In Costa Rica I took my first ever group tour. I had been on day tours and even weekend tours, but I’ve never spent an entire week traveling from place to place with the same group of people and a guide.
I got lucky but I also did my research. I used the company G Adventures, which has a very good reputation. One thing I really didn’t want was a huge bus tour with 40 other people. G adventures does not do a big tour like that. The biggest group you can have is 16, and our group turned out to only have 10. G adventures also uses many local guides, has some activities included, but many more you can choose from, and some meals included, but again, there is often choice. Another thing that led me to G Adventures was their belief you shouldn’t have to pay more for traveling solo. If you travel by yourself, they will pair you up with another solo traveler which means no single supplement.
As I said, there were 10 people in my group. I happened to be with a very young group, I was the oldest, but it was also a very fun group. There were 6 people traveling solo, more than I expected, one pair of sisters, and one pair of friends. It was also 9 girls and 1 guy, which was an interesting dynamic.
Our leader, Dee, was amazing. If all the guides are as good as she is, then G definitely hires the right people. She went out of her way over and over again to make sure everyone was having the experience they wanted, felt comfortable, and felt safe. She is American, but has lived in Central America for several years. Dee knew lots of locals and took us to places that a big tour bus just would not have gone, such as the local hot springs. Throughout the whole trip I saw very few other tourists, way less than I expected, and I have to compliment both Dee and G Adventures for that. They really did try to make it a more authentic experience and not just herd us around from place to place.
While traveling in a group, you are with the other people a lot, although you don’t always have to be. Dee almost always organized a group dinner, but it was not mandatory, and once in a while people chose to go to meals on their own, which was totally fine. We did a lot of activities together, for example our entire group wanted to go zipling, plus there were included activities such as the coffee farm, hot springs, and nature walk. However, a lot of us did separate activities too. It was really up to each person to decide what they wanted to do, which also made the trip great.
Of course group dynamics play a role in any type of group activity, and when you are with people for a full week or more it is very important. For the most part our group just got along. We were from all over, the States, Canada, England, Australia, and Switzerland, but that just made it even more interesting. Not everyone in the group was best friends by the end, but overall everyone got along and added something to the trip.
Another thing I have to commend G Adventures on was room pairing. Everyone, including me, was very happy with their roommates. They seemed to pair us by age, as my roommate and I are both in our 30’s, but otherwise I guess it is kind of the luck of the draw. It just happened to work out really well and my roommate, Diane, and I got along great!
If anyone wants to travel, can’t find anyone to go with, but doesn’t want to be alone, I think a G Adventure trip is the perfect solution. After experiencing this first trip with them, I really cannot say enough good things about them and would not hesitate to go on another tour with them soon.
“in This Together” -Luciano