travel tips

  • 5 Things you DONT need to pack

    Pack lighty for Costa Rica

     

    One of the first questions we are always asked is "What do I need to pack?", and to answer that question we just put together the best "What to wear? Information" that a Costa Rica's visitor may need. But, there are some things that truly are not necessary or not recommended to pack to come to Costa Rica or even to travel to any other country.

    A big huge bag could be bothersome when you are traveling for 8 days on a different country. Most clothes that a person may bring to Costa Rica are never used and they are just taking a lot of space and also may imply an extra charge on your way back to your country because of overweight bags.

     

    • A huge stash of toiletries is too much to pack. Just pack the essentials, and buy what you need as you go. Bring only some skin moisturizer, mosquito repellent and sunblock. Also deodorant and toothpaste will be perfect.
    • Make Up and Jewelry. It is not necessary and will make you worry about where to leave it and how to keep it safe. Just enjoy your time at the beach and mountain without a huge stash of makeup. When you plan to come to Costa Rica, you will be probably be booking also adventure tours, a time on the Hot Springs and the beach and hikes on the forest. Make up and jewelry are not a good idea for our tropical weather and outdoor activities.
    • Electric toothbrush or electric coffee grinder. Keep it simple, and enjoy the great Costa Rican coffee. Actually, you wont have time to grind any coffee or to look for an electric outlet to plug your electric toothbrush. It is better to bring a normal toothbrush and to enjoy the wonderful and some times free amazing coffee of Costa Rica.
    • Soap. Dont bring soap, most hotels have it and if they dont it is pretty cheap to buy and less to carry. All mid priced, standard and luxurious hotels have soap and many have shampoo. All hotels also have towels so you don't need to bring any extra towels or sheets, unless it is extremely necessary.
    • High expectations. This is very important.  It’s better to be pleasantly surprised once you arrive rather than expect too much from a city you’ve never explored.

     

    A Principle: Curtis Foreman from Flashpacking Life: Want to cut down on the number of things you bring on your trip?

    Here’s a simple suggestion that will both lighten your load and make your trip more memorable:

    "Don’t pack anything that might be fun to buy once you arrive." 

     

    Costa RicA Roads

    Written by Caro Goodfellow

    Google+ Banana Adventure Tours
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

  • Costa Rica Currency Exchange

    Currency Exchange Strategies for an Exciting Vacation

    Exchanging currency while planning a vacation can save money

    Traveling to another country like beautiful Costa Rica is always exciting but it can also be a real test of patience, even if you get some help from a professional. Making a checklist, booking the right flights, hotel rooms and making popular restaurant reservations are the foundation for the trip and an accurate budget is the fuel that makes the trip happen. In order to organize the trip properly a realistic budget should be developed, which includes the value of the currency you’ll use on the trip. If you begin to follow your currency pair’s movement while you’re planning you should be able to save money, avoid currency exchange surprises, and take a great deal of stress out of planning the trip.

    If you consult with a professional currency exchange broker while you’re planning, you can design a currency exchange strategy that makes your budgeting process a more accurate exercise. A broker will help you average exchanges or will explain how to use future contracts to exchange money. A currency broker will give you a real time rate without hidden fees, surcharges or inflated exchange rates and the broker is always available to answer questions or to help you use other strategies while you’re on vacation.

     

    Banks and credit cards can be expensive exchange strategies

    It’s easy to forget that the currency trading market is a for-profit business. Banks could care less about your personal exchange strategy, they’re interested in profit. Banks charge a transaction fee every time you exchange currency and some banks charge an additional 2 or 3% foreign exchange fee, plus they may give you an exchange rate that’s not a real time rate. Their profit is built into the exchange rate. Credit card companies will use an exchange rate filled with profit, plus they charge transaction fees that could cost you 2% to 4%, depending on the situation. Credit cards also add a surcharge to every trip purchase, so you never know how much you’re spending until you get the statement and that’s always budget breaking information.

    Airport merchants, hotels and retail shops know you like the convenience of exchanging money with them and they make you pay for it. If you use one or all of those merchants to exchange money, you’ll have less to spend on vacation necessities. A reliable currency exchange broker will assist you if you need to exchange more money while you’re traveling without hidden fees, surcharges or profit filled exchange rates. A broker does make a profit, but you know what it is before you make an exchange, so you can incorporate it into your budget. Once the transaction is complete the broker will overnight your money using a secure delivery service.

