May. 1, 2007 “Excellent service and guides.”
Hello Herrol: Just a quick thank you for providing such excellent service and guides on our short visit to Costa Rica April 26th. Andrew and Federico were wonderful guides - professional in every way, and very informative. Paulo, the driver, kept us safe - our first priority. My group was very impressed with your services, and most of all the wonderful country of Costa Rica. We shall return!
Sue Wehrli, Wehrli Travel, Naperville, IL
Apr. 27, 2007 “The itinerary was perfect, the accommodations and food were excellent, but the best part was your staff.”
We very much enjoyed our trip with your company. The itinerary was perfect, the accommodations and food were excellent, but the best part was your staff. Andrew Newcomb did a tremendous job. He was very informative and was helpful and conversant on a wide range of topics, some of which were totally unrelated to what we were doing or seeing. He is a very intelligent man. He provided options and was always flexible in accommodating the schedule to our wishes. He is also an excellent birder. We would never have seen the 113 types of birds we did without his keen eye and powerful lens. I know I will spell his name wrong, but Eitel was a great driver. He not only handled his job perfectly, but was good company and was able to add to the conversation and enjoyment of the trip. We would, and have, recommended Costa Rica Expeditions to others.
Apr. 24, 2007 “All drivers, managers, planners, and facilitators were top notch.”
Hi Nadya: We had a great trip, largely thanks to you and the great CR team. As you remember, we had a vacation planned at a resort that fell through (on their end). In short order, you put together a great itinerary for us and we were on our way. Suffice to say, we loved everything: the variety and diversity of the Costa Rican countryside - from the rainforest to the Caribbean Coast to volcano regions to the cloud forest. The hotels were great, luxurious enough, beautiful, clean, flowers, and with a fun "down home" beat as well. But more – the professionalism and knowledgeable "upbeat attitude" of all CR drivers, tour guides, hotel managers, etc. was phenominal. I have never been to such a happy place. I wish I had written everyone's name down to commend them individually. All our drivers were great: friendly, funny, eager to communicate, and very nice. Miquel, who transported us to Tortuguero, put on a wonderful picnic and told great stories. They all made us feel at home and welcome.
Also, as you may know, our trip was not without its challenges. A few days in, our daughter developed an ear infection, which we could not even diagnose correctly. We were in a remote place, worried - but CR came through with flying colors. In no time at all, we were scheduled for a doctor's appt in a hospital in San Jose. We saw a great doctor who spoke excellent English. We had the necessary drops and antibiotics in a half hour, and we were on our way to our next destination - not even a real break in schedule! Again, to a person, all drivers, managers, planners, and facilitators were top notch. Best we have ever come across. We had a GREAT GREAT time, and we couldn't have done it without all of you.
The Borzilleri family
Apr. 23, 2007 “We considered our guide Federico and our driver John outstanding.”
We want you to know that we considered our guide Federico and our driver John outstanding. I will preface this by saying that my wife and I travel frequently and take one or two independent adventure type trips a year, e.g., African safaris, Southeast Asia, India, Patagonia, etc. So our comments are based on extensive experience:
-Our guide Federico Alban and our driver, John Andres Corrales were excellent.
-Transfer guide and reception we would rate at a 7.
-Herrol Mora was our sales person, rating 8-9.
-Itinerary – not too fast and not too slow.
-Variety of sites, 8. Wildlife at sites, 7. Activity vs. travel time, 8. Comments: Roads are horrible about on the level we have encountered in a rural third world country. Everything else was great.
-Xandari Plantation was generally good, 8.
-Lost Iguana, average, 7. Food very institutional, expensive vs. quality (restaurant at Volcano Lodge much better). Staff could have a better attitude and supervision.
-Hotel Punta Islita, above average, 8-9. Staff is very pleasant, location somewhat isolated.
-Naturalist Guide Federico Alban: Overall outstanding. One of the best guides anywhere. Knowledge of birds: 8-9. Natural history and culture: 9. Accessibility, problem solving, delivery, 10.
-Raft Guide: Good, 9.
-Transfer Guide: limited English but was punctual and pleasant.
