Costa Rica FAMs are BACK!

As temperatures rise, international travel is steadily increasing, and Costa Rica is ready to welcome visitors – especially travel advisors – with open arms. This past month, 13 travel advisors from the United States and Canada participated in a hotel-hosted FAM trip between May 12 - 21, 2022. The group began their journey at Hotel Presidente in downtown San Jose, spending two nights in Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa and another two nights at El Mangroove – an Autograph Collection Hotel.  Half the group embarked on a pre-extension, and half a post to Nantipa – A Tico Beach Experience in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula.

We are proud to share feedback from the group:

A California Signature advisor mentioned: “Discovering Costa Rica was a delight! We were so well taken care of and offered experiences which we can share with future guests and explorers heading this way!  The pride these hoteliers and tour operators showed is not misplaced and the quality being offered currently in Costa Rica is impressive.”

A Virtuoso travel consultant from Louisiana wrote back, "Costa Rica is truly one of those magical places that you must see to believe. From quiet, remote surfer communities to the volcanic rainforest interior with hot springs and adventures abound, there is no doubt you will be greeted with a warmth and kindness not often found in today’s world. No words can truly describe this FAM…you MUST experience it and then you’ll fully understand the beauty of this tiny country. I went in as an advisor from Louisiana and walked away with friendships that will last a lifetime and a completely new understanding of vacationing in beautiful Costa Rica."

Finally, another Virtuoso advisor from Canada commented, “There is SO much to see and do in Costa Rica, you could spend months there and still wish you had more time. It is definitely not a one-and-done kind of destination. It is one of the most beautifully diverse vacation destinations in the world, from rainforests, dry forests, toucans, monkeys, mangroves, surfing, diving, canyoning, thermal springs, waterfall chasing and a colorful, carefree culture, a trip to Costa Rica is full of exotic adventure and laid-back luxury all at the same time. Think spa treatment in the rainforest! The trip was very well planned with each & every detail carefully taken care of [by] the team and we were pampered with spa treatments, authentic Costa Rican food and hospitality. My only regret; wish it was longer!!”

Josue Bonilla, FAM coordinator for the visit noted, “We were honored with the visit of such a great group of advisors. Everyone participated in all activities and inspections, and the group dynamic was jovial, participatory, and fun!”

Reviews from our Fall 19 FAM are In!

Last week we concluded our Fall 2019 hotel hosted Travel Agent FAM to Costa Rica.  The group featured the participation of 14 agents from the United States and Canada, representing four consortia.  Participants stayed in Tabacon, Hotel Presidente, Los Altos and Nantipa, visiting four regions of the country, enjoying four tours and multiple activities.

The 5-night / 6-day escorted trip started in San Jose with an overnight at the Presidente, including a tour of the city and dinner at Azotea Calle 7.  After a site inspection at Chayote Lodge, the trip continued for 2 nights at Tabacon in Arenal, including hot springs and a full day at the Sky Adventures Park.  Here agents had a choice of Sky Limit or Sky Trek.  Agents that successfully concluded their adventure, were treated to a 60 minute spa treatment in the private bungalows back at Tabacon.

After a charter flight to Manuel Antonio, the group spent the next two nights at Los Altos Resort, with the option to raft in the Savegre River or snorkel off the catamaran.  Some agents chose to stay longer and visited Nantipa for an extra two nights in Santa Teresa with beach, horseback riding and a 5-minute beach clean up.

Participants raved about their experience.  Janell, a Signature Agent from California wrote: “I just wanted to say a huge Thank You for this wonderful trip that the two of you organized for us.  I had such an amazing time and learned so much about this beautiful country.  All of the resorts were great and the activities were a very special experience as well.  So impressed by every element!  I cannot wait to return again and the requests are coming in already from clients, family and friends”

“Thank you so much for putting on such a phenomenal FAM. And everyone who went and made it so special and memorable. I am definitely going to be heading back to CR at least once a year, and the requests have already started coming in” mentioned Camila, an American Express agent from Miami.

Pam, a Virtuoso Agent from Atlanta added: “thank you so much for the opportunity to attend the FAM and to learn more about what Costa Rica has to offer.  It is an amazing destination and I hope to visit soon and also recommend it to clients that are looking for more than just a beach vacation.  Thanks again and Pura Vida!”

We celebrate our hosted FAM three times a year, once in the Spring and twice in the Fall, with one of these dedicated to Spanish speaking agents.  The events are invitation only.  For more information, please contact Meni at meni@PreferredCostaRicaHotels.com


12 Agents participate in our Classic Fall FAM to Costa Rica

During the last week of October, 12 agents from Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico experienced an invitation only fully hosted familiarization trip, staying at the Hotel Presidente in San Jose, Tabacon in Arenal and Los Altos in Manuel Antonio.  Three agents had the opportunity to stay in Costa Rica two more days and enjoy the first ever agent inspection at Nantipa in Santa Teresa.

