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Apr. 4, 2011 My wife and I had a fabulous time.
Dear Nadya-

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that our vacation in Costa Rica was wonderful. Myy wife and I had a fabulous time.

Thanks for making all of the arrangements and for doing so much to make our trip as successful as it was.

We hope to visit Costa Rica again and will certainly be in touch with you before we do so.

Don Scherzer
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Mar. 16, 2011 Everyone went beyond their job requirements to make our trip enjoyable, informative, stress-free and generally delightful.
Michael (and Douglas),

We had already started to draft this message before we received your e-mail asking for feedback, so we are not using the form you sent, but writing more free style. Let me know if there are any areas that we did not cover.



Costa Rica Expeditions did a fabulous job helping us with our first trip to Costa Rica. Douglas provided outstanding service helping us plan our trip. He was patient and helpful with our changes (and sometimes late information), and he did an excellent job of taking all our requests and fitting them into a ten-day itinerary that still left us feeling satisfied with the level of activity and happy with the time we had to relax.



Thank you and all the staff at Costa Rica Expeditions for making our visit to Costa Rica the BEST VACATION EVER! Everyone went beyond their job requirements to make our trip enjoyable, informative, stress-free and generally delightful. Without exception the guides, lodge staff and drivers were friendly, pleasant and helpful. However a few people really stand out. Their extra attention provided highlights in a wonderful experience.



On our drive from the Pacuare River to Cano Blanco we were most fortunate to have Max as our driver. We had anticipated that this would be an uneventful transfer drive, and had even discussed napping along the way after our strenuous day on the river. We spotted a few interesting birds out the window early in the drive and pointed them out to one another. Recognizing this interest, Max alerted us to other points of natural interest all along the way. He spotted caracaras, howler monkeys, a sloth, a jacana, purple galinule and a tree full of elephant beetles (that the young boys living nearby gleefully showed off to us). He showed us date palms and a wonderful fragrant plant used in perfume (unfortunately we do not remember the name). His enthusiasm, love of life and the country were infectious and turned an occasion for a nap into a highlight of the vacation. He spotted us a few days later outside the Monteverde Lodge and made sure we had a chance to view a golden-browed chlorophonia through a guide's telescope and later asked if perhaps we had lost a pair of glasses that had turned up in his van. Indeed we had, though were unsure when they had disappeared and were most grateful to him for going out of his way to return them. We would seek him out as a driver in the future.



The entire Pacuare River expedition was superb, and we were so happy that our last minute change in flights gave us the chance to stay at the lodge. Our guides, Alex and Antonio, were among the most friendly, helpful and engaging people that we met in a country full of wonderfully friendly people. They were skillful and capable white-water guides, but also terrific waiters, bartenders and 'hotel' staff as well as introducing us to some of the animals and plants of the rain forest.



While at Monteverde we were scheduled to have lunch out in the gardens. As the result of complications with a group that arrived right at meal time, this did not happen. We were barely aware of this omission, and greatly enjoyed our lunch in the dining area visiting with a white-faced cappuchin who spent some time staring in at our window. However, as a gesture to us, the staff laid out a romantic table for two on the terrace for dinner. We felt thoroughly pampered. Our server, Alex was a pure delight. He was responsible for setting up the wonderful space for us, lit by dozens of torches and candles. He was cheerful, pleasant and attentive without hovering. He also provided the perfect recommendation for wine to accompany our magnificent calamari steaks, even though he does not personally eat calamari. (We appreciated his candor as much as his recommendation). The manager and bartender also contributed to this wonderful occasion, but it was Alex who made it special for us.



Our trip to the Arenal hanging bridges was enhanced by our very knowledgeable and helpful guide, Indira. The breadth of her understanding of the local ecology was impressive, and her ability to communicate it with interest and enthusiasm stood out even among the many excellent guides on our trip. It was great to have a female guide, and we hope that Costa Rica Expeditions is in a position to encourage and support more women to pursue this profession.



Orlando, our driver from Arenal to San Jose, was also an outstanding guide. He spoke excellent English and alerted us to the park and art museum near our hotel. We were feeling that our afternoon in the city might prove to be a bit of a loss, only to find that the art museum contained a uniformly excellent collection of work in all the galleries, the sculpture garden and the special exhibits. We got so caught up in the artwork that we stayed a full half hour past closing time. We also really enjoyed our wander around in the park. We wish to thank Orlando for pointing out this opportunity to us.



We had been disappointed that the scheduled 'mid-afternoon' departure from Arenal shown on our itinerary ended up being at 10 a.m. This did not leave us time to visit the pool or hot spring at Arenal before our departure. Fortunately, finding the art museum (thanks to Orlando) made our unexpected time in San Jose simply delightful. We would like to learn more about the artists whose work is displayed in the museum, but have not had much luck with a quick search on-line.



The quality of all the accommodations was superb. The 'rustic elegance' standard was very much to our liking. It is difficult to pick one lodge from the rest. Pacuare Lodge was by far the closest to, and felt most like a part of, the rainforest. The view from the dining area and library across the river at the fireflies at night and blue morphos during the day was magical. It was like eating in the middle of the forest, surrounded by large old trees covered in epiphytes and full of toucans, tanagers and oropendolas. The candle-lit cabin in the evening was a memorable way to start the trip.



Tortuga Lodge was also quite magical. Coming in after dinner to a candle-lit room was a lovely treat, and the art-work around the lodge was stunning. We particularly enjoyed the wood carvings. The staff were attentive and helpful. We really enjoyed the set meals and appreciated the reasonable portions of each course so that we were able to enjoy them all. Angelo was our guide for the boat and kayak tours. He also had a keen eye and an excellent knowledge of the local wildlife. Nancy very much enjoyed her brief experience teaching English. The children were delightful!



Monteverde Lodge would have been a favorite even without the special dinner that we were served. The gardens were wonderful, and made the lodge feel very close to the forest, with monkeys at the windows and birds from our balcony. This gave it a natural, rustic feel that was nicely complemented by the comfortable spaces and the marvelous staff. We very much enjoyed our walk through the private sanctuary next door as well as our tour of the reserve.

The Arenal Manoa was the one classic 'resort' hotel that we visited. It was a great opportunity to relax and unwind before returning home. We took advantage of the pools, hot and cold, a lovely massage and a chance to do a bit of nothing. We enjoyed an exceptional view of the volcano from our room (we were most fortunate to have a full clear day). However, compared to the other places that we stayed during our trip it felt less personal. This is on no way a criticism of the staff there who were also helpful and attentive, but of the nature of this type of resort. The lodges proclaiming 'rustic elegance' were more in keeping with our tastes.



The zip-line canopy tour that you set up for us was fun and provided a perspective on the forest that we would not otherwise have gotten, even from the hanging bridges. The guides there clearly had safety in mind as they trained us and took us out. They also had a good knowledge of natural history and taught us about the plants and trees we encountered.



We appreciated the safety warnings that we saw in the materials that your company provided. This made us aware of the lack of safety precautions on some of the other zip line tours, which was backed up by some of what we saw during our travels and heard about from other guests. Thank you for directing us to a reputable one. We certainly hope that had one of this high quality and safety not been available that you would have felt comfortable leaving this out of our itinerary or bringing concerns about them to our attention.



One recommendation we would make is to have better natural history libraries or other information about the local plants and animals available at Tortuga and Monteverde Lodges. Monteverde did have a modest natural history library, but we could not find any books on Costa Rica at Tortuga. We took the 25 pound weight limit on luggage seriously and only brought one Costa Rica bird guide. We would have liked the opportunity to read about the other wildlife and plants that we saw on our tours and around the lodges. The quality of information on the guided tours was superb, but with so much of interest around the lodges themselves this seems like an opportunity missed.



Thank you so much for helping us to fall in love with Costa Rica! I will send photos in another e-mail. Now, I have to go to bed to be ready for my middle school students tomorrow morning!



Best wishes,
Nancy and Peter Stevick
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Mar. 16, 2011 ? each was so patient with me as I reached my limits of endurance and agility?at 78, I had broken his record as the oldest person he has ever guided.
Nadya,

You are wonderful! Your scheduling of my visit to Costa Rico last week was perfection. The timing and logistics were the smoothest of any tour I can remember. The hotels were excellent. Each of the four tour guides I had were the best I have ever had! They each had an extensive breadth of knowledge which they so interestingly shared with me, and their deep love of Costa Rica and its ecology was palpable. And each was so patient with me as I reached my limits of endurance and agility. The hanging bridge guide said that at 78, I had broken his record as the oldest person he has ever guided.

Nadya, you made my trip an exciting experience that has generated great memories of each of the things I wanted to see plus some wonderful unexpected surprises. Thank you so much.

By the way, I love to share my enthusiasms. On my flight back to the US, I gave the details of my tour to a friend who is building a manufacturing facility there. He was particularly interested in the Zip Line. I expect that he will be contacting you in the not too distant future. Today and tomorrow, I will be describing my wonderful Costa Rica Explorations experience to two fellow residents of our senior citizen facility who have near term interests in visiting Costa Rica.