-Driver: John Andres Corrales. Punctuality, courtesy, safety – Excellent, 10. Plus very pleasant and a good sense of humor. Enjoyable to be with.
EXPECTATIONS: 9. Guide and driver made it spectacular, road unforgettable – not in a good way. Monteverde Lodge a pleasant surprise vs. what we anticipated.
-Recommendations: Definitely 10. Very button-up, like the hand outs/summary and recommendations for tipping. Staff excellent both in the field and at Monteverde Lodge.
We learned about CRE from a friend at Abercrombie & Kent.
John Eiffert, Chicago
Apr. 23, 2007 “We had a fantastic stay in Costa Rica.''
As usual we had a fantastic stay in Costa Rica, and thank you very much for all your good care. I've taken some good shots with my Nikon D80 and I'm attaching them to this email.
Apr. 16, 2007 “The itinerary that you planned for us was great and exciting.”
Dear Janna: I wanted to drop you a line and thank you for all of your help in planning our vacation 3 weeks ago. We had a fantastic time. The people of Costa Rica are wonderful and the country is beautiful. The itinerary that you planned for us was great and exciting. You were able to schedule so many activities and our transfer guides made sure everything occurred without a hitch. (The gallo pinto must have given us enough energy). Our family is grateful to you and the other staff of Costa Rica Expeditions.
Apr. 15, 2007 “Our trip was absolutely amazing!”
Our trip was absolutely amazing! Each stop we made exposed us to very different experiences. The whole trip felt like tourism but without the tourist traps. The only downside was the bad roads to and from Monteverde. The days that we spent 4-5 hours on bumpy (and somewhat worrisome) roads were not so enjoyable. We hope to come back some day and have already given the name of your company to many people. Keep up the good work!
Apr. 12, 2007 “Tortuga and Monteverde Lodges were both great - and the food was outstanding.”
We just wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed our Costa Rica trip. All the arrangements worked out perfectly. The drivers and guides were very punctual and professional. Tortuga and Monteverde Lodges were both great - and the food was outstanding. Even the weather cooperated. If we have one complaint, it is leaving at 4:15 AM for our return flight. We were all checked in and through immigration by 5 AM and had a lot time to kill. Lots of friends are interested in hearing about our trip, so you may get some more business!
Steve & Mary Muller
Mar. 20, 2007 “Our transportation arrangements were impeccable."
We had a good trip! Our transportation arrangements were impeccable and very appreciated. We saw many animals in the cloud forests, which was gratifying to us. We appreciated the safety recommendations and good accommodations. Thank you for making us feel comfortable and energized in Costa Rica.
Mar. 19, 2007 “One of our best vacations ever!!”
We had a FANTASTIC time on our trip - especially at Monteverde. Leo was WONDERFUL and helped us really plan out our time while we were there. Our guide at the cloud forest (Carlos) was amazing and so enthusiastic. And the meals & staff at the lodge were outstanding! Thanks again for all your help. We'll send photos and more words along once we get a chance to download. We really appreciate all your efforts in making this one of our best vacations ever!!
Karen & Rick Juneau
Mar. 13, 2007 “I enjoyed the others on the trip as well as your staff.”
I am happy that I chose Costa Rica Expeditions to introduce me to that wonderful Central American country. It is such a pleasure to see how much the government of Costa Rica done to preserve the country's natural gifts. I have no complaints about your organization, and I enjoyed the others on the trip as well as your staff. I was treated well from my pickup to arrival at my San Jose hotel. Thank you for having me as your guest, and I wish you continued success.
Mar. 12, 2007 Connoisseur: “We traveled with 15 of the nicest people.”
My wife Sylvia and I enjoyed our recent trip to Costa Rica very much. We traveled with 15 of the nicest people we've met in a long time. The group was so much fun. We traveled to Tortuguero, Arenal and Monteverde on the 9-day Connoisseur Tour. We also spent 3 days at the Corcovodo Tent Camp, which was fantastic.
