Top 3 Best
Values in the World.


TRAVEL & LEISURE, MARCH, 2012

"Tours of a Lifetime." May 2012

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Recommended by more guidebooks
than any other company for
planning your vacation in Costa Rica

Trip Cost
 

We custom design itineraries in the 3 price ranges below, click the link to read a description of each category.

Luxury Price Trips: $400- $600+ per person, per day
Upscale Price Trips: $300- $399 per person, per day
Intermediate Price Trips: $200- $299 per person, per day

Price Range Descriptions

The costs below do not include international airfare, but do include domestic airfare.
Prices are Per Person per Day Based on Double Occupancy. Please multiply the price range that best suits you by the number of days you intend to travel. This includes your arrival and departure days.

For Single Travelers, note that costs per person per day are higher than noted here; these rates assume two people per room. Since in many cases single and double rooms cost exactly the same, the cost per person per day for the exactly the same itinerary for one person can be almost double the cost per person per day for 2 persons.

Luxury Price Trips:
Price per Person per Day $400- $600++

These itineraries use the first choice hotel at each location. These vacations are escorted by a Naturalist Guide throughout, with the exception of time spent at the beach. All activities and entrance fees are included. Surface transportation is private; flights are private charters. At the $450.00+ per person per day and above price category guests might meet important conservation personalities, fly in a helicopter to avoid long drives and stay at the best rooms available in locally owned hotels.

Sample Prices:

An 8 Day Itinerary in the Luxury Price Range has a cost of $ 3,200 - $4,800+ per person

A 10 Day Itinerary in the Luxury Price Range has a cost of $4,000- $6,000+ per person

Upscale Price Trips
Price per Person per Day $300.00-$399.00

These itineraries use first or second choice hotels in each area that they visit. These trips usually include the services of a private naturalist guide for a portion of the itinerary. Surface transportation is usually private although it can be shared for some portion of the trip. Flights are either private charter or shared depending on the route and circumstances.

Sample Prices:

An 8 Day Itinerary in the Upscale Price Range has a cost of $2,400 - $3,192 per person

A 10 Day Itinerary in the Upscale Price Range has a cost of $3,000 - $ 3,990 per person

Intermediate Price Trips
Price per Person per Day $200.00 - $299.00

These itineraries use the best middle of the road hotels and include the best hotels available in Tortuguero and Monteverde. They include some activities at each location with a local guide. Surface transportation is shared. Flights are either shared or with the domestic airline SANSA.

Sample Prices:

An 8 Day Itinerary in the Intermediate Price Range has a cost of $1,600-$2,392 per person

A 10 Day Itinerary in the Intermediate Price Range has a cost of $2,000-$2,990 per person

A Note On Trip Costs

The cost per person per day for a trip is greatly influenced by the number of people traveling together and the configuration of rooms. The more people traveling together in double or triple rooms the lower the cost per person per day. Since in many cases single and double rooms cost exactly the same, the cost per person per day for the exactly the same itinerary for one person can be almost double the cost per person per day for 2 persons


True at Every Price Level

Four Features

Feature Advantage The Experience
Complete itinerary operated by CRE from start to finish. We work with you on the design of each day and then reserve and run the trip for you. We won’t let you design an itinerary that will not be successful. When you plan your itinerary with CRE we take responsibility for all components of your trip from start to finish. By letting us handle every step of the way, you won’t get a patchy vacation. We will give you the same World Class service every step of the way. We are your guardian angel during the planning process and while you’re in country. We take care of things that are as simple as wanting to change the hour of a tour or tracking down a lost jacket. We also take care of more complex and serious situations such as an allergic reaction or a landslide that threatens with delaying your itinerary. You won’t spend your precious vacation time fixing problems; we will do that for you. Most often we will anticipate problems so that you will never even know that they were on the horizon.
Best hotels in their particular price range. Each with a longstanding relationship with CRE. Your rooms are backed by our relationship with the supplier. We have preferred suppliers in each region by category, our business is important to them. Our suppliers value their relationship with us and they know that we follow up with our clients during and after their trip. They understand that we choose our suppliers on the basis of World Class service and experience. You are important to them.
Best planes and pilots will be used for your internal flights CRE funded an independent safety audit of 7 different charter companies in 2006. As a result we now fly with only the 5 best companies in the country. Criteria for the audit included finding a strong culture of safety, mechanical integrity of aircraft, competence of pilots and ongoing training of pilots. Fly with the safest Costa Rican charter companies available.
Best vans and drivers will be used for your transportation Costa Rica roads are infamous. Not only are they in bad condition, they are narrow and often wind up or down the countryside. Costa Ricans probably rank among the worst drivers in the world. When you book your transportation with CRE, your driver has had a through and intensive training course with CRE where he or she has been taught how to drive for guests. Our vans have radio communication in case assistance is required a long the way and our office dispatch carefully monitors progress. Transit our roads in comfort and safety. Our professional drivers (Spanish speaking) will take care of you every step of the way.

