difficult or impossible to get items such as batteries or bulbs for flashlights and/or cameras-bring extras. It is also advisable to bring more film or memory cards for your digital camera than you think you'll need! Spillable liquids should be packed inside re-closable plastic bags as light charter planes are not pressurized.
6. When traveling in light charter aircraft due to weight limitations in the plane, you will need to restrict what you are taking with you to 25 pounds per person, including cameras, clothing, carry-ons, etc. Provisions will be made for extra items to catch up to you later in the trip. Airplanes fly as high as 10,000 ft and are not pressurized. Spill able liquids should be packed in plastic bags. The 25 lb weight limit for flights or boat trips within Costa Rica does not mean that you need to limit yourself to 25 lbs of baggage for your entire trip to Costa Rica. While it always makes sense to travel light, you can bring more than 25 lbs of luggage. We will store your excess luggage while you are on portions of the trip that involve flights or boat trips, and catch it up to you as soon as feasible after you have finished those sections. Arrangements can be made to permit more luggage per person at considerable extra cost.
7. More on Baggage Limit: The most frequent problem in achieving outstanding levels of satisfaction for participants on trips such as these has to do with the 25 lb baggage weight limit for light charter aircraft and boats. It is important to understand that, for reasons of safety and cost, the baggage limit must be enforced on all light charter flights - regardless of whether or not they are full. Arrangements can be made to permit more luggage per person at considerable extra cost.
8. Safety: Costa Rica Expeditions is the largest user of light aircraft in Costa Rica, with the exception of the government. Over the past 24 years, we have accumulated tens of thousands of passenger hours in light aircraft. There have been two accidents, neither of which resulted in fatalities. We enforce higher safety standards for the pilots and aircraft we use than the Costa Rican Civil Aviation Board.
9. Airport Transfers: International arrival and departure transfers are not included for those arriving or departing on dates other than the scheduled arrival/departure dates for the program. Transfers are available by previous arrangement through Costa Rica Expeditions for participants not arriving or departing on the stated arrival/departure dates of the tour. The cost per person, per transfer is: 1 person, $76; 2 people, $39; 3 people, $27; 4 people, $21; and 5 or more, $17 each.
10. Airport Departure Tax: Upon departure from Costa Rica, this $26 per person (June 2010) tax can be paid in Colones, US dollars or a combination of both. If you wish to pay using a credit card, only VISA is accepted. Travelers’ checks are not accepted.
11. Group Guide: When there are eight participants or more on a trip, the same guide will accompany the group during the entire trip. If there are less than eight participants, the group will have different local guides at the different sites, you will not be guided on travel days, you will be accompanied by a Spanish speaking driver en route from place to place.
12. Service Guide: Service Guides are bilingual guides who escort our guests on itineraries that do not include naturalist accompaniment. Often these are naturalists-in-training and have considerable knowledge of plants and animals. All have training in first aid and CPR, guiding techniques, a general knowledge of Costa Rica, and a sincere desire to share this knowledge. These guides are included to accompany the group for a portion of the itinerary and to help out with logistics.
13. Multisport Guide: Multisport Guides are bilingual guides who escort our guests on itineraries that include multisport activities such as biking, kayaking, hiking and snorkeling. Often these are naturalists-in-training and have considerable knowledge of plants and animals. All have training in first aid and CPR, experience leading and teaching guests on the multisport activities included in the itinerary, guiding techniques, a general knowledge of Costa Rica, and a sincere desire to share this knowledge. These guides are included to accompany the group for a portion of the itinerary and to help out with logistics.
14. Welcome Orientation Meal: Due to the fact that many participants arrive after dinner on Day 1, we provide a welcome orientation breakfast on Day 2 in lieu of a dinner on Day 1.
15. Driving Conditions: Although Costa Rica is a small country and the distances between sites are relatively short, due to the conditions of winding, bumpy roads clients should expect long travel times from one point to another.