I would recommend CRE to anyone wanting to get the most out of their trip to Costa Rica. We plan on coming back again! We particularly enjoyed our guide Luis Torres during our 9-day trip and our other guide at Corcovado named Luis as well. We took many pictures on our trip. (http://www.cayugalake.net/~tbalon/www/Costa_Rica/index.html) You’re free to view and use them on the CRE site if you wish.
A suggestion to improve the tour would be to extend the stay in both Arenal and Monteverde by one extra day. Because of the long travel time to get to these sites, we arrived late in the day and only really had one full day in both places before departing very early for the next destination. In reality we were there for less than 48 hours. Our trip evaluation report is on it's way...
Feb. 27, 2007 “We were particularly impressed with how you helped us when our baggage arrival was delayed.”
We had a fabulous trip and thanks for your assistance with organizing. We were particularly impressed with how you helped us when our baggage arrival was delayed. The emergency packs were a godsend!! After nearly 24 hours of traveling to get to Costa Rica having a toothbrush and toothpaste, plus a clean T-shirt made a huge difference to us. We would have been prepared to pay for these but it was really generous that you provided them for free. We also appreciated not having to chase up the airline on what was happening with our bags and relaxed knowing it had been left in your capable hands. Thanks a lot for this.
The rest of our trip went really well with great guides and helpful drivers along the way. One small feedback was with the organization of the Canopy Tour. It would have made sense to do this on the way from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio rather than from San Jose to Monteverde as the way it was arranged meant we had to drive a lot further.
Feb. 26, 2007 “We were very impressed with the quality of service and the friendliness.”
We had a fabulous time in Costa Rica and would love to come back someday. Everyone we met was very warm and exceptionally friendly. I do have some pictures of our trip (about 300 of them actually) that I would be glad to forward to you. I have to go through them all but once I do, I can get you some of our guided tour to Monteverde (where we did get to see a quetzal female) with Elimar and the Don Juan’s Coffee plantation along with some of us in the garden at the Monteverde lodge. As I told Janna, I would be happy to provide a recommendation to anyone regarding your services, etc. We were very impressed with the quality of service and the friendliness shown by everyone.
Feb. 25, 2007 “The Monteverde Lodge was wonderful.”
Dear Priscilla: We are back in Memphis, and I wanted to let you know what a WONDERFUL week we had in Costa Rica. Miguel Marin is an outstanding guide (and Priscilla Murray an excellent driver). We learned so much from Miguel - he is obviously very knowledgeable - and he was also wonderful to be with, as was Priscilla. They were a lot of fun to be with in addition to being everything we could possibly want from a guide and a driver. We enjoyed them tremendously, and as I said, we learned so much from Miguel about animals, birds, plants and local culture.
We loved everything we did - I guess if I had to pick highlights they would be the cloud forest at Monteverde and our visit to Nectandra, but we also loved the float trip and the hanging bridges at Arenal...and everything else, as well. We had rain the days we were at Arenal, so we didn't get to see the volcano - I guess we'll have to come back!
The Monteverde Lodge was wonderful - our rooms were comfortable (with beautiful views of the trees), the food was very good, the staff was friendly and very attentive. The gardens are beautiful and we're glad we were there an extra day so we had time to enjoy them (and the sloth and the toucanets and hummingbirds). We also thought the Volcano Lodge at Arenal was beautiful and a lovely place to stay.
We got to the Hotel Britannia on Sat and again on Fri with only time to sleep - the rooms were charming and comfortable - however, the bathrooms showed signs of the tropical climate (moldy) - and we had one unfortunate experience in the restaurant. Sunday morning at breakfast Jill found a beetle in her eggs - the staff handled the situation promptly and well, and did not charge us for the meal. We gave the restaurant another try Friday night because we were too tired to go anywhere else, and everything was fine - the food was o.k., but not of the same quality as that at the lodges. The maitre d'/waiter (same one we had sunday a.m.) was very nice, and when he heard we were leaving the hotel at 4:45 Sat a.m., offered to set out fruit and bread for us (we told him that wasn't needed).
If you want more specific information about any of the places we visited, please let me know. Alan will email you as well - in short, everything was wonderful - all six of us loved every minute of our trip. Costa Rica is a beautiful country - we hope we can come again to see more, and we'd love to travel with Miguel and Priscilla again. Thank you so much for your help in planning our trip. We will recommend you to anyone who asks!!
