Program: Costa Rica Adventure
Location: Costa Rica
Duration: 3 or 4 weeks
Every year close to 3 million tourists visit Costa Rica- that is the equivalent to the size of the entire population! These days a trip to Costa Rica seems to be on everyone’s bucked list: if you are one of the lucky many that are planning to visit Costa Rica in the near future, we’ve got some helpful Costa Rica Adventure program travel tips for you before you depart.
7. Do I need to speak Spanish?
So, you are ready to visit a Spanish speaking country and to dive into a sunny and unforgettable adventure! Many first-time visitors are nervous to go into an unfamiliar place, but Costa Rica is a very tourist-friendly country, so you can rest assured you will be able to get around with ease. Knowing a bit of Spanish is definitely a plus, but not required to partake in the program. Many locals speak English, but a little bit of working Spanish can take you a long way in Costa Rica. It is therefore not a bad idea to learn a few key phrases, or to brush up on what you learned in school. Even if you say the wrong phrase, most local will appreciate the effort made and kindly correct you.
6. How does this program work?
This group travel program is supervised by a Gapforce Expedition Leader(s), who will be providing 24/7 support so you have the opportunity to relax and enjoy making the most out of your trip.
Expect to stay in a variety of accommodations as you travel with your group, which may include dormitory style hostels in the heart of tropical cities, guesthouses while volunteering and camping during the jungle survival adventure portion of the program.
If you are enrolled in the 3 week program, your program locational itinerary is outlined in the orange chart. If you are enrolled in the 4 week program, your program itinerary is in the green chart. Please get in contact for a more detailed program itinerary.
5. Will I have access to proper healthcare, should I need it?
With the most advanced healthcare system in Central America, speedy emergency response and modern treatment is available throughout Costa Rica. Your travel insurance will take care of any costs should you need medical care. In all of the locations on the program, Gapforce maintains plans for getting you to the care you need as swiftly as possible. We pride ourselves on keeping risks to a minimum on our programs, but just in case, we know exactly how and when to get you the attention that you need.
4. Do I need vaccinations or antimalarial medication?
You must always check with a medical professional if you need vaccinations to travel to Costa Rica. The WHO and CDC recommend a range of vaccinations including yellow fever, rabies and typhoid, but you may find advice from different sources can vary. All regions of Costa Rica are categorized as having a low risk of malaria, such that antimalarial drugs are not deemed necessary. Again however, it is important to check with your doctor. Other mosquito-borne diseases are somewhat more prevalent, especially close to towns and cities. The key to staying healthy is bite prevention – mosquito repellent, mosquito repellent, and more mosquito repellent.
3. What will I eat?
Costa Rican food is nutritiously well-rounded. Your program includes 3 meals a day. Rice and beans are a staple of Costa Rican meals, which are packed full of local fresh ingredients. Due to the location of the country, tropical fruits and vegetables are readily available. And, you can’t forget to try Costa Rican coffee, which is some of the world’s best!
Tap water in most of the country is also perfectly safe to drink. So, you can save the environment, ditch the plastic, and bring a good insulated water bottle for refilling.
While adventuring through the jungle, your cooking will be done the old school way- over an open fire. Your diet here again features rice and beans. Other common camp foods include oats, pulses, and any fresh veggies that can be carried and stored in camp. Part of the fun here is to come up with diverse and tasty recipes using basic ingredients. Vegetarian and vegan diets are easily catered for, as animal products don’t keep well in the tropical humidity.
2. When is the best time to volunteer with turtles?
You can visit Costa Rica any time of the year. Costa Rica has two well defined seasons. Dry Season runs from December to April and Green Season runs from May to November.
Likewise, there is no best time to volunteer – any time your help is needed. Simply the given tasks might vary depending on the time you get active in the project. From March – October e.g. there is nesting season and you can get involved with nesting turtles and observe the babies hatch. If you join in other months than these you will quite likely support maintenance work at the station, help prepare for the next turtle season, do inventory, hatchery construction and beach clean ups to keep everything in good condition.
Usually your work will involve some of the following tasks (depending on the needs by the time you join):
- Assist in beach clean ups
- Observe the babies hatch (during nesting season)
- Help to conduct environmental education in the local community
- Support in monitoring and protection of the nursery
- Help to plant trees native to the area to support reforesting
- Support signaling beaches and nursery construction project of sea turtles
- Do night walk protection, monitoring and data collection of sea turtles during the nesting season
- Help to construct and repair trails for public use
1.What should I pack?
Once you are all booked in, you will be granted access to your personal portal, this is where all pre-departure information is located (kit list, flight information, etc) and where you will be uploading travel documentation. If you have any questions about this, the Gapforce Operations team is always on standby to assist.
Costa Rica is not really a place for fancy dresses and nice clothes. Simplicity and comfort rule the local dress code. Trust us when we say, the ocean and jungle don’t care for your jewelry and perfectly done makeup.
Your clothes will get dirty, your hair will be frizzy, your nail polish will peel. Embrace it. In Costa Rica, less is more.
As a tip, shoot for breathable, quick-drying fabrics- these will be your best friend. In beach towns, you will live in a bathing suit and sandals. Some closed toed shoes will be your choice food wear for adventure hikes and activities through the jungle.
The locals swear by their stress-free, laid-back attitude. “Pura Vida”, they say! A feeling of optimism and positivity. So, lather on that sunscreen, and get ready to enjoy the ride!