Frequently Asked Questions

Quick answers to your questions. Start your journey today!

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 no internal political 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 is a peaceful democratic republic with no military. As with anywhere you travel, petty thievery can happen; therefore, it is important to keep a low profile, avoid temptations for thieves and keep your personal belongings close or leave them at the hotel.

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 or maybe some camping experiences or if you 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 updated Tetanus, Tuberculosis and COVID shots 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 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, Dengue and Chikungunya, 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 cell phone in Costa Rica?

A: If you have data roaming on your cell phone, you should be able to use it while you are here. We can also recommend you purchase a SIM card at the airport or at the supermarket upon arrival. There are various options to choose from, like Kolbi, Claro or Liberty.

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 certain 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 and chaos you might feel when driving, we can coordinate a private vehicle and driver for your travels, or shared or private shuttles.

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 areas you visit, 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 Rican 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.

Q: Is Costa Rica a good place to take my class on a trip?

A: YES! It’s the best classroom on the planet! 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 no internal political 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 is a peaceful democratic republic with no military. As with anywhere you travel, petty thievery can happen; therefore, it is important to keep a low profile, avoid temptations for thieves and keep your personal belongings close or leave them at the hotel.

Q: Do my students or I need to speak Spanish?

A: Although Spanish is the national language of Costa Rica, if you or your students 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. We also have some wonderful language program opportunities that we can include in your itinerary.

Q: What travel documents do we need? Do we need a visa?

A: You must be sure you and your students have valid passports 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 passports will not expire while traveling in Costa Rica 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. All participants must be covered by medical insurance. We recommend that each student checks with their insurance carrier as to whether they will be covered for a trip of this nature. If not, we request they purchase medical insurance specifically for this trip with AUSun. AUSun insurance covers theft, loss or damage of basic personal property and equipment like clothes, shoes, backpacks, and suitcases. We suggest students confirm that their insurance coverage includes more expensive items like electronic equipment.

Q: Are there any required vaccinations I must have before going to Costa Rica?

A: AUSun recommends that you have updated Tetanus, Tuberculosis and COVID shots 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 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, Dengue and Chikungunya, therefore, please consider bringing plenty of mosquito repellent and attire to protect yourself from mosquito bites throughout your travels.

Q: What is AUSun’s policy regarding students’ electronic devices?

A: AUSun Student Group Journeys are experiences created for students to disconnect from their daily routines and devices, and to reconnect with themselves, nature, and their peers in a healthy, outdoor environment. We therefore request all students (Middle and High School) to leave their devices at home. This will also avoid loss, theft, or damage of these expensive items. Our staff and your school representatives will carry cel phones, and a communications system will be established to keep the school and parents informed throughout the trip. We suggest your teachers take pictures throughout the experience to share with the students and parents after the trip. We realize that this is a difficult policy to uphold, however our experience is that the results far out way the challenge of a journey without screen time.

Q: What is the average size of a Student Group?

A: Group sizes are generally defined by the client. We really like to recommend an average of 12 – 17 students, as this allows room for individual attention to be given to each student during the course by the teachers and trip leaders. We can however, accommodate much larger groups.

Q: Is there any limitation as to how many adults can come on the trip?

NO. The group can travel with as many adults as you like or need. In our experience though, students often feel inhibited by too much adult supervision so we recommend one adult for every 8-10 kids. We will try to provide complimentary trips for most teachers too.

Q: How many trip leaders do you provide for a student group?

A: AUSun provides one trip leader for the first 12 students. We do recommend that at least one representative from your institution be present, thus establishing two adult chaperones for the group. After 15 though, we will recommend another trip leader, or more chaperones.

Q: What type of experience do your guides/trip leaders have?

A: AUSun trip leaders 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 requires trip leaders 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: How will we be traveling during our journey?

A: During your trip, the majority of your travels will be done by a private van or bus that can accommodate your entire group and your luggage comfortably. All vans or buses used for AUSun programs have insurance, carry a tourism transport permit, and have seat belts.

Q: How do you select the locations and activities for a group? Can you include places we know of and<br /> 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: Do the students need previous experience in outdoor skills? Do they need to be in good shape?

A: NO. All of the outdoor activities are scheduled to suit all levels of experience. Beginners do not need any previous experience for any activity. The group’s enthusiasm will guarantee a positive experience throughout the journey.

Q: What type of Service projects can AUSun set up?

A: AUSun has been establishing service projects with several different communities in need throughout the country for some time now. Depending on the final itinerary established, and the type of project you are interested in, we will select the community; but the projects can vary and include: reforestation of native species within reserves; construction or maintenance of infrastructure for community establishments like schools, non-profits, homes for elderly, community centers, etc; waste management, clean up and awareness activities; English classes for rural schools; or environmental education activities and projects with local students.

Q: What can the group 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 a jungle lined coast, the vast ocean, erupting volcano, tropical waterways, white water rapids flowing through tropical rainforests, and views from the tree top canopy of lowland or dry tropical rainforests.

Q: What do we eat? What if some are vegetarians?

A: On your student group journey, participants 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 that provide plenty of protein. We only ask that vegetarians notify us ahead of time so that we may be prepared. Unless the Group Coordinator requests it, participants of a Student Group Program will not be expected to assist with any meal preparation and or planning in a backcountry setting.

Q: Will someone meet our group at the airport on the first day?

A: Yes! Your trip leader(s) will be meeting the group at the airport and accompany you throughout your journey.

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.

Q: What are your policies regarding alcohol, drugs, tobacco, weapons and misbehavior?

