Exclusive Adventures FAQs
Q: Why Costa Rica?
A: Aside from being an exotic, biodiverse destination, Costa Rica is also very safe. Costa Rica boasts a great variety of tropical landscapes and biomass, all of which are readily accessible and within a relatively short distance of travel. Costa Rica is also a democratic republic with little internal strife.
Q: Where is Costa Rica and how big is it?
A: Costa Rica is located in the isthmus of Central America. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Costa Rica is exactly 51,100 square kilometers (31,937 square miles). Virtually, you could fit 10 Costa Rica’s in to the state of California.
Q: Is Costa Rica safe?
A: Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in the world. It is a peaceful democratic republic with no military. However, we never allow any of our participants to venture off alone without company or without notifying an adult in charge. Also, we always recommend to keep a close eye on personal belongings because petty theft is a big temptation in third world countries.
Q: Do I need to speak Spanish?
A: Although Spanish is the national language of Costa Rica, if you do not speak it you can get by easily. Most “ticos” (Costa Ricans) speak some English and are very willing to learn. They also love to teach Spanish to foreigners.
Q: How do I plan an adventure in Costa Rica?
A: To plan a trip in Costa Rica, first consider what activities you would like to do, places you would like to visit or things you would like to see. Next, please let us know what time frame works best for your schedule so we can match you with the best options. Lastly, keep in mind whether you want an outdoor focused adventure with some camping experience or prefer something a little more front country with tours and excursions to different areas and staying in bungalows or hotels.
Q: What travel documents do I need? Do I need a visa?
A: You must be sure to have a valid passport to travel to Costa Rica. It must have at least six months validity before expiring or you may not be allowed to enter or depart Costa Rica. Be sure your passport will not expire while traveling because it will be difficult to renew in Costa Rica, especially as a minor. If you are traveling with a son or daughter that was born in Costa Rica, be aware that you will be required to process permits several days before your departure for your son or daughter to exit the country. Visas are NOT required for those traveling from the following countries: European Union, United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. If the country you are coming from is not listed here, please contact the Costa Rican consulate in your area. If you have any difficulties, AUSun may assist you as well.
Q: What is AUSun’s insurance policy?
A: AUSun follows safety standards and regulations established by leading outdoor adventure tourism operators in the US and Costa Rica. We are covered by a Comprehensive Commercial General Liability policy with the Costa Rican National Insurance Institute.
Q: Are there any required vaccinations I must have before going to Costa Rica?
A: AUSun recommends that you have an updated Tetanus and Tuberculosis shot before traveling to Costa Rica. The CDC recommends that those traveling to Costa Rica be inoculated for malaria and hepatitis. These inoculations are not required by AUSun; this is left to your discretion. Should you choose to be inoculated for these diseases, please be well aware of the side effects. If possible, administer the inoculations well in advance so that side effects will not affect you during your travels. Costa Rica is listed as a country with Zika therefore please consider bringing plenty of mosquito repellent and attire to protect yourself from mosquito bites throughout your travels.
Q: Will I be able to use my cel phone in Costa Rica?
A: If you have data roaming on your cel phone you should be able to use it while you are here. We can also recommend you purchase a phone chip in the airport at a local store upon arrival. There are various options to choose from like Kolbi, Claro or Movistar.
Q: Do I need to travel with a group or can you set up a trip just for me?
A: AUSun plans trips for individuals, groups of friends, families and even large corporate groups. You can sign up for a Select Adventure that may already be scheduled for a random date or we can work with you to customize your journey and define all the things you want to see and do.
Q: Do we need a guide and if so can you provide one?
A: You do not need a guide to get around Costa Rica. It is relatively easy to do on your own; however, some groups might find things easier to have a host that can help keep your trip running smoothly and inform you of all the interesting and different places and things you are encountering along the way.
Q: What type of experience do your guides/trip leaders have?
A: AUSun guides are required to carry a national guiding license which is awarded after completing an intense course on Costa Rican natural history, English language classes, tropical biology, CPR, first aid, etc. AUSun also guides to partake in our week long staff training program held every year and in which we teach them the guidelines, policies, procedures and standards of all of our programs.
Q: Can we rent a car and drive on our own or will be need a private van with a driver?
A: It is very easy to rent a car and drive around Costa Rica. Our roads have improved and the most commonly used driving application, WAZE, does an incredible job getting you to your destination. You can also rent a GPS navigator from most rental car agencies. If you prefer to avoid the stress an chaos you might feel when driving, we can coordinate a private vehicle and driver for your travels.
Q: How do you select the locations and activities for our trip? Can you include places we know of and want to visit?
A: During our low season, AUSun staff heads out to scout new locations and review old ones. We test the tours and activities; we even try out the restaurants again. We always select those locations that we feel are the most authentic, follow the highest safety standards, have proof of insurance, excellent safety and health records, updated risk management plans, certified guides, national ownership, environmental awareness, and remarkable landscapes.
Q: Can you include home stay, language classes, cultural immersion or community service activities in our itinerary? And if so how do you select these?
A: Yes, AUSun can include any of these experiences in your itinerary. Costa Rican’s love to share their customs, traditions and language, and a “tico’s” hospitality is unmatched; therefore, we are always delighted when requests for such are made. Because we offer trips all over the country, Adventures Under the Sun has sought out various grassroots rural organizations and local non-profits in distinct communities, and the most dynamic language programs. We work closely with the members of these organizations to create the safest, most educational and ideal cultural experience for our visitors. Our outreach contacts are known members of the community and have ample historical knowledge of the families that provide home stays, and the locations in most need of help.
Q: Do I need previous experience in outdoor skills to travel on one of your Select Adventures? Do I need to be in good shape?
A: NO. All Select Adventures can be adapted to meet the needs and abilities of the client. Previous experience always helps but is not required. Your enthusiasm will do most of the work.
Q: What can we expect to see?
A: Costa Rica holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity within its relatively small area. As long as you keep your eyes and ears open, we can guarantee that you will see an incredible amount of creatures that you have never seen before. Depending on the area of your program you are likely to see toucans, herons, egrets, sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, dolphins, whales, turtles, lizards, insects, maybe even a jaguar and thousands of different plants. Landscapes and views can include clean waves in the ocean, erupting volcano, canals lined with lush jungle, white water rapids flowing through tropical rainforests, and views from the canopy of lowland or dry tropical rainforests.
Q: What do we eat? What if I am a vegetarian?
A: On your journey, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the many varieties of meals, fresh fruits and vegetables of Costa Rica. The majority of all meals will be typically Costa Rican which includes tropical fruits, vegetables, rice and beans, salads and usually the option of fish, chicken, beef or pork. Vegetarians need not to worry; the main staple of Costa Rica cuisine is rice and beans, a great source of protein. We only ask that you inform us ahead of time that you are vegetarian or have any other dietary needs.
Q: Will someone meet our group at the airport on the first day?
A: If you have asked for a guide or private driver, he/she will meet you at the airport unless otherwise planned.
Q: What is the weather like in Costa Rica?
A: Costa Rica has two seasons: a dry season from the end of November through April and a wet season from May through October. The average temperature is about 75 F (24 C). The coastal regions can be very humid and hot.