May. 1, 2006 “Everyone from Costa Rica Expeditions was exceedingly helpful.”
Thanks for the follow-up email. I had intended to write you directly, but somehow the time just seems to get away once I'm back in the office and no longer on vacation. Perhaps we need to learn a lesson from your country - take life a little bit slower - it's much more enjoyable that way!
Margie and I had a really fabulous time. Yours is a very beautiful country and we are pleased to see that your leaders are dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Costa Rica. Everyone from Costa Rica Expeditions was exceedingly helpful and went out of their way to make out trip enjoyable, even when we changed our travel plans in mid-week. Thanks again for a wonderful time.
Brian & Margie Robertson
May. 1, 2006 “We experienced nothing but friendly, competent and delightful CRE staff.”
Thanks for your email, and, more importantly, for the service CRE provided us in our visit to CR. We enjoyed the experience immensely, and experienced nothing but friendly, competent and delightful CRE staff at every point. Everything, from accommodations, guides, and travel, was well organized and executed. No surprises, and, as a fairly frequent traveler, I know that is always a good thing. While every part of our visit was good, Hildago Hot Springs, and Punta Islita did stand out. When people ask my opinion about CRE, I do tell them the above. I do, however, also tell them that your pricing is at a premium to booking direct...I figure about 20%. For us, the extra price was worthwhile.
May. 1, 2006 “Your team is phenomenal...Monteverde Lodge was wonderful.”
My trip was very enjoyable. Here are my comments that I sent to Nadya. Your team is phenomenal and service impeccable: Nadya, I want to thank you for arranging our trip to Costa Rica. It was wonderful vacation. I found "Costa Rica Expeditions" to be extremely professional. All the drivers showed up at the dot, were courteous and professional. Many of them went out of their way to make the ride fun. I was always kept informed of the time for pickup. The one time change I requested (when you were out of the office) was handled efficiently. Monteverde Lodge was wonderful and the hotel receptionist was extremely friendly and helpful. Overall, nothing but the highest marks for your company and people. I would be delighted to recommend your tour company to all my fellow travelers to Costa Rica.
Apr. 25, 2006 “The white-water rafting was beyond what we could have imagined.”
Finally we are home in Alaska with fond thoughts of our "most excellent vacation!" We first read of Costa Rica Expeditions and their fine reputation in Frommer's Guide as we began planning our trip. We ventured onto the Internet and soon got in touch with the Company through Nadya. She was most helpful to us in selecting the appropriate trip for us and reassuring us we would be able to handle the adventure at our age.
We arrived two days early and were thoroughly impressed with the folks at Hotel Don Carlos. Five minutes into the introductions over breakfast on the first morning, we were feeling excited and confident. Every detail was very well planned and executed. Corvocado was a great way to start the week of activity. We enjoyed the hikes and getting to view the wildlife. The camp was just the right amount of rustic with availability of an evening glass of wine. Kenya and her crew were gracious hosts.
Savegre was so opposite and a welcome respite after the tents. Thank you. Of course, the white water rafting was beyond what we could have imagined. Every bit of it was exciting. The camp was perfect. Overall: the food was wonderful. I say that being a not-so-easy-to-please vegetarian. The company was grand. The attention to safety was evident from the very beginning. Thank you.
What a great employee you have in Alvaro! With his winning smile, his attention to all details, his eagerness to make his clients feel at ease and his great knowledge of Costa Rican wildlife he was the perfect guide. We can't imagine making the trip with anyone else. We were very fortunate to be connected with your company, with great traveling partners, and with a guide who has become a friend. Thank you. It is our sincere hope that should you travel our way, we, or other Alaskans, will be as hospitable.
Bill and Sharon Radtke
Apr. 24, 2006 “Our guide was the single most important element of our trip.”
I completely agree that our guide was the single most important element of our successful trip to Costa Rica. I'm not one to send letters etc, but I had to pass along what a phenomenal job Alvaro "Natural" Farias did during our April 2006 Multisport trip. Costa Rica is an amazingly beautiful country and Natural (or Natu) brought it to life for us. He is extremely knowledgeable and has an infectious enthusiasm that truly enhanced my Costa Rica experience.
Apr. 24, 2006 “It is hard to find a vacation spot that pleases everyone, and Costa Rica was definitely it.”
I wanted to take the time to thank you all for putting a wonderful trip together for my family. My husband, three children, ages 9, 13 and 15, and my sister all were very happy with our trip. It is hard to find a vacation spot that pleases everyone, and Costa Rica was definitely it. We all hated to leave and can't wait to return. The best part of our trip was our guide, Sonia Sanchez and our driver Alex. I was not sure if my children would enjoy having a guide with us, but they loved it. We missed them after they dropped us off in Manuel Antonio!! They were great. Sonia made us feel comfortable right away and taught us so many things about this beautiful country. We have traveled many places, but this is the first time my kids have begged to go back again.
I also want to thank Priscilla for helping to put our itinerary together. It really helped to make our trip so easy and fun. I have already recommended CRE to friends, family, and strangers we met during our travels. Thank you so much for a very memorable vacation.
Susan Pillsbury and family
Apr. 22, 2006 “During our two weeks we saw and identified over 150 different birds.”
Luz: We had a great time - didn't want to leave. Thank you for everything. We were really impressed with the quality of your people and the professionalism of your organization. Everything went smoothly for us. We even saw a Quetzal in Monteverde. Who could ask for more?
If there was any disappointment, it was the butterfly farm in Monteverde. There just weren't many butterflies and the whole tour seemed aimed at the grade school level. So unless the client has kids interested in insects, I'd suggest omitting that from the itinerary.
The people of Costa Rica are wonderful. Everyone we met was friendly and helpful. We love birding and even two of the Spanish-speaking drivers (Alexandro - Arenal to Monteverde, and Daniel - Monteverde to Manuel Antonio) spotted birds and helped us identify them on the drives. It made the transfers an important and enjoyable part of the trip. Alexandro in particular was amazing. He could spot a bird and quote from memory the plate and number on the plate in the bird book. Sure helped us identify what we were seeing. During our two weeks we saw and identified over 150 different birds. Great. Thanks again.
Jim and Susan Murphy
Apr. 21, 2006 “One of the best vacations we have ever had.”
Hola, My wife Londa and I would like to express our sincere gratitude for one of the best vacations we have ever had. We just finished our Costa Rica Connoisseur trip and are still basking in the "after-glow" of your lovely country. Words just do not give this package justice.
Your staff, from Alejandra at the airport, the wait staff at each hotel and the guides were superb. A very very special thanks to Maurico our driver and naturalist. He single handedly made our trip perfect. We simply can not say enough about how wonderful and attentive he was. The Ice Cream and Coffee he found for us were "out-of-sight". We will miss the warm smiles and graciousness that we got to know every day. Pura Vida.
We have already been looking at booking another trip with you and have recommended you to several of our friends. We sincerely hope to see Maurico on our next tour with your wonderful company.
Bill and Londa Seiffert
Apr. 18, 2006 “This will be our third trip booked with Costa Rica Expeditions.”
Our wonderful trip was organized by Marco. We are extremely pleased by his service and everyone else who made this spring break trip a pleasurable one for our family. The children want to come back during Thanksgiving again for a trip and this time we maybe 2 families traveling together. This will be our third trip booked with Costa Rica Expeditions. Everyone including and especially our favorite driver Carlos, "Charlie BlackBean" were very helpful and polite. Keep up the great work.
