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LETTERS FROM NEWLYWEDS

Aug. 18, 2010 This trip was our honeymoon. It was the perfect way to begin our married life together
What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory?

 The waitstaff at Tortuga Lodge were friendly, attentive, and the food was delicious. I assumed that the meals were buffet-style, I guess just because they were included I jumped to that conclusion. But they were regular meals, with multiple courses, served to our tables. Each meal began with a salad, and sometimes also a soup, before the main entree was served. I was so happy to discover that the chef would always have a vegetarian option available, because that was a detail I had forgotten to look into prior to our visit. And there was always a dessert to look forward to. The absolute best was the passionfruit sorbet!
 Also, when we arrived on our first day, and often when we returned from our tours, there would be drinks waiting for us on the dock. That was a nice touch that made us feel really special.

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

 Our private turtle tour was like a dream. We were delighted by the picnic dinner, obviously prepared with great care by Wilmer and his crew. The ranger station was barely recognizable, it had been transformed by candlelight into the most romantic picnic location we could imagine. Dinner was fantastic, and we  hadn't even begun our adventure yet! Our guide, Gerardo, treated us like old friends, and, more importantly, treated the turtles and their habitat with great respect. We saw a number of turtles passing to and from the ocean before we focused our attention on the one we would observe laying her eggs. Words can't describe what it was like to be a part of that moment. We enjoyed every minute of our tour!!
 
...and what fell short of your expectations?

 We didn't realize, or else had forgotten, that we would not be able to swim in the Caribbean. I remember reading that the canal was not for swimming, but that the beach was nearby. We were disappointed to find out that the riptides and sharks made swimming in the sea unsafe. However, we were very pleased with the pool at the Lodge, so it didn't turn out to be a big deal. We spent hours laying in the hammocks by the pool, reading books and spotting lizards and toucans, and the water in the pool was clean and comfortable.
 
Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?

 This trip was our honeymoon. It was the perfect way to begin our married life together.
 
What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?

 There were so many things we wanted to see and do in Costa Rica, and it was difficult to narrow them down. We had to choose which parts of the country we would visit in the time we had, and we weren't always sure that Tortuguero would be on the list.
 
What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?

 We really wanted to spend time on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and when we read about the turtles laying their eggs at Tortuguero, our decision was made.
 
What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?

 Gerardo was a fantastic guide. We had 2 tours included in our package, and he happened to be assigned to each of them. When it came time to go on our private turtle expedition, we requested him for that, as well. It was so obvious that he had a genuine respect for the land and the wildlife. And when we expressed to him that our only disappointment in Tortuguero was that we had not seen a sloth yet, he extended the length of one of our tours and brought us to a canal where he thought we had better odds of seeing one. We didn't, but his kind action meant more at that point than seeing a sloth.
 It's difficult to choose individual members of the waitstaff, because they were all so wonderful, but we will always remember Wilmer for the amazing job he did preparing and serving our private picnic, and Oscar, the bartender, for the time he took to make sure each Guaro Sour we ordered was just right!!
 There was also a groundskeeper named Geribe who was one of the most cheerful people we encountered during our visit. He was patient with my attempts to communicate with him in Spanish, and he was another staff member who was determined to help us see a sloth!
 We will always remember that the entire staff came to wave goodbye as our boat carried us away from Tortuga Lodge on our last morning.
 
What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica?

 The grounds are beautiful, the tours are fantastic, the staff and guides are attentive and will treat you like family. Wildlife is abundant. It's a nice balance between feeling safe and secure and feeling like you are right in the middle of the rainforest. It is a wonderful place to have adventures and also get some rest... as long as you don't mind waking up to howler monkeys outside your window!
 
Thank you for an amazing trip. We will definitely contact you when we plan our next visit to Costa Rica, and we would certainly recommend you to friends who will visit in the meantime!
-

Jul. 1, 2010 Billee Hurley

Dear Marco,

This morning as I am sipping my Britt plantation coffee I thought it would be the perfect time to tell you what a wonderful vacation we had in Costa Rica. First, I need to begin with Mauricio. He literally could not have been any better. He simply exceeded every expectation we had. He was courteous, knowledgeable, charming and helpful during the entire time we were together. He participated in my kid's crazy car ride games, helped us learn a bit more spanish and taught the kids so much about class and professionalism just by his presence. And I know I would have NEVER seen the wildlife that was so dear to me without his patience and skill. I cried when we left him, he made such an impression!

We have never before taken a guided trip. We have traveled with our children through much of the world, preferring to make our own way. We approached this experience more nervously than other trips because it was going to be different. Had I known then what I know now, I would have relaxed about all of it. Every step of the planning that you did, Marco, was perfect. We felt able to both have adventures and to relax at the beautiful places you suggested. The itinerary was a terrific balance, not easy to accomplish. 

We left Costa Rica thrilled with our trip, eager to return to see more, and to tell our friends that this is the way to see the country. Thanks to Costa Rica Expeditions, our dream trip was made a reality. Feel free to use any part of this letter for promotion, as I am your biggest fan! And I would appreciate if you would please pass this on to Michael Kaye. 

