Tailormade Tours - Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica

An expert tour operator who will customise your dream holiday to suit your personal interests and budget
Costa Rica packs an amazing variety of habitats into a tiny space: 2 oceans (and the Pacific coast varies hugely from the Nicoya to the Osa peninsula); cloud forest, dry forest and rain forest; lush lowlands covered with coffee plantations. Looking at the map, you’d imagine it would be easy to flit from the Arenal volcano region to Monteverde cloud forest in an hour or so. Sadly not. For one thing, the country is divided by a mighty mountain range. Secondly, the roads in some rural areas - where you’re bound to want to go - are atrocious. In the 'Green Season', you’ll need expert local knowledge to navigate the river crossings. And thirdly, the towns are as tricky to navigate as the potholed roads, due to an unconventional approach to signposting based on the premise that locals know where to go. If you don’t speak Spanish, even the friendly Ticos’ directions will mean nothing.

All this can make reaching your hotel more of an adventure than zip-wiring through a rainforest, which is why we'd advise booking a tour or bespoke itinerary with our chosen ground operator, rather than stressing about the logistics yourself. They can arrange a package that includes as much or as little as you like (drivers and guides, activities, hotels, or your entire trip), and their suggested itineraries have been designed by their well-travelled staff to help you get the most out of each region. Whether you want to birdwatch, white-water raft, surf, be pampered or enjoy a mixture of lazing and activity, their friendly staff will listen your needs and advise you.

Note that as of May 2016, British Airways will be flying directly from London Gatwick to San Jose!

Why we chose this partner

  • Long established; the company was set up in 1999 by 2 friends. They now have 80 full-time staff in 3 countries (a mix of international expats and locals)
  • They are the only company who meet you off your international flight and whisk you straight through immigration
  • They work with some of i-escape's favourite hotels, including Latitude 10 Resort, Lapa Rios Ecolodge and The Harmony Hotel
  • Itineraries for everyone - couples, families, adventure lovers - and an exciting new one with a week in Panama
  • i-escape bookings are handled by Aidan, a Costa Rica expert who has lived in-country for over 5 years, so we know you'll be brilliantly advised
  • Their guides are all ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Board) certified, and speak English, as do their drivers, who will whisk you around in a Hyundai H1 or Toyota Hiace
  • Their staff are available any time you need help on your trip, at the end of a phone

Please be aware

  • i-escape can only vouch for those properties which are featured and reviewed on our website. For other areas and accommodations, while we do trust our operator to provide the best options for your needs, you should make sure that you are happy with their suggestions before confirming
  • You must book a complete package with Tailormade Tours - Costa Rica, which consists of hotels and transfers as the minimum inclusions

Best time to go

Generally, the best time to visit is the dry season, December - April, although in Costa Rica 'dry' still means occcasional rain. In May the Green (aka rainy) season starts but this is a great time to visit as you can avoid the crowds. Just be aware that rivers may swell and dirt roads get muddy, making travel more challenging.

Our top tips

  • If you're a keen birder, the best season to spot the quetzal is between November and April. Spring (March - May) and autumn (September - November) are good times to watch migratory flocks.
  • The company also cover Nicaragua and Panama, should you want an exciting add-on to your holiday.
  • Great for...

    Great Outdoors
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite


    Accommodation in Costa Rica ranges from boutique city hotels to friendly eco lodges, secret treehouses and jungle cabanas; you can literally hide away in a cloud forest if that's your thing.

    We've reviewed many of these in extensive detail, and you can request their inclusion in your itinerary. Otherwise, be guided by Tailormade Tours Costa Rica, who will recommend properties to suit your budget and preferences.


    Here are the things we loved:

    • Ziplining through the rainforest
    • Guided wildlife tours to spot monkeys, sloth and adorable tree frogs
    • Watching Arenal Volcano pout plumes of smoke by day, and streams of red lava by night
    • Learning to surf
    • Hanging Bridge tours through the jungle canopy
    • Deep-sea fishing for enormous catch - sailfish, marlin, tuna, dorado
    • White-water rafting down Grade IV rapids
    • Kayaking through lush mangrove
    • Bird watching - scarlet macaws, bright quetzals, toucans and tanagers
    • Relaxing on pristine beaches
    • Scuba diving past white-tipped sharks, rays and large schools of fish that create an underwater eclipse

    Activities include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Kayaking
    • Mountain biking
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Rafting
    • Safaris
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Scuba diving courses
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
    • Trekking
    • Well being
    • Whalewatching
    • Wildlife
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga
    Kid Friendly:

    With Kids

    Costa Rica is great for families, with loads of activities; 8+ year olds will especially love it. Children under 10 will usually be charged a child rate (which varies, according to your itinerary); children over 10 will be charged an adult rate. All hotels allow children.

    We would recommend choosing a Customised Trip on Rates and telling Emilie your exact needs, interests and criteria so she can do you a bespoke itinerary.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)


    The company will arrange all transportation as part of your tour. Most of it will take place in an air-conditioned 4x4, and you might need to take an internal flight. And if you book hidden hotels such as Pacuare Lodge, you may need to raft your way in...!


    Our guests' ratings...


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