Hoshedar Tamboli & family
Apr. 18, 2006 “A wonderful family vacation.”
Just a note of sincere thanks to all of you who helped plan our trip to Costa Rica. EVERYTHING was wonderful - from the hotels to the tours to the transportation and connections. Everything went smoothly. Everyone was gracious and welcoming, and we loved Costa Rica and had a wonderful family vacation. Thank you for helping bring it all together.
Apr. 17, 2006 “Your staff was always there for us.”
We had a perfect trip. Your staff was always there for us, friendly and knowledgeable. We would recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to anyone traveling to your country. Everyone was so generous and helpful and punctual. Thank you so much.
Judy West, Virginia Jensen and Cindy Marble
Apr. 15, 2006 “All of your employees were happy and being around them was a joy.”
We have just returned to our home and I am very excited to look at our pictures of beautiful Costa Rica. Thank you for everything. All of your employees were happy and being around them was a joy. We laughed a lot!
I especially enjoyed laughing with Don, a large black man who took us on a boat tour at Tortuguero. I was the last to board the boat, and he said, watch your hat! I thought that maybe he was going to start the boat very quickly so I sat down quickly and pressed my hat onto my head. Just then my legs began to burn on the seat and I jumped up screaming Yahoo! Everyone laughed and my husband said, "he said to watch! It's HOT! We still are laughing at that.
Your packing list was extremely helpful. As was the advice about separating our luggage into a 25 pound max. for our return to San Jose from Tortuguero on a small plane. Some of the other travelers did not get the message or didn't understand it and had to repack at the last minute. Our plane was pressurized, although your info said it would not be. I have a few suggestions:
It would be so wonderful if your employees had name tags. We met so many wonderful people and remembering all of the new names was difficult. Also at Tortuguero, the signs in the bathrooms about conserving energy and reusing towels were incorrect. I know what you wanted to say, but it actually says the opposite! Also the laminated books in the reception/game area have a few language problems! It says: "our highly experimental guides" instead of experienced! Thanks for the giggles.
I would suggest that there be dancing after dinner every night or at least on Friday and Sat nights, if only for an hour. It gets very quiet at night in both Tortuguero and Monteverde. I asked Riccardo if we could turn up the radio or recorded music and dance on our last night and he looked concerned but said yes. Then the guide Sonia and Jonathon helped to arrange for 3 local musicians to come. We danced and got everyone to have a wonderful time. The teens and children were so happy! What a great memory! Even if they just laughed at their parents! My many thanks to Sonia for her gifts of teaching, laughter, comraderie and warmth. She is a true asset to your clients!
I would also suggest that there be someone on staff who can help the children to join together in playing games in the pool or playing relay races or doing some silly games after dinner. I started doing this and enjoyed it for a while, then the children began asking me all the time as though it was my job! They just need a little guidance, a few suggestions and very little equipment. We played a few games in the pool, with the round seed pods we gathered at the beach. Perhaps you could have a book available for a staff member or parent to refer to get things started. The games must be short, simple, few rules, easy to play with different ages. Some parents aren't very creative or have no energy after the day trips. Some of the children, especially the teenagers, want to play but feel embarrassed or too cool. Thank you to you and all the friendly people at Costa Rica Expeditions!
Kevan Rupp Lunney
Apr. 13, 2006 “A wonderful trip.”
Hi, Nadya: It was a wonderful trip and Andrew was as much a friend and fellow adventurer as he was a guide. He seemed to enjoy everything as much as I did. Let me know if you were able to download and view the pictures I've sent. I have what I believe are some outstanding wildlife portraits. I'll hear from you soon I hope.
Apr. 11, 2006 “Costa Rica Expeditions was fabulous!”
Dear Nadya: We just got back from our vacation and I just wanted to thank you for all your help. We had an excellent time! Costa Rica Expeditions was fabulous! Everyone from the guides to the pilots and the drivers were awesome. We really felt as if we saw and got to know Costa Rica. Everything went like clockwork. Everyone was so nice and helpful. I am so glad that we booked our trip with you and we will definitely be referring friends to you.
Apr. 10, 2006 “A fabulous trip!”
What a fabulous trip! I will definitely come back to CR and wouldn't hesitate to travel with Costa Rica Expeditions again. Already recommending you to friends and family!
Apr. 10, 2006 “I would highly recommend your services.”
We had a GREAT trip. All the arrangements were well chosen and described accurately. The logistics were very smooth. We appreciate the efforts particularly of Priscilla Jimenez who coordinated the trip and Fernando (Lopez?) who was our guide in Arenal/Fortuna. I would highly recommend your services and have made several recommendations to friends already. Thank you and we will be back!
Apr. 9, 2006 The Pacuare River “was the best adventure of the trip.”
Our family had a fantastic trip to Costa Rica. I'd especially like to acknowledge the help and patience of Nadya Shaw in making arrangements. And while my shoulder surgery kept me off the Pacquare, my daughters (one of whom has rowed the Grand Canyon, and the other the Middle Fork Salmon) felt it was the best adventure of the trip, and Alejandro easily the best guide. He managed to make the long bus ride great fun. (And in the airport we met a man who had done your 2-day Paquare. He had nothing but rave reviews.)
Apr. 5, 2006 “We enjoyed every interaction we had with Costa Rica Expeditions.”
Our trip was fantastic, thanks in large part to your company. We enjoyed every interaction we had with Costa Rica Expeditions, from travel planners to guides to drivers. We will certainly call you for our next trip to Costa Rica and have already recommended both the country and your company to friends.
I would like to commend three people in particular. Douglas helped us plan a great trip and further assisted us with plans while we were in Costa Rica; he is smart, responsive and nice. Jose was our wonderful white water rafting guide; he made the day educational, exciting and fun. And Alejandro escorted us through San Jose on our last day, and we had a wonderful time with him.
Apr. 4, 2006 “We appreciate all of Costa Rica Expeditions assistance.”
We had a great time on our trip. We appreciate all of Costa Rica Expeditions assistance in our travels. A big thanks to Nadya Shaw who did all the logistics. We will most definitely be using your services in future school trips to Costa Rica. We will send pictures once we get them organized and edited. Thank you for all of your help, we'll be in touch.
Apr. 1, 2006 “…the BEST family trip they had ever had.”
Hello Marco: I want to tell you and your ENTIRE team what a fabulous trip the Crockard family had. Both Mr as well as Mrs Crockard called to tell me it was the BEST family trip they had ever had.
The trip far exceeded their expectations. The people were so NICE. They felt the equipment was safe, up to date and reliable. All the people they came in contact with were knowledgeable, spoke good English, were friendly - especially with the children. They appreciated the fact that you hired an excellent boat for fishing with a skipper who knew where to catch the fish. They caught 8 huge sailfish. The fishing was really important. They had friends who where also in the area, who went out fishing for the day, and did not even have a strike!
They especially liked the daily faxes to help keep them on track and know what to expect.
What can I say? They are spreading the word about Costa Rica Expeditions, as well as Gaia. We had to take your word and rely on all your suggestions, and it worked beautifully. Their children and grandchildren just came up to them during the trip, and thanked them so much for the special family time and experiences. You made me look good, and your company looks GREAT.
Debby Denson, Brownell Travel
Mar. 31, 2006 “We were highly impressed with your dedication to safety.”
We had a wonderful time! We were extremely impressed with the high-degree of organization with your company. The transfers were always on time, the guides always knowledgeable. We were also highly impressed with your dedication to safety. When we received the fax from your office stating that we would not be taking Nature Air, but rather a private charter, we were instantly trusting of your company.
