A message from our founders about coronavirus
Travel with Confidence
Firstly, Guy and Amanda and the whole Tribes team would like to send a big . . .
. . . to all our wonderful clients and partners for your understanding and the kind words and thoughts you’ve sent our way since March.
Costa Rica Specialists is part of Tribes Travel and Tribes started life in January 1998. It takes more than a coronavirus to wipe out our enthusiasm for exploring the world’s incredibly special places!
We’re not saying we’ve not been affected. Like so many other companies, we’ve lost some of our wonderful team due to lack of business, and we’re so very sorry about that. We’re a small family and each person who’s left us has left a hole.
However, we have to look forward, and there is indeed light at the end of the 2020 tunnel. More countries are being added to the UK travel corridor list and, of course, the vaccines should hopefully make all the difference to life in 2021.
Since March 2020, we’ve been helping our travellers with current bookings, thankfully facilitating far more deferrals than cancellations. We’ve made every effort and have in turn received some lovely comments such as the one below. Thank you!
“A travel operator just doesn’t get any better. If we could give more than 10 stars we would! Undoubtedly the best customer service we’ve ever experienced – all the more remarkable for the dreadful times we’re in with Covid.” Mr A.T
We very much look forward to speaking with you as soon as you feel comfortable enough to start planning your next holiday, and we hope the information below helps with your considerations.
With our warm wishes
Amanda, Guy and the Tribes team
December 2020: Our team is still working from home. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm (though with fewer staff and each working only part-time there might be the odd time when the phone is temporarily unmanned. Sorry about that, but please give us another try). We are contactable by email too. Our general email is firstname.lastname@example.org but our individual emails are all being used too.
We are giving ourselves a full week off, and shutting the office totally from 24th December to 1st January (inclusive). We’ll be back at work from Monday 4th January.
Is it safe to book with Tribes?
Tribes has been going for 23 years. We are financially secure even after the past dreadful year. All our holidays are covered either by ATOL (if they include flights) or our ABTOT bond (if no flights). You can therefore book with us in the knowledge that your money is safe.
Our 2021 promise
Book with us in confidence, knowing that if we are unable to run your trip due to COVID-19, then you can either: change your trip to another date, move to another destination, accept a credit note for future travel, or get a full refund.
(Please note that the above applies only if we cannot run the trip. If you decide not to go ahead with a trip we can run then we will be as flexible as possible).
Flexible payment terms
We totally understand the concerns about paying for travel these days. For that reason, Tribes is trying to be as flexible as possible as regards payment terms. Since we work in so many countries, a one-size fits-all policy doesn’t work, as the terms we can off you differ depending on the destination and our partners on the ground. Your consultant will offer you the best terms they can get for you, such as a reduced deposit or partial payments or later final balances where possible.
Backing wildlife and people in our destinations
None of the countries we work with have the kind of financial support we are getting here in the UK.
Our destination partners are suffering huge financial deprivation which is, of course, badly affecting the lives of many people involved in tourism and their families.
In addition, wildlife is feeling the brunt of the lack of tourism income. Wildlife guardians (protecting gorillas in Uganda, lions in Kenya, tigers in India) have lost their funding, and poaching has increased. The environmentally-sensitive places of the world and their wild inhabitants desperately need the income from responsible tourism. Your holidays keep them alive. So yes, this year has been tough for us all, including our business, but we need to start travelling again as soon as possible to get the money flowing into less fortunate destinations once again. Meaningful, sensitive travel can shape our world for the better. This is one of the big reasons why deferring rather than cancelling trips can be a life-saver.
If you would like to help some of the charities we work with, do get in touch and we’d be delighted to advise you of how you could donate.
The UK’s FCDO offers advice about travel. When they advise against ‘non-essential’ travel, that is just advice. It is not a prohibition law. We are legally allowed to operate trips and you are allowed to travel even with such advice in place.
Travelling in 2021
We are keeping a firm eye on all the notifications, rules and regulations around travel in 2021 – which countries are open, and what entry requirements are in place.
There is no doubt that travel will be different to what we’ve been used to – life in general has changed and this includes travel. Just as we all have new rules at home, all countries have new rules in order to keep people safe. All travellers will have to accept safety/health measures deemed necessary by airlines, countries, hotels, and restaurants and other services in each destination; rules covering things such as social distancing and wearing face masks where appropriate. We have been talking with our partners on the ground, and will continue to do so as things evolve.
COVID19 TESTING: Most countries accepting visitors are requiring a PCR test to prove you don’t have COVID-19. There are various private testing services now available, such as Nomad Travel Clinics. Each destination county differs in terms of when this test must be taken but 72 hours prior to arrival is common. Travel insurance is available to cover you in case of failing such a test before departure.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: It is vital that your holiday insurance covers you in case you contract COVID-19 just before you travel or whilst abroad. Sadly, many insurance companies have now excluded COVID cover from their policies, but there are a few insurance companies offering such cover. Obviously, if you do become ill (for any reason) we will always do our utmost to support you.
AIRPORTS: It is likely that our experiences in airports will be different and you may need to allow for more time in the airport before your flight because of longer queues and safety checks.
BOOKINGS FOR TRAVEL WITHIN 14 DAYS: If we have to cancel your trip due to COVID-19, you will be offered a deferral at no cost, or you can take a travel voucher for a trip in any destination to be used for future travel, or you can choose a cash refund (which we hope will be your last choice!).
BOOKINGS FOR TRAVEL IN MORE THAN 14 DAYS BUT LESS THAN 10 WEEKS: If you decide you’d like to defer your trip, we will look at changing your trip date. We will, however, be subject to the policies of airlines and other suppliers. If you’d like to cancel at this stage, charges as per our normal booking conditions will apply.
BOOKINGS FOR TRAVEL IN MORE THAN 10 WEEKS: Your final deposit will be due 10 weeks before you travel. If you decide to cancel, you will lose this deposit. Depending on your reason for cancelling, you might be able to claim on your insurance. If you give us at least 2 weeks before this deadline, we can look at the possibility of deferring your trip. We would advise you if there are any extra costs involved in deferring at this time (as opposed to closer to the departure date).
WHERE ARE WE?
The Costa Rica Specialists team is working on a rota system (from home). You can still get hold of us on the usual numbers and emails.
TEMPORARY OPENING TIMES
Our opening times have been Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. Please leave a message if we don’t reply, or call us the following day (note: we close on weekends). We are contactable by email too. Our general email is email@example.com. This is checked every work day.
BOOK A NEW HOLIDAY WITH CONFIDENCE
Our wish is to arrange a holiday for you that not only gives you something to look forward to, but which also causes you no stress in terms of concern over losing either your holiday or your money. We will give as much advice as we can at every point. And remember, if we become insolvent (which we have no intention of becoming) you will get your money back via the ATOL or ABTOT schemes.
We are offering low deposits for new bookings, and creating final balance payments which are as close to your departure date as we’re able to.
Take the plunge...
We know and love Costa Rica, and would be delighted to help you plan your perfect Costa Rica holiday. Call 01473 599085 and speak to one of our Costa Rica travel specialists today.