Sherry Samuels, TN
Feb. 18, 2007 River & Rainforest Adventure: “Everything was a 10.”
Please consider this letter my "evaluation" of our River and Rainforest Adventure 1/6-1/14/07. I traveled with my two youngest daughters, Jen & Sarah, and my friend, their Tio Tomas. Start to finish we had a wonderful trip. Our "planner" was Nadya Shaw, who did an excellent job. We were fortunate to be joined by an eclectic group of travel companions with whom to share the adventure.
As far as the evaluation form, from my perspective, everything was a 10. What I want to do in this note is to take a few minutes to express my appreciation to our naturalist guide, Alvaro Farias, and our driver, Moncho (sp). I have had the opportunity to experience many "adventure" trips in many venues with many guides. I have stayed in contact with many of my guides over the years and hope to stay in contact with Natu. I have never had a guide whom I did not enjoy and appreciate, but Natu is the best.
The reason I say Natu is the best is that he not only excelled at all the things a traveler expects a guide to do well -- be informative, cheerful, accommodating, etc... but he also had to coordinate a variety of logistical arrangements with many different constituencies, all on Tico time, while adroitly speaking both English and Spanish. Another great benefit of his leadership was the knowledge imparted about Costa Rica and its people. On most trips, the guide has one mission. Natu had many, not the least of which was as a teacher to a bunch of foreign students.
In fact, as I think back on our adventure, perhaps the "best" part of the trip for me was to watch the interactions between our guide and the many other people who provided service to us, whether in travel, adventure, or lodging. Close behind was stopping on a busy highway to rescue a sloth. I do not speak much Spanish, but one does not need to speak a language to observe the genuine affection people show for each other. Natu has a way of making everyone feel special, and that is a rare gift. I left your country with a warm feeling not only for my fellow travelers, our guides and Costa Rica Expeditions, but also for all the friendly and helpful people with whom we interacted along the way. And I applaud Natu for guiding us on this amazing journey!
Everyone loved our driver, Moncho. He enjoyed helping my daughter, Jen, with her Spanish. Our river guides, Alejendro, Eduardo and Sieno (sorry about misspellings) were pure delights! I sincerely hope the Pacuare River remains open for rafting trips! It would be a shame if the government dams it!
So, in closing, I thank you for an excellent trip and sincerely hope you understand what a unique and talented employee you have in Alvaro Farias.
Feb. 18, 2007 “One of our best vacations ever...The facilities were nice, the food was great and the staff were outstanding.”
Dear Herrol: Back in cold western North Carolina after one of our best vacations ever, we'd like to thank you and all the Costa Rica Expeditions staff for making our Costa Rica vacation a great experience. Each trip component, starting with our arrival at the airport and ending with a drop-off at a car rental agency, included caring CRE staff ensuring that we were in the right place at the right time. Every part of your package was wonderful - the facilities were nice, the food was great, and the staff were outstanding. We'll certainly advise friends to consider Costa Rica Expeditions in their travel plans, and hope that we, too, can again use your services some day.
Chuck and Tia Ramsey
Feb. 16, 2007 “The itinerary you put together was excellent and the service first class.”
Michael and Natalie: I want to let you know we had an outstanding time on our tour in your country. The itinerary you put together was excellent and the service first class.
All of the accommodations met the standards we expected. The transfers and guides were very informative and accommodating. The food, when provided, was excellent. The only issue that I had during the trip was at Tulemar. We didn't have access to the AT&T in country toll free number from our Buena Vista Villa. This was an inconvenience; since, we had to go to a pay phone on the highway to make calls back to the States.
I also want to thank Nadya for her help in arrangements for the trip. Her service was great and she was a pleasure to work with.
Feb. 16, 2007 “…Adventurous hiking, 70 sightings of different ‘critters,’ excellent food, transportation, lodging and great companionship.”