Thanks again,

Billee Hurley

Elizabeth Macpherson, July 2010

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? The entire trip will be a lifetime memory for all of us.  From the beautiful hotel in San Jose, our exciting white water rafting trip and special river side lunch, the lush jungle/forest of Tortuguero and the Howler monkeys, etc..  but if I had to pick one it would be the private dinner with our guide along the river in Tortuguero followed by watching the sea turtle lay her eggs.  Truly incredible and unforgetable.

What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had, based on our site or what you read and heard before hand? The level of service was incredible, as was the attention to safety.  We have very cautious kids, but because they felt so safe they did everything and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I also don't think that we were prepared for the beauty of the country and incredibly warm people who live there.

What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?  Nothing.  Marco, our travel planner, was fantastic.  He responded immediately to every email, made changes to our itinerary per our request and paid close attention to details.  We were incredibly comfortable and confidant that everything was being taken care of. 

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

 Both Frommer and National Geographic said Costa Rica Expedition was excellent, which directed me to you in the first place.  However, it was the professionalism of Marco that convinced us we were working with the right people.  We also had to ensure that some medication could be kept refridgerated throughout the trip and at each new location someone was always very aware of this and prepared to help us.  We have travelled quite a lot and I have never experienced such a high level of service.  We were absolutely impressed from start to finish. 

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?  There was not a single guide, driver or any other Costa Rica Expeditions staff member that fell short, but rather everyone we came in contact with who was part of your company exceeded our expectations.  Our driver Alex was wonderful.  Not only did we feel very safe with him behind the wheel, but he also spotted a sloth and immediately pulled over, found a viper snake to show us and pulled over to get my son a coconut, which was something he had mentioned he really wanted to do.  Everyone at Totuga Lodge was wonderful, helpful, polite and very knowledgable.  Our naturalist guides Geraldo and Fernando not only knew so much, but made it very interesting for our kids.  It's not easy to keep 4 kids intrigued for 3 hours, but they loved every minute of our river tour.  Our white water rafting guide, Jorge, was so much fun.  He was also very capeable and made a trip one of the highlights.  Our naturalist guide, Luis, was excellent.  He took us to some great restaurants, gave us a very interesting tour on the hanging bridges and had some great stories that the kids loved -- he sure knows the history, the birds, animals, etc.. Everyone at Nayara Hotel in Arenal and at Buena Vista Villas in Manuel Antonio were all extremely attentive and incredibly pleasant.  I hope I'm not leaving anyone out, because everyone should be recognized.

Virginia Higgins, Junio 2010:

What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? Everything!  We loved the country, the flora and fauna, the professionalism and friendliness of the guides, the drivers, etc. Lifetime memories include the little plane to Arenal, the Arenal volcano, the Arenal Nayara facilities, the hot springs, Monteverde (everything including food - special meal outside the best surprise ever for Jim's birthday), Hotel Grano de Oro- a gem, the Resplendent Quetzel, monkeys, poison frogs, hanging bridges, zip lines for me, butterflies!!!!!!!

What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?  Exceeded - everyone, especially Marco who arranged it for us; your questionnaire really got me to  focus on what I wanted and then Marco delivered.  Everyone was prompt, professional, helpful and NICE!

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

I have already told people and this is what I said.  If you want to go to Costa Rica, go to their website, fill out the questionnaire and figure out what you want to do.  Then, call or email and start the process.  You will have expert help, your trip will go perfectly, you will see what you want, and even if you pay a little more than you could do it you do it yourself online, you will get better service, feel more protected, and have qualified drivers, pilots, etc.  It is worth the price and Costa Rica is worth going to.

Marco Flores, May, 2010:

Marco,

I just wanted to thank you for a great trip. We had so much fun. We saw and did more than we ever thought we would. Costa Rica is a beautiful country. I think we chose the perfect weeks to go. Very light amounts of rain and the weather was great. We also really enjoyed the lack of tourists everywhere.

I cannot talk to my friends enough about CRE. You guys did a great job. We always felt safe and taken care of. We trusted each vendor and were very pleased with each activity and hotel. The guides were great. Very professional. All the drivers were great. They were always on time for pick up and drop off.

Having you guys handle our trip was great. It was our honeymoon and we didn’t not have to worry about anything more than what we were going to have for dinner.

We have been telling all our friends about your company and will definitely use you again when we return to Costa Rica.

Again, thank you, thank you

Sincerely,

Marco Flores

Celeste Marsh, April 2010:

What a fabulous trip!  Thank you so much for putting together such a memorable experience!

Finca Blanca was amazing.  We had a beautiful villa and woke up to such a breathtaking view.  The staff was lovely and we enjoyed being away from the big city.

We didn't get to see the volcano, but our trip to Arenal/Fortuna was so much fun nonetheless.  The boys had a blast on the horseback ride, hanging bridges and at the hot springs --- all unique experiences.  Miguel and Alex were wonderful and we saw some great wildlife.

Lost Iguana was perfect!  I liked being in "the middle of nowhere." The Celebrity villas are very nice and perfect for families.

Lapa Rios was amazing.  My only complaint is that I wish we didn't have to leave so early that Saturday...

We did go zip lining at a new place that the hotel arranged for us; another family with young children recommended it and I hope you might be able to send them business in the future.  Very nice people and it seemed safe.

The kayaking was cool, too, but it was tough getting back with the strong waves.  We managed and came very close to a group of dolphins! We saw white faced monkeys.