Tour coordinators – Meni, Josue and Jennifer – set up clear goals for the trip.  The main objective was to show professional agents how to design a multi-region luxury Costa Rica Vacation, featuring a combination of city, volcano, rainforest, hot springs, beaches on the Pacific, and how to choose the activities for the clients in each area.  “Costa Rica is more than a one-week beach vacation” explained Meni in the opening presentation at the Hotel Presidente.

Feedback was extremely positive.  One Virtuoso agent from Chicago that extended the say to visit Santa Teresa wrote back: “This FAM trip in Costa Rica was an amazing way for me to learn more about the country, the people, the culture and what it has to offer visitors.  So much was packed into each day including site inspections, outstanding meals, exhilarating adventure tours, and the opportunity to experience the various modes of transfers to each location.  All of our hosts shared knowledge and love of their beautiful country.   Everything I was fortunate to learn and experience on this trip will add tremendously to my expertise as a travel professional, my credibility with clients, and ultimately aid me in designing Costa Rica travel with more confidence.”

A Signature colleague from Philadelphia added: “Thank you for introducing me to the Pura Vida experience…  Nowadays, I smile at the slightest mention of Costa Rica.    Pura Vida is the reason…and the food!... Tabacon proves that heaven on earth exists- to relax, recharge, and renew one’s connection with nature balanced with a touch of luxury… All in all, you delivered a memorable FAM experience that made Costa Rica feel like home-comforting and inviting”

“Thank you SO much for a great FAM!!  I feel like this is one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had on a FAM.  And that’s what it’s all about, right?!” mentioned another Signature Agent from San Diego.  He added that “Everyone involved was so gracious to us, and I truly appreciate the opportunity.  I feel so much more comfortable in seeing Cost Rica now”.

Hotel hosted FAMs are held in May and October of every year.  The May FAM is open for reservations and will consist of 5 nights / 6 days in San Jose, Arenal and Manuel Antonio, with possible extensions to either Puerto Viejo de Limon or Santa Teresa.  For more information, please email Meni at meni@PreferredCostaRicaHotels.com.  Space is limited.


13 Agents participate in our Second Annual FAM for Latin American Agencies

During the second week in October, 13 agents from Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara, representing four different consortia visited Costa Rica as VIP guests of the Hotel Presidente, Sky Adventures, Tabacon and Los Altos Resort.  The 6 night / 7 day trip started with a guided tour of the Irazu Volcano north of San Jose, dinners in top restaurants in San Jose: Silvestre and Azotea Calle 7.  The next two days were enjoyed in Tabacon, with a full day adventure and nature experience at the Sky Adventures Park followed by ample time to relax at Tabacon’s acclaimed hot springs and spa, along with casual and formal dining on property.

The trip ended with two nights in Manuel Antonio, where agents stayed the the luxurious three bedroom suites at Los Altos.  Featured activities included kayaking in the Damas Island Estuary, and a guided hike in the Altos private reserve, where wildlife was plentiful and friendly. 

“Our goal is to provide luxury travel agents with the opportunity to experience an authentic Costa Rica itinerary, visiting multiple regions” commented Josue Bonilla, the trip organizer and leader. “We try to show travel professionals that the real eco-tourism vacation should not lack in luxury, and yet, should provide memorable adventures, close encounters with nature and educational experiences.  The beauty of the country lies in the small towns, the warm and friendly character of the ticos, and the rich natural environment” concluded Bonilla.

Our luxury hotel and park collection organizes three invitation only FAMs.  Starting in November 2018 the trips will offer the possibility to enhance the experience with extensions to recently opened Hotel Aguas Claras in Puerto Viejo de Limon (Caribbean Coast) and soon-to-open Nantipa – A Tico Beach Experience in Santa Teresa.

For more information on our hotel sponsored Costa Rica FAMs, please contact Meni Mikowski at meni@PreferredCostaRicaHotels.com.


14 Agents Participate in exclusive Costa Rica FAM Trip

Our Spring 2018 hotel sponsored FAM took place from May 4 to 10, with the participation of 14 luxury travel agents: 2 from Canada and 12 from 8 different US States, representing three travel consortia.  The 6-night / 7-day trip visited San Jose, the Arenal Volcano Region and Manuel Antonio.

The trip started with two nights in San Jose staying at the Hotel Presidente. A fantastic welcome dinner at the renowned Restaurant Silvestre in the Amon neighborhood welcomed agents, and was followed by a full day tour in Rainforest Adventures with zip lines, aerial tram and hikes.  The second day ended with dinner at the hotel and a bar hopping activity in the trendy Escalante suburb of San Jose. 

The next day the group moved to to the Arenal Volcano Region.  En route, they visited newly opened Chayote Lodge in Naranjo, continuing to the Arenal Region where they stayed two nights in Tabacon.   The FAM enjoyed the Sky Adventures experience, which included the Sky Tram, Sky Trek (extreme zip lines) and the choice of Sky Walk (hike in rainforest and hanging bridges) or Drift (tubing).  Upon returning the hotel, everyone had plenty of time to visit enjoy the spa treatments and hot springs.  Gala farewell dinner closed the groups’ stay in Costa Rica’s top hot springs resort. 

