Arthur Salus is founder and CEO of Costa Rica Dream Adventures. The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia with another office in San Jose, Costa Rica.
After visiting Costa Rica many years ago, Mr. Salus remembered the wonderful experience he had there and decided to open a Tour Operator providing travel exclusively to Costa Rica.
For over 15 years, Costa Rica Dream Adventures has expanded and now promotes individual travel, group travel, weddings & honeymoons, incentive travel and corporate meetings. The company prides itself on providing hands-on support for the client from the moment the reservation is made until the guest returns, including in-country support provided by partner Costa Rica Dream Travel, located in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Travel Research Online: What has been your most memorable travel experience?
Arthur Salus: Since I’m in the travel business, I get the opportunity to travel all around the world. However, Central and South America are my favorite destinations. The reason I’ve had the best experiences down in Central and South America is mainly because the people are so friendly. I think it is a much more laid-back culture and the people welcome you because tourism is promoted heavily in those countries. The people look forward to seeing Americans. Americans and their dollars are most welcome in these countries.
TRO: How did that influence your understanding or appreciation of travel?
AS: Travel can be very exotic and worthwhile because you’re seeing how other people live and how other people work. It’s given me an appreciation of living in the United States and how good we have it here because of the opportunities I’ve had to travel outside the US and see how other people live and work.
TRO: What first inspired you to work in the travel industry?
AS: Actually, I was going on a fishing trip about 27 years ago, and of course, the only people around were travel agents—we didn’t have the technology we have today to book travel—and I walked into the travel agency and they suggested that I go to Central America to fish.
They booked the fishing trip for me in Costa Rica. Costa Rica gave me the opportunity to experience seeing the beauty and the laid back atmosphere and environment you can get in a country like that. That trip and especially that country, is what first inspired me to work in the industry.
TRO: Why did you choose to concentrate your company’s services in Costa Rica?
AS: Although the infrastructure is much different today than it was the first time I went to Costa Rica 27 years ago, I still remember the good time I had while traveling there as a consumer. I’m a fisherman who knows other people who like to fish and are tired of going to places like Panama City and Destin. This is why I thought I’d try and open up and sell Costa Rica as an option.
The expansion of airlines in the United States has also helped make Costa Rica a very popular destination to sell. What started as a fishing trip helped me evolve into a tour operator.
The ambience of a country like Costa Rica… it’s just beautiful. There’s more to do in Costa Rica than in Mexico and the Caribbean combined. We provide all that Costa Rica has to offer to our clients. With an eco-friendly country like Costa Rica, you have the mountains, you have beach areas, you have the rainforests and you have the volcanoes that are still active today. And the people are just friendly because they depend on tourism. Within the last ten years, infrastructure—road systems, airlines—have all helped improve the tourism business in Costa Rica. You have natural habitats for birds and animals—you have the monkeys, you have the frogs… you can stay in areas where the country is still pristine. Once you get out of San Jose, you can feel the ambience of the country itself; its Spanish background, the heritage… you’ll still see the buildings and the people walking. Do you remember the pictures you used to see in Spanish books in college? There are still pictures like that to be taken in Costa Rica. The people are very laid back, they’re still walking on the roads, you still see horses and buggies—but you also have modern cars and trucks. The best of both worlds is in Costa Rica.
TRO: What makes Costa Rica Dream Adventures stand out in the travel industry?
AS: Number one is that we specialize only in Costa Rica. We don’t work with any other country, we know Costa Rica inside and out. We can customize everything we offer and are able to offer all locations in Costa Rica. Our number goal is to make every trip we offer to our clients, their best trip. Basically, whatever someone is looking for in Costa Rica, we can give it to them.
TRO: What one service offered by Costa Rica Dream Adventures would you like more agents to be aware of?
AS: Our biggest priority is our customer service. We look at every traveler as if we were the one going down there and visiting the country. So we take a very personal interest in the customer’s experience. We want you to be happy—I would say 99% of the people that go to Costa Rica want to go back. We have an office in Costa Rica, and the customer can call this office 24/7 in case they want to change their itinerary or need something taken care of.
We are always there for our customers. When they get off the airplane in Costa Rica, they are met by our representatives immediately. Our representatives explain what they client can expect to find on their trip, answer any questions the client may have and provide the client with our contact information.
TRO: Is there anything new and exciting on the horizons for Costa Rica Dream Adventures?
We are always looking for ways to enhance our packages, that concept will never change. We are making even stronger relations with certain hotels and tour companies that we feel offer the best services to our clients. At the same time we are currently working on promoting things like longer itineraries that include eight-day vacations, incentive travel, corporate meetings and destination weddings.