Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are flights included in the cost of my trip?
International flights to and from the destination are not included in the program fee. Discover Corps has a partnership with several agencies who can assist in organizing airfare if needed.
Q: Can I travel solo? Are there additional fees?
We welcome solo travelers on all trips, and there is no additional fee unless a single room upgrade is requested. We also offer certain dates that say STS (Solo Traveler Savings), which offer a single room upgrade for no additional cost. Locate these available dates on each individual trip page or contact us for more information.
Q: Can I opt out of certain activities?
Travelers can opt out on certain activities, but keep in mind that each program is a set price and includes most activities.
Q: Can I still purchase the Adventure Supplements after I have joined the trip?
Yes, just contact your Travel Specialist to organize this!
Q: What does ‘double occupancy’ mean? Does that mean the trip prices covers two people?
Double Occupancy refers to the accommodations (double room). The program fee you see on each trip page is per person.
Q: Are there age restrictions on your trips?
The minimum requirement for the Costa Rica: Sea Turtle Initiative is 6 years old (unless otherwise agreed upon with Discover Corps).
Q: I have a disability or someone in my family has a disability – will that be an issue?
Generally no, but it depends on the severity of the issue. Many countries outside of the U.S. do not adhere to the same wheel accessibility as the U.S., so we recommend contacting Discover Corps directly to discuss and determine which trip would work best.
Q: I have special dietary requirements – will that be an issue?
In Costa Rica, we are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. We do our best to accommodate all diets and allergies, but we do recommend you still inquire with a Discover Corps Travel Specialist about specific needs.
Q: Is the water safe to drink in the country I’m visiting?
Yes, in Costa Rica the water from the tap is safe to drink.
Q: Do I need travel insurance? What should it cover?
Travel Insurance is not required but we highly recommend that a plan is purchased to protect any delays or cancellations that could incur. We partner with Travel Guard, a leading provider in travel protection, and can refer you to them for a quote. For more information click here.
Q: Are my belongings safe while I’m on my trip?
Yes. We trust that your belongings are protected while under our staff’s watch. Please contact your Travel Specialist in regards to questions about included amenities at each lodging such as lockboxes.
Q: Is tipping commonplace in the places we’re visiting?
On most trips, tips are provided for restaurants, hotels, and baggage. However, on all trips, tips are suggested for the guide and the driver. For guides, it is recommended to tip between $6-10 USD/ 3,000-5,000 CRC per day whereas the driver should be tipped around $3-5 USD/ 1,500-2,500 CRC per day.
On trips with 10 or more people, there may be an assistant guide as well. The rule of thumb for tipping assistant guides is to tip half of whatever you tipped the main guide.
Q: Are Discover Corps trips suitable for LGBTQ travelers?
Yes, we are confident that LGBTQ travelers would be more than welcome on our trips and in Costa Rica.
Q: I’m concerned about the political stability and/or safety of the country we’re visiting. Is it safe?
Discover Corps holds the safety of our travelers and staff as our #1 priority. We provide safe and secure lodging, healthy, hygienic meals and bottled water, safe and comfortable transportation, and expert local knowledge in order to facilitate safe travel programs. Discover Corps also does not take travelers to destinations that are deemed unsafe. We are constantly keeping up with local news in the countries we visit and can help answer any concerns that may arise before your departure or during your trip.
Q: What is the best way to carry money?
It’s best to divide money into different places and keep small bills handy. In some destinations, accommodations offer safety boxes. If you need money once in-country there will be ATMs to take out money throughout the trip.
Q: What if I end up ill or get injured on the trip and am unable to continue? What happens then?
In the case of injury or illness, first and foremost, we would seek proper medical attention. In each of the locations we operate, we have designated medical clinics and hospitals that we take travelers to in such cases. Discover Corps also includes a comprehensive medical insurance policy for each traveler who goes abroad with us. Please see the medical insurance section of this pre-departure handbook for exact coverage descriptions.
If you are unable to join Discover Corps prior to the trip, travel insurance will cover the costs depending on the severity of and reason for the situation. You can inquire with Travel Guard for exact policies and the guidelines.
Q: What type of luggage do you recommend I take?
Overall, the rule of thumb across all of our trips is to pack as lightly as possible. This will simply reduce the amount of luggage you are carrying around throughout the trip and make things easier. Typically, rolling luggage works best, but keep in mind that uneven sidewalks and cobblestones in many destinations may make this more difficult.
Q: What clothes and footwear should I pack?
Each destination varies in climate, so it is recommended to look over the packing list that is provided under each destination. Please reference the packing list here on the Travel Portal or the “What to Pack” section in the Costa Rica: Sea Turtle Initiative Pre-Departure Handbook. Closed toe shoes are required for zip-lining, tubing and the night patrols.
Q: What essential documents do I need to take?
Any international travel requires a valid passport . Discover Corps recommends you take 2 photo copies of your passport and leave one at home and take the other with you.
Q: Will my mobile phone work? Will I have access to the Internet?
It’s not guaranteed that your phone will work, we recommend reaching out to your cell phone provider to see the available international plans. WiFi will be accessible at the accommodations.
Q: Do I need to get vaccines before I travel?
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, there are no vaccinations required in order to travel to Costa Rica. However, we also recommend consulting with your local travel clinic for recommended inoculations for all international travels.
Q: Are you allowed to pet the animals you see?
Some trips will allow you to have direct contact with the animals you are volunteering with. However, in order to protect the wildlife and the safety of our travelers, it is not recommended to touch any wildlife that is not permitted by your guide.
Overall, the main species of turtles most commonly found on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica include the Leatherback Sea Turtle, Pacific Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill and the Olive Ridley Turtle.
Peak Nesting Season (August-December):
During this time of the year travelers will assist with beach cleanups, dig hatched nests to determine the hatch success rate, and do night patrols to gather eggs and collect scientific data. If the timing is right, you may even be able to release baby turtles back into the ocean.
Be aware that night patrol times depend on the tides and can be late at night. There are two patrols a night. You will alternate between early and late shifts over the 4 nights of patrols. Late shifts can sometimes be as late as 2:30 am to 4:30 am. Of course, if you're not feeling up to it on any given night you can opt out.
Off-Peak Nesting Season (July-Mid August):
This is when adult females come to nest (note that the babies have not hatched yet), the group will have the opportunity to observe the nesting sea turtles, gather eggs and collect scientific data. This is prime time for olive ridley nesting season.Travelers will also engage in beach cleanups.
*There is no guarantee of seeing sea turtles*
Q: How Far in Advance do I need to Reserve my trip?
The farther in advance you book, the better selection of dates you’ll have. On most trips you’ll want to book 3 to 6 months out. For holiday trips, you’ll want to reserve 6 to 8 months out. Rest assured, though, we’re also masters at accommodating last-minute reservations!