Holiday review by Mr. Andrew Mahon
Name: Mr. Andrew Mahon
Date of trip: 05/03/2020
Number of people: 2
The Arenal leg of the holiday was outstanding. Lomas del Volcan hotel was great, as were all of the staff there, who made all guests feel very special. The guides, trips and transfers could not be faulted. Finally seeing a toucan was the highlight!
Action packed and generally well organised. It's a beautiful country with very friendly people.
Mostly great, especially pre-departure and in airport transfers, but I felt that some of the information provided about hotels (on which I based my choice of accommodation and which set my expectations) was a little misleading.
Most were excellent, though some were a little less accomplished in English which made communication a bit difficult, especially when the groups were larger (Tortuguero).
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
There is clearly a local movement towards sustainable tourism, and holidays such as this that support individuals and companies that participate in this can only be good in the face of threats from unsustainable deforestation for cattle farming and banana/ pineapple growing.
The places you stayed
Dated, but good service and fine for a short stay.
The boat transfers felt chaotic to outsiders, but they got us to where we needed to be so they were probably quite efficient in practice! However, the coach that was used both ways was very uncomfortable with less leg room than a Ryanair 737! There was some poor communication during the transfers, announcements about the accommodation and around pre-arranged trips that made life feel a little stressful at times. One of my tour groups was in excess of 20 once people from other hotels had been added, and that was too many to get full benefit from a rainforest tour following narrow paths. Those near the engines at the rear of the boats also struggled to hear the guide sometimes. But it is a great place, and well worth the visit.
Cannot fault this hotel. Lodges are excellent, the property layout is spacious and well thought out for views and not being overlooked, and the staff were great. The on-site forest trail is well worth a visit - less manicured than some of the 'official' National Park trails that are used by the guides, and you can take as long a you like to soak up the atmosphere, see the volcano and watch the amazing range of wildlife.
Fantastic location within easy walking distance of the National Park. However, I was a bit disappointed by the room facilities. They are rather dark and sombre, and did not even have tea/coffee trays, let alone a fridge or mini bar! There was also rather limited useable outside space for resting, reading and so on. The bar staff occasionally seemed more interested in chatting to each other or watching the local football on the TV in the bar than serving guests. So, overall, this is fine as a base for hikes in the cloud forest, but there is not really much to do at the hotel afterwards.
Playa Potrero, Guanacaste
Great position on the beach and next to the village, with a good pool, restaurant and bar. However, the room that I was allocated fell short of my expectations, which was unfortunate as this was meant to be my four days of relaxation, reading a book on my terrace - which I didn't have.