     

    Other travel tips

    Some countries limit the amount of cash you can carry through customs, so check with your broker and stay within the legal limit. Make sure to always carry cash in a money belt, hidden pocket or a leg pouch that’s secure and out of sight. Use hotel safes when you reach your destination and follow local security measures when you leave the hotel or the resort. Remember common sense if your best security tool when you use it.

     

  • Costa Rica Travel Tips

     

    Costa Rica is a wonderful country to travel to. It offers a wide range of options for all tastes. However, when traveling to other countries, there are things that will be different, and you as tourists should be prepared with a little information to handle every possible situation and enjoy completely your vacations.

     

    Some of these Costa Rica travel tips are:

    • When you come to Costa Rica make sure you keep your important papers, passport, and other valuables in a safe place. Ask if your hotel has a security box in the room or in the reception (sometimes there is an extra charged for it). You only need a photocopy of the main page of your passport and of the entry stamp page. However, to change travel checks or change dollars in a bank you will need your actual passport.
    • Americans and Canadians do not need visa to enter Costa Rica; they are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Europeans and Latin Americans (excluding Nicaraguans) are allowed to stay in the country up to 30 days; Western Europeans need visa.
    • When traveling around the country keep your money in different places. Costa Rica is a fairly safe country, however, you can lose your money or it could be stolen. It is advisable to have your money and credit cards in different places and not in just one place.
    • Before coming to Costa Rica leave a copy of your itinerary along with other important papers, such as airplane ticket information, traveler’s checks, credit cards, and medical history, with a friend or family. This in case you lose your papers and need to have your information again.
    • Check your health insurance; verify if it covers you outside your country, or buy travel insurance with your travel agency.
    • Pack exactly what you need and weight your bags so you won´t get charge for the overweight. You can also use covered luggage tags with the information and address of your office instead of your house, just to be safe!
    • In Costa Rica there is "Costa Rican Time" meaning that everyone goes on their own peace, so be patient and remember that you are a visitor in the country and enjoy the difference.
    • Remember to bring special medicines and medical equipment. It may be hard to find here. Costa Rica has many very good pharmacies and clinics, but if you are away in a tour you probably will not find quickly what you need for your health.
    • Once you are in the country, remember to pack plastic bags to keep your electronics safe in case of rain and humidity, insect repellent, sunscreen, rain jackets or umbrellas and various types of clothes since the weather varies a lot from morning to night.
    • Tips and taxes are included in restaurants; however, if you feel like leaving some more tips do so! For drivers, tour guides and hotel personnel, tips are expected, but you can leave whatever you feel the service was worth. There is an Exit Taxes to leave the country using the International Airport; the fee is $26 per person payable just before checking in at your airline counter. It could be paid in dollars or colones, but no credit cards.
    • When using taxis make sure the "maria" or taximeter is in place. Taxi drivers should charge whatever the taximeter marks and no more. They do not expect tips, however, it is up to you.
    • Tico Time! Punctuality is not Costa Ricans strong point. However, tour operators and private transportation companies do respect exactly the time they set the tour or the pickup.
    • Internet is widely available in the country. However, do not expect great fast service; it truly depends of the company that is offering the service. In many hotels wireless Internet is available, but if not, there are many Internet Coffee Houses where you can pay Internet time for a low cost.

     

    Volcan irazu

     

     

     

     

    Written by Caro Goodfellow

    Google+ Banana Adventure Tours
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

  • Costa Rica Visa Requirements

    Be prepared before your trip

     

    Costa Rica is a very friendly country, and since its second most important national income is Tourism, it is open with free visa for many countries. However, there are other countries that are required to ask for a Costa Rica visa. To enter Costa Rica all visitors need a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica.

