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The conventional luxury standard setters in the travel industry achieve excellence by training all their personnel to follow very precise policies and scripts. For virtually every situation that involves a guest/employee interaction there is a set procedure for what to do and say. Using this method, with enough training, you get service that is uniformly excellent - and stilted.

At Costa Rica Expeditions we look at service not as  what we say and do but how our clients feel as a result of what we do. We do not deliver service. We orchestrate memories. The way we do this is to invite everybody at Costa Rica Expeditions to join us in contemplating the nature of the value that we supply our clients, beyond the obvious - food, lodging, information, transportation. The vacation, the experience, and the excitement are all essentially ephemeral. Before the trip they are only a dream, then they exist for a fleeting seconds, and they stay with us as memories. So we have come to the conclusion that our job is to help orchestrate memories; positive, transformative, life-enhancing, unforgettable memories.

How do we do this? By constantly endeavoring to come up with ways to provide service that is so creative, so genuinely caring, so beyond expectations, so personalized that it sticks in peoples' minds and becomes an indelible part of unforgettable memories. Quite simply we are shooting for service that it is so unforgettable that it becomes the stuff of legends - stories about their vacation and how it effected them - that our guests tell and retell.

We work on this by keeping our eye on the ball: memories. We concentrate on how important our memories are to all of us, so we treat the obligation to set the stage for our guests' memories like a calling, a sacred trust. Rather than remembering scripts and procedures, we focus on what can we do for this particular person who is in my charge at this particular time to help them have unforgettable memories. Rather than scripts and procedures we use a few basic techniques that we have found works. The most effective of these techniques is simply asking questions and listening very carefully to the answers. What can I do for you on this day, this hour, this minute that will make it special?

Our founder and CEO, Michael Kaye, tells of how he began to conceive of the idea of the transformative and life-enhancing possibilities of travel before he had ever traveled out of the US when he was 12 or 11 years old watching the movie Roman Holiday. In an Academy award-winning role, Audrey Hepburn plays a young princess from an unnamed European country on a multi-country tour to promote trade. Every step of the way she is controlled by minders who determine everything she does and says. After each question at a press conference, her controller whisper the first few words of the answer in her ear so she will be sure to follow the party line. In Rome, fed up on the last stop of a long odyssey, she escapes and for two liberating days has a wild adventure. At the end returns, resigned to do her duty, but determined to be her own person. At her final press conference of the tour in Rome, a reporter asks which country she enjoyed the most. Her controller whispers, “Each in its own way…” For moment years of obedience and programming take over and she repeats, “Each in its own way…” Then she rebels and says, “Rome! Most of all I enjoyed Rome!” For Michael, this personal liberation portrayed in a movie has always been a shining example of the potential of travel to transform us and enhance our lives.

We would be the first to admit that our service goals are too ambitious to achieve every time. Many of our guests merely have a great time. Touching some of our guests quite frankly eludes us. Truly life-enhancing unforgettable memories is a joint endeavor between our guests and us. We can orchestrate and set the stage, you, our guests have to be willing to contribute your openness and creativity to be the stars of the show. We do feel that we are on to something that we are focusing on the right thing. To see how it plays out in practice we suggest that you read some of the feedback we have gotten from clients over the years.

“The highest aim of travel is not see new sights, but to gain new eyes.” -M. Proust


Keep a list of favorite trips by clicking the link, "Add to My Favorites" found on all itineraries.

Creating a My favoriteS LIST

As you search for your ideal trip in the custom itineraries section of our web site, you may wish to create a list of favorite trips. To do so, click on the link above each itinerary, “Add to My Favorites.” Each itinerary you chose will be added to a personalized list of trips. You can add as many trips as you want to your list and refer back to them by clicking on the link, "See My Favorites," which will appear in the right column once you have selected a favorite.

Your list of favorites will follow you as you surf the site, allowing you to refer back to selected itineraries at any time. On your next visit to our web site, the list will reappear by clicking the link, “See My Favorites.”


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Read about CRE lodges in Travel & Leisure's 30th anniversary issue.

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Background info

Why travel with us

Our wilderness lodges


Meet the people who help create unforgettable memories of your trip:

Executive Management

Full Management Team

Travel Planners

Operations Team

Support Staff

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