Dec. 20, 2008 “Costa Rica Expeditions is a first class operation.”
Michael & Natalie: Our experience with Costa Rica Expeditions was wonderful. Marcos was very patient and helpful when my friend and I were deciding on where we wanted to stay in Tortuguero and with which organization we wanted to connect with (the rest of the trip was done on our own). The staff at the Lodge was incredible as was the food and service. The "guides in training" and the guide who picked us up at our hotel in San Jose were great and fun! We were happy to note that the staff is treated well, which obviously translates to the service they provide their customers. I've already told folks about your organization and will continue to refer people, as Costa Rica Expeditions is a first class operation. Thanks for helping to make our stay in Costa Rica memorable!
Dec. 16, 2008 “Your guides and staff were always very helpful, courteous and reliable.”
Hello Luis: Thank you for the follow-up. We arrived home Monday night after a good flight with only a short delay in Houston due to weather. Dani and I very much enjoyed our visit to Costa Rica. We had no problems during our trip and the service provided by Costa Rica Expeditions was excellent. Your guides and staff were always very helpful, courteous and reliable. We hope to use your services again and will enthusiastically recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to our friends.
Dec. 2, 2008 “If the service that you gave us is typical of what Costa Rica Expeditions offers its clients, it is no wonder that your company has such a great reputation.”
Dear Luis: Thank you for the luxurious surprise spa treatments at the Lost Iguana Hotel. They did a great job making us feel spoiled and rejuvenated. You were very kind to think of doing this for us. We had the most awesome time in Costa Rica. The welcome dinner was one of the big favorites for all of us. You were so nice to get everyone there together for that and to take us to La Casita Azul with such delicious food and atmosphere. Since Randy and I were part of a big company, we know how hard it is to add to your schedule the dinners and such that are fun but require additional time and energy.
Being with Diego Blanco every day was the very best part of the trip. He has a winning personality and the ability to share tons of information without ever lecturing! All of the plans you made worked really well and Diego's genuine love of the country kept us interested in everything. It is hard to believe that we saw so many amazing insects, birds, fish, plants, and other animals in one week. Our children were also very appreciative of having everything carefully arranged for our pleasure and convenience. Marco was probably the best driver I've ever seen and we never had any concerns about being in good hands.
Various family members will soon be sorting through their photos and sending them my way. Before long you'll have more than you want to see. The short video clips my older son Randall put together showing the "bug lady" night tour at La Paloma along with my son-in-law Marcus's interpretation are going to be something you and your company would have great fun viewing at your company's next team meeting. Everyone who watches it will have to be sworn to secrecy because it might look like we are making fun of the lady but we would not want the her to change anything about her interesting event. The video is so funny.
If the service that you gave us is typical of what Costa Rica Expeditions offers its clients, it is no wonder that your company has such a great reputation. We appreciate all that you did to make memories for a lifetime.
Helen, Lafayette, LA
Sep. 3, 2008 “Vehicles and lodges were spotless. Staff was professional; punctual, knowledgeable, friendly, and clearly proud of their beautiful country.”
Thanks for your note. It was a great experience and I'd like to think I am still getting "legendary service" from Jeffrey Vargas even after we've returned home. Small things can make a big impact. I have no reservations recommending Costa Rica as a destination and your company as a great way to maximize the wonderful opportunity to experience exciting new things, and to ensure value for time and money. Vehicles and lodges were spotless. Staff was professional; punctual, knowledgeable, friendly, and clearly proud of their beautiful country. Having drivers allowed my wife and I to relax and enjoy the countryside as we moved from location to location, much more enjoyable than renting a car. CRE is wise to ask for feedback with your survey as I believe your commitment to continual improvement and, in my book, you earned the right to ask for referrals. Well done.
Aug. 21, 2008 “We had a fabulous time in your country thanks to perfect planning.”
We had a fabulous time in your country thanks to perfect planning by Jeffrey Vargas. The diving was awesome -- we managed to persuade the dive shop to take us to Islas Murcielagos and we saw manta-rays on both dives and my son saw a bull shark. Impressive stuff. A few specific points:
1. I asked Jeff to pitch the quality of hotels to be comfortable enough for me and my fiancée but not too flashy for the boys. He got it exactly right. All the hotels were good, with no disappointments. Of course the Monteverde Lodge and Grano de Oro are fabulous.
2. Plenty of action. Plenty. Great. (Jeff, we paid for 4 divers in Ocotal, but only 3 of us dive. I must have forgotten to mention it to you. Dive shop said you would have to deal with it if anything. Not a big deal). Lots of transfers and details, all worked perfectly.
3. Overall we were very impressed with the balance of eco-tourism in CR. We would definitely recommend you guys to friends. Thanks for everything.
Aug. 19, 2008 Pacuare Connoisseur Rafting: “The organization of the entire trip was amazing and super smooth.''
Paula: I just returned last night and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed my trip to Costa Rica. The rafting in particular was amazing and I all the guides (Abel, Eduardo, etc.) were really, really top notch. I loved it! I am not sure whether you find this helpful but since I study marketing for a living I was thinking about the way I remembered the two tours (the regular one and the connoisseur) being described.
In my memory, the “white glove service” you described stood out but was not something that I particularly cared for and in fact sounded a bit too elitist for me. What I would have cared for a lot (and what would have made me choose your more exclusive tour in hindsight) was the large number of rafts that these other companies are using as opposed to our 1 raft (or max of 3). That made a BIG difference I thought. I now see that it's something you mention on your web page, but it did not really feature prominently enough in my decision (or maybe it's an attribute that is hard to understand before having participated in a trip). Anyway, I thought I would share this with you in case you find it helpful. Also, the organization of the entire trip was amazing and super smooth. I was very impressed (and I am originally from Germany where we pride ourselves in efficient organization :-))) Thanks again for a wonderful time. I am sure I will be back in the future to see all the things I did not have time for this time.
Aug. 11, 2008 “…professional advice was the key to having such a great vacation.”
Hi Michael and Natalie: Please thank Ms. Eva Ros for the extraordinary service she provided. Her informative, kind and professional advice was the key to having such a great vacation in CR. Thank you again.
Jul. 29, 2008 “Thank you for running such a competent company in a beautiful country.”
I have been busy with regular life and have failed to let you know about our wonderful trip. I tell everyone that we found a "Slice of Heaven." Donna and I made a friend and were so well taken care of by Mauricio Quiros. He treated us with the most care, along with other staff of Costa Rica Expeditions. We really enjoyed having our own room some of the time - this made the bathroom so much easier for two ladies! We do hope to return some day and are presently showing our pictures to all who will listen. We enjoyed the country and the gracious people. We recognize how important the rainforest is to the whole world and its future. Also the food at each of the stops was superb and Mauricio knew the best on the menu! Thank you for running such a competent company in a beautiful country.
Eloise Downs, MO
Jul. 29, 2008 “The hotels were first class, the food was excellent and the sites and activities were also memorable.”
Our nine-day vacation to CR was a marvelous experience for myself and my family. The hotels were first class, the food was excellent and the sites and activities, which were planned for us, were also memorable. Max, our driver did a fantastic job considering the road and traffic conditions. As for our guide, Miguel Marin, he was a true and very knowledgeable professional. He took care of us - helped us, guided us, and educated us thoroughly about all the facets of ecology and about Costa Rica. Everyone of us left feeling it was a great trip well worth the money. We left tired but happy. Thank you very much for all your organization did for us.
P.S. It will be a pleasure to recommend you to our friends. We have hundreds of pictures to prove it.
