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Why Travel with Us

WHY TRAVEL WITH US

TOP 3 REASONS WE WILL MAKE YOUR

VISIT TO COSTA RICA UNFORGETTABLE


Here are what our clients consider the Top 3 Reasons to Travel With Us!
1. WE ARE THE DIRECT OPERATOR 2. EASY TO BOOK 3. SAFE & FUN!



Adventure Awaits Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping
#1. WE ARE THE DIRECT OPERATOR!

Desafio Adventure Company offers the most unique and exclusive adventures in the Costa Rica. We are always striving to create the newest and most innovative tours in the country, while following our 2 company rules – 1) Be Safe and 2) Have Serious Fun!

Plus we are the direct operators of our own services. This is actually fairly unusual in the travel and tourism industry.

Just a few examples of our exclusive tours and services:

Pioneers of Rafting in the Northern Zone – Our founder Suresh Krishnan was the first to explore the rivers of the Northern Zone for commercial use and launched the first adventure company in the area. We are now the only company with private river put ins and take outs with bathrooms, shower and changing areas, as well as towels and plastic bags for the comfort of our guests. Our warehouses store our equipment which means less wear and tear on equipment and ability to make last minute changes where necessary.

Gravity Falls, Waterfall Jumping – considered Costa Rica’s most extreme tour!

Lost Canyon Adventures Canyoning – our own private canyon with rappels that start small and end big! In addition we own the canyon house where we store all of our equipment and even grow some of the food we use to prepare delicious meals following tours. We also own all of our specialized Desafio Jungle Limo 4x4’s, providing rides to otherwise inaccessible areas.

Single Track Madness – Mountain biking is one of the most sought after activities in Costa Rica and exclusive and intense mountain bike route near the Arenal Volcano just for you!.

Adventure Connection Tour & Transfers – Let the journey be your adventure! Making the most out of your vacation by getting you to your next destination while doing an adventure along the way. By combining tours with what are otherwise just travel days, you save time and money and maximize your experience in Costa Rica.

Exclusive Tours -- The only tour outfitter in the area offering Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Kayak Fishing and Single Track Madness Mountain Biking

FREE Wi-Fi in our vans! In response to a client recommendation, we equipped our fleet of 25 modern vans with FREE Wi-Fi to allow you to stay connected during your travel time.

Team building and Corporate Events -- We offer completely unique, fun and effective team building opportunities!

EASY TO BOOK
#2. EASY TO BOOK!

We provide an EASY booking platform and the most flexible reservations policies in the industry. We provide online booking, live online chat and a TOLL FREE number to contact us with any questions and to make it easy to book your tours, transportation, hotels and other travel needs directly.

In addition we don’t charge rebooking or change fees. Simply follow our three step booking process and reserve anything directly with us.

Doing our tours is also EASY! We provide all of the safety equipment, instructions and support necessary for anyone to have an unforgettable time. Don’t know how to raft or rappel or is it your first time canyoning or waterfall jumping? That’s ok, you are not alone! We will guide you through the process. *Note: all of our tours require different levels of physical fitness and age recommendations.



Adventure Awaits Canyoning
#3. SAFE AND FUN!

Desafio Adventure Company was founded and still operates today under only two rules:
1) Be Safe! and 2) Have Serious Fun!

Serious Fun is different for everyone -- We know that not everyone has the same idea of fun and it all depends on who you are and what kind of experience you are looking for. Whether it is a leisurely Safari Float or an adrenaline packed Waterfall Jumping tour, we offer and operate a tremendous selection of tours – which means there is something for everyone!

Safety is the cornerstone of our company. We meticulously maintain and revise our equipment and upgrade it annually. We were chosen as the first-ever government-certified Adventure School in Central America to train adventure guides, winning the first public-private contract to develop and implement a program to train and graduate young people in important guiding and safety techniques (the first in Latin America).

MEET OUR FOUNDER

Suresh Krishnan, The Pioneer of Adventure near the Arenal Volcano

MEET OUR FOUNDER - Suresh Krishnan


Suresh Krishnan started Desafio Adventure Company over 20 years ago after falling in love with the Arenal region's many rivers. Here is an up-close look at his journey to owning one of the best tour companies in Costa Rica.

