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“Not Just a Tour”
Review of Shaman Tours

Shaman Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Shaman tours is dedicated to provide not only private transportation and guided land tours, but also bring to the tourist the culture and natural history about the unique places which Costa Rica is famous for. Travel privately, quite and unhurried with us!
Reviewed May 6, 2013

My wife Diana and our daughter Morgan[13] took what may have been our best tour in Costa Rica .Randall is one of the people that makes travel such an important part of our lives.He's not a typical tour guide,more like a new friend who wants you to share in his enthusiasm for not just the natural beauty of Costa Rica,but of Costa Rican culture as well.We spent an entire day spotting wildlife,zip-lining,horseback riding and ended with a volcanic spa experience[girls loved it!!]Randell is the benchmark for what all tour operators should be..All I can tell you is,if you want just a tour look elsewhere, this is a life experience.Thanks Randell!!!

1  Thank morgan2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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100 - 104 of 144 reviews

Reviewed April 23, 2013

Randall is the owner of Shaman Tours and we were lucky to have him as our guide. When necessary he has others to help him and we did meet David who had another group we shared a boat ride and lunch with. We booked his day long tour to Arenal and had such a great time that we booked another tour to Pala Verde. Each time we were promptly picked up, treated to exactly what was promised and received as much information as we wanted. Randall was always responsive and never intrusive. His love and knowledge of his country was evident. Both trips included lunches that were outstanding, particularly the Pala Verde tour when we were treated to a typical Costa Rican meal in a remote village prepared outdoors on wood stoves. Nothing like table-side fresh tortillas! Thanks, Randall!

Thank NNYtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Randall, founder of Shaman Tours, took us on an excellent adventure to Rincon for some horseback riding, zip-lining and river tubing -- amazing fun. We later had a terrific meal at the on-site restaurant and ended the day with a relaxing hot spring and mud bath. Randall was a terrific tour guide. We learned quite a bit during our day with him, as he was a wealth of knowledge about Costa Rican culture, geography, flora and fauna. He also doubled as our own personal photographer, which was an added bonus. We also did another tour through Shaman Tours -- this one the riverboat ride, where we spotted crocodiles, monkeys, all kinds of birds, and iguanas. Randall couldn't do that one, but the guide he arranged for us -- Mario -- was also excellent. You won't be disappointed.

Thank Tyler H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

This is the second part of my overall review as the first part is listed under Vacation Rentals of Playa Ocotal, Villa Olas. This portion, Part 2, will cover our airport transfers as well as our 4 excursions with Shaman Tours. Hopefully these comments will help someone else with their vacation plans in the same way that I rely on the comments of others on TripAdvisor.

