We discovered Costa Rica Expeditions in 2015 and stayed at both Tortuga Lodge and Monteverde Lodge before striking out on our own. This year we decided to explore more of the country and asked CRE to plan an itinerary for us to the Osa Peninsula and Manuel Antonio. When I emailed the company, I received a quick response from the same person we dealt with last time - Luz Alpizar! She welcomed us back and set about tailoring a trip to meet our needs, desires and budgets. All of her recommendations were spot on. Luna Lodge and La Paloma were both outstanding. All transportation worked perfectly, from Sansa Airlines to all of our drivers, especially Denis from Puerto Jimenez!! Along the way we received updates about our next steps and check-ins to make sure that everything was going well. I cannot say enough about the outstanding service that CRE provides. I would recommend them to anyone planning a vacation in Costa Rica.
It is rare for me to write a review, but CRE is so worth it! Our entire experience working with CRE and our planner Luis Cubero was of the highest quality. This company runs its business with the highest standards and heart. Working with them and touring Costa Rica with the package they put together for us far exceeded our expectations and left us wanting to come back and plan another trip with CRE. Thank you all so much for taking such great care of our family! We truly appreciated everything you did for us to make our vacation in Costa Rica so incredible.
Costa Rica is a beautiful place, and these guys made it even better. Everything about this trip was amazing! From the drivers, to the lodges, to the food, it far exceeded any expectations. Everybody affiliated with Costa Rica Expeditions were friendly, and efficient. I would definitely book with his company again and highly recommend them to anybody going to Costa Rica. Great job guys!!
In December 2015, our family had the opportunity to travel for three weeks. While researching possible destinations, we read about Costa Rica in a book about the best trips in the world. Costa Rica Expeditions was the book's recommended travel planner, so we started there. When we looked at Costa Rica Expeditions website, we were impressed with the simple checklist that would aid our trip planner in the type of vacation we were looking for. Starting with asking the right questions, Costa Rica Expeditions was on the right track. The checklist gathered information about the kinds of activities we were interested in as well as the pace of the vacation.
Nadya Shaw was the senior travel planner from Costa Rica expeditions who planned our trip. Her communication was consistent throughout the planning, and she continued to communicate with us throughout the trip. She even worked with a Lodge to return some clothes we had left behind. She hand-delivered them to our hotel before we left the country! Nadya planned an ideal vacation for all of our family, which included safe activities that were perfect for our 9 and 11-year-old children, excellent guides in each of four locations, a perfect pace for our family, and all transfers were smooth and seamless.
During our time in Costa Rica, we stayed at two lodges run by Costa Rica Expeditions: Tortuga Lodge and Monteverde Lodge. Tortuga Lodge was elegance in a rustic setting. The meals were exceptional and the formal service was consistent throughout our stay. We enjoyed the friendly and welcoming staff. Our first welcome was from Xiomara, the first graduate of the local Words Adventure Program. The Lodge works with a local school to provide students the opportunity to learn English with the help of Lodge guests who are native English speakers. This program allowed us more contact with locals in a safe, but non-touristy setting.
The second Costa Rica Expeditions Lodge was Monteverde Lodge. The gardens were private and relaxing. There was always a quiet place to relax and read or write. The original drinks from the bar -- alcoholic and non-alcoholic were unique and delicious. (The Monteverde Gardens was our favorite). We enjoyed a special dinner in the butterfly garden at the end of our stay. In Monteverde, our private guide was Samuel Arguedas. Samuel's commitment to education and protecting the natural environment stood out as exceptional.
La Paloma Lodge, not owned by Costa Rica Expeditions, on the Osa Penninsula was another exceptional stop that Nadya included in our Costa Rica adventure. The ocean views and private accommodations were outstanding. The pool, afternoon snacks, and family style meals with other Lodge guests were highlights of our stay at La Paloma Lodge. In Corcovado National Park, we were guided by Randall from La Paloma Lodge, who is extremely knowledgeable. We also learned a lot on the night tour with “The Bug Lady” who met us at the lodge, showed us many insects, and taught us how to find more on our own.
Costa Rica Expeditions booked us with exceptional guides throughout our stay. In addition to our guides for various excursions, we had the privilege to have Federico Alban guide our family for four consecutive days in Arenal. In combination with Max, our driver, they were an unforgettable team. Federico was a wealth of knowledge on Costa Rica, wildlife, history, and environmental issues. He was excellent with our children, encouraging them to speak Spanish and explore Costa Rican culture and wildlife. He kept the pace appropriate, while pushing their boundaries to explore new things in a very positive way. The time spent with Federico and Max was another highlight for our children and the whole family.
Because of our family's commitment to sustainability, we were looking to show our children Costa Rica as a model of a nation who has committed to preserving the environment. We were never disappointed and often impressed with the many small things that Costa Rica Expeditions did to provide our whole family with a memorable, sustainable travel experience.
Having never spent more than a few hours in Costa Rica as a part of a Western Caribbean cruise several years ago, we decided to search TripAdvisor for the 'best' choice in our decision to do a 9 day, coast-to-coast Adventure...