A: AUSun maintains firm policies on weapons, tobacco, illegal drugs and alcohol possession or use by minors (legal age in Costa Rica is 18). If an underage participant is found possessing weapons, tobacco, illegal drugs or alcohol or engaging in one of these activities he/she will be sent home immediately at his/her own cost. In addition, if an underage participant is found to be disruptive to the trip, a disciplinary problem and/or hazardous to the safety of others, he/she will be sent home at his/her own cost. In such event, no refunds will be granted. If a participant of age is found possessing weapons, tobacco, illegal drugs or alcohol or engaging in one of these activities and is considered disruptive or a hazard for the trip and the activities programmed his/her dismissal will be reviewed and considered with the organization representatives. If a participant of age is dismissed, no refunds will be granted, and he/she will return home at his/her own cost.

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 no internal political 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 is a peaceful democratic republic with no military. As with anywhere you travel, petty thievery can happen; therefore, it is important to keep a low profile, avoid temptations for thieves and keep your personal belongings close or leave them at the hotel.

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 know which Adventure Camp is right for me?

A: Generally we will recommend a camp according to your age. However, we do make exceptions. To find the right trip, consider what activities you like or would like to accomplish. Next, please let us know what time frame works best for your schedule so we can match you with the best options.

Q: What travel documents do we need? Do we need a visa?

A: IMPORTANT FOR MINORS UNDER 18 We ask that all participants bring a copy of our Permission to Travel Letter signed by his or her parents. This form is included in the Trip Forms and Information Folder that is sent once your deposit is received. 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. Some airlines may require minors traveling alone be assisted by an airline representative. Generally this has an extra fee. 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. All participants must be covered by medical insurance. We recommend that each participant checks with their insurance carrier as to whether they will be covered for a trip of this nature. If not, we request they purchase medical insurance specifically for this trip with AUSun. AUSun insurance covers theft, loss or damage of basic personal property and equipment like clothes, shoes, backpacks, and suitcases. We suggest participants confirm that their insurance coverage includes more expensive items like electronic equipment.

Q: Are there any required vaccinations I must have before going to Costa Rica?

A: AUSun recommends that you have updated Tetanus, Tuberculosis and COVID shots 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 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, Dengue and Chikungunya, therefore, please consider bringing plenty of mosquito repellent and attire to protect yourself from mosquito bites throughout your travels.

Q: What is AUSun’s policy regarding students’ electronic devices?

A: AUSun Adventure Camps are experiences created for students to disconnect from their daily routines and devices, and to reconnect with themselves, nature, and their new friends in a healthy, outdoor environment. We therefore request you leave these devices at home. This will also avoid loss, theft, or damage of these expensive items. Our staff will carry cel phones, and a communications system will be established to keep parents informed throughout the trip. We realize that this many participants may suffer from FOMO, however our experience is that the results far out way the challenge of a journey without screen time.

Also, there is always an AUSun representative in the office in Costa Rica that knows the exact location of all participants while on their adventures. In case of an emergency, parents can call the office or trip cell phone at any time, day or night, and the representative will get them in touch with the group as soon as possible. Participants are also scheduled to call their parents upon arrival to the country, and on specific days during their travels. Parents will be made aware of these days prior trip departure.

Q: Where do the Adventure Camp participants come from?

A: AUSun is definitely a multicultural program. We get people from all over the world coming together on our different programs. Most of the participants for our Adventure Camps, however, are from Costa Rica and the United States. Many of our national participants from Costa Rica are international emigrants from different countries that have come to Costa Rica due to their parent’s work. This brings some incredible diversity into our expeditions. We have had participants come from South America, Caribbean Islands, Asia, and Europe.

Q: Can friends come together on a trip?

A: Of course, however, it is not necessary. The relationships fostered from a group having to work together through thick or thin are something quite astonishing. You will be surprised by the new friends you can make on an adventure far away from home.

Q: Do the students need previous experience in outdoor skills? Do they need to be in good shape?

A: NO. All of the outdoor activities of our Summer Expeditions are scheduled to suit all levels of experience. Beginners do not need any previous experience for any activity. Your enthusiasm will guarantee a positive experience throughout the adventure.

Q: What will I 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 number 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 a jungle lined coast, the vast ocean, erupting volcano, tropical waterways, white water rapids flowing through tropical rainforests, and views from the tree top canopy of lowland or dry tropical rainforests.

Q: What type of experience do your guides/trip leaders have?

A: AUSun trip leaders 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 requires trip leaders 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: Does AUSun offer Adventure Camps with home stay, language classes, cultural immersion, or community service components? And if so how do you select these?

A: Yes, AUSun we can include any or all the components to an adventure camp if it is not included already. Please be sure to request these activities upon requesting information so we can be sure to send you details. 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 programs 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: What do we eat? What if some are vegetarians?

A: On back country adventure camps, participants will be expected to assist with some preparation and planning, as well as fulfilling various chores and activities required for a successful adventure. We believe in eating good, healthy meals while traveling, and all our trip leaders love to cook and eat. Therefore, get ready to get involved with the meal planning, cooking and clean up – fundamental experiences of an AUSun trip. We guarantee you will enjoy learning the skills and secrets of cooking fresh ceviche, gallo pinto, chicken fajitas, pizzas, couscous, baked desserts and more! On a front country summer expedition, participants 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 and include 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 Rican cuisine is rice and beans, which provides plenty of protein. We only ask that vegetarians notify us ahead of time so that we may be prepared.

Q: Will I be able to shower and do laundry?

A: All scheduled adventure camps provide places to shower. Laundry facilities are available upon returning to a city or community after being in the wilderness, but are always available on the front country trips.

Q: What is the male/female ratio on a trip?

A: We have had a diversity of male/female ratios on our trips. Some trips have been completely female, while others have had an even split. AUSun can let you know the ratio for the trip you are interested in upon request.

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