Travel and Arrival Questions

How do I get to my True Nature Program?
True Nature works with a group travel agency (STA Travel) and they would be happy to help you with booking your flight. Your registration confirmation letter will provide specific travel windows. Please be sure the trip has been “officially confirmed” before booking your flights.

TNE has a special student travel agent that would be happy to help you with booking your flight. True Nature Education and STA Travel have partnered together to provide you the best student airfare for your upcoming trip. STA Travel is a full service travel agency which offers affordable, flexible fares and access to their exclusive Airfare Deposit program. Please use the following LINK to book or contact STA Travel directly.

Please note, most TNE programs have specific travel windows, please check with us before booking your flights. All TNE programs provide group transport to/from the airport. Most flights are met by a TNE Representative at the airport.

Costa RicaPeruItaly

All international flights will arrive at the San Jose International Airport (SJO) in San Jose, Costa Rica and will be met by a TNE Staff Member.

When flying to Cusco (CUZ), where your program will be held, you will be flying through Lima (LIM).

The two most common options when flying to Peru will be to take a "red eye" overnight which arrives in Cusco in the morning or to fly into Lima in the evening, spend the night at a local hotel (there is a great hotel connected to the airport called the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Hotel,) and then fly to Cusco in the morning. Check the flight windows for your trip so you know the departure time for your shuttle in Cusco. A shuttle van will take you to your center which is approximately 90 minutes away. On the return flight, almost all flights depart out of Cusco in the afternoon and connect to a "red eye" departure from Lima.

Florence airport is a very small airport and is impossible to get lost.
Once you walk through the custom sliding doors, go left at the cafeteria where you will find one of our staff members with a “True Nature" sign. We will walk you to the vans and drive for one hour to the program center in Tuscany.

What are the entry requirements?
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Italy and Peru
A passport that is valid for 3 months after your departure from destination is mandatory . Visitors of the USA, Canada, and most European countries will receive a visa at the port of entry. You will automatically receive at least a 90-day tourist visa in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Italy, and Peru. *Terms of Entry are always subject to change and should be confirmed independently before travel with your airline or the country’s embassy.
Will someone be meeting us at airport?
Yes! When you arrive at the airport, a TNE representative will be waiting with our sign directly outside the terminal. There are some programs that have a different procedure, but you will be notified.
What can I expect from the first day of traveling?
In some cases, you will be staying at a hotel near the airport for the first night with the other group participants. Dinner will be provided the first evening, followed by a short group meeting. The following day after breakfast, you will be taking a 3-5 hour shuttle ride to the center. For our centers within 3 hours of the airport we try to transfer to the center following your arrival.

Safety and Medical

What are the medical concerns?
All of our sites are within 1 hour of either a hospital or a 24-hour Emergency Clinic. We have never had a medical situation that has not been adequately resolved. In extreme cases, air transport is available. Please check your health insurance for coverage in foreign countries.

We recommend that either a family member or friend have a copy of your daily itinerary and your passport in case of a State-side emergency. We also will have an emergency number in the unlikely event we need to contact someone at home.

Costa RicaPeruItaly

Healthcare in Costa Rica is very good and sanitary standards are high. First class hospitals are found throughout San José and some of the other largely populated areas. Since long ago, diseases such as malaria, paludismo, and yellow fever have been nearly eradicated in Costa Rica. Hospitals and the Red Cross will provide any medical treatment in case of emergency.
Please check with your physician for any other necessary personal preparation. No vaccines are required to enter Costa Rica. Please refer to the CDC (Center for Disease Control Website) for more information and recommendations: www.cdc.gov.
If you are on a particular medication, please be sure that you have enough medication for the duration of the program. Costa Rica does have pharmacies throughout the country where you can buy many of the same over-the-counter medicines as in the US. When you register for the trip please include information about any allergies and/or medications we need to know about.

Like many Latin countries, there are minor health concerns to consider.
The group will be traveling in areas above 7,000ft altitude and there are no vaccinations required. Here is a link to the World Health Organization about recommended vaccines in Peru and other countries: http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf
You may also check with your own physician for any recommendations. The closest hospitals are in Cusco which is about 1 hour away from the Sacred Valley. The hospital is very modern and well-staffed. There is a clinic about 15 minutes from our center.

