Panama Experience

Costa Rica · about Escorted or Guided Tour

From San José, hit the beach and mountain retreats on your way to the locks of the world-famous Panama Canal at the centre of the Americas. Visit gorgeous islands and chill to reggae beats on Caribbean beaches. Search for the quetzal bird in cloud forests and shake your tailfeather in the clubs of Panama City. With your hotel and transport arranged by our CEOs, you can concentrate on choosing your own adventure.

What's Included

Beach time in Puerto Viejo, Bocas del Toro, and Santa Catalina. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Listen to the reggae rhythms wafting through the Caribbean air, stare out at the crystal-blue ocean, walk through lush greenery in the highlands, kick back in a hammock on the Pacific Coast, marvel at ships passing through the Panama Canal.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

Costa Rica will not be allowing anyone to enter the country without proof of a departure ticket (bus, airplane, boat, etc.). If you are travelling through a few countries in Central America, you will need to show proof of your itinerary and a departure ticket from your last destination. Please print the itinerary and voucher and bring it with you.

Please note that if you are arriving to Costa Rica via Spirit Airlines, you must contact us at travel@gadventures.com before you depart to obtain bus details for your exit from Costa Rica. The airline has been requiring this information before letting passengers board their flight to Costa Rica and we want to ensure you do not encounter any complications on your flight.

Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures 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. They will provide information on the places you are travelling 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.

Group Size Notes

Max 18, avg 14.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. 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 CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Local bus, boat, private van, taxi, walking.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Simple hotels (13 nts, sometimes multi-share).

My Own Room Exceptions

“My Own Room” is unavailable while in Santa Catalina, days 9-11, for a period of three (3) nights.

About Accommodation

Please note if you are a single traveller, you can expect to share accommodation with one or two other travelers of the same sex for the duration of your trip. Using multi-share accommodation when available helps us to keep our operating cost down, and these savings are passed onto you. If you are traveling with a friend or companion, we will attempt to keep your accommodation on a twin or double basis, however, ask you to be open to the idea of occasional multi-share rooms.

Joining Hotel

Kaps Place
Calle 19
San Jose
Costa Rica
22211169

Joining Instructions

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and 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. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whatever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and memory cards
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Cover for backpacks
- Pocket knife
- Flashlight
- Concealable moneybelt
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
- Sunblock/Sun hat
- Sport/hiking sandals
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Immodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. 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.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency in Panama is the Balboa (PAB).

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.

You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in Panama.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 50USD (20USD notes are ideal).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Departure Tax

Costa Rica exit tax: 5USD

Panama entrance tax: 3USD
Panama airport exit tax: 40USD (if not already included in flight)

Tipping

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

San José:
Adventure Combo (Canopy & Horseback Riding) (L) $107
Adventure Combo (Canopy & Rafting) (L) $107
Combo Tour ( Doka – Poas – Cataratas) (B,L) $96
La Paz Waterfall Gardens (Late departure) $75
Manuel Antonio National Park
(Tues,Thurs,Sat and Sun)(B)(L) $99
Poas Volcano ( Half Day ) $46
San Jose City Tour $39
The Best of the Pacific ( Punta Leona) (B)(L) $115
Rafting Class IV Pacuare (B)(L) $99
Irazu, Orosi and Lankaster Gardens(L) $81
RAM LUNA ( Show and Dinner) $69
Arenal Volcano &Baldi Hot Springs(L)(D) $99
Arenal Volcano & Tabacon Grand Spa (L)(D) $121
Arenal Volcano & The Springs (L) (D) $110

Puerto Viejo:
Kayak (2hrs) $50
Dolphin Watch Sailing tour(L) $100
Rent a Bike $5 to $10
Manzanillo Natural Reserve hike with local guide(4hrs) $30
Surf Lesson (1hr) $50
Scooter rental $70 – $100
Boogie Board/Surf Board Rental $15 per hour
Waterfall Tour (3 hrs) $25

Bocas del Toro:
Scuba diving $60 (2-tank dive)
PADI open water course $195
Snorkel trips $15-$30 (depends on location and operator)
Boat taxi to Red Frog Beach $10 return, $2 entrance