Jul. 28, 2008 “The trip was wonderful in every way.”
Our CR trip was absolutely fabulous!!! Costa Rica Expeditions is a great organization and I would definitely use them again… This was pretty much a wilderness experience as we spent 7 of the 8 days in rainforest, mountains that go right up to the Pacific Ocean, and river rafting on the Pacuare River (Class 3 rapids - just WILD, exhilarating!). We were with a nice group of 11 people, including two friends. The whole time we were with our naturalist guide, Luis Torres and our driver, Fernando. Both were great.
Luis is super smart and knows so much about the birds (we saw 14 types of hummingbirds, macaws, ketzals etc.), mammals (howler monkeys and spider monkeys, tapir, ant eaters, etc.), landscape, CR, in general, and has been a naturalist guide with CR Expeditions for 22 years. I love Costa Rica. It is so beautiful. The trip was wonderful in every way. We were pushed to our physical limits - this was not easy but it felt great to be able to do it. Lots of great hiking.
Jul. 28, 2008 “Our family had an unforgettable experience at Tortuga Lodge.”
Thank you Michael and Natalie: Our family had an unforgettable experience at Tortuga Lodge. We were extremely impressed with the quality and the service but most of all, with how friendly and personable your staff is. Our children told us that of the four places we went in Costa Rica, they liked Tortuga Lodge the best and they want to go back to visit their "friends." I can assure you that we will recommend your wonderful accommodation to anyone traveling to Costa Rica. Once we have time to review our photos, we will e-mail the ones from Tortuga Lodge. Thank you again and we hope to return for a visit again someday.
P.S. Lily Ulate, who looked after the booking of our trip, was exceptional and very patient with all of my questions and requests. Please thank her for us.
Jul. 10, 2008 “I shall never forget the wonder and beauty of this entire experience and the generosity of heart and beautiful natures of those who made it possible.”
I truly do not know where to start to thank you for the fantastic trip you planned for our little group of three. There is no doubt that we were treated royally and were made to feel so special that all of the team who made this trip possible are to be commended for a job exceptionally well done. I have recommended the same trip to all of my six children and their families. They all would absolutely love it! There is nothing that I did on this trip that my children, their spouses and the grandchildren could not do - with one exception. My daughter Annie is expecting a child in December so she has booked me to accompany her on this very trip seven years from now. The other nine grandchildren range in age from 6 - almost 18.
Sofia Cordero is a most amazing young woman - wise beyond her years. She is so knowledgeable about everything that we feel like we were privileged to get a course in Costa Rican history, architecture, topography, culture, flora, and fauna - all in six days, and while having enormous fun and feeling pampered at the same time. (It doesn't get any better.) Sofia is also an amazing psychologist. This young girl was dealing with a number of factors which would have made "Dr. Phil" cry. I had no idea that Mercedes' sister, Helga, had any restrictions as to her activities. But Helga is recovering from cancer and was either limited in what she could do, or was afraid to try something. Sofia always managed to make Helga feel extremely comfortable, not the least bit awkward, found an alternative for her, or encouraged her to participate if Sofia felt it was something Helga could possibly handle.
The turtle mating, turtle egg-laying, botanical tour of the Tortuga lodge gardens, river tour through the rainforest were all perfect for Helga. She could not do the white-water rafting, so Jonathan took care of her while the rest of us did it - they met up with us at the picnic area - a picnic we all adored! Helga did take a chance on the kayaking and although she couldn't do the zip-lines, Sofia saw to it that she had a ride in the gondola through the rainforest.
I am also very grateful for the multiple trips to the airport to pick up Helga due to her not having the yellow fever shot and missing her original flight. Sofia was also so very sweet to both Mercedes and me - she is the epitome of patience. Never once did she make us feel like we had to hurry. The words "Don't worry, be happy!" come to mind when I see Sofia waiting for us at the van with Jonathan. She was like a little guardian angel - always watching out for us and our welfare. One funny example of this was on our second night at Tortuga Lodge, there was a huge cicada on my window making that amazingly loud sound. Although she was in the building next to us (and on the second level), she heard the cicada and decided to check it out. Seeing that is was on my screen (love the no windows), she gently picked it up and put it back in the woods. I heard her and was able to thank her for allowing me to get to sleep. I also love the fact that no one would kill anything - not even a fly.
Then there is Jonathan - a perfect gentleman. He was always on time, the van was always spotless and thoughtfully provisioned (bottled water always available); we were never allowed to lift anything, he always stayed with the van so we never worried for a second that anything might go missing, he was always there to let us get "just one more thing" from our bags (about 100 times). Keeping the van clean was an extraordinary feat considering all the snacks we ate, water we drank, and the picnic lunch we ate while driving to the zip-line park. But somehow, during the time we'd leave the van and return - it was as if Mr. Clean appeared miraculously. Again, he made us feel very safe and secure and he was a fabulous driver. The last day, just after we did the zip-lining and were headed to the airport, there was a terrible rain storm. Normally, we would have been nervous wrecks because we passed two horrible accidents - overturned truck and overturned bus. But Jonathan drove so carefully that we all just relaxed - and got to the airport in plenty of time for our flight.
Abel Vargas could not have been a more perfect guide for our little group - I realize that now even more so after looking closely at all the photos, which Mauricio took. Aside from having a wonderful personality, Abel was an amazing rafting guide. He worked so hard that I believe I could say he was not only doing all the work, but he was quietly correcting what little paddling Mercedes and I were attempting to do, often not even doing it "together". That whole day trip was fantastic and the lunch was truly memorable. Abel is also to be commended (or committed) for his sticking with the van until the end. Driving home from Pejibaye, it started to rain and we got caught in traffic due to a fatal car accident. This extended the ride by at least 1 ½ hours. Sofia thoughtfully called ahead to the Finca Rosa Blanca to change our dinner reservation so we were fine about it all. Having passed through the town that Abel lives in on the way to the river that morning, we suggested that he be dropped off at his home rather than go back to San Jose and then have to drive home so late. He wouldn't hear of it and insisted that he see us back to the hotel. I believe almost anyone else would have grabbed at the chance to get home at a decent hour and not at a terribly late hour (only to have another trip the next day). Abel's kayaking guide, Alejandro Contreras, was also wonderful. I believe he is trying out for the Olympics being held this August in Beijing. I asked him to please let me know if he makes the team because I would like him to meet my son - Jim Bell - who will be producing NBC's Today Show daily from Beijing. Perhaps we can arrange an interview with him. I renew that request here and would seriously like for him to contact me at any of my coordinates below to advise on the results of his try-out.
Don (Fernando Estrada), our personal boat captain just radiated confidence. He was so clever at spotting all the animals in the forest, had lots of patience waiting for us to take photos, was very kind and gentle - sensitive to my somewhat bad hip every time I had to get in or out of the various boats or kayak. His narrative on the turtle egg-laying was incredible. You can see how much the Costa Ricans wish to protect "their" turtles and are justifiably very proud of their ecological accomplishments to date. What a wonderfully worthy endeavor! The Costa Ricans are years ahead of the USA and anyone else I know of in the matter of environmental sensitivity - we all can learn a lot from Costa Rica.
Walter, our personal waiter, took amazing care of us. Helga is a vegetarian so Walter made sure she was aware of the contents of every dish on the table. Because she doesn't eat a great quantity, we were all able to try her dishes. The food at the Tortuga Lodge was absolutely gourmet. I had no idea what to expect - but certainly did not anticipate eating like a king (queen) as we did. Four courses at every meal - oh, dear! Of course we couldn't waste any of it. When I get a list together, I'd like to request some of the recipes.