16. Dress for One-Day Pacuare River on the Costa Rica Multisport and the Ultimate Costa Rica Adventure, you will need to pack two groups of "stuff ". The first set will be river gear which you will wear in the raft and will be wet the whole trip. We recommend shorts, a t-shirt and either a Teva-style sandal that straps onto your foot or tennis shoes (these will get wet). The second group of "stuff" will be left on the bus so that you will have clean dry (warm) clothes to change into at take out. It’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag for your wet clothes and shoes after the trip.
17. SINGLE PARENTS TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN: When a single parent is traveling alone with one child he or she must pay the adult rate plus the single supplement. The child will pay the regular children's rate. The reason that this is done this way is because the per person adult rate only includes half of the room rate in double occupancy and the discounted rate for children does not include a charge for the room.
A deposit of US$300 is due at the time of booking. The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days before departure.
Regardless of the reason, cancellations of confirmed bookings result in Costa Rica Expeditions incurring costly penalties and cancellation fees from our hotel providers. The closer to the time of arrival that Costa Rica Expeditions receives the cancelation, the higher the penalties. For this reason, Costa Rica Expeditions will charge you a cancellation fee according to when your cancellation notice is received as set forth in the table below:
For Holiday & High Season departures:
Number of days prior to trip Cancelation fee
60 + Days $300
59-30 Days 50% of the entire trip cost
29-0 Days 100% of the entire trip cost
For Low Season departures:
Number of days prior to trip Cancelation fee
30+ Days $300
29-15 Days 50% of the entire trip cost
14-0 Days 100% of the entire trip cost
To protect yourself from having to pay these fees in case you have to cancel, we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancelation insurance.
INSURANCE: TRIP CANCELLATION & TRAVEL PROTECTION
Costa Rica Expeditions strongly recommends that you buy Trip Cancellation and Travel Protection Insurance. Here are some of the coverage’s:
- Trip cancellation or interruption because of a covered medical problem that you, your traveling companion, family member or business partner may develop between the time you book and the end of your trip.
- Trip cancellation or interruption because of burglary of your or your traveling companion’s residence within 10 days of your departure or during your trip.
- Non-delivery of services bankruptcies or financial defaults of airlines or tour operators.
- Expenses arising from an accident or sickness during your trip including evacuation or repatriation to a hospital near your home if your situation is acute or life threatening.
- Payment for lost and delayed baggage. If you do not have this kind of insurance and any one of these or several other situations covered by the policy should arise you would have to cover the expense out of your own pocket.
You can compare and purchase travel insurance by clicking on the following link:
For years we have used and recommended Travel Ex, which even covers you for pre-existing medical conditions if purchased within 10 days of the date you pay for or deposit your trip. Our travel insurance contact in the United States is Preferred Adventures Ltd, St Paul, MN. If you wish to purchase insurance, please access their website at the link below. When you purchase Travel Insurance you will need a location number, the location number is 23-0428.
Guests occasionally may want to make changes at the last minute, even after having arrived in Costa Rica. These changes involve a considerable amount of extra work requiring a series of phone calls, emails and printed documents. For this reason, Costa Rica Expeditions charges US$75.00 for any changes made to the vacation after final services have been confirmed. This fee is in addition to any costs or penalties imposed by the companies impacted by the newly requested or cancelled services.
The rates that Costa Rica Expeditions receives from lodging and other suppliers of services may be the same or even higher than the prices that the suppliers offer the public via the Internet or other channels of distribution. The prices we charge reflect our costs and a reasonable profit for our services in planning and operating the trip. We do not claim that individual services that may appear to be or actually be similar to the services we resell can never by obtained for prices lower than ours.
