Holiday review by Elaine & Terry
Name: Elaine & Terry
Date of trip: 15/11/2018
Number of people: 2
• A long walk uphill at Bosque de Paz in search of the Catarata Fatima; on the way we were fortunate enough to see a group of peccaries, and when we found the waterfall – WOW!! It was well worth the effort. • The 3-toed male sloth who hung around outside our balcony at Si Como No • Scarlet macaws and the chance sighting of a tayra on the way to breakfast at Casa Corcovado • The delightful coatis and agoutis that roam around Bosque de Paz, not forgetting the hummingbirds at the feeders and the rare, nocturnal paca. • Chocolate !! • Waking up to the haunting calls of howler monkeys • Hatching green turtles at Tortuguero - watching them make it to the sea • The sheer richness and size of the tropical rain forest
Right from our transfer from the airport, everything (trips, meals, accommodation) was very well organised and on time. Only one pick-up was slightly late (10 minutes) and we were ‘phoned beforehand.
Standards of hygiene were generally high, even in remote areas.
The Costa Rican people were very friendly and helpful, with an excellent command of English
We enjoyed the variety of places we visited, coming away with clear ideas of where we would like to spend more time. We feel we have only scraped the surface of the huge diversity that Costa Rica has to offer and would love to return.
Rory was very helpful; his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the country was obvious.
All our guides were knowledgeable and informative, spotting wildlife we would have missed and describing the plants and animals that live in Costa Rica. Our guide in the coach en route to Tortuguero (Elisier) provided a very good introduction to the country. Our guide in Tortuguero (Eddy) was knowledgeable, although the group there was quite large; at Selva Verde, Ivan gave us excellent early morning and night walks and the chocolate tour conducted by Carolina was very entertaining and informative. At Bosque de Paz, Mario was a great guide – full of knowledge and enthusiasm; at Manuel Antonio, Henry was very knowledgeable, but the park was very busy by the time we got there (we went via a number of other hotels) so it was difficult to spot some things due to distrubance. At Casa Corcovado, Fabian was a delightful guide, he was very knowledgeable with an infectious enthusiasm for the fauna and flora of the area. He tried so hard to find the elusive tapir for me – in the end I was happy to settle for a fresh hoof-print and tapir odour.
All guides had an excellent command of English.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
Clearly, tourism is an important source of income to Costa Rica. Our very presence there (I hope) will have helped to support employment and investment in maintaining the unique habitats and flora and fauna that comprise the country. In all but the more urban hotels (San Jose and Manuel Antonio), we were aware of a strong ethos of sustainability, including the separation of recycling materials in the rooms and cooling fans instead of air conditioning.
The places you stayed
A centrally located hotel with well-furnished rooms and pleasant staff. The roof-top restaurant provided an airy, reasonably-priced place to eat in the evening.
Tortuguero National Park
Although quite a large lodge, the layout of the individual, well-designed rooms on stilts gave a feeling of seclusion and being within the rain forest. The food was plentiful and good. The bar seemed very quiet in the evening.
Good, well-equipped, spacious rooms with a view of the gardens. The food was very good, in both the main and Italian restaurant. The staff were friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, it rained very heavily while we were there which meant we could not explore the self-guided walks and river bank as much as we would have liked, but the availability of under-cover viewing points with on-tap coffee/tea meant that we could watch the birds coming to the feeders between showers. The covered walkways between the rooms and public areas were much appreciated!
Between San Jose and Arenal
This was so aptly named – what a beautiful, tranquil place. The rooms were simply and tastefully furnished, in keeping with the ethos of the lodge. We were made very welcome and felt like part of the family. There was a very good atmosphere amongst the staff and nothing was too much trouble. The food was excellent and plentiful (3 courses for each meal!). We enjoyed being able to walk on our own on the marked trails in the cloud forest as well as the guided walks with Mario. The cheeky coatis that roam the grounds were delightful and we felt privileged to be able to see the agouti by day and the paca that visited after dark. This is a superb place to see hummingbirds close-up; drawn to the feeders they are easy to see and photograph on flowers nearby. As the sun came out on departure day, we were sorry to leave.
This was a bit of a culture shock after the tranquillity and simplicity of Bosque de Paz. It was a busy and noisy hotel that we felt catered primarily for the American market (possibly not helped by our arriving at Thanksgiving weekend). However, the sunny aspect and air conditioning in the room provided a good opportunity to do some washing and to relax with a jungle and sea view. The tree-top aspect allowed us an excellent view of a sloth in front of our balcony. The adult pool with its jacuzzi was a relaxing place and most of the time we had it to ourselves. We ate in their grill restaurant in the evening which was good but quite pricey. All the trips and extras offered by the hotel seemed very expensive (we did not take any of them). In our room there was a live electric socket without a cover on it! We notified the hotel and it was fixed very quickly but it should not have occurred in the first place.
Corcovado, Osa Peninsula
From the moment we arrived at La Hacienda we were impressed. We were welcomed and provided with a drink and snack and a useful water bottle. The boat transfer via river and sea was very enjoyable, including showing us 3 sloths in one tree (not a common sight) and a school of dolphins in the sea. On arrival at Casa Corcovado we were made very welcome and were delighted with the layout of the jungle lodge. We had a ‘junior bungalow’ which was very well equipped and set secluded in the grounds complete with a hammock. It was possible to walk straight into the national park from the lodge (with our guide) and our feet were kept dry and comfortable in wellies and socks provided by the hotel; they also offered dry bags and ponchos. The snorkelling gear was very good and well-maintained. All equipment was provided free of charge. The food was excellent and plentiful and the staff very friendly and helpful – providing a very personal service without being intrusive. We were very sad to leave.