We had the extraordinary pleasure of using Costa Rica Expeditions on our recent visit earlier this month. Douglas Espinosa advised us and organized our trip. Our driver/guide was Mauricio and our naturalist guide was Federico Alban. Mauricio is an incredible driver. He negotiated the roads in a safe manner, kept our mini-van immaculate and comfortable and always had our best interests at heart. Federico took us on amazing hikes, is extremely knowledgeable regarding flora and fauna and made our experience one we will never forget. Both gentlemen are a credit to your organization. They are professional, informed, dependable, personable, and highly skilled in their respective roles.
We enjoyed every aspect of our three-night tour of Monteverde and Arenal. We had adventurous hiking, 70 sightings of different "critters", excellent food, transportation, lodging and especially great companionship with Mauricio and Federico. You obviously run a fine organization and Federico and Mauricio represent you extremely well. Thank you.
One constructive criticism would be minor but important enough to mention. At your Monteverde Lodge, the policy is to charge your guests for soft drinks and coffee at meals. It seemed out of character with the first class treatment we received portal to portal on our vacation. At the Lost Iguana Lodge and at every other meal, we were spared the minor annoyance of having to pay for soft drinks. Please don't let this detail blur our message of total satisfaction with Costa Rica Expeditions. We hope to use your services again in the near future and have already recommended your firm to our friends and family.
Thank you again for providing the resources that made our Costa Rican adventure so enjoyable and memorable. Please pass along our warmest regards and gratitude to Mauricio and Federico.
Pat and Don Auriemma
Feb. 12, 2007 Costa Rica Connoisseur: “What a wonderful week we all had.”
Dear Michael: We came back from your beautiful country last night to cold and snow in the Chicago area. Aren't you lucky! I had joined the Costa Rica Connoisseur trip with three other couples and I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful week we all had.
Everybody just loved Tortuguero. That is a dream destination. Tortuga Lodge is superb in its simplicity and friendliness. This is my third stay at Tortuga and you are really keeping up the standard of excellence. The boat rides were wonderful and well led by Miguel.
I think we all would have loved to stay there another night but off we went to Arenal. That was also a great experience. We arrived and the Volcano was hiding behind clouds and Andres was expressing his hopes that we would see it the next day. But first we refreshed ourselves in the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs. That was a fun experience and it was followed by a lovely dinner there. The next day we did the morning hike in the rain forest with the hanging bridges. That is a unique experience. We had a sunny day and the clouds disappeared from the top of Arenal.
Dinner at the hotel was fun and we watched with fascination viewing the volcanic activity which included explosions and lava flows just as you describe in the itinerary. It was like having dinner with fireworks except they were real.
Next day off to Monteverde. Your lodge there is so beautiful and everybody was exclaiming over the charming rooms with the sitting areas at the corner windows. And we did get to see the resplendent quetzal (male and female) and that made the day! Again, I think I could have easily stayed another night and enjoy the lovely lodge. We all loved the elegant farewell dinner in San Jose.
But the best thing was the tour guide you provided, Andres (Andrew) Newcomb. His knowledge of birds, plants, history of CR is excellent and he is able to present everything in an interesting way. He was patient and very attentive with everybody in the group and never lost his cool. He was there at 6AM every morning for those who wanted to look for birds and was as enthusiastic and thrilled as we were when a good one presented itself to us. He was always prompt and explained what we were going to do and see in a clear way. He joined us for all meals and was a great addition to the table. I cannot recommend him highly enough and hope to have him again, should we join another of your great tours in the future.
Mary Sproul, Four Corners Travel Ltd., Evanston, IL
Feb. 7, 2007 “The guides were great. The accommodations were very good.”
Hello Michael: My wife and I had a fantastic trip to Costa Rica!! You may not know that this trip was our fifth time in Costa Rica. We loved the nature and the weather there so much on past trips that we wanted a trip targeted toward seeing much more of the nature in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Expeditions did not let us down! The guides were great. The accommodations were very good.
For your information, I will pass on a couple of area that I felt could be improved on. We booked in at Don Carlos Hotel in San Jose in Room 12. The room had a very old and squeaky bed that made our first night in Costa Rica (after 12 hours of traveling) a restless one. Which made my wife and I worried about the rest of the accommodations to come. Gladly, the rest of the accommodations were good.