We do not give price breakdowns. The reason is that we have found through the years that, if we do so, we spend so much time having to explain every cost that we would have to charge considerably more for arranging the trips then we do now. Even more important, in almost all cases cost breakdowns would not help our clients choose a better vacation or a better value. The way we see it, our job is to concentrate on all the details and try to give our clients their ideal vacation at the best possible price. The travelers' job is to look at their holiday as a whole and decide whether our proposal will provide the vacation they want at a price they can afford. The best way for us to help travelers make the right decisions is to give them the most accurate descriptions possible of the experience, and a clear explanation of what is and is not included in the cost. A detailed breakdown takes attention away from the overall quality of the experience.
We acknowledge that we may occasionally inadvertently over-charge. If the price we are quoting seems excessive, please say so. Someone other than the person who prepared the original quote will recheck it. If there is an error we will make the adjustment. (We have also been known to accidentally leave out charges that should have been included. If we discover that this is the case after the first payment, we will not charge you.) We are also aware of the possibility that the quote may be more than you want to spend. Please let us know if this case and, if feasible, we will quote a more affordable itinerary.
All foreign citizens entering Costa Rica must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date they enter the country. As of April 2007, Citizens of the United States are required to have a valid passport for at least 30 days after the date they enter into the country.
Citizens of the United States and many other countries do not need visas to enter Costa Rica. Citizens of countries other than the United States, Canada and the European Economic Community should check with the nearest Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate.
Please note effective January 23, 2007 all nationals, including U.S. citizens, will be required to hold a valid passport to enter the United States by air. This also applies when coming from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The new passport requirement means that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, who are departing the U.S. and intend to re-enter the United States are required to hold a valid passport upon departure from the U.S.
A word to the wise: In years past entrance requirements were much less strictly enforced than they have been lately. Airline counter personal in the country of origin are responsible for enforcing entrance requirements. Although they may still occasionally be lax, if you do not have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your date of travel, it is highly probable that they will not let you board the plane.
A pre-paid airline ticket to exit Costa Rica (either to return to your country or to go to another country) a visa (if required) is required for entry as well.
Regarding malaria, the US Center for Disease Control has a single recommendation for the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama, despite the fact the danger of contracting malaria varies greatly from country to country and from region to region within the countries. The CDC recommends taking Chloroquin, which, if you choose to use it, you should start taking at least 2 weeks before possible exposure. (To cover their backs the CDC says a month to 6 weeks.)
Our Costa Rican doctor, who has no bureaucratic needs to cover his back and whose judgment in these matters we have come to respect, does not agree with the recommendation, he points out that while there is a slight chance of getting malaria in Costa Rica, there is also a slight chance of side effects from Chloroquin, which is at least as serious as the strains of malaria that have been recorded here. What we who live here do, if anything, is use insect repellant that contains DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide) when there is a likelihood of getting bitten. (Be sure to follow the precautions on the label.) Not only will this minimize the possibility of getting malaria, but also it will help protect you from getting other insect born diseases---not to mention itchy bites. While we are talking about prevention of disease, make sure your tetanus inoculation is current.
This all said, finally you have to make your own decision about whether to use malaria prophylaxis or not. (The CDC is not the only ones who cover their backs.)
More on Malaria:
Malaria in Costa Rica is down 71% from in 2009 from 2008. The distribution of Malaria is unchanged over the past several years. Ninety percent of the cases (189 in 2009) were in the province of Limon. Eighty-nine percent of those cases were in the town of Matina, where guests rarely go. There have no cases of malaria in Tortuguero for the last few years.
There have been no deaths in Costa Rica attributed to the strain of malaria that occurs in Costa Rica.
In 2009 the only death attributed to malaria in Costa Rica was an Englishman who contracted malaria in Nigeria, had a relapse that he did not recognize and have treated until it was too late.
The new CDC advisory does not mean that the risk from malaria in the province of Limon is greater than before but rather that the CDC has recognized, albeit belatedly, that there is negligible risk from malaria in the other provinces of Costa Rica. It is probably too much to ask that eventually only advice prophylaxis for visitors who will be spending time in Matina.