I could go on and on about all the others at the lodge who were so polite, friendly, helpful. They really work as a team - none of that "That's not my job", or "That's not my table", etc. I really feel like they were part of my family and I was a part of theirs. We were warned in the beginning that we would be "at the mercy of Mother Nature". However, we simply lucked out and the weather never once interfered with any scheduled activity. I absolutely loved all the "surprises" - picnic at the Pejibaye River, Prosecco compliments of Michael, second go at the turtle egg-laying, and the pièce-de-résistance - the utterly magnificent dinner on the promontory. Completely indescribable! Greetings with piña coladas at the dock, magic lanterns hanging from every tree limb, hors-d'oeuvres at one table, dinner at another and kicked off with a fantastic creation of a Caesar salad by Walter, skewers of grilled beef, pork, shrimp, scallops, and vegetables, roasted potatoes and yucca served by Walter, Louis and Dona Gloria, and all topped off by another fantastic creation of Bananas Foster - again by Walter. I shall never forget the wonder and beauty of this entire experience and the generosity of heart and beautiful natures of those who made it possible and thus contributed to an indelible memory I shall carry for the rest of my life. Thank you for this dream come true. Pura vida forever!
Rosemary Bell, FL
Jul. 4, 2008 “Your staff and facilities were excellent.”
Appreciate your follow-up. First, let me complement you on your service and staff. From our initial internet contact to scheduling the tour to being dropped off at our hotel after the tour, your staff and facilities were excellent. Being a retired small business owner, I can certainly appreciate the quality of the staff that you employ... people are the key to the success of any business and you have certainly done well in this area!
We are still mentally processing the highlights of our trip (2 weeks) but the Monteverde Cloud Forest portion is something to be remembered. My wife is already looking at your website in anticipation of another trip!
We have a lot of photos (but I don't think you want all 600!) As we go through them I may occasionally send you a few. Here's one that - although not of the Cloud Forest - is certainly worth putting on a website, and you do list a tour to Parque Nacional Volcan Poas. I am highly prejudiced but I think this is a great shot. Thanks again for a great tour and we will definitely be using you on future trips!
Jul. 1, 2008 “…the trip exceeded every expectation. I simply have never met a friendlier, more reliable bunch than the Costa Rica Expeditions folks.”
Hi Luis: I just wanted to thank you and share the wonderful letter that I received from my client about his recent trip. Thank you for keeping in touch when I was worried about the weather and thank you for taking such good care of my clients. I will always use you in the future…you made me look like a star! -Cornelia
"Cindy is right… the trip exceeded every expectation. I simply have never met a friendlier, more reliable bunch than the Costa Rica Expeditions folks. They were prompt, courteous and professional, and every one of them clearly has an appreciation for their surroundings that we Americans sadly lack. The country is magnificent… and so different from place to place. All of the guides were terrific, but our favorite was the one who led us down the Pacuare River. He was incredible.
The only remotely unpleasant part of the trip is the city of San Jose. While the hotel (Grano de Oro) was fabulous, the city itself is dirty and a bit scary. We didn't feel safe outside the hotel at all. But again, the hotel is incredible.
Punta Islita is downright phenomenal. The setting was truly spectacular. Of course, you could say the same about Arenal and Tortuguero too. And don't worry about the weather. The only hiccup was that it caused us to have to take a van from Tortuguero to Arenal, instead of the puddle-jumper. Yep, we had a blast - all four of us. What a terrific trip. Thanks very much to you and Luis Cubero for making this the trip of a lifetime. -Tom"
Cornelia Crawford, Travel Experts, TN
May. 30, 2008 “We were very, very impressed with CRE's level of organization and punctuality.”
Dear Priscilla (and Michael and Natalie): Ann and I want to thank everyone at Costa Rica Expeditions for a simply wonderful trip. We had only two regrets - that we didn't get to Costa Rica sooner and that we didn't stay longer. I've already recommended Costa Rica Expeditions to several friends who are considering a vacation there. I just can't say enough about how pleased we were with your operation. Here are a few random thoughts I thought you would like to hear.
1. We were very, very impressed with CRE's level of organization and punctuality. Every time we were told a driver would pick us up at a given time, it happened right on time. From the moment we arrived at the airport to the moment we were dropped back off there a week later, everything on the trip went without a hitch. Every tour guide was at the right place on time and expecting us. Every hotel booking was made perfectly. I don't think I've ever had a vacation go so smoothly.
I really want to commend you, Priscilla, on one point. I had a moment of panic on the plane down when I realized that I had never specifically asked about the size of the tours and told you what I wanted. Ann and I both HATE being in large crowds or being herded onto buses to go from one place to the next in a group. Turns out I didn't have to worry at all. Everything you arranged for us was essentially just for the two of us. Thank you for that. Perfect!
2. A very special thanks to Miguel and Vincent! It was great to have Miguel along to identify so many birds and animals we saw along our drives. He's very knowledgeable and sharp-eyed. Vincent gave Ann a great surprise toward the end of the week with a side trip to see some macaws and monkeys. He's also a very careful driver. Even though we both take New York City taxicabs daily, Ann is very sensitive to drivers who sometimes go too fast and make her feel unsafe, but that NEVER happened with Vincent at the wheel. They were both great guys.
3. The Arenal Nayara Hotel and Gardens is simply lovely. We both were very pleasantly surprised at the level of luxury and service. We weren't expecting so much. That was a nice treat. We even got to see the entire volcano a few times when the clouds lifted. We didn't see much at the Hanging Bridges (even our guide was disappointed), but it was a beautiful walk on a beautiful morning. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain the entire time we were at Ecotermales, but we still had a good time. There is one thing I would recommend you change here, though: We were dropped off about 5:30 p.m., and the driver told us he was scheduled to return at 9 p.m. That's just too much time. There's no way you can spend that long at Ecotermales, even with dinner and drinks. Luckily, the young man at the front desk there was able to call Sunset Tours and have a driver return at 7:30 p.m. That was perfect.
4. Loved the boat trip across Arenal Lake. Even though the boat driver (Wilson?) said he didn't speak much English, we talked about how much we love bird-watching, and he took us to several spots along the lake where we some some exotic birds. Much fun for about half an hour.
5. Monteverde was special. Our guide in the cloud forest-Eliamar Rojas Cespedes-was informative and knowledgeable and a nice guy. On his tour we even saw five(!!) Quetzals. I had always assumed the Quetzal was a legend that Costa Ricans told to tourists to keep them coming. Then we saw two females and three males. Boy was I wrong! On a sad note, we were very distressed to see that shopping mall being built in Santa Elena across from the Monteverde Lodge. I know that tourism spurs development, but that just seems unfortunate. One other note about Monteverde: the one part if our itinerary that I wasn't really looking forward to was the El Trapiche tour. It just didn't sound that interesting, and to top it off it was raining like I've never seen rain that afternoon. Just a torrential downpour. Well, I was wrong and you were right. We found the tour very, very interesting and quite fun, even though we spent some hours walking around in the pouring rain. Diego is even something of a comedian. When we got back to the Monteverde Lodge, Ann and I blurted out at the same moment how much we enjoyed El Trapiche. So thanks for a pleasant surprise!
6. Here's one last thought you might consider. The pre-trip information you sent was very helpful, including the little treatise on tipping. One thing I really, really wished I had done before the trip was to go to a U.S. bank and get a lot of money in small bills ($1s or $5s) for tips. We arrived in Costa Rica with a lot of $20 bills and nothing else. No one at any hotel or in several shops those first days was ever able to make change, either in dollars or colones. It wasn't until our third day that I was able to get to a bank to get a bunch of $1000 colone notes. It's not a big deal, but you might want to recommend that people arrive with denominations of money smaller than $20 bills.
