Costa Rica adventure vacation

“16 day small group round-trip overland from San José featuring optional activities, plenty of free time, local transport and experienced local guides.”

Highlights

San José | Quepos | Monteverde | La Fortuna | Sarapiquí Rainforest | Tortuguero | Puerto Viejo de Talamanca | Optional activities include: kayaking, surfing, white water rafting, zip lines, empanada-making and seasonal wildlife watching |

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07 Dec 2019
US $1729
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12 Dec 2019
US $1557
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14 Dec 2019
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16 Dec 2019
US $1620
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21 Dec 2019
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26 Dec 2019
US $1530
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28 Dec 2019
US $1620
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30 Dec 2019
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02 Jan 2020
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18 Jan 2020
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23 Jan 2020
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25 Jan 2020
US $1513
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30 Jan 2020
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01 Feb 2020
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Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled 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. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Costa Rica adventure vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Through our commitment to responsible tourism, we ensure minimal social and environmental impact in the places we visit by traveling in small groups, using local transportation and staying in locally owned hotels. We also work with experienced local guides who are knowledgeable of local culture, history, flora and fauna.

Kids Saving the Rainforest is a non-profit organization in Quepos, Costa Rica that focuses on environmental education and wildlife conservation. On this tour you may have the opportunity to learn about their programs including their efforts to save the endangered Titi monkeys and their animal rehabilitation program.

The leading cause of death among these primates is electrocution by both high and low-tension live wires where their treetop pathways have grown around the wires. These bridges lend an invaluable resource to the remaining 1500-1700 Titi monkeys of the Citrinellus subspecies. Recent studies in Manual Antonio have shown 20% increases in the size of some troops in the last couple of years and the size of the subspecies population has increased by approximately 200 since the last study. This is great news, which shows the bridges are contributing towards saving the monkeys. This organisation is supported by the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organisation developed by our company as a way to give back to the places in which we operate.

9 Reviews of Costa Rica adventure vacation

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 14 Aug 2019 by

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


I loved the jungle lodge in Sarapiqui - a 2 hour tractor drive from the nearest tarmac road. An idyllic location in the heart of the forest.

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


The trip is perfect if you want to see a lot of Costa Rica in two weeks. While there is a lot of traveling, this was well organised so that on most traveling days
we had time to do some activities in the afternoons, so these didn't feel like wasted days. The accommodation is charming and basic - if you prefer luxury, this may not be the right option for you.

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


Our guide was really enthusiastic about sustainable tourism, and I really felt that the trip was organised to benefit the local communities and support
conservation. Transport was organised efficiently and we were encouraged to avoid unnecessary environmental impact.

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


A superb trip. Everything was made really easy for us and there was a good choice of activities to suit a range of tastes. Our local guide really brought the trip together with his knowledge and enthusiasm.

Reviewed on 22 Mar 2018 by

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


That's difficult as there were so many memorable moments. The zipwire above the cloud forest was a massive adrenalin rush. Helping to plant trees by potting bags of soil was great too and a great bonding moment for the group.

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


Pace yourself and take every opportunity to explore, be curious, try new things. Be nice to your guides they work very hard to make your experience great.

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


I believe so. We helped in the process to plant more trees. We also had a cooking lesson with a lovely lady in her kitchen and all of our guides were local and very knowledgable.

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


Fantastic. Wonderful.

Reviewed on 05 Sep 2018 by

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


Probably the turtle egg laying.

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


Preparation for wet weather - quick dry shoes, trousers etc.
There is a great deal of tipping - multiple drivers etc. which requires keeping chaneg available at short notice.

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


To some extent, yes!

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


Three - 4 stars I think. For me personally, a smaller group is preferable.

Reviewed on 08 Aug 2017 by

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


All of it was memorable...the wildlife, the scenery, the activities we did, including zipwiring, canyoning and whitewater rafting, our group and group leader and especially the amazing friendliness of the Costa Rican people. A great tour, visiting so many different places, both coastlines and also offering the opportunity to do some adrenaline inducing activities. Probably the best thing was going to Torteguero to see turtles laying their eggs, covering their nests and returning down the beach to swim off into the moonlight...magical!