Robert Ely
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Mar. 2, 2011 "...we have traveled extensively for work and pleasure (my husband and I are journalists so when I say extensively that includes many, many remote and exotic locations) and I honestly cannot think of a better travel experience..."
Hi Priscila,

I am writing to let you know that our trip last week to Costa Rica was wonderful!!!
You should know that we have traveled extensively for work and pleasure (my husband and I are journalists so when I say extensively that includes many, many remote and exotic locations) and I honestly cannot think of a better travel experience than the one you organized for us. All hotels were perfect, all transportation was 100% punctual - and fun (the kids LOVED the little planes), the guides were friendly, helpful and professional... and your country was beautiful and charming.

I filled out the on-line survey at Travel and Leisure giving Costa Rica Expeditions an excellent rating and I look forward to recommending you to friends and family in the future.

Sincerest thanks from our whole family-Julie, Ron, Anthony & Ella
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Feb. 25, 2011 Great trip!
Nadya,

Thank you for the expert professionalism we experienced on this wonderful
adventure in Costa Rica. Everything went off with clock work precision.
The choice of properties was outstanding. The accommodations, the
environment, the food, the people all made our Costa Rica experience a
memorable delight. We are experienced travelers and this vacation ranks
up there with the very best.

Fred, Joyce, & Ben
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Feb. 25, 2011 The only change I would have made was to end the trip with William because we went into William-withdrawal for the rest of the trip!
The most amazing vacation - I will not urge people to use you when they go to Costa Rica but insist upon it. William is a gift. The only change I would have made was to end the trip with William because we went into William-withdrawal for the rest of the trip!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Felice
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Feb. 22, 2011 It had such a great influence on me, in my youth when I was an exchange student there for a year.
Dear Marco,

I can agree with "Legendary service and unforgettable memories" Pura vida!

My husband and I had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. Everything was so well planed from your side and Costa Rica Expeditions. All the staff, guides, drivers and hotel staff were so friendly and helpful. We were so well taken care of. The program was never too long or too tedious.

What we liked the most was Tortuguero, maybe because it is rather isolated and the way of living there, but also because of the staff at Tortuga Lodge who were so friendly and welcoming. I wish I could say the same thing for the mosquitoes!

We enjoyed very much the English program, with the children as well. I have attached some photos which I would like to ask you to pass on to the teacher, if possible.

Monteverde was also a fantastic place. The trip up there was quite something, but we have the same policy here in Iceland: keep the road difficult, so you merit the place!
We saw the most beautiful bird in the world the Quetzal. It was breath taking! Thanks to the great guide, Samuel, who was with us.

San Jose has changed a lot of course (after 40 years). I had walked Paseo Colón twice, before I recognized it! The buildings are much higher now and the town has grown a lot. Cartago was more the same and also the country side.


I can recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to everyone. I was so happy and proud to see how Costa Rica has developed in a prosperous way the respect for the human being and the nature. Costa Rica has always had a big place in my heart, my second motherland :-) It had such a great influence on me, in my youth when I was an exchange student there for a year.

Thank your again Marco, for all your good work. I hope we will be able to visit Costa Rica again soon, maybe Penisula de Osa!

Best regards,

Ása Kolka Haraldsdóttir
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Feb. 14, 2011 we met some people who had made their own trip arrangements and it sounded like their trip was a nightmare… Marco Hernandez is an exceptional trip planner. He took care of every detail and responded to all of my questions promptly and courteously.

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?

We were surprised and delighted by all of the beautiful nature walks through the nature preserves (Monteverde Cloud Forest, St. Elena Reserve, Arenal Rainforest Reserve, and the twilight tour at the Ecological Forest Reserve, the Coffee & Sugar cane tour at El Trapiche Farm, and river rafting on the Sarapiqui River.  

 We saw beautiful trees (including the Strangler Fig, Avocado, Ceiba).  We also saw interesting birds including the Quetzel, Motmot, Toucan, and a Purple Throated Mountain Yem Hummingbird in her nest.  We also saw Sloths, Agoutis, Coatis, a Tarantula, snake, butterflies, hummingbirds.    Of course we never would have seen or identified any of these without our knowledgeable Naturalist guides.  All of the Naturalist guides were wonderful.  They made the trip especially enjoyable and memorable.

One thing that delighted me personally was that one of our guides told us about a woman in Monteverde who is working on planting Native Plants for Native Pollinators.  I didn't get her name, but during one of our free-time walks downtown, we happened to walk by some of her gardens.  This is of personal interest to me since I've been learning about the sharp decline of bees around the world and it is always encouraging to see local efforts to plant native plants for native pollinators.

We opted out of a few of the meals at Monteverde Lodge - - because we wanted to try some of the local places.  We ate lunch at El Morpho and loved it.  While there, we asked someone at a neighboring table why the Grocery Store at the top of the hill always seemed to be empty.     She explained that there used to be a forest there and it was chopped it down to build the new mega grocery store.  The locals do not shop there and instead they shop at the one downtown.  We were quite moved by that story and we were glad we had not shopped there.  But we were sad that the forest had been sacrificed.

We found Costa Ricans to be warm and friendly in general.  Most people spoke English in the areas we visited so we didn't have any language issues. 

Our primary motivation for going to Costa Rica was to visit the sacred forest.  (I wanted to find the "sacred tree" of Pandora (from the movie Avatar).  We found so many sacred trees it restored my hope and faith in the planet.  

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

Everything went so smoothly.  We didn't expect that.  Every single transfer, transaction, guide, driver, showed up and welcomed us so warmly.  We did not expect to be so well cared for through the entire experience. 

...and what fell short of your expectations?

I was a little stressed out about how much to tip. The guidelines on  tipping were very helpful -  - but I wasn't exactly sure how much was appropriate - particularly for the guides and for the drivers who took us to each of the nature preserves.  There were so many guides that it started to add up quickly. We tipped all of the guides and drivers and waiters and chambermaids.  I was never quite sure if I was over or under tipping.   

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?

We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary during the trip.   The itinerary was a perfect balance of structured and non-structured time - so we could relax and enjoy our time without stressing out about what to do next, or how to get somewhere.  THANK YOU! 

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

When I first started working with Costa Rica Expeditions I didn't fully realize that the airfare was not included in the price, so by the time I priced airfares I was nervous that we had gone over budget, but once I built that into our budget everything was okay. 

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

Marco Hernandez provided EXCEPTIONAL service.  He was responsive, courteous, and helpful.  I had so many questions and he answered every one.

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? 

Marco Hernandez is an exceptional trip planner.  He took care of every detail and responded to all of my questions promptly and courteously.  The itinerary he prepared was perfect in every way. Everything went smoothly, without a hitch.

The manager at Monteverde Lodge and Gardens gave us a warm welcome.

All of the guides were highly professional, knowledgeable, friendly, kind, genuine, and were attentive to our needs.  We loved the guided tours.  Our favorites were Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve,  The Twilight Tour at the Ecological Preserve,  St. Elena Preserve, and Arenal Rainforest Reserve.  We also loved the guides who took us on the River Rafting Trip and to lunch at the Biological Field Station.  

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

We are so glad we decided to use Costa Rica Expeditions to plan our trip. We read that they were top-rated by National Geographic and Men's Health Magazine and I can see why.  We had never taken a trip like this before and since neither of us speak Spanish, we recognized that we might need some help with the logistics.   Everything went so smoothly.  We were so grateful that our rental car was a 4 wheel drive and had GPS.  That was a lifesaver.   In fact we met some people who had made their own trip arrangements and it sounded like their trip was a nightmare.  They did not have a 4-wheel drive, or a GPS, and they had difficulty driving over the rugged roads and they got lost several times.  They seemed so stressed out.  That made us even more grateful that we had used the trip planning services of Costa Rica Expeditions.   If we ever go back to Costa Rica we would definitely use Costa Rica Expeditions again and we would definitely stay at their Monteverde Lodge and Gardens again.




Our Response

I’m sorry that not knowing how much to tip was a source of anxiety for you during the trip. I remember a trip I did a few years ago and I had the same problem. We will plan to work on our guidelines to see if we can make them more precise for future guests and see if we can’t get closer to resolving this issue. Thank you for the reminder.
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Feb. 14, 2011 This was the first time we have ever traveled with guides or prearranged anything, and it was so easy!
Hi Marco

Our family trip to Costa Rica was fabulous!

I wanted to commend Jonathon, our transfer guide, for his delightfully entertaining descriptions of Costa Rica politics, roadwork, and termite mounds. He was so much fun!

Our drivers were great, too, although I only wrote down the name of the first driver, Rodrigo, who impressed us by picking up all 5 of our suitcases simultaneously. The driver who took us from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio was great, very nice guy - he took good care of us despite our lack of Spanish.

Our excursion guides were also wonderful. We especially liked Samuel and Carlos, who showed us wildlife in Monteverde. Hugo (Yugo?) who took us kayaking was a sweet guy, too, and I really enjoyed snorkeling with him.

This was the first time we have ever traveled with guides or prearranged anything, and it was so easy! Monteverde Lodge was our favorite - beautiful place, the best food and wine we had, too.

Thanks for everything! It was a wonderful vacation, and it went by so fast it seems like a dream now.

