Costa Rica: the city, the clouds and the coast
Nov. 25 – Dec. 3, 2017 | 9 days / 8 nights | $3,395
“Costa Rica is one of those places I’ll probably visit every few years my entire life, because I just can’t get enough of the fresh air when I’m in the cloud forest, the monkeys (!) the breeze on a warm night, the sounds of rolling ocean waves, the rhythm of the people and culture and how relaxed I feel coming home from a trip to the this beautiful country.” Mary — Living Big Trip Host for this adventure. To learn more about Mary, click here.
Day 1 – November 25
By the end of the day, all travelers should arrive in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. You’ll spend your first night at an eclectic hotel – five local homes strung together – in a unique neighborhood. Your Trip Host will coordinate your transfer from the airport to the hotel so you can relax and rest before the trip kicks off the next morning. Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose (airport code is SJO.) No meals included.
Day 2 – November 26
Over breakfast at the hotel you’ll meet the rest of the group and hear more about the week ahead. Soon after, we’ll head out by private van for our first stop — a lesson in art, culture and connection with a group of women folk artists known as Corazones Valientes. You’ll leave with an art piece to bring home, and lessons and memories from these special women that you’ll have for a lifetime. After lunch and our art lesson we’ll make our way towards the Arenal Volcano, where we’ll find our hotel way up in the National Park. All meals included.
Day 3 – November 27
When you wake, open your blinds to see Arenal Volcano in all her glory. After breakfast we will go on a guided hike around the volcano to learn about local vegetation, animals, see a few waterfalls, hear how the volcano’s eruptions have altered the landscape, and hopefully run into a monkey or two along the way. After the hike we will strap in for an afternoon of zip lining through Costa Rica’s famous rainforest, and then spend the evening soaking at a local hot spring. All meals included.
Day 4 – November 28
After breakfast we’ll hop back in the van and make our way towards Monteverde, home of the world-famous cloud forest and biological reserve, where we will spend the next two nights. In the afternoon we’ll hang out with a chef and owner of a local favorite restaurant, and get a hands-on lesson in Costa Rican cuisine. All meals included.
Day 5 – November 29
Today is the day we take a walk in the clouds of the Monteverde cloud forest. Here there are five hanging bridges and over a mile of trails that we will use to explore the area with a guide and learn about native plants and animal species that live in the rainforest canopy. Later in the afternoon we’ll visit a local coffee plantation to learn about one of the country’s most lucrative (and delicious) exports. All meals included.
Day 6 – November 30
Today we start our journey toward the beach for a few days of complete pampering and R&R at the Andaz Resort where we’ll stay in beautiful rooms that have outdoor patios and unobstructed views of the bay (from your patio and shower — amazing!.) Here you’ll find everything you need to really live the true pura vida lifestyle. Get ready to start relaxing. You deserve it. All meals included.
Day 7 + 8 – December 1-2
These next two days are all your own to make your day what you wish. Each day you’ll have a schedule of the hotel sponsored activities that you can choose to participate in — such as SUP, yoga on the beach, snorkeling, kayaking, cooking demonstrations, water games, local hikes, etc. Or — make your way to the pool or private beach, or book yourself an appointment at the spa (one 60 minute treatment is included) We will reconvene as a group each evening for dinner. Breakfast and dinner included each day.
Day 9 – December 3
On this final day, everyone will either start the journey home or the next leg of their personal vacations. If you’re heading to the Liberia airport, your Trip Host will arrange transportation. Departing Airport: Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia (airport code is LIR.) No meals included.
Trip itinerary is subject to change but will always maintain a spirit of adventure and diverse activities. Questions? Check out the FAQ.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is going on the trip?
This trip is made up of 14 women: 13 guests and your Trip Host. A major tenet of Living Big is to make international travel more accessible to women who don’t want to go at it alone. To learn more about the philosophy, click here.
Can I join the trip solo? Or can I invite a few of my friends to join me on the trip?
Yes and yes to both questions! Some women join Living Big trips on their own; there to make friends and see the world, and others join Living Big trips because they want to share the experience with their friends, sisters, mothers or daughters and don’t want to do any of the planning!
You’ll find that the trips are structured in a way that you’ll have a good amount of group time, but also a fair amount of independent time to explore on your own, with new friends you met in the group, or with the friends joining you on the trip.
Who is the Trip Host? And what is her role?
On this trip your Trip Host is Mary. To learn more about Mary, click here.
The role of the Trip Host is to be there to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible, even when the inevitable travel bumps come our way – such as an unexpected rainy afternoon, traffic, missing luggage, etc. But more importantly, to be a resource that will give you the space you need to really enjoy the experience. So if throughout the trip there is something your Trip Host can do to support you in this regard – please let her know. For example, if you’re not feeling well, having trouble sleeping, not getting along with someone, not satisfied with something, etc. please please share these concerns. No one needs a ‘Mother’ on this trip – that’s not our intention, but if there are small adjustments that can be made to create more space for you to enjoy the experience —- the Trip Host will see what she can do!
