Costa Rica walking vacation

“Costa Rica on foot, coast to coast in two weeks, taking in national parks, turtle beaches and towering waterfalls, and staying in eco lodges.”

Highlights

San Jose | Tortuguero National Park | El Toro waterfall | Arenal Volcano National Park | Cerro Chato volcano | La Fortuna waterfall | Ecotermales Hot Springs | Rio Celeste National Park | Tenorio | Miravalles volcano | Aguas Claras | Rincon de la Vieja volcano | Rincon de la Vieja National Park | bubbling mud pools at Las Pailas | Guanacaste Conservation Area | Samara beach

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Date
Price
Basis
19 Feb 2018
US $ 3745
excluding flights
Full
 
19 Mar 2018
US $ 4025
excluding flights
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16 Apr 2018
US $ 3715
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23 Jul 2018
US $ 3715
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13 Aug 2018
US $ 3715
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09 Feb 2019
US $ 3875
excluding flights
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02 Mar 2019
US $ 3875
excluding flights
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16 Mar 2019
US $ 3875
excluding flights
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30 Mar 2019
US $ 3875
excluding flights
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13 Apr 2019
US $ 4265
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27 Jul 2019
US $ 3875
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10 Aug 2019
US $ 3875
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Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

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.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica walking vacation

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend two weeks in a combination of hotels and eco-lodges around Costa Rica. We use fairly small, family run and locally staffed establishments which ensures that we are benefiting local communities. Our local operator is a leading member of the Rainforest Alliance and has been awarded a "4 Leaf" award from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute for their sustainable tourism practice & dedication to improving standards. An example of eco-friendly accommodation on this trip is Hacienda Guachipelin, a lodge with a privileged location at the foot of the magnificent Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste. The family owned property has taken great care of the land and surrounding forest for nearly half a century, are committed to sustainable tourism and have a “3 Leaf” award for their practices.

Activity:
Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We operate a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy and local guides enforce this through responsible tourism briefings. These should help clients better understand the living situation for many and the environmental issues in the area. We also aim to benefit Costa Rican communities as much as possible by stopping to use local restaurants, cafes and services as much as possible.

Local Craft and Culture:
Although this is largely a nature and walking vacation, we incorporate as much benefit to local people as possible. One of the ways to support local people and boost the economy is to buy crafts in some of the remote regions that we visit, such as Tortuguero. Having the opportunity to purchase locally made handicrafts encourages cultural exchange and provides a significant form of alternative income. Guides are careful to explain that any souvenirs on sale over the duration of the trip which are made from animal parts, shells or local hardwoods should not be purchased.

UK office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size. The maximum group size on this trip is restricted to 12 in order to reduce the environmental impacts of visiting remote areas.

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