The boys took a surf lesson and loved it!  It's perfect for learning there since the water is very warm and shallow.

Attached are a few photos.  Thank you again and I hope we can return at some point in the future!!

Celeste

 

Mary Ann Tanner, March 2010:

Dear Marco,

It was so nice to meet you in Tortuguero.  I just want to thank you for planning a wonderful trip for my family and me.  We had a wonderful time.  And since Costa Rica Expeditions owns the Tortuga Lodge I wanted to mention what a lovely place it is.  We did not fill out the survey at the end of our stay there, so I am hoping you can pass along our delight in staying there.  Everyone was so warm and friendly and helpful (even recovering my son's backpack from the airport in San Jose).  After we left Tortuguero and traveled through other parts of the country I realized what a special and unspoiled place Tortuguero is.  During every phase of our trip, all of the guides and drivers were wonderful.

Thank you, again. I hope you and your family are well.

Sincerely,

Mary Anne

Alicia Cabrera, February 2010:

Dear Marco,

Nico and I just got home last night. We wanted to thank you for making our trip so wonderful. Arenal was wonderful. The hotel was beautiful and the service was great. Nico and I found a hidden jaccuzi that was pool warm, not hot at the hotel. We swam there for hours at night. We also zip-lined and went horse back riding and walked on those floppy bridges. The best part of that leg of the trip was the people we met. Our tour guide Jahaida, I think was her name, was so knowledgeable. She even showed me how to work my camera! Then there was Allan, the waiter at the Volcano Lodge. What a lovely lovely man. Our driver from El Sitio who drove us up to that hotel in Arenal was also wonderful. He stopped to let us buy things from the side of the road, stopped to let me take pictures, and stopped to show us a sloth.

Then there was Mauricio our second driver. I really liked him! I think I sucked that poor man's brain dry. Like the other driver, he also knew a lot about the politics in the country, and the nature that passed us by. I was worried that Nico would be bored with all the driving but he was as intrigued as I was by all the education we were getting. 

Probably the best part of the trip was Tortuguero. The hotel where we stayed was magical because of the people who work there. Julian is like a calm and just king. Sylvia (I think that was her name) was also wonderful and helpful in every way. Norton, our everything man....part body guard, part luggage retriever, part walking encyclopedia, part water driver, part tour guide.........what a sweet sweet wonderful man. Like Allan and Mauricio, I consider Norton to be my friend. Including Oscar. Oscar was our bar tender. He must have made 10 virgin pina coladas for nico and me. He made hot chocolate like I have never tasted before. He was wonderful to talk to. The woman who washed and dried our clothes also sticks out in my mind. Did you know that my child who is addicted to his Nintendo and television, never even asked why there was no television in Torguero and never even wanted his Nintendo in Tortuguero? We were so happy there. The wind blowing about, the 5 minute rain every few hours, it was a place unlike anything I have every seen. Then Nico got sick. For a whole 24 hours he was sick. I panicked. I always panic when my child gets sick. When you have your baby you too will panic every time he/she sneezes. And yet, in Torguero, I wasn't crazy panicked. I sensed that Julian wouldn't let anything bad happen to my child. And Norton, who rescued my child who had split off from our walking tour, I knew HE wouldn't let anything bad happen to my child either. What I'm trying to say is that Torguero really felt like home. Like family. When we finished our trip for the two days you weren't responsible for in Nosara because I said I would take care of that....because I said that my ex husband would be there, so all would be fine.....I was miserably disappointed. My ex husband booked the worst hotel with the worst service. Even the woman who cleaned our room seemed to have a bad attitude. I should have let you book those two days.

                                                                                                                                                             

Anyway, this is my long winded way of saying thank you for everything. You were so helpful and kind and because of you and everyone who works with you, Nico and I had a great time. I think when we return to Costa Rica, hopefully in 6 months, we will stay in Tortuguero. I already miss those people there. Isn't it interesting that I miss the people who work at that hotel more than the hotel's clients who were staying there at the same time? Nico and I made friends with the other clients, but it's the hotel's staff we miss.

Ok, It's late. Be well, and again, thank you.

Alicia and Nico

   

Sally Taylor, January 2010:

Dear Mr. Kaye:

Though we suspect you get many positive comments on the trips that Costa Rica Expeditions arranges for its clients, we would like to add a few more.

We recently returned from nine days in Costa Rica but as you know the planning begins well ahead of the trip.  After a lot of research about what we were interested in, we contacted your offices and spoke with Marco Hernandez.  He was very responsive to our interests and helped us craft the right combination of accommodations and experiences.

For two legs of our trip, we were accompanied by a driver and guide.  It is the guide that has prompted this letter.  Sheyla Santamaria was a pleasure from the moment we met her.  She was able to provide the right combination of service, information, and humor that added greatly to our overall experience.  On the trip from San Jose to Monteverde she was able to convey many insights that she recognized were interesting and important and was able to respond with complete information to our questions about history, flora and fauna, food, customs, etc.  When in fact, she did not have an answer, she said so.  But when we saw her a few days later for our trip from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, she had researched the unanswered questions and quickly provided us with the answers. 

You and your entire staff are to be congratulated on the level of service.  Thanks again.  When we plan a return trip, Costa Rica Expeditions will be our guide.

