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“John Gave My Kids Life-long Memories”

Cabinas Jimenez Golfo Dulce Boat Tour
Reviewed July 5, 2012

I had the opposite experience from the reviewer below. We were not staying at the Cabinas Jiminez, but were treated like we were. We rented a home and the owners recommended this tour. When we drove to the cabins to register for the tour, they did not have enough people to go, but said they would do their best to get a group together. They offered my kids the use of their pool and kayaks while we were there. Since they were able to get additional people, we went the next day. John spoke to us about the area and wildlife the whole time, and we had a glorious day! He went out of his way to make sure my daughters had a blast, including extending the tour to give them the opportunity to plane board behind the boat. My girls are not great swimmers, so we had them use floating cushions and my husband and I rode with them. If you have never done this before, like all of us on the tour, we all agreed that the plane boarding was worth the trip alone! It is a wonderful sensation. We saw hundreds of dolphins. Thank you John!

Thank NYCBushbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 4, 2012

Me and my girlfriend took this tour in Feb 2012 while visiting Puerto Jimenez. We booked at Cabinas Jimenez and asked them about how we can get to the Wildlife Sanctuary. They recommended this tour which includes a stop at the Wildlife Sanctuary and we put our names on the list MONTHS in advance (August to be exact). We obviously told them that if we're the only 2 we wouldn't be interested in paying $250 but if there are more people we can go, so they put our names on the list. We had also told them we preferred to do it on the day we'd be arriving and sent them the flight details showing arrival at 7:10am. We were only told that the tour departs at 8am and thus we should have no problem making it.

Fast forward to February and our flight was delayed by 10 minutes (perfectly normal). It eventually landed in Puerto Jimenez at 7:30ish and we were rushed off to Cabinas Jimenez. We actually found a person from an unrelated company we booked a tour with waiting for us with a taxi ready because the tour was apparently supposed to start at 7:30 (we first checked about this tour with this person and she was up to speed with our intenrary so it was very kind of her to go out of her way to help!). We rushed to the hotel, put our luggage in the storage room and left for the pier (I want to point out that the staff were actually very kind and nice to us). But, as the tour was waiting, we didn't even change our clothes and I even had passports and everything on me when I boarded the boat...

...which is were the problems started...

After telling us that he's called Captain John, he promptly pointed us to the back seats were he completely ignored our presence for most of the tour. I want to stress that a local tico was on board to help out and he and was not at all like John. He was the only one to provide us with information about what we're chasing (even if English was not his first language) and what we're supposed to be seeing and was very nice to us. You could see he was making an effort at being helpful.

After John going on a continuous rant about not being able to spot dolphins because it's too late because of us, we made our way to the Wildlife Sanctuary were we were told that we were to leave all our backpacks there while the boat goes somewhere else. Now - I had my passport and camera gear in there which cost me loads of money, and other than the fact that I needed it with me (because that was the reason for going in the first place) I was not at that point willing to trust John with (Maybe I'm a bit of a paranoid person but I like to be safe).

I feel this information should have been provided to us beforehand when we made the reservation. We also realized there was no Pier and that we had to go down into knee deep water (again, no info about this was provided to us). Having gone practically straight from the plane to the boat meant I was in Jeans and Trekking boots. While i made it clear to John that I needed my backpack I started to take off my shoes (at least i'll keep them dry). He said he'll ask the guide at the Wildlife Sanctuary for special permission to carry my backpack and she seemed to have no problem with that. Unfortunately before providing me with the information that I was given permission he again went on a rant about how we were late and ruining the tour for everybody (at this point the others were already gathering up and starting a discussion with the guide which i fail to see how me taking off my shoes and waiting for the go ahead to take my backpack affected the tour for anyone). The reason for not being able to take the backpack was because monkeys can apparently take things and wreack havoc. Fair enough! I was more than happy to take responsibility (which I did and had no problem with as I don't go around with passports and expensive gear in an easily accessible bag) but I once again feel that this is vital information and should have been provided beforehand.

On our way back things were a bit better. At least there were short moments when our presence was noted. We managed to spot some PanTropical spotted dolphins and some people even managed to get into the sea with them with the aid of a specially crafted board which seemed to be a pretty nice experience so kudos for that. We also went up a river and did some short bird watching which was interesting.

