tour of Costa Rica to see howler monkeys

Have you ever booked a small group tour in order to discover more of a travel destination? It might be the best option for an attraction-packed country like Costa Rica.

We’re big fans of independent travel here at Luxury Latin America, loving the freedom and the opportunities to get off the beaten path. We also understand, however, that people who are still working for a living don’t necessarily have untold hours of time at their disposal to work out all the traveling logistics. Sometimes the vacation is more enjoyable if someone else takes care of all the details.

Frog seen on a night jungle tour in Costa Rica with International ExpeditionsThere are some companies that specialize in adventurous, culturally sensitive tours that focus on wildlife and special experiences rather than just busing you around from one popular spot to the next. International Expeditions is one of those companies, doing it right for decades in Central America, South America, and elsewhere. Take a look at their Costa Rica itinerary here to get a sense of what their trips are like.

Sure, you get your Arenal Volcano photo to post on your favorite social media platform and you’ll stop at Monteverde Cloudforest, but those probably won’t be the highlights you remember the most. You might come back talking about the monkeys you saw in the trees while river rafting, the toucans and sloths in the trees, or the exotic fruits you tasted from an organic farm. Costa Rica is so much more than a¬† collection of stops: it’s a thriving ecosystem packed with wild animals and plants you would never encounter anywhere near your home in North America or Europe.

Or how about an expedition yacht cruise from Costa Rica to Panama, down the Pacific Coast? This trip on a large sailing ship hits the Manuel Antonio Reserve and the Osa Peninsula, the area in Central America with the largest swath of protected rainforest for wildlife to roam. It then sails on to Panama and visits secluded islands, the wild Darien National Park, and eventually Gatun Lake in the middle of the Panama Canal. The last stop is Soberinia¬†National Park. This is “where the Audubon Society held its world Christmas bird count record for 19 years straight, with 357 species of birds identified in a period of 24 hours. ” It’s safe to say you’ll see plenty of tropical animals on this trip, both above and below the water.

Costa Rica family travel tour

The best tour companies will also let you order off the menu. International Expeditions sets up many custom small group tours each year for small groups traveling together, multi-generational families, or even couples looking for the best possible anniversary vacation or honeymoon adventure. You consult with a travel specialist on priorities, time, and budget, then kick back while they make all the arrangements for you.

There’s one other aspect of booking a memorable trip like this that many travelers don’t realize: these tours can often be a better value than if you tried to set up an identical one yourself. Because of long-held relationships and contract arrangements, busy tour companies often get preferential rates or even automatic upgrades at the best hotels and lodges, plus they’re more likely to be working with better, more experienced guides than you could hire on your own.

To explore the possibilities, check out our articles on luxury travel and adventure tours in Latin America, then get in touch with International Expeditions to discuss your perfect bucket list vacation in the Americas.