Of course you have questions! We are talking about traveling into another country, after all. If your question isn’t answered, here, shoot us an email info@TrueNatureEducation.com and we will get back to you straight away with an answer!
What should I bring?
Here is our suggestions:
- We suggest bringing only one suitcase that you are comfortable handling and that is easy to use/move, and one daypack.
- We recommend clothing appropriate for warm tropical weather and comfortable clothing for hanging out, hiking, and even getting a bit dirty sometimes.
- For our service trips we recommend some clothes you can get REALLY dirty as we take part in activities such as painting, dry wall, etc.
- Work Gloves (optional)
- A long sleeve shirt or a light jacket as the evenings get a bit cool, rain gear, sun hat, swimsuit, and comfortable walking shoes. Lightweight water-resistant sneakers or hiking boots, and sandals or other comfortable beach and river shoes. You will need some clothes to change in, as you will get wet and even dirty at times.
- Dress for Meals is very casual. Some people like to bring something a bit nicer for dinner just for fun
- Closed toed outdoor shoes (ie. keens)
- long “boot” socks (optional)
- small umbrella
- A flashlight and/or headlamp for the nights.
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Toiletries such as sunscreen, lotion, and soap
- Earplugs (in case the monkeys…or you roommate keeps you up
- Insect Repellent (especially for mosquitoes)
- beach towel…if you are going to be at the beach
- Or Even better a Sarong! We love sarongs and will show you the multiple uses of them (You can also by them in Costa Rica too)
- Shampoo & conditioner (Biodegradable if possible Please)
- Necessary medications (please notify TN staff of all medications)
- Cushion to sit on or a”Crazy Creek Chair” (Optional for Retreats)
- Yoga mat or Travel Mat, blanket, and meditation shawl (Yoga Retreats Only & Some of our Retreats Provide Mats and Blankets…Check with us)
- Water bottle
- Pocket size English/Spanish Dictionary
- A basic camera w/spare batteries and memory card. Voltage is 110volts like North America.
- Passport and a copy of your passport
- Copy of your flight itinerary (Sometimes they will request them at customs)
- Some cash and an ATM card if possible (Traveler’s Checks are rarely accepted in Costa Rica)
- $29 for the Departure Tax when leaving Costa Rica (this can be paid with cash or credit card)
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.
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.
How do I get to my True Nature Program in Costa Rica?
All international flights will arrive at the San Jose International Airport (SJO) in San Jose, Costa Rica (unless specifically noted on your Info Packet. From the airport, TN can help organize transportation for all retreat participants and guests. If you need transportation provided, you must notify TN at least one week in advance of your arrival.
Are there laundry facilities?
Yes, you will have access to laundry facilities to wash your clothes.
There will be an extra charge for laundry services.
Laundry can be washed in the middle of the week during the one week programs, and will be washed twice during two week programs. Bring enough clothes, so you can have clean clothes when you would like.
Do you have a lot of bugs where True Nature’s programs are held?
Costa Rica in general is a place full of life. And with this life comes bugs too Most bugs are actually quite fascinating to look at and yes, some do bite (mostly mosquitoes). The amount of bugs will range on your location and the time of year you will be visiting. We recommend our participants to bring bug repellant and to use it in the early part of the day and before sunset as a precaution.
What will the weather be like during retreats and programs?
The weather is always changing in Costa Rica. January through July is usually the warmest and dryest 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.
Is the water safe to drink?
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.
We will be clear when it is safe and unsafe to drink the water.
How much money should I bring? What are my expenses going to be?
There are ATM machines 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 ATM’s rather than exchanging money at the bank. 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.
When departing Costa Rica there is an exit tax of $29 that is payable inside the airport.
Of course most major credit cards and debit cards are accepted, however be prepared to always have some amount of Colones, the local currency, to purchase items from small shops, street vendors, etc.
There are fees for some extra activities during the retreats. We will make sure you are aware of your options and cost as they vary per trip.
Many of our centers allow you to set-up a bill linked to your room where you can pay with a credit card at check-out.
What is communication (phone/internet) like on True Nature’s Program’s?
Your cell phone will not work here unless you have an international calling plan (check with your provider).
It is a recommended to bring a calling card to make long distance phone calls. Please get international calling information specifically for Costa Rica when buying a calling card. (This includes a special toll- free number to dial while in Costa Rica).
Wireless Internet and Guest Computers are available.
What are the medical concerns in Costa Rica?
Health-care 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 preperation.
We recommend that either a family member or friend have a copy of your daily itinerary and your passport in case of an emergency.
We recommend all participants refer to the CDC (Center for Disease Control Website)
Website for more information and recommendations: www.cdc.gov
Can I get medicine in Costa Rica?
If you are on a particular medication, please ensure that you have enough medication for the duration of your participation in the retreat. Even though there are many pharmacies in Costa Rica, they may or may not stock your specific medication. When you arrive to the retreat you will be given a waiver where you will be able to describe any allergies and/or medications we need to know about.
What is the language in Costa Rica? Do people speak English?
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.
What are the entry requirements into Costa Rica?
A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica, however visitors of the USA, Canada, and most European countries do not need a visa.
What is the time zone in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is the same as U.S. central standard time, but does not observe daylight savings time.
Is driving a good idea?
Many people love driving and visiting the country at their own pace. Car Rentals are available from the major rental companies. To rent one you must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license and a major credit card. Gasoline is available at stations throughout Costa Rica. Most are open 24 hours. Auto insurance is a MUST, which is included in your contract with the car rental because most insurance companies explicitly exclude foreign countries from their coverage. If you have a question, contact your carrier. When the rented car is given to you, the contract will explain both parts responsibilities.
Is bus transportation available?
Costa Rica has a bus system that offers inexpensive, timely and convenient transportation. It is the primary means of transportation to natives. On the countryside, sometimes buses do not run frequently. In some places they operate only once a day. Another possibility is arranging transfers with tourism transportation agencies which would give you a first class service at reasonable rates.
Do I need to have any special precautions?
Please consider the following precautions during your trip, that are the same wherever you travel around the world:
Do not leave your luggage unattended at the airport or with a stranger. Do not carry any stranger´s luggage through customs or immigration, and always carry your money within an inside pocket, a body pouch, or a money belt.
Daily spending money could be carried in your bag or front pocket. Credit cards and travelers´checks are good tools when you travel. Carry a separate package with the following information: a copy of the identifying pages of your passport, the number of your credit cards, traveler checks, bank accounts, airplane tickets, and emergency phone numbers. Valuable items should be left in a safe place. Avoid crowds as well as dark and lonely places, and deal with well-known tourism agencies instead of unknown persons. In other words, take the same precautions you would have when visiting any other country, but do not let that decrease your enjoyment of this experience.