Finally, Costa Rica wins hands down over the Caribbean on two other fronts. Everyone we met was friendly and helpful. Costa Ricans seem genuinely and justifiably proud of their country, and glad to show it off to tourists. Second, the food was universally terrific. We didn't have a bad meal there. So fresh! So thanks again for a wonderful trip. You can be sure we'll recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to our friends.
Jackson & Ann Dykman
May. 7, 2008 “Your country has to be one of the most magnificent places on earth!”
Hi Jeff: I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciated your assistance on our Costa Rica trip. Your knowledge, accessibility and personalized service really made for an outstanding trip. We loved Tortuguero and Monteverde Lodges as well as the gorgeous resort while staying in Arenal. The guides were extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. The food was great and your country has to be one of the most magnificent places on earth! Thank you again for a fabulous and memorable trip!
Apr. 21, 2008 “Every single reservation you made for a driver, hotel, or tour was perfect.”
Hello Luis and the rest of you at Costa Rica Expiditons: I wanted to thank you all for all the hard work you put into making us the perfect vacation. We returned home Wednesday the 16th and still cannot believe that only a few days ago we were rafting down the Pacure River. We had been referred to Costa Rica Expeditions from a friend who traveled with you about a year ago. It was a leap of faith putting all of our travel plans into the hands of someone else, but you far exceeded our expectations and we would recommend you to anyone we know traveling to Costa Rica.
From the moment we landed we were greeted by one of your representatives who directed us through the airport to where the driver met us holding a sign with our names. That was such a reassuring moment for us that everything was going to be alright and we could just relax and enjoy our vacation. The drivers throughout the trip were so nice and accommodating and we never once got lost or had any car trouble which was very surprising considering the conditions of the dirt roads and the lack of any road signs.
We were so impressed that throughout our 10-day trip traveling through many cities and hotels, every single reservation you made for a driver, hotel, or tour group was perfect. We never once had a problem with any reservation and everyone was always on time to pick us up. The voucher book made payment so easy. We never worried if we were being overcharged or worried about traveling with lots of money on us. Having the vouchers allowed us to just enjoy the experience and not worry about the cost.
The itinerary Luis put together was absolutely perfect for us. We really liked having full days at the beginning. A tour in the morning and then one in the afternoon made us feel like we got to see a lot more and did not waste any time. After hearing from other tourists about some of the very long car rides they took between Monteverde and Arenal, and from Arenal to Manuel Antonio, we were very happy Luis had instead reserved the boat ferry across Arenal Lake and the private flight to Manuel Antonio - which for me was one the highlights of the trip.
There was not one tour or activity that we did that I would not suggest to someone else - everything was great. What I would suggest, is you push the overnight trip on the Pacure River. The rafting part was lots of fun and the guides were great, but the best part was the family lodge where we stayed overnight. What a surprise! After rafting hours down the river, stopping to swim in waterfalls, we pulled our boat ashore at what turned out to be a heavenly paradise in the middle of the forest. The rooms were so beautiful, the family was so nice, it was our favorite part of our trip and a perfect way to end a wonderful trip.
Adam & Jessica Blatt
Apr. 6, 2008 “This was the first time we used a vacation planner, and it was a wonderful experience.”
Lily Ulate and all at CRE: Thanks for a wonderful vacation. As I told Lily when we spoke during the visit, all of your arrangements were first-rate, well organized, timely and fun. We are especially appreciative of the well-informed guides, and courteous and helpful drivers. I filled out the questionnaires for CRE, Tortuga Lodge and Monteverde Lodge, and noted our appreciation there as well.
Lily, your choices were all wonderful. This was the first time we used a vacation planner, and it was a wonderful experience. We are recommending you and CRE to all of our friends. I look forward to our next visit to Costa Rica and will certainly contact you.
Jeff & Jan
Apr. 6, 2008 “Our accommodations were wonderful at each location.”
Jose Huertas: We just got back home last night from our week-long trip to your beautiful country. We had a wonderful time, all due to the expert guidance we received from Costa Rica Expeditions. From beginning to end, every step of our trip was thoroughly taken care of. Our transfers were always punctual, and our guides were all very knowledgeable and friendly. Our accommodations were wonderful at each location, but we especially enjoyed the luxurious El Parador and its "million dollar" view. We really felt like we went out with a bang! With all of this said, however, the best money we spent the whole week was the money we spent to fly from Quepos to SJO. The flight was only 20 minutes from runway to runway, saved us a 5 hour drive, and also was a great way to see a big overview of Costa Rica. Thank you Jose for suggesting that!
Our teenage son is a big birder, and he came home with 120 new birds for his life list. We can begin to thank you enough for your help in planning such a great trip. Also, please pass this along to our wonderful guides, Alberto, Miguel and Roy. They were awesome!
Apr. 4, 2008 “You are nothing less than a first class operation.”
My wife and I just returned from Costa Rica yesterday...You are nothing less than a first class operation. Every one of your staff was courteous, knowledgeable and squeaky clean. One of our guides, Federico Alban, stood out as a star. We had him one day in San Jose, visiting a coffee plantation and La Paz Waterfalls. We were delighted when we met up with him again for three days on our Arenal Volcano tour. His driver, Melvin, was excellent, too. Rest assured that we will use Costa Rica Expeditions again. Because of our delightful experience, we are considering a repeat trip next year.
Jim & Eileen Thompson
Mar. 25, 2008 Ultimate Costa Rica Adventure: “My expectations were exceeded in every possible way.”
Dear Michael: As a Human Resource Manager I know how often we hear negative things as opposed to positive ones so I felt compelled to write about the trip I just returned from with your company. I found out about CRE through an article last fall in the National Geographic Adventure Magazine in which is mentioned this trip (Ultimate Costa Rica Adventure) as one of the 10 best for 2007. I had never really thought much about visiting Costa Rica until then and was very intrigued by the agenda of the trip. I was not disappointed in the least; in fact my expectations were exceeded in every possible way. The accommodations were at some of the most scenic and least crowded places I have ever visited, the food fresh and delicious and all of our activities had every little detail taken care of. From being furnished with biking gloves for our rides to the wonderful lunch prepared by our river guides, it was truly amazing. I was particularly impressed with the eco consciousness of the company, from the oxi-degradable water bottles we received to all the places we visited, it is really inspiring and refreshing to see, especially when we are struggling here in the US just to get people to care in the smallest ways.
However, as we both know I am sure, all the best preparations can be quickly discounted if the guides are poor and that is the purpose of my letter. I have traveled on many organized trips round the world and have never come across better guides than I had on this trip. Roger Gomez was a fantastic driver who always made us feel safe, was always there for us on time, and always had a smile to share. Ricardo Jimenez was a pleasure to be around, always willing to help out and answer any questions we may have but by far the most important part of our trip was Alvaro Farias ("Natu"). Words cannot come close to fully expressing how much he meant to our whole group. His enthusiasm and love for nature, life and his country was truly contagious. I learned so much about Costa Rica in that one week from him that I ever could have from any book. He took such good care of us and anticipated our needs even before we knew of them. He was not only concerned for our safety but in making sure we had the most memorable trip of our lives, which I most certainly did. Coordination of all logistics and any little glitches in the plans, he handled with ease. His sense of humor, wonderful English skills, genuine love of people and nature has left me with something special, and a reminder of how amazing it is to feel so connected with people you just met in such a short time. He has a way of making people feel special with genuine sincerity, which is a rare gift in today’s world, and he touched all of us deeply. You are very lucky to have him as an employee; he is a huge asset to your company. We are already planning another trip for next year and will be requesting him since I cannot even imagine any other way of visiting Costa Rica than with him as our guide.
