Use this insightful guide to comparison shopping for your hotels, tours, and activities in Costa Rica.


  1. Am I comparing the same accommodations or are they different?  Prices can vary significantly from one accommodation to the next.
  2. If I am not comparing the same accommodations, are they comparable?  Do they have the same amenities?  At first glance many accommodations can seem similar, but when compared side by side, differences can be much more obvious.  A good example of this is in the Arenal region where a hotel with hot springs can save you the expense of going on a hot springs tour.  A resort with an all-inclusive plan versus breakfast only is another great example.
  3. If I am comparing the same accommodations, am I comparing the same room styles?  Room styles can vary significantly and cost as much as twice as much in some accommodations.


  1. Am I comparing the same tours?  Tour prices can vary significantly.  This is a very important consideration.
  2. Am I comparing the same number of tours?  Without elaboration, this is obviously an important consideration.
  3. Are the tour operators ICT certified and insured?  The ICT is the Costa Rica Tourism Board.  All tour operators and service providers should have ICT certification and adequate insurance.


  1. Do I understand the difference between Private transportation and Shuttle Transportation?  Private transportation is provided only for the members of your party.  Shuttle transportation is provided with other clients on the same transfer.  Both are generally provided on appropriately sized tour vans.
  2. Am I comparing the same type of transportation methods?  This is an important consideration for convenience, price, comfort and service.  Private transportation should be provided for airport pickups and drop offs to avoid the possibility of serious problems.  Shuttle transportation is an economical way to travel between destinations.
  3. Is the transportation provided in newer model van with air conditioning?  Costa Rica is a mountainous country with windy roads so comfort should be a consideration.

Rental Car 

  1. Am I comparing the same car models?  Rental car models can vary significantly in cost.
  2. Am I comparing the same type of transmission?  The same model car with different transmission type can add as much as 15% to the cost of the rental.
  3. Is a high quality map with driving directions or GPS included in the rate?  A high quality map with driving directions is the best way to get around.  GPS systems are nice, but due to the terrain can be fairly unreliable at times.

Meals and Drinks

  1. Am I comparing the same number of meals?  This is an important consideration as restaurants in tourist locations can be expensive.
  2. Am I comparing an all-inclusive resort to a regular resort with breakfast only?
  3. If I am not staying at an all-inclusive resort, does the hotel provide breakfast daily or a meal plan?
  4. Are drinks included at any of the accommodations I will be staying at?


  1. Am I dealing with a legitimate company?  Do they have ICT, Canatur and BBB certification?  Do they have good reviews or awards?  Unfortunately there are a lot of fly by night companies and schemes out there.  These are very important questions when determining who to work with.
  2. Is the company I am working with located in Costa Rica?  Do they really know the country and current conditions?  Do they provide 24/365 emergency assistance?
  3. Is the company prompt in replies, are they available when I need them?
  4. Does the company I am working with speak my language and understand my needs?
  5. Does the company have the ability to adapt to your budget and preferences? 


  1. Are there any potential hidden fees in the pricing?  If it looks too good to be true, it is.  You should always read the fine print.
  2. Is sales and turismo tax included in the rate?  This can add 13% or more to the cost of your trip.
  3. Is the credit card acceptance fee included in the rate?  On average, this adds 7-10% to the total cost, but is rarely mentioned until it is time to sign the slip.
  4. Am I dealing with a company with toll free assistance?  Not only will this save you in international calls and give you the convenience of being able to talk with a representative, but is also a (small) sign of a legitimate business.

Our main emphasis is on value - giving you as much as possible with the highest quality for the amount of money you'd like to spend.  Don't take our word for it though.  Compare with other Costa Rica travel sites - keeping in mind that while you may see what look like "lower prices" elsewhere, it may be because something is missing.  

We build complete trips including everything you need to have a great time from when we pick you up at the airport to when we drop you off for your flight home: lodges and hotels, transportation, a wide range of tours and activities, and you won't even have to worry about meals and drinks (alcoholic or non) if you choose to travel inclusively. 

Our pricing policy is absolutely no surprises and every quote includes current taxes, international credit card acceptance fees, license plate fees.  While insurance will NOT be included with your rental car, you will be provided with an exact daily cost quote for the basic mandatory insurance (when renting a car) that you must pay directly at the rental car agency.

On other sites a missing white water rafting tour here and a neglected fee there can easily add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your trip. When you're shopping make sure you're comparing "apples to apples" and we're confident we'll come out on top. 

We are located in Costa Rica, providing 24/365 emergency assistance.  We have a proven track record with the Costa Rica Tourism Board, Costa Rica National Chamber of Tourism and Better Business Bureau.  This is only matched by the hundreds of excellent reviews that can easily be found about our company.

Wondering when you should reserve your vacation?  Click here to see information and availability charts for various times of the year.


Thank you for the opportunity to be at your service. 

The Pacific Trade Winds Team


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