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What's Included in an EcoPassports tour package?
There's nothing worse than being "nickel and dimed" on a study abroad trip! For this reason, our student travel packages are all-inclusive. Your only out of pocket expenses are for optional trip or medical insurance, souveniers/personal purchases, and extra snacks/bottled water. We price our study abroad trips to be inclusive of airfare (or travel subsidy), accommodations, transportation, at least 3 meals per day (plus tips), snacks, admission to all sights and activities, guides, and taxes.
Where does my trip originate?
Gateway departure cities vary. To help keep costs (and our prices) low, Ecopassports tries to find the closest, major accessible airport for your departure and return.
Do I need any type of insurance?
All EcoPassport trips are fully insured either by the University or EcoPassports. EcoPassports insurance provides protection against trip cancellation due to medical/family emergencies, lost baggage situations and full medical coverage abroad. EcoPassports is a fully insured company with a $1M umbrella liability policy.
Why should I travel with EcoPassports?
We're passionate about the world we live in, global citizenship, and helping bridge people and borders through travel. We've designed our study abroad trips to give you a well-organized, authentic experience that incorporates both cultural and socially responsible opportunities. We're proud of the passion that fuels our commitment to providing unmatched, unparalleled student travel experiences for you and like minded global citizens! EcoPassports wants to help students experience the magic of travel and study abroad.
How about the "other" things:
spending money? cell phone & internet access?
A fair question. The amount of spending money that you bring is purely up to you. We suggest anywhere between $25-$100 per day. We all know that cell phone and internet technology have come a long way, however, please keep in mind that in some instances, we will be traveling in mountainous and remote conditions. Study abroad trips have been planned with some type of wi-fi or internet capability in mind. Cell phone capability is now more ubiquitous, but please keep rates in mind!
Do I need a passport? Do I need a visa?
Yes to a passport...and...it depends on a visa.
Students from the United States need a valid passport to visit our trip countries.
Students from the United States will be automatically issued a 90 day tourist visa upon entry into the host country. For students traveling on Passports issued in countries other than the United States please check with the Study Abroad office.
What sort of electrical outlet adapters do I need to bring?
Good news! Outlets in our South and Central America destinations are, (like ours) 110 volt, with standard US two prong plugs (or three prong if grounded). European travel will require adapters.
What is the weather like?
Tropical! Please be prepared for hot, humid weather in the 80’s and 90’s during the day with a daily afternoon rain shower.
What will the accommodations be like on the trip?
In keeping with the true nature of travel, accommodations will vary during the course of the trip. The Costa Rica experience begins with a dormitory-style stay at Earth University before moving on to a few lodge/hotel nights at La Selva Biological Station. Get ready to experience temperature and climate change over the next several days beginning with our stay at Tranquilo mountain lodge, an authentic "cloudforest" experience complete with rustic but comfortable rooms and beds followed by sun-drenched luxury villas at the world-famous black sand beaches of Playa Hermosa. The trip ends in the beautiful capital city of San Jose in a 5-start hotel!
What kind of food will we be eating?
Part of any travel and cultural exchange is embracing the food and drinks of the local culture. Meals will consist of traditional Costa Rican food prepared by the hotels, schools, research stations,and farms we visit. As a special treat, at least one meal will be with a local community host family and a few meals will be in community restaurants and the local ubiquitos roadside restaurants known as Sodas. Breakfast may include gallo pinto (a mix of rice and beans) with eggs and bread, fruits and cereal. Lunch and dinner will be the traditional “casados” which consists of rice, beans, salad and a meat/seafood dish as well as pasta dishes mixed with always favorite pizza. Delicious!
Is the water safe to drink?
The biggest water company in Costa Rica is AyA and they have a pipe system all over the country. They do an excellent job continuously checking the quality of the water. In quite a few areas - mostly rural - there is a local water committee that handles the drinking water and they must adhere to the same standards of treatment and testing as the national water company (AyA). IF you are still concerned, or have a sensitive stomach, please consider the following options: 1) Buy bottled water. You should plan on spending about $1.25 for an average size bottle of water, 2) Water purfication tablets ($15 for 100 tabs) are cost-effective, easy to carry, and handy.
How much will be traveling?
Quite a bit. The eight day agenda covers a large portion of the country and is packed with structured learning activities,"hands in the dirt" farm work, and even a bit of fun with the chocolate tour, coffee tour, and ziplining!
What safety concerns should I have?
There's safety in numbers and we will always travel as a group and with a native CR bilingual guide. In addition, the areas where we travel are modern with ready access to emergency police and medical assistance. We are not traveling to areas where malaria or dengue fever is present/prevalent. As for emergency medical care, Costa Rica has very good health services. Earth University has a fully staffed and equipped health facility as does La Selva Biological Station.
What shots and immunizations should I get?
Please consult with a travel doctor/nurse, campus health clinic, or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on travel to Costa Rica and on your personal medical history. In addition to your personal consultation, please also visit the Centers for Disease Control website for localized, up-to-date information around immunizations and traveler’s health.
The Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is an infectious disease that is transmitted to people through mosquito bites, blood transfusion, and sexual contact with an infected male. The mosquitos that transmit Zika are active during the daytime as well as at night.
Zika can infect any traveler to tropical areas of Central and South America and the Caribbean but symptoms are mild for most people. Pregnant women, however, are at the center of concern since the virus can be spread to their unborn baby. Any traveler that is currently pregnant should not travel to affected areas.
The most up-to-date information about the virus, symptoms, treatment, and protection measures can be found on the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, and other trusted resources for reliable and updated information.
EcoPassports suggests proactive measures to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses such as protective clothing (long pants/shirts), liberal use of bug spray, use of mosquito netting, and staying away from standing water wherever possible since this is where mosquitos lay their eggs. As part of the pre-departure information session, we will also provide a short tutorial on Zika.
At the current time, EcoPassports is not making any immediate changes to the Costa Rica program. All travel warnings are directed to pregnant women. Remember, there is no travel warning directed towards non-pregnant travelers.
Will I be able to do laundry?
Yes. Laundry facilties will be available at several location/stops during the stay.
Will there be a language barrier?
No. We will be participating in activities where English and Spanish are both spoken. The academic activities (Earth University, La Selva Biological Station, La Gran Vista farm) will be in English. Finally, our driver/guide is a native Costa Rican and is bilingual.
What is Costa Rica's time zone?
Costa Rica does not observe daylight savings time, so it operates at GMT-6 year-round. During daylight savings time here in the United States (mid-March through early November), Costa Rica is in the Mountain Standard (MST) time zone. The rest of the year, Costa Rica is in the U.S. Central Standard (CST) time zone.