Tips for Deciding

What Trip Cost Category is Right for You?

Hotels

 

ROOMS

 

Intermediate

Upscale

Luxury

Mattress

Locally made for hotel use. Premium version.

Beauty Rest by Simmons is most common.

US or European made. Comfort and quality of bedding emphasized.

Sheets

180-200 thread count. Mattress covers are often used.

300+ thread count.

Mattress covers used.

350+ thread count. From finest sources. Mattress covers used.

Pillow

Thick. Made of synthetic fiber.

Choice of synthetic fiber or feather imitation.

At least two different kinds of pillows offered, including a real feather pillow.

Towels

Standard size. Average quality.

Large; good quality.

 

Extra-large; excellent quality.

Amenity

Selection

Low quality soap bars,

shampoo and conditioner.

Good quality soap bars, shampoo, conditioner and hand cream.

Luxury brand soap and gel, shampoo, conditioner and hand cream. High quality bathrobes and slippers will be provided as well as shower cap, sewing kit, etc.

Plumbing

Plumbing will work 90% of the time. If something does go wrong there is someone available to fix it within a few hours.

All hotels have temporary plumbing problems, this happens occasionally. When it does, the situation will be resolved with minimal impact on the guest.

All hotels have temporary plumbing problems, this will happen infrequently. When it does, the situation will be resolved with minimal impact on the guest, who may be compensated.

Back up Generator

None.

 

Back up generator used in cases of power failure. Expect a 10-15 min. wait for manual start up.

Back up generator will auto start when power fails.

 

Water Supply

Same as basic price category.

 

Power failure will not result in lack of water. The back up generator will keep the water pumps going.

Same as upscale price category.

Water Pressure

Depends on how many rooms are showering at the same time.

Stable even if many rooms are showering at the same time.

Same as upscale price category.

Hot Water

Not 100% reliable.

90% reliable. Upon failure, it will be fixed quickly. Water often solar heated.

99% reliable.

 

Room Decor

Same as basic price category.

Decoration emphasized.

 

Decoration outstanding. We can’t promise that you’ll like the style, but the hotel will have an obvious theme and décor.

Mini Bar

Most rooms have mini bars.

Same as intermediate price category.

All rooms have mini bars.

Safe

Most have safes.

Safes large enough for laptops.

Safes large enough for laptops.

Hair Dryer

Same as basic price category.

Available either in rooms or at front desk.

Always available in room.

Telephone in Room

Same as basic price category.

In room except in remote areas where there is no or limited service. Or, depending on the hotel’s theme, not having a phone may be considered an added luxury.

Same as upscale price category, with 2-3 telephones in room.

TV in Room

Some of the time

Cable television in room except in remote areas where there is no or limited service. Or, depending on the hotel’s theme, not having a tv may be considered an added luxury.

Same as upscale price category, but likely to have more channels.

High Speed Internet

Same as basic price category.

Available at least in public areas unless the location is remote and service is not possible. There may or may not be an extra charge.

Same as upscale price category.

SERVICE

Intermediate

Upscale

Luxury  

Problem Solving

Poor, but more options exist in this category to resolve problems at the hotel. Still, Costa Rica Expeditions often has to get involved.

Efficient problem solving. Staff will often be proactive, friendly and smart about solving problems. Exceptions do exist.

Problems should be solved even before you figure out you have one. When a situation arises, it will be resolved without inconvenience to you.

 

Advice

Offer good advice, but not always well thought out. Exceptions to the rule exist and you’ll know when you are in good hands.

Offer advice that takes into consideration your safety when recommending activities like hiking, canopy or raft tours. These properties will also be concerned with the quality, style and professionalism of the tour operator. Depending on the hotel, different policies exist regarding zip line tours, white water rafting or activities in areas close to a volcano. Some are conscientious and safety oriented while others are less so and may be more profit oriented.

Same as upscale price category.

Activities

Same as basic price category.

Offer guided hikes, boat trips into the rainforest or to an island for snorkeling. Local guides can be good to fantastic depending on the property. Many lodges in this class have made a name for themselves by mastering the art of rainforest experiences.

Usually offer tours run by independent, local service providers. These excursions are generally high-end, conventional tours with a large number of participants. Don’t expect them to be natural history oriented. If you want to insure a quality experience, it is best to book the activity and guide separately.

Reception

More of these hotels offer good service at the front desk. It is common, however, to find that service is perfunctory.

