Spring Break - Costa Rica

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					Spring Break - Costa Rica
Trip code:          QGR

Duration:           9 days (ex San Jose)

Starting Dates:      3/7, 3/14, & 3/21 2009

Group Size:         Minimum 8, Maximum 16

Price:               USD$950




   Itinerary:             Day 1 San Jose
                          Days 2-3 La Fortuna
                          Days 4-5 Monteverde
                          Days 6-7 Manual Antonio National Park
                          Days 8-9 San Jose

   Highlights:
   Spend your spring break discovering Costa Rica's lush green rainforests,
   white sand beaches and amazing abundance of wildlife. With the night time
   spectacle of the Arenal Volcano's lava glowing in the darkness and the
   turquoise blue waters of Manuel Antonio, this itinerary is a spectacular
   adventure in a tropical paradise. Hike, snorkel, kayak or just chill-out in this
   slice of Central American paradise.



   Welcome to Intrepid real life experiences... we hope that you enjoy exploring the world as
   much as we do. The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica's environment is world-renowned
   as one of nature's most diverse, vibrant and healthy. Explore this exciting country's highlights
   including the abundant wildlife, intense volcanic landscape and superb Pacific beaches.
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. Look for the Intrepid notice board at the
joining point hotel for welcome note and explanation of where to meet. For those who arrive
early, there is also sightseeing information on the Intrepid notice board. After the meeting,
there will be an afternoon orientation tour of San Jose's the major sights.

San Jose sits in the middle of the fertile Meseta Central, ringed by volcanoes and jagged
mountains just begging to be explored. The city itself has all the sights and modern
conveniences you would expect from a capital city. The main plaza is good place to start
exploring, get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you
never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which
has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood
for a bit of shopping, head to the outdoor market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market
where you can pick up some handicrafts, exotic fruits, or even fish.

Arriving in Costa Rica, it is possible you will feel lethargic and lose some appetite. This is
nothing to be concerned about and is just your body acclimatizing to the heat and humidity.
Be sure to drink plenty of bottled water and try not to do too much in any one day; you'll
soon adjust.

Days 2-3 La Fortuna

A 4.5 hour trip takes us to La Fortuna, our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild
surrounds. Set in the plains of Costa Rica, the volcano sits on the shores of Lake Arenal, a
large artificial lake. With big winds sweeping in from the Caribbean, the lake is one of the
best windsurfing destinations in the world. The volcano is quite active and at night time you
can often see glowing lava blast into the sky as the cone glows red. On day 3, we will have
the option to tour to the volcano. You can also take an optional night hike around the base for
different close up views. With monkeys calling through the night, the experience is altogether
unforgettable.

You can also visit La Fortuna waterfall, a canopy tour for a bird's eye view of the forest, or a
full day of adrenaline pumping white water rafting. Otherwise, you may head out into the
beautiful surrounds and explore by bike.

Days 4-5 Monteverde
We travel by shuttle bus and boat to the cool cloud forests of Monteverde (approximately 4
hours travel time).
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 and
full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise.
Explore by foot, or ride a mountain bike over the rainforest canopy on a zipline. For more
easy going adventures, walk through the canopy on the Sky Walk or watch butterflies at play
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 6-7 Manuel Antonio National Park

Day 6 is a day of travel to Manuel Antonio (approximately 6 hours). The town is laid back
but has a vibrant nightlife. Spend your time here enjoying the best of the park. If you have
jungle on the brain, head straight to the 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; it would be easy to spend your whole time here in or by the water. Go swimming,
fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing or surfing.

Days 8-9 San Jose

By mid-afternoon on day 8 we travel back to San Jose (4 hours approximately) in time for a
shower, dinner and a final night on the town. The perfect way to end our adventure. You can
depart at any time on day 9. You will be transferred to San Jose airport for your international
departure flight.

Arrival Complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you!) but 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.

Regarding your airport transfer, if you have not made contact with our representative within
30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own
way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in the Trip Notes. Should
this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.

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.
Joining Point Instructions
An arrival transfer is from the airport to your hotel is included in your tour.
Complimentary transfers are only applicable if on day 1 of your Intrepid trip or if going to
pre tour accommodation booked through Intrepid (please advise flight arrival details at least
14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided).
Please look for our representative holding an Intrepid sign/sign with your name. Please do not
go with anyone else.

Our Joining Point Hotel
Gaudys Hostal
Ave. 5 Calle 36 and 38 Casa 3636
San Jose, Costa Rica
Telephone: (+506) 22480086
Fax: (+506) 2582937

Gaudy's Backpacker's Hostel is located close to Paseo Colon, the Commercial and Banking
Center and near the most important park in San Jose. The Hostel features dorm rooms, a fully
equipped kitchen, internet access and a common lounge area.

