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Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

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London, United...
posts: 3
reviews: 7
Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Hi - I stayed there for a week and would like to help other travellers. We stayed at San Bada which was a nice hotel. Limit your eating on the beach - there isnt that many places anyway but the food isnt great. There are better places on the hill towards Quepos. There isnt a great deal to do in Quepos but a bus goes there every 20mins from MA for 250 colones p/p. My biggest 'dont' is books tours through anyone other than the hotel. You wont save money (from the prices I had) and in the case of ziplining i even nearly paid more. I say nearly because I nearly got conned by Quepoa Info Centre on the beach.They have this small area between some restaurants, an American guy called Jason who sits there with a dog that has sunglasses and a bra (not even joking) reel you in and talk like you have an IQ of a minus number such is the amount of crap he says. We stupidly did the whole "pay a deposit so the bus comes to pick you up and that way you guarantee the tour" thing but the bus didnt come. In small detail I paid a deposit for white rafting, ziplining ($20 per person per tour) and had a verbal agreement for a guy called Marvin to take us around the national park. Water rafting went well, zipline bus didnt come, i waited an hour and went down there and Jason wasnt there (bit unusual i thought). A guy called Lewis (Tico guy) who proclaimed to be his boss came over from nowhere and started telling us he didnt have their copy of the receipt (he didnt have the correct receipt book as the numbers were totally different) and tried booking us onto another tour which i started saying how bad this is for business. I agreed to do this because i was fairly sure the money was lost at that point and these guys dont seem to be liquid in a cash sense. Well in the end the bus didnt come the next day due to bad weather and i got a refund from him but its just as well i wasnt going that day or even the next. It was only after i read in the lonely planet guide that it says be careful when booking tours through others and the hotel said they had loads of examples of guests being conned. I think i only got a refund because i kicked up such a fuss and got the hotel to call them numerous times. This Lewis guy is known in the town but the impression i got was one of he isnt the most trusted guy. When I got the money back Jason was there with this Lewis guy (you literally cant miss them on the beach by the road) and i just couldnt believe the cheek - trying to sell me more tours etc and the excuse was laughable from Jason : sorry you missed your trip the guys were calling me all morning to cancel it. Yet they didnt call our hotel and he didnt call us to tell us it was being cancelled. Laughable really. As I said - use the hotels for tours and not that guy on the beach with the dog with sunglasses.

London, United...
posts: 3
reviews: 7
1. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Oh and I was told by Lewis that Marvin wasnt even a tour guide (even though he wears the guides outfit) - bit strange given he proclaimed to be the boss....I would definitely recommend getting a tour proper guide for the park as you are bound to miss alot of animals. Hope this helps and the trip goes really well, enjoy and Pura Vida!

Manuel Antonio...
posts: 588
reviews: 34
2. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Hi....so sorry to hear about your bad experience in booking tours thru street vendors......I reccommend booking thru your hotel once you arrive at your destination......when you can talk to the concierges about which tour operator provides the best service.....and value.....if the hotel is involved in the booking process.....they should protect you and your money......you can also research the tour operators in advance so you know which one you want to use and the hotel can book it for you......as I tell our guests.....things can change from the time you book (far in advance) to the time of the tour.....you may not want to do 3 tours in a row at 7 AM each day.....(it sounded fine when you booked it!)......it's nice to have the hotel to make these changes/cancellations for you......plus you know the hotel is going to be there.....unlike some of the street vendors!

Tulemar Dave

London, United...
posts: 3
reviews: 7
3. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Hi Dave - its ok now im more sad to be back in London! Just wanted to make sure people thinking of going to Manuel Antonio see my story and do the right thing. In the end I realised there was 0 benefit in booking with a tour operator. They are not cheaper, the hotel is there and wont be going anywhere and the adventure company are less likely to con a hotel. I just made a really bad decision in hindsight which at the time gave me no suspicion or reason to believe something dodgy was going on. Hope something like this doesnt ruin someones trip but your advise coupled with mine should provide sound guidance. Hus.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,456
reviews: 52
4. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Hus, thanks for your detailed and brave report. It is not easy to admit to others that one has acted "like a tourist sheep". But it happens to all of us once or twice, if we are willing to admit the fact that at certain times "our IQ number is in a minus phase". Reading reports like yours prepares those that are reading it to avoid such con artists.

BTW, being back to London is sad, isn't it? Just driving by a week ago (10 km in four hours on M11) made me wanting to be on any road in Costa Rica instead (San Jose included).

Manuel Antonio
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio National Park
posts: 2,110
5. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Thanks for sharing your bad experience with others, this is important information and I regret to hear about your challenges with these unlicensed scammers. In this forum we continually recommend that folks consult their hotel or concierge to guarantee that get the best tours with the safest companies during their visit, but I think travelers often think this is said only for the hotel/concierge's benefit and not theirs. I PROMISE you that it is the opposite, as we sincerely want you to enjoy your stay as much as possible. We understand visitors hope to get the best deal possible during their vacations and that they are often on a tight budget, but wouldn't you rather have a wonderful fun and safe tour, and actually get what you paid for? Thanks again for bringing this situation to everyone's attention. Enjoy in the future!

St. Louis, MO
posts: 2,666
reviews: 62
6. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Another option if you know tours you want to do is to book onine ahead of time with reputable tour operators that are recommended on this forum and in Frommer's guide. That's what we did for two of our tours. And when in town, we did book one additonal one through our hotel.

7. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

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Cartago, Costa Rica
posts: 144
8. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

Thank you for sharing your experience for others.

9. Re: Do's and Dont's in Manuel Antonio - Quepoa Info Centre

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