We were pleased that the ride to Monteverde was made more direct by taking a boat through Lake Arenal. At first we were also disappointed that we were not going to Tabacon Hot Springs, but later were happy that we were at a more secluded spot. The only thing I can say is that tourists naively expect to go to Tabacon, and this should be conveyed in a more obvious and direct manner, through the itinerary. However, we did have a very peaceful and relaxing time at the other hot springs and were glad to be there. Last of all, Herrol Mora was very helpful and he really organized a great trip that was everything we wanted. Thanks Herrol!
The only negative that I can report are that the room in Grano De Oro opened to the Cafe, which was strange b/c you have to constantly walk through people eating to get to your room. When I asked the front desk for a room that was more private, the hotel was already filled. I would have gladly paid more for a better room.
Ari Geller, MD
Mar. 31, 2006 “Your staff was wonderful.”
We had a wonderful time. My husband is our resident photographer. I’ll ask him to send along the selects. BTW, your staff was wonderful and really enhanced our trip. We’ll recommend your company readily!
Mar. 29, 2006 “Costa Rica Expeditions is the best company I have ever had the privilege to deal with.”
Herrol: I just wanted you to know that I had a great time in your wonderful country and also that Costa Rica Expeditions is really the best company I have ever had the privilege to deal with. Your team, in every location, from drivers to pick up people, to guides to waiters at Corcovado, were absolutely the best, and they delivered in every single aspect. From food to transport to safety to punctuality. Awesome! I am already unreservedly recommending people to go to Costa Rica and to use your company, so look forward to the rush!!!
I would really liked to have met Michael Kaye, he sounds like a really cool guy to have set up such a great company, and I hope you continue to be successful. I also hope you continue to be able to manage Costa Rica's beauty for years to come so that it stays that way and doesn’t get lost in the jungle of jet set travel; it is far too wonderful an environment for that to happen, even from the little pieces I managed to see.
And thanks to you personally as well, Herrol, for organizing my trip for me so flawlessly and giving me such great experiences and memories, I hope to be back someday in the not so distant future, and I will certainly be back in touch when I do.
Mar. 26, 2006 "This was undoubtedly a best trip ever."
Hola! My wife, daughter, and I are, alas, settled back in the routine of a late Canadian winter-early spring. I wanted to send you a note on completion of our vacation. We were ENORMOUSLY impressed with so many aspects of our trip.
First, your company is extremely impressive. I made my reservations with you with a considerable "leap-of-faith", not having had any personal contact with previous clients. I was pleasantly surprised with the speed of response after submitting my initial requests (likes, dislikes, etc.). Your first proposal looked ideal and my family agreed that your suggestions were excellent.
The service was superb from our first contact with Costa Rica Expeditions (CRE) at the San Jose airport until we were let off at the airport on departure. Our itinerary was relatively complex with multiple drop-offs, pickups, travel by van, small plane, and boat and no less than 4 hotel check-ins over 9 days, plus several pre-booked excursions.
We had 2 extremely minor deviations from the planned itinerary. On our first day at Arenal, the voucher for the hot springs-dinner was listed for a certain day but the printed itinerary had the trip scheduled for the next day. We were not inconvenienced by this and, in fact, this error worked out for the best as it allowed us the chance to make an additional excursion. Secondly, on our departure from Arenal the van driver went to the airport (instead of the hotel) to pick us up. However the CRE representative that day, within 15 minutes, contacted the driver and the pilot of our chartered plane, and reassured us that "all was well." We were delighted with the efficient response and, for the umpteenth time on this trip, had the perception that we were your sole clients in Costa Rica!
A few minor suggestions for you and future clients who embark on a similar trip:
- If in Drake Bay, take the opportunity to go on the night walk in the forest with "The Bug Lady." This outing was a totally unexpected treat and cannot be recommended more highly.
- Secondly, and we may have just been lucky, the late afternoon walking tour of Arenal volcano was terrific. We had a completely clear view of the top of the volcano and it was quite active with great sonorous noise and abundant lava rocks tumbling down the side.
- For people traveling on the small charter flights it might be nice to have a "paper trail" within the vouchers. The lack of a "ticket" on arrival at the airport might be a bit anxiety provoking for people accustomed to traveling on scheduled airline flights.
All of the other tours, hotels, guides and CRE representatives exceeded expectations (and our expectations were very high!). This was undoubtedly a best trip ever. Please feel free to use me as a contact if any potential clients request a personal reference. I will give the highest rating possible.
Dr. Robert M. Sadler
Mar. 24, 2006 “The service at the two hotels that you own was first rate.”
Thank you for creating and maintaining an organization of committed and knowledgeable staff, who are sincerely interested in client satisfaction. My husband and I were in Costa Rica for 16 days. Our travel agent in the States arranged our custom itinerary through your company. From the moment we were met at the airport we were impressed with the staff and with the professional management of our transfers, flights and guiding. The service at the 2 hotels that you own was also first rate. The hotel staff was friendly and cared about customer satisfaction whether it was laundry services, mail or vegetarian food! Incidentally the food was quite good and there was no problem meeting our requests for vegetarian options.
The welcome packet of vouchers and materials was complete and helpful. We were especially impressed by the emphasis on safety. We also took to heart the suggestion that problems should be reported immediately so that they could be ameliorated.
The one disappointing guiding experience at the Monteverde Cloud Forest was handled professionally by Priscilla Jiminez. She was able to arrange an excellent guide for the afternoon and refunded our money for the morning. I also want to commend Manuel, our guide from San Jose to Arenal. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic and deeply committed to the company credo and ideology. We continue to speak glowingly of your company and of Costa Rica.
Mar. 22, 2006 ''Service, accommodations, guide, driver and all your staff were extraordinary.''
Dear Marco: I want you to know how very much my husband and I enjoyed our time in your beautiful country with Costa Rica Expeditions. Our service, accommodations, guide, driver and all your staff whom we met were extraordinary and made our trip a memorable experience. I have already had several opportunities to recommend your services! We did so much enjoy having Olman as our naturalist. He was extremely knowledgeable, considerate and thoughtful, paying attention to our every need and desire. Again, thank you for arranging such a wonderful Costa Rican adventure for us. I loved our trip and I love your country.
Missie McDonnell (Mrs. James)
Mar. 22, 2006 ''Tortuga Lodge was the highlight of our stay.''
Our two-week trip was wonderful from beginning to end. We used Costa Rica Expeditions for only part of our trip as we stayed with friends part of the time and "roughed" it for part of the time.
Our trip to Tortuga Lodge was the highlight of our stay. We were treated like princesses from beginning to end. We enjoyed every moment of our two-night stay. The accommodations were first class and very unique with no glass in the windows so that we could hear the sound of the birds 24/7, in addition to being awakened in the morning by the Howler Monkeys. The boat trips to Tortuguero National Park were awesome with knowledgeable guides pointing out the abundant wildlife. The food was excellent and the service without fault.
The charter flights arranged by Costa Rica Expeditions to/from Tortuguero and to Tamarindo were wonderful with fantastic views and very friendly helpful pilots who pointed out all the landmarks to us. First Class all the way.
When in Monteverde, we stayed at the Hotel Belmar because your hotel, Monteverde Lodge, was full. Our excess luggage was forwarded to Monteverde Lodge by road for pick-up. When we went there to retrieve it, we fell in love with your Lodge and Gardens and ate there on several occasions. We will certainly use Costa Rica Expeditions to help plan our next Costa Rica trip.