April Atwood
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Feb. 10, 2011 Costa Rican Expeditions provided the same great service as 5 years ago when we stayed at the Monteverde Lodge

As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation...

Luis Cubero was very thorough, prompt and responsive to our questions.  The vacation we planned became a reality thanks to his attention to detail.

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened ?

our boat guide at Tortuguero - Luis, was very knowledgeable and knew where to find a wide variety of animals both on our way to the Lodge and on the tour the next day.

what you read and heard before hand? 

Costa Rican Expeditions provided the same great service as 5 years ago when we stayed at the Monteverde Lodge

...and what fell short of your expectations? 

the weather

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with? No. 

Only reinforced our positive feelings towards them.

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

Past experience

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? 

All of the people were great especially Luis, the boat tour guide and Itsa (spelling is questionable) the transfer guide who met us on the last day.

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica?

If you want to be spoiled and not have to worry about details on your vacation and you want to just sit back and relax then book a tour with Costa Rican Expeditions.

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Feb. 10, 2011 Everyone was wonderful- the hotel staff, drivers, everyone we came into contact with

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? 

Everything was very well planned and worked out very smoothly

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

Professional, warm & friendly guides, drivers, etc.

...and what fell short of your expectations?

Absolutely nothing- it was perfect! (other than too much rain)

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

nothing

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

Quick, professional email responses, high recommendations from guide books

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?

Everyone was wonderful- the hotel staff, drivers, everyone we came into contact with

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

I would just highly recommend using you for any travels to Costa Rica, for a unique, smooth down-to-earth trip!

Mary Latta
January 2010

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Feb. 10, 2011 Since we enjoyed Costa Rica we decided to go back again(we never have gone the same place twice)

This is our second time using CRE.  Last year we used CRE for the first time.  We enjoyed your services-staying in our budget, planning the things we wanted to do, giving us free time, great accommodations, great guides, great drivers who are on time, and our own trip planner who answered my questions. Since we enjoyed Costa Rica we decided to go back again(we never have gone the same place twice). So I contacted Douglas, last years planner, and told him our dates and places and things we would like to do this year. Once again he planned a great trip for us. Since he already knew our likes,-birding, types of accommodations,etc. he was able to plan another great trip for us. CRE takes the worry out wondering how to get to each new place we visited.  Knowing that some of the roads to remote areas are dirt roads, often very narrow, and road signs aren't often found it's nice to have someone else do the driving.  We liked everything we did and met some great people-even several owners of the places we stayed at.  This year we did have some transfer drivers who did not speak English.  So the long drives were quite. One driver did try to tell us things-but it was hard to figure out what he was trying to tell us and resorted to hand signals.  We got stopped for an hour going up the mountain because of an accident and it would have been nice to talk to driver and he could talk about the country, etc.  But all in all this was very minor and didn't take anything away from our great experiences.  We have told our friends about CRE.  You taking the worries out

Mike and Barb Carey

January 2011

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Feb. 10, 2011 I wanted to see several different areas, don't speak Spanish, and heard the roads were sometimes hard to navigate.

Mariela was great…she was like having an encyclopedia with you!  We loved having our own driver (William) to navigate all the different areas.  The farm was unexpectedly one of our favorite things.  It was not something you would think to schedule on your own, but we enjoyed it very much and learned a lot.  The only negative I would say would be repeating restaurants too much.  We ate like 6 meals at the Monteverde Lodge and

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

I just sent this to a friend 2 days ago…..

This is the 1st time I have ever used a company to help me plan a trip. I wanted to see several different areas, don't speak Spanish, and heard the roads were sometimes hard to navigate. I found a local company that National Geographic ranked #1 for Costa Rica trips. They are called Costa Rica Expeditions and they were great. It made it more expensive, but everything was taken care of and you had a driver and a guide who could teach you about everything you saw and translate for you. We went to Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. If you get on their website, you answer a big questionnaire about all the kinds of things you want to see and do, and then they will come up with an itinerary or 2. During the trip they get all reservations, they confirm all activities for the next day and drive you everywhere. I would definitely recommend them if you want to go to multiple parts of the country.

Erica Kelly

January 2011

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Feb. 10, 2011 On the positive side, the attitude from the servers in the restaurant was great

We stayed at the Monteverde Lodge for two nights and did not partake of any expeditions or tours. In general we were satisfied with our visit. On the positive side, the attitude from the servers in the restaurant was great; we even stopped by early on our check-out date and were able to eat lunch before the restaurant opened. On the "room for improvement side" the person who checked us in was not particularly helpful or enthusiastic about answering our questions about tour possibilities on the next day. I will say that whoever was on duty the next day was very responsive, so perhaps we just caught someone on one of her "off" days.

 

As for the accommodations, it would be nice to have king beds, and the double beds you did have were not particularly comfortable. Also, the room safe would not work, and we overheard other people at dinner say the same thing. Food was very good, and we were warned that a tour group would be present, which was one factor in causing us to have our second dinner off-site.

 

Regards,

 

Mark Kinevan

January 2011




Our Response

Dear Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a helpful account of your stay at Monteverde Lodge.

Thank you for letting us know that the person that checked you in at Monteverde Lodge was not friendly or forthcoming with information about your stay in the area. We have been aware since late- December that we were having problems with some of our staff members in the reception. We worked intensively to help them improve, but just this last week we decided to make some permanent changes. I trust that we will be able to offer consistent, efficient, friendly service very shortly. Unfortunately we are still in the process of training the new staff members and it will take some time before we get them up to speed.

We do offer king beds at Monteverde Lodge and normally have enough of them to satisfy the requests that we have on any given night. I am very sorry that you were the exception. I will advise the Management Team for the lodge to see if they think
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Feb. 10, 2011 It brought me to tears. Happy ones!

Dear Douglas,

We returned home late Thursday night from San Jose. I wanted to write you and express my deep gratitude to you and your company for providing the best customer service in your industry. You are over the top in our opinion and you exceeded our every expectation. I can't thank you enough for assisting me with the plans and preparations needed for this trip with our friends. Everyone appreciated your responsiveness and attention to the details.

Luis Torres hasn't changed a bit in eight years. His enthusiasm for the flora and fauna of his homeland is beyond reproach. And his kindness and consideration for each of us has touched our hearts. After eight years of eco tours, he still is number one in our opinion. Please take good care of him. He is a tremendous asset to Costa Rica Expeditions.

We felt Hotel Grano de Oro was a wonderful historical start to our vacation. It was so beautiful. The service and food was excellent. The rooms had very nice accommodations.

Shala at Tortuga Lodge was there to give assistance with anything we might need. She and her staff gave Jerry, my husband, the best birthday gift of his life! A torch lit dinner out on the point of the grounds of the lodge. It was fabulous and the dinner was excellent! It brought me to tears. Happy ones! Thank you for arranging all of that. Please convey my thanks to all of them again. The lodge has been much improved since our last visit. This was nice. The food and service was excellent. The accommodations were comfortable, clean and well cared for. The gardens were a wildlife sanctuary. And the boat drivers, including Fernando, had keen eyes and made us feel safe.

La Leona Lodge Tent Camp at Corcovado was an amazing and beautiful place. It is a special place that many don't know about or will ever experience. The staff were kind and caring. They helped us when my husband's camera equipment had fallen into water. They immediately placed in a dry box and kept it there for as long as we needed. Again, I convey my thanks to them for their kindness. The camp was very clean. I enjoyed the tents and loved having the private bath off the back of the tents. That was a huge plus for all of us. We were camping but still had our privacy.

Monteverde was as beautiful and serene as I remembered. The lodge was beautiful and very well kept. The staff was kind and attentive to our needs. I was sick for one day and they made sure I had a bland diet so that I could recover quickly. Jeffery, our waiter, was excellent. He was prompt, polite and responsive to our needs. We loved the torch lit dinner and the Costa Rican barbeque. Again, we were made to feel very special, which in turn, made the whole trip experience so very special. We loved the trip to Santa Elena Reserve. It was so beautiful! Please keep that a standard for this area. And the journey to and from Monteverde is an opportunity to see so many species of birds - it's an adventure in itself.

Our driver, Alex, had a keen eye for wildlife. We loved having him there. He was always watching out for our safety, whether it was when he was driving or when he was watching the van while we were out on an adventure. We always had water and drinks and whatever we asked for. He was always polite and kind. He is a plus to the company.

The inner country flights were perfect as well. They were prompt and so professional. Our transfer guide to the airport, Jonathan, was very kind and informative. A nice way to end the trip.

Our only thoughts on improvements would be the accommodations at Manual Antonio. We know Costa Rica Expeditions feels small lodges give the customer the best taste of what your country has to offer and we agree with that philosophy. We felt hotel Arenas del Mar was too spread out and inconvenient for gathering on our own as a group. The suites were gorgeous, but two of our suites had several problems, including air conditioning issues and hot water issues. They did do their best to resolve the problems. We felt having to call for a golf cart to go anywhere was inconvenient. The bar provided very slow service and they ran out of Merlot after the first night. The food was acceptable but your lodges provided much better food. I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel a smaller, quainter lodge similar to Tortuga Lodge and Monteverde Lodge would be a nice option for those who enjoy that type of atmosphere vs. the high end resort.

