Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

Price:
From £1595 (13 days) excluding flights
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide. Services not included: drinks, tips, optional activities and personal expenses. Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!
Vouchers: accepted
Dates:
This trip is only for tailor made departures throughout the year to suit your requirements
Reviews:
4 reviews4 star rating
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Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

Responsible travel: Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

Environment

Our Relaxing Costa Rica itinerary takes you to some of Costa Rica’s most dramatic and ecologically diverse areas, particularly Arenal Volcano National Park and the Monteverde cloud forest. Our partners who organise your trip on the ground represent 28 community organisations around the country which combine traditional ecotourism with community-based tourism, where visitors meet Costa Ricans who are conserving their forests and rivers and practising sustainable agriculture. As such, conservation is an integral part of all our holidays in a country which is the world leader in environmentally-friendly tourism.

All the accommodation options we offer in Costa Rica are very sensitive to their surroundings and many are located in rural communities, natural reserves, or indigenous territories which have not changed their way of life to adapt to the needs and tastes of mass tourism. They all meet our environmental criteria, including energy and water conservation, locally-sourced food and providing information to guests about ecological issues and how behave appropriately. You also have the opportunity to get more directly involved in community conservation efforts.

Many lodges go well beyond this, because the leading organisations in rural community tourism are also leaders in the protection of forests, water sources and endangered species. Using environmental education, community awareness campaigns and legal action, they confront the many threats to wildlife on a daily basis. They are involved in a large variety of other actions such as environmental education, watershed and forest protection, solar energy, organic farming and biogas production.

The money you spend on parks entrance fees goes directly to supporting national conservation programmes. In addition, your local guides on this trip are both accomplished naturalists in their own right and intimately familiar with the wonderful variety of Costa Rica’s nature. They are trained and knowledgeable about the impacts of tourism and will offer advice on how you can keep your environmental footprint to a minimum during your visit.

Community

On this trip you do not stay at any community-owned lodges, but we have looked for hotels that meet our robust socially responsible policies i.e. that are locally-owned, which employ and provide training to Costa Ricans and which support local projects or charities. Many of the accommodations exceed these basic requirements - a good example is the Celeste Mountain Lodge in Tenorio National Park.

The Celeste has an enormous range of environmentally-friendly practices such as: using local and salvaged building materials, sensitive construction techniques, solar and innovative furnace heating, water bio-purifiers, eco-friendly cleaning products etc. But it also supports the community by getting involved with local decision making for sustainable tourism development; helping local entrepreneurs to establish tourism-related businesses; bringing language and professional training sessions to the community; hiring 90% of staff locally; buying 90% of their food from local businesses and farmers (especially organic); contracting local women for handicrafts to decorate the lodge and contracting a school to help with recycling and tree planting.

In addition, the profits made by our Costa Rican partner are reinvested in capacity building programs, promotional campaigns and micro-loans for their member communities. Each year they provide technical assistance and workshops on diverse tourism related activities, such as Creole cooking workshops, marketing skills or product development, as well as running a rural tourism fair to promote responsible tourism. Even the vehicles they use to get you around are part of a carbon-offsetting programme.

The story of the provider of Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

Simon and Dave founded their company in 2012 after nearly 10 years of dreaming and planning and travelling, whilst working in responsible tourism and anti-poverty campaigning. We love travelling and wanted to share our passion but we know that tourism often harms unique and beautiful places and people. We were determined to run things differently and show that tourism that is done well can be both a force for economic development and for bringing people together in friendship and shared experience. And most of all, we knew it would make a fantastic holiday!

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Costa Rica beach & wildlife holiday

You can trust responsibletravel.com reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.


5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed 27 Aug 2014 by Deirdre Devine4 star rating

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


Rio Celeste hike to waterfall and lagoon. River trip on Rio Frio.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If going to Monteverde bring a fleece. It can be chilly in the early morning and at night.

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


Yes.

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


Wonderful holiday. Very well organised. Accommodation excellent.

Reviewed 24 Aug 2014 by Kate Macdonald4 star rating

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


The mother sloth and baby sloth, and a visiting young male sloth, outside our apartment balcony in the Parque Manuel Antonio for the five days we stayed there; recording biological data in the forest at Las Cruces and being stalked by a humming-bird; dripping with the tropical heat every day; photographing husband and daughter parasailing off the Pacific coast; listening to the scrape-scratch-slither of a large iguana as it dragged itself across our apartment roof, and - thump! - as it toppled off the end.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring thin cotton shirts or tops that dry fast because you will sweat bucketloads, wherever you are; a telescopic umbrella is much more effective for keeping tropical downpours off than rain jackets, and doubles as a sunshade when needed; take a camera with a good zoom lens. If you want to travel off the main roads the National Geographic map of CR is very good, but use screenshots from satellite maps to supplement it. Vegetarians will have no trouble finding lots of excellent food.

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


At the Hotel Aranjuez in San José and at the Wilson Botanical Garden at Las Cruces, certainly: they have an outstanding environmental policy, and employ local people and services. At the Coste Verde hotel at Manuel Antonio, it certainly employs a lot of local people, but doesn't seem to do much for conservation or sustainability.

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


Tremendous: we loved it. My husband and I would go again for the wildlife, and to see other parts of the country that we didn't reach this time. We'd also go back to do more data recording at Las Cruces, it was a wonderful introduction to the animals and plants, being part of a working scientific community.

Reviewed 08 Apr 2014 by Vicki Barnard4 star rating

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


The trip to Los Campesinos reserve was wonderful - though the hike was fairly tough going in hot and humid conditions that we weren't used to! But the wildlife we saw was superb, and the friendliness of everyone involved made it a great excursion.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Consider your options for getting to Costa Rica - since we had to stop over somewhere on the US east coast we took a proper break in New York for five nights. This gave our holiday an extra dimension and actually made the flights cheaper - though NY is not a cheap place to stay!

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


Yes, it was nice to interact with locals everywhere we went, and to avoid all the big chain hotels.

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


Very good.

Reviewed 15 Apr 2013 by John Ewan4 star rating

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


White water rafting through the rainforest, amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Just do it, it's fantastic! If you're inland take some warmer clothes (trousers, long sleeved t-shirts)as it can get colder than you expect.

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


All of the places we stayed were dedicated to helping the environment and employed local staff.

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


Brilliant!
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