Best Travel Companies in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel Companies

Small group travel is not something new. It has its benefits to the host country more than you can imagine.  There are many options to choose from. With the importance of vacations, this can be stressful.  We want to help you make sure you pick the best travel companies in Costa Rica. 

When groups are enormous, we all know the experience changes. There might be a jolt to the local economy, but on a personal level, it is hard to have an “awe-moment” in nature or when visiting with the locals.

Traveling alone can be challenging to operate for some smaller tour providers. Groups that are too small or too big are not ideal for a lot of providers.

A happy medium is the small group travel industry. This allows small groups to tour around a country, be a nice jolt to the economy. It also does not jeopardize the dynamics and overall experience, keeping things authentic.

You can even argue that small group travel is better for the environment. Instead of 12 people in seven different rental cars, you can all have a small bus.

The good small group travel companies have their operations down to a science. The food, hotels they stay at, and activities are all done in a manner to not waste food or have a place to dispose of it. These companies also ask hotels to abide by certain regulations. This shared philosophy can spread one provider at a time and make for a better travel industry.

Many companies offer different group travel options worldwide, and most have set up an operation in Costa Rica.

We can not speak for the quality of operation for all companies that run trips to Costa Rica. Still, we have some first-hand experience with many in the industry. With over 20 years and collect our data from companies we work with,  guides, employees, and guests comments.

Here is our list of companies of who we consider the best travel companies in Costa Rica. We of course want you to travel with us but we won’t hold it against you. We honestly would be happy that you got the chance to choose one of the best travel companies in Costa Rica.

 

Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is probably the largest small group travel company on the planet that got its start out of Australia.

I have always been drawn to this company because it was launched by two friends from college.  They quit their jobs and took off on a six-month trip to Africa. Nowadays, this is easy for a digital nomad to do. But it was a different risk level back then.

I know first hand.  I dropped out of college to tell my parents I wanted to run an ecotourism adventure company. They thought I was nuts. This is why I know Intrepid comes from good adventurous roots and a passion for adventure.

Intrepid has been in Costa Rica for years and has multiple itineraries for all types of travelers. Some of their tours you even ride along with the guide on public transportation.  Costa Rica has excellent public transportation, and nothing says group travel can’t take advantage of it.

Intrepid also offers your more traditional group travel itineraries.

We like Intrepid’s influence on the travel industry. Their attention to positively affecting the host countries they operate in.

We give Intrepid five stars out of five, and we know you will too. 

 

GAdventures

This is another company that can boast of much of the same efforts as Intrepid as they focus very much on the local providers they deal with and have a positive effect not just on their clients but also on the in-country tour providers.

There is also some respect for what founder Bruce Tip of GAdventures did after traveling the world and maxing out two credit cards. He was able to see the world outside hotels and conventional tourism spots for what its value is.

Bruce was a pioneer in making community and rural tourism an actual industry bringing jobs and improving lives in these areas. This is unmeasurable as his clients and host communities keep changing for the better trip by trip.

This is what makes GAdventures so unique. G-Adventures deals directly with each small provider. Is it a lady in Peru who is offering a cooking class? They deal directly with her.

This might not seem like much, but it’s a lot of extra work to keep more funds in the host country.

I recently talked with Luis Salas, the Latin American director of providers for G-Adventures. He mentioned he had over 400 providers just in Peru. Some even had to help do the essential business work to form their mini-business to become a provider for this world-renowned travel company.

On the other end of G-Adventures exist a knowledge of planet Earth that most of us couldn’t dream of doing in 20 lifetimes.

Their Costa Rica operation is nothing short of that either.

A great option, and we give another five out of five stars.

 

Pacuare Outdoor Center POC

The POC is a local company in Turrialba Costa Rica. They only operate in Costa Rica and are like-minded individuals like Intrepid and GAdventures in their philosophy of being more than just another trip for their guests.

The POC started from scratch by Tom Ranieri after he decided to take a “gap” year after his first college year. Tom likes to say he just completed his second gap decade and still needs more time to go back to college.