As far as medication goes, there is general agreement that Malarone has much fewer side effects and is just as effective as the older drugs such as chloroquin. Deciding whether or not you take the pills is essentially a risk/benefit analysis. Personally in your position we would not take them, but if not taking them is going to mean that you or your traveling companion is going to be at all worried about the risk of necessary, peace of mind might well be sufficient reason to take them.
IF YOU ARE COMING FROM THE EASTERN HEMISPHERE, PANAMA OR SOUTH AMERICA
Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Costa Rica, the government requires this vaccination from travelers arriving from countries found on the following list:
Countries where yellow fever is present require proof of yellow fever vaccination. If you will be traveling to one of these countries where yellow fever is present before arriving in Costa Rica, this requirement must be taken into consideration.
As well as countries in the Eastern Hemisphere - from which we almost never have arriving guests - among the countries listed are: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Bolivia. This is very important to take into account. If you are coming from any of the listed countries and do not have a current Yellow Fever vaccination certificate you will be denied boarding on flights to Costa Rica. By the way, the same requirement applies for entry into many other countries, including the US.
GENERAL TERMS & CONDITIONS RESPONSIBILITY
Costa Rica Expeditions, S.A., (its owners, associates, agents and employees) give notice that they assume no responsibility for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, thefts, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, discrepancies or change in transit or hotel service over which it has no control.
Costa Rica Expeditions is not responsible for loss of life, personal injury, cancellations, delays, over-bookings, loss or damage of baggage and/or loss of services as a result of the same caused by any domestic flights within Costa Rica. For an additional charge, when advisable, charter flights may be arranged through Costa Rica Expeditions. Should clients decide to book a charter flight; Costa Rica Expeditions will not assume responsibility for cancellations, delays, over bookings, any loss of services from the same.
Costa Rica Expeditions reserves the right to adjust the U.S. dollar prices without notice, to reflect fluctuations in the Foreign Exchange Markets. Costa Rica Expeditions also reserves the right to withdraw a tour or any part of it, to make such alterations in the itinerary as it deems necessary for the comfort or well-being of the participants and to pass on to tour members any expenditure or losses caused by delays or events beyond its control. With advance deposit to Costa Rica Expeditions or any of its agents, the depositor therefore agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH
We have a 24-hour medical service. Guests with existing medical conditions should make them known to Costa Rica Expeditions well before their arrival to Costa Rica, given that guests will be, at some time during their trip, in some of the most remote places in Costa Rica. Under certain circumstances, evacuation could be prolonged, difficult, expensive or impossible. Guests should take special care. If they feel sick, they should tell us so we can start making arrangements for evacuation should it become necessary. Leaders on all of our wilderness trips carry a fully stocked first-aid kit. Hospital facilities are excellent in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Expeditions assumes no liability for costs of evacuation or provision of medical care. We strongly recommend that trip participants purchase short-term traveler’s insurance covering baggage, accident/life and trip cancellation.
Costa Rica Expeditions and its designated representatives reserve the right to disqualify any person as member of any trip or tour, should such persons actions or general deportment impede the operation of the trip or the rights or welfare or enjoyment of other members of the trip. Refunds are usually not given under these circumstances. In such extraordinary instances when a refund is granted, it is agreed that a refund based on the actual cost of the unused land services is the limit of Costa Rica Expeditions’ responsibility.
LIMIT OF LIABILITY FOR LOST BAGGAGE
Costa Rica Expeditions makes every possible effort to protect the baggage placed in our care. In the unlikely event that baggage or its content is lost, Costa Rica Expeditions will compensate the owner of said baggage for the value of the baggage and its contents for four hundred dollars (US$400), whichever is less. Under no circumstances do we make compensation for claims of lost cash or cash equivalents such as traveler’s checks. Alleged verbal representations by employees of Costa Rica Expeditions or any other person to the effect that Costa Rica Expeditions will take responsibility for amounts greater than the limit stated above, are not valid.