Sincerely,

 

Sally and Doug Taylor


-Sarah Olsavsky

May. 17, 2010 Marco,
May 17, 2010

Marco,

I just wanted to thank you for a great trip. We had so much fun. We saw and did more than we ever thought we would. Costa Rica is a beautiful country. I think we chose the perfect weeks to go. Very light amounts of rain and the weather was great. We also really enjoyed the lack of tourists everywhere.

I cannot talk to my friends enough about CRE. You guys did a great job. We always felt safe and taken care of. We trusted each vendor and were very pleased with each activity and hotel. The guides were great. Very professional. All the drivers were great. They were always on time for pick up and drop off.

Having you guys handle our trip was great. It was our honeymoon and we didn’t not have to worry about anything more than what we were going to have for dinner.

We have been telling all our friends about your company and will definitely use you again when we return to Costa Rica.

Again, thank you, thank you

Sincerely,


-Marco Flores

May. 17, 2010 It was our honeymoon and we didn’t not have to worry about anything more than what we were going to have for dinner.
May 17, 2010
 
Marco,
 
I just wanted to thank you for a great trip. We had so much fun. We saw and did more than we ever thought we would. Costa Rica is a beautiful country. I think we chose the perfect weeks to go. Very light amounts of rain and the weather was great. We also really enjoyed the lack of tourists everywhere.
 
I cannot talk to my friends enough about CRE. You guys did a great job. We always felt safe and taken care of. We trusted each vendor and were very pleased with each activity and hotel. The guides were great. Very professional. All the drivers were great. They were always on time for pick up and drop off.
 
Having you guys handle our trip was great. It was our honeymoon and we didn’t not have to worry about anything more than what we were going to have for dinner.
 
We have been telling all our friends about your company and will definitely use you again when we return to Costa Rica.
 
Again, thank you, thank you
 
Sincerely,
 
Marco Flores
-

Mar. 11, 2010 Many special thanks to Douglas, the best vacation of my life wouldn't have happened without him.
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?

- Spending the day with Samuel the Monteverde cloud forest guide, and every amazing piece of the ecological puzzle he pointed out.
- Driving remote back roads in the many different climate zones
- The mindblowing luxury, pristine setting and welcoming locals at Punta Islita.

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

- Punta Islita.  Everything about it, especially the setting and the people.
- The transportation from site to site, because we were almost always the only passengers, and every driver was friendly, talented and safe. It allowed us to see Costa Rica and it's back roads in in ways that wouldn't have been possible if we had arranged our own transport.

...and what fell short of your expectations?
 
- Volcan Arenal area, hotel, and La Fortuna.  The hotel was nice (especially the gardens) but generally bland and corporate feeling.  Also, the whole are felt highly touristy with everything heavily packaged.  The only times we left the hotel we were ferried around from tourist site to tourist site, with no interaction with local people other than people we gave money to.This area may have fallen short of expectations due to the clouds covering the hyped lava at the volcano, but I think it had more to do with the isolated and nondescript americanized hotel we ended up spending most of our time at.

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

- It was a honeymoon and it went very well so if anything, it strengthened our connection.  Definitely the easiest travel experience we have had together.

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

- We ended up planning the trip last minute.  Although we knew the planning part would be tight, there was a moment when we were not getting responses from Costa Rica Expeditions and almost went elsewhere.  We are very glad we stuck around however.  There is no better way to see Costa Rica than through your company.

What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us?
 
 - CR Exped. worked so hard to arrange our trip and change locations, room selection, and activities based on our preferences.  This custom personal treatment was why we went with CR Exped.
 
What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways?

- Briefly, Douglas was hard to get ahold of during the planning process, but he ended up repeatedly following through and going way above and beyond expectations.  Many special thanks to Douglas, the best vacation of my life wouldn't have happened without him.
- Samuel (Spelling? Sam-Well?) the guide at the Monteverde cloud forest was wonderful.  He was very knowledgeable, friendly, easygoing and helpful.
- The boat driver across lake Arenal was great, unfortunately I don't have his name.  He told us much about the lake and showed us all sorts of wildlife at whatever pace we wanted to move.  Same for the volcano hike guide at Arenal.  These two were the exception to the rule in the La Fortuna area.
- The staff and locals at Punta Islita, although not directly employed by CR Expeditions, deserve mention.  Every one of them was incredibly friendly, open and relaxed.  I highly recommend pointing anyone in their direction.
- The pilot of the charter flight from Punta Islita to San Jose was great.  He had some unexpected engine trouble, found a solution, got the tiny plan safely on the ground and managed to keep us at ease throughout.
- The young woman you had meet us when the charter flight landed in in San Jose was friendly and helpful.  We had an unexpected delay, and she worked it out, made us comfortable and talked to us in both Spanish and English while she got us to the airport on time and prepared.

What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica?  (Please type it as if you were talking to them.)
 
You should use CR Ex on your trip.  They will customize your trip using their in depth local knowledge and fine attention to detail.  They can find the perfect adventure for you on any budget level.  No matter what, you will get a rich and varied interaction with the fine people of Costa Rica and all the natural beauty.

Dan Brainerd
March 11, 2010



Dan Brainerd

THANK YOU

What a great experience we had in Costa Rica, due to your knowledge and hard work.

