Holiday review by Annie Mitchell

Name: Annie Mitchell

Date of trip: 28/12/2015

Number of people: 2

I think our favorite places were Monteverde and Torteguero. That is probably unfair on Arenal but we had a lot of rain there which rather 'clouded' our judgement. However going across the hanging bridges at Arenal was a 'Feel the Fear and Do it anyway' moment for me and it was amazing - I even managed to open my eyes!! And by the time I got to the 3rd or 4th bridge I was starting to feel calmer. Going down the river to Torteguero was one of those David Attenborough moments and the follow-up trips on the water to view the wildlife early in the morning were pretty magical. We had Capuchin monkeys come through the forest right outside our bungalow which was great to see. Again we benefited from some beautiful weather in Monteverde which was great. Seeing the toucans and the quetzels were definitely very special moments and so exciting to see in the wild. We were also served dinner one evening in the butterfly house which was amazing. In two of the places we stayed there was mesh where the windows should be and at night you could listen to the howler monkeys and other 'jungle' sounds - magic.

  • Hotel Grano de Oro, San Jose, Costa Rica © Hotel Grano de Oro

    Hotel Grano de Oro, San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Shawandha Lodge gardens

     

  • Shawandha Lodge gardens

     

  • Shawandha Lodge gardens

     

  • Cabin at Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero, Costa Rica © AGMarks

    Cabin at Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

  • Aerial view of Nayara Gardens and Arenal volcano, Costa Rica © Nayara Gardens

    Aerial view of Nayara Gardens and Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

  • Lunchtime at Nayara Gardens in Arenal, Costa Rica © Nayara Gardens

    Lunchtime at Nayara Gardens in Arenal, Costa Rica

  • Pool at Nayara Gardens in Arenal, Costa Rica © 2017 Miles Photography

    Pool at Nayara Gardens in Arenal, Costa Rica

  • Deluxe room at Nayara Gardens, Arenal, Costa Rica © Nayara Gardens

    Deluxe room at Nayara Gardens, Arenal, Costa Rica

  • The bar at Monteverde Lodge

     

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Tribes Overall:

Costa Rica was definitely one of our best holidays ever. The country is so rich in wildlife and birds we sometimes felt we were in the middle of a David Attenborough programme. The people were friendly and the travel from place to place made easy.

It certainly lived up to our expectations and in many ways exceeded them. My only criticism is that we could have done with more time to explore the places we stayed - it sometimes felt a bit rushed but all in all we had a great time.

Tribes Service:

We were very happy with all the info prior to our departure. It is difficult to explain how the system of travel from place to place in Costa Rica worked and it was different to how we imagined, but it worked.

Guides:

The guides were very good. The bird watching tours in particular were excellent with the guides able to spot birds that most of the time we would have walked straight past. The speed that they managed to get the scope onto the birds reminded us of wild west gunslingers - they were so quick on the draw! They were also very helpful with compiling lists back at the hotel.
The well trained eyes were also very evident at Torteguero where the guide and the boat driver were very quick to point out birds and animals of interest. Ant they were all of interest!

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

Costa Rica and the people we met were very keen to point out the environmental issues facing Costa Rica and the various positive programmes that have been put into effect. We did feel that eco- tourism was a big boost to the people and the economy.


The places you stayed

Hotel Grano de Oro, San Jose, Costa Rica © Hotel Grano de Oro

Hotel Grano de Oro

San Jose

Loved this hotel and we were given an upgrade on our room which was lovely after a long - very long - plane journey. The whole place is Victorian, colonial style and full of interesting features.

We ate at the bar in the evening and the food was delicious. The staff were friendly and helpful, would have been happy to stay longer to explore San Jose.


Shawandha Lodge gardens

Shawandha Lodge

Costa Rica

Our first real taste of Costa Rica and we were made very welcome here. The French owner takes time to talk to her guests and the food is absolutely first rate. Wonderful fish and the fruits are amazing. The grounds are lovely and the bungalows are comfortable. There is also a pool to cool off in and to relax by.


Cabin at Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero, Costa Rica © AGMarks

Evergreen Lodge

Tortuguero National Park

I feel a bit mean giving Evergreen Lodge an average because we did have a very good stay there. There is so much to see that Torteguero was certainly a highlight for us. The bungalows were clean and comfortable and it does have 2 swimming pools, so not much to complain about. I suppose it was a bit busier than we would have wanted, more people and therefore noise and the food was rather canteen style. Because we were there 3 nights the meals did get a bit boring. Sadly they did try to rectify that by coming out with specially cooked meals for us but only after we were half-way through eating.


Lunchtime at Nayara Gardens in Arenal, Costa Rica © Nayara Gardens

Nayara Gardens

Arenal

How could you not like Nayara? After a very long and tedious transfer it was an oasis. The room was luxurious with a hot tub on the balcony and a second shower outside in the private little garden. The staff were very friendly and efficient and we had a bottle of sparking wine left for us in the room.

The food at the hotel was also very good - but, as you would expect - not cheap.


The bar at Monteverde Lodge

Monteverde Lodge and Gardens

Costa Rica

This was a bit of a favorite - even though it was not as luxurious as Nayara it had a lovely feel to it. The grounds were pretty and spread out into nice walks. The pool was exceptionally lovely and you could relax in little areas that the hotel had set up in the garden with hammocks and reading sites etc.
The rooms were comfortable and the housekeeping staff would leave iced water in the rooms at night with little chocolates etc. They would also make sure you had closed the windows or risk the monkeys coming in and making off with your things.
The food was also very good - again one of our top places.