“The family market is amazing, a booming niche that produces not only a kind-of-easy-to-sell group travel, but a niche that has a high enlistment of repeat travelers,” company president Kurt Kutay reports. “In the last decade, each year we have designed a new destination in Central and South America, Africa and Turkey. However, we started in Costa Rica, where demand has remained and the infrastructure and facilities have matured to the point where we can offer five different age- and activity-friendly tours. Experiences range from visiting farms and schools, taking meals at local homes, and playing soccer with the villagers, to exploring national parks, kayaking, rafting, horseback riding and down time on lovely white beaches. It’s all there, and families love the country.”
Among Wildland’s five different country options, the 9-day Costa Rica Family Vacation is the best-seller. Designed for kids 5 and older, features include visits to Don Juan Bautista’s Farm, the Arenal Volcano, hot springs, hanging bridges, and the Danaus Ecocenter. There’s also a canopy tour and night walk at Villa Blanca in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest, as well as a Damas Island kayaking tour, plus a free day for rafting, snorkeling, dolphin and sea turtle viewing, horseback riding or just plain relaxing at the beach or by the hotel pool. Prices, which include escort, good hotels, most meals and local air and ground transportation, are based on group size and season. For 2010, the lead price pp dbl in the low season is $2,275 with nine or more tour members; $2,375 with five-eight, and $2,575 with two-four. In the high season, costs start at $2,625; and in all seasons the child price (ages 10 and under) is $1,395.
The second best-selling tour is the 8-day Active Family Adventure for kids 9 and up, featuring skytram riding, ziplining, mountain biking, walking hanging bridges and canyoneering in Arenal National Park, as well as outrigger kayaking, hiking and a farm reserve visit in Manuel Antonio. With similar inclusions as the tour above, the lead price for adults is $2,695 pp dbl, low season and $2,795, high season; teens pay $2,465 and children 10 and under pay $1,595. And Wildland Adventures goes the extra mile, offering pre-departure packets for children including posters, diaries, language and geography primers.