Here are some comments.

Dan,

Natalie Ewing

…I can see why Volcano Lodge would not have been the right choice for your hotel in Arenal, especially if the volcano was not visible while you were there. This is sometimes done this way to save on lodging at one location in order to allocate funds for an over the top property such as Punta Islita. Ideally, Douglas would have explained the trade offs. I apologize for this error in judgement…

Natalie Ewing

Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer

March 11, 2010
-

Sep. 11, 2009 “Costa Rica Expeditions was fantastic and had all of our accommodations, tours, and travel planned for us so that we could enjoy all of the time we had in the country. It was a stress-free vacation…”
Q. What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? This was my first trip to Central/Latin America - I've only traveled to Europe in the past - and I think everything was new and exciting for me: the rainforests, the animals that I've never seen before (coatis!), the fact that I slept in a hotel next to a volcano. These are things I won't forget. It's a beautiful country with very friendly people.

Q. What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had based on our site or what you read and heard before hand? I didn't know what to expect and have never used a travel planner. Costa Rica Expeditions was fantastic and had all of our accommodations, tours, and travel planned for us so that we could enjoy all of the time we had in the country. It was a stress-free vacation - just what we wanted!

Q. What fell short of your expectations? Nothing :)

Q. Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with?
I took this trip with my boyfriend and neither of us had been to Costa Rica. It's great to travel to a new place with someone so that it's a new memory we can both create and share.

Q. What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us?
Financial reasons.

Q. What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us? Travel arrangements - we were not sure beforehand if we wanted to rent a car or try to use the buses around the country. We were told the roads were bad so we didn't know what to expect if we rented a car, and we didn't want to have to rely on buses to get from place to place. The ease of having CRE set up our travel allowed us to enjoy the time we had in the car to sightsee and also to meet some great locals!

Q. What Costa Rica Expeditions’ people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? Everyone was wonderful and very friendly! We speak very little Spanish but we still tried our best to have conversations with all of our drivers and it was a great way to practice our language skills.

Q. What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? Costa Rica is a country like no other I've visited before - the size of the country is fairly small but where else could you think of going that has a volcano and several rainforests and beaches and mountains within a few hours of each other? The beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people will be wherever you go in Costa Rica, and the country has something to offer everyone - ziplining, rafting, hiking, beaches, and I could go on and on.
-Sarah Olsavsky

Aug. 3, 2009 “It felt like a second honeymoon for us.”
Q. What happened that fascinated, delighted, inspired, amazed or enlightened -- something that might become a lifetime memory? First impression upon arrival: We arrived at Liberia Airport Hilton hotel at night. From our window, you could not see anything at all, so we didn't even know if it was the sea, or the forest, or a field, or some buildings. When we woke up the next morning, we opened the curtains and saw such a beautiful dense forest as far as the eyes could see. That was amazing.

Q. What surprised you by going beyond the hopes you had based on our site or what you read and heard before hand? Waterfalls in Arenal: After the horse ride, we walked down to the bottom of the waterfall. It was raining really heavily, the water was deep, so we didn't want to cross the water, but our guide took our camera and walked across the waist deep water just to take some closer photos of the waterfall for us. We hadn't asked him to do such a thing, he just went anyway and returned 100% soaked obviously. This is an example of a person going beyond expectations.

Hotel Borinquen Mountain Resort was beyond expectations too. From the photos and from what I've read, I could not have imagined what a beautiful and tranquil place it would be. We had 2 days there, and one of the days was completely at leisure. So, we spent the whole day relaxing on the hammock on the balcony admiring the view, listening to the birds, reading a book. It was the most relaxing day of our lives. The staff, even though there was no room service, didn't mind bringing us food from the restaurant for lunch. Again, going beyond expectations.

Q. What fell short of your expectations? Nothing. Believe me, I find very easy excuses to complain about things if I am not satisfied with something. My own job is very demanding and you cannot afford to make any mistakes. So I expect the same from everyone. No complaints about anything in Costa Rica. The only thing I could mention is that most of the hotels do not have a clock on the wall in the reception area. I found that unusual. I think out of the 5 hotels we stayed in, only Monteverde Lodge had a clock.

Q. Did the trip change your feelings about those you traveled with? I was with my wife, we left our little daughter with the grandparents and took our first holiday as a couple since her birth 2 years ago. So in that sense, it felt like a second honeymoon for us. It would have been very difficult to do the same trip with a 2 year old, almost impossible, and we would not have been able to do some of the activities at all.

Q. What issue beforehand almost decided you to not travel with us? Nothing really. I contacted Priscilla and at the same time one of your competitors working for a US company. After a few emails, it was apparent that you were more professional, even though you were more expensive, so I decided to go with you.

Q. What were the few most important things that decided you to go with us? Professionalism. Priscilla Jimenez was always very clear, she could answer all my questions, never giving me ambiguous answers. This way, we didnt have any bad surprises.

Q. What Costa Rica Expeditions people exceeded or fell short of your expectations, and in what ways? Everyone seems to enjoy their jobs. Michael, please pay them well, they deserve it!

