Costa Rica vacation, off the beaten track

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Departure information

If you’d like to see the less visited areas of Costa Rica, this is the itinerary for you. Begin in the cosmopolitan city of San Jose before heading off on a boat trip along the river and through the jungle. Journey into the remote village of the indigenous Bribri people, have a well earned rest on a Caribbean beach before heading off to see the Arenal Volcano and the rainforests near La Fortuna. See monkeys in Manuel Antonio and dolphins in Tortuga before ending up in Drake Bay. Phew!
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica vacation, off the beaten track

Environment

We aim to use accommodation that shares our values when it comes to the environment. During this trip you will stay in an eco-lodge in La Fortuna who are committed to protecting the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. They do this by recycling, educating the community on the practices and benefits of environmental protection and using energy saving methods and biodegradable products throughout the lodge.

We also like to use local guides on each of our trips who know the area and the natural surroundings. During our trip to Corcovado National Park you will explore the area with a guide who can tell you all about the wildlife, plants and trees here and how best to protect them.

Our local partner in Costa Rica has sustainability at the forefront of their ethos and they have demonstrated this by achieving the highest level of 5 leaves as part of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program. This program is based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. This influences their choices when it comes to accommodation and excursions they offer.

Community

We are constantly looking for meaningful trips which give back to the communities and adds something really special to our customer's experience in Costa Rica. During this itinerary you will spend one night with the Bribri tribe in a local village near the Panama border. Here you will learn how to make chocolate, visit a traditional finca (farm) and learn which plants have medicinal benefits. You'll enjoy a home made meal from local natural products and get an insight into local life in this tribe. This brings tourism income into the community and gives our customers a truly authentic and memorable experience.

Throughout our trips we use local guides and drivers who can pass on their specialist expertise to our customers. By having a local guide specific to each area you gain an insight and experience. This also puts money into the local's pockets, especially if you eat at local restaurants which we actively encourage.

1 Reviews of Costa Rica vacation, off the beaten track

3 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 18 Apr 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The most memorable part of the vacation was encountering unexpected
wildlife up close!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I would recommend that you should not spent too much time traveling but spend a few extra days at a good base. Traveling in Costa Rica, despite the relatively good roads, is not quick and can be quite a challenge. Costa Rica is also very expensive for everything! It was a nightmare getting in to San Jose due to some bridge construction and took a total of 3 hours to get to our hotel from the airport ( 1.5 hours through immigration and a further 1.5 hours in a shared taxi!) - not very environmentally friendly.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I didn't really feel that local people benefitted except indirectly through
having a job in the tourist industry. Items for sale were rarely produced in
the country.

Traveling by minibus was perhaps more environmentally friendly but there were so many buses!!

Conservation is a tricky issue. Many educated locals appreciate their natural inheritance but ironically don't think their government are doing enough to save it. Many people continue to slash and burn the forest and then sell the land for building or worse still, for planting forests of oil palm plantations. No animal species benefits? from oil palms; nothing lives there and the land dies ultimately. I was personally horrified to see so many miles of oil palm plantations along the Pacific coast, and more land being cleared for the same. This was very evident from a flight from the Osa peninsula to San Jose.

So despite the numbers of tourists and the overall costs involved, I do wonder how much is actually used to help conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We enjoyed the vacation overall and can't fault the organisation of our accommodation and transportation which was totally reliable.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Jackie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experiences of traveling in Costa Rica. It sounds like you had some really special wildlife experiences out there - I have always found the incredible diversity of both the fauna and flora in Costa Rica to be such a wonder!

You have raised some interesting points about the local economy, which is heavily reliant on both the tourism and agricultural industries. Although a vacation to Costa Rica cannot directly impact how the agricultural industry is run, of which African Palm plantations are an established part, we can do all possible to ensure that the vacations we plan for our customers have as much positive impact on the local community and as little negative impact on the natural environment as possible.

We strive to work, as far as possible, with local partners, hotels and suppliers who are either locally owned or have a majority of employees from the local area. By choosing to work with the local ground handler we have in Costa Rica, we know that every booking we make has an immediate impact on local communities and on the local environment, since a portion of every booking made goes towards supporting local community upliftment, educational
and environmental protection projects. They are also registered with CST (Sustainable Tourism Certification) and they have always received the maximum reward for their sustainable tourism practices: 5 leaves. We also make sure to recommend traveling by shared transport so that there are fewer individual cars traveling around this beautiful country sending out those destructive fumes.

I am really pleased to hear that overall you enjoyed your time in Costa Rica and we do hope to hear from you again soon.

Best wishes, Fiona

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