Generally you will be greeted with a smiling face and a staff ready to provide you with excellent service.

Some of the best receptionists in the world work at these hotels. They have the knowledge, resources and authority to take world class care of their guests.

Public Areas

Often have sitting areas for guests, but don’t expect seating to be exceptionally comfortable. Wait staff may be scarce, so be prepared to go to the bar to order your drinks.

Comfortable public areas available for reading, enjoying a drink and taking in the view. Normally you will be approached every 30 mins. or so by wait staff.

Beautifully decorated and deliciously comfortable lounge areas are the norm. This is your opportunity to enjoy beautiful spaces and be pampered.

Pool

Same as basic price category.

 

Pool(s) often built with non-traditional filtration systems making them more environmentally friendly and pleasant for guests. Comfortable and stylish pool-side furniture, including chaise lounges and umbrellas. Wait staff is attentive and will offer clean towels, drinks and snacks.

 

Pools (often more than one) are usually built with non-traditional filtration systems making them more environmentally friendly and pleasant for guests. Pool-side furniture will be top-of-the-line and designed for sunbathing or reading in the shade. Wait staff is attentive and will offer clean towels, drinks, snacks and other amenities.

Gardens

Usually well kept, but not extraordinary.

Worth spending time in. Often home to interesting indigenous plants and animals. Birding may be very good. Many will have water features.

Beautiful and designed to provide visual impact. However, they are not often home to many interesting species of indigenous plants and animals.

FOOD & DRINK

Intermediate

Upscale

Luxury

 

Overview

May be better than in the basic hotel category, but in most cases the basic hotel food description applies.

Generally excellent food and service. Cooks are often from the local community and have been trained by a great international chef. These trainees can deliver very high-quality meals. Bars are well set up and offer a variety of wines and liquors. Cocktails are likely to be well prepared.

Oddly enough food in this category can occasionally be of lower quality than in the upscale category. These hotels are generally larger making it harder to deliver extraordinary food. Kitchens may tend to overreach resulting in food that isn’t the best. Hotel bars in this category on the other hand, are usually the best; featuring great cocktails and snacks, friendly staff and beautiful settings.

Décor

Same as basic price category.

 

Perhaps some of the most inspiring and original decoration in the hospitality world can be found in this category hotel.

Everything is decorated by a professional and exceptionally well done.

TV

Same as basic price category.

No TVs blasting in the back ground here.

Same as upscale price category.

Music

Same as basic price category.

Music is usually carefully chosen and played at appropriate times and volume.

Same as upscale price category.

Staff

Same as basic price category.

High standard of service, wait staff are friendly and interact with guests. Head waiters speak English.

Very high standard of service, wait staff are friendly and interact with guests. All waiters speak English.

Breakfast Menu

Same as basic price category.

Usually a la carte menu offered.

Both buffet and a la carte breakfasts, with plenty of choices.

Lunch & Dinner Menu

May be better than in the basic hotels, but in most cases the basic description applies.

These lodges are often more remote so you’ll find different approaches to meals. Some offer separate a la carte menus for lunch and dinner with multiple choices. Some have fixed menus for lunch and dinner or they may offer three choices. You be asked to order your dinner after lunch. Some have a special orientation in their cooking.

Usually these hotels have more than one restaurant, with separate menus for lunch and dinner. Generally there is an informal restaurant with lighter meals and multiple snack choices, and a formal restaurant that provides the opportunity to dress up.

What to Order

Same as basic price category.

These restaurants consistently serve great food. You will likely have wonderful dining experiences no matter what you select. Don’t calorie count so much that you miss out on some mouth-watering desserts.

These restaurants consistently serve great food with few exceptions. You may find that because these hotels tend to be larger, the food is a little less tailored than at the upscale level.

Coffee

Same as basic price category.

Premium coffee served. Specialty coffees available.

Same as upscale price category.

Wine by the glass

One to three choices of red and white wines (usually Chilean or Argentinean).

Expect to find three choices of red wine, two of white and one of rose.

Expect to find many choices of red, white and rose wines.

 

Wine by the bottle

From 10 to 60 choices of red and white wines.

Thirty or more choices of red, white and rose wines.

Same as upscale price category.

Liquor

Same as basic price category.

 

Inexpensive liquors may be used in cocktails, but for other drinks intermediate and premium brands are used. You will find Red and Black Label whiskey, Absolute and Stolichnaya vodkas, and Jose Cuervo & Porfirio tequilas. A variety of brandies and after-dinner drinks such as Cuantreou, Gran Marnier and Jaguer Master are available.

Same as upscale price category.

Ice Machine

Available; ice is plentiful.

Same as intermediate price category.

Same as intermediate price category.

 

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