Finishing Point
Gaudys Hostal
Ave. 5 Calle 36 and 38 Casa 3636
San Jose, Costa Rica
Telephone: (+506) 22480086
Fax: (+506) 2582937

Style
Special Group based on Intrepid Basix

The best value adventures on the planet! On a Basix trip, you can expect some amazing
experiences, but none of the inclusions or 'extras' that you may not want. Which means
simple and often multi-share accommodation and a lot of local transport. These trips are ideal
for first time travelers seeking fun and independence with the security of a group leader at
hand and for backpackers wanting minimum hassle and maximum flexibility at the lowest
possible price.

Group Size
Maximum of 16 travelers per group
Accommodation
Simple hotels (8 nts)

Meals
While traveling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the
world. Generally, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with
whom to eat, not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting
flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of
dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group
leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please check the 'meal
inclusions' section below for details of meals included.

Allow USD $120 for meals not included.

Meal Inclusions
No meals included

Single Travelers
With the exception of our Comfort trips, our group trips are designed for shared
accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travelers share with people of
the same sex for the duration of the trip, in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share.
Please note some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share
basis - where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On our Comfort trips you
have the choice of sharing or paying a single supplement. Please note that this only applies to
accommodation during the tour. Pre- and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single
room basis.

Transport
Local bus, boat

Activities Included
This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your
own expense. For a list of optional activities and sightseeing available on this trip, see the
optional activities section below. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on
this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.

Orientation walk in Costa Rica, led by your group leader
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Manuel Antonia National Park

Optional Activities
We list the following optional activities for your information. This is not an exhaustive list
and should be used as a guide only.
They are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this
trip. If you do any of them, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that
your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Intrepid.

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 people)

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

Physical Rating
You are required to carry your pack on and off trains and buses, up hotel steps, etc. Your
itinerary may include easy paced walks or bike rides, but these are on mainly flat ground.

Culture Shock Rating
Expect to rough it every now and again, whether it's very simple group-share accommodation
at a homestay, a packed public bus where you are forced to stand, the odd cold shower or an
encounter with a squat toilet.

Important Notes
Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local
partners.

Return airport transfers from the airport to your hotel are included in your tour.
Complimentary transfers are only applicable if on day 1 of your Intrepid trip or if going to
pre tour accommodation booked through Intrepid (please advise flight arrival details at least
14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided).

Costa Rica is a country which, in parts, is more developed compared to other Latin America
countries. A high standard of living means that prices of food and activities can be as high as
what you would expect to pay in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Most of cultural life resides in San Jose. From museums, theatres, music concerts, impressive
architecture, it's all happening in San Jose! Once you leave the capital city Costa Rica's main
attraction swifts to its incredible biodiversity and wildlife abundance.

Costa Rica has done a great job at looking after their natural wonders yet maximizing its
potential as tourist attraction. In Costa Rica you should expect to pay for nearly every
optional activity available; allowing everyone to individually have the choice of deciding on
which activities they particularly want to participate in - from white water rafting to hiking.
This also means high standards of service, well maintained gear, clear paths and signaling
and well trained local guides that allow you to make the most of every activity.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are
covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation.
We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation,
curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When traveling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of
travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour
emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your tour leader will require details of the participating
insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number
and emergency contact telephone number rather than the Bank's name and credit card details.
Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

Please go to www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php for links to various travel insurance
providers.




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. We keep the
following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that
you check for yourself.

Many nationalities (including citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA and the EU)
do not require visas to travel to Costa Rica. If your nationality was not included in the above
mentioned group, please contact your nearest Costa Rican embassy to find out your visa
requirements. You are responsible for gaining this visa before arriving on tour.

Health
All Intrepid 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 traveler is unable to
complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid
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.
Please contact your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-
malarial requirements and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Latin
America. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical
requirements (including a spare pair of glasses). Please be aware that we are 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 including headache tablets,
antibiotics, etc. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Money Exchange
Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the
following website: www.oanda.com.

With ATMs being widely available in the major towns and cities credit or debit cards,
particularly Visa, 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 traveling to.
You should also carry some travelers' checks or cash for those times when an ATM may not
be available.
US$ travelers' checks and cash are the most readily changeable currency. Please be aware
that it may be difficult to change notes that are old, torn or faded.
We recommend you advise your bank of your traveling plans to Latin America. Banks
monitor card use and will sometimes treat an unexpected overseas transaction as suspicious.
This may temporarily block your card.
It is unlikely that you will be able to get hold of South or Central America currencies in your
home country. You are strongly advised not to walk around with large amounts of cash.

Spending Money
Every traveler is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some
travelers may drink more than others while other travelers 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. Please also remember the following
specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Any tip that you wish to give your local guides or leader in recognition of excellent service is
always appreciated.

Departure Tax
Please allow USD 26 for international departure tax.