How much does the trip cost? And what is included/excluded in this price?
The total price per person is $3,395. This includes the following:
- Planning: all trip logistics, including pre-trip negotiations with all hotels and vendors, onsite coordination, useful information leading up to your trip such as advice on what to pack, how much to budget for spending money, a cheat sheet for learning the local language, advice on local currency, etc.
- Hotels: 8 nights accommodation based on two people sharing a room.
- Meals: see the daily itinerary for meals included each day. On some days, you’ll be on your own for a meal. Some alcohol, water and snacks are also included.
- Transport: all ground transportation, including airport transfers and hired ground transportation, are included.
- Activities: all activities, unless specified in the itinerary, are included.
- Gratuities for all local guides.
The following expenses are not included in the total trip price:
- Round-trip airfare is not included, but gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles or to extend your trip as you wish. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities. You will be required to share flight details at least 8 weeks before the adventure commences.
- A set amount of wine and beer will be purchased with each hosted dinner, but each guest will be responsible for alcoholic beverages beyond this amount.
- While not required, each guest is encouraged to consult their existing insurance policy to determine what is covered while on the trip, and if needed, secure an individual insurance policy for the trip.
- Any additional activities you want to book along the way or outside of the coordinated group trip: spa visits, private tours, etc.
- Spending money and excess luggage fees.
- Additional tips for the Trip Host.
What are the health and physical fitness requirements to join on the trip?
Guests should take personal responsibility to ensure they are physically able and healthy to participate in all group trip activities, such as hiking on uneven surfaces for durations up to 4 hours and sometimes at high elevations, climbing up and down up to 500 steps, riding in mini-vans for up to four hours at one time and on steep/windy/bumpy roads, walking on uneven surfaces, carrying luggage, getting on/off various modes of public transportation, soaking in hot water and zip lining. The trip is moderately strenuous and best enjoyed by anyone who is physically fit and enjoys active days. You should consult with a medical doctor to determine if you are healthy and physically able to participate.
Is there a minimum/maximum age to participate?
Women over the age of 21, that are physically able to participate in the trip itinerary, are welcome to join for this adventure. Please see the detailed itinerary and FAQ on minimum physical fitness requirements to learn more.
What should I do to secure my spot on the trip?
The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online (click here.) Once you reserve your spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver. Please note: registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Is airfare included in the trip fee?
Round-trip airfare is not included in the trip fee, but this gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles, to extend your trip any way you like, and to select the routes and airlines you prefer. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities. You will be required to share flight details at least 8 weeks before the adventure commences.
What do I need to know before I book my flight?
Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities. You will be required to share flight details at least 8 weeks before the adventure commences.
- Inbound flights can arrive anytime on November 25 into Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose (airport code is SJO.)
- Outbound flights and can depart anytime on December 3 from Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia (airport code is LIR.)
Will I be sharing a hotel room? Can I choose my roommate?
Yes, everyone will be sharing a room with at least one other person. In most instances, you will have your own bed. You can request a roommate preference on forms that will be included in your Trip Packet, which you will receive approximately 12 weeks before the adventure begins.
Can you tell me about the type of accommodations we'll be staying at?
You betcha! We’ll be staying at a range of properties throughout the trip, from two stars to five stars. The properties do not have elevator access to all guest rooms, so be prepared to carry your luggage. We’ll spend one night in San Jose, two nights inside the Arenal Volcano National Park, two nights in Monteverde and three nights on the Papagayo Peninsula at the Andaz Resort.
What kind of ground transportation will we use?
We will be traveling between regions in a mini-bus. The roads in Costa Rica are notoriously bumpy, uneven and often not paved, so be prepared for unique driving conditions. We’ll travel by mini-bus for up to six hours at one time, but don’t worry – we’ll make plenty of stops!
What should I pack?
Prior to the trip, you’ll receive a packing checklist and advised on what type of clothes and supplies you’ll need.
Do I need to carry my luggage?
Yes, plan on carrying your bags to/from the airport, on/off buses and vans and in/out of hotels.
I don't speak the local language. Is that OK?
Don’t worry about mastering the local lingo to join our trips. When traveling internationally, locals do appreciate it when visitors know at least a few key phrases. We’ll provide a quick language lesson and cheat sheet.
What will the weather be like?
Weather in late November is generally pretty warm, but it’s right at the beginning of the dry seasons (and end of the ‘green’ season) so there could be some days, or a few hours of each day, that it might rain. The temperatures outside will be between 70-85 degree Fahrenheit and humid.
