Highlights of Costa Rica for Solo Travelers

by Gray Cargill on November 16, 2010

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano, photo credit: Suzi Glickman

One of the things I want to do more of here at SoloFriendly is share with you whenever I hear about single supplements being waived, or other deals for solo travelers.  I haven’t had the opportunity to do that very often in the past, though I have a couple of times.  In that spirit, here’s a deal for solo travelers that was just shared with me: Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has waived their single supplement on the February 22, 2011 “Highlights of Costa Rica” tour for solos who reserve by January 15, 2011.  This represents a savings of $760.  The tour runs for eight days and costs from $3,120.

The overview of this tour reads: “On this Discovery program to this breathtaking paradise, meet privately with one of Monteverde’s original Quaker settlers, relax in Arenal’s natural hot springs and visit a sanctuary for the endangered Atlantic green sea turtle.” But this is really just a small part of what the tour offers. The itinerary includes time spent in San Jose, Monteverde, the Cloud Forest, Tortuguero, and Arenal, with a cruise across Lake Arenal and a walk across suspended bridges above the rainforest, as well as time spent learning how the Arenal Volcano is being monitored with a visit to the seismographs installed by the Smithsonian Institute. The detailed itinerary reads like a dream for nature lovers and includes a visit to a butterfly garden and a swim in hot springs.

Tortuga Lodge

Tortuga Lodge; photo credit Costa Rica Expeditions

I haven’t been to Costa Rica, but I know several people who have, and they all rave about it.  If Costa Rica is one of your dream travel destinations and you’d prefer going with a group of like-minded travelers, here’s your chance to do so without having to pay a single supplement.   And by “like-minded travelers,” I mean you’ll be enjoying the natural beauty of Costa Rica while also traveling in comfort.  (They even fly you via private charter between major points on the itinerary.) Doesn’t February sound like a lovely time to go somewhere warm, like Costa Rica?

You can read full details of this journey at the Abercrombie & Kent website.

Photos courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent.

A pioneer in eco-tourism, Costa Rica enchants with its well preserved rainforests and abundant wildlife. Meet privately with one of Monteverde's original Quaker settlers, relax in Arenal's natural hot springs and visit a sanctuary for the endangered Atlantic green sea turtle. Walk above a rainforest canopy on suspended bridges.  Learn how the country's many active volcanoes are monitored during a visit to the seismographs installed by the Smithsonian Institute.
GRRRL TRAVELER November 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I was going to mention what Ctjwa already did…

I hear it’s pretty cheap to do on your own and is one of the safer places for women to travel solo. A couple of girlfriends did it last year, booked cheap, independent and had a blast.They stayed 2 weeks and spent 1/4 of that phenomenal price tag.

However, if you have the money to spend and would like to travel in comfort, a tour might be the way to go. Many people don’t trust traveling solo or get stressed out by planning things on their own. Planning a trip to a country you know nothing about is a skill and you are gambling with word of mouth or guidebook recommendations at times. Also, I do consider taking a tour as a valid possibility of solo travel. You’re not going w/ a group of friends or people you know. Thus, the personal challenge is still there.

But tours with expensive price tags to developing countries kinda piss me off. They’re making so much money off of it and the local economy sees very little of it; there’s a family somewhere there that would consider that a 1-2 year’s income. They’re really profiting off of three groups- travelers, solo travelers and locals.

SoloFriendly November 27, 2010 at 12:42 am

Yeah, that’s pretty much how businesses work, which is the unpleasant side of the travel industry (or any other industry for that matter). But that would be a good question to direct to A&K, wouldn’t it? How much of the price of the tour goes toward the people in the developing country who are making the tour happen, who are doing all the work on the ground there? I don’t know the answer to that.

GRRRL TRAVELER November 27, 2010 at 2:40 am

I know– just speaking out loud and it’s subjective. I think asking them where the money goes is an excellent idea though.

When I was initially starting out with the solo trips to developing countries, these kinds of packages were exactly what I was looking at but could never justify in cost.. It made my fear of traveling solo even more frustrating– that these kinds of costs are targeted more for older folks, not young. The good thing about pricey travel packages is that it forced me to choose and to determine I would go the independent route, though it stressful planning. I do occasionally still look at travel packages but these days and they’re mostly to get an idea of the routes that would be interesting to take.

Ctjwa November 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I have been to Costa Rica, and I highly recommend it for its natural beauty, friendly people, and ease of solo travel. That said, tread carefully as “Savings” is often just a reduced exorbitant price. Booking today, you can easily fly round trip from NYC to San Jose for less than $450, then stay in superbly equipped hostels for about $15 per day. Private charter air travel is fantastically luxurious, but there is also something to be said for the experience of taking a 5 hour minibus drive through the mountains and rain forest, stopping at small towns for a bite to eat. All in, 10 days, with amazing activities like ziplining, white water rafting, surf lessons, etc can be done economically for less than half the price of this pre-packaged trip. After all, they aren’t putting together the itinerary for free…and aren’t the true travel experiences what solo travel is all about?

SoloFriendly November 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Thanks for bringing this up, though I would hope people already realize that booking your own independent trip can be both more economical and a very rewarding experience. That said, not everyone wants to travel that way. Some people are simply more comfortable joining a pre-packaged tour, where they don’t have to spend countless hours doing research online and booking each piece of the trip on their own. Some are solo not by choice, and would rather join a group tour for the company. And some are willing to pay extra for the luxury experience. I’d rather see people travel that way–if that’s what will make them comfortable–than not travel at all. And if the single supplement is being waived on any tour to anywhere, I want to help get the word out about that. Just because someone is willing to pay extra for a luxury experience doesn’t mean they want to pay more (as a solo) than everyone else on the same tour.

Ctjwa November 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I’ve found that the hours of research before the trip are a great way to speed up the work days before departure! In all seriousness, I certainly agree there’s no one size fits all answer to travel, and it’s great that there are options out there that make it attractive and possible for everyone to get up and go somewhere.

Given the economy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more companies being flexible with accommodations for solo travelers.

SoloFriendly November 24, 2010 at 3:06 pm

From your lips to the tour companies’ ears….we can only hope.

Spencer November 18, 2010 at 10:34 am

What a fantastic view. I could sit there all day and take it in. For me that’s what travel is all about.

zablon mukuba November 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm

you get to save $ 760 that is crazily cheap. that is awesome

lilmissdisney November 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Finding places that will wave the single charge is great. That trip is a bit more than I spend on my budget traveling but I have been to Costa Rica and I love it. So, anyone who snatches up that deal have fun and enjoy all the monkeys and sloths you will see in that beautiful country.

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