What is your background-education and experiences that have lead you to where you are now?
I was born in the Southern part of India in the State of Kerala and my father moved our family to Ohio in the United States when I was 7 years old to start a Montessori school. He then moved us out to Pasadena, California when I started high school. I barely finished high school and really wanted to pursue a running career at Stanford, but I didn't have good enough grades to get into the university. The best option for me was to join the US military and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I loved the discipline and the leadership skills I acquired. I made it on the US Army boxing team and trained hard and was later sent to Panama for Jungle Warfare School. Because of my athletic abilities, I was placed on a US Army Relay Team to run the full distance of the Panama Canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. While I was in the US Army, they had me jumping out of airplanes, rappelling out of helicopters, hiking through dense forests and much more.

I was doing ROTC at UCLA and preparing myself to be an officer while attending classes on Anthropology at Long Beach State University. On the side, I taught sea kayaking lessons at a local kayak shop. One day a Costa Rican walked in to buy some rafting equipment to start up a rafting company on Costa Rica's famous Pacuare River. He asked me if I wanted to be a raft guide in Costa Rica and that's when my love affair with Costa Rica began - more than 20 years ago!

I started working on the Pacuare River, but the company I was working for didn't work out for me, so I thought I could start my own rafting company on the Pacuare based out of San Jose. But competition was very difficult and I wasn't doing very well. I then met a Swedish girl who was living near the Arenal Volcano and she invited me to visit her. It took me over eight hours on public buses to get to the rain forests of the La Fortuna area and when I got here I said to myself "there's got to be some amazing rivers around here!" I set out to do the first descents of all of the rivers within one hour of the Arenal Volcano.

But it wasn't easy to start my business on my own. I had to ask my mom for money to fly back to California, but I was determined to make it back to Costa Rica, so I worked as many jobs as I could to save some money, buy some rafting equipment and go back to Costa Rica. I've ran out of working capital a few times and made some bad business decisions along the way, but I really wanted to keep my business going and here I am today after more than 20 years - still learning about Costa Rica and how to run a business!

What personal characteristics do you have that have made you so successful?

People call me a Serial Entrepreneur - I'm always dreaming up new business ideas. I'm also tenacious about my business culture based on honesty and loyalty - those are some of the most-important things I learned to appreciate in the military.

Why adventure tourism?
It seemed like the right thing for me - I used to think I? become a stock-broker and work on Wall Street - but nowadays I can't imagine myself with a suit and tie sitting in a cubicle punching a time clock. I feel so lucky to have the lifestyle I have.

What is the best part about your job?
Coming up with new ideas and watching my team execute them even better than I could imagine. I love when that happens! We have a great team of people working for us and it makes me feel proud to come to work every day!

What is the most challenging part about running Desafio?
There is a reason why I chose the name "Desafio" for my company - the word "Desafio" means "Challenge" because I knew that if I were going to start a business in Costa Rica it was going to be a challenge for an American Indian with little to no Spanish! There is a lot of paperwork and government rules to follow and as a foreigner, I've had to learn the ropes pretty much all on my own. And even though we have great people working for us, managing our staff and keeping them happy all of the time is always a big challenge, too. Our Human Resources department is very important to me. I also try to come up with unique incentives for our staff and even offer them business opportunities to develop on their own because I want to show my appreciation for all that I have.

What sets Desafio apart from the other tour companies?

What sets us apart is our Desafío Adventure Culture. Overall, it's hard to not have a bad time in Costa Rica – this country is all about "happiness." The people here are considered some of the most-friendly people in the world and the natural environment is unparalleled.But to have a truly amazing vacation, it really comes down to your personal experiences while you're here. I always say that we know clients will go back home and they might not remember the name of the river they went rafting on or even the name of the company they went with, but chances are, they will remember the name of the guide. That's exactly the experience we want clientsto come away with.