I thank you and everyone else at Costa Rica Expeditions for giving each and every one of us a trip of a lifetime and allowing us to see what a wonderful place Costa Rica is. You are lucky to live in such a place. The stress of my normal life faded away within one day of being there. My memories will bring a smile to my face for many years to come. I will continue to recommend you and your company to everyone I know. I am so glad I dealt with Costa Rica Expeditions directly instead of going through a US travel company. You are the best!

And lastly, my thanks to Michael Kaye for his pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit that created such an amazing ecotourism company. And to all of you for efforts to make each and every one of us feel special. Great customer service goes far! I have submitted my survey to Travel and Leisure Magazine hoping Costa Rica Expeditions will be awarded with one of the "World's Best Awards" in the "Tour Operators/Safari Outfitters"  Category. You certainly deserve in my book - eight years ago and today as well. Keep doing what you are doing. Don't Change!

Best Wishes to Everyone at Costa Rica Expeditions! I will miss communicating with all of you.

Leisa Cudworth

January 2011




Our Response

Dear Leisa,

Douglas sent me a copy of your email to him.

Thank you for taking the time to write such a generous account of your trip. Over the years I have read many letters with feedback and I can honestly say that yours is one of the most incredible ones I’ve ever read.

Of the many things that you wrote the one I liked most was,

She and her staff gave Jerry, my husband, the best birthday gift of his life! A torch lit dinner out on the point of the grounds of the lodge. It was fabulous and the dinner was excellent! It brought me to tears. Happy ones!

I also liked:

The stress of my normal life faded away within one day of being there. My memories will bring a smile to my face for many years to come.

I see your point about Arenas del Mar. I’m glad to hear that they were prompt and proactive about correcting the maintenance issues in your rooms. We too would like to be able to offer a smaller hotel. Our problem has been to find one that puts it al
-

Jan. 26, 2011 without a doubt this was one of the smoothest, easiest trips we have ever taken

Nadya,

I can't begin to thank you for our wonderful vacation in Costa Rica.  We travel a lot but without a doubt this was one of the smoothest, easies trips we have ever taken.  Your attention to the details was the key.  

I have passed your name on to several co-workers that say they are interested in visiting and my husband and I are looking at our finances to see if we can fit another trip in for the same time frame next year.  I will stay in touch.

Thank you again for everything and Merry Christmas!  

Andria Tolerton
November 2010

- Andria Tolerton

Jan. 26, 2011 Our anniversary dinner was beyond imagination, illuminated path to our private riverside table under a lantern lit tree!!!

Priscilla, I cannot thank you enough for the fabulous trip you planned! 

We just got home and are readjusting, it is in the 30's here. 

Our vacation was wonderful. The accommodations were  beyond our expectations; especially the volcano view from our room at Monoa, and the superlative service and luxurious room at Tortuga Lodge. The special attention to detail at Tortuga was incredible; welcome beverage upon arrival and candles litin our room after dinner. Our anniversary dinner was beyond imagination, illuminated path to our private riverside table under a lantern lit tree!!! 

Everyone from CRE was so professional, and every meal so wonderful ( amazing lunch halfway down the Pacuare). The relief from concern or planning was invaluable.

The activities we did were great. Thank you for including the waterfall rappelling, a rare thrill, and the ecothermales, perfection afterwards. Special thanks to rearranging our zipline day to enable us to raft, that was incredible!!! 

We will be spreading the word on your service, and wishing for someone like you/CRE for our future excursions (hoping for South Africa for my 50th).

All the best

Sandy Marcus
November 2010

- Sandy Marcus

Jan. 26, 2011 .. our very positive experience with Priscila Jimenez who helped us so much during the planning phase.

Dear Natalie,

Thank you so much for your very specific responses to our comments regarding our recent trip. It occurred to me when I read it that I forget to mention our very positive experience with Priscila Jimenez who helped us so much during the planning phase. She answered all our questions promptly and made us very comfortable with the whole experience. It was the first tour either of us had taken and my first time out of the country, so we probably needed a little bit of extra attention.

Jim and Ellen Thompson
October 2010


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Jan. 26, 2011 .except we felt the pickup times were unnecessarily early… Quick and thorough response to our emails by Luis Cabero.

As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation... 

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?

We loved the Osa Peninsula - snorkeling at Cano Island and hiking in Corcovado.

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

La Paloma lodge is beautiful and luxurious.  More people should head to that part of Costa Rica. The CRE drivers and guides were great, always willing to share their knowledge and stop for photo opportunities constantly for my wife.  We especially liked our driver (twice), Rolando, who went out of his way to make sure we saw everything we wanted to.

...and what fell short of your expectations?

 Nothing really, except we felt the pickup times were unnecessarily early.  For example, CRE insisted on picking us up in Arenal at 8am for a 3pm flight from San Jose.  We had hours to kill.  Similarly, CRE picked us up at 8am at our San Jose hotel for a 12:30pm flight back to Miami.  We had 3 hours in the airport.

 What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

 Nothing, we checked others and CRE was the best.

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

 Quick and thorough response to our emails by Luis Cabero.

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? 

Two of our drivers -- Rolando and ??? (drove us from San Jose to Arenal) were especially good.  No one fell short of our expectations.   

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

CRE was very professional and went out of its way to make sure we were taken care of without trying to push us into doing things we weren't interested in.  They arranged all the internal flights and transfers, and booked the hotels we requested.  Everything worked perfectly. 

Pete Elms
December 2010




Our Response

I looked into the unnecessarily early pick up times for the two transfers that you mention. For the SANSA flight from San Jose to Drake’s Bay, you needed to be at SANSA by 2:15PM, they require that guests be there 45 minutes prior to the departure time. In this case I agree with you, this pick up time was scheduled too early. Spending two hours at the SANSA terminal is no fun. I’ve spoken to our Operations Department about this and they agree that it was a programming mistake. Thank you for the heads up.

Your transfer to the International Airport was for a 12:30pm flight, the airline asks that you be at the airport 3 hours prior to flight time which in this case would be 9:30am. Given that you were at Vista del Valle which is one hour from the airport, we set the pickup time for 8:am. This give us 30 extra minutes in case there is a delay in leaving the hotel, something is forgotten or in case of a flat tire or exceptionally bad traffic. Also, given that you were leaving the country on January 2nd, we knew that this was going to be a busy day at the airport and we thought that it would be better for you to wait inside the terminal than in line at the counter. I realize that waiting is no fun, but in this case, we thought that is was best to get you there with the required 3 hours rather than risk having your miss your flight.

Do you drink coffee? I would like to send you a supply of gourmet Costa Rica coffee to make up for the wait at SANSA. If you don’t drink coffee, how about chocolate? If you would enjoy this, please send me your mailing address and I will send it right away.

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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Jan. 26, 2011 Each email interaction I had with Priscilla was prompt and left me feeling I could fully rely on what I was being told was happening.

I'd like to recognise both our guide Mariela, and Edgar our driver for making our tour of Costa Rica an absolute pleasure.  Both were extremely helpful, informative and entertaining.  Edgar kept us laughing with his stories and Mariela went out of her way to ensure we had the best opportunity to see as much of Costa Rica's bird and animal life as possible. 

But I have taken my children on a number of such holidays and what stood out most for me was the 'sales process'.  Organising a holiday from the other side of the world is a challenge, knowing I can't front up at the office to ask for personal assistance or wait online for someone to answer the phone.  I was very impressed with the quality and frequency of communication with your business; the automated response to my initial request acknowledged what I had asked for but also, informed me as to what would happen next.  And it did. Each email interaction I had with Priscilla was prompt and left me feeling I could fully rely on what I was being told was happening.  This is what I have been most impressed with.  What could have been an 'anonymous' interaction felt to me to be very personal.  I'd like to thank Priscilla more than anyone for her help in arranging a wonderful trip for us.  I have told of my experience to a number of people and I will continue to do so.  I can not over estimate the importance of personal engagement in a web channel and my experience with CR Expeditions has set a very high standard indeed.

Thanks again,

Dave
January 2011

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Jan. 26, 2011 I worked with Marco, who put together a wonderful itinerary for my 21-year old son and me

It was terrific.  I worked with Marco, who put together a wonderful itinerary for my 21-year old son and me, and we both has a fantastic time.  Hotels were great, as were the various activities.  I will recommend you to anyone planning to travel to Costa Rica.

Best regards,

Beryl
January 2011

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Jan. 26, 2011 You were an exceptional trip planner. We would definitely use Costa Rica Expeditions again and recommend it to friends.

Dear Marco,

Thank you for everything.  The trip was beautiful.  Everything was well orchestrated and the entire experience went smoothly.

We are so impressed with Costa Rica Expeditions.  Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful itinerary.

All of our guides were warm and friendly and knowledgeable.  We learned a lot and fell in love with the beautiful culture and all of the beautiful forests.

Monteverde Lodge is paradise.  The manager gave us a warm welcome.  We loved the architecture and the gardens and trails.  

I can't thank you enough for all of your help.  You were an exceptional trip planner.  We would definitely use Costa Rica Expeditions again and recommend it to friends.

