“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

At Central America Vacation we love living, traveling, and working in Central America and are eager to share this incredibly diverse and beautiful part of the world with you. We are passionate about your vacation experience and want to make sure your time with us is one of the best trips of your life.

How we got here…

Our travel agency was founded in 2013, but it’s safe to say the seed was planted a decade earlier. Both Theresa and I share different, but similar, stories of how we arrived and fell in love with Central America. I grew up in Wisconsin before studying Spanish at the University of Minnesota while Theresa is born and raised in Michigan and studied Finance and International Business at Grand Valley State University. In college we both decided to do a semester abroad to immerse ourselves into local culture and commit to learning Spanish, and we happened to choose schools in San Jose, Costa Rica. Living with local host families for four months we immediately fell in love with the local culture, gallo pinto breakfasts, friendly Ticos, and of course being from the Midwest – the warm weather!

That semester soon ended but the travel bug had already bitten us, hard. After graduating I did a year in the corporate world before heading back to Costa Rica full time in 2005 while Theresa graduated and then volunteered in the Peace Corps before returning in 2009. We soon met working at a Costa Rican travel agency and became friends, then after a couple years later we decided that dating a fellow Midwesterner sounded like a good idea – turns out we were right!

Where we’re going….

After traveling much of Central America together we decided to start our own travel agency to be able to offer vacations throughout the entire region. Being avid divers, anglers, yogis, hikers, foodies, and general adventure seekers we set out to be the company that we would love to travel with. There is so much to see and do here and these small countries are so diverse we knew that our guests would love traveling here as much as we do.

With a combined 20 years of experience living in and booking vacations to Central America we’ve seen, done and experienced a lot. We have personally inspected or stayed at every accommodation we represent, we’ve tried every day tour we offer, and we’ve been everywhere (many places too many times to count!). We’ve helped guests find forgotten cell phones and passports, taken calls on national holidays and Sundaymornings, assisted with flight delays, traffic accidents, and even volcanic eruptions that cancelled flights for days. We’ve helped guests plan surprise engagements, destination weddings, unforgettable honeymoons, family getaways, corporate incentives, father/son fishing trips and even helped a few buy their dream property and move down here! With all this experience we know that the it’s the little things that make the big things happen and we have the commitment to make your vacation with us be one you remember for a long time.

We love being a part of the travel industry, meeting new people every week, and helping guests plan their vacation of a lifetime. We enjoy a ‘laid back professionalism’ here so while emails will be responded to promptly, phone etiquette will be stellar, and service will be first rate we may be wearing shorts and sandals while we do it. We are also passionate about conservation, sustainability, and giving back to the countries and local communities that support and survive on tourism. To help protect this beautiful region and it‘s natural resources we donate a portion of every vacation to the World Wildlife Foundation or The Billfish Foundation. If you are interested we’d love to share how you can help bring donations and supplies to local communities on your next vacation to support the efforts of Pack for a Purpose. The only thing that surpasses our expertise in booking travel to Central America is our passion for it, and we can’t wait you help you experience it for yourself.

Why Us?

The culture, the language, the weather seasons, the most popular destinations, the top hotels, the best local guides, the tastiest places to eat - the only way to know all of this is to have lived, worked, and traveled here for a LONG time. When you vacation with Central America Vacation can rest assured you're not only getting the best hotels & activities at the best rates, but more importantly all of our local knowledge and insider tips that can make your vacation go from good to great!
With a combined 20 years experience planning vacations to Central America you're in great hands with us! We've planned thousands of vacations for just about every occasion - honeymoons, family getaways, surprise birthdays and engagements, graduation presents, weddings, educational trips, and business incentives to name a few. We'll draw on all our past experience and expertise to make sure your vacation is one to remember. And if you ever need to get a hold of us while you're here our in-country support is available 24-7 for whatever you may need - emergencies, forgotten electronic devices, restaurant recommendations - you name it!
Instead of spending hours (or days) online pouring over biased websites and slanted reviews, speak with us! We're real, live local experts who can help you create your dream vacation package in a matter of minutes. We offer all the same direct rates as the properties and tours we represent so working with us doesn't cost you any extra. Planning your vacation with our experts will save you time by making the initial planning stage quick, easy, and fun and we'll save you money by ensuring in-country logistics are seamless and that you are in the right hotel so you don't have to fix costly mistakes after booking on your own.
At Central America Vacation every single vacation package we create is custom designed for each individual guest. There are no set travel dates nor group 'cattle tours', every vacation is unique and private for your group. In addition to creating the best itinerary possible for you, we love helping with surprises or special requests. It's as simple as you tell us what you are looking for and we'll use our experience, expertise, and connections to make it happen.
We take great pride knowing that a large portion of our visitors are either repeat or referral guests. It's not only a compliment for us but our standard of excellence. We want you to be so impressed with our service and expertise that you come back again and again as well as tell your friends and family about us. Once you are part of the CAV family you get to enjoy repeat guest discounts, free upgrades (when available), and our own special perks as a way to say 'thank you'!