    Costa Rica Visa requirement

     

    The counties on this list DO NOT need visa (this is just a summarized list):

    • United States
    • Canada
    • Argentina - 3 Months
    • Aruba - 30 Days
    • Bahamas - 3 Months
    • Belize - 30 days
    • Bolivia - 90 Days
    • Brazil - 90 Days
    • Chile - 90 Days
    • Colombia - 90 Days
    • Cuba - 30 days (Visa or Tourist Card prior to arrival, U$25)
    • Ecuador - 90 Days
    • El Salvador - 3 Months
    • Dominican Republic - 30 Days
              (Tourist Card on arrival required. Fee: USD 10)

                          
    • Guatemala - 90 Days
    • Haiti - 3 Months
    • Honduras - 3 Months
    • Jamaica - 30 Days
    • Mexico - 180 Days
    • Nicaragua
    • Panama
    • Paraguay
    • Uruguay
    • Venezuela
    • United Kingdom - 6 months
                       

     

    Written by Caro Goodfellow

    Google+ Banana Adventure Tours
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

  • Getting to Costa Rica

     

    Costa Rica is located north of Panama in Central America. Numerous international flights arrive to Costa Rica everyday from all over the world, and from many different airlines (America Airline, Taca, Copa, US Airways, Continental Airlines, Cubana, Delta, Iberia and Mexicana, among others). It is 2.5 hours by air from Miami, 7 hours from Los Angeles, and 11 hours from London (depending on the flight stops).

    The country has two international airports fully functional. The first and most important one is the Juan Santamaria International Airport, located in the province of Alajuela, around 25 minutes from San Jose downtown. There are very hotels close by the international airport; however, the airport is not too far away from the capital.

    The second international airport is called Daniel Odubert International Airport, located in the city of Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste. It is a great airport to arrive to if you plans to stay in the beaches of Guanacaste. The size of the country allows tourist to visit other destinies by land, such as Nicaragua and Panama. The island of San Andrés (Colombia) could be visited through a short flight from the Juan Santamaria International Airport. There is also a main national airport in the Capital city named Tobias Bolaños Airport, which connects domestic flights to most places in Costa Rica and their local airports.

    Banana Adventure Tours is able to offer you the best flight rates available in the market. Please make sure you look our flight reservation engine (located in the Home page just next to About Banana Adventuretours), to check prices and buy your airplane ticket to Costa Rica.

    Costa Rica is also a cruise port for both, Caribbean Cruises (Limon) and Pacific Ocean Cruises (Puntarenas). Many tourist visit the country through the many cruises that dock in Costa Rica, and have even time to visit the most touristic places located close by. Whether you are coming by air, by road or by se, we can help you plan your trip in Costa Rica.

     

    For any inquiry please write an e-mail to our address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we will respond no later than 24 hours later.

     

    Costa Rica essential

     

     Written by Caro Goodfellow
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Reasons to get Travel Insurance

    Staying safe in Costa Rica

     

    Each travel is different and personal circumstances vary greatly; however, when traveling to any country of Latin-American it is very important that as part of your planning you include travel insurance. You may ask why, and we can advice you 5 reasons why it is very important:

    1. Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. You need your non-refundable expenses covered and to get to your destination.
    2. Your bags are lost and your medication is in it. You need to have an emergency prescription filled.
    3. Although Costa Rica is a great country for Health Tourism and most surgeries are less expensive than in the US, most health services would be expensive if you are not prepared for them. In Costa Rica you can find basic medical care for any minor injury but if there is a greater necessity the hospital bill would be very high.
    4. Your flight has been cancelled, or your passport and wallet are stolen, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport.
    5. You need to cancel your trip due to illness or you have a medical emergency in a foreign country.
    6. In case of a natural disaster and you need to evacuate your resort, hotel or cruise.

     

    There are many Travel Insurances available in the world, but they vary in quality and on the conditions they offer. There are some things that you have to watch out for to buy exactly what you need. For example:

    1. Check for country exclusions, and be sure that Costa Rica is included on the list of the countries that the travel insurance covers.
    2. Dangerous activities: check if your Travel Insurance includes outdoor activities or adventure activities. Costa Rica is a great place to enjoy adventure activities such as canopy (ziplining), white water rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, ATV, etc.; many insurers consider this activities many other largely safe activities as very dangerous pursuits.
    3. Check for Maximum amount per item covered.

     

    If you need Travel Insurance and dont know which to get, we could refer you to Travel Insurance IMGlobal.

     Travel insurance

     

    Costa Rica flower

     

    Written by Caro Goodfellow

    Google+ Banana Adventure Tours
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

  • Tour Package FAQs

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Questions and Answers

     

    1. How big are the groups?

    Each group has a maximum of 14 people. Small groups are our specialty and it is one of the most important ingredients in an adventure tour. That way we are able to give personalize attention to all our clients.

