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“Costa Rica/Nicaragua adventure tour (AKA riding the bus)” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Costa Rica Monkey Tours - Private Day Tours

Costa Rica Monkey Tours - Private Day Tours
Samara, Playa Samara 50006, Costa Rica
1-800-774-5228
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$699*
and up
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Owner description: Costa Rica Monkey Tours is dedicated to provide the visitor of Costa Rica an experience. An authentic experience of Costa Rica Traditions, its roots and the vast wild life. We have over a decade of experience organizing Tours, expeditions and adventures.We guarantee to our clients to organize activities to fully license and registered locations with the highest safety rules and regulations. Let us work on your visit so you can simply kick back and enjoy from location to location transportation on our private shuttles to the most beautiful locations with the most magnificent views and adrenaline filled activities.
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Costa Rica/Nicaragua adventure tour (AKA riding the bus)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

Fist of all, after reading all the previous reviews it sounds like the "Costa Rica adventure tour" was a lot more enjoyable and activity filled. If I had to do it over again, I'd make sure I'd be on that tour, not the "Costa Rica+Nicaragua tour".

Our tour guides Henry and Hector picked us up at the Hilton to start our journey, and since there were some issues with a hotel, we were to start by heading to Nicaragua. It was a 2 hours drive to the border and at the border it was about 1.5 hours wait while they settled some passport issues and we filled out the necessary forms etc. Once cleared, it was another 2 hours until we reached our destination, Granada. We headed directly to the Masaya Volcano park where we were able to view this active volcano and walk up a short distance for a nice view. We spent about an hour there, then headed out and stopped at a nice restaurant with a great view for and included lunch (3pm!?). After lunch we stopped by "Le Mercede Church" where you could go to the top and get a good view of the city of Granada. (20mins). We then checked into our hotel for the night "Hotel colonial". The hotel was great, located a block away from the main street of restaurant and bars, had nice little pools and large rooms. Service was excellent and breakfast was great.
Next morning we headed to the "Boat Tour" adventure about 20min drive from the hotel. It was a tour of a bunch of little islands.....it was about 45mins long and was pretty unimpressive. Not much to see except different houses on these islands and thats about it. The highlight was a little island where there were rescued monkeys that we stopped to feed...apart from that, the boat tour was pretty pointless. I had previously read the boat tour comments from the other tour, which sounded a lot more exciting as they saw a bunch of wildlife, crocodiles etc. There was no such wildlife on this one thats for sure!
We then packed back into the van for more driving.

Our next Destination was back to Costa Rica, "Hotel Boroquin" where we would get to do ziplining, Horseback and Hot Springs. Buckle up, because your up for another 4.5 hours of driving, plus the border crossing once again. By the time we got to the hotel it was about 7pm and pitch black. We hadn't had dinner yet so everyone was starving, yet we were informed that both the restaurant and hot springs were closing at 10pm and that evening was our only chance at enjoying the hot springs as we were leaving at noon the next day after ziplining. We checked in as soon as quickly as possible, then went to the restaurant. It is fancy and weren't expecting that so we weren't dressed appropriately but had no choice. Meals are about 20$-30$ US per plate so don't expect cheap food around this hotel. The hotel was deep in the forest and was a very nice place to stay, no complaints about the facilites.
After dinner a goup of us (Most from our group as everyone had no choice but to go as soon as possible) headed down to the springs. First was the Sauna, if you could find it. It was pitch black and there was no lighting at all to get to it through the woods, so luckily we found it with the dim light of an iphone. You could see anyone or anything 6 inches in front of your face, so we didn't stay long at all. We then all headed to the mud bath, but as it was basically closed already for the night (no staff anywhere) the mud was all gone from the basin and we were basically scrapping it off the sides to try and cover ourselves. There was no effert from any staff at all to make sure our experience was a good one with regards to the hot springs. In the morning it was time for Horseback and Ziplining. What a great experience!! This is what we signed up for. Guides were great, both activites were awesome and it was a beautiful scenery and great picures! The horseback ride up to the top of the ziplining point was about 30-45mins and the ziplining about 1.5 hours, so we were done in about 2.5 hours. We then had an included buffet lunch...food was great. Then get back in the van for more exciting driving!! How long? Ah lets do another 4+ hours, why not! Basically get used to being in the van during the day and get to your destination at night.
Anyway we headed to "Baldi hot springs resort and spa". It took us about 5.5hrs to get there and we arrived at 5:30pm, again dark out and we only had the night to enjoy this great hotel, so going to town for dinner wasn't an option for us as originally planned. We settled in got our bathing suits on and headed to enjoy the 25 pools/hot springs. They were outstanding and relaxing. Food and drinks were very expensive though, 10$us for cocktails and I think 20$ for the buffet and the other restaurant was even more. We ordered some late night chicken fingers and fries for 14$. Bring your own booze as you can take your drink with you.

