What you might to bring on your Costa Rica Herping Adventures Trip
This is all common sense, just in case something goes wrong. When you have booked your flight, please send me this information. I need your Airline, Flight number and your Arrival Time in San Jose (SJO). It you are coming to CR early, like a day or week before our Saturday meeting day. I need to know that but not your flight Info.
Of course you won’t be able to get on the plane without your passport. But once in CR, you will need to have it with you at all times. You can make a copy of the Face Page and then when you arrive at the hotel, ask the front desk if they would make a copy of the page with this trip’s entry date stamped on it. These pages will satisfy the police and you can keep the passport itself in your hotel room. Usually the hotel is happy to do this for you.
Cash, Debit Cards:
The US dollar is welcome in any place you are likely to spend money. And you can use a debit card almost anywhere in CR. A good idea is to make a copy of the front and back of any Debit or Credit you bring with you. If they get lost or stolen, you can call and get them shut down and minimize the damage.
Please think about the people that will be taking care of you for a week. They are happy when my groups come to their hotel; we have always been generous with our tips. We have the waiters to think about who will service you around 20 times during your stay. If you looked at the prices on the menu and only gave 10% per meal you would pay a lot. We give our tips Friday night or Saturday morning at our last meal at the Lodge. One more very important one is Miguel; he will be in the field with us for six herp -filled nights. He is a great herper and loves to find snakes. You’ll love him, so treat him right when it comes to a nice tip.
Bring a water bottle with you and use it; I don’t anyone dehydrated on these trips. I fill my bottle from the bathroom sink; I’ve been drinking CR water from the tap for over forty years. I have never problems from tap water in CR. You need to drink a lot of water on our day hikes. Nighttime you don’t need as much , but we are usually walking up and down small hills for about 6-7 hours and that water tastes real good.
Be in shape:
This trip is a workout every day. We go slow and easy and everyone goes at their own pace. The very best you can do is prepare yourself for the trip is go to the gym and do the treadmill, elliptical machine or the stair master, not for strength but for endurance. Or you can walk around the block every day and then expand little by little until you are covering more territory. If you don’t come in good shape, that’s OK because everyone goes at their own pace.
Head lamps and/or Flashlight are of the most importance. The technology has advanced so much in the last few years that it is hard to believe. My advice is to go to E-bay and put in Head Lamps and you will have many options at what I consider low price and they all have rechargeable batteries. I carry 3 flashlights and 2 head lamps in my backpack. After 3 to 4 hours or so the light gets weaker so I go to another light. I also carry extra batteries and can change them in a minute or two. When I get in at night is to plug all my batteries that I used that night. The power of the lights are measured by Lumen; they usually have that on the info for each ad. I have one flashlight that 13,000 lumen, and my head lamps are 2,000 lumen if I remember correctly.
I’ve been using a Collapsible Snake Hook for many years. I spoke to the owner of Tongs.com and he now has a Breakdown Hook which is 40 inches in length. It has two piece and fits easy into your luggage. You can get more info at Tongs.com. You will need a snake hook in the field. Beside using the hook on snakes I use mine for balance and I hook it around a tree and pull myself up hills, i would not be without it.
A little extra room to carry things in the field is very helpful when something happen. Like maybe we catch a fast moving snake which could be hard to photograph or there is only one other person with you and you want to take it back so everyone can get photos. I carry flashlights and head lamps, camera, water bottles, rain gear, whistle, cell phone, jacket etc.
You may need some for the pool or hot tub or if you wear shorts during the day. It’s not fun to walk at night when you have a bad sunburn.
We usually come across very few insects. Maybe I have mosquitos on 6 or 7 trips and when I say Mosquitos I mean 4 or 5 on the whole trip, never had a swarm. I lived in the Fla. Keys for 25 year so I know about mosquitos. There is a very small black bug that is out from about 6 to 9 am that will drive you crazy if you are a grassy area. At that time of day I’m in the restuarante eating breakfast and drink coffee.
Boots & Snake Chaps
Some type of snake bite protection is advised. Rubber boots are widely use in CR to keep your feet dry and to protect against snakes. When we are driving to the Arenal Lodge, I stop at a grocery store for a bathroom break and for Herpers to buy rubber boots if they need them; the cost is $15 to $20. I wear both rubber boots and snake chaps. Of course you can buy expensive snake boots, but once they get wet you have that problem to deal with.
Rain gear, poncho
We like rain while we are hunting snakes but not hard and heavy and all the time. But we get what we get and deal with it. A good quality rain suit or poncho is what you need with you. We hope we don’t have to put them on, but be prepared.
Again being prepared is key. So I’ll tell what I being. During the day hikes I wear shorts if we are going to be on trails, if we are going to be in fields I wear long plants and long-sleeve shirts. At night it is long pants and shirts. Bring a second set of clothes just in case you are in the Rain Forest and you forgot your rain gear. It happened to me!
What you do not want to bring, remember this trip is for Herping. So please leave at home any and all talk of politics, religion or negative talk about person or group. Talk about all the cool herps!