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“Feb. 2014 experience”

Costa Rica Expeditions
Book In Advance
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$169.00*
and up
Pacuare River Rafting Expedition Class III-IV from San Jose
Ranked #1 of 94 Tours in San Jose
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Costa Rica Expeditions, unique travel experiences since 1978.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage
Seattle, Washington
1 review
“Feb. 2014 experience”
Reviewed February 28, 2014

My wife and I used C.R. Expeditions both for working on our itinerary and booking our stay and guided tours. They were absolutely phenomenal. We stayed at both their lodges and elsewhere. Their lodges had superb food, extremely friendly and helpful staff and wonderful guides. The accommodations were very good. The grounds of their two lodges have hiking trails and a vast array of wild animals wondering around on the premises. When a became ill half way through our trip the staff out did themselves to find me a doctor, rearrange our itinerary and do whatever was necessary to accommodate me. You could not find a better company to work with. We will use them again on our next visit. And, by the way, Costa Rica has so much to offer and see. A great country to vacation in.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank dickscha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Costa Rica Expeditions, responded to this review, March 6, 2014
Dear Dickscha,

Thanks for the review; we are thrilled you enjoyed the itinerary we put together with you. It was also great to see you were able to spend some time in both Tortuga Lodge & Gardens and its sister property, Monteverde Lodge & Gardens, and that you enjoyed the settings of both.

We do everything to run our guests’ vacations flawlessly and with no problems. However, perhaps more importantly, when something unexpected like an illness happens we want our guests to be able to count on us.

Knowing we were there for you when you felt ill is some of the highest praise we can receive, so thank you for sharing.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“From the start to end, a great experience”
Reviewed February 15, 2014

Setting up this trip was part of the fun: discussing with the Costa Rica Expedition team (thanks, Gustavo!) what we wanted to do, and planning our activities and hotels. CRE showed a lot of professionalism in helping us plan our trip, offering options and respecting our budget.

And once we got there, CRE took great care of us, making sure we got to our various destinations safely, comfortably and on time. The CRE guides and drivers were uniformly excellent, polite and very kind. They really do try to think of everything, and are attentive to the smallest remark.

We very much enjoyed talking with the CRE guides. Andrew, the naturalist guide who picked us up to go to Arenal, was full of information and we had great conversations with him; Eduardo, who took us back to San José was also informative and enthusiastic, making sure we were happy.

When we had a problem or a question during the trip, we'd send an email and CRE operations desk would get back to us within 12 hours. When one of us got sick and needed meds, a driver was dispatched to our hotel, for which we were so very grateful.

We had a fun and active vacation, and discovered the Pura Vida in style!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank L-L-Mtl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Costa Rica Expeditions, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
Dear L-L-Mtl,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review for Costa Rica Expeditions; we are thrilled that you enjoyed your vacation. I am glad that you enjoyed the planning stage as well. When you are working with an experienced local travel planner like Gustavo, who has been planning vacations in his beloved Costa Rica for over 15 years, all of the stress of trying to put the details together disappears and you can focus on the fun part: discussing hotels and activities with your travel companions or family in order to get just the right pick.

I was also very happy to see that you stayed aware of our “always in touch” policy during the trip, and took full advantage of our operations department whenever you had a question or an issue, like needing some medicine in order to continue enjoying your vacation.

Thanks again for the review; I hope you can come back to Costa Rica sometime soon.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
63 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“Gold standard for traveling in Costa Rica”
Reviewed February 15, 2014