In the morning it was time for our white water rafting adventure. We met up with Wave expeditions, great company, great people. We got on their bus and it as about 1-1.5 hours to the rafting site. The expedition was a lot of fun, great scenery, and people who wanted to could jump off a 16ft cliff into the water, it was great. It lasted about 2.5hours. We then drove back (so another 1-1.5hr, Inclueded Lunch in between which was great) back to meet the monkey tour guides to continue our tour. Up next? You guessed it, another 5hr drive during the day to our final destination Playa Samara (8 hours in a van in a day!?!?!). Afterter looking back and assessing the trip, we REALLY should have spent more time at Arenal, they had ziplining, Hanging bridges and all kinds of activites that you could do.
Anyway we arrived at Playa Samara at around 8PM checked into our hotel "Hotel Villas Playa Samara". You know what they say "Save the best for last", well I guess monkey tours didn't get the memo. What a run down hole. At first glance in the dark it actually looked decent, nice pool, clean lobby etc. After checking in we realized that the reviews were more accurate and it was at most a 2 star type place. No TV's, Phones (wtf?), and our room was never checked by a maid service. We had a coffee machine in our room but no pot lol Didn't matter as coffee isn't provided anyway, but you could buy it at their little store if you ever saw it open. Some of our group had mold in their room, there were no shower curtains so water would get everywhere. The location of the hotel is at the other end of the main beach area where the main town was located. It was about a 20min walk along the beach or a 6$ cab ride. The beach was a bit rocky, but was much nicer down the other way. We spend as much time as possible away from our hotel because it just wasn't a place you'd want to be. We rented ATV's 60$ for 6 hours and toured around the town on them, it was great. We got to travel the back roads, see some wild monkey's and have a blast. The couple we were with took surf lessons at Plato's surf school and they really enjoyed it. My girlfreind and I hired a couple horses for 20$ each for 2 hours and we went on a horseback tour over through the mountains and over to another beach, it was nice. You can get better rates on activites obviously on your own if you go into town and look for them. We also took advantage of the Isle Chora Kyak tour that was included with the groupon we purchased. It was basically the island directly in front of the hotel. Took about 15mins to Kyak to, then we were provided snorkles and masks to explore the shores. Our guide had 3 pinnaples he brought and cut up for a snack. The experience was not that impressive, if you've ever done snorkling in any area that had and coral reef, then this wont measure up at all. It was rocky, saw some small fish, a starfish, thats about it. We were all ready to go back after about 30mins. It was good that this was included because i looked at what it usually would cost and it was priced at 45$!!!! I would have felt super ripped off had I paid for that, let alone 90$ for the two of us.
Food was great, we ate two times at "Coco's Mexican grill", great mexican food if you like it. We also ate at a little italian restaurant off the beach right next to Plato's surf school. I forget the name but it was very good too.

All in all the country was beautiful, the guides were great, and the hotels apart from our last one were all wonderful. We expected driving obviously but not to that extent. Stick to the Costa Rica only tour. The nicaragua part could have easily been cut out of ours and used for more productive use, definitely not worth the 8+hour driving plus border crossings for what we ended up seeing there. The time would have been much better spend in Arenal where we could have seen and done very similar things without additional driving time.

Also there should be an age limit. We had a couple bring (at no fault of their own) their 6 and 8 year olds with them. Long drives with nothing to do = not enjoyable for them= not enjoyable for anyone. They were also not able to come to the white water rafting which seemed was communicated properly to them from the get go.

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“It was okay, last three days terrible”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

Purchased our tour through groupon and I we glad we did. The tour was worth it for the price we paid, but would NOT have been at full price. The first three days were amazing. The adventure tours we a blast, the Monteverde cloud forest was great and the hotel there was really amazing. The Palo Verde outing was fun as well, but it's a long day of bus riding for only an hour boat ride in the park. The last three days was the worst part. The hotel samria was terrible. The hotel staff was rude. The rooms were dirty and smelled like mold. The last night we were there they put on a private party in the lobby area and were blasting music till one am. When Asked to turn it down, we were told that the private d more important

Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Parma, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“My Costa Rican Monkey Tour vacation”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2013

What an AWESOME adventure...We went in 'rainy season' where everything had COLOR - it was just beautiful. It was still warm, and didn't rain all day, but there was rain pretty much every day of the trip. I loved the activities and the guides and the places we visited. It could have been made better if the company would have set expections and/or sent information about what to expect since you just show up at the first hotel on day one and the company shows up on day two - which was our biggest adventure day - and might I add, MOST EXCITING! We didn't know what was going to happen or how to pack or what to wear or even when they would be coming - once we booked the reservation, we had no contact.