With deepest gratitude, 

Betsy
January 2011

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Jan. 26, 2011 Everyone knew it was our anniversary and gave us well wishes.

Priscila,

My husband has been busy giving fabulous on line ratings to Costa Rica Expeditions and the various hotels we stayed at, but I wanted to thank you personally for all you did to make this a wonderful trip.  Everyone knew it was our anniversary and gave us well wishes.  All the tour guides were great and really knew their stuff.  The accommodations were wonderful, especially Nayara Arenal.  We were treated like royalty!

I would definitely recommend your company and we hope to visit again.  We heard that you are building up on your Pacific coast property.  Keep us up to date on the progress as we'd love to visit the coast on our next trip.


Thanks again!

Beth Harling
January 2010

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Jan. 26, 2011 CR Expeditions made ensure that it was MY trip and they were there to provide a flexible and unique service tailored to OUR needs.

As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation... 

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?

Both expeditions that we went on (pacuare and zip line tour) left amazing memories that will last a lifetime. 

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand? 

The culinary presentation after the rafting trip blew us away! I've done a lot of backpacking and mountaineering but I've never been treated to such an amazing meal after a day out enjoying nature.  

...and what fell short of your expectations?

 ---

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?

Natalie Ewing and Liz took amazing care of our itinerary. The accommodations and tours presented to us were perfectly suited and everything was flexible to our unique travel arrangements. 

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

CR Expeditions made ensure that it was MY trip and they were there to provide a flexible and unique service tailored to OUR needs. At first I was apprehensive about hard-earned vacation time completely in their hands but they did not disappoint! In fact my expectations were far exceeded and if I plan another trip to Costa Rica I'll be sure to give them a call. 


Eric Schwartz
December 2010

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Jan. 26, 2011 The perception of thoughtful planning by an experienced tour operator. The potential removal of wasted time...after all..'Vacation time is precious"

As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation...

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? 

Each day had many moments that created lifetime memories. Every event and each lodging was uniquely memorable. Here are a few memory snap shots.

  • lying in a luxurious bed being entertained by the night and early morning natural surround sounds at Tortuga Lodge and Gardens
  • the lush misty rainforest hike and siting a Resplendent Quetzal
  • a misty cool night, sitting quietly on our horses, watching the sunset over the Gulf of Nicoya
  • adrenal rush, on class 4 rapids & the peaceful crossing of a Blue Morpho on the Pacuare River
  • making Christmas cards with the children at the school in San Francisco
  • Surrounded by the pinging sounds of frogs whilst relaxing in a hot tub under the stars at Arenal Observatory Lodge
  • observing the dancing ritual and listening to the Montezuma Oropendola from our patio at the Arenal Observatory Lodge
  • listening to the decemation of a tropical plant by Leaf Cutters at the Arenal Manoa
  • searching for wildlife in Tortuguero National Park in the pouring rain and loving it!
  • appreciating Norton's understanding, knowledge and keen eyesight in the channels at Tortuguero National Park
  • zip lining on Christmas Day at Parque Aventura Rio Barranca

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

Nearly flawless execution. The perception of a private and exclusive tour.

...and what fell short of your expectations?

Nothing

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?

No

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us? 

Concern with cost. Visions of a 'typical tour' with too many other people on a noisy bus!

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

The perception of thoughtful planning by an experienced tour operator.

The potential removal of wasted time...after all..'Vacation time is precious"

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? 

All exceeded, none fell short.

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica Expeditions tag line is...'Legendary Service...Unforgetable Memories." Well I must tell you they certainly exceeded. Staff were extremely well organized, courteous, knowledgeable and attentive.

One constructive comment:

The garden cabin at  Monteverde Lodge and Gardens requires windows that seal and the addition of heat for those cold, blustery and rainy nights.

Guy Spence
December 2010




Our Response

Thank you for your recommendation about sealing the windows in the garden cabin and thinking about heat. We will definitely take action to see how we can deal with the draftiness of the cabin and make is cozy and comfortable for guests.

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
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Jan. 26, 2011 Seeing the very tiny honeybees and quite active two-toed and three-toed

As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation...

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? 

Seeing the very tiny honeybees and quite active two-toed and three-toed sloths at Selva Verde Organization for Tropical Studies.  

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

Wonderfully warm and personalized greeting.   

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

 Reputation and reliability.

 What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

 Exceptional reliable service. 

 Andrea Britton
January 2011

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Jan. 26, 2011 .doing business with a local agency, which we had never done before, and on the internet !! people thought I was crazy

Dear Michael,

we loved our trip,and especially the people, from Nadya who made me feel so secure about doing business with a local agency, which we had never done before, and on the internet !! people thought I was crazy, but I crossed my fingers and hope for the best. She didn’t let me down. Take care of Nadya, she is a great asset to your company !! , to José and William our wonderful drivers, who in many situations ( other than driving)  were looking out for us, they are very dear to our hearts, to our wonderful guide Larry, who did his job wonderfully, but added so much more, so many little attentions, we feel very lucky to have had him as our guide.

Food and lodging was good, etc... but I know what you want to know is what is it that we didn’t like......not much, mother nature was not cooperating, but that is not your fault, she completely made the volcano invisible, but that was not your fault, she also caused our biggest dissapointement, because of her, we could not do the rafting on the Pacuare River and the alternative was very disapointing. Here in Quebec, We’ve done some rafting that was  much more exciting, and we didn’t get the riverbank lunch setting that we were looking forward to,mind you the lunch was fine, but the setting was not what I had hoped for... and we were rushed to eat cause we had a plane to catch, but I guess everybody’s kindness made up for it, I guess...

And yes, I would recommend your company to a friend. You have wonderful people working for you, that is your biggest quality.

Thank you for a great vacation.

Line Villemaire

P.S. Michael, english is not my first language, so I hope this is comprehensive to you.

December 2010

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Jan. 22, 2011 We learned a lot and fell in love with the beautiful culture and all of the beautiful forests.
Dear Marco,

Thank you for everything. The trip was beautiful. Everything was well orchestrated and the entire experience went smoothly.

We are so impressed with Costa Rica Expeditions. Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful itinerary.

All of our guides were warm and friendly and knowledgeable. We learned a lot and fell in love with the beautiful culture and all of the beautiful forests.

Monteverde Lodge is paradise. The manager gave us a warm welcome. We loved the architecture and the gardens and trails.

I can't thank you enough for all of your help. You were an exceptional trip planner. We would definitely use Costa Rica Expeditions again and recommend it to friends.

With deepest gratitude,

Betsy
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Jan. 19, 2011 price-value was excellent
As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica
vacation...


excellent

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened
something that might become a lifetime memory?


the nature, the lovely people we met, our wedding

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or
what you read and heard before hand?


the perfections of the realization of our travel planning, the friendliness of the people

...and what fell short of your expectations?

nothing

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?

no

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

the concern if your team could handle the organization

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?


the good valuations i read in the internet e.g. tripadvisor

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your
expectations, and in what ways?


everyone exceeded our expectations

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica?  

the only one I would travel with if I want to go to Costa Rica again
price-value was excellent
trip organization and realization were perfect
people were wonderful
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Jan. 19, 2011 The attention to detail was outstanding, loved the white glove service of our rafting guides!
What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

the staff/service at Tortuga Lodge

...and what fell short of your expectations?

Hotel Tango Mar, not very charming, unlike Tortuga and Lost Iguana.  Dull and institutional looking. 

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with? no

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

I could do it on my own

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

the amount of time it would take me to organize this on my own

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?  

The attention to detail was outstanding, loved the white glove service of our rafting guides!

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

They are the best travel agents I have ever used, I fully recommend them.  Great attention to detail, their standards for hotels are pretty high



Our Response

I was concerned to read that you found Tango Mar to be “dull and institutionalized” and want to thank you for your comment. This is the first year that we use Tango Mar with more frequency and are very interested in your feedback on your experience. The good news is that they are normally very open to constructive criticism and I’m sure they will want to know. If you have anything that you could add to your comment to make it more specific it would be very helpful.

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions
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Jan. 19, 2011 And I scrutinized their pricing and found it very fair.
Hi, there.  Sorry not to give you the feedback you requested earlier, but I did just fill out the survey referred to below, and I want you to know how happy I was with your service and that I did rate it excellent in every category.  (Priscilla Jiminez was the person who helped us.)  Here was my comment:

When I contacted Costa Rica Expeditions, I'd already done a lot of research and had in mind an extremely ambitious itinerary with multiple destinations and activities, and in some locations, I'd already found good hotels at budget rates. But I knew I needed help, esp. with the many transfers by car, boat, and small plane. CRE did not have a relationship with some of the more modest hotels I was interested in and could not book them for me. I had no problem with that, and they had no problem helping me with the parts I wanted them to handle. They gave me knowledgeable, helpful advice about choices to be made, and did everything possible to coordinate with me so we were able to maximize our trip experience with no slip-ups, including coordinating betw. portions of the trip that I booked and portions they booked. And I scrutinized their pricing and found it very fair. I would gladly use them again and recommend them highly.

I do hope we will be able to return to Costa Rica some day.