I send a special thank you to Luz Elena Alpizar who worked with me on our plans in a helpful, polite, professional, efficient manner before we even arrived in Costa Rica.
Carol, Darlene, Elaine & Carolyn (4 ladies from Miami)
Mar. 17, 2006 “Everyone went out of their way to make our vacation one that we will always remember.”
Thank you for your follow up of our trip. Costa Rica is a delightful country to visit. We are impressed with the Tico people and their culture - so accommodating and gracious. We are particularly complimentary of the staff at the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens. From the minute we were greeted by Janna at the front desk until we checked out, everyone there went out of their way to help make our vacation one that we will always remember.
Mar. 16, 2006 “We had a fantastic time in Costa Rica.”
Hello Michael and thank you for your email! I've been incredibly busy since my return, but wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time in Costa Rica, with the help of Cost Rica Expeditions. Your staff was very professional, helpful and welcoming! You did a fantastic job. Thank you for the opportunity to comment and I wish you and your enterprise great good fortune!
Mar. 13, 2006 ''Pablo ranks in the top 10% of local guides around the world''.
Dear Herrol: Just wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful time at Corcovado - thank you so much for your help in arranging this trip! The tent camp was even better than the first time I visited, which was already a very high standard. I'm certain that my friend Isabella loved it and will go back as well.
Also, I just wanted to let you know that I thought that Pablo (Aguilar) was a truly excellent naturalist guide. I've traveled to many natural destinations around the world and have spent time with numerous guides, and I think that Pablo ranks in the top 10% of local guides around the world. He is quite knowledgeable but does not pretend to know things if he is uncertain (for example, on a bird identification); he speaks clearly and is easy to understand, and he has a gentle voice and soft sense of humor; he is full of information but doesn't overload people who are less interested; he distributes his attention to all members of a group equally without showing favorites; he has wonderfully keen eyes and ears for spotting wildlife; and most importantly to me, he know when to talk and when to walk quietly in full appreciation of the surrounding natural beauty. I would appreciate it if you could pass these comments along to the heads of Costa Rica Expeditions, in the hope that they will convey my appreciation to both you and Pablo - and the super staff at the lodge (particulary Kenya and the excellent cooks)!
Many thanks, and I hope that I will be able to return to Costa Rica sometime in the not-too-distant future!
Mar. 10, 2006 “Costa Rica Expeditions really delivers on its promise of service excellence.”
We had a great time, with Corcovado being our favorite! Costa Rica Expeditions really delivers on its promise of service excellence provided by local people. The guides and drivers were all safe, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun to be with and their pride in their country and its flora and fauna was inspiring. Costa Rica and its people made a profound impression on us and I believe the experience will prove to be particularly valuable for our two teenage daughters.
We will send a more detailed review to Herrol, who served us very well both before and after our trip. From my own business experience, I know that service excellence starts at the top and requires dedication and vigilance for success. It was wonderful both to see and to benefit from this kind of business philosophy.
Mar. 1, 2006 "My mother and I had the time of our lives."
My mother and I were recently in Costa Rica and had the time of our lives. I received your email requsting some of our photos. I have posted some pictures on the web from our trip, and you may use any of these photos if you so choose to for your website. Click here to see the pictures.
Sheldon Erb & Debby Pelter
Mar. 1, 2006 "Tortuga Lodge was beautiful and the food delicious."
We indeed had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. My family's glowing reports to friends seems to have inspired them to investigate a trip to Costa Rica for themselves. Your agency's services were outstanding. Everything happened exactly as it had been explained to us - all pick ups, transfers and hotels and tours. Our guide to Tortuguero was excellent - well informed, eager to relate information to share and friendly. The Tortuga Lodge was beautiful and the food delicious. Our plane ride back to San Jose was fun and exciting. And the taxi driver who met us at the airport was prompt and friendly. Again, everyone we met in Costa Rica was friendly and helpful. The country is beautiful and the outdoor opportunities are endless. Our experience in Costa Rica could well be remembered as our family's best vacation ever!
Mar. 1, 2006 “Everyone was sooooo nice!”
We had a great time! Everyone was sooooo nice! Here are some pictures. I hope you enjoy seeing them. Thank you.
Feb. 28, 2006 "Costa Rica River & Rainforest...very well organized!"
Thank you for your email, I had a most enjoyable time on your Costa Rica River & Rainforest package and would like to take this opportunity to give some well deserved recognition to your Costa Rica Expedition guide Fernando Perez who did a wonderful job of keeping us all intact and for providing a wealth of information on the trees, flowers, birds, wild life and other points of interest during the trip. Very well organized!
I would also like to make mention of Priscilla Jimenez who was the person behind booking the trip and for making additional arrangements for accommodations due to my early arrival into San Jose. I would like to share some of my photos the only problem being is I probably took over a 1,000 pictures and it is going to take some time before I can go through them. I will most certainly be revisiting Costa Rica and Costa Rica Expeditions will be the group I will be using for my next trip.
Feb. 28, 2006 ''You never missed a pick-up, drop off, meeting the plane, etc.''
We had a wonderful vacation in Costa Rica, and it was all we had hoped for, and more. Truly wonderful. The exotic birds, animals and extraordinary flora were worth the trip. We did not expect the terrific lodges, and other accomodations, nor the delicious cuisine (I was steeled for rice and refried beans, daily - had it once, at the folklore dinner, and it was fine, once).
I must mention the superb service that Costa Rica Expeditions afforded us. You people never missed a pick-up, drop off, meeting the plane etc. taking our excess baggage over 25 lbs. when we flew the little "puddle jumpers," and returning it on the next pick-up, was a special bonus. Very courteous service by your staff. Extra special, tho' was the planning of your staff worker, Nadya Shaw, who answered very patiently ALL my numerous questions, with courtesy and knowledge, and she was the reason our trip was so perfect (she deserves a raise!). Her planning of our itinerary was exact with all my numerous requirements. My only regret was that the tel. no. was not an 800 one...
Your lodge at Tortuguero was wonderful. Because of our constraints in time, we had a canal tour (a must), at 2:00 p.m., during which the heat of the mid-day was overpowering, and the birds knew better (nothing much was flying). Starting at 3:30 would have been better. We saw more birdlife at 5:30 in front of the lodge than the entire day. A very small flaw in a very, very good trip. I would and will certainly give your outfit the highest recommendation, whenever I can! My fond regards to Nadya, that patient angel.
Feb. 22, 2006 ''Jorge Jara Ayub is a top-notch guide and our experience was infinitely richer because of him.''
Dear Priscilla: I want to thank you for organizing an absolutely fabulous trip for my family last week. You put together a great itinerary with a good pace and fun activities for all of us -- ages 4 yrs to 70. From the minute our plane touched down in San Jose and there was a Costa Rica Expeditions guide to meet us at the airport, it was clear that we were in very good hands.
The Hotel Bougainvillea was fine, and we were appreciative that our guide had ordered breakfasts for all of us for our early start on Saturday morning.
Max, our driver, could not have been more helpful -- arriving early and handling luggage, establishing a friendly tone with the children, getting us safely where we were going at all times, pointing out wildlife along the way, and even entertaining the children when they had had enough of Quetzal watching in Monteverde. I don't know if it is standard practice to have a driver return again and again to pick up the same family, but for us, it was always great to see his smiling face when he arrived to take us off on some new adventure.