Refreshments in the form of pineapple, snacks, and drinks were also provided freely onboard which was nice.

Now, I've been on wildlife tours before and I know that the earlier you go the more chance you have to spot wildlife. That is fair enough and completely understandable. But if the tour starts at 7:30, don't tell people it starts at 8 for the sake of getting them on your list making it easier for yourself to get more people. Furthermore, provide ALL information from beforehand not when it's too late.

This was the only tour we only had a problem with throughout our stay in CR really. The local tico's attitude towards us made it bearable. Needless to say it was him who got our tip. He even recognized us the following day while walking down the street and came to talk to us to help us out of his own free will... John hardly even talked to us, which I find unprofessional particularly seeing as he is the owner of Cabinas Jimenez where we were staying. It was poor attitude and behavior that I found disappointing and childish.

We each payed $50 for this and an extra $25 for the Wildlife Sanctuary. I will review the wildlife sanctuary separately but i think it's was a fair price to pay, and besides it goes directly to help them. The $50 would have been worth the money if we weren't treated the way we were by John. The other passengers certainly didn't have the same attitude towards us either (seeing as he went out of his way to make it clear it was us who ruined the day).

I'm not completely discouraging this tour. But if I had to go again I'd try to tour the Golfo Dulce with someone else. If that's not an option make sure you research well regardless of what they'll tell you and it will hopefully be okay. We actually didn't even know the tour was so long and included so much which, if anything, would have made it more appealing to us.

1  Thank scermat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2011

We were in the Osa in mid April with our two teenaged daughters. As we had rented a house, we booked our trip in town at the internet cafe. We did a good many things while we were in the Osa, but this was everyone's favorite part of our trip. John and Chris were very knowledgable about the local flora and fauna, but also about the history and culture of the area. They were super personable and made the whole experience one that we will all value and cherish forever. The wildlife sanctuary was nothing short of magical. It was so great to see our teenaged girls so outwardly engaged in the world. No computers. No cell phones. Just the raw ,unadulterated beauty of the region. This was the best tour that we took in Costa Rica. Hands down.

Thank Danuell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2009

We booked this boat cruise through the Cabinas Jiminez reception desk. The owner of the hotel, John, owns the boat and employs Capt. Chris to drive it. They charge $26US per person to take you for a couple hours, by boat, to seek out dolphins, go to the Wildlife Refuge, go snorkelling and back to the port at Jiminez. We got great weather and did the trip in the morning, an 8:00am start. We first went across the Golfo Dulce (sweat Gulf) and found some dolphins feeding. NB: you can not swim with the dolphins anymore. We got dropped off at the wildlife refuge where Earl took us for a 2 hour tour of the facility. We saw squirrel monkeys (bit a tourist for holding someone's hand-we were warned about that), scarlett mackaws, howler monkeys, picari pig, white faced monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots and 2 other animals that I've forgetton their names! He was very knowledgeable and held our attention. It was $25US each to get into the park, not part of the boat trip fee. After the refuge they took us for a quick snorkel around some brain coral, and then we found some more dolphins jumping on our way back to port. Capt. Chris, John and Oso the dog were very pleasant and knowledgeable and tried to make our trip enjoyable and memorable. They had some light snacks for us (fresh pineapple slices, water, bananas and granola bars) as well as providing all the snorkel gear. They took extra care in helping our 7.5yr old get snorkelling for the first time! Great trip, great guys!

3  Thank Canada_blossom_2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaptChrisCR, General Manager / Captain at Cabinas Jimenez Golfo Dulce Boat Tour, responded to this reviewResponded January 23, 2009

Thank you so much for the kudos on our trip! We always try to make every trip a safe, fun, and hopefully a once in a lifetime experience. This being the first, of hopefully many, reviews about the La Sirena Boat Tour I felt it necessary to correct the information in your review about our price. Our tour price for 2009 is $45 per person when we have 6 or more guests. The cost for The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary is correct, it is an additional $25 to tour their facility. This additional $25 is a direct contribution to this wonderful project. Our tour departs at 8am and returns between 12:30-1:00PM daily. Thank you again for your kind words, and hopefully we'll see you again soon!

As always...Pura Vida!

Capt. Chris
GM - Cabinas Jimenez

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2017 via mobile
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Thank Ilianaporas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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