Healthcare in Italy is excellent and sanitation standards are high. Italy has been rated the 2nd best healthcare system in the world in recent years. Italian doctors are well-trained and very passionate about their profession, and the private hospitals are comparable with any throughout the world.

Should I get Travel Insurance?
True Nature Travels recommends that all of its participants get travel insurance before their trip.

We cannot emphasize more the importance of travel insurance. As we all know, especially as travelers, "life happens." Whether it's family, work, mother nature, or a change of heart, it is important to be prepared in case you need to unexpectedly change your travel plans. Often for less than $100, you can purchase a travel insurance policy and be protected in the event that you need to make a change or need to be covered financially prior to or during your trip. Click Here to purchase now and you will also receive the True Nature discount. You can learn more about CSA Travel Insurance plans here.

Should I bring valuables?
Costa Rica and PeruItaly

We recommend leaving valuables and electronics at home. We will be traveling in a country that does not have as many material resources as we do. We do our best to honor and preserve the incredible natural resources and environment that we will be visiting. By bringing less, we together get to see that much more of what is around us. Most people do bring their phones and cameras. If you do bring some valuables you will have a safe inside your rooms or you will have access to a safe at the front desk.

We suggest that you unplug as much as you can and enjoy the peace and quiet of the center you will visit, therefore you may not need many electronics. Your destination is very safe and your valuables will be secure in your room. There are no safes in the room.
Always use your good judgment when traveling abroad.

Is it safe to travel in these countries?
General Safety Precautions: Follow airport safety guidelines (about luggage), do not go places alone unless you have notified your group leader, carry the money you will need in safe place (like a money belt) and leave the rest of your belongings at your hotel/retreat center. Carry important phone numbers with you at all times.

Costa RicaPeruItaly

Costa Rica is considered one of the safest places in Latin America to travel. Of course you need to use your common sense about times you are out and being alone. Most of the time you will be with your group and a guide who is very familiar with the locale.

You will be traveling directly from the airport to your center. Each of the centers are very safe and the staff is there to help you.

Always use the same precautions that you would in your own country and traveling abroad.

What important phone numbers should I have?
Please take our US number, the number of the center(s) you will be visiting, and your local TNE representative. This information will be provided to you in the final instructions letter you will receive a couple weeks prior to embarking.
Can my family reach me in case of emergency?
Yes, we will give you the number of the center where you will be staying and a U.S. number for TNE. We would be happy to assist in any way we can.

Costs and Extras

What is included in the program?
Each program is different. Please check the program description that has been sent to you. Room, meals, group ground transportation to and from airport, group activities, and taxes are included in your package. Treatments, tips, and extra excursions are generally not included.
Please feel free if you have a specific question to get in touch with us.
How much money should I bring? Do places accept US dollars?
If you would like to begin your trip with the local currency, you can check online or at your local U.S. bank. Oftentimes you can order foreign currency to bring on your trip. Also, please advise your credit card company on the dates and location of your trip.
Many of our centers allow you to set up a bill linked to your room so you can pay with a credit card at check-out.

Costa RicaPeru

Most places do accept US dollars, but it’s always wise (and fun) to have some Colones (local currency). There are ATMs throughout Costa Rica. We recommend that you do not carry much cash with you, as you can get money from the ATM any time you are in town. The exchange rate is best when using ATMs rather than exchanging money at the bank or airport. There is an ATM in the baggage claim of the airport in Costa Rica. We suggest that you use this to get your first Costa Rican money. The conversion rate usually hovers around 500 Colones to 1 Dollar.
Most major credit cards and debit cards are accepted. There are fees for some extra activities during the programs. We will make sure you are aware of your options and cost as they vary per trip.

There are ATMs in Cusco and a few in local towns near the centers. Our centers can help and advise you on where money can be exchanged. The currency is called Soles or the Nuevo Sol.

Is ground transportation included?
In most cases, one group transportation to and from the airport is included if you arrive within the flight windows of times we have outlined. Please check with us for your particular program and we can make this clear.
Are tips, treatments and extra excursions included?
No these extras are not included in most programs. Group activities are included. Please check your package for the specifics of your program.

Costa RicaItaly and Peru

We recommend tipping your primary group leader $30-$50 for the week when possible. Our Costa Rican leaders rely on tips to help support themselves.

