CRAFTING THE PERFECT COSTA RICA ITINERARY
Costa Rica had long been a destination of interest for me after much hype it made it onto my 2017 pre Spring long-haul getaway! One problem – I really didn’t know much about the country except that it was covered with copious amounts of rainforest (51% to be precise) where outdoor pursuits, great coffee, wildlife and a huge level of bio-diversity was to be discovered. Not forgetting that the beach scenes would serve as picture perfect glossy postcards and the opportunity of alfresco activities was abundant. Oh yes, this was going to be one hell of an outdoor adventure playground!
British Airways had recently launched a direct flight from London Gatwick to Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. That was my cue to hold some flights. I then profusely searched the internet for crafting ‘that’ perfect itinerary to suit mine and Dr C’s adventurous travel style. Now in the past, apart from the actual holiday, this has been the bit I enjoy the most (being a perpetual planner and all that!) but I was unfamiliar with how transfers and internal flights worked in Costa Rica. After reading numerous blogs, sample itineraries and reviews online I was determined that we should make the most of our 14 days in Costa Rica. It was going to be a once-in a lifetime destination although I may have just changed my mind since returning! It was then I stumbled upon a tour company whose tagline is ‘Vacation time is precious’, so definitely on my wavelength but additionally they had been reviewed by National Geographic as serving ‘Tours of a Lifetime’. Some of you may know I have a geeky National Geographic crush and the mere word ‘Expeditions’ and the sensational reviews I was reading meant I had to pursue further ….
The company: Costa Rica Expeditions. For anyone considering planning an itinerary with these guys, head to their website Costa Rica Expeditions and expect to progress down the following steps:
Completion of a wish list style questionnaire.
One of the travel planners will contact you (ours was Luis Cubero) and schedule in a call or like us you can do this via email as we’re based in the UK. This stage is crucial as it gives a better understanding of what your travel goals and expectations are of the trip. At this stage you will realise the length and breadth of expertise the company has in planning.
Once you have received your first proposal, the fun starts! This is when tweaks are made in order to nail down those all-important locations, hotels/lodges and experiences. The trip starts to become real. During this time for us, there was a lot of back and forth via email but Luis was always very patient and came up with the best suggestions and solutions to anything we threw at him!
Once the itinerary is perfect, A 50% deposit is due to lock down the itinerary and make the necessary reservations. The balance is due 30 days prior to travel. Again this is a very slick process and was all done online.
1 night San José at Hotel Grano de Oro
4 nights at Osa Peninsula at El Remanso Lodge
3 nights in Monteverde at Monteverde Lodge and Gardens
3 nights in Arenal at Nayara Spa and Garden Resort
3 nights in San José at Hotel Grano de Oro
Activities and Experiences have been featured in upcoming posts
Costa Rica Expeditions are based in San José and naturally, we had a few concerns dealing with a company on the other side of the world. They were responsible for virtually every single detail of our trip except the international flights! However, research we had done, all the comments we had trolled through and the direct contact with our travel planner re-enforced that feeling of ‘it’s going to be alright’. Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct! Luis was always available via email in-between to answer all our queries and we were sent out a list of emails 2 weeks prior travelling with final itinerary details, do’s and don’ts in the country, useful items, all important contact numbers, common sense points, what to wear for each activity, tipping etiquette and the most important thing always having your insect repellent, hat and sunscreen with you at all times!
Needless to say that impressive service we experienced by email continued face to face from the minute we got through immigration and were met by one of the Costa Rica Expeditions representatives. Something that was notable for me was the daily email communication confirming plans for the following day which included not only pick-up times but restaurants in the area and also what to bring and wear to ensure you are safe and well.
During our last couple of days in San Jose we went to Costa Rica Expeditions’ HQ to extend our gratitude personally. It was clear to see that the team have a real passion about what they do. I was told that the President and CEO of the company, Michael Kaye still plays a very dynamic role in the company with a grasp of daily operations. This is something which is pretty important for me as great leadership is at the forefront of a successful business. It was also a lovely to receive a couple of emails addressed from Michael wishing us well and interested in our feedback of our trip, not only when we booked but also on return from Costa Rica.
I just cannot recommend enough the itinerary planning services of Costa Rica Expeditions. If you are interested in experiencing an authentic Costa Rican adventure with as little or as much sprinkling of luxury as desired, enquire via their website.
Costa Rica Expeditions
Barrio Escalante Barrio Escalante
Avenida 3 entre calle 25 y 29 • 69 Avenida 3
San José 10110
Tel. +506 2257 0766
For more information, see Costa Rica Expeditions website
Have you ever used tour operators and got them involved in crafting that perfect itinerary? What were your expectations and experiences of working with them? Who would you guys recommend for luxury, humble or once in a lifetime trips? Please drop me a comment below as I would love to know your recommendations.
Disclaimer: Costa Rica Expeditions provided an outstanding service which prompted me to write this post and The Pura Vida Series. They did not sponsor or influence my post and as always all photographs (unless stated otherwise), opinions and experiences are my own and remain a copyright of be-lavie.
Read the next part in The Pura Vida Series…