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Costa Rica

Costa Rica . June 12-19, 2013. True or False?. Costa Rica does not follow daylight savings. Tamales are wrapped in corn husks in CR. It’s okay not to try food you are offered at home. Costa Ricans call themselves “ Ticos .” Coffee is not very popular in CR. Food is spicy in CR.

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Costa Rica

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  1. Costa Rica June 12-19, 2013

  2. True or False? • Costa Rica does not follow daylight savings. • Tamales are wrapped in corn husks in CR. • It’s okay not to try food you are offered at home. • Costa Ricans call themselves “Ticos.” • Coffee is not very popular in CR. • Food is spicy in CR. • It’s okay to take really long showers. • It’s important to try to speak Spanish. • You should keep all your money in one place. • Rice and beans are not eaten much. • You should explore on your own. • CR is a democratic country. • You should call home or text home every day. • You should write down what you did each day.

  3. $$ Money $$ • Here are the recommendations of Interact: • Bank/Debit Cards • Generally the recommended way to access your funds while traveling in Costa Rica. Check with your bank before you travel to ensure that they charge reasonable fees and that you will have access to ATM. You can also ask for a list of machines that are within their system in Costa Rica to avoid ATM "roaming charges." • ATM is safer than carrying large amounts of cash, and less nerve-wracking than -if a student has their own credit card - dealing with unpredictable credit card fees. Many places accept credit cards but have a significant surcharge (7%). Bank cards (for savings or checking withdrawals) and debit cards usually cost less to use in ATM machines than credit cards. • Debit and Bank cards are convenient, quick and considered as safe as in the USA. You'll generally pay between 1% and 2% exchange commission, plus flat fees of $US 1-3 per transaction.

  4. Currency: Colones • Costa Rican Colones —Local currency is the most convenient and demonstrates that you are making a sincere effort to learn their culture. The Costa Rican colon, also denoted by CRC, is the official currency of Costa Rica. The symbol for CRC can be written as C: C500 . The colon is subdivided into 100 centimos, but coins are rarely used anymore due to inflation. In 1997, new coins were issued to replace the older coins. • Ticos call the 100 colon bill a "teja," while the 500-colon bill is called a "cincoteja." "Rojo" and "tucan" are the slang terms for 1,000 and 5,000 colon bills. • US Dollars, Cash—United States dollars are widely accepted -though NOT universally. Always have some colones, especially for smaller purchases. Carry smaller denomination bills ($1-$20) in good condition, without writing or tears. Larger bills are regarded with a great deal of suspicion and the new counterfeit resistant currency is only slowly gaining acceptance even years after its introduction. If you are going to spend US cash you should be adept at doing conversions on the fly and expect to receive your change in colones. • Traveler's Checks should be avoided. No one wants to accept them anymore.

  5. Passport Pouches: • Do a Google search. You will be AMAZED at the results. Colors, styles. Oh my! • However: simple is best. Thinnest is best. PLAIN is best. The whole point is that no one notices or sees it!! • It should be worn UNDER clothing, so thin, flat and soft is most comfortable. The most common two types are: around the waist, and around the neck. Sra. Straub and Sra. Krauklis will be conducting random passport checks!

  6. Weather: • One of the most surprising things for new comers to the Central Valley is that it’s not as warm as they thought it would be. The truly hot months are at the end of the dry season, March and April. December, January, and February are usually rain-free, but the weather can be downright chilly, especially at night or if a wind is blowing. During the rainy season, May to November the days tend to start out warm and sunny and cloud over by noon. The downpour usually starts around 2 or 3 p.m. and it can get pretty cold then, too. Usually a sweater and long pants are enough to keep you warm. When it rains, it really rains, but afternoon downpours are usually short-lived. If you go down in altitude from San José’s 3800 feet, you’ll be able to wear the kind of clothes you hoped you could wear in the tropics. • WHAT DOES THIS MEAN: Layers. A good raincoat. Umbrella. Warm enough for short-sleeves, but chilly when it rains. Be flexible. BUT – it will be HOT at the beach 

  7. What to pack? • Things that can be worn multiple ways. • Look carefully at our itinerary, and plan for each day. • Comfortable shoes. (hiking, walking, beach) • Layers!!! • Moleskin is best for blisters!! • Leave space to bring home souvenirs (can be the donations space from the trip out).

  8. What to pack…cont’d: • If you wear glasses or contacts: BRING AN EXTRA PAIR. Blurry vision will wreck your trip. • Extra medications. (pack some in the carry-on, some in the checked bag!) • Written emergency phone numbers! (Parents, you might be surprised that your child has not memorized your numbers.) • Photocopy of your passport (give to Mrs. Straub or Mrs. Krauklis in advance!!) and an extra photo – JUST IN CASE.

  9. Suggested Packing List • • Money belt or pouch (see Teacher Planning Guide: “HIDDEN POCKET”) • • Dry shoes for evening • • Flip flops or river sandals (you don’t mind being wet in) • • Underclothes and socks • • At least two pairs of long pants for field days and one for evening shorts. • • Some people like to hike in shorts, although long pants are recommended because of bugs. • • Skirt or dress, females might want a change from pants for the evenings • • Short sleeved t-shirts • • Light weight rain jacket or cheap rain poncho • • Sun hat or cap • • Sweater or sweatshirt • • Light jacket or windbreaker • • Bathing suit • • Sunscreen

  10. Field gear • • Plastic bags for dirty clothes and to protect your gear on boats • • Binoculars (sharing is highly recommended) & bird book if you are a serious birder • • Flashlight • Please review your PREGUNTAS Enrollment Booklet, p. 3: LUGGAGE, PACKING & PROPER DRESS. • Humanitarian interACTion: The local schools have also requested that participants wear long pants (below knees) and short sleeve shirts (t-shirts are great). Do not wear shorts, skirts, or tank-tops/sleeveless/spaghetti strap tops.

  11. Humanitarian/Volunteer • Students will be spending part of a day volunteering at either a local school or orphanage, and have been asked to bring some donated school supply items. Think of what can be light, small to pack, and not too expensive. What would small children enjoy? (Tip, things like crayons, pencils, or anything that might make marks should be in a bag of some kind.)

  12. What would you do if…? • Someone whistled at you in the street, or called out to you? • Someone you don’t know asks you for directions, time, money? • You get separated from the group? • You have a problem with your host family? • You get sick? • You get pickpocketed or lose your passport? • You want to try some interesting food on the street or in a shop? • Your host family does something that you do not understand? • You are served food you do not recognize? • Someone offers you alcohol? • You want to say no to something or someone, but you are afraid of offending them?

  13. Some final thoughts: • When we find out our final flight info, we will be able to go into more detail about things like carry-on size, what you can and can’t bring on board, size of toiletries, as well as times and places to meet before heading to the airport.

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