    We also specialize in family groups and groups of friends, who want to enjoy an unforgettable vacation in Costa Rica. If you are planning to travel alone, you have two options: Solo travel package or to join a bigger group from Banana Adventure Tours.

    Finally, we offer the service of customizing your tour so that it completely matches your expectations and budget need.

     

    2. What is included on the price?

    Each package has a list of everything that is included. Once you make the final payment the only thing that you will have to pay for is your souvenirs, extra meals that may not be included in the package, any other personal thing that you decide to buy later on and an exit tax, which as up today is $28 per person payable directly at the International Airport. There will not be any extra charge what so ever. On the final price taxes are included.

     

    3. How do I travel during the tour?

    It depends on the tour package. There are some packages that for the number of people in the tour will be transported on private air conditioned luxurios buses or minibuses. There are other packages such as the Adventure Lover Package that has semi private transportation (share shuttles up to 8 people).

    If you would like to travel on domestic flights we can arrange for the logisitcs of the package.

     

    4. What are the accommodations like?

    In Banana Adventure Tours we only work with the best hotels in the different touristic areas and we can find the option that best suits your budget needs. We can customized your trip to fit any of your requirements.

     

    5. What about the weather?

    Costa Rica is a tropical country and its weather is very variable. However, there are two very marked seasons: green season (October - May) and rainy season (May - September). You may find interesting that in Costa Rica it rains the most on the afternoons just after 1:00 p.m., usually mornings are sunny.

     

    6. Are these "cultural" tours?

    Banana Adventure Tours designs packages focusing on adventure and nature. If you want to add any educational activities we can arrange for a wide variety of options, but our product is soft and family adventures.

     

    7. When is the payment due?

    Please see the Terms and Conditions document as well as the Money Refund Policy.

     

    8. What should I take on the tour?

    Please check the Costa Rica Travel Tips document and the Travel Checklist.

     

    9. Can you arrange for flights?

    Unfortunately we do not sell airplane tickets but we can recommend a company that works with us and that has very nice air fares.

     

    10. What is I need more information?

    If you have any more questions please send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     

     Jaguar Costa Rica

     

    Lake Arenal

     

    Camino naranja Costa Rica

     

    Bobo Costa Rica

     

    Birds of Costa Rica

     

     

     

  • Travel Checklist

    Prepare for your Costa Rica Adventure Travel

     

    How do I prepare for my upcoming vacation?

    Banana Adventure Tours would like to help you plan your trip abroad and stay safe during your vacations. Some of the advice we can give you are before you go:

     

    • Get the information about the nearest embassy, in Costa Rica or in the countries you will be visiting. For more information about your embassy in Costa Rica, you may visit the web page of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores.
    • It is better to travel with an international insurance that will cover you for any activity you may do during your vacations.
    • Get the vaccinations you may need before you travel. For example, for some countries, such as Colombia, you may need to get the Yellow Fever Vaccination. It may vary according with the time of your trip, but make sure you ask.
    • Make sure you have the information about visas that you may need to travel to Costa Rica, or any country during your trip. Also check that your passport is valid, if you do not have one yet, you may want to apply for it as soon as possible.
    • Check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting. For Costa Rica, you need a valid passport for six months. Also you need a print flight itinerary with the return flight back to your country.
    • Get photocopies of your passport and any other important documents and have it store in a place separate to the originals.
    • Inform a relative or friend about your trip and make sure you specify when you are living and how much time you will be away.
    • Take enough money in cash for your travel, in case you encounter any trouble. You can have a combination of travelers check, cash, and international credit cards.
    • If you want to know some travel advice about Costa Rica, you may enter the Summary of the consular assistant department. You can also read a little more the country in Costa Rica Travel Tips.
    • Investigate if your mobile service works outside the country, and specifically in Costa Rica.
    • Tell your credit card company that you will be out of the country, so they will not close your account as a security measure.
    • During your trip, don’t openly display your valuables. That way you will stay safe.
    • Make sure you know about the regulations for food and water. There are some countries where tap water is not safe. In Costa Rica, tap water is safe; however, you may want to buy bottle water to avoid any traveler disease.

    Juan Santamaria International Airport

     

     Written by Caro Goodfellow
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.