Nowhere in the world offers such a variety of scenery, culture, wildlife and adventure.
We have been offering holidays to Latin America since 2002 and are established as one of the UK’s leading operators to the region.
Discover the best wildlife, culture and adventure with Llama Travel.
Established in 2002, we are one of the UK's leading specialist tour operators, providing high quality holidays at the lowest possible prices.
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Best of Costa Rica
- Visit San Jose, lively capital of Costa Rica, surrounded by coffee plantations.
- Navigate the jungle waterways of Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast.
- Explore the lava trails on Arenal Volcano and relax in the hot springs.
- Discover the diverse thriving wildlife of the Cloud Forest.
ItineraryView full itinerary +
Day 1 (Thu)
Fly from the UK to San Jose
Fly from the UK to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica and a bustling and lively city. On arrival you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Meals included: Meal included on the transatlantic flight.
Day 2 (Fri)
Take the optional San Jose & Coffee Plantation excursion
Spend the day exploring San Jose on your own, or take our optional full-day San Jose & Coffee Plantation excursion. After a walking tour visiting the highlights of the capital, including the National Theatre, Gold Museum and the central market, enjoy a tour of the Doka coffee plantation, and see how some of the best coffee in the world is grown and produced.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the San Jose Walking Tour & Coffee Plantation excursion.
Day 3 (Sat)
Transfer to Tortuguero and visit the community of Tortuguero
Begin the day with a beautiful four-hour coach journey, partly on an unpaved road, through the Braulio Carillo National Park. Then take a two-hour boat ride to your jungle lodge in Tortuguero, cruising down jungle waterways inhabited by monkeys and varied birdlife. Located on the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero is a beautiful national park, thriving with all kinds of wildlife. After lunch and some time to settle at the lodge, visit the community of Tortuguero and learn about the extraordinary efforts made locally to protect the sea turtles, which nest here at certain times of the year.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and dinner at the lodge.
Day 4 (Sun)
Take jungle excursions at Tortuguero
Explore the secondary canals of the jungle by boat, from where you will hopefully be able to spot some of Tortuguero’s amazing wildlife, including sloths, caimans, spider and howler monkeys and a huge variety of birds. From April to November, it may be possible to arrange a turtle-watching tour to see sea turtles arriving to lay eggs at night.
Meals included: All meals included at the lodge.
Day 5 (Mon)
Take a scenic transfer by boat and road to Arenal
Enjoy a mid-morning boat ride of 1.5 hours back along the canals to the dock at Caño Blanco. After lunch, take a scenic road journey to Arenal, arriving in the late afternoon. After driving for around 1.5 hours, stop for lunch in the Guapiles area, before continuing for around 2.5 hours to Arenal. The route offers beautiful mountain views, passing rural towns including Sarapiqui, Rio Cuarto and Aguas Zarcas, and crops of pineapple, oranges, sugar cane and yucca, depending on the time of year. Arenal is famous for its active and picture-perfect volcano and the many hot springs. Upon arrival at the hotel, weather permitting, you will be able to see the volcano's iconic shape.
Meals included: Breakfast at the lodge. Lunch on route to Arenal.
Day 6 (Tue)
Take the optional Ziplining Adventure and the Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursions
On the optional Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion in the afternoon, you visit a network of suspension bridges, which are positioned at different heights, providing a glimpse of the forest and its wildlife from different levels. Your naturalist guide is on hand to explain the various forest ecosystems. Afterwards continue onto the Tabacon Hot Springs in the early evening. These very beautiful springs consist of many large and small pools of mineral waters heated by Arenal Volcano, set in tropical gardens. Hot water rivers, between 27ºC and 42ºC, run throughout the grounds, forming natural waterfalls and pools, some secluded, where you can bathe. A buffet dinner is included. Don’t forget your swimwear.
And if you're feeling adventurous, you can take the optional Ziplining Adventure excursion in the morning, where you fly through the treetops on a series of cables, ending with an optional Tarzan Swing jump.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Dinner is included on the Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion.
Day 7 (Wed)
Take the optional Chocolate & Waterfall excursion
On the optional Chocolate & Waterfall excursion, the day begins with a morning transfer to the entrance to La Fortuna waterfall, a beautiful nature park including an orchid trail, a butterfly garden and 500 steps leading down to the base of the waterfall where you can relax and swim in the natural pool. You then have lunch on-site, before driving to a nearby cocoa plantation. Learn the chocolate-making process, with the chance to sample it too! Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch is included on the Chocolate & Waterfall excursion.
Day 8 (Thu)
A morning free in Arenal to relax around the hotel pool or perhaps take a final activity in the area. In mid afternoon, take a two hour transfer to the Villa Blanca cloud forest hotel
After a final morning around Arenal, take a two hour transfer to the Villa Blanca cloud forest hotel. Situated within the larger Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve, the forest here sits at an altitude between 700 and 1770 metres, which creates a unique cloud forest habitat that supports myriad species. The hotel here is the only one around, so this cloud forest is extremely well-preserved. Numerous endemic flora can be found on the reserve, such as bromeliads and orchids, while there are over 280 bird species to spot, and a range of amphibians and mammals like howler monkeys and sloths. You arrive in the late afternoon, in time to settle in before night falls.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.
Day 9 (Fri)
Take the optional Day & Night Cloud Forest excursion or Quetzal Tour, or explore the forest trails on your own
Have a free day in the beautiful cloud forest to explore on your own, or take the optional Day & Night Cloud Forest excursion. Begin the day with a two-hour walk through the cloud forest reserve, looking for varied birds and wildlife from myriad bird species like toucans and hummingbirds, to monkeys and sloths. Your naturalist guide will point out the species to you, as well as the many species of orchids, bromeliads and other plants which inhabit all levels of the forest. Return to the hotel to enjoy the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, set off on a two-hour walk along the reserve trails at night with a qualified naturalist guide. It is notable how different the cloud forest feels at this time. Certain birds and monkeys which dominate the soundtrack during the day will be sleeping, replaced by the choruses of nocturnal species. Furthermore, certain plants are more active at night, blooming and releasing scents only after the sun has gone down. For this reason it is not only the sights and sounds of the forest that change, but the smells too. Return to the hotel in the late evening.
Alternatively, between February and May, you can take the optional Quetzal Tour & Night Walk for a chance to spot the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the world's most beautiful and colourful bird species, found in the high-altitude cloud forests of Central America. The elusive species can be observed on a family-run farm, where you take a walk through the forest before sitting down to a traditional lunch. Return to the hotel to spend the afternoon at leisure then take the two-hour night walk, as described above.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch is included on the Quetzal Tour & Night Walk.
Day 10 (Sat)
Transfer to San Jose for your flight to the UK
Take a two hour journey from Villa Blanca to San Jose to catch your flight to the UK.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, meals on the transatlantic flight.
Day 11 (Sun)
Arrival in the UK
Your flight arrives in the UK
Extend Your Holiday
See more of Latin America by extending your holiday. Click below for more information.
Panama City & Canal
Upgrade in San Jose, Tortugero and Arenal for a discounted price.
