It’s very rare for me to opt to do a guided tour and when I do, I spend a lot of time researching. My first ever solo trip was to Costa Rica and I used Tauck as my tour company. The way I discovered Tauck was when I moonlighted as a travel agent after work. Yeah, I did that for like a HOT second over six years ago! (I was trying to cure my travel bug…didn’t work) While that was a very short-lived occupation I did hear about some really unique companies. Tauck is a tour company that DOESN’T spend money on traditional marketing. They heavily rely on word of mouth and it’s been very successful for them. I would say 98% of people who take a Tauck tour have only good things to say and will rebook.
When I decided to go to Costa Rica, I was really nervous to go on a trip alone. I knew I wanted a tour just to ease my way into the idea of international solo travel. So I am very glad I decided to tour with Tauck! I was on their BBC Earth 8-day 7-night Jungles and Rainforest tour. Now if you are wondering what BBC Earth tour it’s their unique line that is all about the nature. The highlight of our tour was watching sea turtle’s nest! (more on that later) If you really want an even more special experience book one of their BBC tours!
We went to Guanacaste, San Jose, Tortuguero National Park and Arenal National Park. Let me start by saying when you travel to a country you don’t speak the language, a tour is a great idea. Add in jungle and rainforest and you will be so happy to have someone guide you around. My biggest concern with not using a tour company was I would sit on a beach all day and have no idea or courage to go out and explore. Being on a tour I had activities scheduled plus free time, win-win.
Now let’s dive into the good stuff!
What makes Tauck unique and one I 100% recommend using are their itineraries. They spend so much time hand picking unique and enjoyable activities. I was on their family trip or Tauck Bridges which allows kids over 8 to attend. Tauck usually operates as adult only, so you can go with no kids if that is your preference. They recently added the Bridges line as a way to incorporate a family feel. For me, I loved the itinerary so kids no kids it didn’t really matter to me.
Another great feature of the company is they opt for only 5-star accommodations or 4-star if that is all that is available. Plus, every meal and all transportation is included in the price! It’s a pricey tour company but they deliver in every way imaginable. I love luxury travel and that is my preference 9/10 so that was a huge draw to me.
You will also have a local tour guide and they put a heavy emphasis on culture immersion. It’s so unique because a lot of other tour companies try to “Americanize”. I want to fully experience a country when I am there!
My time with Tauck really created lifetime memories, the activities we did were things I NEVER would have been able to do alone. Remember when I said they put an emphasis on cultural immersion? We river rafted to a secluded family home to have a true Costa Rican meal. This family has been there for over a hundred years and they welcomed the whole group! I had some of the best food on the trip and seriously amazing coffee. We walked around their farm and heard the history on the farm. Now that is just something you will be hard pressed to find on your own.
We visited a chocolate farm and saw the process of chocolate making! We even had a fun tasting, there was even a chili chocolate! I was able to visit a pineapple farm and I really learned more about pineapples then I thought possible.
Then one of my favorites was going to Arenal and ziplining by a volcano! It was such an amazing experience.
The highlight of the trip was seeing turtles’ nest in Tortuguero. If you don’t know, Tortuguero is a protected National Park on the Caribbean coast. They are all about the protection of the endangered green sea turtles. Being a BBC Earth tour, we had the opportunity to go and watch these animals nest. We had to dress all in black (we all looked like robbers) then we took red lights out with a guide. You watch these massive creatures haul themselves out of the ocean and dig a huge hole. They then drop their eggs and they look like little ping pong balls and they drop hundreds!
Fun Fact: Turtles lay the boy eggs at the bottom and girl eggs at the top of the nest. That way the first round of turtles to hatch and be targeted on their way to the water are girls…yeah that’s a thing.
That was hands down one of my best travel experiences ever! It only happens a certain time of the year and being able to witness it in person is something else.