We enjoyed every place we stayed: Punta Islita, Monteverde Lodge, Tortuga Lodge -- if I could change anything it might be to spend more time in Tortuguero -- but we will come back in turtle season some day and take another hike.
Finally, absolutely the BEST part of the trip was our guide, Jorge Jara Ayub. He is a top-notch guide and our experience was infinitely richer because of him. He was warm and friendly and informative without overloading us with information. His love for the environment, the wildlife, and the people of Costa Rica came through in everything he did. He was extremely sensitive to our needs and constantly evaluating our plans to make them work. I am sure there were occasional glitches, but they never felt that way -- they felt like opportunities to learn more and experience more. I know he spent lots of time and energy checking to be sure that the next phase of our journey was ready to go, but he did it unobtrusively and positively. His timing is excellent -- if we were in slow traffic we had a chance to learn about coffee farming; a wait for a boat was a chance to use the facilities and watch for birds. He was very supportive of our interests, doubling back to look at birds, doing research about unlikely warblers, arranging for kid-friendly meals, setting up telescopes, bringing us back to Monteverde at 6:00 am to find the elusive Quetzals.
Our forays into Tortuguero's canals yielded incredibly diverse wildlife, and Jorge was able to provide informative facts about them and describe field signs in such a way that all of us, especially the kids, were hooked. He seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of natural and cultural history -- I don't think there was a question we asked that he didn't have a ready answer for. He is very good with kids; enthusiastic and respectful without talking down to them. As we neared the end of our portion of the trip with him, the children were sad and even sulky that he wouldn't be going on to Punta Islita with us.
He made our experience really special. We really appreciate all that you, and Jorge, and Max, and the transfer guides did to make our visit a memorable one. We'll be back -- and we will recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to our friends.
Judy Drew Fairchild
Feb. 21, 2006 "In the top 3 trips of my life."
Thanks for all of your wonderful services. We are already trying to find a time to get back and do some different parts of the country. It was in the top 3 trips of my life. I have some pics up at: http://lklein.smugmug.com. Click travels in vacations and cost rica. The beginning is from Tortuguero. I have many more on my laptop but edited the amount for a decent album size. Feel free to use any pics. There are some very nice ones.
Feb. 21, 2006 ''In this age of Internet bookings, knowledge of a country is still very helpful.''
We absolutely loved Costa Rica. We did some bookings on our own on the Internet and some with Marco. In retrospect, I wish we had booked everything thru Marco (except I like to plan my own vacations.) His suggestions all were great, he always replied promptly to emails, he was flexible and attentive to our suggestions, and his knowledge of Costa Rica amazing. You have a wonderful colleague/employee.
After we got back, I did email him as to which beach destinations you typically send clients to. I had wanted to go to Manuel Antonio and in fact we booked our own condo there. The national park is beautiful and there is lots of wildlife. I would be curious as to other beach areas where you can get a hotel on the beach and still have the rustic feel. I would consider a different beach area in that regard. We loved the Arenal area and Monteverde and liked the family-run hotels in Costa Rica. Keep the American chain hotels and developers out of Costa Rica as much as possible!
Thanks again. We will recommend any friends traveling to Costa Rica to your company and specifically to Marco. In this age of individualism and Internet bookings, someone's knowledge of a country is still very helpful.
Feb. 21, 2006 "It was one of the best vacations we have ever had."
Dear Selena: Jo Ann and I want to express our sincere thanks for all your efforts on our behalf before and during our wonderful trip to Costa Rica. It was one of the best vacations we have ever had, thanks in large part to you and Costa Rica Expeditions. We enjoyed every aspect of the trip: from the prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable drivers (Alberto especially) who took us from and to the airport, and Felipe, who was our wonderful driver everywhere else, to the excellent accommodations at La Quinta and at Savegre. We were very happy to know that everything was in your capable hands. I also want to thank you for your kind concern when my father died, and for helping us to make it possible to come to Costa Rica anyway for 2 of the 3 places we had planned to visit. Please be assured that we will return to Costa Rica as soon as possible -- ¡CR nos gustó muy bien! -- and we will ask you to make arrangements for us.
Feb. 21, 2006 Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp: ''We had a wonderful time.''
We had a wonderful time in CR. Kenya was especially enjoyable as a host at the tent camp and she should be always valued as well as Marcia, Pablo and the rest of the staff. Here are some photos of out trip for you to enjoy and use if you wish. Please let me know what you think!
Miguel Morejohn, Portland, OR
Feb. 16, 2006 "Monteverde Lodge was a special treat. The food was great."
Just a word to let you know how much we enjoyed our Monteverde trip. The Spanish-speaking drivers were kind, considerate and helpful. Between my little Spanish and their little English we made out fine. They stopped when we asked for baños where facilities were clean and neat. They were safe drivers.
Melvin Leiton (sp?), our guide at Monteverde, was absolutely wonderful. He showed us wonderful birds including many sightings of the Quetzal and was very considerate of our small group needs. He loves the forest and told us stories of his life there and his family. A big treat was that he invited us to his home to bird watch and have a cup of coffee or tea. My husband remarked that the day was the best time he had on the whole trip through Panama and Costa Rica!
Monteverde Lodge was a special treat. The food was great. Our room was right next to the gardens where we could see birds and enjoy the flowers. Michael K just happened to be there and we visited with him a couple of times (I had met him on an International Expeditions fam trip 16 years ago). The staff was absolutely wonderful, especially at the desk. They spoke English well, were very accommodating and helpful and knew exactly what was supposed to happen when and how. We were most appreciative for their services.Thank you again for making all the arrangements and helping to make our visit to Costa Rica so special.
Feb. 16, 2006 ''As a birding guide, Victor is more than outstanding; he is unbelievable.''
Our friends and I want to thank Costa Rica Expeditions for a splendid experience. Every element of the trip was top notch and could not have been better. The drivers were polite, capable, efficient and safe. Our transfer guides were cheerful, informative, polite and helpful. The food was delicious, healthy and plentiful and the accommodations were excellent. I can't think of anything that could have been better.
Of course, the thing that glued the trip together and made it memorable was our guide, Victor Perez. Victor is a major asset to CRE. He is superb as both a birding/naturalist guide and as a trip coordinator/caretaker. As a birding guide, Victor is more than outstanding; he is unbelievable. Many times he was able to show us special birds by calling them into view. His incredible knowledge of bird calls and songs enabled us to know when to stop and look. Of course, he can sight identify all available species, often at great distance or under poor light.
Coupled with his skill, Victor has a tremendous enthusiasm for birding and nature. He got at least as much excitement and thrill, if not more, out of seeing the birds as we did. His personal enthusiasm for the birds added a lot of pleasure and delight to the trip. As our caretaker, Victor showed a strong interest in making sure that we were safe and had fun.
Victor's birding skills are matched by a marvelous personality and a strong concern for his clients. He always took good care of us, issued cautions, and kept us out of trouble. Overall, his temperament and disposition are well suited to the role of a naturalist guide.
Charles & Ann Bradford
Feb. 15, 2006 "At every point we were met by a smiling face."
“A lifetime experience” is my husband's description of our trip Feb. 3-10. Between Herrol and our daughter Martha Rebour, a trip was planned for two small children, their parents and we grandparents. Let me say that at every point we were met by a smiling face, a knowledgeable person, helpful in every respect. We learned about your crops, pineapples, bananas, and coffee. What was the most fun, however, was meeting your plants, animals, birds, and butterflies. My neck is still stiff from looking for sloths, toucans, Scarlet Macaws, new native birds and, of course, the monkeys.