At Corovado I found (like most others) that after a day of hiking, a period of relaxation is appreciated. But, I found the plastic and wooden chairs and loungers uncomfortable for a siesta. The nylon hammocks, with no head or foot cross bars, are not comfortable either.
We especially enjoyed the accommodations at Monteverde Lodge. As typical for Costa Rica, the people that serviced us were great!! They really do make a difference.
I do want to give a special thank you to Nadya Shaw. I felt Nadya went out of her way to ensure that our trip was a pleasant one. Thanks so much Nadya! (I did receive my jacket I left at Tortuga Lodge). I will not hesitate in recommending Costa Rica Expeditions to people I know that are going to visit our country.
Ron and Janet Shillington
Feb. 5, 2007 “You did a great job of organizing our trip.”
Dear Nadya: A short e-mail to tell you what a great job your personnel did for us. Your people were very knowledgeable, anticipated our every need and were always helpful. As I'm sure you already know, you did a great job of organizing our trip and everything went as scheduled. Our only problem, which was not under your control, was the weather, i.e. we had heavy rains during our river tour. Thanks again for your help and services. I would/will highly recommend you and your company.
Feb. 2, 2007 ''Our trip to Costa Rica was…one of the best vacations we have had…Jonathan was truly amazing in his knowledge of the birds.''
Our trip to Costa was a wonderful experience - one of the best vacations we have had. This was attributable not only to Costa Rica itself, but also to our warm and experienced companions provided by Costa Rica expeditions. Jonathan was truly amazing in his knowledge of the birds, animals, trees and plants and his ability to spot everything within viewing distance. He was also just fun to be with. And Favio was not only an excellent driver, but also a great bird man - we called him our Trogon spotting expert. Give both of them our very best wishes.
Feb. 2, 2007 Your staff throughout the country were helpful and friendly
Hi Michael and Natalie --
It's taken me a while to write back, but it's certainly not because we weren't satisfied...on the contrary, we've since recommended Costa Rica Expeditions to a number of our friends and business colleagues based on the exceptional experience we had. Your staff throughout the country were helpful and friendly, and the three lodgings we stayed in -- Tortuguero, Monteverde, and Punta Islita -- were each phenomenal. Thanks for making Costa Rica so much fun for our whole family, which in our case includes triplet 11-year-old boys! Am attaching a couple pictures of favorite memories...two of the boys ziplining in Monteverde, and the whole family on a sunset horseback ride in Punta Islita. Feel free to post either on your website if you'd like; just let us know, as the boys will get a kick out of going to the site to see themselves there. If there were one thing we'd change about the trip, it would be more options to fly from place to place vs. driving; in particular, you may want to take a look at using the Punta Islita airstrip more, because that van trip to-and-from in particular was pretty painful, and we would have paid a reasonable amount more to avoid it, if that option had been available to us. But it certainly didnt dampen our overall experience, which was tremendous. Thanks again for a terrific trip!
John & Jill Stiker
Feb. 2, 2007 Everything with Costa Rica Expeditions went very smoothly and we were extremely impressed with your service.
Michael and Natalie,
Thank you so much for touching base with me. We really enjoyed our honeymoon to Costa Rica - everything with Costa Rica Expeditions went very smoothly and we were extremely impressed with your service. We were most impressed that all of our guides and transfers were on time if not early to pick us up.
The only challenge we encountered was when we went to the included lunch at Villa Caletas. It wasn't clear to us what exactly was included in the lunch when we ordered and there was a huge range in prices on the menu. Because this was the most expensive restaurant we encountered on our trip, it would have been nice to have some more information about whether everything was included, everything except alcoholic drinks, or everything except drinks in general. We ended up paying for our drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and it wasn't too much, however, it made it difficult to fully enjoy the meal not knowing what the charges could be at the end and how they were going to be paid for since our guide was not in view.
Per your request, I will be sending you our photos right now...there are a lot, however, I couldn't really narrow it down too much because I wasn't sure what pictures you might appreciate and want to use. The resolution on our camera isn't great - so perhaps this might be a limiting factor as well, but I will let you decide.
