Holiday review by Ms. Antonia Wills
Name: Ms. Antonia Wills
Date of trip: 11/01/2018
Number of people: 2
The boat trip from Guapiles to Tortuaguero in hot sunshine. Watching the Green Heron repeatedly and patiently dropping an insect into the water and then waiting for the fish to bite on a canal in Tortuaguero. Watching a red poisonous frog hopping from stone to stone opposite the restaurant at Evergreen Lodge that no-one else had seen! Seeing the toucans at Sarapiqui. Watching a sloth descending a tree at Tirimbina. Seeing the crocodiles under Tarcoles bridge - about 25 of them. The cheeky Capuchin monkeys at Punta Marenco - sharing the crisps they found in a tuppaware box in one of the guest's cabins. Seeing the Macaws flying into the sunset both at Parador and at Punta Marenco, and then watching a Macaw feeding in a tree on our last day. Snorkelling in what seemed like an aquarium at Cano Island. Seeing Costa Rica's amazing topography from the small plane on our internal flight to San Jose. Meeting all the generous, helpful, unassuming Ticos and learning about their culture. Eating some amazing food in top class hotels.
A fantastic holiday that did live up to expectations. All the transfers went like clockwork and were largely private.
Tortuaguero - Noel - was a great, knowledgeable guide and took us on an unforgettably beautiful boat trip around the canals on the first day; he also did the early morning walk the following day, which was interesting despite the wet weather, and he took us on an unscheduled evening walk around the hotel grounds to look for frogs.
Sarapiqui - Evening tour of the Snake Garden - saw amazing butterflies, frogs, turtles, crocodiles, a sloth, and lots of snakes in enclosures. Great guide, who was happy to handle the frogs and turtles so we could see them. Important to take a torch.
Next morning - fantastic visit to La Selva - lots of birds with a very knowledgeable naturalist, and totally private, just the 2 of us. Afternoon visit to Tirimbina chocolate plantation. Great experience, including walking across the suspension bridge, guided by a very enthusiastic girl. Learned about the history of chocolate and did lots of tasting.
Villa Blanca guided walk - didn't see any wildlife except humming birds at the feeders. Constant cold/wet/bleak weather.
Manuel Antonio - saw loads of wildlife despite the crowds. Highly recommended, best guide of the trip (Gregory).
Uvita Whale watching tour - total waste of money. We had been told that if there were no whales to be seen we could snorkel, but after a fruitless 2 hours search, they said there was no time for this. We did see a pod of dolphins on the way back though.
Corcovado guided tour. Very nice knowledgeable guide, but large group, so it was very slow moving. Next time I would organise an overnight stay in the Rangers station so we could have longer there.
Trip to Cano Island - Please be aware that there are no changing facilities or toilets on the island. I had a fantastic time snorkelling (got very burned, should have worn a T shirt and leg protection), but my husband who didn't snorkel got very bored as there was only one 30 minute hike, in this protected island.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
So impressed by Costa Rica's social structure (education, healthcare etc) and the environmental awareness. Actually would consider living there! Costa Rica has about 6 different climates depending on where you are.
The places you stayed
Top hotel, amazing food, stunning decor.
Tortuguero National Park
We spent three days/2 nights at Evergreen Lodge. There was a tropical storm during our time there, so wet clothes and shoes were the norm with no drying facilities. Communal buffet style dining, and you are allocated your table and dining companions. The hotel grounds are teeming with wildlife and the capuchin monkeys were especially memorable.
This is a big 5 star resort and lacked some of the individuality of the other hotels, but food and service was great.