The canal trip in Tortuguero with Miguel was exciting but no more so than the hike to the Madrigal River in Corcovado with Marcia. The small plane rides were a treat, especially for my husband, a small plane pilot. We all loved the scenery from above. The children were treated to many kindnesses all along the way and their memories must be special. As a child, I played a good deal of Animal Lotto. Never did I dream I would actually see a sloth, a tapir or an ocelot!
Tony and Ann Brockelman
Feb. 15, 2006 “Every staff member was gracious, welcoming, helpful.”
We were as pleased as is possible to be with the consistently high quality of services provided by Costa Rica Expeditions! Without exception, every staff member was gracious, welcoming, helpful, and that attitude makes a tremendous difference in a travel experience. We loved being in Costa Rica, and are planning to return again, probably next year. And we will recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to anyone planning a trip to your beautiful country!
Wendy and Peter Gibb
Feb. 14, 2006 ''Thank you for your diligence to safety issues.''
Dear Michael: Happy Valentine's Day! ‘Happy’ to report again (21) a successful Henderson Birding trip with Carlos (Charlie) and Nino. Comments range from "incredible" to "best trip of my life" to "great" to "I came home refreshed " (this was from the 81 year old)!!! Thank you for your diligence to safety issues and for hosting their farewell party! Makes it very special - they came home alive and well fed and entertained!!
Karen L. Johnson, Preferred Adventures Ltd.
Feb. 14, 2006 ''We enjoyed every minute of our trip.''
Hey Herrol: Just a brief note of thanks to you and the staff for providing a wonderful adventure for Debby and I. We were quite surprised to receive a cake and gifts on our birthday in Monteverde. It was very kind and thoughtful, so thank you very much. We enjoyed every minute of our trip and look forward to contacting you in the future to visit beautiful Costa Rica again.
Feb. 12, 2006 "Thank you for planning a perfect vacation."
Dear Herrol: I just wanted to send you an email to thank you for planning a perfect vacation. Alex and I had a wonderful time. Costa Rica is truly a beautiful country with wonderful people. We are looking forward to visiting again in the future. I appreciate you being extra cautious by putting us on charter flights until you are certain Nature Air is safe to fly on. Thank you for everything.
Feb. 11, 2006 "A stress-free adventure!"
Our experiences in Costa Rica have put it on the top of the list of our Top Vacations! With Costa Rica Expeditions it was a stress-free adventure! Not many adventures can be put in that category! Your planning created smooth, uncomplicated transportation and your guides made everything perfect when we arrived at each destination! We will definitely return soon.
Feb. 10, 2006 "Hidalgo Resort at La Fortuna was the best place to relax."
Dear Nadya: Congratulations! Your itinerary worked superbly and everything went to plan. The guide was good; Gerardo was an excellent and careful driver, and the Hidalgo Resort at La Fortuna was the best possible place to relax and so much preferable to the Tabacon hot springs. Your Associates Sun Tours were puctual and could not have done a better job. We were delighted with the boat trip across Lake Arenal and we compliment Miguel on the difficult drive to Monteverde. We enjoyed staying at the Lodge and the nature walk the next morning, and Gerardo got us to the boat at Caldera in good time. Pura Vida!!
Feb. 8, 2006 ''Monteverde Lodge was absolutely wonderful!''
I want to congratulate you and your staff, along with Vern Kleen, for a very enjoyable and educational visit to Costa Rica. Our guide Miguel Marin provided expert guidance in bird watching and was extremely courteous and patient with our group. Our driver, Ramon, did an outstanding job of transporting us to our destinations, assisting us in spotting birds, and was courteous and provided assistance whenever possible. Vern was his usual self: courteous, kind, and willing to go the extra mile to assist us in experiencing a great adventure in Costa Rica. This was my second trip in coordination with Costa Rica Expeditions and it was as grand as the first trip! Just a few notes:
- Monteverde Lodge was absolutely wonderful--top of the line lodging, good food, beautiful gardens!
- Villa Lapas was another great place to stay--beautiful flora and surroundings. Lapas Sky Way was GREAT!
- The motorcoach was very clean--thank you, Ramon!
- I felt very safe the entire trip--thanks to everyone!
Thank you for inviting me to your beautiful country. I had a wonderful time!
Feb. 7, 2006 "The trip was more than I hoped for."
My adult daughter and I only had one night in Monteverde but we did a night walk in the Ecological Farm and a morning tour in Monteverde cloud forest. We had an excellent guide and saw many wonderful things, even the elusive Quetzal! Amazingly, it was a male and a female. We felt very privileged, as I understand this is a bit early for them (Feb 3). We also went on a river trip in Palo Verde as well as a guided tour into Manuel Antonio. Everything was perfect, beautiful, warm, and our experiences were very positive everywhere we went.
Yes the trip was more than I hoped for and would recommend a visit to your beautiful country to anyone, particularly if they are interested in wildlife. What a dilemma; you want the tourists, but the increase in this industry also brings some negativity such as the coatis' wandering the cloud forest parking lot. Good luck with that and thanks for your interest.
Feb. 7, 2006 “We enjoyed every destination.”
Our trip was fantastic!!! All of us love Costa Rica...and we enjoyed every destination. We ran into tons of rain when we arrived; we had tons of rain just before we left. But, we kept on going. All of the transfers you set up for us went perfectly...we flew into Drake instead of Palmar Sur but someone seemed to know that...and I'm glad we did that.
At Tortuguero we did the boat tour into the rainforest...then added on kayaking, one-way boat trip to town...walked back along the ocean...At Corcovado we did the platform, guided ourselves through the National Park. At Drake, we did the Caño Island tour (snorkeling and hike to archeological site), sea kayaking, Enrique's Private Reserve. At Monteverde, we did the cloud forest, Humming bird Gallery, night hike behind lodge, walked and explored the town. At Arenal, we did the Hanging Bridges, hikes behind Lost Laguna Lodge, Hildalgo Hotsprings...and the volcano came into view...and erupted at 4:15 in the morning just before we left!!!
We hated to see the trip end...I guess that means we'll be back. Thanks for all the planning...the people, the staff, and the food at Tortuga and Corcovado were incredible. La Paloma at Drake Bay is a perfect location for lots of activity...I could see us doing the mangroves next time...and hiking into Corcovado Park from the north end.
Monteverde Lodge was too "Americanized" for us…the grounds were lovely, and the breeze was great but we thought the amount of food served was wasteful...and the staff not as friendly overall. And, I really think we enjoyed the family style atmosphere better.
Lost Laguna was a great location...but we had tons of rain...and the rooms leaked badly...the terraces drain into the rooms with driving rain...the restaurant was slow, the food fair...breakfast was our favorite of their meals. I think they have some operating things to work out...but we enjoyed our stay...great trails to hike...and so close to the fabulous bridges! (Does the same owner have this land?)
Feb. 6, 2006 "You have really put together an extremely organized operation."
My wife and I were very pleased with our Costa Rica Expeditions tour of Arenal and Monteverde. We were particularly impressed by how all of our drivers were never late for any of our pick-ups. The confirmation faxes were also good. You have really put together an extremely organized operation, and we congratulate you on that. We really can't think of any particular suggestions; everything went so smoothly.
Feb. 1, 2006 ''Your impeccable planning made our vacation a true vacation.''