Tom’s focus has been conserving the Pacuare River and the local communities. He is constantly pushing to allow as many guests to visit as possible.

POC has been making a positive impact on the local community for years. The POC always promotes what they consider to be the best of Costa Rica, and that is its people.

POC are adventure experts in Costa Rica and can take you on week-long adventures visiting some of their favorite spots. They always promise some good times spent with the locals making you feel like family.

In full disclosure, I own the POC.  I would love for you to travel with us and so am a massive advocate of how much each trip, no matter where you travel, can have an enormous impact on the local community.   This is why I have no hesitation in promoting some great companies in the industry that are doing great work alongside POC.

Those are three companies, including ours, that we would suggest for anyone looking for an adventure trip to Costa Rica. 

Many companies choose from, and there are not as many that put the amount of attention and share a passion for being a responsible traveler. Between the three of them, I am sure you can find what you want and book with ease of mind.

Not only will you know that your trip will run smoothly but that your spending will be doing its part to help the local economy more than you think.

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POC Camp

The POC camp is an extension of the POC lodge and while the POC Lodge is located with vast views of the Pacuare River Canyon the POC Camp is down on the river’s edge. While it might not have the view of the POC Lodge it sits on one of the calmest sections of the river making the POC Camp home to one of the river Pacuare’s best spots for taking a swim and relaxing on the river’s edge.

POCsito is a favorite among so many of our guests. It is a glamping experience with some of the important comforts of home.

POC Lodge

Started in 2011 is the POC lodge. If you haven’t figured it out by now POC lodge is our own lodge and what we like to call the “baby” of the P.O.C. Adventure Company. We wanted a lodge on our favorite part of Costa Rica which is the Pacuare River and with the help of locally harvested supplies and labor, the POC Lodge was born.

 

This is a 180-acre property that runs over 1 mile of the Pacuare River. Our goal has always been to offer as much comfort as possible without steering too far away from our roots of just roughing it on the river’s edge. Our lodge has hot water, a splash of luxury in the rooms, and 5-Star service and attention to our guests.

Our favorite part about the lodge is that we built a short hike up from the river’s edge. We know we have the best views of the Pacuare River canyon and unfortunately pictures don’t even do it justice.

Arenal Paraiso, Arenal

Have you ever wanted to stay the night at the base of an active volcano? Well here is your chance. The Arenal Paraiso is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano with breath-taking views of the perfectly cone-shaped volcano.

Here at Arenal Paraiso’s, you will enjoy the beautiful property which offers much more than just a view. The property has numerous bungalows that offer a splash of luxury while surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. After a day of adventure, you will love making your way back to relax or hang out in the pool at Arenal Paraiso.

Shawandha, Caribbean 

Located at the edge of the white sandy beaches of Costa Rica sits the Shawandha lodge.  A perfect blend of eco-style luxury along with the sounds of the ocean and vibrant ambiance of the rainforest.

Shawandha lodge is set up with individual bungalows made out of local wood. You will be sure to wake up to the sound of the local residents such as the howler monkeys and green macaws. After your day of adventure, you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful swimming pool at the Shawandha Lodge.

Hotel Villa Florencia, Turrialba

Located in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by sugar-cane plantations and views of the smoking Turrialba Volcano sits an old plantation home that has been renovated into a beautiful small hotel named Villa Florencia.

This is a great hotel with a beautiful pool and plenty of space to take long morning or afternoon hikes. The Villa Florencia hotel is a chance to enjoy luxury while feeling like you stook back in time. While you are in the valley don’t forget to look up as the Turrialba Volcano can often be seen doing small eruptions from across the valley.

Casa Turire, Turrialba

Casa Turire has been one of our favorites since we started. The grounds are some of the lushest you will find anywhere in Costa Rica. Casa Turire sits in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by mountains and the beautiful Turrialba Volcano. The most amazing part about Casa Turire other than its great restaurant and home-made sugar cane ice cream is that it sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Angostura offering great morning hikes, birding, or SUPing around the lake.