Last updated on June 23rd, 2021 at 07:45 pm EST

The truth about tourism operations in Costa Rica (in a nutshell)

We’re all about transparency. Here’s how the tourism industry operates in Costa Rica and how we forged our own path in order to be different.

Tour operators in Costa Rica survive by selling their tours to travelers. 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 provide third parties with access to below-retail (net) tour rates. Most third parties choose to sell tours to travelers at retail prices in order to pocket the difference as profit. While operations of this kind are perfectly legal and commonly practiced, we choose to act differently. We also feel it’s our duty to inform travelers of the following facts.

Third parties can be anyone from large companies to streetcorner salesmen.

Unless you know who you’re giving your business to, you run the risk of buying fraudulent items and putting your money into the wrong hands.

Third parties most often sell tours at full (and sometimes inflated) prices.

This is so third parties can maximize their own profit. It’s tough to save money this way, and there’s little benefit to reserving Costa Rica day tours through third parties compared to reserving through tour operators directly.

Fortunately, we’re different. Here’s how.

First, we’re upfront and honest with travelers. We are a third-party company in the sense that we advertise Costa Rica day tours run by tour operators. Unlike most other third parties, however, our goal is to help you save money.

We don’t sell Costa Rica day tours. We don’t want your tour payments or credit card information. Really.

Yes, we are business owners, but we are also Costa Rica travelers and spenders. We know the risks involved with distributing money across numerous hands and companies, and we aim to minimize those risks for you. Our operation makes it possible for you to gain access to our exclusive discounted rates while still paying Costa Rican tour operators directly for your chosen day tours. This way, not only will you save money on your upcoming Costa Rica trip but you’ll also know that your tour payments will go directly to the tour operator(s) you’ve chosen.

We’ve worked really hard, over several years, to obtain our discounts.

We’ve spent the past fifteen years or so building strong, positive relationships with owners, managers, and employees of Costa Rican businesses, all the while getting to know the individuals behind the experiences we opt to recommend and what they stand for. As a result of our longstanding relationships with many travel and tourism companies in Costa Rica, we’re able to offer exclusive discounts for many of the country’s top tours and activities. Instead of personally claiming these discounts as profits, as several travel agencies do, we opt to give the profits back to you in the form of discounts.

Think we (and our recommendations) can be bought? Think again!

Given the competitive nature of Costa Rica’s tourism industry, some tour operators battle with their competitors over who can offer the highest commissions to third parties in a bid to buy their promotion. Sadly, several travel agents and agencies fall for the rouse and bite the bait of the highest bidder. We recognized this practice early on (roughly fifteen years ago, when we developed our business) and we learned just as quickly that we cannot be bought.

The Costa Rica day tours we opt to recommend are activities we have personal experience with and feel comfortable supporting. (You can read about our firsthand experience with many of these activities on our Costa Rica Travel Blog). They may also be experiences offered by tour operators that we have strong, long-term connections with as they’ve proven their value and dependability to us over many years. In addition, we consider travelers’ feedback (obtained primarily from testimonials) in our evaluation of worthwhile tours. After all, what good would our recommendations be if they didn’t bring about the results that people like you want and deserve? For this reason, we sometimes add and remove Costa Rica day tour listings from our Discount Database as our recommendations change. Our intent in doing so is to ensure that our recommendations are current and that they reflect the types of experiences that we would want for ourselves if we were able to turn back the clock and revisit Costa Rica for the first time.

If it isn’t yet obvious, you should know that we are a company of our word and we only put in front of travelers what we cautiously, consciously, and carefully choose to stand behind.

Still not sure why requesting your Costa Rica day tours through us is the best choice?

We invite you to compare our operation to the operation of other companies along the lines of money, variety, service, and time/hassle.


As a Pura Vida! eh? member, you’ll save money by accessing our exclusive discounted rates for Costa Rica day tours. If you request tours elsewhere, though, you’ll likely pay the full tour price if not an inflated tour price.

“I booked transportation and tours through them. The discount they get you is just one of the many perks – I mean if you know you want to go on a specific tour and booking through pura vida eh saves you money, why not? Its cheaper to book through them than to book through the companies themselves or through a hotel.” C.L., New York City, New York, USA


As a Pura Vida! eh? member, you’ll have the ability to select your desired Costa Rica day tours from our Discount Database, which is full of tour options that span a variety of activity types, locations, tour operators, themes, difficulty levels, and adrenaline levels. If you request tours elsewhere, though, you’re limited to the day tours provided by the tour operator, hotel, travel agent, or travel agency that you book your vacation through, as well as the day tours located in the area(s) of Costa Rica where the booking company operates.

“I cannot say enough how fabulous my experience with Pura Vida! eh? was!! We were 9 people traveling together with a ton of complicated logistics and all kinds of different transportations and activities and everything went off without a hitch. All of their suggestions were top rate, every car, every plane flight and every activity was just perfect. I would use them again and again!!!” – M.W., Los Angeles, California, USA


As a Pura Vida! eh? member, you have access to us for assistance before, during, and after your trip. Unfortunately, we can’t say for sure whether you’ll receive the same level of support from other companies.

“They went above and beyond to help us setup the tours on our terms and our schedule. And the discounts they managed to arrange were better than anyone else. They would respond to my emails usually the same day and can really hold your hand if you need it.” – B.B. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Time / Hassle

As a Pura Vida! eh? member, you can quickly and easily find and request all of the Costa Rica day tours you want for your trip, regardless of whether they’re run by different tour operators. If you request your desired tours directly through the tour operators, though, you’ll need to contact and make individual tour arrangements with each tour operator you wish to explore Costa Rica with (i.e., a rafting tour operator, a canopy tour operator, a hanging bridge park, etc.). We believe this is an unnecessary waste of time!

“I used Pura Vida! eh? to book 4 separate tours and it could not have been easier! They walked me through the entire process and was there to answer all of my questions about transportation and excursions. Because I booked everything through them, once I arrived in Costa Rica all I had to do was relax and enjoy my vacation. Pura Vida!” – G.J., New York City, New York, USA