Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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PURA Vida!

Costa Rica is fortunately one of those destinations that does not require testing prior to arrival.

This makes things easier than some other locations and currently a selling point to add onto it’s variety of amazing attributes. They do require 2 things: A) a health form that is easily filled out 48 hours prior to arrival (print it!) and B) mandatory health insurance that complies with their regulations should you fall ill onsite.

 

It may seem overwhelming but it couldn’t have been easier- their official tourism site, our airline confirmations, plus the health form all point to clear information with links to 3 insurance plans that all comply. I had a look in advance, purchased it online which took a matter of minutes, and then it was done. Printed. Easy.

 

The more I fly lately, the more normal it all seems. Newark Airport was crowded and looked like any other morning pre-pandemic. Shops, restaurants, kiosks were all open. The only difference is that we’re all in masks, and more things are automated like iPad menus nearly everywhere, as well as payment points at the shops.

 

We were headed to Liberia which is on the west coast of the country in the Guanacaste Province. Costa Rica is a small country but it has incredible diversity and to the west, you generally find sunny weather (even during the rainy season), lovely beaches, volcanoes, mountains, and a ton of adventure.

 

ARRIVAL

While it was concerning that our flight to Liberia seemed less than half full, the flight was easy and it gave way to a quick arrival. We presented our health form, insurance printout and then we were on our way with an on-time pickup by Travel Excellence, TruMarketing’s amazing DMC client. The transfer vehicle was clean, with ample water, sanitization supplies and a jovial driver that pointed out some unique sights along the way.

 

THE HOTEL EXPERIENCE

We stayed at the Four Seasons who were impeccably hospitable from booking to farewell. There was an easy automatic temperature scanning device on arrival and at several of the onsite restaurants, and sanitizer everywhere, even in little signature bottles at the table. Menus have all been digitized, and in the room they’ve been replaced with a simple index card with QR codes. 

 

The staff displayed their signature service. Wherever we went, everyone had a smile, a warmth and a genuine feeling of happiness which is just intrinsically Costa Rican. And it’s lovely when you arrive at place you can simply enjoy, where people are happy you’re there, it makes you forget for a minute what’s happening in the world.

 

This property truly ensures you are taken care of and everyone addresses you by name. Little touches meant so much – like 2 glasses of fresh mango juice and a sweet note left in the room reminding us that we needed strength after a COVID test. The hotel was impeccable from top to bottom and is highly recommended. As I mentioned though, hospitality in Costa Rica is tremendous, so truly, it’s a lovely stay no matter where you opt to go.

 

TESTING

Seamless and simple. So many hotels around the world (this one included) offer onsite testing in your room. They calculated the timeframe for us, prebooked the appointment, and we returned to our room after breakfast to find a health professional there who suggested we just move to the balcony to have our tests against a beautiful backdrop. It took 10 seconds, and the results were emailed to us shortly thereafter which the hotel printed for us. That was it – about 5-7 minutes total for the process and we never thought about it again.

 

EXCURSIONS

Right now, privacy and exclusivity is in high demand for touring and experiences,  so always check those options first. In many cases, the increase in price is not tremendous and it helps provide your clients with an added feeling of security. We opted for a private rafting experience. Again, the vehicle was clean with ample supplies, an easygoing driver and guide, clean equipment for the excursion itself and well worth it. This province is all about nature, the outdoors and adventure so always recommend some fun activities such as ziplining, hiking, rafting, biking, safaris and more. It truly completes the experience and Costa Rica is too beautiful not to explore

 

RETURN

Simply put, easy. As mentioned, we received our COVID test results quickly and had them printed (BE SURE TO DO THIS!) and in hand for check-in which was quick and uncrowded. On arrival back into the US, I used Global Entry (BE SURE TO HAVE THIS!) and it took a matter of seconds to get through, downstairs and into the car. The trip was an amazing experience and I barely even noticed the testing portion of it because it was so quick and all laid out for me, as most DMCs and hotels are doing for their guests. As an agent, you can truly excel by handling all of this for your guests so they won’t need to worry.

 

TruMarketing has a fantastic guide that breaks down the unique activities per region to help inspire your clients – just reach out at info@trumarketing.com for a copy and a connection to the best DMC in the country!

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