THE TRUTH ABOUT TOURISM OPERATIONS IN COSTA RICA (IN A NUTSHELL)
Tour operating companies in Costa Rica survive by selling their tours to travellers. Often, these companies will allow third parties to sell their tours in order to reach a larger number of tourists. As an incentive for selling their services, many companies allow third parties to offer the tours at their own rates. More often than not, these third parties sell the tours to travellers at the original tour operator’s price and keep the difference for themselves as profit. While this business is perfectly legal and regularly practiced, there are two things that we feel travellers should be aware of:
#1. THIRD PARTIES MAY BE ANYONE FROM A LARGE REPUTABLE COMPANY TO STREET-CORNER SALESMEN.
When travellers purchase tours from third parties they run the risk of buying fraudulent items and they could be putting their money in the wrong hands.
#2. THIRD PARTIES MOST OFTEN SELL TOURS AT FULL (AND SOMETIMES AND INFLATED) PRICE.
This is to maximize their profit. As a result, travellers do not regularly save money by reserving tours through third parties and there is little difference between making a day tour reservation through a third party versus the tour operator directly.
BUT, PURA VIDA! EH? INCORPORATED IS DIFFERENT. HERE’S HOW:
Pura Vida! eh? is honest with travellers. We are a third party company in that we promote tours, but unlike other third parties in Costa Rica, we operate in a significantly different manner. We believe our methods best minimize the risks and downfalls to the tourism operations listed above, which in turn offers our travellers great rewards!
#1. PURA VIDA! EH? DOES NOT SELL ANYTHING. WE DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY. REALLY.
We are travellers too and we are well aware of the risks tourists run when money is distributed across numerous companies. Thus, we have made tourism in Costa Rica safer and easier. Travellers pay nothing to Pura Vida! eh?-–they pay tour operating companies directly for their day tour reservations. This way, money is only handled between travellers and tour operators, which leaves travellers to rest assured that no third party middleman has walked off with their hard-earned cash. From the beginning to the end of a traveller’s Costa Rica experience, they pay Pura Vida! eh? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
#2. PURA VIDA! EH? INCORPORATED HELPS TRAVELLERS SAVE MONEY BY PROVIDING THIRD PARTY EARNINGS TO TRAVELLERS IN THE FORM OF DISCOUNTS AND CASH BACK SAVINGS.
All businesses need to make money in order to survive. Our business success stems from commissions paid to us by tour operating companies–-not travellers. We take the low rates provided to us by our tour operator associates (in return for promoting their tours) and we give part of the profit back to travellers in the form of discounts and cash back savings. Instead of pocketing the entire difference in price in order to maximize our own profit, we allow travellers to access cheaper day tour rates. When travellers reserve tours through Pura Vida! eh? it is a win-win-win situation for everyone-–tour operators are pleased that we can boost their business, we are compensated by the tour operators in return for our work, and most important, travellers save money by doing the things they want to do in Costa Rica at incredible prices!
THINK WE (AND OUR RECOMMENDATIONS) CAN BE BOUGHT? THINK AGAIN!
Given the competitive nature of travel industry, some tour operators will offer a higher commission percentage to third party companies than the commission percentage provided by their competitors. Their intent is to “buy” third-parties’ opinions and recommendations (don’t be fooled–some agencies will only bite what the highest bidder baits), but we cannot be bought. The tours we opt to recommend to travellers are those that we have personal experience with and those we feel most comfortable supporting. In addition, they may be tours offered by tour operators that we have a strong connection with as the company may have proven their value and dependability time and time again. We also factor in what other travellers have to say (i.e., the feedback we receive from travellers after they have returned home from their trip) in our decisions. After all, what good would our recommendations be if they did not bring about the results that travellers want and deserve to get out of their trip? For this reason, we regularly add and remove day tour listings from our websites as our recommendations change. Our intent in doing so is to ensure that our recommendations are not only up-to-date, but that they consistently provide travellers with the types of experiences that we would want for ourselves if we were visiting Costa Rica for the first (or second, or third, or tenth) time. If it isn’t yet obvious (just wait until you start working with us!), we maintain that we are a company of our word and what we put in front of travellers is what we have cautiously, consciously, and carefully chosen to stand behind.