Though I am typically the type of traveler who likes to research and plan all of my vacations on my own, the best decision I made with our trip was to use Costa Rica Expeditions to help plan and manage our 8 day trip. From the moment we stepped off the plane, someone would magically appear to whisk us off to our next destination or tour - everyone was friendly, professional, and punctual, and it felt like there was this invisible thread of communication leading us throughout the country. CRE completed exceeded my expectations of "travel planners," as I had assumed that they simply outsource the daily excursions to local tour companies who collect any tourists in the area and drive them around in large groups. Nothing could be further from the truth. CRE makes private arrangements directly with the local guides for their clients. The majority of our tours and transfers ended up being completely private (though they were presented as being shared tours, it seemed this was because there were no other CRE tourists booked for that particular activity). We had no problems whatsoever and after a day or two it was easy to relax because it was clear that we didn't need to worry about anything logistical.
There were three points during the trip when it was clear to me why using CRE was so great.
1) During a transfer by boat on Lake Arenal, when we were on a beautiful boat with only one other couple, and the friendly boat driver stopped to show us lots of birds along the way. in contrast, I watched another group of 10 or 12 pack into a boat half the size which seemed to be sitting very low in the water.
2) Chatting at breakfast in a hotel with a woman and her parents who had rented a car to drive around the country. They were excited but clearly completely distracted by trying to figure out how to get from one place to the next, and also in need of a lot of advice for how to enjoy their day.
3) Sitting in the rainforest of Osa Peninsula. Our travel planner, Nadya, had recommended that we fly there for a 3 night stay - on my own, I would never have considered this, but it was the absolute highlight of our trip and I am so grateful that she encouraged us to make this part of our itinerary.
Some advice:
1) read the "Resources" section of the CRE website as early as you can in the planning process. If I had done this earlier I would have spared Nadya a number of anxious and redundant emails!
2) Do spend time doing your own research into activities or excursions available. The travel planners are not mind readers. In retrospect, I would have tweaked our itinerary a bit and chosen slightly different activities when I actually saw the all of the various types of tours in the Arenal area. CRE was great in giving advice during the trip for how to add an activity during our free time.
3) In the Arenal area, CRE avoids any tours that involve hiking at the base of the volcano. They explain the reasons why in their website (in short, 2008 volcano eruption killed an 8 yr old girl and tour guide which was obviously traumatic). I really appreciated their thoughtful approach to safety. That being said, there are many local tours of hiking, biking, etc at the base of the volcano, so if it is very important to you to have that sort of experience, you would need to plan to do so independently and at your own risk. Apparently the volcano activity has been pretty quiet recently according to the local guides. We were happy to view it from a distance!
As all the other reviews indicate, this company offers exceptional service. I only wish that I could find equivalent companies in other parts of the world - it would be so easy to travel anywhere!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank ardenp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Costa Rica Expeditions, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
Dear ardenp,

Thank you for taking the time to write us such a detailed review, it was a great pleasure to read about your vacation, and what it is that you think makes traveling with Costa Rica Expeditions so special. I hope that the readers will take the time to give your helpful account of your experience a careful read, as I think it speaks very clearly to the great benefit planning a trip with us can bring. One thing I did want to clarify however is that you mentioned that we book directly with local guides as opposed to outsourcing to third party. The reality is that we do in fact work through local operators. It looks like you had good luck with some of your tours and received some upgrades to private ones, which is great. Because of our long history of working all over Costa Rica we do have firm connections with the tour operators and hotels we use, and that allows us to get upgrades, and receive the best service, from them.

Ardenp, we hope you can travel with us again sometime. If you are interested in a recommendation for a travel planner somewhere else in the world, don’t hesitate to send me a message, through the many years we have been doing this we have developed relationships with quite a few excellent agencies in different regions of the globe.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful trip for three generations”
Reviewed January 29, 2014

CRE did a great job of helping us plan and carry out a one-week post-Christmas trip for 11 people in three generations. We went from San Jose (1/2 day of wandering the markets and the Gold Museum), up to Monteverde Lodge for 3 days, which included great birding (we saw many species, including quetzals) and nature study, and a trip for some to Arenal with zip-lining and kayaking. We had two wonderful bi-lingual guides, one for the trip as far as Manuel Antonio, and another for birding in the reserves.Then we went for almost two full days to Manuel Antonio for beach and pool fun on our own, which included surfing lessons for some of the youngers, then back to San Jose for the trip home. In the process we dined as a big family for more than 20 meals (what a treat!). CRE took care of all the details--it was like joining a tour, except we were in on the planning (with a highly professional staff), and we were the only members of the tour.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank 138Margaret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Costa Rica Expeditions, responded to this review, January 30, 2014
Dear 138Margaret,

I am very glad we were able to set up a great vacation for your multi-generational family group. We think it is very special that your family travels together in this fashion. I’m sure your big meals together were just a ton of fun.

Reading over your description, it sounds like you had a great variety of Costa Rican locations, and activities (along with some great wildlife, including quetzals; what great luck!).

As you mention, when you travel with Costa Rica Expeditions your opinion become an integral part of the planning process, and you participate in managing all the details as much or as little as you want to. We are happy to work with you until your vacation is just right for you… and the other ten members of your family.

I certainly hope we haven’t seen the last of you guys.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth TX
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“All the superlatives are deserved”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

From the wish list and travel planner to choice of lodging and events, both CRE and Costa Rica either met or exceeded expectations. My wife, adult daughter, and I (all highly traveled) each thought it was among the best travel experiences of our lives. Loved the diversity of flora and fauna. CRE exceptionally responsive throughout, you can be comfortable putting yourselves in their hands. Not cheap, but gave real value for the price.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank FWjaunt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie E, Guest Relations Manager at Costa Rica Expeditions, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Dear FWjaunt,

Thank you for sharing your review of your trip. I was thrilled to read that you enjoyed your trip so thoroughly, and found your time with CRE and Costa Rica to be such a great travel experience.

At Costa Rica Expeditions we try to be the company in Costa Rica that treats your vacation time like gold, making sure you are free to enjoy every moment. I’m glad to see that with your family we seem to have succeeded.

Sincerely,

Natalie Ewing
Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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