Hi Marco: I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica. We LOVED it!!! We liked all the things that we saw and especially enjoyed our time in the Osa Peninsula. It was more untouched than the other areas. La Paloma was beautiful and the people who worked there were wonderful. The food was also great. The Tortuga lodge, Monteverde Lodge & Arenal Lodge were also wonderful. Your impeccable planning made our vacation a true vacation. We only wish that you could have changed the weather our last day in Arenal, as it rained. We never got to see the volcano. Oh well, I guess that we'll have to come back. The hot springs and meal at the spa was also fabulous. Thanks for letting us know about it.
Jan. 31, 2006 ''The efficiency of Costa Rica Expeditions was first rate.''
Dear Priscilla: We have just returned from a superb trip to Costa Rica, which we booked through Journey Latin America. I understand that it was you who organized the tour at the Costa Rica end.
We thought that the efficiency of Costa Rica Expeditions was first rate - there was not a single occasion when somebody was late, or when we were not informed in good time when a departure was to take place. The standard of vehicles used was excellent - indeed the bus we were in most of the time was brand new. The guides from your company were all very knowledgeable and good company. Also Favio, who drove us from San Jose to Monteverde and from Arenal to Manuel Antonio was not only an excellent driver but a delightful traveling companion.
So far as the Costa Rica Expeditions part of the tour was concerned there was only one minor negative. Whilst Monteverde Lodge was well located, and the food and gardens were both exceptional, the room had a persistent damp smell, which stuck to our clothes when we left.
When we went to the Parador at Manuel Antonio we went on a trip to the National Park with Iguana Tours, who operate from the hotel. Their standard was nowhere near that which we had become used to from Costa Rica Expeditions. We were put in a group of 13, which was far too large, and the guide seemed more interested in poor jokes than the wildlife and natural beauty of the park. Obviously we do not blame your company for this (as you had nothing to do with it!) but it may well be worth investigating a good company for tours in Manuel Antonio, which you can then recommend to clients. For our part, we would recommend the catamaran trip organized through the hotel, which was extremely good.
I hope you don't mind us pointing out these two negative things, with a view to helping others in the future. Neither of them had any significant impact on our enjoyment of a superb holiday and we would wholeheartedly recommend your company to any of our friends traveling to Costa Rica.
Richard & Helen Lander, UK
Jan. 30, 2006 “Our thanks to all of the wonderful guides you provided.”
We are back at home and re-living all of the wonderful memories from Costa Rica!! We just loved our trip there and cannot thank you enough for all the arrangements for hotels and transportation. We were very impressed with Costa Rica Expeditions and will definitely use your company again when we return. We are already thinking about our next trip to see the areas we did not go to this time. Next time we would like to go to Tabacon Hot Springs (we did take a one day tour there and to Arenal), to Tortuga Lodge and Tortuguero national park, and then to a resort in Guanacaste on the Pacific Ocean. Thank you again for all of your assistance, and we will be in touch when we decide to plan our next trip to Costa Rica. Our thanks to all of the wonderful guides you provided, and especially to Adrian.
Ron and Bobbi Morrison
Jan. 26, 2006 ''Your slogan, 'Legendary service, unforgettable memories,' is earned in every way.''
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for organizing our trip; the whole experience was wonderful. I cannot praise Charlie (Carlos) and Nimo enough for all the hard work they put in on our behalf; it was faultless in every way. Special thanks are due to Charlie and to your staff, who managed to extract our lost cases from Delta Airlines and to fly it out to us at Tortuga Lodge. This was above the call of duty, many thanks to you all.
Tortuga Lodge was superb in every respect, from the manager, who made us so welcome when we arrived, to Norton our boatman during our stay, who were so courteous and who made our stay so enjoyable.
Special thanks are due to your chef at Tortuga, whose meals were almost the highlight of our stay; the presentation and taste were outstanding. This in no way decries from the rest of the hotels and ranches that we stayed at during our trip, the service and quality were all of a very high standard, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Your slogan, “Legendary service, unforgettable memories,” is earned in every way. Once again may I thank you all for all your hard work in making this trip so memorable.
Dick & Gloria Harding, UK
Jan. 23, 2006 "Every staff member was superb."
My wife and I had a wonderful time, thank you. Every staff member was superb. Prompt. Polite. Helpful. I thought about bringing night-vision binoculars for our night on the tree platform in Corcovado. I couldn't persuade myself, however, to spend $450 for binoculars that I might use only once. I would have rented night-vision binoculars from you, if they had been available at the lodge. Just a suggestion for you. Thanks for a great trip.
Jan. 13, 2006 ''We are pleased from A to Z!''
The trip was terrific! Thank you for all you did! We are pleased from A to Z!!! Please send me an email to remind me to send you pictures, it will be my pleasure! Also please send my best regards and tremendous thank you's to Nadya for all her help!
Jan. 13, 2006 "Costa Rica Expeditions provides flawless service."
The trip was excellent in every way. Costa Rica Expeditions provides flawless service; the members of our group have learned this from several previous trips with your company. I know we will return - there is much more to see and experience in Costa Rica. We have all fallen in love with the entire country, the people like you are what makes it special. I have advised some friends that are planning a trip to Costa Rica this year to contact you. I have sent a few of my pictures from our recent trip. Thanks for everything.
Anne and Bruce Cusic
Jan. 11, 2006 “I would highly recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to anyone.”
Feliz año nuevo! I just wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed our trip. The accommodations you selected were all excellent and the service provided by all of the guides and drivers was wonderful; always prompt, courteous, friendly and informative! The combination of activities and places of interest was perfect. I would highly recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to anyone planning a trip in your beautiful country. Next time we visit, we will be sure to call upon your services again! Muchas gracias para todo! Pura vida.
Jan. 10, 2006 "Best family vacation ever!"
Dear Nadya: Both the Suechting and the Swimely families had a fabulous visit. Remember the Swimely family? You put it together in November for a week with private drivers and surfing sites. Well, they had the best family vacation ever, he tells me. What a success!!!
Katey Hartwell, Connoisseur's Travel, Chicago, IL.
Jan. 9, 2006 “A magnificent itinerary.”
Hello Ms. Alpizar: Yes, our family made it safely back to West Palm Beach, after a wonderful, relaxing and stimulating trip to your beautiful country. I want to thank you and your colleagues for co-coordinating a magnificent itinerary. Your attention to every detail was impressive and I will not hesitate to recommend your company to friends and family who are contemplating a visit (as did my co-workers).
Sofia Cordero was always cheerful, extraordinarily helpful and very knowledgeable. We were lucky to have such a delightful and poised young woman as our naturalist guide, and your company is fortunate to have her services. Carlos was a reliable, accommodating and competent driver
I also want to thank your company for your departure gift, an appreciated reminder of the natural beauty that we experienced last week. Pura Vida!
Jan. 7, 2006 "You are a true example of professionalism at its best."
We had a wonderfully magic trip & were impressed with every part of our experience with your company. You are a true example of professionalism at its best. Thank you! We will be back & will hire you again to guide us through the most beautiful paradise of Costa Rica.
Rebecca and Jorge Munoz
Jan. 7, 2006 “We had an amazing experience.”
Dear Mrs. Alpizar: We had an amazing experience. Every tour guide, driver, hotel and tour company your company provided did an outstanding job. I'm convinced our trip would not have been nearly as enjoyable if they had not been as well informed and professional as they were. We were particularly thrilled to not have to drive anywhere. We probably would not have made it to half of the destinations if we had had to drive ourselves.
