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Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

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Canton of Zurich...
posts: 194
reviews: 255
Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

I will be with a group of 4-6 backpackers in a couple weeks and we are interested in doing a guided tour in Santa Elena rather than the more crowded Monteverde. Ideally I would like it to be private and affordable-- someone who is knowledgeable about the flora and fauna that can walk around with us and point things out for an hour or two.

Is it best to book something like this in advance or to pick up a guide there? Can anyone recommend someone in particular in the area (if you are a guide or know someone PM me). We all speak fluent spanish so english is not a must.

10 replies to this topic
ON, Canada
posts: 10,707
reviews: 35
1. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Forest Alive gets rave reviews ... we did 3 private tours with them at Monteverde in April and our guide (Giulliano) was excellent - he has 16 years of experience as a guide ... very knowledgeable and personable. We felt that it was definitely worth booking in advance so that we could choose the company that we wanted and a guide that I had read recommendations about in TA reviews. Are you doing a guided night hike during your time in Costa Rica ... it's a highlight too! tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g951347-d23…

Edited: 9:56 pm, May 01, 2014
Canton of Zurich...
posts: 194
reviews: 255
2. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Thanks for the advice-- I will email them! We want to do a night hike, but I am trying to determine whether it would be best out of Monteverde or Arenal. Did you do Arenal as well in April?

Edited: 10:02 am, May 02, 2014
Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 8,522
reviews: 58
3. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

OK, Susan just beat me at recommending my favourite guide in Costa Rica.

ON, Canada
posts: 10,707
reviews: 35
4. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

snsmith ... we were also in Arenal - we stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge for 4 nights and spent a lot of time on the property there, enjoying the hikes, guided walks in the morning and a horseback ride. We did our night tour in Monteverde, but I'm not sure of the name of the place ... several other groups were there - there were quite a few trails, so it wasn't crowded, but if one of the guides spotted something, they would let the other guides know, which meant that we got to see quite a bit that night. A pit viper was the highlight. At Monteverde we also did morning tours of Curi-Cancha and the trails and suspension bridges of Selvatura ... the night tour and Selvatura were our favourites.

xelas ... did you mean Giuliano is your favourite, or Forest Alive in general? We were really impressed with Giuliano.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 854
reviews: 83
5. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Forest Alive!!

6. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

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Costa Rica
posts: 25,195
reviews: 26
7. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Three posts and three recommendations for the same company for three different things. Suspicious? Naahhh......

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 8,522
reviews: 58
8. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Hattie, don't need to be worried about Andy. I can personally vouch that Andres Alvarado / Forest Alive is the real thing. As also the other two posters would. Cheers!

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 8,522
reviews: 58
9. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Susan, sorry for late answer. I was twice with owner, Andy. Yet I am sure he is as picky with his guides (which why Giuliano was perfect for you) as he is with his approach to guiding.

Canton of Zurich...
posts: 194
reviews: 255
10. Re: Best way to get a knowledgeable private guide at Santa Ellen

Just got back! We went with Forest Alive as several suggested. Our day tour was with Andrés and was so great we booked another tour that night with the other guide, Javier. These guys were both fantastic. Thanks so much for the recommendation!!!

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