Jan. 24, 2007 "We liked the hotels you recommended."
We were very well satisfied with Costa Rica Expeditions, from the pick-up at San Jose Airport, including welcome help in getting through customs to the conclusion of our trip. We liked the hotels you recommended, the Bougainvillea Hotel near San Jose and Villablanca Cloud Forest Hotel. The drivers we had on all transfers were helpful and spoke enough English for us to communicate. We liked your country and would like to return and when we do we will use your services.
John & Barbara Donahue
Jan. 15, 2007 “We had a marvelous trip to Costa Rica.”
Thank you for your letter - we intended to write you sooner, but life has a way of getting away from you. We had a marvelous trip to Costa Rica - especially our ten days with your fine staff.
George (Jorge) was our guide. He was terrific and responsive to our needs on a daily basis. Unfortunately, my husband had to be hospitalized during the trip. He contacted your doctor in San Jose, we flew out the next morning to San Jose from Tortuguero and he spent the entire time with us at Cima Hospital. Everything turned out fine - your doctor was excellent, the hospital experience was also excellent, and George stayed with us the entire time.
We stayed at a fine hotel, George picked us up the next morning, and we resumed our trip - it was wonderful. Both George and Alfie, our driver, took us on a non-scheduled trip to downtown San Jose, which was super. Then we resumed our trip. We will certainly not hesitate to recommend Costa Rica Expeditions, George and Alfie on future trips.
Sonny, Joseph and Irwin Selikson
Jan. 12, 2007 ''You planned and executed my best vacation ever.''
Michael, Natalie and Douglas: I want to thank you, your company, and your providers for the wonderful vacation we so thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes travel causes us to be skeptical for a wide variety of reasons and I must admit, that as our adventure progressed, I almost kept waiting for some unexpected unpleasantness. What actually happened was that we kept being unexpectedly delighted and we left your country with the feeling that we had just experienced something extraordinary.
It was really remarkable how we never waited - at every turn, the planes, the lodging, the guides - everyone seemed to expecting us and delighted to see us. The accommodations were nearly perfect - each memorable and unique in its own way. The frequent "family style" meals made for stress-free, interesting and at times memorable dining, and not one of us had any food-related discomfort. The organization of the trip was also masterful - from outdoor adventure, to luxury jungle lodge, to wild jungle lodge, finishing with 5-star luxury - perfect! Very uncharacteristically, we never asked if our innkeeper had other rooms for us to consider!
All and all, you obviously have created a culture around your "Vacation Time is Precious" tagline, and I consider myself remarkably lucky to have connected with you. Since you asked for suggestions, I'll offer the following, but really, if you want to use me as a reference and delete these items, feel free, since they're very minor. I'm merely trying to accommodate your request for feedback.
1. Although we knew dinner was included at Casa Turire, we weren't sure what was included.
2. We were picked up from Casa Turire 1/2 hour late.
3. We would have enjoyed more river-time and less campsite-time the first day on the Pacuare and it would have been nice if the guides handled all of the baggage carrying instead of requesting help from the guests. Also, the counts were such that several groups, one as small as 3, had to split up on the rafts. Finally, cold beer at the campsite would have been nice.
4. Our guide at Tortuguero (Fernando) was kind of cold, as was the captain who took us there from Cano Blanco.
5. We could have skipped the night hike at Corcovado.
6. Arriving at the airport for our return home 3 hours early seemed about an hour and half too early. We didn't want to waste a minute at Punta Islita! (That said, the other 2 charter flight times were just perfect.)
Again, the above items are for your benefit and given only because you asked, because my overriding message is you planned and executed my best vacation ever.
Jan. 8, 2007 “The planning and execution of our trip by Costa Rica Expeditions was great.”
We had a marvelous time in Costa Rica. It was an educational and fun experience, and we will remember our vacation there for a long time (at least, until we return). The planning and execution of our trip by Costa Rica Expeditions was great, and this contributed a great deal to the wonderful time we had (The country, by itself, was the major contributor).
