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Certificate of Excellence
2015

Costa Rica Expeditions' The Quest for Pura Vida

New Sights • New Insights • New Eyes A 9 Day /8 Night Exploration of the
Essence of Costa Rica
Starting at $2,698 Per Person

Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions – Quest for Pura Vida

Included:

  • Accommodations: As featured in the itinerary, 8 nights lodging.
  • Meals: As indicated in the itinerary. (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Transfers: Included in Fixed Departure programs, on arrival and departure, when arriving and departing on the first and last scheduled days of the tour. For all other tours, transfers are included as indicated. 
  • Porterage: When the tour includes international airport transfers, the handling of two bags per person is included.
  • Taxes & Entrance Fees: Hotel taxes, entrance fees to National Parks, museums and places of interest are included unless otherwise specified.
  • Sightseeing: As specified in the itinerary.
  • International departure tax

Not Included in Tour Prices:

Costs of obtaining passports, visas or tourist cards; excess baggage fees; personal expenses such as room service, beverages and laundry; personal communications charges; international airfare; sightseeing or meals not specified in the itinerary; personal insurance coverage (strongly recommended), gratuities.

Information for Participants on Quest for Pura Vida

1. Who Should Go? Quest for Pura Vida trips are open to everyone. Travelers should expect co-participants of all ages, nationalities, cultures and physical abilities. 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 Quest for Pura Vida, we reserve the right to change hotel in 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 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: $97
  • 2 people: $51
  • 3 people: $35
  • 4 people: $28
  • 5 or more: $23 each

10. Group Guide: When there are four participants or more on a trip, the same guide will accompany the group during the entire trip. If there are less than four 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.

11. Naturalist Guides: Highly experienced biologists and bilingual naturalists who accompany our natural history excursions. These guides often have developed an area of specialization such as birds, botany, herpetology, etc. Those who do not have formal training have a life time of experience in the field, studying natural history. All are trained in first aid, CPR and guiding techniques.

12. 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.

13. 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.

Payment Policy

Deposits

For Holiday Season bookings, a deposit of $500 per person is due at the time of booking. The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days before departure. For High and Low Season bookings, a deposit of $500 per person is due at the time of booking. 50% of the balance of the trip cost is due 60 days before departure and the final payment is due 30 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

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% entire trip cost
29 – 0 Days 100% entire trip cost

For Low Season departures:

Number of Days Prior to Trip Cancelation Fee
30+ Days $300
29 – 15 Days 50% entire trip cost
14 – 0 Days 100% 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. Please visit Square Mouth web site.

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.
Please visit Travelex Insurance.

Change Policy

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.

Prices Charged

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.

Price Breakdowns

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.

Passport Requirements

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.

Please visit Costa Rica Embassy for the most updated entry requirements to Costa Rica.

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) and a visa (if required) is required for entry as well.

The Zika Virus: Should I Travel to Costa Rica Right Now?

The answer is yes, EXCEPT if you are pregnant or may get pregnant during your visit.
Here’s why:

  • Zika is no worse than the flu.
  • The chances of getting Zika in Costa Rica is extremely slight
  • As of February 26 only 6 cases have been reported in Costa Rica. Over 100 cases have been reported in the United States, 35 of which are in Florida. Experts believe that the number will increase in both the United States and Costa Rica.
  • HOWEVER, Zika has been linked to an alarming high incidence of birth defects for babies born to women who were infected with Zika when they were pregnant.
  • Even though there is only a slight possibility of getting Zika in Costa Rica, the possible consequences for pregnant women are so grave, that in our view it would be a mistake to travel to anyplace where there is even a slight chance of getting Zika including the Southern United States, the Caribbean, Mexcio, Central America and South America, except Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina.

What are Doctors doing?

Anna Holzer, a 32-year-old doctor from Polk City, Iowa, is not cancelling a trip to the Dominican Republic. “Women who are pregnant shouldn’t be going. And women who are planning to become pregnant should probably wait a month before attempting to conceive,” Dr. Holzer said in a telephone interview before taking her trip. “But other than taking the precaution of using more repellent, I’m planning on enjoying my vacation.” (Emphasis added) New York Times, February 15, 2016.

Will I have to pay penalty if I book a trip and then cancel because I am pregnant?

As long as you have booked BEFORE March 15, 2016, we will refund all your money. If you are booking after March 15 and there is a chance of you becoming pregnant you have to decide whether you want to assume the risk of incurring penalties.

Will cancelation insurance cover penalties if I become pregnant after booking and need to cancel?

It depends on the policy. Check the fine print carefully. Even policies that claim to cover cancelation, “for any reason,” sometimes exclude, “known risks,” of which Zika for pregnant women may be one.

Will I have to prove I am pregnant?

The answer is no. We trust you.

Will the airlines refund the money I paid for my ticket?

Best to ask the airline.

Vaccinations

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.

Yellow Fever

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if you have visited within the last 6 days or are arriving from Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo(Kinshasa), Ecuador, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Rep., Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan or Venezuela.

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 in Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 & 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.

Conduct

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 or 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.