Why should I choose The Costa Group?
We are passionate about Costa Rica - its people, its beauty, its abundant wildlife, its conservation efforts, its beaches, its mountains, and so much more! We think that a well-planned trip to Costa Rica should be on everyone's bucket list. Responsible tourism is an important industry here, and we are proud to be a part of it. Our collective knowledge, experience and enthusiasm means that every service we provide to you has been carefully curated to match your budget, timeline, and expectations. Our vacation packages, our private day tours, private boat charters, and land and water activities have all been chosen because we think they offer our clients the best Costa Rican experiences.
How is The Costa Group different than other tour operators?
There are many tour agencies and operators in Costa Rica. Having worked for several, we noticed there was something missing. Lots of couples, families, and groups want to explore Costa Rica on their own terms – they don't necessarily want to hop on a bus at 6:00 am with 20 strangers to spend the day at an adventure park. They want the flexibility to leave when they are ready. They also enjoy the intimacy of having a dedicated, certified tour guide, and a professional driver, so they can relax on the drive, and really get to know something about the area they will be visiting. This attention to detail helps to elevate a Costa Rican vacation, and our clients tell us it makes a big difference in their satisfaction level. Of course, we also can work with clients in many different price points. Our Custom Itinerary service is a great way to get the vacation you want within the budget that works best for your group.
I want to do a package, but none of them match my family perfectly. Can we make changes?
We love our packages! But we understand that they may not meet your needs "right off the shelf." We can work with you to pick and choose the things that sound most interesting, and then fill in with other destinations and activities that appeal to you. Or we can start from scratch and build a custom itinerary exactly matched to your interests, your budget, your timeline, etc.
What currency is used in Costa Rica?
The official currently in Costa Rica is the colón. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, so you don't need to exchange currency before you arrive. However, if you wish to, there are currency exchange booths at the two major airports. You can also exchange currency at local banks. Please be aware that there are often very long lines at banks, as locals often pay utility bills and other bills there. Also note that even though most establishments will accept US dollars, they will give you change in colones. It is best to use small bills, such as $5s, $10s, and $20s, and bills should be in good shape or they may be rejected.
What are the best things to do in Tamarindo and the Flamingo area?
Tamarindo is a popular destination for many of our clients. It is a busy town year-round, so there is always something to do. Lots of lodging options, many different types of outdoor fun, great restaurants, shops, nightlife, and a gorgeous beach. If you want some specific recommendations, read our blog post 10 Best Things to do in Tamarindo, the Ultimate Guide for 2023. For great ideas of things to do in the Flamingo area, read out blog post called 10 Best Things to do in Flamingo Costa Rica in 2023.
What forms of payment does The Costa Group accept?
We use a state-of-the-art booking system which enables you to book any of our services online, and you can pay with a credit card. Many businesses in the tourism industry here are quite small and still use methods like email to do their booking, and many are cash-only operations. We have made this investment in time and resources to ensure that you can book with ease and can receive a detailed confirmation about the services you have booked.
What is The Costa Group's cancellation policy?
We understand that sometimes plans change. When you go to the booking page for any of our services, you will see the cancellation policy. It varies depending on the type of service you are booking.
What is tipping etiquette in Costa Rica?
Tipping is not a part of Costa Rican culture in the same way it is in the US, Canada and Europe. However, that doesn't mean that tips are not greatly appreciated. If you wish to reward good service, a standard percentage to tip is 10%. Tipping opportunities include: bus and hired car drivers, tour guides, wait staff, attendants at attractions and tours, etc. At The Costa Group, we strive to pay our drivers and certified guides an attractive daily rate by Costa Rican standards. However, wages here are significantly lower than in places such as the U.S., while the cost of living is relatively high. If you feel that the service your drivers and guides provide to you is exceptional, they will be very appreciative of any gratuity you wish to offer. You can tip in either US dollars or colones.
What is the weather like in Costa Rica?
The weather here is generally warm year round! Along the coasts the temperatures are reliably between 80° and 90°+, and in the interior mountains and valleys temperatures are around 75° to 80°+. If you will be spending time at higher altitudes, it can be quite chilly, however, so bring a warm jacket. The most stable weather is between December and April, where there is little rain. However we are big fans of "green season" (roughly May–November). Even though there is often some rain (ok, and sometimes a lot of rain), the foliage is so lush and green that it easily makes up for rain. If there is a month you might want to avoid coming to Costa Rica, October is probably it, as there is often a lot of rain and that can make travel hazardous on the many dirt roads in our region. Another factor to consider is that the two coasts (Pacific and Caribbean) experience different weather. The "green season" is a great time to visit the Caribbean coast, as the weather there can be sublime during the months of October and November.
Is there a place I can go to hold a sloth?
We know how tempting this may sound. But we implore you to never try to touch or handle any of our wonderful wild animals here. Sloths are protected species and it is illegal to hold them. Because they are slow moving and have friendly looking faces, people assume that they are enjoying close encounters with humans. However, that is not true – they can become extremely stressed when in close proximity to humans. Even though handling sloths is illegal, there are still some roadside attractions that spring up where captive sloths are made available for holding for photo opportunities. Please, please, please don't participate in this illegal and harmful trade. There are places where you can spot sloths in the wild, and that is the best way to enjoy them. Just don't get too close. The next best way is to visit an ethical animal sanctuary where sloths live who have been rescued from the wild, and can no longer be released to the wild.
Do I need to know Spanish to travel in Costa Rica?
It is always helpful to understand and speak a little of the native language any time you are traveling throughout the world. This is true in Costa Rica as well. The official language is Spanish, and that is the language most frequently spoken. English is also widely used in areas frequented by tourists. If you plan to do a lot of traveling within Costa Rica, you may find yourself in non-tourist towns where finding English speakers is more challenging. Before you arrive here, it's a good idea to download some translation apps. Most Ticos (native Costa Ricans) will be patient and helpful, and most will really appreciate any effort you make to speak some Spanish as you are able.
Do you have any additional questions?
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you have as you plan your Costa Rican adventure!