The drivers (Carlos, Willie, Leslie(?), Ronnie, and some more I forget), the transfer guides (Felix and Sebastian), and the naturalist guides (Charlie at Monteverde cloud forest), Juan Carlos (at Arenal hanging bridges), and Kenny (from aerial tram) were all very professional and well-informed and did their jobs very well. Given your earlier heads-up about the Tico system, we were quite impressed to see that the CRE drivers were always early for any pickup. The accommodations were up to our satisfaction, and we also appreciate the extra work Ingrid went through to ensure vegetarian meals for us.
We had only a couple of minor worries: (1) At Volcano lodge, CRE's faxes regarding schedule never got to us. I had to call the CRE office each day to get the necessary information. During one such call, the CRE representative informed me that he had confirmed the receipt of the fax at the front desk, so this is more likely a problem at the hotel. (2) Some guidance from CRE regarding where and where not to purchase souvenirs could be useful. I did notice that at one of the places that we stopped, the prices were even more expensive than at the airport.
Also, in retrospect, I might have planned the trip to include more opportunities for wildlife viewing, but overall, the itinerary planned by Ingrid was great - it had great variety, had a good combination of action and leisure, and gave us a good glimpse of some of what Costa Rica had to offer in the limited time that we had.
I would give CRE very high marks for this trip, and it would be my pleasure to recommend CRE to any of my friends and acquaintances.
Jan. 7, 2007 “I wanted you to know how much fun we had on our trip. It was beyond what I expected.”
I just wanted you to know how much fun we had on our trip. It was beyond what I expected. Pablo did an excellent job of providing political, cultural and environmental information of Costa Rica. We felt as if we had relatives in the country and they were showing us around. We will definitely rebook for a trip back in one year.
Jan. 6, 2007 ''Everyone at Costa Rica Expeditions was WONDERFUL."
Dear Michael: Despite the fact that TACA airlines lost our luggage for the entire 9 days that we were in Costa Rica, the trip was great. Everyone at Costa Rica Expeditions was WONDERFUL. We always felt that we were in good hands. The transfers were all seamless, we learned so much from the friendly and knowledgeable guides, and the accommodations were great. Your employees were also very helpful with our lost luggage situation, which was greatly appreciated!
Jan. 2, 2007 “I am singing the praises of Costa Rica and of Costa Rica Expeditions.”
Dear Nadya: The Bennett family is just home in Ottawa after our terrific Costa Rican holiday. Tomorrow I must go back to work - the first day of the new term at the college where I assist International students. I will try to bring the warmth and graciousness of the Tica people and the professionalism of Costa Rica Expeditions to my work.
I was so very impressed with the pride that Costa Ricans have in their country, and with their eagerness to share their knowledge, language, history and culture. We four had lots of questions, and all your staff, but particularly Luis at Corcovado and Paloma of Rios Tropicales, answered our queries and went out of their way to point out things they thought might interest us. (Could I please have Luis’ surname and his email address so I can thank him – I realize he is back at university now, but he was a real asset to your Corcovado location).
The staff at Costa Rica Expeditions made our holiday so relaxed – we never had to give a thought to the arrangements. We were confident that everything would be handled "behind the scenes" leaving us free to enjoy our time fully. We quickly learned a phrase that expressed all aspects of our trip – Solo Bueno.
All my very best for the new year to you and your family. I hope to contact you again to visit other parts of your beautiful country. In the meantime I am singing the praises of Costa Rica and of Costa Rica Expeditions.
Heather Bennett, Canada
Jan. 2, 2007 I am telling everyone I know that this is the only way to go to Costa Rica!
We would just like to say that we did have a very wonderful time traveling with Costa Rica Expeditions on the River and Rain Forest trip Dec. 17 to 23. Our guides were wonderful, the service and pickups and driving were all fantastic, and we saw such beautiful parts of Costa Rica that we would not have been able to organize on our own.
Thank you very much, and you can be sure I am telling everyone I know that this is the only way to go to Costa Rica!
Lindsay Brown and David Zapolsky (and 13-year-old son Ian, who had a great time).
Lindsay Brown/David Zapolsky