First, let me be clear that we had a wonderful time on our trip. The itinerary from San Jose to Arenal to Monteverde to Manuel Antonio kept us active and engaged the entire time. Any comments I make about specific excursions or itinerary are strictly to give feedback and did not in any large way detract from what was a memorable vacation in a beautiful country. My son and I would go back tomorrow if we could.
The transportation was arranged beautifully. Each time we were supposed to be picked up, we were picked up on time, by a clean van or bus and taken to our destination. I won't get into my dislike of all the tailgating and passing on narrow roads that the Costa Ricans seem to enjoy, but we got to all of our locations safe and sound. The drivers were very friendly, and concerned for our comfort. Some of these transports were 3+ hours and the smiles really never left their faces, despite the long drives over less than stellar mountain roads. 2 thumbs up.
The itinerary overall was well thought out and arranged. I made it clear that we didn't want to spend all day in the van transporting from one location to another and our agent worked with me to find interesting tours on our way to break things up. The Crocodile tour on the Tarcoles River was one such trip and should not be missed. On this particular excursion, we were sitting down to a fabulous lunch when two large tour buses pulled in. As my son and I made our way to our private boat for the tour, we remarked how happy we were to be on our own and not tied down to a busload of 60 people.
If we are able to return to Costa Rica some day, I would not hesitate to work with this company again.
Visiting Manuel Antonio Park and seeing all the dozens and dozens of monkeys frolicking by the beach.
The white water rafting on the Savagre River. Even though it was low season for the water levels, our guide was terrific and we had a great time. The lunch of grilled chicken or fish was probably the best we had the whole trip.
The hotel in Manuel Antonio in our deluxe ocean view room was spectacular.
The kindness of our guide on our tour of the Curicanche Reserve. He was so concerned that we see as much as possible of the wildlife and went above and beyond to make sure that we saw everything.
The zip line adventure was an unexpected treat. I had told this agent that we did not want to do zip lining because we had done it so many times before, but there was a mix up on the voucher and we ended up on a tram to the top of the mountain and zip lined down. It was probably the longest, highest zip line we had ever been on, so it was a happy accident.
We would not take the "hiking tour" in Arenal. The volcano there is inactive. We could see it clearly from our hotel and there was nothing to the "tour" except a short trek up the mountain path and a few plants that the guide pointed out. He was very courteous and friendly and tried to keep things engaging, but really, there wasn't much to see that we hadn't seen on numerous other walks and drives.
One of the reasons we went to Arenal was for the fabled hot springs and thermal pools. The description of the hike included the thermal springs, but we never went to any and everyone told us we really missed out. Skip the Arenal volcano tour and go to Tabicon or just go to the river. Our hotel advertised "thermal pools" and although they were slightly warm, it sure wasn't what we had hoped for. The meals at the hotel were adequate, but we were not within walking distance of any other restaurants and were kind of stuck there. Service in the restaurant was exceptionally slow and disinterested, despite the fact that there were often only two or three occupied tables. The room was very nicely appointed, but the air conditioner was incapable of keeping up with the humidity and it got pretty warm at night.
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