Where do you see Desafio 5 years from now?
In the next five years I hope we will be considered a leader in adventure tourism in Costa Rica and continue innovating and creating new and exciting adventures for our clients. Ideally, we would like to make sure all of our clients come away with the most-positive experience ever and memories that will last a lifetime!

What to you is a perfect day in Arenal?
Funny you should ask - in fact today I was mentioning to my wife Christine that today was a perfect day in Arenal - we had nice rains the past few days so our rivers are full with great, crystal-clear water, our waterfalls in the canyon are full and vibrant, the sun is shining and our big Arenal Volcano is peaking through the clouds. I am confident our clients also think today is a perfect day in Arenal!

I also love to meet with our clients and hear their comments and I am always open to suggestions on investment opportunities and new social entrepreneurial ideas. I think one of the biggest contributions I can make now is to try to mentor others on business ideas and growing companies in a sustainable, responsible way.

OUR TEAM

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE DESAFIO SUPER HEROES!




Carla Vargas -  General Manager

Carla Vargas

I was born and raised in the town of Sucre, surrounded by nature, farms and cattle and I moved to the beautiful area of La Fortuna 15 years ago.I studied Business Administration and Human Resources and I love both of my professions and I really enjoy being able to put them to use in my work. I have been learning on the job for almost 11 years, fulfilling dreams and challenges in this great company that has given me so much.I consider myself a very disciplined, responsible, organized, helpful and friendly person.At 35, I value the quality time that I can share with my husband, parents, siblings and loved ones.From my mother I inherited my love for cooking, making bread and desserts which gives me a change of pace and takes me away from my daily routine.I really enjoy swimming, also hiking and expeditions within our beautiful country, preferably in places I have not visited before, be it the beach, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, or the jungle as Costa Rica has a wide variety of places and opportunities to choose from. But what I enjoy most and what is my main personal motivation is to work and save up so I can travel to different countries / places in the world. I love to get to know other cultures, cuisines and make new friends, but above all, share a little about my wonderful country and everything it offers.›] Read More
Carla Vargas

I was born and raised in the town of Sucre, surrounded by nature, farms and cattle and I moved to the beautiful area of La Fortuna 15 years ago.

I studied Business Administration and Human Resources and I love both of my professions and I really enjoy being able to put them to use in my work. I have been learning on the job for almost 11 years, fulfilling dreams and challenges in this great company that has given me so much.

I consider myself a very disciplined, responsible, organized, helpful and friendly person.

At 35, I value the quality time that I can share with my husband, parents, siblings and loved ones.

From my mother I inherited my love for cooking, making bread and desserts which gives me a change of pace and takes me away from my daily routine.

I really enjoy swimming, also hiking and expeditions within our beautiful country, preferably in places I have not visited before, be it the beach, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, or the jungle as Costa Rica has a wide variety of places and opportunities to choose from. But what I enjoy most and what is my main personal motivation is to work and save up so I can travel to different countries / places in the world. I love to get to know other cultures, cuisines and make new friends, but above all, share a little about my wonderful country and everything it offers.


Carlos Javier Barrantes -  Warehouse Manager

Carlos Javier Barrantes

My name is Carlos and I am very happy to be part of such a prestigious company and because of it and my effort I can enjoy my family, my free time and everything that represents tranquility.I like spending time with my family and my two cats that are very funny, I love reading and learning new things, I\\\'m studying Business Administration. I love to travel and get to know the many different places that this beautiful country has to offer. Being a Tico makes me very proud.›] Read More
Carlos Javier Barrantes

My name is Carlos and I am very happy to be part of such a prestigious company and because of it and my effort I can enjoy my family, my free time and everything that represents tranquility.

I like spending time with my family and my two cats that are very funny, I love reading and learning new things, I\\\'m studying Business Administration. I love to travel and get to know the many different places that this beautiful country has to offer. Being a Tico makes me very proud.