Emergency Funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional USD$400, to be used when
unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, or an
outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route. This change may have to be
decided prior to departure. This is a rare occurrence but it is well worth being prepared!
Keeping in Touch - communication while on the road
If you need to be contacted while traveling we recommend that you set up an email address
that can be accessed on the road, rather than relying on snail mail. Email has quickly become
the preferred way for our leaders and travelers to stay in touch and email cafes are
commonplace throughout the regions we visit. 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. 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.

Emergency Contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Melbourne Office can be reached on
Tel: +61 3 9473 2650. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department
which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following
page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/.

Your Fellow Travelers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the
frustrations of traveling in a group. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and
preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers 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 to departure.

Group Leader
All Intrepid Latin America group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, an
Intrepid representative or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the
hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavors to
provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel,
situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group
leaders. They 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 countries visited on the trip, including historical,
cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific
knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of
both worlds.

Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this
means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and
environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please refer to our website at
www.intrepidtravel.com/responsibletravel for further details and suggestions on how you can
be a responsible traveler.

A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes
the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium
is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travelers.
Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in
particular the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of
prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel
any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we have been committed to giving
something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local
humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travelers want to
contribute something too. To make things easier we established The Intrepid Foundation Inc.
All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched dollar for dollar by Intrepid Travel and
every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is
simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support
in-country through The Intrepid Foundation; or go to our website:
www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Laundry
Laundry facilities are available in most cities we visit. It's normally charged per kilo (around
$3 per kilo). There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so
we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

What to Take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries
you are visiting and when you are traveling. Generally speaking though, you should pack as
lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own
luggage (please see below for exceptions), and though you will not be required to walk long
distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes) we recommend keeping the weight under
10kg/22lb.

Suitcases are not recommended for Intrepid travelers! Most travelers carry their luggage in a
backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly.
Smaller bags with wheels are acceptable, although we recommend your bag has carry straps
as well, as you may be required to negotiate bus and railway station steps. You will also need
a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day walks and day trips.

You will be on the move a great deal, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We
recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good
size daypack is also essential.




Checklist
The following checklist is to be used as a guide only and is not intended to be a complete
packing list. Any other items that you wish to pack are at your own discretion however you
should attempt to comply with the suggested luggage weight limit.

Documents:
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
USD cash and travelers' checks
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
Vouchers, pre-departure booklet and trip notes
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Items Clothing
First-aid kit**
Fleece top
Sunblock
Windproof/waterproof jacket
Sunglasses
Small towel and swim wear
Toiletries (biodegradable)
4 shirts/t-shirts
Watch or alarm clock
Sun hat
Water bottle
2 pair of shorts
Purification tablets or filter
2 pairs of long trousers
Pocketknife
1 pair hiking pants/track pants
Sport sandals
Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes

First aid kit should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar

tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be
taking.

Optional
Camera and film, reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks, concealable
money belt.




Local Dress
Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in
your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When
visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues
involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice
for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's Safety page
for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips:
www.intrepidtravel.com/safety.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while traveling, for the safe-
keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable
jewellery at home - you won't need it while traveling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit
boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for
securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities however during your trip you will
have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your
leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location,
please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary,
and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the
operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in
your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel
any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip,
please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy at www.intrepidtravel.com/safety.
We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before traveling, and
would appreciate any feedback on how well it is being implemented in the field.

Participation Form
All Intrepid travelers are required to sign a Participation Form on day 1 of the trip. Please
note that signing the form is a prerequisite of traveling with Intrepid. The wording of this
form follows:

"I understand that traveling with Intrepid may involve risks (and rewards) above and beyond
those encountered on a more conventional holiday, and that I am undertaking an adventure
trip with inherent dangers. I understand that I am traveling to geographical areas where,
amongst other things, the standard of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, cleanliness,
medical facilities, telecommunications and infrastructure development may not be of the
standard I am used to at home or would find on a conventional holiday. I have read and
understood the Intrepid trip notes for the trip I am undertaking and have provided details of
any pre-existing medical conditions I have to Intrepid's representatives.

I accept these risks and obligations and I fully assume the risks of travel. I release Intrepid
Travel from any liabilities connected to these risks to the maximum extent permitted by law."

Feedback
After your travels, we want 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.intrepidtravel.com/feedback
Thanks!

We Want Your Photos
Do you want to see your travel photos published? To celebrate all that is travel photography,
Intrepid hold an annual Intrepid Photography Competition. There are five categories - real
life experiences, traveling families, local friends, landscapes, icons - each with a fabulous
prize. For more information, entry form and competition conditions, please visit
www.intrepidtravel.com/photocomp. Send entries to The Editor,
Intrepid Travel,
PO Box 2781,
Fitzroy DC 3065,
Victoria, Australia.

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