(£450 Single Supplement)
Accommodation in San Jose
Hotel Park Inn
Standard hotel: This is a comfortable hotel situated in a quiet area 2 km from the centre of San José. There are 117 rooms over 12 floors. These are large and well appointed and there is a small outdoor pool and gym. There is a restaurant and bar.
Why stay here: A good location close to the centre but not in a busy area. The rooms are very comfortable and the public areas are modern and attractive. The outdoor space on the 3rd floor includes an attractive pool, although it is not too large.
• An outdoor pool and a small gym on the 3rd floor
• A restaurant and bar
• Free wifi
• An eco-hotel with solar panels
About the room
The rooms are large and comfortable with carpets and good bathrooms with large showers (no bath tubs). Each room has a fridge, and tea & coffee making facilities and water. All rooms have air-conditioning, safes as well as ironing facilities.
Room types available
Marriott Hacienda Belen
(£100 Single Supplement)
Standard Hotel: A 15-minute drive from the city centre, this former hacienda is set on a 30-acre coffee plantation, with two swimming pools, a golf driving range and a coffee-inspired spa. The property also has three restaurants, a bar and a cafe serving gourmet Costa Rican coffee.
Why stay here: Aside from the stunning location on a coffee plantation which you can walk around, the hotel has fantastic facilities and a range of eating options. The Kuö Spa offers a wide variety of body and beauty treatments using coffee, volcanic ash and other natural ingredients from Costa Rica. Open for dinner, the La Isabella Restaurant serves Peruvian delicacies whilst the Antigua restaurant serves a range of Latin American cuisine.
There are three restaurants, a bar, cafe, fitness centre, spa, golf driving range and two swimming pools.
The hotel offers daily housekeeping, concierge service, luggage storage, tour desk, gift shop and safety deposit box.
Free WiFi is available in public areas.
About the room
Rooms are modern and well appointed, with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting great views. All rooms have air conditioning, en-suite bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, a safety deposit box, sofa, desk and TV.
Accommodation in Tortuguero
Standard Lodge: This 32-room lodge, located close to the Tortuguero National Park main entrance, has a pool, spa and is surrounded by lush tropical jungle and waterways. The comfortable rooms have en-suite bathrooms, hot water and ceiling fans. The hotel has free WiFi in the reception area. Excursions are taken in groups of a maximum of 18 people.
Why stay here? This is a good lodge with clean, simple rooms and attractive grounds. The guides at the lodge are excellent at spotting wildlife on the boat trips along the canals.
• WiFi is available in the reception area and is free of charge.
• There is a restaurant, a bar, a spa with treatments and massages, and an outdoor pool with a poolside seating area.
• Hairdryers are available at reception. Kayaks are available to use for free.
About the room
All rooms have a ceiling fan, a safety deposit box and en-suite bathrooms.
Room types available
Superior Lodge: This is a small 12-room lodge located close to the Tortuguero National Park, surrounded by lush vegetation. The lodge has a swimming pool, restaurant, small gym and spa. The spacious rooms have air conditioning, free WiFi, an en-suite bathroom and private solarium. The hotel offers kayaks for use for free, and there is also a small nature trail around the hotel grounds. Excursions are taken in smaller groups than at the Pachira Lodge.
Why stay here? This is the best lodge in the region, and the only one with air conditioning. The hotel has just 12 rooms, and the small groups on the excursions give a better chance to interact with the guide.
• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.
• There is a restaurant, a bar, an art gallery, a private forest reserve, gardens and sun terrace, an outdoor pool with poolside seating areas, a full working spa and a small gym.
• The hotel offers a tour information desk and a laundry service.
About the room
All rooms have air conditioning, private outdoor terraces, WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a mini bar, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.
Room types available
Accommodation in Arenal Volcano
Hotel Arenal Manoa
Standard Hotel: This hotel offers excellent views of the Arenal Volcano. It has well-kept, lush gardens, a restaurant, snack bar, swimming pools, natural hot springs, jacuzzis and a spa. All rooms have a terrace, air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. There is a walking trail leading to the hotel’s private farm, and other excursions to nearby attractions are offered from the hotel.
Why stay here? This is an excellent standard hotel with attractive gardens, good pools to relax in, and all rooms have views of the volcano.
• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.
• There is a restaurant, a bar/lounge area, extensive gardens, outdoor pools with seating areas and poolside bars and a full service spa with a jacuzzi and natural hot springs. There is also private farm on site.
• The hotel offers room service, a tour information desk, luggage storage, laundry facilities and a gift shop/news stand.
About the room
All rooms are soundproofed and have air conditioning, free WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a safety deposit box, a coffee/tea maker, a mini bar, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms. Rooms also have private outdoor terraces with views of the volcano.
Room types available
(£420 Single Supplement)
Superior Hotel: Set in beautiful tropical gardens, the hotel has a swimming pool, spa and restaurant. There are 40 rooms which are individual casitas, all beautifully appointed with a balcony and jacuzzi overlooking Arenal Volcano, free WiFi, air conditioning, en-suite bathroom and additional outdoor shower.
Why stay here? This is a truly fantastic hotel, possibly our favourite in Costa Rica. The grounds are lovely and the room balconies give amazing views of the Arenal volcano.
• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.
• There is a restaurant, a bar, outdoor pools with a poolside bar and seating areas, extensive garden and a full service spa with a jacuzzi.
• The hotel offers room service, a tour information desk, luggage storage and laundry facilities.
About the room
All rooms have air conditioning, free WiFi, a TV, a telephone (international phone calls can be made), a safety deposit box, a coffee/tea maker, a mini bar, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms. There is also an outdoor shower (in addition to the one in the en-suite bathroom) and rooms have a wrap-around terrace with a jacuzzi and hammock.
Room types available
Deluxe casita room
Accommodation in Villa Blanca
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel
Standard Hotel: The Villa Blanca cloud forest hotel and nature reserve is lovely hotel offering a boutique experience in a stunning setting of isolated, undisturbed cloud forest. Designed to imitate a traditional mountain village, accommodation is offered in stand-alone casitas with en-suite bathrooms and living rooms, a wood-burning fireplace a mini-bar and complimentary coffee. There is an on-site spa, a restaurant and an adjacent bar.
Why stay here? The hotel boasts an immaculate setting overlooking the surrounding cloud forest. It is the only hotel in the area so visitors can enjoy uninterrupted views of the pristine cloud forest.
• Restaurant and a bar
• On-site spa
• All rooms have ceiling fans, fireplaces and there are no televisions in the rooms
About the room
Rooms are individual casitas with en-suite bathrooms, a small seating area and porch. They come with complimentary coffee and a stocked mini-bar.
Room types available
Take theSan Jose Walking Tour & Coffee Plantation, Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs, Villa Blanca Day & Night Cloud Forest excursions together for a discounted price.
San Jose & Coffee Plantation
This full-day excursion combines daily life in the city with an insight into Costa Rica’s history. Start with a walking tour of San Jose, including visits to the cathedral, National Theatre and Gold Museum, then stroll through the pedestrianised Central Avenue to the market where you can interact with the locals. You are then taken to the Doka Coffee Plantation, for lunch and a coffee tour and tasting.
