Very Nearly The Highlights of Costa Rica

Laurenne Mansbridge

06 December 2022

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Very Nearly The Highlights of Costa Rica

This was not the easiest blog to write without giving away all our secrets!


But….because the Pioneer focus is to offer experiences that other tour companies might not have considered and to offer them in places we think you’ll  love and appreciate for their serenity and ( for want of a better phrase) un-touristy nature.


If a location is not where people go is it worth going?


Good question! The truth is that not all areas of a country are as commercially equipped as others for tourism. This could be for any number of reasons and reasons that also make them attractive  to us at Pioneer. Here are a handful:


Fewer people- can often mean more wildlife and birdlife. Costa Rica is a

mecca for flora and fauna and even with a good guide and a decent pair of binoculars it can be difficult to see what you’re looking for at times. If you’re on a trail with lots of groups of people wildlife can be scared away. We’d rather go where we had to try a bit harder to spot that quetzal or sloth and know it was going to remain undisturbed for most of the day.


Fewer choices of accommodation – the busier a place becomes the more lodges and hotels are built which has an inevitable  impact on the environment whilst, a smaller, family run lodge that knows it has to survive with fewer visitors per season will often need to rely on the local community and sustainable practices organically in order to get the most from surrounding elements such as solar energy or hydro-power.  It also takes the sometimes frustrating confusion of choice out of your hands!


More difficult to get to– the last thing you want to do after a long flight is be going on a bumpy road up a mountain to the backside of nowhere! To be honest it’s not the first thing we want to do either but after a day or two we can’t wait to get exploring. I think I’m badly paraphrasing Peter Sellers here but we believe that being there is half of it and getting there completes it. The journey can often yield the most spectacular sites and experiences of a trip. That combined with feeling of remoteness when you arrive is unsurpassed. I have worked for over 30 years in travel and never seen a jaguar ( not for want of trying!) but the people I know who have, have invariably seen them either going to or coming from a remote jungle lodge.



Not so difficult to get to

we also appreciate that everyone has a different set of circumstances that dictate the type of holiday they want so we’re not advocating that you avoid highlights and travel hours and additional kilometres each day to do so. But what we like to do is look outside of the box, to the left , right, and all around to see if we can suggest something that might appeal to you whilst you go via or keep yourself based somewhere with more infrastructure and classically visited highlight.



If we go will more people come and spoil it? –

Obviously this question could apply to anywhere that tourists visit but Costa Rica has a staggering 28% of its land protected. Much of this can be visited and enjoyed with the knowledge that development won’t take place at all or the area you are visiting may have a preservation order on it. Many remote areas and lodges employ guides that were once hunters or poachers and train them so can pass on their wealth of knowledge in a positive way.

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