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“Best Tour Guides In Costa Rica”

Tico Tours Guanacaste Bernal Mata
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Tico Tours Guanacaste is a Licensed and Insured Tour Company. Our Company aims to provide you with an active experience of the real Costa Rica. We will take you off of the beaten path for a one-of-a-kind, matchless experience unlike those of the standard big coach tours. Tico Tours Guanacaste provides first-class personal attention, superior customer service and unique adventures for an unforgettable experience. It's truly our pleasure to share the natural beauty of Costa Rica through a native's perspective, while maintaining the desired of comfort and quality of service that today's travelers expect and deserve. Our company uses air conditioned, up-to-date vehicles with full insurance coverage. Customer satisfaction is our #1 goal! Tico Tours Guanacaste prides itself on individual attention to client. We will do all in our hands to ensure that your time in Costa Rica is truly memorable.
Edmeston, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“Best Tour Guides In Costa Rica”
Reviewed August 27, 2012

Bernal and his staff were there from the airport pickup to the airport drop off. The welcoming was great. Fresh cool drinks for the ride to our place where we were staying. He showed us many things of the Costa RIcian Culture, from the beauty too the products grown there, giving us a great lesson of interesting facts of this country. He came to our little village (Papagayo) to discuss tours that we would be interested in. He was well versed and showed pictures and had a great sense of humor that we all enjoyed. The trips we schedule through his company were enjoyed by all. Every detailed was attended too. The whole staff of Tico Tours were amazing. RC we will never forget the great boat trip we had. The monkeys and other sites you showed us were just outstanding. Thanks so much!!!! Bernal you have our hearts and deep apprecation for all you did for us and our group. You guys are the best and Dana and I will be back. Thanks again for such awesome service! Dana and Connie

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Conessa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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426 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Tico Tours Guanacaste Costa Rica - THE BEST EVER!”
Reviewed August 15, 2012

We were a group of 8 women from Texas, ranging in age of 25 thru 76, visiting our friends/family, the Martins, July 29 - Aug 11, 2012, in Playa Hermosa. Bernal, owner of Tico Tours, was hired, again, as our tour director. Bernal takes exceptional care of his guests and makes sure every guest has the BEST & safest tours available. We booked 6 different tours with Tico/Bernal, which included absolutely delicious meals; horseback riding, ziplining, volcanic mudbaths, swimming at the beautiful Borinquen Resort (an absolute must for all ages); a day of sailing & snorkeling; a river cruise to view crocks, monkeys, birds; a full-day trip to Nicaragua which included making our own cigars, yummy meals, visits to a great market, horse-drawn carriage ride around the historic city of Grenada; and so much much more. We laughed & sang & thoroughly enjoyed every tour with Bernal. We were picked up @ the Martin's fabulous mountain top vacation residence in Playa Hermosa (which is also available for rent) & taken home again for every tour - fully satisfied & happy. His vans are new, meticulously clean & fully air-conditioned with the best & safest drivers. Tico Tours & Bernal - THE BEST EVER!!!!
Roswita Wagner, Houston, Texas

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Roswita W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, New York, United States
1 review
“Tico Tour ROCKS!!!”
Reviewed August 12, 2012

Bernal and his employees (drivers) were exceptional from the airport pick up to the three excursions my family and I went on. Tico Tours showed us the best time at ARENAL volcano. I thought it could not get any better until we did the BORINQUEN CANOPY tour; Bernal and his driver were awesome because they were our paparazzi---capturing every shot as we rode the horses, zip lined through the rainforest, strutted across the suspension bridge, applied mud & rinse in the river, enjoyed the delicious Costa Rican lunch; the kids loved the water slide and I conquered my fear when I swung on the Tarzan swing. Nicaragua was impressive! Thanks Bernal for the hastle-free day trip to the Nicaraguan volcano, the beautiful vista of the small lake, which was quite beautiful for taking pictures and purchasing volcano magnets and necklaces. The boat tour on the largest lake in Nicaragua was phenomenal, which gave us a closer look at the numerous isles especially the ones with the spider monkeys. Granada, what a wonderful experience; it truly is a must see. We loved the history lessons told by Bernal. Bernal kept the adventures coming.

We had an AWESOME experience with Tico Tours

Thanks Molti33

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank molti33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Mmmm Mmmm Good!”
Reviewed August 5, 2012

Superior! You will not regret any decision to use Tico tours. Traveled with a group of 12 from ages 6 - 70. Felt safe and secure and overwhelming awe at the experiences - zip lining, palo verde, horseback , mudbaths and ATV - This was not service...this was family - opening their home, their country to me. Go with an open mind and open heart - willing to learn and appreciate. You will be praising the travel gods for the gift of Tico Tours - Bernal, John, Marcos ..hope to see you again soon
Phillis

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank ladygillum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kabul, Afghanistan
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“The Best There Is”
Reviewed August 5, 2012

Where to start? I heard about Tico Tours through a friend who told me “You can have a good time in Costa Rica, but Bernal will make sure you have a good time.” This turned out to be true. Though my lady and I did not have much interaction with the man himself, it was ok, his staff are A+ head and shoulders above the rest. We have gone on many tours and Marco was (is) our guy! Not to cast off any of his other talent, Jose, Ariel, and Alex were all an absolute dream to spend the day with during the outings. All of them had their own little pieces of Tico culture to share, it always felt more like we were making friends rather than on a tour with a guide. This group really is the first class, 5 star, A+, cream at the top of tour companies in Guanacaste.