In the morning, get picked up from your hotel and driven to the city centre for the start of the walking tour. Walk around to get a feel for daily life in San Jose, with highlights including visits to the National Theatre and Gold Museum. Admire the cathedral’s facade, with its majestic domes and 39 exquisite stained glass windows, or go inside to discover its exquisite interior if it is open on the day you visit. Then walk down the Central Avenue, a pedestrianised boulevard in the heart of the city, leading to Central Market which showcases Costa Rica’s culture, as locals come to pick up their groceries, stopping to talk to the vendors and buying snacks from the stalls, learning about local produce and medicinal plants as you go. Continue to Barrio Amon, one of the most historic neighbourhoods. Around midday, leave the city behind you and drive to Doka Coffee Plantation, which nestles in the foothills of the Poas Volcano, about an hour away. Here, you have lunch then take a tour of the farm, where some of the finest coffee in the world is produced. Learn about the process of producing coffee as you walk through the coffee bushes and visit the roastery. You'll gain an understanding of exactly how the coffee fruit on the bushes becomes the hot drink in your mug. Transfer back to your hotel in the late-afternoon.
Costa Rica is renowned for its ziplining and other canopy activities, and there’s no better place to do this than in the depths of the lush rainforest near Arenal Volcano. The two-hour morning excursion consists of 11 zipline cables, 13 platforms, a suspension bridge and a tarzan swing for the more daring.
Get picked up from your hotel to drive to the zipline course, less than ten minutes from your hotel. After a safety briefing, get harnessed up then make your way through the canopy 25 metres above the ground, gliding through the treetops on a series of cables ranging from 100 to 400 metres long. Walk across the suspension bridge and if you’re feeling brave, get your adrenaline pumping on the Tarzan swing, where you jump from a 40-metre-high platform into a forest clearing - not for the faint-hearted! The whole course takes around two hours.
There is no maximum age for this activity, although a good general level of fitness is required, it is not recommended for pregnant women or anyone with walking disabilities or vertigo.
Hanging Bridges and Tabacon Hot Springs
This two part excursion visits the Arenal Hanging Bridges after lunch, allowing you to experience the rainforest from a different perspective on a network of trails and suspension bridges. Keep your eyes open for birds, monkeys and sloths peeking out from the amongst the tree tops. In the late afternoon, soak in the beautiful hot volcanic pools and rivers of Tabacón thermal springs - a realxing end to the day, before enjoying a buffet dinner.
Set off after lunch for a two-hour visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges, where you follow a trail through the rainforest including a series of hanging bridges, allowing you to explore the canopy of the forest. There are 3.2km of trails and 16 bridges up to 100 metres long. The varying heights of the bridges provides you with a glimpse into life at different levels of the forest, from the treetops to the flowers and the frog pools, bird life and insects. Your naturalist guide explains how the forest's ecosystems work. There are also wonderful views of Arenal Volcano from the park.
From the Hanging Bridges, you are taken to the beautiful Tabacón Hot Springs, which consist of many large and small pools of mineral waters, heated by Arenal Volcano, and set in tropical gardens. Rainwater enters the earth through fissures on the surface and is then heated by magma found in the earth's core. Hot springs provide many benefits stemming from various chemical, physical and biological effects, the most notable is relaxing tense and tired muscles. Hot water rivers, between 27ºC and 42ºC, run throughout the grounds, forming natural waterfalls and pools, some secluded, where you can bathe. You can enjoy the hot springs as day turns to night before having a good buffet dinner overlooking the gardens.
Chocolate & Waterfall
For nature lovers and chocoholics, this full-day excursion is a must. There is a morning visit to La Fortuna waterfall, a beautiful nature park including an orchid trail, a butterfly garden and 500 steps leading down to the base of the waterfall where you can relax and swim in the natural pool. After lunch, you visit a family-run cocoa plantation to discover what happens to chocolate before it lands on your supermarket shelves. Bring swimwear as there is a chance to swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
In the morning, you are picked up from your hotel and driven to La Fortuna waterfall, a nature reserve including a 64-metre-high waterfall. Start by visiting an open-air butterfly garden, plant nursery and orchid trail. Then hike on the 500-metre downhill trail, which is carved into the hillside, to reach the bottom of the La Fortuna waterfall where you can swim in the natural freshwater pool or simply sit back and enjoy the scenery. On the way down, look out for exotic plants and trees, with wildlife including sloths, toucans and orioles inhabiting the area. By visiting this natural wonder, you are helping to support the community, as 100% of the entrance fees goes towards social projects including schools, nutrition centres, orphanages and infrastructure. Have lunch at the restaurant in the La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve, then drive to Eden Organic Farm to enjoy a chocolate tour (and tasting!) on a family-run farm. Learn about the history of cocoa, and discover the chocolate-making process from bean to bar. Try the traditional drink of Costa Rica’s ancestors and make your own organic chocolates. Considered as "a gift from the Gods", the cocoa tree was of great importance, not only for the ceremonial use of its drink, but also for its economic value as it was used as currency in many regions of Mesoamerica, including Costa Rica.
Day & Night Cloud Forest
In the morning, get up close and personal with birds, monkeys, amphibians and insects in their natural, colourful habitat as you follow the cloud forest trails. You then return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure, before taking the second part of the excursion in the evening, as you observe nocturnal creatures emerging, and experience the intensified forest sounds and fragrances as your senses become more attuned to the darkness.
In the morning, begin the day with a two hour walk through the cloud forest reserve, looking for varied birds and wildlife from myriad bird species like toucans and hummingbirds, to monkeys and sloths. Your naturalist guide will point out these species to you, as well as the many species of orchids, bromeliads and other plants which inhabit all levels of the forest. Return to the hotel to enjoy the rest of the morning and afternoon at leisure.
In the late afternoon, set off on a two hour walk along the reserve trails as darkness with a qualified naturalist guide. It is notable how different the cloud forest feels after dark. Certain birds and monkeys which dominate the soundtrack during the day will be sleeping, replaced by the choruses of nocturnal species. Furthermore, certain plants are more active at night, blooming and releasing scents only after the sun has gone down. For this reason it is not only the sights and sounds of the forest that change, but the smells too. Return to the hotel in the late evening.
While each individual part of this excursion is wonderful, it is truly special to be able to witness how the cloud forest changes, revealing a different side of itself depending on the time of day.
Quetzal Tour & Night Walk
In the morning, take a scenic journey through the cloud forest to a family-run farm where the elusive quetzal resides. Walk through the forest on the look out for sightings of the colourful bird among over 200 other bird species. Enjoy a typical Costa Rican lunch then return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure, before taking the second part of the excursion in the evening, on the trails in the cloud forest surrounding Villa Blanca, as you observe nocturnal creatures emerging, and experience the intensified forest sounds and fragrances as your senses become more attuned to the darkness.