Before deciding on SHAMAN TOURS, I corresponded with the top 6 companies recommended on TripAdvisor. Soon it became apparent that Randall, who despite being busy with tours, was the most responsive to my questions for several months prior to arriving in Costa Rica. This trip required finding someone to coordinate detailed plans with because our group of 15 extended family members had varying interests as well as ages that spanned from 7 to 67 years old. However, since I was the main person planning the excursions and accommodations, your hope is that everything will turn out as imagined and that you have made the right choices.
After meeting Randall Umana, one realizes you get much more than a service, you get a friend! Right away he makes one feel that you selected the right company as he is personable, knowledgeable, punctual, and competent. He also demonstrated patience and care to insure that all 15 members of our group had a good experience even if a tour lasted much longer than anticipated. There was never a feeling of someone looking at a watch, waiting for the event to end (even though he had just been married for 3 weeks). It also explains why Randall has had nothing but rave reviews from his customers.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS - as we had a couple of different arrival times for some our group, we needed a dependable person to help coordinate our transfers from the Liberia airport to a villa in Playa Ocotal, about 50 minutes away. This was especially true since the return airport schedule would dictated that part of our group be picked up at 3:30 in the morning! After getting several bids that were much higher, Randall answered that he could do it for around $50 for 6 persons at a time (the cost by taxi would have been $60 for an individual). Upon arrival at the airport, Randall plus William the driver, were easy to spot as they waited for us a sign in hand. And on our return 10 days later, there was William, arriving promptly at our villa at 3:30 am.
SNORKLING – 15 of us met Randall and Marci, his partner, on the Ocotal beach for our first excursion. After a 40 minute boat ride we arrived at the first site, a small island. It weather was warm, winds were calm but the water was a little murky so it was difficult to see many fish. (Tim, from our group, had gone scuba diving the day before and had the same experience without it ever improving). To make sure we had a good experience, our guides pulled up the anchors about 90 minutes later for another spot – which turned out to be simply incredible!
The second spot was crystal clean and clear; thousands of fish plus some other sights such as a puffer fish, star fish, an octopus, and dolphins in the distance... all under the watchful eye of some white faced monkeys on shore.
When we thought the half day tour was over, we received a bonus. Randall took us to an opening on a cliff formation, where we were able to walk through a cave from one side of the hill to the other side. After returning to the original cave opening, we were also able to hike up the rock formation to the top for a spectacular view of the bays on both sides.
MONTE VERDE – Randall provided us an itinerary of all our excursions along with suggested items to take. After being in 100 degree heat on our snorkeling trip, few believed that they would need rain jackets & coats for the Cloud Forest – Believe It! Several had to buy rain ponchos ($10) at Monte Verde.
It was a long ride to the Cloud Forest (4 hours) but Randall and driver Miguel kept us informed about plants, trees, and birds we saw along the way. Upon our arrival, we had a chance to see reptiles, a butterfly building, and an awesome area set aside for dozens of beautiful humming birds.
We also noticed the constant drizzling rain in addition to how much cooler the temperature was. Welcome to a cloud forest that could easily be named a rain forest!
To reach the zip lines required some moderate hiking, perhaps a little more than one-half mile up a mountain. Once there it took a little time to convince one lady in our party to go on the first zip line as she was very terrified of heights – but she was able to do it and complete the course, all 15 cables. The zip lines, some of the best in Costa Rica, were absolutely picturesque as you would rocket through the lush vegetation so fast that your legs would get chilled zipping through the rain. And the last line – wow – two-thirds of a mile long!
Later we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at the Monte Verde Restaurant. All in all, it was a very exciting and long day, almost 16 hours.
HACENDIA GUACHIPELIN – listed as a mega tour or a Full Day at the foot of a volcano, we were picked up at our villa/condo by Mario and our great driver Miguel, as Randall had to go to San Jose on a tour.
What can I say -- this day was a workout for those that get bored doing just one thing in addition to serving as a real adrenalin rush!
We started out by picking up our zip lining gear. Now these platforms, 11 cables, were different from Monte Verde. They were primarily smaller, shorter distances in between, overlooking narrow canyons but they were no less exciting; especially since some of the platforms required that you hang onto cleats spiked into the canyon walls and climbing over to another platform in the distance.
Upon completion of the zip lines and crossing a hanging bridge, we changed the pace up with an hour horse ride through the forest, listening to one of the loudest animals on earth, howler monkeys. Arriving above the Negro River, we dismounted, grabbed our tubing gear, and wound our way down a trail to the river. After being in the warm sun, I must say the 3 mile white-water ride on large inner tubes was exhilarating as well as refreshing.
Finally we got to catch our breath as we enjoyed a nice, leisurely buffet lunch (be sure to try the rice pudding). Then it was off to the thermal areas where you can paint your body with volcanic mud and exfoliate your skin. As the afternoon sun was moving lower in the west, we topped off an event-filled day ( which totaled about 13 hours) enjoying a hot soaking in some nice thermal pools.
PALO VERDE – before arriving at Palo Verde with Randall and Miguel, we had the chance to see an operating sugar cane processing plant. Nearby Randall pointed out a man working in the river, removing sand for making cement, remarking that it was done this way in Costa Rica to avoid machinery polluting the rivers.
During our tour of Palo Verde by boat, we were able to observe a number of crocodiles, birds, and monkeys. It was amazing to see all of these creatures operating in their own natural environment. In addition to having a white faced monkey jump into our boat, we enjoyed a laugh as people sometimes would attempt to touch the water during the boat ride. It was funny to see how quickly the hands were pulled away from the water when Randall told of finding a 21 foot crocodile in the river twenty years ago!
Just before leaving Palo Verde we saw a pair of scarlet macaws fly across the river and Randall informing us that the macaws mate for life. We topped off the day by having a tasty Costa Rican lunch prepared by the wife of Ulysses, who had been our boat driver on the river.

2  Thank CurleySuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

We stayed at the riu gaunacaste resort and used Shaman Tours. Highly recommend them as they give you a more intamit experience. Smaller group and not overwhelming numbers as the hotel tours give. Randell could not make our trip but sent a chap who was more than qualified and freindly and knowledgable of the surroundings. They made sure there were lots of water available and some beverages for me...wink wink....I feel bad i cant remmeber our guides name but the driver and our guide were both awesome.very acccomodating and no rushing. Had a blast and couldnt be happier. I would definatly recommend this guide for any excursion. We were NOT dissappointed by Shaman Tours.

1  Thank Blair M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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