8 reasons to book shore excursions off the cruise line. Getting Cheaper and Better Tours.
Updated: Oct 16, 2018
#1. The excursions offered in the ship are the same you can book elsewhere.
Probably you´ve been told all kind of reasons for booking with the cruise line and not with the independents. But, it's fine that you wonder why they insist? Start by doing a quick research about the excursions on and off the cruise ship, and only then you will understand why there are so many cruise travelers nowadays taking shore excursions with independents. After this, you will find out that independents like Eco-Wonders Travel, offers the same tours in Puntarenas as the cruise line and with great reviews of the past guests. It´s obvious that the cruise line wants you to take their tours however, it´s always good to have a second opinion and to know the options you can count on vacations. ¡It´s time to travel fearlessly of missing the cruise! View Puntarenas Shore Excursions.
#2. Getting better tours & prices even if sold out on the boat.
This is a good one. When the boat says that the tours are sold out, you may feel disappointed and upset that you didn´t book it in advance, ¿Isn´t that right? Let me tell you how it works. As the ship allocate a number of spaces per tour they often get sold out. if this ever happens to you then you should try to find this excursion with non-cruise agencies and you will surely find space to book with them at a better price and even not as busy as the cruise tours and exactly the same or better tour than the one you are looking for. Keep in mind that all ports that the cruise will stop, everybody visit the same tourist attractions with the only exception of using different tour operator and sometimes the same one. Quote your tour & make a reservation.
#3. Guarantee! you´ll be back on time whether you book the tour through the cruise line or independently.
Missing your boat should be something to worry about it and certainly is the biggest fear of all cruise guests. But, as mentioned above the people who book independently are on the same excursions as those who book through the ship. Puntarenas, Costa Rica is a very small city and most of the tours are not longer than 1 to 1. ½ hours away from the cruise, and each driver and tour guide has been trained to keep their timing with the cruise hours, whether it´s Easter week, chrismas or any other busy time. As well, you can be sure that if the independents tells you that is not possible to visit a place because of distance and the cruise hours, you must pay attention to this and believe their recommendations. Remember, missing your cruise is never a problem in Puntarenas Costa Rica.
#4. Set up your own shore excursions according to your expectations.
Many times when we go on a cruise vacation we check availability on certain excursion we would like to take but the cruise line says that it´s not open because the minimum is not met (20 people is usually the cruise minimum) and the only choice they have is private, and this will cost you hundreds of dollars. Independents like Eco-Wonders Travel give the choice to cruise guests to set up their own tour in case if the tour they want is not listed on the web, or want to add a couple of extra stops, modify itinerary times. If minimum required by the independent is not met (4 to 6 pax is their minimum), guests can advertise it on cruise critic in advance to meet the minimum, or take the private transportation & tour guide service offered by Eco-Wonders Travel that at the end you´ll save money and time, especially if you don´t want to go on a crowded excursion and want to go at your own pace for whatever reason.
#5. ¿Where does my money go if I book my tours off the boat?
Small companies make up to 30% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in Costa Rica, this means that every tour you book through small agencies off the boat, you make sure that over 50 percent of your ticket goes to small tour operators, restaurants, tour guides, drivers and others. On the other hand, when you book a tour through the boat, besides its higher prices (this doesn´t mean is better or worse) the ship takes a good cut of the excursions, which reduces to a much smaller portion to the tour operators. So if your idea is to visit Costa Rica and support the local economy while vacationing you already have an idea of how to make this happens.
#6. Low cost plus a great value.
Finding low-cost excursions plus a great value sounds a bit unbelievable when you have been paying hundreds of dollars for the cruise excursions, but this still is possible. the tours with independents will be at half of the price than the same ones you find on the cruise, the thing that might change at the ship is the name of the excursion like "exclusive to us" "Mangrove River Cruise" "Discover Costa Rica". Now you may be wondering ¿why your tours are cheaper than the cruise line tours? Well, this is easy to answer, Independents deal straight with providers (tours operators) and cero commission stays for the boat, as it happens when booking through the ship, which will definitely increase the excursion price. If you are looking for cheaper tours plus a great value, then you should start by contacting independents at your next cruise port.
#7. Tours with independents are way more flexible.
Flexibility is sometimes seemed impossible to achieve in the cruise excursions. In this topic, independents have 100 % flexibility with departure times as they manage their tour timing with providers that usually have more than one depart time per day. Also, companies like Eco-Wonders Travel is always willing to add additional stops like drugstores, supermarkets or any other special request which it wouldn´t be possible to request on the big tour buses. Independents will always run the extra mile because they really want you to have the best service and travel experience of all your cruise vacations.
#8. Make your choice to book or not to book
Our intention with these information is to make all cruise travelers be aware that there are great shore excursions options offered in and off the ship by certified agencies in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. So, whether you book your shore excursions through the cruise line or independents, it’s important you know that there is nothing to worry about as you´ve been told and you will not be the first one using independents in fact there are hundreds of cruise travelers already booking tours in Puntarenas with the same confidence as the cruise line tours.
These are the 8 reasons to book with independents and a great way to support the tour operators off the ship.
Next time you visit Costa Rica, relax and enjoy your visit that you will not miss the boat!
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