Best regards,

Carolyn Sortor

Reviewed January 2011

Traveled April 2010


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Jan. 13, 2011 This is not your usual professional practices.
Good morning

I hope you are well merry Christmas

The driver from Norsara to coco beach was excellent! He was a real pleasure and he was in keeping with your usual high standards.

Yesterday the driver from the catamaran snorkeling trip who picked us up at the hotel to take us to Tamarindo was very rude and on the way to Tamarindo he picked up a young woman a stranger to us and drove her to tamarindo with us. This is not your usual professional practices. He did not ask us if this was ok. When he dropped us at the beach in Tamarindo he was rude and abrupt.

On the return trip we had a different driver and he drove recklessly by overtaking at night in the dark around a blind corner. I have two young children with me. The catamaran tour was geared towards a "booze cruise" not a family event. When I am on my own or with my girlfriend this would be fine but not with two young children.  It was a bunch of hard drinking people who didn't care about the snorkeling. When we got to the snorkeling place it was very rough and there were no fish at all

Thanks
Stan
Stan Krawitz



Our Response

Dear Stan,

I am writing to follow up after your vacation in Costa Rica.

I’ve read through the correspondence with Marco and see that you had a bad experience with the catamaran tour in Tamarindo and that the rental vehicle that we confirmed was not the same as what Toyota Rent a Car delivered.

I believe you have already discussed this with Marco, but I want to be sure to reconfirm that we are refunding the full amount for the catamaran tour, $340 and we are also refunding the difference for the rental, $48. There are two different charge backs, they will take a few weeks to show up on your statement. Please let me know when they come through.

On a separate note, you may be interested to know that after a rather long string of emails, we have been able to come up with an alternative snorkeling tour in Tamarindo that will be a much better experience for families and guests that want to spend time on the water snorkeling without the “booze cruise”. I trust that we won’t have a repeat of what you experienced down the road. Thank you very much for waving the red flag, it’s super valuable to have this kind of feedback from you.

I am curious to know how the rest of your trip went? Did we live up to your expectations from your first trip with us?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions,

Stan

I am extremely happy with your services and your customer oriented approach. Marco is a gem and cannot speak more highly of him

Again thank you

Best

Stan
-

Jan. 13, 2011 You very correctly assessed our family's wants and needs.
Hi Costa Rica Expeditions,

My family and I had a fantastic trip under your guidance.  Transport between areas was seamless, and your drivers safe, thoughtful, and professional.  Did I mention friendly?  All lodgings were superb.  When meals were included, they were wonderful.  The outings you arranged for us (white water rafting, kayaking, zip lining etc.) were first rate.  We were very impressed by all the the guides: competent, personable, and knowledgeable.  Costa Rica is such a rich country and has such a diversity of life.  

Because our tour was just for the six of us, I was struck by the wonderful balance between planned activities and free time. You very correctly assessed our family's wants and needs.  I think we finally "got it" when we just relaxed on the Pacific beaches at the end of the trip.  I will not hesitate to sing your praises to anyone I meet.  

Muchas gracias.  Pura vida.
Jean Stice
December 2010
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Jan. 13, 2011 Yes We travelled with our granddaughter and learned that she is even more wonderful than we already knew.
As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation... 
We gave Marco a lot of information to digest and work into our itinerary.  We wanted an active trip for our 7 year old granddaughter.  We wanted her to have a sense of the beauty and unique qualities of CR.  We wanted her to have individual attention from guides as she is so excited by animals, birds, butterflies, etc.  We wanted her to experience nature and not to land up at a resort which could be anywhere.  On the other hand, we had time limitations and also wanted her to have a few unscheduled days at a beach resort.

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?  Snorkeling within sight of humpback whales, horseback riding on the beach in Guanacaste, having lunch at Tortuguero with iguanas and sloths as our table companions, kayaking in Tortuguero and having a snowy egret as a guide, watching Samantha hold butterflies, toucans, feeding humming birds, seeing those indescribable sunsets.

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?  The personal and VIP treatment we received from every single member of the CRE team.  The great accommodations esp. our suite at the JW Marriott.

  

...and what fell short of your expectations? The only thing that fell short was the scheduling of the first day.  We drove 3 ½ hours to Monteverde with another family.  By the time we dropped them off and arrived at our hotel, it was time for lunch.  We discovered that we would be leaving the next morning at 7AM and that the Monteverde park closed that afternoon at 4PM.  This was a long drive and a lot to cover in the few hours left to us that day.  We had to question whether the trip to Monteverde was worthwhile. 

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?  Yes  We travelled with our granddaughter and learned that she is even more wonderful than we already knew.

  

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us? Not applicable

  

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?Recommendations from friends, acclaim within the travel industry 

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? Exceeded.  When there was a problem, the staff admitted the error and did everything possible to rectify the situation.  The staff to a person was extraordinarily amicable, helpful, organized, thoughtful and professional.  Very well trained and spirited.

  

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? We got more than our money’s worth.  We were handled on a most personal basis and treated like VIPs.  We felt total trust in the organization and their ability to deal with our needs and interests.

Raquel Levin
December 2010



Our Response

I am in agreement with you regarding a one night stay in Monteverde. This is a tough one especially when you are traveling with a 7 year old. I’ve read through your correspondence with Marco and see that he had quite a time confirming the space for your itinerary, he decided to go ahead with it even though it wasn’t the best option. In hindsight, he agrees that it should have been done differently, thank you for pointing this out. It is a very good reminder that even under pressure due to lack of availability, one night stays in Monteverde are normally not the best way to go.

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions
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Jan. 13, 2011 You live in such a wonderful and impressive country - it's so amazing!
Dear Marco

Thank you very much. Here is the picture I mentionned. Please tell me, if you can't open it. We also had to send a picture of a Quetzal to your guide Samuel at Monteverde and he couldn't open the file.

You live in such a wonderful and impressive country - it's so amazing!

Best regards

Kerstin
December 2010
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Jan. 13, 2011 Although we had lots of rain in Tortuguero, we got to see many beautiful birds and plants, and a sloth that camped out in a tree just outside our room.
Hola Douglas,

Just checking in to let you know we had a wonderful visit to Costa Rica. Thank you so much for setting everything up for us.

We took your advice and had dinner in San Jose at Hotel Grano de Oro, which was spectacular. Thank you for the recommendation.

Although we had lots of rain in Tortuguero, we got to see many beautiful birds and plants, and a sloth that camped out in a tree just outside our room.

Corcovado was generally everyone's favorite place. Watching scarlet macaws sitting in the trees on the beach was a wonderful, memorable experience.

Punta Islita was very relaxing, and a very nice finish to the trip.

We will be sure to recommend CRE to all our friends, and hopefully we'll get the chance to visit your beautiful country again soon.

Many thanks,
Tom
December 2010
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Jan. 13, 2011 When we left, it felt like we were saying good-bye to family.

Dear Nadya,

Thank you so much for planning our spectacular visit to Costa Rica. The Pacuare Jungle Lodge is incredible due to its staff, their activities  and the location. Our Linda Vista Suites were beyond imagination.

The biggest bonus was our visit to Monte Azul. I had no idea what was in store for us, but it was fantastic. The owners, the food, the accommodations and the activities were all so much fun. I highly encourage you to send more guests to Monte Azul. When we left, it felt like we were saying good-bye to family.

Ramon, our  transfer driver, was an excellent, careful driver on difficult terrain, and he did an excellent job in keeping us safe.

Thank you for all your efforts in planning our trip.

Warmly,

Linda Sands and Family

December 2010

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Jan. 12, 2011 Thank you for helping to make it all possible

Dear  Nadya,

We had a wonderful vacation in Costa Rica.  Thank you for helping to make it all possible.  All transfers went smoothly.  Lapa Rios was an exceptional resort and the weather perfect.  We got  lots and lots of rain in Tortuguero, but we did go on one boat trip and thoroughly enjoyed the meals there.  All in all a great experience!

Best wishes for the New Year!

Beth, Charlie, and Richard Cuthbert 

December 2010

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Jan. 12, 2011 FROM THE MINUTE MY FEET LANDED ON THE GROUND IN COSTA RICA, CRE WAS THERE HANDLING EVER DETAIL;
As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation...

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?

