A few hints about Pura Vida Tour
We had an absolutely wonderful time. Some things I wish I'd known beforehand:
We changed $100 US for colones at an ATM in SJ but didn't really need them. Just taxi and a snack on walk around San Jose (taxi would have accepted dollars, I think). Most souvenir stores quote prices in dollars and readily accept credit cards. All meals and tips are coverd by Tauck (except for tour director and bus driver, so had to plan to have cash at end of trip; we paid driver with colones we still had left and TD in dollars). Didn't notice ATM's except in SJ.
River float trip: were advised to leave cameras and phones on the bus to keep them dry and safe; was sorry I did as it's a very gentle trip and I really wished I had my camera when we stopped mid-way to visit a family that had lived on the river since the 1930's. It would have been hard to get photos of wildlife while on the river, however. A photographer took photos throughout the trip and sold them at the end for $20, which was worth it as he got photos of us while on the river, a group shot of everyone in their life jackets and provided stock photos of wildlife. They were emailed to those who bought them.
Truck provided rain ponchos if needed (I used mine once), water bottles, bamboo walking sticks and flashlights for the night walk. No need to bring your own.
I used Bonine against motion sickness for winding road from Arenal area to Monteverde and back down again. My husband hates heights and the sheer drop offs along part of the narrow road made him anxious. Also, he and a couple others skipped the Sky Tram and the two walks that include hanging bridges. The rest of us had a great time!
Laundry at Monteverde Lodge is very reasonable: $3 men's shirts, $2.50 blouses, $3 long pants.