Early in the morning, depart Villa Blanca for a 45-minute drive to the Azahar Peak, near La Paz de San Ramón. Continue onto the summit where you stop at a private family-operated farm where the Resplendent Quetzal nests. As you walk along a well-maintained trail through the forest, look out for footprints of wild boars and mountain cats around you, and a range of high altitude dwelling birds in the treetops, including the quetzal. Your expert guide will listen for distinctive bird calls to help you spot and identify other species including hummingbirds, toucans, parrots and warblers. Aguacatillo (wild avocado) trees grows on the farm, which is where the quetzals feed and make their nests. If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this remarkable bird, with its brilliant blue, green and red feathers, you will understand why the local indigenous communities consider it a mystical creature, and why the striking species are protected in private reserves high up in Costa Rica’s lush mountains. During mating season, the males grow twin tail feathers, forming a train up to a metre long. After the walk, sit down to a traditional Costa Rican lunch on the farm, then return to the hotel and have the afternoon at leisure.
In the late afternoon, set off on a two-hour walk along the reserve trails as darkness with a qualified naturalist guide. It is notable how different the cloud forest feels after dark. Certain birds and monkeys which dominate the soundtrack during the day will be sleeping, replaced by the choruses of nocturnal species. Furthermore, certain plants are more active at night, blooming and releasing scents only after the sun has gone down. For this reason it is not only the sights and sounds of the forest that change, but the smells too. Return to the hotel in the late evening. While each individual part of this excursion is wonderful, it is truly special to be able to witness how the cloud forest changes, revealing a different side of itself depending on the time of day.
Please note that this excursion only runs between February and May. Outside these months, it is difficult to observe the quetzal due to the altitude and weather conditions.
Panama City & Canal
4 days Extension
This extension allows you to combine your holiday to Costa Rica with a visit to Panama’s capital, Panama City. Home to the iconic Panama Canal, you will get the opportunity to visit this feat of engineering and learn about its construction, how it functions, and the myriad ways in which it affects Panama today. The city itself is a melting pot of international cultures, thanks to its status as an international financial center. The modern town is an agglomeration of tall, glass-fronted sky-scrapers, which stands in stark contrast to Casco Viejo, the charming, well-preserved old town. In Casco Viejo, cobbled streets are lined with Spanish Colonial houses, as well as Antillean and French architecture – testament to the days of the Panama Canal’s construction. It is sometimes possible to take a boat tour of the canal, to get an even closer look at how things work, or take a day trip to the beaches or indigenous villages outside the city.
Day 1 Panama City Fly from the UK to Panama City, the vibrant and fast-paced capital of Panama. You are met at the airport and taken to your hotel.
Day 2 Panama City Today, visit the iconic canal on a half-day city tour. First, head to the Miraflores Lock and visitor center to witness the ocean liners and cargo ships travelling through the canal, and learn about its construction and current-day significance. Then visit Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old town. Stroll through the cobbled streets taking in the area’s lovely old architecture and iconic buildings. Return to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon.
Day 3 Panama City Enjoy a free day to explore the city further, or experience the iconic Panama Canal from a different perspective, by taking an optional boat ride and traveling down the canal through the locks. A boat trip not only gives you a closer look at how the locks function, but also provides some great panoramic views of Panama City. Alternatively take a day trip to one of the interesting locations outside of the city.
Day 4 San Jose Fly to San Jose, Costa Rica. You are met at the airport and taken to your hotel.
AC Hotel by Marriott – Standard Hotel
The AC Hotel by Marriot boasts a classic modernist aesthetic with warm colour tones throughout. Located in the heart of Panama City, it is close to the historical Old Town, as well as many restaurants and shops. Rooms here light thanks to floor to ceiling windows, and have en suite bathrooms. There is a restaurant, bar, fitness center and rooftop pool and bar area.
Central Hotel – Superior Hotel
The Central is located in the heart of Casco Viejo, Panama City’s Old Town. As Panama City’s first hotel, it is steeped in history and offers plenty of character. Rooms are simple and stylish, offering great comfort. There is a rooftop pool and lounge bar, 2 sophisticated restaurants, a fitness center, beauty salon and complimentary wifi.
If you are interested in adding an extension to Panama City, please get in touch with us for more details. Please note that for Costa Rica holidays Panama City is offered as a pre-extension. If visiting Guatemala as well, Panama City will be visited as a post-extension.
Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices
Nov 2021 From £1779 Show departures
Dec 2021 From £1779 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 02 Dec - Sun 12 Dec Price £2079SAVE £300 £1779 Single supplement Price £450 Book Now
Jan 2022 From £1829 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 06 Jan - Sun 16 Jan Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 13 Jan - Sun 23 Jan Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 20 Jan - Sun 30 Jan Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 27 Jan - Sun 06 Feb Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now
Feb 2022 From £1859 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 03 Feb - Sun 13 Feb Price £2159SAVE £300 £1859 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 10 Feb - Sun 20 Feb Price £2159SAVE £300 £1859 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 17 Feb - Sun 27 Feb Price £2159SAVE £300 £1859 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 24 Feb - Sun 06 Mar Price £2159SAVE £300 £1859 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now
Mar 2022 From £1829 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 03 Mar - Sun 13 Mar Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 10 Mar - Sun 20 Mar Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 17 Mar - Sun 27 Mar Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 24 Mar - Sun 03 Apr Price £2179SAVE £300 £1879 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now Thu 31 Mar - Sun 10 Apr Price £2129SAVE £300 £1829 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now
Apr 2022 From £1799 Show departures
Jul 2022 From £2099 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 28 Jul - Sun 07 Aug Price £2399SAVE £300 £2099 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now
Aug 2022 From £2099 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 11 Aug - Sun 21 Aug Price £2399SAVE £300 £2099 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now
Nov 2022 From £1799 Show departures
Dec 2022 From £1799 Show departures
Start date Return date Thu 01 Dec - Sun 11 Dec Price £2099SAVE £300 £1799 Single supplement Price £470 Book Now
Return flights from the UK; flights within Latin America; accommodation (bed and breakfast except where indicated); transfers in Latin America; service of guides and local reps, UK airport taxes.
Prices do not include
Any optional excursions, travel insurance, tips.
Holidays without international flights
The above prices include return international flights from the UK. If you wish to arrange your own flights, we will reduce our prices accordingly. The reduction depends on when you travel, please call us for details.
Flights are scheduled to be from London. Other airports may be possible, although a supplement sometimes applies.
All the practical information you need regarding your trip is found here. From how to prepare before you leave and travelling to your destination, to advice on travelling within your country of choice.
About your Holiday
Prices listed are per person and based on two persons sharing a room and include all flights from the UK and within destination, service of guides and reps (please note that tips are not included), accommodation and all transfers and excursions listed in the itinerary. Where applicable, entrance fees, taxes and charges are included in our prices at the rates advised to us at the time of preparation. An adjustment will be made to your price if any of these change before your holiday. UK airport taxes are included.
All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
Llama Travel's booking conditions
- Your contract
Your contract is with Llama Travel Limited, registered in England and Wales, number 4370517. The following conditions will apply to your booking and form part of your contract. They cannot be varied and should be read carefully. A contract will exist when we accept your booking and issue our confirmation invoice. The contract and all matters arising from it shall be governed by English law and be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. All correspondence will be sent to the lead passenger of the booking unless otherwise advised. You must be over 18 to book a Llama Travel holiday. Llama Travel holidays are not for resale. The lead passenger accepts these booking conditions on behalf of all persons named in the booking.
