Natural highlights tour of Costa Rica

“Nine day small group tour of Costa Rica featuring river boat trips in Tortuguero, a couple of bumpy drives and wildlife watching in Monteverde.”

Highlights

San Jose | Tortuguero National Park | Sea Turtle Museum | Arenal Volcano | La Fortuna | Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge | Los Chiles village | Tilaran Mountain Range | Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve |

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05 Jan 2019
US $ 2015
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19 Jan 2019
US $ 1825
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23 Feb 2019
US $ 1935
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09 Mar 2019
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30 Mar 2019
US $ 2015
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06 Apr 2019
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27 Jul 2019
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10 Aug 2019
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12 Oct 2019
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09 Nov 2019
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16 Nov 2019
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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: Natural highlights tour of Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend one week 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 the Monteverde Country Lodge, a rustic wooden property set in tropical gardens that has an eco-guest programme and has programmes in place to help protect the fragile eco-system.

Activity:
Being a wildlife based tour, we are very conscious of our effects on the environment and how we can reduce negative impact and aid conservation. On this trip we visit national and private parks, including Tortuguero National Park, Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge and Monteverde Cloud Forest. Entrance fees directly support conservation efforts in the areas we visit. 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.

Local Craft and Culture:
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 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.

Charity:
Last January we contributed school supplies though the Costa Rican Association of Tour Operators (ACOT). We organised the donation of school packages to children and teenagers in indigenous communities (Dueri, Cerro Alto, Tolok Saku, Jamaikiri, Tsinikicha, Mata de Limón, San Miguel, Gandoca and Yorkin).

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:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, 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.

1 Reviews of Natural highlights tour of Costa Rica

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 01 Dec 2017 by

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


Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat including spider, howler and capuchin monkeys, two and three toed sloths, basilisk lizards running on water, boa constrictors, tarantulas, toucans, hummingbirds and quetzals to name a few.

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


I benefitted from packing a mosquito net for the first two nights accommodation.

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


Yes.

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


Excellent. Couldn't have been better.

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