Q. What would you say to a friend if you wanted to persuade them to choose us when they come to Costa Rica? This is a very good company, they put together an itinerary based around what you want to see in Costa Rica and how intense you want to experience different activities. They're very professional, the email communications are always very clear and, when you arrive in CR, they give you a vouchers booklet, very neatly printed, so you know exactly what's going on each day. They always call or fax you the day before about your upcoming activities and who will meet you at what time and where. You feel like they're taking care of you. You feel like you get personal attention. However, of course this all comes at a price. They are not cheap. I would use them if I were planning a trip with many stops, many activities, many transfers, because they arrange everything for you, you pay a lot of money, but you get a wonderful service.
-Baris Akcali

Mar. 31, 2009 Wedding arrangements: “…One of the most special days of our lives.”
Hi Nadya: We just got home last night...and I just don't know where to start! The entire day was like a fairy tale! Every person we met, every place they took us, everything we did was wonderful! Jonathan Sequeira was wonderful, a personable and knowledgeable guide who made the whole day just one fabulous surprise after another. He truly made us feel welcome in your country and I couldn't have dreamed of a better person to share our day with.

The rainforest was spectacular and the guide we had there was great as well. They made us feel so welcome and helped make this one of the most special days of our lives. Every person we meet at the park had a smile on their face and added so much joy to our trip. I just can't express how happy everyone there made us! Our only regret was how short a time we had in your country. We are planning to come back there and visit again, and next time to stay for at least a week if possible to truly be able to explore Costa Rica. We decided anything less just wouldn't do your country justice.

Everything you did Nadya was wonderful. It was so much more than I dreamed of and I just want to tell you how much I appreciate every thoughtful detail, from the flowers to the cans you put on the back of the van. (That was the funniest thing ever! We laughed the whole ride back as everyone stopped and stared at us...it was just great!) I don't know how to thank everyone there for making this such a fairy tale day for us. The lunch that we had, releasing the butterflies, the guided tour through the preserve, the aerial tram ride, the wedding, and tour through your countryside...it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about everything everyone did for us to make it such a special day.

I will be posting all our photos online in the next couple of days. As soon as I have them up I will send you the address so you can see them all. Please give Jonathan my thanks yet again for everything he did. (and tell him next time to bring his wife! lol!) And to our driver as well (I'm sorry, I can't remember what his name was now), he did a wonderful job and the smile he had on his face when we saw the flowers in the van was priceless! Again...thank you so much!!!! And don't worry, when we come back we'll call you to plan it for us! I have absolute faith in anything you decide we need to do there! LOL!
-Lisa Orban

Aug. 21, 2008 “We had a fabulous time in your country thanks to perfect planning.”
We had a fabulous time in your country thanks to perfect planning by Jeffrey Vargas. The diving was awesome -- we managed to persuade the dive shop to take us to Islas Murcielagos and we saw manta-rays on both dives and my son saw a bull shark. Impressive stuff. A few specific points:

1. I asked Jeff to pitch the quality of hotels to be comfortable enough for me and my fiancée but not too flashy for the boys. He got it exactly right. All the hotels were good, with no disappointments. Of course the Monteverde Lodge and Grano de Oro are fabulous.

2. Plenty of action. Plenty. Great. (Jeff, we paid for 4 divers in Ocotal, but only 3 of us dive. I must have forgotten to mention it to you. Dive shop said you would have to deal with it if anything. Not a big deal). Lots of transfers and details, all worked perfectly.

3. Overall we were very impressed with the balance of eco-tourism in CR. We would definitely recommend you guys to friends. Thanks for everything.
-Shumeet Banerji

Mar. 4, 2008 “Mark, and I had a wonderful honeymoon in your beautiful county.”
Greetings from Friendship, Wisconsin! My husband, Mark, and I had a wonderful honeymoon in your beautiful county. We took many more pictures, but I wanted to share a few with you that other travelers would not have! I have many of the beach and many, many of Florblanca! What a beautiful place! Thanks so much for your contribution to our fabulous honeymoon/vacation. We will be back!
-Mark & Patty Bula

Feb. 10, 2008 “The trip excursions and sightseeing were exceptional.”
Below are our comments concerning our trip and your service. All the staff, including drivers, at Costa Rica Expeditions were courteous, knowledgeable and friendly. The trip excursions and sightseeing were exceptional. Everyday we marveled as to how lucky we were to have chosen Costa Rica as the spot to spend our "belated" honeymoon.

There were two slip-ups regarding our tours. At the hanging bridges in Arenal, there was no guide waiting to take us for our scheduled hike in the afternoon. They had us scheduled for an 8 am nature walk. My husband and I asked Johnny, who was at the reception desk, if he was experienced and free to take us on our tour. He was. Johnny was a great guide and we had a great afternoon with him.

In Manuel Antonio, we were scheduled for a canoe/kayak tour. In the morning when we found out we had to paddle ourselves, we had to cancel the tour. My husband had surgery last year on his neck and shoulder, and this would have been too strenuous for him.

Regarding the hotels: The Bougainvillea Hotel was great in every way. We were supposed to stay at the Arenal Manoa, but were told upon arrival the hotel was overbooked. We were moved to the Mountain Paradise Hotel. Although this was an upgrade, we were not happy with the rooms - the walls were "paper thin" and we could hear everything in the room next to us. We asked to be transferred to a different room. Lighting was poor and very dim. The shower waterfall soaked the entire bathroom. The food was not very good either. The staff, however, was friendly and accommodating. We would not recommend this hotel.