Christine Larson-Krishnan -  Community Builder

Christine Larson-Krishnan

We consider Christine the Community Collaborator of Desafio. Suresh and Christine both agree that he is the thinker and she is the doer -- she takes Suresh's big ideas and carries them into reality. Christine is also at the heart of all of the community outreach activities like the "Reto Reciclaje" or Desafio Recycling Challenge and the annual Easter Egg Hunt called the "Busqueda de Tesoros" for the community and regularly helps out with local schools. Here is an interview that outlines how Christine got to be where she is now: Tell us about your background-education and experiences that have lead you to where you are now: From a very young age, I always dreamed of living and working outside of the United States -- not that I necessarily had a game plan, I think I just wanted to be different. I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would respond "An International Diplomat..." It sounded so exotic to be "international." So, I guess it's not surprising I ended up in Costa Rica. And helping run a business in a foreign country is all about diplomacy - both my husband Suresh and I work hard to understand and embrace the culture we live in. And it takes quite a lot of diplomacy to navegate the sometimes challenging rules the Costa Rican government sets forth for doing business and making sure our employees are safe and happy. What personal characteristics do you have that have made you successful? Is luck a characteristic? I was lucky to have found Suresh and to have been in the right place at the right time. The Arenal Volcano was in the process of becoming an important place to visit in Costa Rica so Desafio just started to grow along with the town. But overall, I owe my success to having parents who encouraged me to pursue my dreams and to my husband who has the vision to keep the company moving forward. Why adventure tourism? I grew up in a very active community near Madison, Wisconsin called Waunakee -- 'The Only Waunakee in the World!' We have lakes, rivers, hills and it is said more bicycles per capita than anywhere else in the United States! My father started an ice hockey league when I was young and I later went on to play ice hockey for many years -- I was the only girl on the team! I am very competitive by nature and have always enjoyed a variety of outdoors activities. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and won my election to the Madison City Council, served one term and focused my time in office on community development issues. I then lost my second election by 11 votes and was very disheartened by politics. I was then lucky enough to be hired for a job working as a guide for a pioneering adventure travel company called TrekAmerica and began taking my groups on thrilling whitewater rafting and mountain biking tours throughout the Americas before these activities where readily accepted as mainstream adventure activities fit for the whole family. It was a natural transition to be interested in Adventure Tourism in Costa Rica. What is the best part about your job? The people. We have an amazing group of people working for us. They are like family. And being able to create new and exciting adventures for clients and seeing that our clients come away satisfied is highly gratifying. After all, we are in the "happiness business." The coolest thing is hearing our clients say that they had a 'life-changing experience' on one of our tours. What is the most-challenging part about running Desafio? The Costa Rican government rules change often and the playing field is not always very level. As a responsible company, we make sure we have highly-trained, professional staff and that all of our employees have all of the benefits as required by law. In addition we have a high-level of insurance for our activities and safe, well-practiced logistics in case of emergency. We also pride ourselves on high-quality gear and modern transportation -- all of this can be very expensive and sometimes puts us at a disadvantage compared to other outfitters who don't follow the same rules. What sets Desafio apart from the other tour companies? Experience makes the difference. We are the pioneering adventure company here and have been doing this for over 20 years now and Suresh and I both come from adventure backgrounds. We are integrally involved in the daily operation of our company -- Suresh and I breathe, eat, sleep Desafio... We wouldn't have it any other way! Where do you see Desafio 5 years from now? We hope to continue having a safe operation and keep reinvesting in our staff and our infrastructure. What to you is a perfect day in Arenal? A perfect day is when everyone gets back from their tours and transportation safe and happy. There is nothing more-fulfilling than that! ›] Read More
Christine Larson-Krishnan

We consider Christine the Community Collaborator of Desafio. Suresh and Christine both agree that he is the thinker and she is the doer -- she takes Suresh's big ideas and carries them into reality. Christine is also at the heart of all of the community outreach activities like the "Reto Reciclaje" or Desafio Recycling Challenge and the annual Easter Egg Hunt called the "Busqueda de Tesoros" for the community and regularly helps out with local schools. Here is an interview that outlines how Christine got to be where she is now:


Tell us about your background-education and experiences that have lead you to where you are now:

From a very young age, I always dreamed of living and working outside of the United States -- not that I necessarily had a game plan, I think I just wanted to be different. I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would respond "An International Diplomat..."