Costa Rica Expeditions proved to be exactly what we needed...and more! Details and preferences were all worked out through emails and personal calls with the very knowledgeable CRE staff and travel experts.
Arrived at San Jose after a direct flight from Atlanta. Was met by CRE greeter and whisked off to Hotel de Oro for an overnight stay. The Hotel de Oro lived up to its name (Oro=Golden) and we had a very relaxing evening, a delicious supper, and a relatively quiet night in the 'Garden' area of the property.
Note: This room had the whitest, most clean, sparkling bathroom I had ever seen...anywhere!
We were met in the hotel's lobby by Andre Newcomb, our guide and host for the next five days. His knowledge of the country, flora, fauna and other delightful information regarding Costa Rica would prove quite 'fruitful', literally. The three of us became acquainted on our short trip to the chartered flight waiting for us at the airport.
The trip, even thought we were in clouds and rain for most of the half-hour flight, was smooth.
Landing at Tortuguera's 'International' Airport...3,500' runway...we were ferried across the river to the Tortuga Lodge where we spent the next two nights. Once we became used to the jungle noises, we settled in.
So many delightful things happened in the next 48+ hours, it would take pages to detail. We'd be glad to tell you about them! Boat rides on the river through the National Park; riding to the mouth of the river to see the Caribbean Sea; native meals at local establishments; and opportunity to visit an area elementary school and 'mentor' a small group of student in speaking English... And there is so much more...including a private 'going away' meal.
Oh, did I fail to mention it rained incessantly for most of our time there? We were having too much fun and Andrew was so accommodating, we didn't allow a 'little' wet ruin our stay.
Flight back to San Jose and then 4 hours via a very comfortable bus with Andrew and now driver, Alex, to Monteverde Lodge and Gardens. Without going into too many details, all you will find out about this location is true and a definite experience to remember; tour of the area; Poas Volcano; Hummingbird watching; a nature hike traipsing across suspension bridges above second-growth forests; did I mention 'rainbows'?
Andrew and Alex went out of their way with kindness, politeness and an overwhelming knowledge of Nature and the community which totally impressed us and made us feel as 'family' the entire trip.
It was Valentine's Day... and Andrew arranged for my wife and I to have a very private, special candlelight dinner in the Butterfly House. Yes, it was all your imagination might create in a visual.
The next morning, we were off to the Pacific Coast and Punta Islita. Another four hours and we drove into one of the most beautiful hotel settings we had ever experienced. Hotel Punta Islita... top rated by TripAdvisor....was our home for the next three nights. Believe all you read about this property. Staff and wait staff make you feel as family...greeting you with kind words and over-the-top service 24/7.
Weather was perfect. A little humid and hot compared to the Caribbean side...food excellent. We'll be back there in the future for sure.
Costa Rica Expeditions had scored big with us. We cannot say enough to laud their excellence! On the private flight back to San Jose, an older couple from Sweden was supposed to have flown with a different air taxi service which had not arrived as we were about to leave Punta Islita. After a short chat with CRE folks, it was agreed to have them join us and complete their itinerary from that point. After landing at San Jose, CRE even made sure they had made their contact for the next leg of their journey. This was above and, again, beyond the scope of their commitment to us...
Guess they determined it was the right thing to do... And this speaks volumes for Costa Rica Expeditions.
There is so much more to say about these fine folks...but you'll just have to experience it yourself. We did...and enjoyed every minute.
My husband and I, plus two friends from Germany visited Costa Rica for 14 days in January. Our trip was planned with the invaluable help of Nadya Shaw, from CRE, who ensured that this process itself was enjoyable. She helped with the detail in a very prompt and friendly way. Nothing was too much trouble for her. All questions were answered fully to our satisfaction. All accommodations were very appropriate to their locations, and very enjoyable in different ways, It was wonderful to experience the flora, and fauna in their natural environments. Tour guides certainly enhanced our overall experience, as, without their expertise we doubt we could have seen the very special birds and wildlife they spotted for us. We visited the areas of Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, and Corcovado National Park. We would love to arrange another visit, and would definitely use the quality service of Costa Rica Expeditions again. They work with you to achieve the best within your budget. They provide extensive information on their website to help you in the planning process so that you get the most from your visit. The logistical elements of our tour were all of excellent quality and timing.
This is the 4th time that we have used Costa Rica expeditions. Priscilla Jimenez has been the primary planner of each trip. The trips have spanned over 20 years. Priscilla selected Reserva Conchal as the place for us to stay for 2 weeks. It was the perfect selection for meeting our needs. It was just amazing how well she knew what we wanted.
We enjoyed many experiences. The thing that really stood out to us was combination of the comfort of the accommodation and the beautiful, large preserve that we were in
Costa Rica Expeditions is THE way to plan your trip to Costa Rica. They are local and understand the country and want to ensure you have a great experience. Our travel planner helped us arrange a trip that was perfect for our interests AND our budget. Every detail of our trip was looked after. They are also stick with you throughout the trip. My son fell ill on the trip and they helped to connect us to a top notch doctor to make sure he got the appropriate care. Can't say enough about how great they are!