I went on two tours with Issys Tours during my trip to Costa Rica and both were outstanding. The company and our tour guide, Diego, went above and beyond any expectation I had.
Palo Verde National Park - Diego picked us up at our hotel (Hilton Papagayo) and drove us 1.5 hrs to the Tempisque River in Palo Verde National Park. During the car ride Diego spoke to us about Costa Rica's culture, landscape, economy, education system, etc. He was very knowledgable and had answers to all of our questions. He was very friendly, sweet, and had a great sense of humor. During the river tour, we were guided the opposite way from the rest of the other boats which made our trip less "touristy" and gave us more opportunity to get closer with all the river had to offer. We saw tons of unique birds, iguanas, white face monkeys, howler monkeys, bats and even got up close and personal with a crocodile. It is a trip I will never forget! After the tour, we were driven to a lunch spot which was owned by the same brothers who own the tour company. There we had THE BEST local Costa Rican food and the service was so personal and friendly. I felt like we were at a family friend's house. Finally, on our way back to our hotel Diego stopped per our request in a village where we got a demonstration from a local boy who showed us how he hand-made pottery on a wheel. It was at his family's house and this was a trade he had learned from his father. They owned a small store where we could purchase his hand-made creations afterwards. I regret that I didn't bring any extra cash with me because I definitely would've purchased something from them knowing it was real local hand-made work. Diego also took us into town where we could go to the local grocery store for suntan lotion (one bottle costs $30 at the hotel!) and whatever other goods we wanted to pick up while we were outside of the resort. All in all, it was one of the best tours I've ever taken and Diego was truly a superstar tour guide. I called the company back the next day and booked the Borinquen Adventure for later that week and requested Diego be our guide again.
Boringuen Tour -
The river tour was outstanding, this tour was even better. Diego picked us up again at our hotel, this time it was just me and my husband. This tour involved a 1.5 hr drive up to a resort near Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. We started with horseback riding which took us on a beautiful scenic tour with views that went on for miles. At the end of the ride, we went zip lining - 10 lines - which was absolutely amazing. Diego also took us on a hike to the active volcano where we could see the hot mud coming up from the ground. A delicious lunch was served at the resort and then after lunch we ended with a mud bath and hot springs. We went inside a natural sauna - a wooden structure built on top of the active volcano so the steam that was coming up from the floor heating the sauna was actually the volcano. Then we took a mud bath and took a dip in three of the hot spring tubs. We were not only the only two people on Diego's tour but we happened to be the only tour group at the location that day so we literally had the entire tour/resort/day to ourselves. It was incredible and hanging out with Diego was so great, he made the whole tour a lot of fun for us and became our new friend. In fact, he even took our camera and took around 150 pictures of us throughout the entire day. I have the coolest pictures of our adventures thanks to him!
To sum it up - Issys Tours is awesome. Diego is awesome. Highly recommend!!
We were the only two people who had signed up for the tour that day and Diego took our camera and became our photographer for the day.
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