- Deposits and final payments
A deposit of 10% of the holiday cost is required. On some occasions a higher deposit is required, we will advise you if this is necessary. When this is received, we will issue a confirmation invoice. The balance of the payment must be paid 90 days before departure. If the booking is made less than 90 days before departure, full payment must be made when booking. On some occasions, earlier balance payment may be required to secure flight seats or other services. In order to secure your holiday arrangements in some cases, we may ask for a payment in advance before we can reserve the appropriate services. This payment is not refundable if you subsequently decide not to proceed with the booking.
- Our prices
Brochure prices are based on the latest known information at the time of preparation – 24 Nov 2020 (£1 = US$1.33, £1 = ZAR20 Brent Crude oil $48 per barrel) but can go up or down. Before making a booking, please call us to check the correct up to date price of your chosen holiday. Once you have made a booking and we have issued our confirmation invoice, your holiday price can only be varied due to a significant increase in charges, fees, taxes, or similar items as a result of governmental action. Air passenger duty (APD) for UK departures is £80 (£82 from April 2021). For business class, APD rates are higher. The VAT rate for holidays outside the EU is zero. Except for increases in entrance fees or tax increases, such as in APD or VAT, we will not surcharge you.
- Alterations or cancellations by you
If you wish to alter your holiday arrangements before departure, we will do our best to help. An administration fee of £25 per passenger will be charged, together with any additional costs incurred as a result of the change. If you make any alterations within 60 days of departure, we may treat this as a cancellation, and apply cancellation fees. Scheduled airlines treat name changes as a cancellation and rebooking; any alteration is likely to incur a 100% cancellation charge. Please make sure that all names you give us are spelled exactly as they appear in passports. It is not normally possible to make alterations after commencement of travel. If you do wish to make alterations during your holiday, cancellation fees for services booked may apply. Refunds cannot be made for any unused accommodation, services or transport. We recommend that you take out full travel insurance with cover against cancellation penalties, including in the event of force majeure; see section 6 below. We commit to and confirm services in advance. If you wish to cancel your holiday, you must let us know in writing. The following cancellation charges apply:
Days before departure when you notify us Penalty 90 days or more Loss of deposit 61 to 89 days 25% of holiday cost, or deposit if higher 31 to 60 days 60% of holiday cost (75% for Galapagos holidays), or deposit if higher 30 days or less 100% of holiday cost
In some cases, the balance payment may be due earlier than 90 days before departure. We will advise you if this is the case. If any part of the balance payment is required earlier than 90 days before departure, this will normally be non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Where one person in a party cancels and others still wish to travel, single room supplements will be payable if this results in single rooms being used.
- Alterations or cancellations by us
We make careful arrangements with airlines, hotels and service operators to ensure that we are able to provide you with the holiday as described. However, in exceptional cases, it may be necessary to make changes to your holiday arrangements (including airlines, flights, accommodation, transport or services) due to circumstances beyond our control. Flight times are given only as indications, and finalised times will be shown on your tickets.
When changes are necessary, we will do our best to ensure that they do not affect your holiday. If, before you depart, a major change is necessary (defined as a change of itinerary so that you are no longer able to visit a destination where you are scheduled to spend one or more nights or an appropriate alternative destination, or a change of accommodation to a lower standard or category affecting a significant part of your holiday) or if we have to cancel your holiday, we will contact you and offer you the choice of:
- Accepting the changes to your holiday;
- Purchasing another available Llama Travel holiday;
- Cancelling your holiday with a full refund.
If we have to cancel your holiday less than 60 days before departure, other than in the event of force majeure (see section 6 below), you will be entitled to compensation at the following levels:
When notified Compensation per person 43 – 60 days before departure £50 29 - 42 days before departure £100 15 - 28 days before departure £150 0 - 14 days before departure £200
- Alterations or cancellations by you or us in the event of force majeure prior to departure
If, prior to departure, we have to make major changes to, or cancel, your holiday in the event of force majeure, we will contact you and offer you the above choices. However, compensation will not be paid.
If, in the event of force majeure, it is not possible for your holiday to proceed, we will endeavour to recover from suppliers, and refund to you, monies paid for your holiday, but where we are unable to do so, you may be able to claim for irrecoverable costs from your travel insurance. We do not accept liability where the performance of our contractual obligations is prevented by force majeure.
Force majeure events include war, threat of war, civil unrest or strife, decisions by governments or governing authorities, epidemics, natural disasters, fire, bad weather, terrorist activity, nuclear disaster, industrial disputes, technical or maintenance problems with transport, changes of timetables of airlines, or other causes beyond our control.
- Our responsibilities to you
Llama Travel is dedicated to ensuring that your holiday is as described. If a part of your holiday is not provided as promised, please inform us at the time. If this affects the reasonable enjoyment of your holiday, we will pay compensation appropriate to the circumstances. If you do not inform us at the time, Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the situation as we will not have been given the opportunity to rectify the problem.
Llama Travel accepts responsibility for illness, personal injury or death caused as a direct result of the direct acts and / or omissions of our employees, agents, suppliers or sub-contractors while acting in the course of their employment to provide services or arrangements for your holiday that you have booked with us in the UK. We do not accept responsibility for illness, personal injury or death where there has been no fault of our employees, agents, suppliers or sub-contractors, or as a result of taking part in any activity which does not form part of the holiday booked through us in the UK. Where illness, personal injury or death arises in the course of air travel, rail travel, sea travel or hotel accommodation, the amount of compensation you may receive is limited in accordance with the provisions of any International Convention.
- Your responsibilities
Clients are responsible for ensuring that all immigration and health requirements are fulfilled, for obtaining travel documents, including passports, visas and vaccination certificates, and for ensuring that these are all in order, including for any intermediate stops on international flights.
Covid-19 requirements are updated frequently in all countries and you must ensure that you comply with these in the UK, in destinations visited and in any intermediary stops. You must comply with local regulations regarding prevention measures which may be stricter than in the UK. Non-compliance may result in you being excluded from the holiday with no refund. You must not travel if you are required to isolate by health authorities and standard cancellation terms will apply. If you are required to isolate when on holiday, you will not be entitled to a refund for unused services, including flights. You accept the risks of catching Covid-19, being required to isolate or be tested and we recommend you have suitable travel insurance to cover such circumstances.
We require your passport details to issue some tickets. If these change after you have given them to us, you must inform us. If the name on your airline ticket does not match that on your passport, you must inform us as soon as you receive the ticket. It is your responsibility to behave in a responsible, restrained and sober manner when dealing with local authorities, fellow travellers and our representatives.
By taking a Llama Travel holiday, you agree to accept the authority and decisions of our employees and representatives. If, in the opinion of such people, your behaviour or health is likely to threaten the safety, comfort or progress of a tour, then you may be excluded from the tour without refund or compensation. It is your responsibility to obey local laws, otherwise you may be excluded from the holiday and we will cease to have any responsibility for you.
