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To dispell the most common travel agency rumor: travel agencies do not make their money by overcharging you, the client. Almost all travel agencies are highly integrated into the tourism industry in a country and make their money from comission contracts with the hotels and tour agencies they book. Think of them as marketing firms for tourism in Costa Rica, the individual companies pay them, not the customer!
With that in mind, travel agencies are a huge benefit to you because the travel consultant you work with should have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of all the hotels, tours and destinations in the country. They can tell you if trying to fit 3 destinations into a 7-day itinerary can work, and the best way to travel between the destinations to save you time and money.
The best way to use a travel agency to your advantage is to go into your conversation with an open attitude and remember you are in no way obligated to buy for inquiring! Then if you like what you hear, remember that you aren't going to be charged extra if you let them do the hard work and coordinate payments to all hotels and tours that you choose. Taking advice from more than one source is always recommendable (that's what trip advisor is for!) so research and then see what a resource of the human form can do for you. It's worth the [TOLL FREE] call!
As a quick Google search will prove, the web is saturated with Online travel agencies looking to grab your attention. The top two things to look for are 1. if the company is physically located in the country (thus they will have more informed agents) and 2. for safety reasons, make sure they are registered with the ICT (Costa Rican Government Tourism Board) you can find the latest list on the ICT website: www.visitcostarica.com/ict/pag. or Canatur (the Costa Rican National Chamber of Tourism) you can find the latest list on the Canatur website http://www.canatur.org/ingDefault.aspx. Here are some of the referenced travel agencies discussed in Trip Advisor and their specialities (consider the most important aspect of vacationing for you, and choose a company that mirrors your values as they specialize in anything from budget travel, luxury vacations, eco-friendly travel and adventure tourism). Let's keep this list growing, if you've had a good experience with a travel agency, vouch for it below or add it to the list!
1. Costa Rican Vacations
start date: 1999
affiliations: CANATUR, Better Business Bureau, ICT
niche: Luxury travel
comments: located in Costa Rica, personalized itineraries, 100% satisfaction guarantee, in-country assistance
2. Tachiz Travel Costa Rica
Start date: 2002. Based in Heredia, Costa Rica
Click on this link, fill out the form, and we will send you a proposal for your Costa Rica Trip. Your Vacation time is too valuable to sacrifice to logistical nightmares. Payments to us are made on line on an easy and secure way with your credit card or by wire transfer if you prefer. Affiliations: CANATUR (Costa Rica National Chamber of Tourism), Acoprot, Friends of the National Parks.
3. Expediciones Tropicales
start date: 1993
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
affiliations: CANATUR, I.C.T.
niche: Nature, adventure travel and luxury travel
comments: Expediciones Tropicales is a consolidated tour operator for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.
4. Odyssey Tours Costa Rica
start date: 2005
phone: 506 2635 2221
affiliations: CANATUR, ICT, INCOP
niche: Nature and adventure travel
comments: Costa Rica expert, owned by locals focused on ecologicaly friendly tours
5. Central America.com
start date: 1995
niche: all of Central America
comments: based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, also offers travel to the rest of Central America
6. Travel in Paradise Group Tours
start date: April 2004 toll free phone: 1.800.901.0114
Start date: 1997
Affiliations: ICT, BBB
Niche: Customize Costa Rica Vacation for Family Vacations, Honeymoons, Student Groups, Volunteer Work Groups, Airline Emploees, Travel Agents, Seniors, individuals
7. Costa Rican Trails
start date: 1989
affiliations: CANATUR, Better Business Bureau, ICT, ASTA, IGLTA
niche: Nature travel
comments: located in Costa Rica, focus on ecologicaly friendly tours and hotels
8. Costa Rica Sun Tours
start date: 1988
phone: (506) 2296-7757
affiliations: CANATUR, ICT, Certificate of Sustainable Tourism
niche: Nature travel
comments: has local affiliates in the U.S., Canada and Australia, main agency located in Costa Rica
9. Vacation City
start date: ?
e-mail: Web contact form
niche: Travel discounts, rental cars
comments: Costa Rica based, broad offerings, lots of last minute specials
10. Costa Rica Holiday UK
start date: 2003
niche: Luxury travel
comments: the only all-Costa Rica travel agency targeting UK and European clients, located in Costa Rica, specializes in personalized packages
start date: 2000
phone: (506) 2258-0308.
website: http://www.ivantours.com. affiliations: CANATUR, ACOPROT, ICT
niche: Nature, adventure and beach travel.
comments: Located in Costa Rica, personalized itineraries, combined programs with Panama. With representatives in Bocas del Toro and Panama City.
12. Nature Vacations
Start date: 2007
Affiliations: CANATUR, ICT
Niche: Unique travel experiences, off the beaten path destinations
Comments: The travel agency arranges custom packages to 17 remote destinations throughout the country, always emphasizing the romance in travel.
13. Best Adventures Travel (found them registered with Canatur.org)
14. LatinExplore Costa Rica
Start date: 2007
A U.S. Corporation with Service Providers in local countries
Niche: Latinexplore is a Travel Agency that offers online customization of packages.
Start date: 2005
Phone: USA (732) 917-0177
Niche: Tee Times Costa Rica is dedicated 100% to offering discount golf rounds.
Start date: 2009
Phone: 1-888-324-9326 Toll Free USA and Canada
Affiliations: CANATUR ( http://canatur.org/)
Comments: Costa Rica Trip Guide is a costarican owned company offering sustainable tourism.
