Epic Mexico to Costa Rica

Trip Code: QBYXC

Why we love it

There's nothing quite like eating with a local family to really experience a place. At dinner you'll be experiencing traditional Guatemalan hospitality while improving your Spanish with the locals., There are many sides to Central America, and you’ll get a taste of a few: slumbering poolside by Playa del Carmen, gazing at the pyramids of Tikal or haggling in the markets of Chichicastenango., Choose your own adventure in Cerro Verde National Park. Hike the face of a volcano or escape the heat with a dip in the aqua waters of a crater lake., Don’t just fall in love with the food of Central America – learn to make papusas (stuffed flatbread) in El Salvador and nacatamales (steamed filled dough) in Nicaragua., Island life doesn’t get much better than Ometepe in Nicaragua – volcanoes, wildlife-rich rainforest, stunning beaches, ancient rock carvings, and a massive lake are all waiting., Central America likes to keep you on your toes – hike, cycle or zip-line through the steamy cloud forests of Monteverde in Costa Rica and get up close to nature in one of the world’s most incredible landscapes., Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna is unbe-lava-ble. Go with the flow and let off some stream with hikes, waterfalls, watersports, and hot springs in the shadow of this giant.

Is this trip right for me?

Who doesn’t love a challenge? We definitely do here at Intrepid, and while travelling between some locations on local transport on this trip can be hard, it’s super rewarding and a great way to meet the locals.

You’ll be crossing the borders between three countries on this trip and, while it is usually straightforward, you may need to be patient. Make sure you’ve got your best car game ready if there are any delays!

Is it hot in here? Well you’re in tropical Central America so it can get really hot and humid. Carry plenty of water because hydration is key, especially when you’re walking a lot.

It’s a good idea to try and brush up on as many Spanish words as you can. While locals are really friendly, they’re also shy, so knowing some local lingo is a great way to break the ice and show you care.

There are many opportunities to get active on this adventure. Some of the optional activities, especially the volcano hikes, require a moderate level of fitness and sturdy walking shoes. Want to take it easy? There are plenty of other things you can do instead.

Important information

1. This trip is for ages 18-29s.
2. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2 & 3 (Tulum), Days 10 & 11 (Rio Dulce), Days 13 & 14 (Lake Atitlan), Days 23 & 24 (Ometepe Island) and Days 25 & 26 (San Juan del Sur) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
4. Multishare typically includes triple and quad rooms. You may be required to share with group members of the opposite sex and couples, and people travelling together may occasionally be separated due to rooming configurations.
5. Please be careful when booking flights from San Jose; make sure you fly out of Juan Santamaria International Airport [SJO]. Please do not book flights from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport [SJC] as this is located in California, United States.
6. As per updated Nicaragua entry requirements, customers are currently required to supply a copy of their passport front page to their booking agent no later than 15 days prior to departure.

What to bring/pack

Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 15-20kg for check in luggage and a maximum of 5kg for carry on.

Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:

ESSENTIAL:
- Warm as well as light clothing. Central America is often assumed to have hot weather, but it can get cold in the countryside, mountains and at night in the winter so we suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

RECOMMENDED:
- Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, travel insurance etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
- Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and Band-Aids.
- Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
- Swimwear
- Travel beach towel
- Tissues &/or toilet paper &/or wet wipes
- Insect repellent
- Camera with spare memory card, charger &/or batteries

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate
- Phrase book

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your safe if available. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

LAUNDRY:
Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo).

Physical rating

 
2

None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. Cobblestones and uneven roads are common and you may be required to walk in hot and humid conditions. If you are in any doubt, please share these concerns or issues with your sales consultant so that your leader is aware prior and can pre-empt your needs.

Joining your group

SC Hotel Playa del Carmen, # 33 Avenida 20 between 2nd & 4th streets, Centro, Playa del Carmen, MEXICO, Phone: +52 (984)8730467, Fax: +52 (984)8733177

SC Hotel Playa del Carmen is located in the heart of Playa del Carmen. The beach, numerous shops, restaurants and bars are located just around the corner from the hotel. Bus and taxi stations are only a few minutes away. All rooms have a private bathroom, ceiling fan, air conditioning, a safe, cable TV and telephone. There is 24 hour reception, laundry service and swimming pool.

Joining instructions

Intrepid offers a pre-arranged arrival transfer service from Cancun International Airport [CUN] at an additional fee. If you have pre-booked this service, please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.

If you have pre-booked this service; you will be met after exiting the terminal building to the outside. As you exit please look for the Intrepid sign with your name on it. There is no designated area for transfer drivers to wait inside the building so please take your time to look around once outside.
If you have any problems and cannot locate your driver on arrival, please call our Intrepid Emergency number listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. If you don’t have a device or mobile coverage, Cancun Airport has a free Wi-Fi connection so you can call that same number via an online application such as Skype. There are also several information desks and tourist information desks around if you require further assistance.

Otherwise, you can travel from the Cancun Airport to the hotel by taxi. We recommend you use the authorised taxi services organised from inside the terminal. They will charge you approximately MX$1100-1250 (USD$60-70) for a trip to Playa del Carmen. Alternatively, from inside the terminal building you can organise to take a shuttle bus for approximately MX$500 (USD$30). The drive to Playa del Carmen where the hotel is located is approximately 50-60 minutes depending on traffic.

Finishing your trip

Casa Las Orquideas, Avenida Central Calles 35 y 37, Los Yoses, San Jose, COSTA RICA

Boutique Hotel Casa Orquideas is located a convenient 1.1 miles from the National Theatre of Costa Rica and Pre-Colombian Gold Museum. Juan Santamaría International Airport is 11 miles from the property. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and free WiFi is available throughout the property. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property.

Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service to San Jose International Airport [SJO] at an additional fee. If you require this service, please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure.

If you have pre-booked this service, your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3.5 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to call our Intrepid Emergency number, listed under ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document.

Alternatively, you can travel from the hotel to the airport by taxi. The hotel reception will be able to assist you with a taxi. The drive to the San Jose Airport will take approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic and will cost approximately USD$30.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 3

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 3

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule, our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc.

More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.

For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets, we understand your dietary requirements are important, however, sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home. 

Climate & seasonal information

Please note that Hurricane season is June to October, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors these situations as they may arise, so that itineraries or activities can be amended as necessary.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at:
www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact our local office:
Intrepid's Local Operator (located in Costa Rica): +506 6022 4721

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation


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