Diana, our photographer, was so caring and helpful and fun! Hector was our driver and he was equally inviting and interesting and open to answer questions about the area and the local way of life - we even discussed how they name their babies - that the mom and the dad give their last names to the baby. Hairo, if I've spelled that right, was our main guide - he got things done and kept us on schedule and was very good to us - he had the strongest accent of the guides. Alehandra (I may have spelled that wrong) was new with the company and she came with us, even though her role with Monkey tours won't be as a guide. She was fun and helpful and made our trip more fun - you may see her around Playa Samara....Say hi!

We stayed one night in a bunch of different places during the trip and when we got to the rooms we were exhausted. Those places were so cool and inviting, it would have been nice to spend more time there to explore the area. At the end we stayed for several nights at the Hotel Villas Playa Samara. MARTIN, the best bartender in the world, we such a wonderful host. He treated us well and was always so happy. The place was pretty empty, being off-season, so we didn't have a crowd at the pool. The villas are very WORN....several people from our group of 14 had malfunctioning equipment - from refrigerators to a/c units (and it was hot!). Since it was off season, they served breakfast by-order instead of as a buffet. The way they offered their breakfasts didn't include enough food for me, so I ordered multiple breakfasts each morning - breakfast is included and they didn't charge extra. That was nice.

The buffet breakfasts, while included, seemed to all be 'tipico' Costa Rican breakfasts. That got a little boring for me - I would have liked more variety - and maybe meat..... At Playa Samara we did get to pick from a menu with additional varieties.

Oh, one thing they didn't tell us is that the 'service charge' on your dining receipts is the tip. You can apparently refuse to pay that if you don't feel the service was worthy - I think its a 10% charge. In the US where I'm from, the gratuity isn't automatically added unless you have a large party, so you might want to keep that in mind when you are considering your tips - extra tips are welcome, just so you know.

Another tip for the Playa Samara is that the package is sold with a 2x1 massage deal. There was some confusion about what was covered - was that for ANY service or only single services or did it apply to the packaged services? My friend and I had the $145 package which included a facial and hot rock massage (which really wasn't hot rock, but hot towels that are microwaved in your room's microwave, the massages are done in your villa, by the way) and something else. We were only charged $145. Another couple on our trip each had an $85 single service massage and the hotel billed for both saying that it wasn't covered. TAKE NOTE.

The foods offered at Playa Samara were not very exciting and they kinda got old fast - not that they were bad food, just, well - I'm in an exotic place - why am I looking at chicken fingers and hamburgers on a menu at a 'five star' resort. Wait - nachos came with a slice of cheese melted on them - so keep that in mind.

BUGS - lots of bug bites. I have been home since Oct 30 and today is Nov 08 and I've still got itchy bumps from bug bites. And SUN - one day was all I spent lounging by the pool and lying in the sun and I got SO burned - protect yourselves.

At the end of the trip, when we got to Playa Samara, it was very laid back and restful. That was way too restful for me - I would have liked to either slow down a little at the beginning to spread the level of activity out some, or plan more activites for while you are at Playa Samara - there's not really much to do there. And I'm not a laying around kinda person. And it got dark at 5 pm - and the bugs are worse at night.

Since I'm from the US, international rates would have been costly so I shut off my smart phone. Only the Hacienda Guachipelin didn't have internet on their computer, so I was able to stay in touch with people back home, but not everywhere - and the internet connections were hard to keep or sketchy sometimes - something to consider.....but vacations are supposed to get you AWAY from real life....so its OK.

There is a store at Playa Samara - but it was never open. And when we finally did get someone to open it - some of the food items for sale were expired.

And the small workout room at Playa Samara was very hot and didn't have air circulating around - and the treadmill wasn't functional. I tried to run the local area, but there's no sidewalks on the street and the people take those hills and turns at high rates of speed - I didn't feel so safe out there.