Carol Murin, IL
Mar. 24, 2008 “I will surely be visiting again next year!”
Hello Luis: I just wanted to thank you for all your help in setting up my trip, it was a wonderful, fantastic time and I will surely be visiting again next year! I would like to send a letter to Michael Kaye, what would be the best address to mail it to so that it will reach him? I also need to send a letter to Natu, and it will have a check enclosed as I was unable to properly tip him at the end of our trip. I want to make sure that he gets it. He gave us his address…Thank you so much for your help and I look forward to working with you again very soon!
Mar. 24, 2008 “Everything went off without a glitch!”
Just wanted to let you know that we had a great trip - and everything went off without a glitch!! All your drivers were great - on time, good English, great with kids, great tour guides! Will definitely recommend CRE to anyone - thanks for all your help!!
Mar. 24, 2008 “I can't think of one thing that went wrong the entire time.”
Dear Michael and Natalie: We just returned from a week-long trip (Monteverde, Arenal and Nosara) organized by Costa Rica Expeditions (Jose Huertas / Lily Ulate). My daughter and I had an excellent time. The hotels were excellent. The drivers to each place were on time, friendly and very helpful. The tours you arranged were excellent. I can't think of one thing that went wrong the entire time. When we go back to Costa Rica, I will definitely ask that you arrange the trip. It's a beautiful place. Costa Ricans are (and should be) very proud of their country.
Ricky & Lexi Takai
Mar. 20, 2008 “Thank You for helping me plan the most unbelievable trip!”
Hi Jeff: I just want to let you know that we had the most AMAZING trip! Your company is just absolutely fantastic – people are amazingly friendly, helpful, and alwayson time. We never thought twice about where we were going or how we were going to get there! And the places you picked for us were just incredible. Thank You Thank You Thank You for helping me plan the most unbelievable trip! We fell in love with Costa Rica!
Mar. 20, 2008 "You made our dream vacation a reality!"
Hi, Luis: I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you so very much for the wonderful job you and Costa Rica Expeditions did for us on our vacation. Everything CRE did was flawless. Even when our flight to San Jose arrived four hours late, CRE was there, smiling and friendly, to take us to our hotel at 1:00 a.m. Every pick-up was right on time, every CRE person we dealt with was professional and friendly, every place we stayed was top-notch. We were kept informed of our schedule in a timely and professional fashion, and didn’t have to worry about or plan getting from one place to another – just show up, relax, and enjoy the ride. We had hoped for a wonderful vacation but expected to need to exercise a lot of patience. Instead, we had a fabulous vacation where, instead, the CRE personnel showed infinite patience with us! I will tell anyone I know who wants to go to Costa Rica that they MUST do it through CRE. You made our dream vacation a reality!
Mar. 19, 2008 “The hotels and the tours/activities you scheduled for us were fabulous!”
Jeffrey: My family and I returned last night from our wonderful visit to Costa Rica thanks to Cost Rica Expeditions. We want to thank everyone at CRE for arranging for and ensuring that we had a safe, enjoyable and educational time in Costa Rica. The country is beautiful and the people are extremely friendly and gracious. The hotels and the tours/activities you scheduled for us were fabulous!
We unfortunately were delayed in our arrival by one day (due to our airline) and Alejandro at Costa Rica Expeditions was so accommodating and assuring in how he rescheduled our pickup time and a tour we were to have taken our first day. From our drivers, Julio and Leslie, as well as other drivers (whose names I wish I could recall), and all of our guides (including Jairo from Sunset Tours) everyone was extremely polite and helpful. Thanks, Jeffrey for arranging such a wonderful time for us!
Melanie J. Waldron
Mar. 9, 2008 “Our favorite place was Tortuguero: the lodge just super, nature in our room!”
The trip was wonderful! Luis Torres was great. A perfect guide. As birdwatchers we would have been lost without him. He finds them all, he knows them all! The driver, Ramon, great! A keen birdwatcher as well. He showed us many wonderful things. We saw them all: Potoo's, Mot mots, Kingfishers, Quetzals!
Our fellow travelers were all nice people. And of course there is Nadya: kind, helpful, prompt - she was the perfect planner. Our favorite place was Tortuguero: the lodge just super, nature in our room! The Howler Monkey! No cars! A free lunar eclipse (see pictures). Who arranged that? Nadya?
Roger & Jeannine
Mar. 4, 2008 “Costa Rica Expeditions did a fine job with our trip to Tortuguero.”
We had a lovely time in Costa Rica and certainly Costa Rica Expeditions did a fine job with our trip to Tortuguero. Guides were great, accommodations very comfortable, transport arranged perfectly and on time. We haven't had time to put our photos on our computer but if we have any fabulous ones, we'll be glad to send them along.
Mar. 4, 2008 “Mark, and I had a wonderful honeymoon in your beautiful county.”
Greetings from Friendship, Wisconsin! My husband, Mark, and I had a wonderful honeymoon in your beautiful county. We took many more pictures, but I wanted to share a few with you that other travelers would not have! I have many of the beach and many, many of Florblanca! What a beautiful place! Thanks so much for your contribution to our fabulous honeymoon/vacation. We will be back!
Mark & Patty Bula
Feb. 29, 2008 “I just wanted to tell you how pleased we were with your hotels and guides.”
We have just returned from a one-week Costa Rica Expeditions’ trip to Monteverde and Corcovado and I just wanted to tell you how pleased we were with your hotels and guides. They looked after us from the minute we stepped off the plane until we left. During the Monteverde portion of the trip, we were with Luis Chinchilla, who provided thoughtful and intelligent insights, and Ricardo, our driver who carefully navigated the often very difficult roads and always made us feel safe. They were interesting and fun dinner companions as well!
In Corcovado, Erick Gomez went above and beyond to get us up-close pictures of wildlife including taking our camera and sneaking down into the forest so that he could get a shot of a puma! We loved all his plant descriptions complete with medicinal recipes! And, finally, Rufilio Nuñez (Fillo) was a true nature lover, endlessly enthusiastic and knowledgeable. His bird walk was great! Please thank them, and also Priscilla Jimenez who did a wonderful job organizing the trip in the first place.
Amy & Pete Stevens
Feb. 27, 2008 "You made our first trip to Costa Rica smooth as silk."
Thank you very much for the fantastic trip. You and your staff are extremely competent, professional and friendly. You made our first trip to Costa Rica smooth as silk and extremely enjoyable. Thanks for an excellent vacation.
Brian & Donna Folk
Feb. 25, 2008 “The entire staff at Tortuga Lodge was outstanding.”
Our trip to Costa Rica was wonderful. My daughter and I were celebrating our birthdays and wanted to do something memorable. To start, the planning with your travel expert was easy and flexible. We were greeted at the airport and felt well taken care of. Our first afternoon/night was in San Jose... honestly, it was worth skipping. The hotel was lovely bit we had nothing to do all afternoon and actually did feel a little abandoned. The restaurant was beautiful and the wait staff very kind. The hotel staff was okay, no rave reviews!
