Costa Rica vacation, Rainforest & Restful Retreats
Description of Costa Rica vacation, Rainforest & Restful Retreats
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Small group tours:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modeled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. Those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetAccommodation and Meals:
On this trip we spend seven nights in comfortable hotels, including Rio Celeste Hideaway which is ecologically conscious and nestled within a secluded rainforest. On day four of this trip we stay at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, which holds the third level of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program by the Costa Rican Tourism Board. At this hotel, all produce is sourced from their own land and what isn’t grown or raised here is purchased from sustainable local vendors.
Mealtimes are a good chance for guests to explore Costa Rican Cuisine in local restaurants and cafes. Some specialties include ‘Gallo Pinto’, a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet, as well as soups and stews.
Activity & Environment:
During this trip, an array of exciting and environmentally friendly activities are offered, which include river tubing, ziplining and surfing. We travel to Celeste River in the Tenorio Volcano National Park and experience grade I and II rapids, surrounded by tropical rainforests and accompanied by monkey calls and birdsongs. River tubing is a low impact activity which allows guests to experience the Celeste river in a sustainable manner without causing any damage to the natural world. We’ll also enjoy a four-hour hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park, where we can spot exotic plants and wildlife in their true habitats before reaching the Celeste waterfall. As the sun sets on day three, we’ll also follow a forest trail by torchlight to witness some nocturnal species emerging for the night.
We visit the area of Rincon de la Vieja comprised of warm springs and mud pools, and have the opportunity to soak in a riverbank pool and apply a natural volcanic mud masque. We continue our adventures by swinging through tree canopies on zip lines and crossing bridges over a narrow river canyon. We are very conscious of our effects on the environment and how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation, therefore we only partake in sustainable, low impact activities. The guides that we use are careful to ensure that park guidelines are followed and have extensive knowledge of Costa Rica’s fauna and flora to educate and inform clients. We’ll also have the opportunity to board a catamaran and explore some of the bays and keep an eye peeled for dolphin pods and sea turtles.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through engergy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
Although this is a largely nature-based trip, we incorporate as much benefit to local people as possible. One of the ways to support local people and boost the economy is to eat out at local cafes and restaurants on days when meals are not provided. Our local guides can recommend places where authentic specialities can be found including cansado, tamel and fresh exotic fruits. We employ local guides for their expert knowledge of Costa Rica and are careful to impart our ‘leave no trace’ policy. By visiting National Parks, our entrance fees are contributing directly to conservation and maintenance there; whilst by using local guides for natural tours, we are supporting the local economy.
A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help clients understand how they can help reduce their impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from our visit.