The Breakdown
We went on as many tours as we possibly could. We actually went back again in a different season and made sure to book with Bernal ahead of time. Our Adventures included:
Canopy Tour Borinquen
Borinquen Horseback Ride of the Grounds
Palo Verde Jungle Tour – Twice, once each trip
Miravalles Volcano and Waterfalls
Snorkeling and Sailing Cruise
Horseback riding on Conchal beach

I will do stats first and post about the individual tours at the end.

PERSONNEL
As I said in the intro, Bernal and his guys are all top notch, fluent, fun, interesting, and approachable individuals. We believe at one point we actually had a tour with one of his “Trial” guys. After the tour Bernal was very interested in how it went?, how was his English?, and if he was fun? Of course he was! But Bernal knows that he & his team is what makes his company the best. On our tour to Miravalles the other guides did not even seem to know about the waterslide* (awesome!) so on that trip, we had an even greater time, because his people “Know.” I ran into Jose 3 months after our tour on the street during our second trip; He recognized me and asked me how I was. Bottom Line: The Best People.

TRANSPORTATION
I could not tell you the difference between any of the Tico Tours Guanacaste vans, but I can tell you the difference between Tico Tours’ vans and some of the other vehicles we saw (and rode in). Clean, smooth riding, AC working, and juice on board! We rode in some taxis that had no suspension whatsoever, so when headed out for one of the excursions into the mountains it was nice to know you weren’t going to sweat, smell, or get sick from bouncing all over the place. I would say Bernal himself is a clean, in tune, and healthy man; His fleet reflects those same qualities.

COMMUNICATION
Email is the way to go here, everything will be arranged and easy to look up. They have always responded and there was never any guessing involved. Also EVERYBODY seems to know these guys, everybody. I am almost certain that if you approached a stranger in Coco or Hermosa and asked “Dondes Bernal?” you’d have him on the phone in a minute or so.

VALUE
THE PRICE IS NOT THAT MUCH MORE THAN OTHERS RESEARCHED. I decided to place that right in front for those who skim on reading. I chose “value” not “price” because it is much more fitting. Tico Tours from what I have looked into is a little pricier than most other operations; HOWEVER, their services typically cater to everything you need. You will have water, you will have a nice ride, you will have a guide that not only speaks English but will talk with you as much (or as little) as you want, but most importantly you will have a good time. I believe that the experiences my lady and I had were well worth the cost.

THE TOURS
Canopy Tour Borinquen – An absolute must. The gounds, the ziplines, and of course our tour guide getting all the good photos of us. Then off to the volcanic mud and natural sauna.

Borinquen Horseback Ride of the Grounds – My lady and I enjoy riding. This tour was a few hours on horseback and it was amazing (my favorite of all), not just clomping down a trail, but actually riding. Again our tour guide had the camera and got some good action shots somewhere between a canter and a gallop!

Palo Verde Jungle Tour – Twice, once each trip – Beautiful and also educational (without the dryness of education…) everything was so lush in the rainy season but we saw more animals in the dry season. Bring that backup battery for the camera, so many photos to take.

Miravalles Volcano and Waterfalls – Another fun horse trail (short) and then a walk through the transition forest through trees and over suspension bridges. The place is spectacular. Then there are the hot springs and more of that boiling mud to get covered in. Make sure you try the waterslide, its nuts!

Snorkeling and Sailing Cruise – I will call this sort of a “partner tour” Tico Tours does not actually do this one, it’s a beautiful catamaran that takes off from Coco. Good eats, good drinks, and some snorkeling in an interesting little cove

Horseback riding on Conchal Beach – Now for the sour patch. This tour turned dismal due to unforeseen events.
The original plan was to get on the horses, ride the beach, meet up with our guide down the beach, change into swimwear, splash around, get changed and back on the horses, down the beach, then off to lunch.
We had to change our route of travel due to a triathlon on the beach, it was very very hot that day and the horses seemed to want to trot the whole way, ouch. We only got to ride on a very small portion of the beach (which is beautiful), the rider/guide we were with did not speak much English and seemed bored, as we all kind of were riding through the trail with nothing really amazing around to look at. When we got to the beach, our TTG guide was nowhere to be found, as he could not get the van to the beach because of the triathlon. We left our water and money in the van. No phone, no water, no money to buy water, we were sort of just left to sit on the beach in our riding clothes hot and thirsty. I practically had to grab and shake one of the sabaneros to get him to call our guide and get us the heck out of there. A fun but dicey ATV ride and we were back to the van. We got lunch and shipped off home. The end.

SUMMARY
Don’t let the last paragraph shake you. That was during our first trip and we still decided to go with Bernal when we came back. I can say that if find myself in Costa Rica a third time, I will be calling Tico Tours Guanacaste again to book adventures! They have the best people, the best wheels, and the best connections. Simply put, The Best.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Matthew G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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