This is an extremely very popular program among Oregon adults. If you are interested, let the Southbound trip coordinator, Peggy Ast, know as soon as possible by email. Or you use the ‘Contact Us’ form on our homepage.
You’ll be first asked to be part of the group planning the events for when the Ticos visit Oregon locations in September/October, so that you’ll have a better idea of how the program works, and so that you’ll be able to meet many of the Ticos and/or Oregon travelers here, before you even get to Costa Rica. Prior to hosting, you’ll be asked to complete and turn in the hosting application Host Ambassador Application Host Ambassador Application , as well as sign the Host Ambassador Agreement
As soon as the Southbound list reaches 15 people, you’ll be asked to pay both current year and next year’s member dues ($25 per individual, each year) and also a $50 per person non-refundable participation fee to hold your spot. You’ll need to complete the travel application and submit that with these fees Travel Ambassador Application
Since the Costa Rica Partners plan the February itinerary for us and arrange the homestays, the information we have right now is approximate, only. We will know more specifics in the autumn —usually by mid-November. Hosting towns in Costa Rica trade off every other year, so if you travel for two consecutive years, you’d be able to see new areas and meet new Tico members. You can read more about several of the areas in Costa Rica here Costa Rica Chapters
As of this moment, the locations for the February 2020 will be (and not necessarily in this order):
- Liberia (near the Pacific coast, so you will spend time somewhere along the western area);
- Tileran which is near the Arenal Volcano in the North Central Valley (where you will probably visit Monte Verde);
- Grecia (just north of San Jose) where you will visit the Poas volcano (eruptions permitting!); and
- Perez Zeledon in the south. From here, you might visit the Caribbean area or perhaps Rio Savegre to see quetzals, etc.
What’s Included in the Program
Since all fees paid by Oregonians are for specific activities, all food and lodging with your Tico family is paid for by the Ticos themselves; you can reciprocate when they are in your Oregon town and home.
2018 Program Costs
Land Costs: approximately $1,200 USD. The land costs pay for in-country transportation (premier buses or vans with professional drivers), entrance fees to parks, thermal spas, museums, etc. Usually there is a night or two in a resort, which is included in these costs. You’ll need thirteen (12) $100 USD bills in an envelope marked w/your name on it. The trip leader will let you know when it’s the best time to provide your fund envelope, but it will be either in the bus on the way from the airport after arriving in Costa Rica, or the following first full day of activity – whichever is the safest and most appropriate to enable a full count of your envelope in your presence, with another person as a witness, and in a safe, non-public environment. These funds will be given directly and immediately to the Costa Rican leader/treasurer upon arrival, who will, in turn, distribute the funds to the four different sub-committees arranging your monthlong trip.
Tipping: $25 USD. You’ll also need another marked envelope with your name on it, and include $25 (five $5 bills is best) for use by the trip leader as various tips to drivers, luggage handlers, etc. on behalf of the group. The trip leader will let you know when it’s best to handle this transaction; again, when it’s safe to do so and with a witness present. Though the Ticos might prefer that we not tip at all, drivers sometimes have long trips and have to hoist luggage several times up to/down from the rooftop. Unused money will be refunded to you at the end of the trip. (Depending on the number and duration of bus rides and luggage, etc., the trip leader or the group might decide a little more may be needed.)
You will need to bring all amounts in USD cash with you to Costa Rica. Please ensure you have correct denominations in separate envelopes, as it makes it so much easier to ensure correct payments from each traveler are handled appropriately. Though we are looking at the possibility of bank transfers, there really is no method, at present, to pre-pay for your trip, nor to withdraw money from a bank or ATM in Costa Rica upon arrival, without a lot of time and energy and cost (ATM fees can be hefty). We recognize that you may be reticent to carry so much cash with you, but that is currently the only solution.
Airfare: $500-$700, recent round trip fares if made in advance. You are responsible for buying and arranging your own flight. You don’t have to travel to and from Costa Rica with the Oregon group, but you do have to be at the designated airport at the designated time. If you have a later arrival time than the designated time, you’ll need to come the day before and make your own hotel arrangements for that night, and take a taxi to the designated meetup location by the designated time. We have many differing needs that make one flight for everyone difficult; you might have miles you want to use, be coming from Ecuador instead of Portland, using Redmond airport instead of coming into Portland, etc. Before your exit flight out of the US, it is important to know that you will not be allowed into Costa Rica unless you also provide ticketed proof that you will also leave the country! This means that you may not be allowed onto the exit flight itself.
Exit Tax: There is an exit tax of $29 to leave Costa Rica. Though this can be paid at a Costa Rican bank and you can take the receipt with you to the airport, finding a bank will probably be a hassle because the daily itineraries leave little room for banking time. There is an EXIT TAX window at the airport (right side of San Jose airport as you enter building) and it is generally without long lines.
Need more information? Start here Travel Ambassador – 10 Most Frequent FAQ’s