In the morning we were picked up by CR Expeditions and had a great journey to the boat to Tortuguero. Our guide and driver of the boat, Gerardo Aguilar, aka "Cola," was THE BEST! He really made the trip that much more pleasant, loved his picnic lunch. He was also our guide at Tortuga Lodge and we can't say enough good things about him... he even arranged with the staff to bring me a birthday cake! The entire staff at Tortuga Lodge was outstanding. I would recommend the lodge to anyone visiting CR we just loved it!! Okay, charter flight back to San Jose - exciting and fun and really beautiful.
Long drive to Arenal but certainly interesting. However, again, when we arrived at the hotel we felt "abandoned." The hotel staff was not too warm, just minimum. We felt the same about the restaurant there as well. Eventually we made our own plans and got to hike and see the volcano up close. The next day had been planned by CR Expeditions and was great. Hanging bridges was awesome, enjoyed the tour. The evening ended at the Hidalgo Hot Springs, a great way to end our trip. Wonderful place and yummy dinner. Thanks for everything. Hope my summary is informative. I will send some pictures in the next couple of emails.
Feb. 16, 2008 “Your company is a good, professional outfit.”
Michael & Natalie: Thanks for your follow up. Actually, second follow up. So, brownie points for persistence. We enjoyed our trip to Costa Rica very much. We also think that your company is a good, professional outfit and would recommend to others. In fact, we took this trip with you because of a recommendation from my sister-in-law. So, you have our vote of confidence.
A brief travelogue on my trip to Costa Rica follow below.
The good wife said that the tracks on the beach that we came upon at 7 AM were made by a man walking a dog. If you value peace, then you already know that it is easier to accept such assertions than to argue. Besides, I have been excited many times with tracks only to be informed by the guide that they were made by non-exotic animals. The tracks went on for as far as I could see with my naked eyes. So, while the explanation was plausible, the pug marks were large and didn't look like a dog's to me. I took a picture of it
We went on with our plan to go and take pictures of macaws before catching our plane out of Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. When we got to the makeshift airport, we found out that early that morning a puma had tracked a tapir along the beach and successfully hunted it and dragged the body off into the jungle!! It was exciting to hear this even if no one actually saw the puma or the tapir but just the fresh tracks. After a lot of animated chit-chat, it dawned on me that I had been walking in the middle of the night, without fear, to the restroom some 100 meters from our tent camp. Had we chanced upon these tracks on the first night we were there, I doubt either of us would have ventured alone after sunset even to the restroom.
The pilot was a pleasant man and he escorted us to the small airplane to fly us to Tortuguero National Park. It all seemed cozy - just my wife and I and the pilot - until a student popped into the co-pilot's chair!! It was a bit discomforting but I rationalized that if the pilot is teaching someone else, then he must be good. My thoughts were interrupted when I noticed that the pilot's window was open, air gushing in and the plane was rolling on to the runway. I felt that the air-turbulence would get us in trouble with an airplane that was really the size of my car with wings attached. I felt that it would be rude for me to tell the pilot to close the window as all those wrinkles on his face surely were backed by experience and wisdom. As the plane was racing on to take off, the pilot finally shut the window and with it the plane was a bit quieter along with my mind!
I spent about four hours trying to get decent shots of poison dart frogs. I also endured many mosquito bites, despite putting on insect repellant generously. Since it was raining, and I was reminded many times that it is the rainforest after all, my helpful wife offered to hold an umbrella up to shield my camera from rain. The kind woman also slapped me a few times!! Well, she was trying to kill mosquitoes while I was trying to compose a shot!! It was challenging. By the time I adjusted the tripod, the frog would move! There was not enough light for the camera as the canopy was thick and it was raining. In the end, the better composed shots were those that were shot handheld.
We took a boat into a canal and spotted a caiman basking in the sun. Sighting a caiman was exciting enough but what made a stronger impression was the fact that the previous day, at exactly the same spot where it was lying, my wife and I were taking pictures of a kingfisher!! I cannot say that this was too close for comfort, but it was discomforting nevertheless. But then, why else would you go on a vacation into the jungle?
Feb. 14, 2008 ''All of your staff were so helpful.''
I had a wonderful time on my trip to Corcovado. All of your staff were so helpful. I would especially like to commend Nils who escorted me back to my hotel after the tour was over. He waited until I confirmed my hotel registration and my airport shuttle arrangements before he left me. That was very thoughtful. My only complaint was that I was not made aware of the difficulty of the hike to the canopy platform before I signed-up to do it. I might have opted-out if I had known. I would recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to others. If I ever return to Costa Rica I will use your services again. Attached are some photos.
Feb. 13, 2008 “You were so efficient in making our plans run so smoothly that all we had to do was sit back and enjoy ourselves.”
We want to thank you for helping to make our trip to Costa Rica one that we will never forget. You and your staff were so efficient in making our plans run so smoothly that all we had to do was sit back and enjoy ourselves. Each one of our guides was a pleasure to be with and talk to. Once I review all my 220 pictures, I would be glad to share any with you.
I do have three suggestions however. One is to include a list of suggested clothing for the different areas being visited, as the climate and activities vary so much. The second is that the activity for the day should be explained in better detail so as to know what to expect. We didn't mind the surprises but if we were told in more detail some of the situations we could have prepared ourselves better. The last suggestion is to have a way to confirm receipt of the itinerary for the next day’s schedule. Some of time it was left at our door or with a personal phone call. Other times we had to ask for it and once we had to call the office. Despite some of these very minor details, we couldn't have asked for a better tour company to plan our vacation.
Barbara & Scott Mitaly
Feb. 13, 2008 “We had some excellent service and a very comfortable stay.”
Dear Mike and Natalie: Thank you for your message. Here are some quick notes about our trip: First of all, let us thank Priscilla Jimenez, who was extremely precise, quick and helpful in planning our trip. We've had some wonderful times in CR. We've seen everything we wanted to see and even more. Our guide Sofia Cordero was absolutely wonderful. She's very skilled, knowledgeable, caring, explains a lot of interesting facts about CR showing that hint of enthusiasm that makes her so delightful to be with. Our driver Ramon, as well as all the other drivers we've had, was very skilled, prudent and respectful of traffic laws.
Hotels were wonderful. Grano de Oro is something to be seen... Arenal Manoa has huge rooms and a view that is worth the trip. Jardin del Eden is absolutely perfect with friendly people and a very good restaurant. We've only been a little disappointed by the town of Tamarindo. Inside of the hotels everything is like paradise. Outside, the town is dirty, the roads are unpaved, there's no water draining so pools of mud are everywhere, at night nobody's around and that makes you feel a little unsafe. Our opinion is that Tamarindo has been through a 'Reverse development' process... hotels first, infrastructures after... but infrastructures are more important that hotels, only they don’t give revenue in the short run... To summarize, a wonderful vacation. It was expensive, that's true. But we had some excellent service and a very comfortable stay. Thanks to all at CRE!
Paolo & Silvia Rossi, Italy
Feb. 10, 2008 “The trip excursions and sightseeing were exceptional.”
Below are our comments concerning our trip and your service. All the staff, including drivers, at Costa Rica Expeditions were courteous, knowledgeable and friendly. The trip excursions and sightseeing were exceptional. Everyday we marveled as to how lucky we were to have chosen Costa Rica as the spot to spend our "belated" honeymoon.
There were two slip-ups regarding our tours. At the hanging bridges in Arenal, there was no guide waiting to take us for our scheduled hike in the afternoon. They had us scheduled for an 8 am nature walk. My husband and I asked Johnny, who was at the reception desk, if he was experienced and free to take us on our tour. He was. Johnny was a great guide and we had a great afternoon with him.
