Holiday review by UK Family aged 60/60/26/23

Name: UK Family aged 60/60/26/23

Date of trip: 02/03/2019

Number of people: 2

So many things to enjoy. Highlights? The journey to Tortuguero, along unmade roads and then for an hour and a half by boat along the lagoon, followed by 2 days of drifting around the rivers and canals enjoying a unique environment. Walking through the Cloud Forest in Santa Elena, dreamlike and intense as the mists drifted among the dense forest. Watching a troop of howler monkeys climb trees in Sarapiqui to bed down for the night, listening to the roars as they woke up at 5.00 am, then seeing them descend while we ate breakfast. Lazing around the gardens of the Hacienda La Isla. The Pacific waves rolling on to the beach. And all those lovely people.

  • Rooftop of Hotel Presidente, San Jose, Costa Rica © Hotel Presidente

    Rooftop of Hotel Presidente, San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Facade of Hotel Presidente, San Jose, Costa Rica © Hotel Presidente

    Facade of Hotel Presidente, San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Manatus Hotel


  • Hotel Arenal Springs


  • Hotel Arenal Springs


  • Hotel Arenal Springs


  • Hotel Arenal Springs


  • Trapp Family Lodge


  • Bahia del Sol pool at sunset, Costa Rica © Bahia del Sol

    Bahia del Sol pool at sunset, Costa Rica

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Tribes Overall:

Overall, we all had a wonderful time and yes, it definitely lived up to expectations. Thank you!!

Tribes Service:

Yes. Paul, who handled our booking, provided excellent advice and helped us plan our bespoke itinerary. He listened, understood very well what we wanted, and made excellent recommendations. All the pre-departure information was very clear and efficiently relayed. The only surprise was that our core programme didn't include a true immersion in the Cloud Forest. Once we realised this, we booked an additional activity via the local team in San Jose and had a wonderful afternoon in the Santa Elena forest. The Costa Rica-based ground handlers were outstanding throughout - friendly, incredibly responsive, and able to fix or arrange anything. All the arrangements for our private itinerary worked perfectly. All over the country, drivers and guides arrived on time, and delivered exactly what we expected.


The guides and drivers were outstanding throughout. We quickly realised that we would have seen only a fraction of what we did without local guides, and would have understood even less. Styles varied from the more extrovert and entertaining to the more reserved, but they were universally knowledgeable and hugely likeable. The drivers were all extremely friendly and personable - and safe!

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

It really does feel like Costa Rica works. The deal is clearly that a controlled level of "eco-tourism" provides the economic motivation to preserve the wonderful forests and wildlife, without overloading the wilderness with so many visitors that they inadvertently destroy what they have come to admire. And at the moment, it works. So it is possible! Brilliant!

The places you stayed

Rooftop of Hotel Presidente, San Jose, Costa Rica © Hotel Presidente

Hotel Presidente

San Jose

Very good, stylish, boutique hotel. Central, so easy to walk around the city. Good place for a first night.

Manatus Hotel

Manatus Hotel

Costa Rica

Pretty much perfect. Just 12 outstandingly comfortable rooms along the waterfront, very good food, great staff.

Hotel Arenal Springs

Arenal Springs Hotel


We thought we might need a bit of respite by the time we got to La Fortuna, so we chose a place which would be modern, comfortable, and uncomplicated. In fact, Tortuguero and Sarapiqui were so good that this wasn't really necessary. Arenal Springs is fine - very comfortable rooms, great views of the volcano from the veranda, and a range of hot spring pools. However, the Floridian designers have brought the Truman Show to Costa Rica with their rows of little houses, and allowing guests to drive their own cars - and buses - around the site is not a smart idea.

Trapp Family Lodge

Trapp Family Lodge

Costa Rica

This didn't have great reviews and was selected on a "best of a bad bunch" basis, but actually it's great. Large, very comfortable rooms (if a bit chilly), great staff and personal service, and a very good restaurant. It's right up in the Cloud Forest, so very atmospheric, and only a few minutes' walk up the track to the Monteverde National Park.

Bahia del Sol pool at sunset, Costa Rica © Bahia del Sol

Bahia del Sol

Playa Potrero, Guanacaste

Smallish hotel, right on the beach in a lovely wide bay, ocean rollers as the soundtrack, large, stylish rooms (huge. comfortable beds, great bathrooms), enthusiastic, personable staff. The food is a bit up and down, and the mysterious and uncharacteristic decision to start up a club volume disco just before sunset on the Friday cleared the pool bar in seconds, but overall this was a lovely place to spend our last few days. One thing to note is that the beach is sandy and gently shelving but the waves would be challenging for small children or less confident swimmers.