Sausalito, CA – Wildlife viewing specialist Wild Planet Adventures offers the antidote to self-organized, repackaged or commercial nature tours that too often mean crowds of visitors gawking at the same bird or animal day after day, says founder / owner Josh Cohen. Its affordable Costa Rica “Ultimate Wildlife” eco-tours are crafted to avoid the crowds and feature special access to private reserves and exclusive activities designed to expose travelers to exceptional and privileged wildlife viewing.
This July, during one of the best wildlife viewing times of the year, Wild Planet offers 10 percent off on select departures of its best-selling Costa Rica 9-day Ultimate Wildlife eco-tour, or $400 off the tour company’s 14-day Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife eco-tour. Both promotions apply to double occupancy, new bookings only, require reservations to be made by June 17, 2011, and are subject to certain minimums and restrictions.
With 2.1 million people visiting Costa Rica in 2010, the days of picking up a guidebook and discovering a hidden nook of the country are gone, says Cohen.
“The increase in low-budget, high-volume mass tourism has spurred rampant overbuilding (e.g. high-rises in Jaco) and overcrowded conditions in many of the most popular destinations within a reasonable drive of San Jose. Seeing wildlife without the crowds now requires carefully planned strategies that include tracking wildlife sightings, obtaining exclusive permission to explore private reserves, and tightly coordinated logistics to take advantage of daily wildlife migrations while avoiding commercialism — all specialties of Wild Planet Adventures,” says Cohen.
“Most tourists feel disappointed when they see wildlife that instead of being truly wild is used to human presence; but ironically they end up contributing to increasing habituation by being unaware of their own ecological impact.” he notes. Cohen recommends traveling in a small group of 6-10, (12 max) “which enables you to have a more exclusive experience than joining the masses at the most popular reserves.” He suggests allowing enough time for an itinerary that combines popular destinations close to San Jose with those that are farther afield.
“Try to avoid the uber-popular Pacuare and Reventazon rivers with up to 1,000 rafters a week and with little wildlife that isn’t overly exposed to humans. Be especially wary of tours run by lodges that visit the same places every day, often with large groups of people, which means you get to see the same old monkey who is very used to human presence,” he says.
Wild Planet Adventures runs their own tours staffed by local drivers and some of Costa Rica’s most acclaimed naturalist and biologist guides, a key reason, Cohen says, they can track wildlife sightings and bring travelers to wherever wildlife abounds — while avoiding animal-scaring crowds. They specialize in interactions with animals, wildlife experts and scientific researchers, night hikes for nocturnal animals, and “safari-style” paddling on remote, wildlife-rich rivers.