Holiday review by Mrs. Denise Brockbank
Name: Mrs. Denise Brockbank
Date of trip: 06/02/2020
Number of people: 2
We have fallen in love with Costa Rica and will be back. Some of our best moments were: Tortuguero - we had great weather and our first trip out wildlife watching we saw everything - howler monkey, capuchin monkey, then the rarer spider monkey with a baby. A sloth on the move, large iguanas, camen, toucans and just when we thought it couldn't get any better - a dolphin and baby. Loved the sounds of the rainforest and being so close to nature. Arenal - the fantastic view of the volcano and the birds we saw from our veranda. Our funniest moment was getting up at 5-30 to go birdwatching on the hotel forest trail. A narrow muddy trail, a sudden downpour and the wrong shoes led to a very slippy journey, a few acrobatics and not a bird in sight. Squelched back for breakfast then sat on our veranda and let the birds come to us. Monteverde - the hummingbirds at Selvatura Park. They were the birds we most wanted to see and we could get so close to them, if you held the feeders they would sit on your hand.. The sound of their flight and their vibrant colours had us mesmerised. Manuel Antonio - A little bit of paradise. Loved the sunshine, the beach and playing in the breakers. A perfect end to the holiday was fulfilling my dream of cantering on a white horse on a Pacific beach and it was quite a story: the riding guided tours were just slow rides on forest trails which was disappointing as I had my heart set on riding on the beach. We were sunbathing at the beach when I looked up and saw a man riding along with two horses in tow and he stopped to talk to the lifeguards near to us. I jumped up and ran across to him and organised a ride there and then, slipped on a Tshirt, flung my beach towel over the saddle to protect my legs and off we went cantering up the beach.. A great experience.
The transport organisation for both transfers and tours was exceptional.
Always on time or early which gave us confidence to relax and enjoy our holiday. Our first visit to Costa Rica and first experience of this style of holiday so we didn't quite know what to expect but we had an amazing time. Talking to other travellers along the way we realised that we were very lucky with the weather on our trip. Travelling from the Caribbean to the Pacific coasts via rainforest and cloudforest gave us a great overview of this amazing country.
Anita was very helpful and made the adjustments to our trip that we requested. The vamoos app was useful but we used the printed itinerary more to check details.
One minor note about our arrival at our lodge in Tortuguero - we didn't have specific information about which activities we were doing whereas other travellers had been given their tickets so knew exactly what they were doing each day.
All the guides were friendly and efficient in a caring way. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and passionate about their work. We learnt an awful lot and were shown animals we would never had seen without them. We particularly enjoyed the commentary on our first transfer from San Jose to Tortuguero giving a history of the country and the politics of economy versus ecology.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
We felt that we were supporting the people, wildlife and environment and the countries decision to protect the rainforest and make their main industry tourism. We bought souvenirs from the locals in Tortuguero to help their community. We didn't see as many birds and animals as we thought we might but appreciated the natural beauty of the rainforest and the rules about not feeding wildlife to maintain the wild environment.
The places you stayed
Only stayed for one night and had an early start the next day.
The room was enormous, clean and comfortable. We ate at the rooftop bar, a lovely start to our holiday.
Tortuguero National Park
A true rainforest experience and our favourite place. The best place for seeing wildlife and feeling that you are living 'in' the rainforest. We loved the sounds of the rainforest and monkeys running across the roof. The boat transport added to the feeling of being remote and there was so much to see from the boat and just walking around the grounds.
The food was traditional and freshly prepared, our introduction to rice and beans with chicken and plantain, and omelettes for breakfast.
We were very lucky to arrive on a day when the volcano was fully visible as we learnt that it can often be covered by cloud. We thought that our lodge was one of the best on the site with uninterrupted views of the volcano and a great place to sit on the veranda and birdwatch.
We saw more birds here than on the guided walks and had our own hummingbird feeding nearby every evening. The pool area was comfortable and the jacuzzi was the hottest we've ever been in, covered and great for sheltering from the rain showers.
The sports bar had a relaxed atmosphere and good food to accompany the happy hour drinks.
We were disappointed with our superior room because it was cold and draughty with single glazing and no heating. Talking to other guests we all suffered from sleepless nights due to the noise of the wind rattling the windows and roof of the hotel.
It might have just been our bit of bad luck with the weather as we seemed to be in a cloud all the time with very strong wind. When our tours dropped others off at hotels in St Helena it was noticeable that they were in the sunshine and our hotel was in the cloud.
The staff were friendly and the restaurant was fine.
A wonderful hotel with views to the Pacific from our balcony. This was our relaxing time at the end of our holiday and we enjoyed the adult pool and the courtesy bus to the beach. I read the hotel policy of wanting their staff to be happy which in turn would make their customers happy and this really shone through in the atmosphere at the hotel. The food in both restaurants was excellent, we walked out to find somewhere else to eat one night but ended up coming back to the hotel to eat.