--- 

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?  THE ENTIRE TRIP WAS FABULOUS. IT WAS THE FIRST TRIP THAT I DID NOT HAVE TO THINK OF A THING – CRE HAD ALREADY DONE THAT FOR ME. I DID NOT REALIZE HOW RELAXED I WAS GOING TO BE (EXCEPT FOR WHITE WATER RAFTING WHICH WAS THE PERFECT BLEND OF EXCITEMENT AND PICTURESQUE LOCATIONS)

...and what fell short of your expectations? I AM SORRY TO SAY, THE ARENAL MANOA.  THE FRONT DESK STAFF WAS AWFUL, WHILE WAITING FOR A PICK-UP I WATCHED AND LISTENED TO THE FRONT DESK STAFF COMPLETELY DISREGARD (REFUSED TO HELP WITH TELEPHONE NUMBERS ETC..) AN ELDERLY COUPLE (CRE GUESTS) TRY TO BOOK A TOUR ON THEIR OWN, FINALLY I ASSISTED BY GIVING THE COUPLE YOUR OPERATIONS NUMBER WHICH THEY CALLED AND WERE ASSISTED BY A  CRE STAFF MEMBER. SHORTLY THEREAFTER I NEEDED TO CALL OPERATIONS BECAUSE OUR PICK-UP DID NOT SHOW (AND HAD GIVEN YOUR NUMBER TO THE COUPLE) THE FRONT DESK GIRLS TOLD ME THEY DID NOT HAVE CRE CONTACT INFORMATION; I STARTED TO GET ANGRY AND WITHIN TWO MINUTES (I KID YOU NOT) THEY MIRACULOUSLY FOUND YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION.  I DO NOT LIKE TO COMPLAIN AND I WOULD NOT HAVE SAID ANYTHING BUT FOR HOW THEY TREATED THE  ELDERLY COUPLE WHO WERE CLEARLY STRUGGLING.  THE LODGING WAS FINE AND THE FOOD WAS GOOD BUT THE FRONT DESK STAFF REALLY NEEDS TO GET CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING FROM CRE.

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR QUESTION.

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us? NOT A THING. YOU CAME HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY A CLOSE FRIEND.

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

 ---

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?  YOUR STAFF WAS FABULOUS, MANY WERE WITH US FOR SUCH A SHORT OR NON-INTERACTIVE TIME. I CANNOT REMEMBER ALL THE NAMES. RICARDO, EDUARDO, CARLOS WERE GREAT.  YOUR SUB-CONTRACTOR IN ARENAL – (SUNRISE? – BUSINESS CARD IS AT HOME)  CAME TO OUR HOTEL TO TAKE US TO THE HOT SPRINGS BECAUSE HIS FOLKS FORGOT TO PICK US UP FOR HORSEBACK RIDING AND WE WERE RUNNING LATE FOR THE HOT SPRINGS.  HE CAME WITH HIS WIFE AND A FRUIT BASKET – THINGS HAPPEN AND HIS EXTRA EFFORT WAS APPRECIATED.

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? I ALREADY HAVE! AS STATED ABOVE, THIS WAS THE FIRST TRIP THAT I DID NOT HAVE TO BE PLANNING OUR NEXT EXCURSION.  FROM THE MINUTE MY FEET LANDED ON THE GROUND IN COSTA RICA, CRE WAS THERE HANDLING EVER DETAIL; THE LODGING, FOOD AND EXCURSIONS MET AND EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS. THE CRE STAFF WAS PROFESSIONAL,  KNOWLEDGEABLE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY GENUINELY CARED ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCES.

Thanks again for your feedback!

Elenor Taft
December 2010



Our Response

I want to thank you for alerting us to the customer service problems with the hotel Arenal Manoa. We ran a report to see who the elderly couple might have been and are narrowing it down. I will be writing a couple of people today to see if they were the ones that experienced such awful service. Thank you for coming to their rescue! You may be the first case that I have read about of one of our guests actually stepping in and helping another guest in a difficult situation. We really appreciate your concern and action.

Our product department is in the process of taking up the issue with Arenal Manoa. We have 2-3 cases that report exactly the same kind of behavior so we know that it’s a consistent pattern.

It made me smile to read that the people from Sunset took you a fruit basket due to the botched transfer for horseback riding. Glad to know that they are going the extra mile and showing their concern for our guests.

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions
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Jan. 12, 2011 We just returned from our week in Costa Rica with 18 family members ranging from age 4 - 72. All 18 had an amazing time.
Dear Nadya. We just returned from our week in Costa Rica with 18 family members ranging from age 4 - 72.  All 18 had an amazing time. The country and people are beautiful. The activities, accommodations, food and transportation were all superb. We loved our guide Alex. He was so patient and fun with the kids. And Marco was a terrific driver. We had to change our route to get to Tortuguero because the road was floaded but all went off without a hitch. We can't wait to go back and have recommended Costa Rica Expeditions to all of our friends.

Amy Lettes

December 2010
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Jan. 12, 2011 Our daughter went from being petrified to wanting to schedule the next white water rafting excursion.
As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation...

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?  

Our daughter went from being petrified to wanting to schedule the next white water rafting excursion. 

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand? 

 ---

...and what fell short of your expectations? 

Despite what we had read about tipping customs in Costa Rica, we constantly felt obligated to tip the variety of different people helping us throughout our trip.  We would have preferred a no tipping policy with an upfront surcharge to cover these tips.

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with? 

We were proud of our daughter because she traveled without her phone, so there was no texting.  Also, three of our hotels didn't have television which is tough for a teenager.  She did great!

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

Nothing.  Reviews were very good so that is why we selected your company.

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us? 

Private tours with activities that we wanted.

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? 

We really enjoyed Shayla, our guide who took us from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio and was our "official" zip line photographer. 

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica?

We found CRE to be very well organized and made our experience very enjoyable.


Bookbinder / Porter
December 2010



Our Response

I’m delighted to hear that your teenage daughter was able to engage with Costa Rica and her parents and enjoy the activities and surrounding. Kudos to her, we get a lot of teenage travelers that don’t take full advantage of the opportunities that a vacation offers.

I’m sorry to hear that you had some unexpected situations come up with regard to tipping. It is a difficult subject, one the we ourselves have struggled with for years. I’m not sure if you’ve read what our President and CEO, Michael Kaye, recommends about tipping in Costa Rica, but I am including a link below in case you would like to have a look. As far as having a trip with all tips included, going forward, be sure to let your travel company know that this is your preference, it can usually be arranged. When we know that a particular guest want this service we normally include all tips with the only exception of Naturalist Guides and Drivers.

http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com/MichaelKaye/tipping.php

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions
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Jan. 12, 2011 Last but not least our arrival to Manuel Antonio was quite a disappointment.

Buenas Dias,

I am writing you to let you how our trip to Costa Rica was. Our first two legs of the trip were fantastic!! From the moment we touched down we had wonderful drivers that were on time for our transfers, and educated us about the country. Arenal and Monte Verde were such an exceptional experience for us due to the people. We had great tour guides, and the hotel people were friendly and eager to teach us about the country, the animals, the flora, and the language. The rooms and grounds were immaculate, the people fantastic, and the tours incredible. We were impressed with each persons knowledge and quest to improve and learn new things. In fact, at Monte Verde they went out of their way for my friends Birthday without me asking for anything special. They set-up a very special private dinner outside under the patio, with a fire-pit, and luminaries all around the perimeter of the patio. It was absolutely beautiful and such a nice surprise for both of us. Unfortunately the wind was so strong that day and night, there was no way we could sit outside and eat, but just the fact they went out of their way to do this made our experience their so much better. 

From Monteverde  we were transferred to Manuel Antonio, and along the way we had our canopy tour at Vista Los Suenos Canopy. What a fantastic afternoon that was. The lead guide Gorge and Eli who were with us were friendly, professional, and knowledgeable about the ecology surrounding the tour. It was one of the funniest things I have ever done and I wanted it to last longer. My request for a birthday for my friend was handled and everyone sang to her. Thank you for making that request happen. 

Last but not least our arrival to Manuel Antonio was quite a disappointment.  From the moment we checked in on 12/8/10 we noticed a huge change in the friendliness of the people. Whenever we approached the reception desk there were three people there, and none of them acknowledged our presence or made eye contact. The staff were all glued to their computers or phones. In fact, one night we were trying to call to get a wake-up call because the clock in our room kept blinking as if the power was surging at times, and there was so much sanding in preparation for high season going on in the reception area that they couldn't even hear the phone ringing. None of the staff had name tags on except for one person the entire three days we were there. 

The first morning we entered Pico Rico for breakfast and the waiter pointed to a table, did not greet us except to ask if we wanted coffee. He did not explain if we could have eggs, and there is nothing posted to indicate that. After he came to our table with coffee I asked him and he said yes, and where to go to ask for them. Once we sat, he never came back to ask if everything was okay, nor did he ask if we wanted more coffee. In fact, it was the same thing every morning for the entire stay. Every morning, there was at-least two cooks, four-five waiters, and three people behind the bar. For the amount of staff working in that tiny are,a and only a few customers eating at any one time, the service should have been fantastic.  They would all congregate together and stare at each person in the restaurant, and then talk to each other and laugh. We felt as if they were talking about us and laughing, and it was very uncomfortable. When I did get their attention for more coffee, they would only pour mine and not once ask my friend if she wanted more. We ate there more than just breakfast, and every-time it was the same thing. We spoke with several other guest's about the hotel staff and service, and each one indicated they felt the staff was unfriendly and had poor overall service. I would never return to this hotel regardless of what I was told by other people. I want you to know that I sent a email directly to the hotel owner Jim Damalas indicating how disapointed we were in his hotel staff. 

The hotel itself was beautiful, clean, well kept, and had a beautiful view. It's a shame that as beautiful as the hotel was, the service and the people who worked there were so incredibly disappointing to us on our last three days there. We realize they were getting ready for high season, however that should not impact the courteousness and service that should be expected to the guests on a daily basis.  

