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Goway Destination Expert Returns from Costa Rica

Costa Rica is certainly known for the friendliness of its people, its environmental consciousness, and its year-round good weather. However, there is much more to entice you to go on a Costa Rican vacation. Above all are the diversity of places to visit and the wide choice of activities in the country.

The country’s name means “Rich Coast” due to the vast quantities of jewels and gold found by the Spanish when they first discovered Costa Rica. It is bordered by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea with excellent beaches on each coast, with 1,300km/800m of coastline in total.

With its easy access, developed infrastructure, amazing diversity, and of course, warm weather and beautiful beaches, a Costa Rica vacation are one of the most popular getaways for North Americans looking to escape their cooler climate. Costa Rica remains near the top—if not at the top—of many people’s bucket lists for the region. This Central American country is a sought-after destination for single travellers, couples, groups, and families.

Susanna Beccati, one of Goway’s Central America (and Europe) destination specialists, recently visited Costa Rica. Following are her comments, impressions, and some insights on her trip to Costa Rica and recommendations for your clients considering a vacation there.

What do you think is the biggest selling feature about Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a wonderland of natural attractions, from clouds and rainforests to volcanoes and beaches. It’s a country that appeals to all types of travellers, from backpackers to the luxurious. It’s certainly one of the most amazing places for wildlife lovers. It is also a great destination for hardcore or casual adventurers, luxury or budget travellers, singles, couples, and, most definitely, families.

What was your favorite hotel/lodge and why?

I had two. One was Volcano Lodge in Arenal La Fortuna. It has 64 rooms and suites with private terraces, some with private-plunge hot springs and lounge chairs. There are tropical botanical gardens throughout the resort with amazing views of the volcano. The hotel features a cold water swimming pool as well as hot springs and a swim-up bar and hiking trails and a playground for the younger ones.

The other was Tamarindo Diria, which has a great location as the only hotel directly on the middle of the most famous beach in Costa Rica. It is also the only resort allowed on the beach due to impossible building permits. It is also close to the city centre and very easy to walk around. It offers lots of nearby shops and restaurants. The resort offers three separate areas for families, couples, and singles. The family-friendly area offers a lagoon-shaped pool with a stunning tropical garden environment and a swim-up bar. The beachfront area is located directly on the beach where you can admire some of the most amazing sunsets. The adults-only area is for those clients that prefer more quiet and peaceful time.

What was your favorite experience?

I loved everything about Costa Rica, but the best experiences for me were the rainforest and the cloud forest. Our guides were amazing and it was a great experience learning about the ecosystems and how fragile the world around us really is. Hiking through the park was also amazing (and a killer workout); standing still and listening to the water streaming or to the howler monkeys howling; eating termites (yes, I did!) and getting bitten alive by insects. It was all worth it!

As a Goway Central & South America Expert, was there anything that surprised you?

What surprised me the most was the attention and care all of the Costa Rican people showed for their country. In terms of preserving and protecting their ecosystem, they do so by implementing recycling and promoting an eco-friendly environment. Did you know that as of June, Costa Rica has been run on 100 percent Renewable Energy for 299 days?

What area would you recommend if clients wanted to combine a trip to Costa Rica with another country?

As Costa Rica is a very active adventure destination, clients may want to relax on the beach at the end of their adventure. It is a very common request to be adventurous and active and finish up on one of the beautiful Pacific beaches. Looking to add another country to the mix? Then, due to its beautiful beaches and close proximity to Costa Rica, Panama would be a good option.

Are there any tips or insights about travelling to Costa Rica that would be great for travel agents to know, so they can share with their clients to make their trip even more enjoyable?

Agents should be aware of Costa Rica’s wet and dry seasons. Costa Rica’s two seasons are the dry “summer” (verano)—January through April—and rainy “winter” (invierno)—May through December. I also recommend private transportation or even better, a fully guided tour where your guide and transportation are always at your disposal. The guide can advise on local places to visit between one activity and the other, even if is not on the itinerary. Stops can be made as per client’s preferences.

Do you have a favorite local dish?

I enjoy all of the Costa Rican dishes. One of my favourites was the Costa Rican fried plantain. I also enjoyed their local beers, as they have one in each city (which is amazing), with local breweries continuing to grow throughout the country.

Susanna has working in the travel industry for over 10 years now. She has been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful countries in the world including Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, the U.S., and, of course, her home country, Italy.

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General Manager, Central & South America - Born in Australia and raised in Canada and Papua New Guinea, Don took his first solo trip to Bali – aged just 13. Since then, Don’s travels have taken him to every continent. He’s been a backpacker in Asia, Europe and Egypt, an overland adventurer in East and Southern Africa, and an overland driver in South and Central America. He is especially fond of Peru, Patagonia and Namibia, though his longest adventure to date has been a London to Kathmandu run via the Middle East.

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