Gratuity is welcomed and appreciated, but not expected. You will have an opportunity at the completion of your trip to offer gratuity that can be split amongst your group leaders, the hotel staff, and guides. Please do not feel like you need to be offering gratuity throughout the entire trip. Average gratuity is $5-$7/day/person.

What if I need to cancel?
  • Initial Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable
  • 1/2 Tuition is refundable up until 90 Days.
  • After 90 Days prior to a program tuition is non-refundable.
  • True Nature is not responsible for any loss incurred due to currency conversion rates.
Is there access to local shopping?
Yes, some of our centers have small gift shops and all of our centers are near towns where you
can shop.
How much are spa treatments?
This varies from center to center. Upon arrival you can book your treatments. If you need to
know in advance please contact us and we can send you prices.

Program

How many sessions do we have each day?
Each program is unique. Your itinerary will be sent to you. Typically you will have 4-5 service
programs during the week, hikes, tours, and adventure excursions– there is always free time.

What to Bring

What should I bring?
We suggest bringing only one suitcase that you are comfortable handling and that is easy to use/move, and one daypack.

Costa RicaPeruItaly

Clothing and Accessories

Pack clothing appropriate for warm tropical weather and comfortable clothing for hanging out, hiking, and even getting a bit dirty sometimes! Pack layered clothing such as: shorts, skirts, pants, tank tops, long-sleeved tops, rain gear/poncho, long sleeve shirt or a light jacket, sweater or shawl, sun hat and swimsuit. Dress for meals is very casual but some people like to bring a few nicer outfits for dinner just for fun.

Good options for shoes include comfortable walking shoes, closed-toed outdoor shoes (i.e. keens), long "boot" socks (optional), lightweight water-resistant sneakers or hiking boots, and sandals or other comfortable beach/river shoes.

For our service trips, we recommend some clothes you can get REALLY dirty as we take part in activities such as painting, drywall, etc. You may also like to bring some work gloves (optional.)

Toiletries

Shampoo & conditioner (biodegradable if possible, please), soap, lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste/toothbrush, deodorant, and wash cloth. Most centers do not provide hair dryers or toiletries.

Health & Comfort

Any prescriptions (packed in carry-on luggage), glasses, remedies you use often, bug repellent or natural remedies like lavender oil or Eucalyptus/lemon oil for bug bites, vitamins, earplugs, sunglasses, water bottle and special teas. A small first aid kit (include electrolytes, Dramamine, and Imodium).
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) tablets or liquid - this can be a great natural preventative remedy for those with sensitive stomachs. If you are sensitive consider taking it the week prior to your trip and during your trip. When travelling away from the center we suggest carrying tissues, hand sanitizer, and drinking water.

Miscellaneous

A camping towel or even better a Sarong! We love sarongs and will show you the multiple uses of them (you can also buy them in Costa Rica). Pocket size English/Spanish Dictionary, camera and charger, Passport and a copy of your passport, Copy of your flight itinerary (Sometimes they will request them at customs), Small umbrella, day pack, a watch - (if you want to leave your device at home) and flashlight and/or headlamp. Some cash and an ATM card if possible (Traveler’s Checks are rarely accepted in Costa Rica).

While in Cusco and Machu Picchu you will be at a much higher altitude than you will be in the Sacred Valley. This region of Peru is primarily split into two periods: the wet season and the dry. The dry season takes place between April and October (although, it does still rain). Sunshine is abundant, though temps can dip in the evenings and early mornings. During the day, visitors can expect highs of around 65°-70°F (18°-21°C). Be prepared to bundle up at night.

Clothing

Layered clothing: shorts, skirts, pants, tank tops, long sleeved tops, rain gear/poncho, warm jacket, sweater or shawl, sun hat, comfortable shoes for walking, sandals.

Toiletries

Shampoo & conditioner (Biodegradable if possible please), soap, lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste/toothbrush, deodorant, wash cloth and camping towel. Most centers do not provide hair dryers or toiletries.

Health & Comfort

Any prescriptions (packed in carry on), glasses, remedies you use often, bug repellent, and natural remedies like lavender oil or eucalyptus/lemon oil for bug bites, vitamins, earplugs, sunglasses, water bottle, and any special teas. A small first aid kit (include electrolytes, Dramamine, and Imodium).
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) tablets or liquid - this can be a great natural preventative remedy for those with sensitive stomachs. If you are sensitive, consider taking it the week prior to your trip and during your trip. When travelling away from the center we suggest carrying tissues, hand sanitizer, and drinking water.