Please bear in mind that travel in Latin America and Africa is not the same as travel in the UK, and inconveniences and delays may arise due to weather conditions, strikes, demonstrations, the poor state of roads or for other reasons. By travelling with Llama Travel, you are implicitly accepting this part of the way of life in these countries.
We have no control over international or national air carriers, and therefore schedules or airlines used may change or flights be delayed due to no fault of our own. A change of flight time or airline due to schedule changes or flight cancellations is not treated as a major change. We will try to ensure the smooth flow of all your transport connections, but it is your responsibility to check exact times of flights. This is particularly important for internal flights, which can be rescheduled at short notice. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the consequences of flights missed due to the client’s failure to confirm exact details.
When you travel with an airline, the Conditions of Carriage of that airline apply, some of which will limit or exclude liability. These conditions are the subject of International Agreements between countries.
Flying to Latin America and Africa involves long flights and may require changes in other airports. It is your responsibility to arrive at the departure airport at the appropriate time and to check in for your international flight, and to change aeroplanes if necessary at intermediate airports. If you wish to sit in a specific seat, or wish to sit with other people on the flight, it is recommended that you check in early or check in online where possible. It is sometimes possible to reserve seats directly with the airline online prior to travel.
Airlines do not allow more than one booking per passenger on a flight and may cancel seats if they are held by more than one operator. Clients are responsible for ensuring they are not holding flights with another operator.
- Baggage allowance
Most airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kg per passenger, or sometimes less. Carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to leave the rest of you luggage in storage. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.
You must have adequate insurance provision to cover the cost of assistance, including emergency repatriation, in the event of illness or other problems occurring during your holiday.
If you have any complaints about your holiday arrangements when you are abroad, please bring these to the attention of our local representatives who will do all they can to ensure a swift and satisfactory resolution. Problems can usually be sorted out by talking to the supplier concerned (e.g. hotel) and our local representatives or by informing us directly. If this is not done, Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the situation, as we will not have been given the opportunity to rectify the problem. If you do not inform us, your consumer rights to compensation may be affected. If you have tried and failed to rectify the situation whilst abroad, please send us your complaint in writing within 28 days of returning to the UK. We will then follow up your complaint. Communication with destinations is often slow, so we may not be able to resolve the situation as quickly as you would like.
- Financial protection for bookings made in UK for UK residents
The holidays in this brochure are ATOL protected, since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority, number ATOL 5804.
If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.
- Brochure and website information
The information in our brochures and on our website is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. However, details of flights or hotels may vary during the lifetime of a brochure. These changes will be reflected on our website where possible.
The copyright on all material in our brochures and on our website, including text, photographs, maps and layouts is held by Llama Travel Limited. No part of these publications may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any way without the prior written permission of Llama Travel.
- Data Protection
The information we ask you to provide, including personal information about you and members of your party, is necessary for us to arrange and operate your holiday. By booking a holiday with us, you agree to our processing this information, including, where appropriate, its transfer outside of the UK.
Package Travel Regulations
Llama Travel Bookings comply with the UK Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. UK Package Travel Regulations
- Your contract
How to Book
Booking the Holiday
To book a holiday or discuss your requirements, please call us on 020 7263 3000. We can usually confirm availability immediately, but may need to check with a supplier first.
Paying for the Holiday
You can pay your deposit by bank transfer, cheque, standard UK debit card or non-premium UK personal Visa / MasterCard credit card. Balance payments can be made by bank transfer or cheque. We do not accept cards for balance payments. We are unable to accept cash.
Before you Go
What to pack
The temperatures in Costa Rica can vary significantly depending where you are visiting. On the coast, daytime highs of over 30°C are possible. In the highlands of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, temperatures at night can drop to lower than 10°C. Therefore, a variety of clothing, suitable for hot and cold weather is advisable. Rain is possible throughout the year, and can be heavy, so waterproofs are also recommended. Insect repellent is advisable, especially for jungle areas.
If you visit Tabacon Hot Springs near Arenal, the pools can be slippery, so please bring non-slip sandals.
Electricity in Costa Rica is 110V, and plugs are of the flat two-pin type.
We recommend you carry a copy of your passport with you at all times.
Please bring any medication you may require from the UK.
Visas & Passports
Visas are not required in advance for British citizens for any Llama Travel destination. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the appropriate consulate: Peru (020 7838 9223); Ecuador (020 7451 0040); Argentina (020 7318 1340); Chile (020 7222 2361); Brazil (020 7747 4500); Colombia (020 7589 5037); Bolivia (020 7235 4248); Costa Rica (020 7706 8844); Guatemala (020 7351 3042); Mexico (020 7499 8586), Panama (020 7409 2255). You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. If you are flying via the US, you need to comply with US immigration requirements. Ask us for details.
There is an entry fee to enter Chile for citizens of Australia, the US, Canada and some other countries which must be paid upon arrival. There is also an entry fee for US and Canadian citizens visiting Argentina, which must be paid in advance online.
If children are not travelling with both parents, some countries require a letter of consent to enter or depart. Please consult the appropriate consulate.
To issue some tickets, we require passport details and ages when you book. If you subsequently change your passport, please let us know as soon as possible.
Adequate travel insurance is essential. We do not sell or recommend any specific policy. A list of insurance companies that our customers have found suitable is available from us. Please advise your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions and, if you are booking a holiday involving high-altitude trekking, such as the Inca Trail, make sure that you are covered for this. If you are planning on carrying out any other activities, please ensure your insurance policy will cover you for these. Note that cancellation cover is often only available if insurance is purchased within two weeks of booking your holiday.
Receiving your tickets
You will receive tickets approximately 10 days before departure, along with information on accommodation, transfers and excursions. Our agents will give you your hotel and excursion vouchers when you arrive. Please check airline tickets carefully in case timings have changed after we issued your confirmation.
Travelling with children
Some countries in Latin America have strict regulations regarding the entry and exit of children under 18 when not travelling with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling with children who are not entering or leaving the country with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting, please contact the consulate of the country you are visiting to check requirements.
Health & Fitness
Age and Fitness Limitations
For most of our holidays, age is not a concern. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required, as most holidays require some walking, sometimes on uneven ground. Even relatively mild activities can be strenuous at altitude. High altitude trekking is more strenuous than an equivalent length walk at low altitude.
Vaccinations and Medical Requirements
Please consult your GP or a travel clinic about health and vaccination requirements. Advice for travellers is available at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk. Yellow fever and / or malaria precautions are recommended for visiting the jungle, Iguazu Falls and some parts of Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. Yellow Fever certificates are sometimes required if you have recently visited a country with an infected area. Children under 6 require proof of vaccination against polio to enter Brazil. Some GPs do not recommend yellow fever vaccinations for travellers over 60 years old. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, please speak to your GP about zika. Please seek medical advice before you travel.
Parts of South America are at high altitude. Most visitors do not suffer major problems. However, shortness of breath is common and we advise you to take things calmly during your first day at altitude. If you suffer from a heart or lung condition, or think that you may suffer due to the altitude, please consult your GP.