In Manuel Antonio, we were scheduled for a canoe/kayak tour. In the morning when we found out we had to paddle ourselves, we had to cancel the tour. My husband had surgery last year on his neck and shoulder, and this would have been too strenuous for him.
Regarding the hotels: The Bougainvillea Hotel was great in every way. We were supposed to stay at the Arenal Manoa, but were told upon arrival the hotel was overbooked. We were moved to the Mountain Paradise Hotel. Although this was an upgrade, we were not happy with the rooms - the walls were "paper thin" and we could hear everything in the room next to us. We asked to be transferred to a different room. Lighting was poor and very dim. The shower waterfall soaked the entire bathroom. The food was not very good either. The staff, however, was friendly and accommodating. We would not recommend this hotel.
The Monteverde Lodge was our favorite hotel. The grounds were beautiful, the accommodations very comfortable and the staff was very friendly. The food was delicious. For $330 per night (3 nights), we were very disappointed with the rooms at the Gaia Hotel. There was a catwalk outside our entry door, so when the curtains were open, we had no privacy. The modern room design was not optimal. The bathroom (toilet, sink and shower) was behind sliding doors IN THE ROOM. To be blunt, there was no privacy when we had to use the bathroom. The bed was ok. The last night of our stay, the air conditioner broke and we were moved to another room. Dining and spa services, however, were excellent. We would not recommend this hotel.
Overall, we were very happy with our trip and would gladly recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to our friends and family. Thank you for taking the time to follow up with us.
Beth & Michael Stebel
Feb. 9, 2008 “We had a spectacular time - so much to see and do.”
Hi Nadya: We have been home a week now. It is currently minus 44 degrees Celsius and we yearn for Costa Rica. We had a spectacular time - so much to see and do. The people of Costa Rica are wonderful. Your service staff is excellent - great ambassadors for your country. We were truly amazed at the coordination of your team. We really enjoyed all of the places we stayed at. The FOUR SEASONS was amazing. We want to thank you Nadya for organizing a great vacation for us and we will certainly recommend your company to our friends.
Jackie & Gary Albright
Feb. 9, 2008 "I am glad Costa Rica is in my life."
Thank you for contacting me about my recent trip. I appreciated all of the reservations and connections your firm my for us. Everything went as planned, and I would definitely recommend your firm to my other friends when they visit your fine country. I am glad Costa Rica is in my life.
Dr. Gary Hutter
Feb. 7, 2008 “We were given excellent treatment and service and loved every minute of our experience.”
I am sending photos of our group when we went on the Ultimate Costa Rica Adventure, Jan 19-26th. We had an awesome guide in Federico Alban and a great driver in Wilson "Shampoo." We know that we were given excellent treatment and service and loved every minute of our experience. I would not do Costa Rica any other way. In fact, we are talking about our next rip through Costa Rica Expeditions probably next January. So, get ready!
By the way, I sent a check to Federico for his tip and Shampoo's also. I hope he has received it by now, but if he has not, please let me know. I also emailed him, but have had no response. I got his email off of your website and hope that that has reached him also. You definitely have a fabulous guide in Federico - he is truly special and we all bonded with him.
We want you to know that our trip was truly unforgettable and we are so glad that we took our first trip to Costa Rica through you. We will be back. Our only critique of the whole thing I'm sure you will find on our exit surveys. There were a couple of things that could have been better, but for the most part, it was spectacular. Thanks for the memories.
Mike & Maureen Whitehead
Feb. 7, 2008 "We had an excellent time."
We had an excellent time. We worked with Luis Cubero, who was fantastic. Thanks again!
Feb. 5, 2008 “We will use your services again next year, and each year we visit the country.”
We were extremely pleased with the services Costa Rica Expeditions provided. We were sent a fax the night before any scheduled trip with the time that we were going to be picked up from our hotel and a representative was there at the prescribed time. But then they went above the call of duty: On our flights the representative waited until we were on our way before they left. They made sure that all connections were made and someone was waiting for us at the destination. I would highly recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to anyone visiting Costa Rica not only for the first time, but any subsequent visits as well. We will use your services again next year, and each year we visit the country. Thanks again for being there.
Patrick & Mayda Taylor, CA
Feb. 2, 2008 “Congratulations on running such a wonderful company with such warm, friendly, customer service oriented employees.”
We had a truly wonderful trip and wanted to specially recognize Paula for the excellent and personalized service she provided. I know that this is not the exception at your company but the norm because my dealings with Priscilla Jimenez and your manager of operations were of the same high quality. When we had a glitch because of one of your subcontractors, Sun Tours in Arenal, your operations folks went out of the way to make it right and more than made up for any inconvenience we were caused. Again, congratulations on running such a wonderful company with such warm, friendly, customer service oriented employees. We are confident that when we return to see parts of Costa Rica we missed on this trip especially the Manuel Antonio Park area, we will choose Costa Rica Expeditions!
Vandana & Rahul Samant
Jan. 28, 2008 “Thank you for arranging our trip so well.”
We would like to thank Luis Cubero for arranging our trip so well. The hotel was an excellent choice. The staff was very pleasant and helpful and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. The tours were very well-planned and we learned a lot from our guides, Olivier, Hernan and Michael, and with the expert drivers. It was a big relief to be met by Andres and Jonathan, when I arrived at midnight. I hope to recommend your tours to my friends if they plan a trip to Costa Rica, which is a beautiful country, indeed!
Meena & Saroja Bhuvaneswar
Jan. 28, 2008 “Your level of professionalism has not diminished.”
We had a great time. Alejandro Contreras is a nature tour guide. He was great to us and so very knowledgeable on many subjects and enjoyed sharing with us. Villa Florencia was a great place for us to stay and the managers were friendly and spent time with us. I really enjoyed the white water of Paso Marcos. Ten years ago my wife and I came to Coast Rica with you all, I am pleased to say that your level of professionalism has not diminished. Pura Vida!
Jan. 27, 2008 “My husband and I truly had a wonderful time on our trip.”
I just want to let you know that my husband and I truly had a wonderful time on our trip. Miguel Prendas Taylor, our guide, was delightful and extremely informative, and I think everyone else on our tour felt the same way. Ramon, even though he doesn't speak English and we don't speak Spanish, was tremendously friendly and enjoyable. My personal favorite parts of the trip were going to the hot springs and walking across the hanging bridges in Arenal and taking the boat rides through the park in Tortuguero. I've attached some pictures that may or may not be nice for your web site.
Jan. 20, 2008 “YOU DID GOOD!!”
What a great trip! Our trip to Costa Rica was our first family trip and all 10 of us had a wonderful time. Everyone wants to know where our next trip is going to be. Your choice of memorable points of interest, comfortable accommodations, and caring guides was incredible. Every one of our guides loved their jobs. And we loved them. Especially Alex Lopez. It was so emotional saying goodbye to him. We all wanted to take him home. Such a patient, informative, gentle man. His parents must be very proud of him. We can't stop talking about our trip. YOU DID GOOD!!
The McDonald family
Jan. 16, 2008 “Everything was fabulous!“
Everything was fabulous! I would not change a thing. Alberto Martinez was incredible; great guide, very attentive to ALL of our needs; very responsive; creative; superb communication; setting expectations and always exceeding them.
Jan. 16, 2008 “The perfect vacation for two teenaged sons and their somewhat adventuresome dad.”
Thank you, We had a fantastic time! It is the perfect vacation for two teenaged sons and their somewhat adventuresome dad. Some of the highlights include, jumping off a cliff into a pool at a secluded waterfall on the Pacuare River, going over a waterfall with just a helmet and life vest, surfing and actually getting up and riding a wave, riding level four rapids as a family, landing in a four-seat prop plane after seeing the beautiful countryside, only to find the airport in the middle of a cow field. As you can see the list is endless.