Start date: 2004
Phone: 1-970-315-4023 USA and Canada
Niche: Eco-Travel, Bird watching tours, Photography tours
Affiliations: AOCR ( http://www.avesdecostarica.org/ )
Comments: Costa Rica Birding Journeys is a costarican owned company offering sustainable eco tourism
18. Central American Tours
start date: 19972
phone: 1-877 674 4355
affiliations: CANATUR, TTG, ASTA,
niche: family vacations, honeymoons, adventure, groups, private tours
Travel packages, ground transfers and tours for Individuals, Incentives and Charter Groups.
19. Costa Rica EZ Travel AdventuresStart Date: 2005
20. Costa Rica Experts
Start date: 1987
Niche: Luxury, honeymoons, adventure, eco, family, private, nature travel
comments: Customized itineraries, office in San Jose for in-country assistance.
Start Date: 2002
Toll Free USA / Canada: (888) 928-3688
Local Office in Maryland: (301) 217-0158
Local Office in San Jose: ++ 506-2248-0048
Niches: honeymoons, family vacations, destinations weddings, golf vacations, small groups, adventure travel, luxury vacations. Customized itineraries, home offices in Washington DC Metro Area, New York City, San Jose, Costa Rica.
22. Tucan Limo Services.
Start date: 1928 as Chinchilla Enterprises
Phone: ( 506) 8883-9115 Costa Rica, (305) 320-5372 East Coast...(925) 289-2925 West Coast
Niche: Itineray designers, great for families, couples, etc. Since 1928, founders of Costa Rica public transportation.
23. MuchaCostaRica - Affordable Custom Planned Costa Rica VacationsExpertly custom planned vacations to Costa Rica with attention to detail!
Niche: Affordable custom planned vacations and tours for couples and families for ALL of Costa Rica, but especially the Osa Peninsula.
24. Travel Costa Rica vacationWebpage: www.travelcostaricavacation.com
For: Families, Groups, Singles, Students,....packages including Hotels, Tours and Transportation.
25. Gecko Trail AdventuresWebsite: www.GeckoTrail.com
26. Pacific Trade Winds
Affiliations: ICT, CANATUR, Better Business Bureau, CANAECO, ASTA, TIDS
Pacific Trade Winds is an ICT certified travel service located in Nuevo
Arenal, Costa Rica. The company specializes in prompt personalized
service with acute attention to detail for day trips and multi-day
vacations including accommodations, tours and transportation.
27. Costa Rica Dream World
Start date: 2008
Niche: Vacation Planning - Group Travel - Tour Packages
28. Osa Travel Day Tours Costa Rica
Started in 2002
Phone: IN Costa Rica: 506 - 50 14 18 18
Eco daily tours to the rainforest, from Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez,
Carate Beach, Osa, Corcovado.
29. Anywhere Costa Rica
Anywhere Costa Rica has been helping visitors experience Costa Rica since 2006. Open 7 days a week year round.Website: http://www.anywherecostarica.com Phone: 888-456-3212 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
30. Costa Rica Custom TripsWeb Site: www.costaricacustomtrips.com
About: Founded and run by Eliot Greenspan, the author of Frommer's Costa Rica and numerous other guide books, podcasts and other articles about Costa Rica.
31. Natural Mystic Travel
Your Costa Rica Travel up to your wishes. Adventure, Wild life and Nature with comfortable loding.
32. Costa Rica Deluxewebsite: www.allcostaricadeluxe.com
Costa Rica Deluxe: Costa Rica Tours Tailor Made. Luxury Lodging, Private Get Aways, Deluxe Services, Fine Lodging.
start date: 2006
affiliations: ecoism, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, International Eco-tourism Society
niche: Luxury, green travel
comments: Conde Nast Top Traveler Specialist for Costa Rica since 2006.
34.Horse Trek Monteverde
start date: 2002
phone: 506-2645-6673 or 2645-5874
e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
niche: horseback riding specialists, horseback riding vacations and horse riding holidays, short horseback tours or multiday horse riding tours, Monteverde and other areas.comments: Owned and operated by a Costa Rican horse specialist who breeds and trains own horses and operates own tours.
35. Break Central America
In the U.S 916-222-0272
In Costa Rica 506-2479-8151
Specializing in customized itineraries for groups, couples, families and friends. Take the fear and confusion out of your vacation and leave the work to our team. Adventure travel or relaxation we listen to your budget, wants and needs.
36. Latitudes Adventure - Costa RicaToll Free – 1.866.735.9115
Local – (506) 2582.1140
Emergency – cell Isaac Garcia – Travel Manager/Partner (506) 6055.6080
Email – email@example.com
twitter – @CostaRicaFun
Facebook – facebook.com/LatitudesAdventure
Latitudes Adventure is located in the heart of Costa Rica, should you need anything when you are here.
Phone 506-6092-4449 24/7 or 506-2232-6403
Tour Operator since 2005. Founded under the interest of educate all visitors to Costa Rica and their theme is Learning and Discovery.
38. Gay Costa Rica Travel.
Costa Rica is a great country for your Gay Travel! Gay Costa Rica Deluxe selected the Best & Finest Gay Hotels in Costa Rica.
Visit our web page: www.gaycostaricadeluxe.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your special deal in Gay Costa Rica.
39. Costa Rica Travel and Vacations
From Transportation to hotels reservation, Costa Rica Travel Agency offers you the best of Costa Rica.
See amazing tours packages and honeymoon.