When travelling, stomach illnesses are not uncommon due to changes in diet. We suggest you only drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you are unsure if salads and fruit have been washed in purified water, it is best to avoid them.
If you suffer from a disability or condition and are worried whether this will affect the enjoyment of a holiday, please call us. We will do our best to help. We recommend that you bring any medicines you require from the UK.
Outside of major cities, medical facilities can be basic, meaning a lengthy transfer if hospital attention is required.
A holiday in Latin America inevitably means long haul flights, and at least one overnight sector. Air fares vary from date to date and between airlines. Our holidays are scheduled to use the most advantageous air fare. You can choose which airline you prefer, we will let you know if a supplement is payable. Levels of onboard service and facilities, such as entertainment, vary by airline and route. Please ask us for details. Flights are sometimes operated by another airline in the appropriate airline alliance.
Most airlines offer the option of flying from regional airports in the UK, avoiding the need to make your own way to London. Due to the timing of flights, in some cases this may involve an overnight stop in London or another intermediate airport. There is usually a supplement for regional departures. Please note that most of our flights depart from London.
You can upgrade to business class or premium economy on most airlines. Prices start from £199 each way for Premium Economy and £699 each way for Business Class. Call us for prices for the route and airline you are interested in.
British Airways World Traveller Plus, Air France Premium Voyageur and Virgin Premium Economy seats are available. These provide more comfortable seats which recline further and have more legroom. There are better meals and a bar service.
KLM, Iberia and United offer standard economy class seats with extra legroom for additional cost. KLM seats can be booked through Llama Travel. United and Iberia seats can be reserved with the airlines one month prior to departure.
British Airways Club World has seats which convert into full flat beds and have a privacy screen.
Iberia Business Plus between Madrid and Latin America offers seats which convert into flat beds. Between the UK and Madrid, seats are usually the same as in economy class.
KLM World Business Class offers seats that convert into flat beds. Between the UK and Amsterdam, seats are usually the same as in economy class. Air France Affairs Class offer seats which convert into virtually flat beds. Between the UK and Paris, seats are usually the same as in economy class.
United Business First between the UK and the US offers seats which convert into full flat beds. Between the US and Latin America, seats are more spacious than in economy.
Most scheduled airlines have a baggage allowance of 23kg per passenger for international flights, but internal flight allowances can be less. Exact limits can be found on airline webpages. Please bear this in mind when packing, as carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to leave the rest of your luggage in storage. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.
Selecting your seats on flights
Many airlines now charge a fee to select your seat prior to checking in for your flight, even when travelling in premium economy or business class. Alternatively, you may choose your preferred seat free of charge when online check-in opens 24 hours prior to departure or at the airport. Please ask us about the options available at time of booking.
We all want a comfortable journey, particularly on long haul flights. If you would like a seat with some extra leg room or a larger recline please let us know. Airlines have introduced a range of “economy comfort” seats that may be purchased in advance. In some cases, these seats may only be purchased online directly with the airline once Llama Travel has issued your ticket approximately 30 days prior to departure.
For flights within Latin America, and for connecting flights in Europe, it is usually only possible to select seats when you check-in online or at the airport.
It may not be possible to always use online check-in systems, especially when using a codeshare flight. On occasion, your preferred seat may be changed by the airline for operational reasons such as a change of aircraft or to facilitate a disabled passenger on the day you fly and as such, Llama Travel cannot always guarantee specific seats.
Breaking up the journey with stopover
If you would like to break your journey to or from Costa Rica and add a stopover to your holiday, this may be possible.
Depending on which airline you choose, stopovers may be possible in Miami, New York, Houston, Madrid, Amsterdam or Paris.
Visa Requirements if travelling via the US
All people flying to the USA, even if only in transit to Latin America, must comply with US immigration requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with these requirements before you travel. Failure to do so may result in you being denied boarding on your flight to the USA and, at best, a last-minute and probably expensive re-routing avoiding the USA. It is important, therefore, that you follow these procedures carefully.
As your flight to Latin America involves a stop in the US, you will be subject to US immigration control upon entry to the US. If you qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program, you are able to avoid the need to apply for a visa, but still need to enter your details online on the US State Department website. If you do not qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program, you must apply in person at a US embassy for a US visa. Please make sure that you do this in good time.
If you are a UK citizen and have a UK passport, you may qualify for visa-free travel. You will require a machine readable passport to qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (so you do not require a visa to enter the US). A machine readable passport has the holder's personal details (name, date of birth, nationality and passport number) contained in two lines of text at the bottom of the photo page. This appears as two lines of letters, numbers and chevrons (">>>>>") printed across the long edge of the photo page.
Additionally, if the passport was issued, renewed/extended between October 26, 2005 and October 25, 2006 it must contain a digital photograph. If the passport was issued, renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2006, it must be also include an integrated circuit chip capable of storing the biographic information from the data page, a digitized photograph and other biometric information.
Please note, holders of passports indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, a British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen or British Protected Person do not qualify for travel without a visa. A passport which states that the holder has Right of Abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not quality for visa-free travel.
If you have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, or if you have a criminal record, you will need a visa.
If you have any doubts about whether you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, please check with the US embassy. Full details can be found on the US embassy’s UK website at: http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp3.html
Many European, Australian and New Zealand passport holders also qualify for the Visa Waiver Program as long as the passport is machine readable and complies with the relevant criteria. Please see the US embassy website for a list of countries which qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. It is important that you check the website of the US Embassy in the country of passport nationality for any further changes before you travel.
ESTA Visa Waiver Program - **** Action by you may be required ****
The US State Department has introduced a mandatory electronic system to help speed up the US immigration process for travellers on the Visa Waiver Program. All Visa Waiver Program travellers must fill in a form on the US State department website. This can be found at (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov). Please enter this into the address bar on your web browser. There is a $14 charge per person to apply for this. DO NOT search for this website via a search engine, such as Google, as it will take you to an incorrect website. Although this can be filled in up to 72 hours before travel, we recommend that you fill in this form as soon as possible so any issues can be identified immediately. To apply please scroll to the bottom of the green area and press the apply button on the left hand side of the page. Please make sure that this form is filled out for all the passengers on your booking. If you require more detailed instructions, please visit www.LlamaTravel.com/ESTA.
If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, or if your passport does not meet the relevant criteria, then you will require a US visa before you travel. Even if you are given authorization on the ESTA website, some travellers may not be eligible to enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. If in doubt, please consult the US embassy website.
Advanced Passenger Information - **** Action by you is required ****
The US Transportation Security Authority requires anybody flying through the United Sates to supply specific passenger information prior to their international flight. This is in addition to the information to be submitted for the Visa Waiver Program which you may have already completed. Please visit our website where you will find details on how to submit this information using the airlines website. www.LlamaTravel.com/USAPI.
Please complete this procedure as soon as possible. If your passenger information is not entered into the flight booking we are unable to issue your flight tickets. This may result in your flight booking being cancelled and high charges being incurred.