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


Take binoculars, waterproofs and if possible a dry bag. We took pull along bags but a rucksack may have been better as we had to walk down a rough track at one point to pick up a boat across Arenal lake.

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




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


Brilliant

Reviewed on 07 Aug 2017 by

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


All of it was memorable...the wildlife, the scenery, the activities we did, including zipwiring, canyoning and whitewater rafting, our group and group leader and especially the amazing friendliness of the Costa Rican people. A great tour, visiting so many different places, both coastlines and also offering the opportunity to do some adrenaline inducing activities.

Probably the best thing was going to Torteguero to see turtles laying their eggs, covering their nests and returning down the beach to swim off into the moonlight...magical!

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


Take binoculars, waterproofs and if possible a dry bag. We took pull along bags but a rucksack may have been better as we had to walk down a rough track at one point to pick up a boat across Arenal lake.

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




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


Brilliant

Reviewed on 21 Apr 2017 by

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


the landscapes

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


pick a trip with activities you definitely want to do as if you dont take part you dont feel part of the group.

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


yes massively.

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


really worthwhile, my only criticism was the extortionate amount i had to pay for single supplement which on these kinds of trips really should be reduced.

Reviewed on 12 May 2014 by

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


Seeing the wildlife

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


Take a good camera and some binoculars

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


The money from tourism in costa rica is used to help the national parks and support the protected areas. I think many of the excursions from Arenal mostly helped Desafio but in Monte Verde the local community benefitted much more.

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


Very good the CEO (Mau) was fantastic and Costa Rica is a beautiful Country where real effort is being made to protect the natural resources.

Reviewed on 12 Jan 2011 by

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


The boat trip from Puerto Viajhoe (?) to Tortuguero was relaxing, colourful and enjoyable - LOTs to see. Rain Forest track to Rara Avis, and stay, memorable.

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


Take LOTS of US dollars cos the meals and activities will cost you more than you think! Costa Rica is not a cheap vacation!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Not really. Provided low level employment to some local people but mere presence in remote and semi remote areas damages the very thing that attracts visitors! Several of the places visited were 'tourist traps'.

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


Just OK. Tour guide, although friendly, was poor and unreliable. Often gave vague information, information that was unclear or simple wrong! It was given to those who happened to be close - others missed it! Arrived late on several occasions (when bus full and ready to go).

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for taking the time to complete your review for your Costa Rica Adventure tour on responsibletravel.com. Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to you, we wanted to review your comments regarding your leader with our local office. We strongly believe customer feedback is the best tool we have to review and improve our services. Therefore, we thank you for your efforts in this regard.

As the face representing our company, we understand the influence our leaders have on the success (or otherwise) of the tour. We are very alarmed to learn of your concerns and can assure you that they have not been taken lightly. Our local manager has been informed of the concerns and has reviewed them directly with Liza. We hope you can accept our sincere apologies for any disappointment and upset Liza may have caused you.

We have also had the opportunity to review all of the feedback received on Liza's performance from your fellow travelers and results indicate that she has received mixed reviews. This is not mentioned in efforts to minimize your concerns in any way, however trust puts matter into perspective. That said, Liza will be closely monitored on her upcoming tours to ensure that she is delivering the positive performance we know she is capable of providing.

Your business is valued and very much appreciated and we sincerely hope that despite this feedback, we will continue to be your service provider on future adventure trips. We thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention and allow us the opportunity to review and improve our services.

Reviewed on 08 Sep 2010 by

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


White Water Rafting at La Fortuna. Unfortunately two of us fell out of our raft and we went down 4 rapids before we stopped. Still have the bruises now. I would still recommend people to do it.

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


Have a good sense of adventure. Don’t take too many clothes it was so humid we didn’t wear half of them. But a good waterproof is essential.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes we constantly used local transport etc. Not sure about the impact to the environment as the carbon emissions by local transport due to the state of the roads helps but that would have been the seem whether we were there or not. By the sounds of it only the main highways are kept up to standard.

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


It was one of the best vacations, a good crowd of people and a good time had by all.

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