Holiday review by Ms. Helen Collins
Name: Ms. Helen Collins
Date of trip: 07/02/2019
Number of people: 2
Highlights included Cahuita National Park. We were booked to snorkel in the morning and have a short visit to the park - surf conditions weren’t good so we opted for a longer walk. We saw turtles, snakes, spiders, bats, crabs, howler and capuchin monkeys, sloths, leaf cutting ants, raccoons! We enjoyed Arenal hanging bridges and volcano trek. In all cases the local guides were excellent - there’s no way we would have spotted any of the wildlife without them.
This was our first visit to Costa Rica - we had a wonderful trip - travel and accommodation arrangements were spot on - excellent service from Tribes Travel and the local service provider.
Paul was very helpful and tailored the trip to keep to budget and reflect our preferences.
The drivers were all very good, friendly, courteous, right on time! In Cahuita National Park - guide Rodoplpho was really good, knowledgeable and friendly. We saw so much! In Arenal we visited the hanging bridges and Volcano walk / Ecothermales - guides Carlos and Darren were both excellent.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
It is hard to know but I’ve put excellent on the basis that we stayed in smaller non chain hotels owned (we think) mainly by Costa Rican families / businesses - so the $ spent stayed in Costa Rica. Also the use of local travel / tour operators.
The places you stayed
Good functional central location with supermarkets/restaurants nearby to stock up on last minute provisions. Near to the museums too if you have time to visit them. Friendly staff and a good breakfast included. Nice roof terrace.
Marvin greeted us and checked us in - he was very friendly and efficient. He helped our daughter spot frogs and an Agouti in the grounds. The howler monkeys were easy to spot and hear! Nice path to the beach directly across the road from the hotel. We liked the pretty tiled bathrooms in the lodges.
Tortuguero National Park
This is a big hotel, rooms pretty basic. Caters to large group tours - you are seated at tables with other people which was unexpected - fine for a couple of nights but we wouldn’t have chosen to holiday that way. Nice swimming pool. Included trips were pretty dull. We skipped the boat trip - others said it was average, not much to see. We did the walking tour which turned out to be a walk through the hotel grounds of sister hotel to evergreen. Very little to see. The guide Elle did his best with a 1k walk and a very large group. We skipped the village visit too and others said it was pretty dull. Getting to Tortuguero takes a long time and we didn’t think it was worth the effort - the canals were nice but others places on our trips offered more to do and better experiences.
Lovely hotel - really nice rooms and amazing views of the volcano. Roberto and Kimberley checked us in - they were very good. Lovely restaurant building with floor to ceiling glazing giving fantastic views of the volcano. Great breakfasts, we had lunch twice - lunch in the bar v nice and good happy hour. Staff will book taxis to La Fortuna for $6 or return trip for $12. La Rufino restaurant and La Chokolateria (and nearby coffee shop) both worth a visit. We loved Lomas del Volcan - highly recommended.
Hotel rooms are bungalows on stilts - nicely set out in the hotel grounds. The rooms are modern and well designed. The main hotel building has a spectacular restaurant at tree canopy level - open to the elements at the front so you can watch the wildlife close up and enjoy the cooling breezes. Hotel food and amenities all excellent - pricier than in town locations reflecting the location and service quality. Lovely pools and outside bar. Walking trails within the grounds are a bonus and the highlight is the thermal river and bathing pools.
Playa Potrero, Guanacaste
This is a smaller low key hotel - doesn’t have the glitz of some hotels but we really enjoyed it. Friendly efficient staff, excellent breakfast/ dining. We stayed in a family suite which was a large 2 bed 2 bath apartment with kitchen and living area and a nice terrace - it was a lovely room - slightly dated fixtures but overall a really good place to stay. The hotel is located right on the beach which is v nice low key beach, safe bathing, and there are a number of restaurants and a supermarket within a five minute walk. Great place to end our holiday.