Boquete:
White water rafting $70-$95 (full day)
Naturalist tour $25 per person
Kotowa Coffee factory tour $30
Horseback Riding $30
Hiking trips range from $0 to $120, depending on necessity of transportation and/or guide

Santa Catalina:
Surfboard rental $10-15/day
2-tank dive in Coiba Nature Reserve $180
Snorkeling in Coiba Nature Reserve $80
Horseback riding $15

Panama City:
Tour of city and Canal $50
Self guided tour of same approx $15 (for transportation, locks entrance, museum)
General Entrance to Canal + museum $8
Panama Viejo $3
Taboga Island Ferry $10 (return trip)
Visit to Emberà village and waterfall $50

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

As of November 1st, 2007, the Costa Rica government, requires those entering Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, to have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. Those affected countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information.

Safety and Security

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. 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 CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer 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. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Like any city where tourism is on the increase, crime also tends to increase and while San José and Panama City are not noticeably dangerous cities, there are certain precautions you should take. Make sure that you are aware of your things at all times and don’t go out carrying expensive gear or jewellery.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any 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 our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

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Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.

Max Pax

18

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.

Meal Budget

Allow USD465-605 for meals not included.

Meals Included

PRODUCT_LINE: CRSP, ID: 23213

Itinerary

Day 1: San José

Arrive in at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: San José/Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Take a public bus to Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast to the picturesque village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Fourteen kilometres of incomparable white and black sand beaches are surrounded by exotic tropical vegetation.

There are several optional activities available: rent a bike or hire a boat to Manzanillo, hike to Monkey Point through the Gandoca – Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, or try snorkelling. Feeling lazy? Take it easy and explore La Isla Botanical Gardens.

Transport:
Local bus (5.00 hour(s), 210km)

Day 3: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Rent a boogie board if the waves are calling, dance the night away to reggae and calypso, taste flavourful Afro-Caribbean cuisine, and succumb to the natural beauty of this tropical paradise.

Day 4: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca/Bocas del Toro

Crossing into Panama, travel by bus, foot, then a boat to arrive to the Archipelago of Bocas del Toro, which means the bull’s mouth. Our time here offers plenty of opportunities to snorkel, scuba dive, or just relax on the beach.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Costa Rica – Panama)

Transport:
Local bus (1.50 hour(s), 70km)
Local bus (0.50 hour(s))
Local bus (1.00 hour(s))
Boat (0.50 hour(s))

Day 5: Days 5-6 Bocas del Toro

Free time to snorkel the blue Caribbean waters or look for red frogs at—where else?—Red Frog Beach.

Day 6: Day 7 Bocas del Toro/Boquete

Back on the mainland, settle in for a long day of travel before arriving at the mountain town of Boquete. A plethora of outdoor options await us here, including numerous hikes, whitewater rafting and a tour of a coffee plantation.

Transport:
Boat (0.50 hour(s))
Local bus (5.50-7.00 hours, 340km)

Day 7: Day 8 Boquete

Opt to try whitewater rafting, tour a coffee plantation or hike through the cloud forest.

Day 8: Day 9 Boquete/Santa Catalina

Travel to the Pacific Coast for a few more beach days.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 275km)

Day 9: Days 10-11 Santa Catalina

This small, friendly, and laid-back town on the Pacific coast is the perfect place to wind down. In addition to relaxing on one of the two black-sand beaches, your options include fishing, snorkelling, boat trips, diving and surfing, as well as exploring numerous nature trails that lead to other remote beaches. Look up and see flocks of parrots as they soar the skies above the hills around Santa Catalina.

Santa Catalina is the closest access point to Coiba Island, part of the nation’s largest marine park, described as a cross between the Galapagos and Cocos Islands. Time and weather permitting, it may be possible to organize an optional boat trip to explore this marine park.

Day 10: Day 12 Santa Catalina/Panama City

Leave the beach and travel to Panama’s capital.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 375km)

Day 11: Day 13 Panama City

Enjoy free time to explore the city or visit the Panama Canal.

Day 12: Day 14 Panama City

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

Interested in Panama Experience?

G Adventures

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