It sounded so exotic to be "international."

So, I guess it's not surprising I ended up in Costa Rica. And helping run a business in a foreign country is all about diplomacy - both my husband Suresh and I work hard to understand and embrace the culture we live in. And it takes quite a lot of diplomacy to navegate the sometimes challenging rules the Costa Rican government sets forth for doing business and making sure our employees are safe and happy.

What personal characteristics do you have that have made you successful?

Is luck a characteristic? I was lucky to have found Suresh and to have been in the right place at the right time. The Arenal Volcano was in the process of becoming an important place to visit in Costa Rica so Desafio just started to grow along with the town. But overall, I owe my success to having parents who encouraged me to pursue my dreams and to my husband who has the vision to keep the company moving forward.

Why adventure tourism?

I grew up in a very active community near Madison, Wisconsin called Waunakee -- 'The Only Waunakee in the World!' We have lakes, rivers, hills and it is said more bicycles per capita than anywhere else in the United States! My father started an ice hockey league when I was young and I later went on to play ice hockey for many years -- I was the only girl on the team! I am very competitive by nature and have always enjoyed a variety of outdoors activities.

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and won my election to the Madison City Council, served one term and focused my time in office on community development issues. I then lost my second election by 11 votes and was very disheartened by politics. I was then lucky enough to be hired for a job working as a guide for a pioneering adventure travel company called TrekAmerica and began taking my groups on thrilling whitewater rafting and mountain biking tours throughout the Americas before these activities where readily accepted as mainstream adventure activities fit for the whole family. It was a natural transition to be interested in Adventure Tourism in Costa Rica.

What is the best part about your job?

The people. We have an amazing group of people working for us. They are like family. And being able to create new and exciting adventures for clients and seeing that our clients come away satisfied is highly gratifying. After all, we are in the "happiness business." The coolest thing is hearing our clients say that they had a 'life-changing experience' on one of our tours.

What is the most-challenging part about running Desafio?

The Costa Rican government rules change often and the playing field is not always very level. As a responsible company, we make sure we have highly-trained, professional staff and that all of our employees have all of the benefits as required by law. In addition we have a high-level of insurance for our activities and safe, well-practiced logistics in case of emergency. We also pride ourselves on high-quality gear and modern transportation -- all of this can be very expensive and sometimes puts us at a disadvantage compared to other outfitters who don't follow the same rules.

What sets Desafio apart from the other tour companies?

Experience makes the difference. We are the pioneering adventure company here and have been doing this for over 20 years now and Suresh and I both come from adventure backgrounds. We are integrally involved in the daily operation of our company -- Suresh and I breathe, eat, sleep Desafio... We wouldn't have it any other way!

Where do you see Desafio 5 years from now?

We hope to continue having a safe operation and keep reinvesting in our staff and our infrastructure.

What to you is a perfect day in Arenal?

A perfect day is when everyone gets back from their tours and transportation safe and happy. There is nothing more-fulfilling than that!


Daisy Williams James -  Customer Care Specialist

Daisy Williams James

I grew up in La Francia, a small town near Siquirres, in the province of Limon on the Caribbean Coast. I have lived almost 12 years in the La Fortuna area but I frequently go home to Limón to visit my family and friends.I currently have worked for Desafio for almost 11 years and my favorite part about working here is helping clients plan fun vacations and hearing about their experiences when they return home.One of the best things about living in Costa Rica is that I have the opportunity to be surrounded by mountains and beautiful beaches - I love being on calm beaches, especially during sunset.›] Read More
Daisy Williams James

I grew up in La Francia, a small town near Siquirres, in the province of Limon on the Caribbean Coast. I have lived almost 12 years in the La Fortuna area but I frequently go home to Limón to visit my family and friends.

I currently have worked for Desafio for almost 11 years and my favorite part about working here is helping clients plan fun vacations and hearing about their experiences when they return home.

One of the best things about living in Costa Rica is that I have the opportunity to be surrounded by mountains and beautiful beaches - I love being on calm beaches, especially during sunset.