A private two-plane 40 minute flight from Arenal to Quepos opened the trips fifth day.  The FAM ended in Manuel Antonio, with a memorable stay in the luxury suites at Los Altos Resort with a choice of tours between catamaran sailing, mangrove kayaking or horseback riding to the waterfalls.  During our nature hike in the hotel’s trails and private reserve, the group experienced the rich wildlife in the Los Altos property. Sightings included three species of monkeys, two types of sloths, toucans and coatis.  Many chose to extend their stay and visit other regions of Costa Rica.

Comments and raving feedback were received following the trip.  A Virtuoso Agent from Bee Kalt Travel in Detroit, MI wrote: “Thank you so much for hosting me on your fam this month. I had a great time traveling with you and the ladies. I learned a lot and it was great to see all of the properties and experience the activities. The zip-lining was fantastic and I’m glad I got to try it in 2 different places. My back is finally recovering = .  You did a wonderful job with the planning and the trip was very organized. The Tabacon Resort and hot springs was definitely a highlight for me – such a beautiful place. I look forward to working with you soon!”

A Signature Agent from Travel 100 Group in Chicago commented: “ It seems like a dream I was just surrounded by beautiful people very knowledgeable in our industry, experiencing great new properties, enjoying wonderful food, and being so adventurous.  Costa Rica is so wonderful and it has so much to offer, I will always keep you in mind, specially your great properties, El Presidente and Tabacon Springs,  a sanctuary of relaxation, and I been telling all my coworkers, the best swim up bar ever,  fresh fruit drinks, so refreshing.  Thank you so much for having me on this wonderful Pura Vida experience”

Another Virtuoso Agent from Altair Travel in St. Louis, MO sent great feedback: “What a FABULOUS week we had in Costa Rica!!   You really outdid yourself!!   Loved everything about the trip and destination!!... All in all, I LOVED Costa Rica and will definitely recommend it to my clients!   Thank you again for the opportunity to “meet” this fabulous destination!! “

“Thanks for a fabulous fam trip – I have so many wonderful memories from Costa Rica! Can’t wait to go back. Thank you for your outstanding hospitality and hard work putting the trip together! I am so grateful for the amazing experience and the new friends” were the comments from a Virtuoso Agent from Stellar Travel in Bellevue, WA.  

We run two annual escorted FAM Trips.  Our next event is October 27 – November 1, 2018.  For more information, please email us at meni@preferredcostaricahotels.com.

15 Agents Participate in the Invitation Only Costa Rica FAM Trip

Our Fall 2017 hotel sponsored FAM took place from October 14 to 19, with the participation of 15 luxury travel agents representing 7 US States, and four travel consortia.  Participants experienced San Jose by day and night while staying at the Hotel Presidente, moving on to the Arenal Volcano Region.  The group stayed two nights in Tabacon, visted the Sky Adventures experience, which included the Sky Tram, Sky Trek (extreme zip lines) and the choice of Sky Walk or Drift (tubing).  Upon returning the hotel, everyone had time to visit the spa and hot springs.  The FAM ended in Manuel Antonio, with a memorable stay in the luxury suites at The Preserve at Los Altos, with a choice of tours between Catamaran sailing, mangrove kayaking or horseback riding to the waterfalls.  During our nature hike, we experienced the rich wildlife in the Los Altos property. Sightings included three species of monkeys, two type of sloths, toucans, macaws and other birds.  Many chose to extend their stay and visit other regions of Costa Rica.

Many comments and raving feedback were received following the trip.  A Frosch / Signature T&L top 25 Agent, from Chicago wrote: “I wanted to take the time to personal thank you for such an enriching and fun familiarization trip.  It was so helpful for me to see the destinations and resorts in person and get to know the people that work hard to keep them running, as well as the climate and topography.  It is something I'll be able to use for sales and remember forever!”

Another Signature agent from Tucson, AZ wrote: “Thanks so much for hosting a wonderful Costa Rica FAM.  I enjoyed traveling with you and experiencing the country together…  I’m so glad I could attend, and look forward to sending more clients as well.  Again, thanks for all you did on our behalf.”

Meanwhile, another agent from Chicago wrote “Just wanted to send a note to thank you for including me in the wonderful FAM trip! Honestly, it all feels like a dream and went by in the blink of an eye. It was a pleasure touring the three hotels and really getting to know the staff. Everyone was so warm and accommodating. The activities were fantastic – from hiking, to ziplining, to kayaking – it was great to get a taste of what the destination has to offer. Also, the massage at Tabacon was life changing”

Finally, a Liberty Travel agent from Pittsburg wrote “I just wanted to take the opportunity to sincerely thank you for opening up my narrow mind to Costa Rica. The trip was AMAZING from start to finish, and I learned and enjoyed so much.”

We run two annual escorted FAM Trips.  For more information, please email us at meni@preferredcostaricahotels.com.