What if I don't need every hotel/activity/etc. on my trip?
Unfortunately, refunds aren’t possible for unused hotel rooms, meals or activities. The total trip price is a package deal; credits are not given for services not used. Please contact Living Big (click here) if you have questions or concerns about any trip activities due to a physical condition. If there is a reasonable alternative, we can explore it.
How do I communicate information like allergies, injuries, etc?
About 12 weeks before we begin our adventure, you’ll receive your Trip Packet. It includes forms, questionnaires and waivers that you’ll need to submit no later than 8 weeks before the trip begins. The forms in the Trip Packet allow you to share these important details. Living Big will provide meals as outlined in the official trip itinerary and will work with you to try and accommodate special dietary requirements; however, Living Big is not required to provide such meals, supplements and/or any special requests beyond what is outlined in official trip itinerary.
Do I need a U.S. Passport or Visa for this trip?
Yes, a U.S. Passport is required to visit Costa Rica. Your U.S. Passport must be valid for the duration of your stay and have one blank page for an entry stamp. A Visa is not required. But please note that entry requirements may change at any time. While Living Big will attempt to keep you informed of changes, you should take personal responsibility to ensure you can satisfy entry requirements. Click here to learn more about entering Costa Rica with a U.S. Passport. If you plan to visit another country before or after your Living Big trip, please consult the following site for individual entry requirements: click here
Do I have to pay for the entire trip up front or can I make payments?
No, you do not need to pay for the entire trip up front. (Although you can, if you prefer.) Check out the Trip Pricing tab (click here) for payment details.
What if I need to cancel the trip?
If you decide you need to cancel your trip the following refund schedule applies upon written notice of your cancellation:
- Cancellations made on or before July 25, 2017:
- Your trip deposit is nonrefundable. If you paid in full for the trip the deposit is $500.
- You will be reimbursed 50% of what you have paid to date, less the nonrefundable deposit.
- As an example, if you made a $500 deposit, then made two additional payments each for $250 (total paid = $1,000) then the amount you would receive back is $250.
- Cancellations made on or after July 26, 2017:
- All payments made to date are nonrefundable.
Travel insurance helps protect against last-minute cancellation, trip interruption, and to cover medical treatment or emergency medical evacuation during your trip. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance and flight cancellation insurance in advance of your trip. To learn about travel insurance, click here for a quick lesson!
What if the trip doesn't fill up or is cancelled?
The trip requires a minimum number of participants in order to take place at the stated price, since it takes into account group discounts, shared accommodations and other factors that create cost efficiencies. Once an adequate number of participants sign up for the trip, you will be notified. If a trip does not have enough participants, or if someone unexpectedly cancels, you will be refunded your deposit or you will be given the option to pay a trip supplement to continue the trip with fewer participants. Should additional participants sign-up after you have paid the trip supplement, this fee will be refunded. Your air travel itinerary is yours to decide, and we recommend you purchase flight cancellation insurance. Living Big is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by you in preparing for the trip including non-refundable air tickets, gear, medical equipment or travelers insurance.
What if I can't make payments according to the payment schedule?
If unusual circumstances arise and you can’t make payments on time please contact Living Big (click here) to discuss. Generally speaking, failure to make payments according to the schedule may result in losing your spot on the trip.
Oh no! The trip is sold out -- but I really want to go to Costa Rica!
Because all Living Big adventures are kept to small groups, it’s highly likely that the trips will sell out. If we had our way everyone would be able to join (but we can’t grow that fast!) Be sure to sign-up to receive Living Big trip announcements by email (click here to sign-up) to hear about future trips to Costa Rica. Alternatively, you can work with Living Big to plan your own trip to Costa Rica that mirrors the Living Big trip, or make any modifications you like! To learn more about Living Big’s custom travel design services, click here.
Trip Pricing + Payment Options
See below for key details and next steps to save your spot!
This trip is nearly all-inclusive of meals, all hotels, all ground transportation, and all activities outlined in the trip details tab (click here), all the planning and booking (so you don’t have to do ANY work but show up!) and advice on what to pack, tips on international travel and a go-to resource who is here to answer any questions you have leading up to the trip, and on the trip, to help ensure that you have an amazing experience!
If you’re interested in reserving a spot on this trip please make note of the following booking process and payment terms:
- The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online (click here.) Once you request your spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. provided there are spots available on the trip.
- If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver.
There are two options for payment:
- Pay the full amount by credit card or by check.
- Break your payments into equal monthly installments. Make a deposit of $500 to formally register for your spot, and then on the first of each month (following the month you made your deposit payment) your credit card will be automatically charged a set amount, so that the final payment is applied on September 1, 2017. If you decide to make monthly installment payments, you will receive a payment schedule based on when you register.