Having had a son go off to college for the first time, it was a wonderful way to reconnect our family. It just so happens that both kids’ ipods broke two days before we left (I had nothing to do with it) and you booked us into a resort with no T.V. The non-mechanical vacation was another highlight not to be missed. A lot of talking and interaction that was just icing on the cake. Thank you again for arranging our trip on somewhat short notice, everyone connected with your company which was excellent and helpful.
Douglas, Warren & Graham Dill, NY
Jan. 15, 2008 “Your whole team responded time and again to unexpected situations and handled them with such grace and professionalism.”
I want you to know how grateful my daughter and I are to your entire staff. We have never had the opportunity to travel internationally together before and this father-daughter adventure was very important to us. We ran into a serious problem when snow storms in the US prevented us from making our connections to the flight leaving for San Jose. There was not a single seat available for days into San Jose because of the holidays. Our hearts sank. There were, however, 4 seats on a flight to Liberia, Costa Rica almost 5 hours away near Nicaragua. I called your team and within thirty minutes they had made all the arrangements to pick us up at that airport charging what I thought was a very reasonable transportation price under the circumstances. We switched our flights with the help of the airlines and this saved our vacation which otherwise would have ended before it began. We arrived and joined the group on time for the local flight to Corcovado. This was just one example of how the office personnel and your whole team responded time and again to unexpected situations and handled them with such grace and professionalism far beyond our expectations.
Here are some additional examples:
Our guide Luis Torres provided outstanding hospitality and knowledge of the wildlife. He, too, excelled at solving problems and responding with expertise. I will share just two examples. We were hiking in the Corcovado National Park and one of the group members slipped and hit her head hard on a low branch near the trail. Luis treated her cut swiftly, with compassion and was clearly well trained in first aid. Being a professional camp and retreat center director myself, I am aware of the proper procedures and their importance. I was very impressed by him.
The River and Rainforest trip we went on was logistically complicated but Luis and the other Costa Rica Expedition staff handled it very smoothly, even when there were hitches. When we went white water rafting, a communication mix up resulted in the river guides not being at the location we thought they would be. Quickly Luis went to the top of a high ridge to communicate by cell phone then made his way to another put-in for rafts where the guides were and brought them to us by riding with them on the river to our location. Now, that is going the extra mile to make our trip the best it can be. By the way, the safety instruction given by the raft guide to our group was the best safety presentation that I have ever experienced bar none, and I have often rafted in Oregon and Colorado as part of camp and retreat programs and own a white water raft myself. The rafting guide for our boat was Jorge. Excellent. I want to also mention Juan Carlos, the bus driver. He did an incredible job driving us safely and efficiently throughout the country, even on some difficult back roads which are part of any adventure trip.
I wish I could name all the persons we met and give them the accolades they deserve, but let me just say that in each of the three main destinations of our trip we encountered friendly, caring staff. The food exceeded what I had imagined for a trip like this - Wow. The wilderness experience during the white water trip was no exception. The food cooked was plentiful and delicious. The lodging in each leg of the trip met our needs nicely. Even in the jungle on the Pacuare River, the tents were on platforms and sheltered from rain and bad weather and there was a very nice group gathering shelter.
We wanted an active vacation where we could see things we had never seen before balanced with times of rest and renewal. The rigors of hiking and rafting were exhilarating and still we had moments to ourselves to reflect and relax. Thank you to everyone for providing a very special time that we will remember all our lives. Costa Rica is such a special country and the natural environment a sacred gift. We appreciated the care given to protect the environment and to help keep the human impact to a minimum in a variety of intentional ways.
Kevin Witt, OR
Jan. 15, 2008 “We had a fabulous trip in Costa Rica thanks to your excellent staff.”
We had a fabulous trip in Costa Rica thanks to your excellent staff. I especially would like to thank your travel planner Priscilla Jimenez, our fabulous guide Larry, and our superb driver Ramon. They took care of everything. The hotels were excellent and Larry took care of all the details once he became our guide. He and Ramon made our trip better than we ever imagined. They were not only knowledgeable and informative but kind and fun to be with. I cannot say enough good things about them and you are fortunate to have them work for you.
I have no reservations about referring your company to all my friends and business associates. That is how we heard about your company in the first place. You should be very proud of your staff and I look forward to returning someday and seeing more of your beautiful country. The staff that provided us transportation services was also excellent. We did not get to know them as well but they were kind and informative as well. I will forward pictures of our trip once I get settled.
Jan. 15, 2008 ”It rained an awful lot more than I ever expected, but I felt that the trip was a real adventure.”
We just finished a great tour to Tortuguero and Corcovado. Marcia Carranza was our guide and we all just adored her, the kids, too! She was just great. I have to admit, it rained an awful lot more than I ever expected, but felt that the trip was a real adventure. And most importantly, we believed that CR Expeditions wanted us safe! We had some issues on a flight to Corcovado where we got up in the air, weather was bad, and came back down (I was personally relieved, it was a bit scary for me; my 9-year old son thought it was great!).
One comment is that I think you guys could do a better job in preparing us for the trip. All of our clothes were just wet the whole time (didn't help that the very first day the tarp we used leaked all over our stuff). However, I would have brought far more plastic bags and it wasn't very clear exactly when the 25 pound luggage limit was needed. My friends said they went on an African safari and had luggage weight restrictions and the tour operators were much more specific about what was needed. For what it's worth.
It seemingly rains a ton in Tortuguero and I just didn't realize that - everything I read said we weren't going for the rainy season. It's obviously false and wish I would have brought much more rain gear. I can understand that if you talk up the rain too much, no one would want to go, but I tossed in my coat as a last minute item at the last minute of packing - had no idea! It didn't even have a hood! Anyway, we had a great time and would recommend CR Expeditions to everyone.
Jan. 15, 2008 “My sister and I had a wonderful trip to your lovely country.”
My sister and I had a wonderful trip to your lovely country. Our tour guide, Alberto Martinez, and bus driver, Pablo, could not have done more to make this an enjoyable adventure. They encountered closed restaurants (New Years Day), road closures, and less than ideal weather, and they never failed to come up with a great solution. We will recommend your tour group to anyone who is considering a trip to your country.
Jan. 14, 2008 “We definitely will use Costa Rica Expeditions again.”
Hi Michael: We had good times in Arenal; unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. I just want to let you know, Douglas Espinosa is wonderful to work with. Our tour guy, Alex Lopez, is very informative and helpful; so is our driver. We definitely will use Costa Rica Expeditions again for any travel in Costa Rica or Nicaragua.
Jan. 14, 2008 Pacuare Connoisseur Rafting: “We had an absolutely incredible time.”
My husband and I white water rafted with your company this past November. We had an absolutely incredible time and I wanted to take the time to thank you and your employees who we owe the experience. We purchased the Pacuare Connoisseur Rafting Package and were treated like royalty - it was well worth the money! Our rafting guide was Jose ("Macha") who made sure we had smiles on our faces the entire time - and we did! All of the guides were so hospitable, friendly, and knowledgeable. Besides the exhilarating experience on the river (and the great gourmet food), Jose told us so much about Costa Rican history, culture, wildlife - we learned more in that one day than we had in our entire week vacation. Not to mention, the CD of pictures from the day were dropped off at our hotel room a few hours after we returned. We will gladly recommend your company to everyone!
Brittany Reese, New Orleans