There's a little room behind the workout room at Playa Samara that has a tv and a pool table and looks like some kind of an activity room - that's the only tv on the compound - there are none in your villas (except te one by the bar - go visit MARTIN!!!). but the locals hang out there and like to watch the tv at night.

There's a dog, cute little tan thing, I named her Carlita Maria Alejandra...she claimed us. She slept by our villa door - wouldn't come in. She would lick our hands but wouldn't let anyone touch or pet her. She would take food from you. She followed us all over. Please take good care of her..... She started to respond to "Carlita" or maybe it was just my voice, I don't know.

All in all - it was WELL worth the money- oh, but you dont need to exchange US dollars for Colones - I didn't encounter anyone who didn't take American money......it was fun trying to learn the exchange rates and how many of their colones it would take to buy something -I wonder if I got scammed anywhere - hahaha. The people were fun, inviting, helpful, happy and very spanish speaking - so, bone up on your espanyol people and go have a ball.....

PURA VIDA MI AMIGOS, PURA VIDA!!!!

Visited October 2013

Review collected in partnership with this attraction

Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Costa Rica Monkey Tour -Oct. 2013”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

We had a wonderful time experiencing the Costa Rica Monkey Tour. It is a beautiful country with many fun things to do. There were 28 of us on this tour and we had fun getting to know everyone. The first adventure was an extreme tubing experience down the Rio Negro River on a one person tube over many rapids that was quite thrilling. Blue morpho butterflies flew above us in the green lush foliage. Then on to the zip line which consisted of about 10 zip lines above forest canopies, canyons and waterfalls. It rained but did not stop us from seeing the beautiful scenery or exciting fun of flying through the air. If you are afraid of heights, I would not recommend this. Then we went horse back riding through the meadows and then enjoyed the hot spring pools. There is some strenuous hiking to and from each event, and you have to really watch your footing. Especially in the rain. The next day we went to the Monteverde Cloud forest and went on the Sky Tram tour above the tree canopies. Next, we went on a forest floor hike where we saw mini orchards, green snakes, a tarantula, and walked on about five swinging suspension bridges above the canopies where we saw many beautiful plants and trees and birds. The next day we went to Palo Verde National Park where we went on a river boat tour and saw crocodiles, howler monkeys, huge grasshoppers, many different kinds of birds, mini bats on trees, and iguanas. Then onto the beach town of Samara where we stayed in a cute little villa with a hammock on the patio where we could watch the geckos, iguanas, and hummingbirds. There were wild horses trotting on the beach. We kayaked out to Chora Island, and it was covered with hermit crabs everywhere. I am not a good swimmer so I was a little apprehensive about going, but our guide, Luis, assured me that I would be safe and that it would be worth it. He was right! Luis was our guide on a scooter ride and he took us to some hidden waterfalls and we watched a family of howler monkeys up in the trees. We saw more blue morpho butterflies that look iridescent in the sunlight. Luis is very kind and knowledgeable, and we really enjoyed him. All the guides were so nice and kind and accommodating. The rooms were all clean, air conditioned, and the food was really good. We enjoyed having lunch on the beach at LaVela Latina. I felt very safe through the whole tour and really enjoyed how nice everyone was. Remember to pack some Orajel to put on those itchy bug bites. It was a great adventure and lots of fun!

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheshire, Connecticut, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Costa Rica Monkey Tours”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

The first day with Monkey Tours is packed with tubing, zip lining, horseback riding, and a trip to the hot springs. After that, it slows down a bit, but is still amazing. If you get a chance, definitely take a night tour. Be aware that although the excursions are arranged through Monkey Tours, they are led by guides that are employed elsewhere, so you may want to carry some cash at all times for tipping the guides. Some things I did not like about Monkey Tours:
1) We were not informed ahead of time that drives between activities were very long and on mostly very rough roads. Some days it took four hours to get from one place to another!
2) The pictures & videos taken during the first three days were VERY expensive when you consider the fact that there were 26 other people included in them whose pictures we didn't necessarily want.
3) There were three injuries within our group of 28 people and there are no Monkey Tours employees with basic first aid training. There is no nurse or EMT on call for emergencies. I sprained my ankle while hiking with my husband in Arenal and had to be carried by my husband and our guide off the mountain. The base office at Arenal had no first aid or medical assistance available either. If my husband hadn't brought his own first aid kit, I might still be trying to get off that mountain.
4) The hotel they put us in in Samara, where we spent the most time during our trip, was horrible. Although it had a lovely pool and was right on the beach, pretty much everything else about it was bad. See my review of Hotel Villas Playa Samara.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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