Whose responsibility is your travel-related paperwork, like visas and vaccinations? If you said “mine” — you’re right.
If you hesitated before saying “mine” then meet Cathy Pace, whose sad story about a Costa Rica vacation will certainly make you double check your paperwork before you leave for the airport.
In January, we went on a trip to Peru with the intent to continue on to Costa Rica. When we arrived at the airport in Lima we were informed by our airline, Taca, that there was an agreement between the government of Peru and Costa Rica that no one could enter Costa Rica from Peru without a yellow fever vaccination.
We had no idea, and our travel agent had researched all restrictions beforehand, and there were no published restrictions. We were not allowed to go to Costa Rica and upon our return we confirmed that not even the official Costa Rican Embassy Web site had this information listed. We had no way of knowing!
Pace wanted a refund on her $760 deposit at the Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.
The Lodge refuses to refund our deposit. While we understand the operating procedures of hotels, this was not information that was published and we had no way of knowing. Do you think we are entitled to our deposit?
The yellow fever vaccination requirements are listed on the Centers for Disease Control site. They are also prominently displayed on the Costa Rican embassy’s Web site. Pace’s travel agent should have known about that.
But more importantly, you should never rely on anything other than an official government source — not an airline, not a cruise line, not a travel agency — when obtaining proper travel documents.
Securing the proper paperwork is your responsibility, and yours alone.