Travelling in Costa Rica
Budgeting for your stay
All hotels include breakfast, and other meals are included on some tours and excursions. However, generally, you will need to arrange your own lunches and dinners. We recommend budgeting approximately US$15 – 20 for a meal, although many restaurants have excellent value set lunches for less than this. Hotel restaurants, especially in superior hotels, can be more expensive. Additionally, there are many upmarket restaurants, particularly in San Jose, where you should expect to pay up to US$50 per person, or possibly more.
Bar prices are similar to the UK and a small bottle of beer usually costs around US$2-3 in a hotel bar. This can be higher in more remote areas.
If you are planning on arranging any activities locally, these can be expensive. These can usually be paid for by credit card.
Llama Travel Groups
Probably the best way to describe our holidays is flexible tours, so you can choose where to visit by combining different extensions and excursions, and which hotels to stay in. In most cases, you will be with other Llama Travellers, but not necessarily the same people throughout. This allows you to get to know like-minded people, but not have to spend all your time with the same group. If we don't have anyone else taking a particular part of a holiday, we will still operate this just for you. All our holidays are guaranteed to operate if we have two passengers or more.
Excursions are usually taken together with other Llama Travel customers in groups of no more than 18 people. If we have more than 18 booked, we operate two groups. In some places, the excursions are operated by one of our local partners, so you may be with people other than Llama Travel customers and the group may be a mix of English and other languages. In these cases, group sizes can sometimes be larger. If you would like to know the likely situation for your holiday, please ask us and we will be able to check. Transfers may be with more than 18 people.
We get a wide range of people taking our holidays, with probably the largest group being couples aged in their forties to sixties, or even older. However, we also have a large number of customers in their twenties and thirties, especially for some of the more active holidays. What unites everyone is a sense of curiosity and a desire to discover new cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Although most of our customers travel with friends or family, we also have quite a few single travellers who are happy to mix and match as described above.
The national dish of Costa Rica is Gallo pinto which consists of rice and beans. This is traditionally had for breakfast, although it can be eaten with any meal. The capital city of San Jose has a wide range of restaurants, La Fortuna – a town near Arenal Volcano – serves a mix of international and Costa Rican dishes, and there are several restaurants in Santa Elena and Monteverde. The Hotel Parador in Manuel Antonio has three restaurants, and there are also reasonably priced restaurants in the village. Seafood is the specialty of this area.
The currency in Costa Rica is the Colon (approximate exchange rate: CRC500 = US$1). Travellers should take local currency or US dollars and not UK sterling, which is not widely accepted in any form. Credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus) can be used in many shops and restaurants, and can also be used to withdraw money from cash machines. There are cash machines in the centre of town in San Jose, La Fortuna (Arenal), Santa Elena (Monteverde) and Quepos (Manuel Antonio).
When changing US dollars into local currency, always use a reputable place to change: banks, hotels or exchange shops. Do not change money on the street if you can avoid it. If taking travellers cheques, a high commission may be charged, especially if changing directly into dollars. Some hotels do not change travellers cheques so you may need to change them in a bank or exchange shop, therefore, please bear in mind opening hours.
It is always recommended to inform your bank that you are travelling abroad and to which countries. This will allow them to authorise money withdrawals on your account when you are away. Some banks say that this is not necessary, however we would still recommend contact with your bank as in some cases people have had difficulty in withdrawing currency.
When withdrawing money abroad, the daily limit may be lower than your UK limit.
If you receive good service, you may want to leave a tip. This is completely at your discretion. For general excursions, if you want to tip guides, US$3 – 5 per person per day is usual if you are in a group. Approximately US$2-3 is usual for drivers or transfer staff. Service is usually included in restaurants so tipping is not normally expected. Please give any tips directly to the person you would like to tip to ensure that they get it.
Safety & Security
Most people who travel to the countries where Llama Travel operates experience no problems on holiday. However, as is the case anywhere in the world, crime can be a problem, especially in large cities. Tourists can appear attractive targets to criminals. To minimise the risk, use common sense. Do not display signs of wealth, such as expensive looking jewellery or cameras. Avoid empty streets, especially on your own. Take a taxi after dark. By taking sensible precautions, you should have a trouble-free holiday.
Each country has its own standards for health and safety, but these are often not as good as in the UK. We take this into account when selecting hotels and request that they comply with all local regulations, but cannot guarantee that these are equivalent to British standards. Please take reasonable precautions to protect yourselves whilst on holiday, e.g. by locating fire exit routes.
Please also check the Foreign Office travel advice for the countries you are visiting at www.fco.gov.uk.
Making calls to the UK
To phone the UK from Costa Rica, dial the international dialling code for the UK (0044) and then the UK telephone number, leaving out the ‘0’ in the area code. Telephone cards are the easiest way to use public telephones, and can be bought in convenience stores.
To phone Costa Rica from the UK, dial the international dialling code for Costa Rica (00506) and then the Costa Rica telephone number.
Extensions & Excursions
Excursions are operated together with other travellers. These will usually be in English, although groups are sometimes a mix of English and other languages. A minimum of 2 people is required for some excursions. On some occasions, the order of excursions may vary. Many excursions are with non-Llama Travel passengers, especially on wildlife excursions.
In many destinations, you can arrange adventure activities. If you are interested in taking any of these, please make sure you are covered by your travel insurance. Llama Travel does not arrange any adventure activities directly and we cannot verify the safety measures of any local operators.
"Overall we had a great and memorable holiday. "
went to Costa Rica in January 2020
"Exceeded my expectations as a destination. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. "
went to Costa Rica in January 2020
"Our guide (Jorge) was excellent, really knowledgeable - didn't seem to be anything he didn't know! Wonderful trip. "
went to Costa Rica in December 2019
"Thank you - excellent again. "
went to Costa Rica in December 2019
"A fabulous holiday from start to finish. Llama Travel are outstanding. Thank you. "
went to Costa Rica in November 2019
"Thank you for organising and executing a fantastic holiday. A very good team effort all round! Well done!"
went to Argentina in November 2019
"Another fab experience - doing what Llama is great at - making fabulous memories!"
went to Argentina in November 2019
"Super holiday. Very well organised. Loved it. The guide Elizabeth was brilliant. "
went to Peru in November 2019
"Very well organised tour - great hotels. Would thoroughly recommend to others. "
went to Peru in October 2019
"Loved Peru. Local agents were without fault. Punctual, polite, helpful, cheerful, so so knowledgeable."
went to Peru in October 2019
"This was a fabulous holiday. "
went to Peru in October 2019
"We had a fantastic holiday. Loved the jungle and Machu Picchu. "
went to Peru in October 2019
"Very impressed with this holiday and the organisation. I wouldn't hesitate to use Llama Travel again. "
went to Peru in October 2019
"We hope to book with you again. "
went to Peru in October 2019
"Generally an absolutely superb holiday. Thanks to all at Llama and your in-resort agents!"
went to Argentina in September 2019
"All was fabulous - very well organised and executed by Llama Travel. We are very impressed. "
went to Peru in September 2019
"Would highly recommend Llama Travel. One of the best holidays we have ever taken. Very many thanks."
went to Peru in September 2019