Miscellaneous

3-pronged electrical adapter (if you are bringing a device with 3-pronged cord,) pocket language dictionary, passport and copy of flight itinerary, camera and charger, money or traveler’s checks, water bottle, day pack, and flashlight. The center accepts cash-only although you may be able to use a credit card for certain tours and activities.

Most of our retreats journey to Italy in temperate months (65°-80°) There may be a bit of rain during these times of the year. Please check the weather for the month you will be traveling. Depending on the tours and activities during your retreat, you may need extra gear for biking, SUP, or other adventures.

Clothing

Layered clothing: shorts, skirts, pants, tank tops, long sleeved tops, bathing suit (if there is a pool at your venue,) rain gear, jacket, sweater or shawl, sun hat, comfortable shoes for walking or biking, sandals. Depending on your travel plans, you may want to bring an outfit or two for going out.

Toiletries

Shampoo & conditioner (biodegradable if possible, please), soap, lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste/toothbrush, deodorant and wash cloth. Most venues do NOT have hair dryers.

Health & Comfort

Any prescriptions (packed in carry on), glasses, remedies you use often, bug repellent, and natural remedies like lavender oil or eucalyptus/lemon oil for bug bites, vitamins, earplugs, sunglasses, water bottle, and any special teas. A small first aid kit (include electrolytes, Dramamine, and Imodium).

Miscellaneous

Pocket language dictionary, passport and copy of flight itinerary, camera and charger, money or traveler’s checks, water bottle, universal power adaptor for Europe.

What if I forget something?
There is always a town nearby any of our sites. To your surprise, they will have almost anything you would need. If you forget something, you will be just fine.

Food

Do they accommodate special diets?
Yes! Our centers accommodate most special dietary restrictions like allergies, vegan, and non-gluten diets. They serve wholesome, fresh, organic when possible meals that are simple and delicious. Costa Rica does have some of the alternative foods we enjoy in the States, but generally speaking the diet in Latin America is simple and basic. If you are concerned you can bring some alternative snacks to supplement your meals.
Is the food organic?
Each of our centers does their best to serve organic fruits and vegetables when possible.
Is the water safe to drink?
Costa RicaPeruItaly

In most of Costa Rica the water is safe, and as always there are some exceptions in certain places. We usually drink bottled water in the cities. Your TNE guide will be clear when it is safe and unsafe to drink the water. At the program centers there is unlimited filtered water, so you can fill your water bottle (please bring one with you).

At the program center there is unlimited filtered water, so you can fill your water bottle.

Italy’s tap water is clean and safe.

Will there be enough protein?
Most meals have a protein source (eggs, beans, cheese, nuts etc.). If you are on a high protein diet, please let us know in advance so we can have something for you. It may be a good idea to bring a protein bar for each day of the trip.
Should I bring my own snacks?
If you like to snack, we recommend bringing some special snacks with you, but this is not necessary. The meals are abundant and we are confident that you will be well-fed. If you have extreme allergies or strict dietary needs, you may want to bring some supplemental foods so you do not have to worry if you will have what you need.
What kind of drinks do you serve?
Most of our centers have alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine. Usually smoothies and fresh juices are offered as well as sodas, tea and coffee. Extra drinks are not included in our packages and prices vary from center-to-center.

Accommodations

Are there laundry facilities?
Most of our centers have laundry services to wash your clothes. There is an extra charge for laundry services.
What kind of access do I have to communications (phone/internet)? Will my U.S. phone work?
Wireless internet and complimentary guest computers are usually available for use.

Phone Service in Costa Rica:Phone Service in Peru:Phone Service in Other Countries:

1. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport in Costa Rica. This will go in your phone and you will have a Costa Rican phone number for the week. You can purchase an International Plan for approximately $20 and call internationally. You will need to give the Costa Rican number to people in the U.S.
2. You can call your U.S. phone company and purchase an international plan. This will be more expensive, but you can keep your U.S. number.
3. You can use your phone with WiFi. If you have an iPhone, iMessage and FaceTime Audio/Video are free with WiFi. You can also make international calls via Skype and send free international texts via the "What's App" App.

1. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport in Lima. This will go in your phone and you will have a Peruvian phone number for the week. You can purchase an international plan and call internationally.
2. You can purchase an international plan through your current service provider. This will be more expensive, but you can keep your current number.
3. You can use your phone with WiFi. If you have an iPhone, iMessage and FaceTime Audio/Video are free with WiFi. You can also make international calls via Skype and send free international texts via the "What's App" App.

please check with us.

Can I have my own room?
In many cases, it is possible to have a single room for an extra fee.
Can I choose a roommate?
Rooms are based on double or triple occupancy. We try our best to honor roommate requests. You can request a roommate on your online registration form.
What type of electricity do they have?
Costa Rica and PeruItaly

Same as the United States. No adapters are necessary. Some of our centers are on a solar system so we ask guests to be aware of usage. You can check when you arrive if there are restrictions.In Peru, you will need a converter for cords with 3 prongs.

Electricity in Italy is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC). For comparison, in the United States it is 110 volts, 60 cycle AC current. You must bring a 2 pin adapter to use your electronics.

Do I need to bring shampoo, lotion, hair dryer and a towel?
Please bring all your own toiletries and if possible bring biodegradable products. Centers do NOT have hair dryers, but do have bath towels. Please bring a beach towel or sarong for outings.
Do they have a pool, sauna, or hot tub?
Please check with us for the specific location and the amenities available.
Can someone with mobility issues get around?
We, along with our centers, continue to strive to have our programs accessible to all. Please check with us in regards to the program you are interested in.

Weather and Conditions

Are there a lot of bugs? And do they have bug spray?
Costa Rica, Guatemala and PeruItaly

Latin America in general is an environment full of natural life. Insects are a part of this ecosystem. Most bugs are actually quite fascinating to look at and yes, some do bite (mostly mosquitoes). The amount of bugs will vary depending on your location and the time of year you will be visiting. We recommend that you bring bug repellant and use it in the early part of the day and before sunset as a precaution.

During certain times in the summer there may be little mosquitos – bring a natural mosquito repellent.

What will the weather be like?
Costa RicaPeruItaly

The weather is always changing in Costa Rica. Basically, there are two seasons: dry and green. December through July is usually the warmest and driest part of the year. The temperature annually will range from 65F to 85F. There is always a possibility of a shower here and there as we are in the tropics, so bring your raincoat and/or an umbrella too.

March through November all have nice weather. The summer is the high season. Rainy season is December – February and some trails are closed in the Sacred Valley during this time.

Italy has seasons similar to the US. Winter months are colder and Spring and Fall are milder. Summer can be quite hot depending on your location.

What is the time zone?
Costa RicaPeruItaly

Costa Rica is the same as C.S.T. (1 hour behind EST) but does not observe daylight savings time. This means during March –October they are on MST (2 hours behind EST).

They are on EST from mid October to mid March and CST from mid March – mid October. They do NOT observe daylight savings time.

Italy is in the Central European time zone. +6 hours from EST (New York).

Miscellaneous

What if I want to extend my trip? Can you recommend other hotels?
Yes, we can assist you with your plans prior/post program. Just let us know.
What language is spoken? Do people speak English?
Costa Rica and PeruItaly

Spanish is the language primarily spoken. You will find that many people speak English as a second language and you should not have troubles communicating with locals. There will be a TNE guide with you who speaks English available throughout your program.

Italian is the language of Italy. At our program centers, some of the staff do speak English.

Can I come alone to a program?
Yes! Coming on programs can be a great place to find your own space and connect with new friends. Since this is a group experience you will not be alone unless you want to be.
What is the average age of participants?
While there is no age which is inappropriate for programs, most of our participants are between the ages of 20-70. If you fall outside that range…no worries, as long as the program feels interesting to you (and you have your parents consent if under 18), we welcome your presence. On service trips most of the people are college age.
Are children welcome?
Yes! The program schedule is geared towards adult participation, but children are welcome. At many of our centers childcare is available during sessions. There will be plenty of time for you and your family to go on excursions, explore the area and just hang out. Please let us know if you would like to bring a child with you and we can let you know about room and meal costs.

Learn More about other travel opportunities with True Nature which include holistic health, nutrition, meditation, and yoga.
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