Testimonials

  • “Hey Chris! Everything was exactly how we imagined! El Silencio was absolutely lovely. The hot springs and the beverages were exactly what we needed after our morning adventures. The staff there was so sweet and helpful. Capitan Suizo was stunning and the food and drinks were absolutely amazing. The staff quickly learned your name and were very gracious to us. We also loved how we could walk into town and try other restaurants or shop for our families back home. The fishing was so much fun! Zeth caught a large amberjack, a cubera snapper, and I hooked up with a sailfish on the full day . All in all, the trip was amazing! Even with everything that we had scheduled and all the bucket list items we checked off, there was still time to relax and enjoy being in paradise. Having the private transportation to and from everything made the vacation that much sweeter. We had no cares in the world, and that’s what vacations are about. Thank you so much! We look forward to traveling with you again! ”

    Honeymooners Alexandra and Zeth M. from Georgia
    June 2016

  • “Theresa, overall we loved the trip. Xandari was quite a lovely property. Our guides took us to the coffee tour first as they said Poas Volcano was clouded over and the boys liked that more than I thought they would. Poas Volcano was exciting and the clouds did clear enough for us to see. El Silencio Lodge and Spa was another very nice property and we really liked the villa we had. The food was excellent and the guided hike on the grounds was great. Lots of hummingbirds and we even saw a group of spider monkeys. We also did the Del Toro waterfall hike. Quite beautiful and lots of steps! Linda was surprised she liked the cloud forest so much. We also did the hike out to the waterfalls on site and painted our ox cart wheels, fun stuff. The road to Tortuguero was really rough at the end, but we did see a sloth on the side of the road up close! We loved watching the turtles! Flor Blanca was another beautiful property. Again the food was excellent. Our massages were wonderful, thank you! We’ve been a lot of Costa Rica now and love going. Hopefully we’ll return again. Thank you and Alejandro for all your help.”

    Steve H. Harrisburg, PA
    August 2016

  • “Theresa – Everything went splendidly on our trip. Si Como No was as friendly and nice as we remembered and several of the staff even remembered Cindy and me from the last time we visited. All of the tours were well done and enjoyed by the participants. The whitewater rafting was the best, in regard to both scenery and rapids, that I have experienced. This time we were there long enough to sample the local restaurants and we had some very good meals, everyone was impressed with how fresh and tasty the food was. Sad to say I didn’t use my camera much on the trip, I guess I was too busy having fun. This was the fifth and last of our grandchild trips so we will have to find another reason to come back. We love the country and the people.”

    Charles C.Philadelphia, PA
    July 2016

  • “Chris – I’m still amazed at how incredibly well organized the entire trip was! EVERY transfer and/or pick up was spot on!!! The accommodations were excellent and the food really, really good! The package you set us up with was absolutely spot on! From the rainforest, ATM cave, and Tikal, to the snorkeling and Hatchett Caye and THE FISHING!! It could not have been any better, period. I have given your email out to several folks already. Thank you again!”

    Bob & Barbara A from Missisippi
    May 2016

  • “Theresa – Great job on setting up our vacation for our family of 4 (kids 6 and 11). Everything ran smoothly and on time and our excursions were perfect for our family. AndazPapagayo was idyllic. Nice job everyone at CAV! “

    Brett H. Washington, DC
    August 2016

  • “Theresa, My husband would like to thank you for your very kind and wonderful birthday gift, a most delicious cake. We had a lovely dinner party for him and the cake was perfect. Thank you very much. The villa was perfect for our family and Las Catalinas was fantastic. Everything was perfect, more than any of us expected. Thank You Thank You. Looking forward to our next adventure together. I will be in touch when we are ready to travel again.”

    Barbara S. Houston, TX
    August 2016

Chris Atkins

Owner / Founder

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin. I first came to Costa Rica in 2003, moved here full time in 2005 and opened this travel agency in 2013. I’m the fishing fanatic here so I manage the Central America Fishing side of our company and personally look after all our fishing guests. I’ve traveled to Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East, but Central America is still my favorite region of the world. If I’m not working, fishing, or traveling you can probably find me playing with my chocolate lab, Hector, or watching my beloved Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates!

Alejandro Monge

Operations Manager

I was born and raised in San José, Costa Rica. Always having a passion for travel and the tourism industry, I went to school for Hospitality Management and Marketing & Tourism Operations. My career in guest services started at Disney World in Orlando and includes luxury travel agencies in Costa Rica and Panama. I’ve traveled all over Central America, Peru, Mexico, England and the US and am currently working on my MBA in Business Development & Logistics. I love going to the beach, cheeseburgers, cooking and swimming.

Theresa Atkins

Travel Specialist

I am proudly from the beautiful state of Michigan and grew up just outside of Ann Arbor. My second home in Central America has allowed me to play with the Costa Rica Women’s National softball team in Guatemala, volunteer with the Peace Corps in Honduras, climb Mayan Ruins in three countries, dive the Mesoamerican Reef in Belize, shop local markets in Nicaragua, and hike the highest peaks in both Panama and Costa Rica. When I’m not working or traveling, I enjoy photography, yoga, volleyball, horseback riding, trying new cuisine, and virtually anything outdoors.

Our Partners & Affiliations