The Monteverde Lodge was our favorite hotel. The grounds were beautiful, the accommodations very comfortable and the staff was very friendly. The food was delicious. For $330 per night (3 nights), we were very disappointed with the rooms at the Gaia Hotel. There was a catwalk outside our entry door, so when the curtains were open, we had no privacy. The modern room design was not optimal. The bathroom (toilet, sink and shower) was behind sliding doors IN THE ROOM. To be blunt, there was no privacy when we had to use the bathroom. The bed was ok. The last night of our stay, the air conditioner broke and we were moved to another room. Dining and spa services, however, were excellent. We would not recommend this hotel.

Overall, we were very happy with our trip and would gladly recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to our friends and family. Thank you for taking the time to follow up with us.
-Beth & Michael Stebel

Feb. 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.

Sincerely,
-Jennifer Kallay

Jan. 6, 2006 Corcovado Lodge “was the highlight of our entire trip!''
My fiancé, Jonathan Nituch, and I stayed at Corcovado Tent Lodge from December 3-6, 2005. I have to say it was the highlight of our entire trip! Everything was perfect. We enjoyed every minute and hated to leave. Every place after that we stayed in just didn't compare. I really appreciate all the help I received in retrieving my lost suitcase with my wedding dress in it. I am already planning my next trip to see the rest of the country, with a stop at the Tent Lodge, no matter where we are.

There was one dish at supper at the Tent Lodge that I really enjoyed and would like to make at home. It was sliced tomatoes, a basil leaf and a slice of cheese. What is the name of the cheese? Was it local cheese, or do you think I can find it Canada? Thanks for everything!
-Kerri Pokorny

Feb. 17, 2005 "The reviews (about Corcovado) can never do it justice - this place is magical."
After all the great things we'd read, my husband and I were excited to visit Corcovado Tent Lodge as part of a two week honeymoon in Costa Rica. However, I was still a bit apprehensive about the idea of a tent near the rainforest as I'm not a huge fan of insects and critters.

We were so thrilled when we arrived at the camp to find such a beautiful and isolated area. The reviews can never do it justice - this place is magical. We stayed 2 nights and loved every minute of it. The tents are extremely comfortable, public washrooms are clean, grounds are beautifully maintained, staff is so friendly and helpful and the meals are excellent.

Our favourite part of our stay was to meet and get to know all the different guests the lodge attracts. It's a very worldly crowd, each with the most amazing stories and we enjoyed the time we spent with them at dinner, on hikes and at the bar. The tent lodge provides incredible value for money. It was by far our favourite part of our trip to Costa Rica. Even though it is not the most convenient place to go to, it is completely worth the effort and totally surpassed our expectations. It is a once in a lifetime experience.
-Manasi Kulkarni, Toronto

Dec. 2, 2004 ''Everything about our honeymoon was terrific.''
Everything about our honeymoon was terrific, every place we went was beautiful and everyone we met was so tremendously nice! Every aspect of the trip was arranged perfectly, thank you so much for everything. We absolutely plan to return to Costa Rica, and we will absolutely contact you to help when we do.
-Kate and Jamie Vann

Oct. 18, 2004 “We had a wonderful honeymoon trip.”
Dear Michael: Thank you for your email. We had a wonderful honeymoon trip, thanks in a large part to Costa Rica Expeditions. Your company booked our trip in the perfect accommodations for us. We loved every place that we stayed at. Also, it was an invaluable help to have your company meet us at the airport, make transfers for us, collect our lost luggage, on our last day pick us up at hotel and return us to the airport, and just made the overall experience in Costa Rica so nice for us. We will highly recommend your company to anyone we know traveling to Costa Rica. We were very impressed. In a large part, much of the thanks goes to Selena Solis, whom I worked with many months in advance for planning our trip. She took care of everything and was on the ball for even the smallest details needed for our trip to go smoothly. She is a valued employee and our many thanks go to her. She did a great job for us.
-Lorri and Larry Stanton

Nov. 28, 2003 “An unbelievable honeymoon trip to Costa Rica... Your staff was amazing!”
My wife and I just recently returned from an unbelievable honeymoon trip to Costa Rica. Part of our happiness and excitement came from an excursion we took to Corcovado. I cannot describe to you our overall feeling of amazement we had from the trip. The good feelings started with our planning. Your representative was so kind and quick with information and help.

Although my wife Piper is not a relaxed flyer, the small Cesna 206 and crew made her feel OK (even though one of the Cesnas was quite old and outdated). From the moment we landed on the Corcovado airstrip and were greeted by Aaron to the moment we left, it was an outstanding experience. Your staff was amazing!

Truly and sincerely friendly, helpful, grateful and welcoming. They went out of their way to provide an outstanding trip. Although the Platform was out of service and being worked while we were there, we were treated to a great hike, horseback ride, food, conversation and service. The whole staff was beyond great. I just wish we had more money to give them all as a tip! Piper and I cannot wait to return and maybe explore Tortuguero as well next time.
-Jeff Kubiak & Piper Andersen

Oct. 10, 2003 “We spent 4 days of our honeymoon at Corcovado and we absolutely loved it.”
We spent 4 days of our honeymoon at Corcovado in April 2003 and we absolutely loved it. It was like "luxury camping" - daily housekeeping service, fresh delicious "home-cooked" meals, great pina coladas at the bar, lots of hammocks for napping. Our guides, Nadine and Aaron, were friendly and well-informed about the natural habitat. We learned so much, and saw more wildlife and flora and fauna than anywhere else we went in Costa Rica. The other guides we encountered (elsewhere in Costa Rica) just didn't compare. The manager, Eric, was also friendly and helpful.