I will have my sister, Denise Himelhoch, and our business partners, Rick & Jill Goldberg, contact you to set up trips in the near future. Thank you for the beautiful bowl and the wonderful job you and your entire company did making our stay unforgettable.
Jan. 4, 2006 ''Guides and staff were uniformly knowledgeable, flexible and easy to be with.''
Thank you for helping to create a terrific vacation for us. We had a great time! The various guides and staff were uniformly knowledgeable, flexible and easy to be with. The food was fabulous and most of the accommodations were also wonderful. The rafting was a big highlight!! To be honest, the Casa Turire was great, but their web site says they have tennis courts (which they do not). Also, though we had fun horseback riding and wandering around and loved the Hidalgo hot springs, too many clouds to ever see the volcano. Volcano Lodge was a little dirty and the food not too good. Loved Monteverde and wish we had a few more days at Manuel Antonio. Might I recommend a new informal restaurant in Monteverde called Dulce Marzo (near Moon Shiva restaurant) and a restaurant up the road from Si Como No, called El Avion.
Jan. 3, 2006 ''A vacation our family will remember for the rest of our lives.''
Thank you for your email--I was planning to write you this week about the fantastic vacation we spent in Costa Rica, not least due to the careful and patient planning of Nadya Shaw, and your wonderful guides and staff we met along the way. Nadya did a tremendous job pulling together--at a very busy time of year--a trip based on a few suggestions from us about what we'd like to do. The result was a vacation our family will remember for the rest of our lives--and a keen desire by all of us to return as soon as possible to Costa Rica.
Especially impressive were all the connections, buses, guides, drivers, etc. who made what could have been a daunting itinerary very easy. We were traveling with a four-year-old, and I especially was nervous about all the places we were going to pack in during out 10-day-stay. As it turned out, it all went smoothly--and Nadya and her team anticipated all our concerns and needs, such as confirming our return flights, ensuring we got to places on time, etc.
Our guide in the cloud forest--Olman--enchanted us with his good manners and vast knowledge. The places we stayed were breathtaking, and when some problems did arise at our rainforest house (such as the hot water heater breaking), Nadya responded quickly and everything was resolved fairly and in a friendly manner. We also appreciated her willingness and ability to secure some of our party a last-minute hotel room at the Marriott when we decided the cloud forest leg of our journey was going to be too much for our smallest traveler.
I will recommend your company to my friends who, after hearing of our adventures, are now keen to visit Costa Rica themselves. My father, who is a Canadian journalist, will also be writing a (positive!) column about our trip, and I'll be sure to forward it when it is published. His only disappointment was not being able to go on a zip-line--we were all less disappointed, as he is 78.
Jan. 3, 2006 ''Our experience with your company is outstanding.''
It has been nearly a week now since my son and I returned from Costa Rica. I rave to everyone about our wonderful trip and the excellent tour operator who planned and carried it out for us.
I had dreamed of visiting Costa Rica for many years and now that I've experienced its beautiful landscapes and gracious people, I can't wait to return. Working with Herrol Mora was a pleasure. I think we finalized the custom itinerary and cost with just two e-mails. The trip was an excellent sampler of different experiences for first-time travelers to Costa Rica and for a 10-year-old boy on his first international journey. The guides were friendly, well-informed and a pleasure to converse with. The drivers were punctual and I felt safe riding with them. All of the hotels were wonderful. When I return to Costa Rica however, I would prefer to stay closer to San Jose's downtown; it felt very isolated out in Escazu at the San Gildar.
There was just one small hitch during the ten-day trip. On the evening we visited the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs, the driver first took us to Tabacon Hot Springs and insisted we were at the right place. The Tabacon staff quickly figured out, after the driver had left, that we were not at the correct place. They called a taxi for us, and we did finally arrive at the Hidalgo Family's hot springs. I don't know what happened; I had shown our Costa Rica Expeditions voucher for the evening to the clerk at Volcano Lodge, who told us to get on that van and I also showed the voucher to the van driver. Anyway, the gentleman at the Hidalgo's did call Sunset Tours to pick us up and return us to our lodge after a very pleasant evening at the hot springs.
I have worked for many years in the travel industry myself, and our experience with your company is outstanding. I will recommend Costa Rica Expeditions without reservation to those who want services such as those you provide. Once I have my photos developed, I will gladly forward electronic files to you for your use, providing I have any that are good enough. I know that client photos are invaluable to a travel company. Thank you once again for such a smooth, wonderful, hospitable trip to Costa Rica!
P.S. One of my colleagues at the school where I work also traveled with your company to Costa Rica this past holiday. She said they think Costa Rica Expeditions is outstanding as well!
Jan. 2, 2006 “Ecotermales Hidalgo was incredible.”
Prospero Año Nuevo, Priscilla: I'm sorry we didn't get to meet you. Perhaps next time. I'm assuming the key to #33 Capitan Suizo was found and returned. Sorry for the bother. Marvin was so efficient at getting us out of there that we all forgot. What we really liked:
1. Arenal--we had a guide, Johnny, at Puentes Naturales. University trained. Best young guide we met. I don't know if you (CRE) have a choice of guides or not. Ecotermales Hidalgo was incredible. We were the only ones for dinner and got to hear quite a few Hidalgo family stories. We also did Arenal zip lines. I suspect one of the better zip lines in the country according to other people we met. Our driver Marvin was excellent. You probably know this joke: How do you tell a drunk driver in CR? S/he's the one driving straight. Needless to say, you were right about the roads.
2. Drake bay--Brad is a wonderful fellow. We liked supporting his enterprise. Photos of fishing will hopefully be forwarded to you. Fishing boys Willie and Dede great. We had a deal that we would only speak Spanish except in emergency--like when the big fish were on. If you have never gone out to see the birds and dolphins, that is almost as wonderful in itself as the fishing. Don Carlos and Antonio, their naturalist guides, are phenomenal. Carlos knows 400 bird and animal calls. His howler monkey is a favorite, of course. The white faced monkeys stole sugar out of our cups at 5AM.
3. Tent camp--If I only had time for one and could afford it, I'd return to Aguila de Osa Inn. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed the tent camp. Waves were excellent. Wildlife came through. Guides Luis and Pablo, though not as experienced as those above, worked really hard. We found the park to be more interesting at Pedrillo--the paths went up into the primary forest more and, of course, there is that nice waterfall. Edgar is doing a good job. Food understandably not as good as Aguila de Osa Inn, but obviously, much more remote. They prepared turkey for us on x-mas eve which was REALLY GOOD.
4. Thanks for recommending the Grano de Oro Hotel.
5. Tamarindo would be #4 on our list. Development gone loco, no? Que lastima. But, we were glad we went there 1st and not last. Capitan Suizo Hotel really nice. We went elsewhere for food as prices pretty high.
All our transfers were perfectly timed. You guys do a maximo job. We are already talking CRE and CR up to our friends.
We went to 4 PM Mass at the Cathedral on Christmas. We are not catholic. We were made to feel totally at home. You have a great country!!
Jan. 1, 2006 "Your choices for us were excellent."
We want to let you know that we enjoyed our visit tremendously. You live in a beautiful country, and we found everyone to be friendly and helpful. The Costa Rica Expeditions staff without exception was great, and our entire trip went smoothly without any problems. Your choices for us were excellent, and there is not much, if anything, which we would change if we were going to make the same visit again. Our package of materials contained a survey form, which we will fill out and get back to you. Now we are back to cold and winter weather as well as work, school and chores. But we have some great memories of our visit. Thank you so much again.
Janice, Richard and Amanda