One afternoon we went to the pool by Pico Rico and as we approached the bar to get a drink, the bar tender saw us coming and walked in the other direction. It took us a couple minutes to get him to come back to serve us when he was standing just at the other end of the bar talking with the other staff members. When he finally acknowledged our presence we got our drinks and left the pool.  

I do have to say that the one bartender at the adult pool who's name is Ronald was fantastic. He was friendly, he always greeted us, and he gave fantastic service each time we went to that pool. In addition, the tour to Manuel Antonio National Reserve was fantastic thanks to the guide that is employed by the hotel- Vivviana is a warm, friendly, knowledgeable guide. We learned much from her and had a great time in the park. 

In speaking with one of the younger waiters who had been there for 10 yrs he said that "you have to be really bad to get fired from Si Como No". Once we learned that, we realized why the service and utter lack to attention to the customers was prevalent. Whether they give good service or poor service they will always have a job at Como Si No. 

The snorkeling tour I had booked was a disaster from start to finish. Initially I was told we would be picked up at 7:30AM for our tour. The night before I received a fax from Oceans Unlimited indicating that we would be picked up 9:40am instead. We were waiting in the lobby at 9:30 because we had found that most tour guides were always early from our previous two places we stayed. Our guides did not show up until 10:05am. He introduced himself and then we went to the next hotel to pick up a couple who were from England. As soon as the couple got into the van, the guide told him they did not accept credit cards and that we would have to stop in town at a ATM. There was no conversation from the guide during the drive about what to expect, or how the tour would go. Once we arrived at the dock, we embarked on our tour. From the information I received from Costa Rican Expeditions it indicated the guide would explain the history of the area. What we received from the guide was that Manuel Antonio is comprised of four beaches and then he pointed them out to us. That was the extent of the history we received during our tour. We arrived at the snorkeling site, and we received no instruction on the snorkeling equipment, how to use it, or how to fit the mask or fins appropriately. Once we were in the water, no guide accompanied us at anytime. The paperwork I received from you that a guide would be present in the water at all times. This is a huge safety issue that should be dealt with. Both men stayed on the boat, and only whistled when any of us went to far away from the boat. The water was so murky that you couldn't see anything unless you went right up to the rocks, and the current would actually push you into the rocks. When we got back on the boat and we asked about the murky water the guide acted like he knew nothing about murky water. In fact, he acted like he didn't even care it was murky and we had poor visual distance under the water. Once we were back in the van and headed back to the hotel there was no conversation about how it was, did you have a good time or anything else. The guide and driver stopped in town to pick up their lunch without even asking any of us if that was okay for them stop. In addition, he ran up the rode with a empty gas can and never once explained what he was going to do. 

I don't know whether you know this or not, but Ocean's Unlimited sent us the fax sighed by Jimmy Campos 2777-3171, but the company that actually took us on the snorkeling tour was from snorkeling adventures. Perhaps it's possible that Ocean's Unlimited sub-contracts to this other company. In any event, we felt like the entire tour was a waste of money and time and we could of been doing something else. 

My friend and I both felt that your company was fantastic. Everything was set up prior to our arrival, and we had no worries to think about during the entire trip. Thank you for everything you did to make our trip special and a memory for the rest of our lives. When we return to Costa Rica which we plan to do, we will definitely use Costa Rican Adventures in the future. In fact I will recommend your company to anyone that I learn is coming there to vacation. 

Thank you,
Christine Conrad 





Our Response

Dear Christine,

I know that you must have already read the email that Jim Damalas from Si Como No sent you regarding your less than stellar experience at his hotel, but I want to check in with you anyway. We at Costa Rica Expeditons are going to be following up with him until there is some sort of resolution. I will be interested to see what he offers.

On behalf of Costa Rica Expeditions, I want to thank you for taking the time to write us you informative and very detailed email with feedback. It is extremely valuable to us and thanks to your evaluation we hope to be able to minimize any further bad experiences at Si Como No. We're also delighted that you had such a wonderful time in Arenal and Monteverde.

I am currently on vacation, but will be checking my email several times a week. I will let you know as soon as we hear from Si Como No.

Thank you so much, it's people like you that make it all worth it!

Sincerely,


Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions,

Christine Conrad

Thanks for the follow-up Natalie,

I did receive the follow up from Jim at Como Si No, and although I was pleased that he acknowledged my letter, I was slightly taken back by his response. He seemed to try to discount what I had written because our evaluation at check-out did not match entirely. Taking into account that the evaluation is circles 1-5, and no place to write anything on there, with the fact that they hand it to you as the driver is waiting to drive you 3 hrs to the airport, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised with his response.

I do want to impress upon you and Costa Rica Expeditions that what I wrote and said about our entire experience at that hotel is 100% true. Myself and my friend are in total agreement with what was written in my email to your company. I do hope that there is a positive outcome from our poor service experience for future travelers. As to what Jim Damalas might offer, my bet would be nothing. As he said he would investigate further, I would venture to say that he will get lip service from his employees there and leave it at that. As I already know, per the young bar waiter, " you have to be really bad to get fired from this place". I am here to tell you that the only two people that we came in contact with that shouldn't be fired is Ronald the bar tender @ the Adult pool, and Vivviana the National Park guide that works for them. Every single other person that we came in contact with should be let go, and the staff rebuilt.

I thank you again for your follow up, and for what CRE does for it's customers. We will use CRE again in the future for all of our travels to Costa Rica which I think will be many. We loved everything about your country from the food, to the people, to wildlife, to the simplicity.


Thanks

Christine Conrad,

Our Response

Dear Christine and Lisa,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write such a helpful feedback. I can't tell you how much we appreciate your time.

I too am disappointed at the response that you and I received from Si Como No. We have been using them quite a bit more in recent months but after this, I'm not encouraged. It's our experience that guests don't normally want to give negative feedback while on vacation and that would explain the survey results that he received. I will be meeting with our Director of Travel Planning and our Product Department to review the number of guests we have booked here and decide how we will move forward. Thank you so much for the heads up.

Do you drink coffee? I know that sending you a subscription to gourmet Costa Rica coffee won't make up for the service at Si Como No, but I would love to send you some. If you don't drink coffee how about chocolate? Just let me know your preference and your mailing address and the first installment will be on the way.

Please be sure to personally let me know if you ever decide to return to Costa Rica. I would really like to further make this up to you and the best way we can do that is while you are here on vacation.


Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

Costa Rica Expeditions & Nicaragua Expeditions
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Jan. 12, 2011 I am so glad I planned this trip of a lifetime and that I also planned it with Costa Rica Expeditions!
Our vacation was totally awesome.  We were greeted by smiling friendly and well informed tour guides and drivers.  We learned much and were so impressed with how smooth and on time everyone was.  The people we met in Costa Rica were very very friendly and helpful.  Costa Rica will surely be on our minds for a return vacation.  We have many photographs that we will send soon.  We will also recommend everyone to pay a visit to Costa Rica.  I am so glad I planned this trip of a lifetime and that I also planned it with Costa Rica Expeditions!  Thank you,   Have a Happy Costa Rica Day! 

Janet Mitchell
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Jan. 12, 2011 We travel extensively and this was one of the best trips we have ever had.
Hi Luis,

I wanted to say thank you for arranging a part of our wonderful trip to your fantastic country. We travel extensively and this was one of the best trips we have ever had. I had been to Costa Rica 3 times previously but this time was special. Even the occasional bad weather could not spoil it for us.

I have liked working with you and Costa Rica Expeditions and hope to do so again some time in the future.

We have come home to a snow storm and are now getting ready for Christmas.

Felice Navidad.

Larry Kolmatycki

December 2010
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Jan. 7, 2011 Marco Hernandez made all the difference. His communication was always timely, caring, and with utmost integrity.
As you think about how we planned and fulfilled your Costa Rica vacation...

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? 

The amazing Rainforest of Monteverde, and the Jungle of Tortuguero, with all the beautiful animals and plant life!

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand?

We were surprised by the consistent "being there" for us when it was time to go from one place to another.  Your drivers were always there ahead of time, curteous, and we were well taken care of.

...and what fell short of your expectations?

When we were picked up in Arenal, and transfered to Cano Blanco, we were picked up at 7 am with no chance to eat breakfast, and we had a very long day of driving ahead of us.  We finally had to ask the driver to stop so we could eat something.

Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?

?

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us? 

The price.

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

Marco Hernandez made all the difference.  His communication was always timely, caring, and with utmost integrity.  If he couldn't make a time frame, he would let me know ahead of time.  He also upgraded us in the end, which I did not expect.  Most gracious!

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?

Marco - Amazing

Louise at Tortuga Lodge tour guide - great

All the drivers were great except for one - The fellow who picked us up at Lost Iguana to go to the Hidalgo Hot Springs (staff there not to friendly either)..........this driver never spoke, or introduced himself..........going to the hotsprings or coming back.

The staff at all the hotels were great, especially at Tortuga Lodge!

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? 

If you really want to have an awesome, worry free time in C.R.  these people are there for you, kind, considerate, have great tours, and are flexible.  You can relax, and leave the planning to them, and you can count on them to follow through!

Thank You,
Nadia & David Wallace
November 2010
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