On the advice of a friend, I decided to enlist the services of a local travel company to assist in the planning of our “once in a lifetime” trip to Costa Rica. I contacted three companies outlining our vision of the perfect holiday. This agent was the first to respond. Another company responded within two days and the third company responded after about a week with the name of the consultant but I never heard from her again.
Throughout the initial process of determining our favourite itinerary, our agent was always prompt in his replies, always did his utmost to accommodate our wishes and offered excellent advice on the specific details of our trip. It was an easy decision to entrust our vacation to this company. With only a few days left to our departure, our agent was able to make a change to our accommodation due entirely to my own failure to pay attention to the details of the itinerary.
Upon our arrival at the airport in San Jose we were greeted by our agent and our driver. They provided us with a copy of our daily itinerary, 24 hour contact information, as well as vouchers for all the pre-paid activities for the next two weeks. Included was a gift bag containing a bottle of wine, an assortment of Costa Rican candies and a bag of peanuts, all of which we enjoyed over the course of the next two weeks.
Our driver drove us from San Jose to Arenal, a drive that lasted three hours and all during that time, he provided a running commentary on the sights and offered insights into the Costa Rican culture. He was entertaining, sociable, and a joy to spend time with.
Our entire trip proceeded without a hitch. All our drivers were prompt and courteous. Most of the pre-paid excursions were beyond expectations and our accommodations were perfect. Well, except for the no electricity at one location but we were aware of that before we booked it. If you want to save the environment, you have to put up with some inconveniences and the location certainly made up for the annoyance of dealing with head of uncontrollable frizz.
The day before our departure for Pacuare, our agent made arrangements with our hotel to accommodate all our luggage. There is a baggage restriction for those who choose to arrive by river raft – we were not quite so adventurous and chose to arrive by land. He was always available, no matter the time of day and always most eager to address any concerns that we had.
Upon our return to San Jose, we were booked into a downtown hotel which was close to all amenities and within walking distance of all the local points of interest. Sadly for us, although the hotel was certainly convenient, it was not the type of hotel that we had come to expect. I am not one to complain but since we were spending three nights in San Jose, we did not want the last few days of our trip to be a disappointment and we would be spending more time there than just resting our heads at the end of the day. I contacted our agent and within the half hour, he made arrangements for us to be checked out, picked up and escorted to another hotel – a beautiful, upscale, Victorian boutique hotel – at no extra cost to us. Not only that but while we were having dinner, he dropped by to ensure that we were happy with the arrangements.
Due in large part to this company, our vacation was stress-free. Service and friendliness couldn’t be beat, not only by this company but also by the staff at the hotels and, in particular, the drivers and guides on our local tours and excursions who made us feel special. I have no hesitation in recommending this travel agency and my experience with them has confirmed my resolve to always consult a local travel specialist for any future trips. This was the trip of a lifetime! Thank you!
The accommodations at Arenal and Pacuare were superb and certainly exceeded all expectations. On a two week vacation, it is always important to relax and enjoy down time in surroundings that are comfortable and pleasurable.
On our travels, we booked several half-day excursions, the most memorable for me and my granddaughter was the safari on the Penas Blancas RIver. The trip itself was amazing but made most memorable by our guides. Not only were they knowledgable and exceptional in their ability to spot wildlife that, if left to our own devices, we would have missed, but they were sociable, entertaining and attentive. The same can be said for our driver and our guide, who accompanied us on our hike to the waterfall and introduced us, or should I say my granddaughter, to ziplining.
And another highlight of our trip was the afternoon we spent at the Toucan Rescue Ranch outside of San Jose. Meeting with the director and hearing her story and that of the animals that have been rescued through her efforts and that of the staff at the ranch was inspirational.
Obviously, had I had access to a bottomless pit of money, I would have extended my trip to include a longer stay on the Osa Peninsula. There was so much to do and see there, so many more adventures to participate in.
I would also have attempted the river rafting into Pacuare to avoid the bumpy ride on the "road from Hell". There were times when I thought the possibility of drowning would have been a more reasonable option.
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