Never thought I would enjoy using a 'tour' company to plan and execute my travels. I was wrong. This company provided us with best experience and people to truly enjoy the country over 11 days. Before anything is done, they email you an extensive questionnaire asking about your all your travel preferences, in order to build a personal profile. From this data, they construct a plan including hotels, venues, sites, transfers, meals, and prices for you to examine. When you sign off on the trip, they take a 50% deposit and the balance due 30 days prior to departure. All you need do is book your air travel. Your trip will be the perfect fit for your budget; with no surprises. All drivers showed up on time or a bit early, spoke English, and knew the best Costa Rican sites. Most importantly, any questions prior to departure, just email and you will get a quick, polite response.
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.
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!
We booked our trip to Costa Rica through CRE and were very pleased with the every aspect of our vacation. Our Trip advisor was very detailed in understanding what we were interested in seeing and put together an itinerary that allowed us to see most of the country and experience the highlights in 10 days. We encountered no issues with any of the accommodations or transfers.
This was the first time we used a travel company to plan our vacation and after doing a lot of research we decided it was best to use CRE since this was our first time to Costa Rica. From completing the survey 8 months ago and working with Elena through every step of our family vacation I knew this was going to be a special vacation for all of us.
Elena covered every detail, from the tours to transportation to all of the logistics in between and always was attentive, courteous and helpful. Once we got there, we were greeted at the airport with a smiling face and a big sign with our name on it, whisked away in an air conditioned shuttle to our first stop at Arenal. We stayed at Arenal Manoa, which was a perfect choice for our family. Our tours included Danaus Eco-center (one of our favorites), hiking Rio Celeste, doing the hike and sky tram at Sky Park and a beautiful sunset cruise around Arenal volcano.
Our next stop was Manuel Antonio and although it was a long trip, our driver stopped twice along the way to make sure we could get a snack, and use the bathrooms. The Hotel Parador was paradise. Again, another great choice for our family. Here, our tours included a night hike through the jungle and horseback riding with Don Gilberto and his daughter. We loved them both.
Every guide throughout the trip was on time, welcoming and extremely well educated about the history, bio diversity, plant and wildlife and surrounding area. They all gave us great tips and make us feel pampered. I got email updates every day about the next day's tours, what to bring, what to wear and when to meet. We also got paper copies of the itineraries at our hotel room each day.
A huge thank you to Elena, and the entire CRE team for providing us with an unforgettable family vacation filled with great memories. Costa Rica is a very special place and we are so glad we got to experience the beauty of the country. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to book with them again or refer them to a friend.
My trip with Costa Rica Expeditions (CRE) included the following elements:
CRE was very easy to work with and the contact was courteous and professional. I received several suggestions for my itinerary and after consideration and changes, I accepted the final solution. The booking process was easy. I received complete travel documents including all vouchers for hotels and trips, pickup times, and additional information such as included meals.
The trip took place as planned and all pickups were on time. I even received addtional reminders for excursions and pickups via email and printouts in the hotels. The hotels chosen for me were very nice, comfortable, and well located. They offered good service and great food. The trips and excursions had both informative and exciting elements. The companies running these excursions made a professional impression and everything ran smoothly.
I also had a lot of additional recommendations and suggestions which I used to fill my days at several places.
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.
We'd never been to Costa Rica before and do not speak Spanish. So we knew we needed assistance booking our trip. According to our go-to source, TripAdvisor, Costa Rica Expeditions was our best bet. Every single Costa Rica Expeditions employee gave us five star GOLD service.
On CRE's website is a questionnaire so that they can make a vacation for you that serves every need/desire you have for an excellent trip. I filled out all the blanks and sent it off. Within hours, I was contacted by a CRE planner.
I told him how long I wanted to stay, what I wanted to see, and what I was willing to spend. He made an itinerary reflecting exactly what I'd asked for. He explained about the 1/2 deposit when booking and the other 1/2 30 days out from the trip. From the very beginning, I was impressed with the individual care and concern about making our trip great.
Our vacation planner was always a step ahead of us in sending confirmations and information. We were confident that we would be cared for as if we were VIPs. My husband, who worries about every detail, was confident that we were in excellent hands. From sign-up to after the vacation, we had detailed information about what was next.
Our hotels were excellent... we were immersed in the Pura Vida of Costa Rica. The food was superb. Connection times were exactly as planned. We never once doubted that we were important to CRE.
Our drivers and guides were exceptional. Andrew Newcomb stayed with us for 5 days, escorting us from San Jose to Torteguero to San Jose to Punta Islita. His interaction and care for us was far, far beyond expectations. He was personable, bilingual, and knew much about everything we were interested in. About 7am as we were on the move from one side of the country to the next, Andrew told us that there had been a minor accident with the driver that had been originally assigned to us. The accident was NOT his fault and he was hale/hearty, but he couldn't make the connection to pick us up.
Costa Rica Expeditions had contacted Alex, another of their wonderful drivers, to take the original person's place. Alex was exactly on time for the connection and stayed with us for the next several days. His driving and care for the job was exemplary. Although he did not speak English, there was no doubt in our minds that both Alex and Andrew truly wanted us to have the vacation of our dreams.
If you are going to Costa Rica, by all means, use the services of Costa Rica Expeditions. Tell them what you want your experience to be. They will grant your every wish. Every employee we came in touch with was exceptional.
Costa Rica Expeditions exceeded all expectations from start to finish. Luz helped organize our trip with patience and attention to detail. Pri was an amazing travel companion. Carol, Leonardo, and Donald expert guides. Had a wonderful time with the students in San Francisco. Beyond impressed with this company. Looking forward to another trip with them in the future.