We loved being summoned to meals by the conch shell. Our favorite activities (aside from eating!) were hiking, trying to swim in the strong ocean current, and just lying in the hammock enjoying the isolated beauty of the area. I must admit the cold showers were challenging, but we were happy to stay at a place that values ecological responsibility over tourism. Overall, Corcovado was our favorite place to stay in Costa Rica.
-Melissa & Tony

Sep. 19, 2003 “Maria went out of her way to make our wedding day special.”
We had a marvelous trip in Costa Rica. I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the superb job Maria, the manager of the Monteverde Lodge, did for our wedding. Maria went out of her way to make our wedding day special. She listened carefully to our concerns (particularly with respect to the weather) and was flexible in making alternative arrangements at the last minute. Her extra special touches were truly appreciated and will not be forgotten. Please convey our utmost gratitude and thanks for the splendid job that she and the rest of the Monteverde staff did.
-Simon Carney

Jun. 13, 2003 “Thanks so much for an incredible honeymoon!!!”
We had a WONDERFUL time and your services were excellent!! We are waiting on our pictures - we'll be sure to send some out to you with descriptions! Thanks so much for an incredible honeymoon!!!
-Cathy Alderman

Apr. 16, 2003 ''You really did a great job of planning our honeymoon.''
Grettel: A week has gone by since we returned to New York. The day we returned, the temperature was a little over freezing, and there had been 7 inches of snow the day before! What an adjustment!


Before any more time passes, I want to send you a word of thanks. You really did a great job of planning our honeymoon - we loved both Hotel Flor Blanca and Lapa Ríos Ecoresort, each in a different way. It was the perfect combination of relaxation, activities, good food, nice people. We really liked the fact that both resorts are small. (We read an article in the New York Times when we returned about a resort in Costa Rica with over 300 guest suites - we would have hated that.) Also, it was wonderful the way all of our transfers were handled flawlessly - with someone to meet us each time, and everything running very smoothly and on schedule. Costa Rica Expeditions totally eliminated the hassle and stress that travel sometimes entails.

The ONLY thing we would have done differently (and I tell you this because I think you are a perfectionist) was the last day. We would rather have stayed at Lapa Ríos Ecolodge until later in the day on Monday, arrived later in San Jose and spent the night someplace convenient and perhaps more modest than Xandari Plantation. We felt like we were just passing time at Xandari, if you know what I mean. That said, we send a big thank you.
-Shelley Mazor & Bernard Schneider

Mar. 20, 2003 “We enjoyed Costa Rica and especially Corcovado.”
We enjoyed Costa Rica and especially Corcovado. The service and advice from Marco Madrigal, travel consultant for your organization, was fantastic. He answered my questions very good and promptly. He gave unasked advice. And most of all: arranged a wonderful tent, with a double bed for our honeymoon! Wonderful to have such employees.
-Gea Everards

Sep. 3, 2001 “We had the most fabulous wedding ceremony of all time.”
Carianne: Just as Chris has told me repeatedly, all of the stress with the documentation and deadlines was well worth it. We had the most fabulous wedding ceremony of all time and the people were absolutely wonderful. The whole week in Costa Rica was adventurous and heavenly and we have full intentions of returning. I couldn't be more pleased with all of your efforts and kindness and want you to be certain of our appreciation. We will never forget the part you played in making our beginning so special. Please tell your boss you deserve a raise! Thank you again and all the best to you as well.
-Tara & Christopher Rabb

Apr. 12, 2001 "Our unforgettable memory of our honeymoon was the 2-day Pacuare rafting trip."
We were treated first class by Costa Rica Expeditions. When you enter another country you don't know what to expect. At the airport in San Jose we were met by a representative of Costa Rica Expeditions, and that is when the first class treatment began, and didn't stop until we left 9 days later. The food was incredible. It truly was LEGENDARY SERVICE and UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES.

Our unforgettable memory of our honeymoon would have to be the 2-day Pacuare whitewater rafting trip. Our treatment there on the river and at the camp site was "AWESOME," we received the Honeymoon Suite (three room tent) and we even received tent service. Our guides VIP-ed us. We (unexpectedly) received a bottle of champagne, and two wine glasses. Our guides began to work like cutter ants.We received a wooden table, then a table cloth. Candles began to appear, and we were asked if we would like several? What do you think? Next, we received a bottle of rum, glasses and orange juice. The guides just kept working and working, then we received some food, this food was made outdoors? It was the best meal of our life. My new husband and I drank rum and ate our food in amazement.

This was our first real adventure as Husband and Wife. We will savor that moment for the rest of our lives. No fancy hotel, nor a huge cruise ship could ever ever ever have given us the true meaning of Love. Thank you again with much LOVE.
-Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Gillenwater (aka, Teresa and Doug the honeymooners)

 


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