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Reviewed January 8, 2015

Our family of 6 was floored by the obvious intelligence and passion our Costa Rica Expeditions guides all displayed. They had our 17 through 11 year olds entranced!

Date of experience: December 2014
1  Thank b4hanna
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 reviewResponded January 12, 2015

Dear b4hanna,

I'm delighted to hear that your children had such a great time!

I highly recommend a private naturalist guide on Private Day Tours. The best way to insure that you and your children will come away with a deeper understanding of the rainforest, its creatures and the ecology of the planet is to include a guide. Guides do add some expense to your vacation, but the knowledge and education that they add far outweighs the cost.

We have a staff of fantastic guides. Not only do they have extensive experience in the field, they are also really special people.

Thank you for choosing Costa Rica and Costa Rica Expeditions!

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.
Reviewed January 4, 2015

In May last year our extended family decided to organise a family reunion in Costa Rica over Christmas. Time was short as that's peak season and not being familiar with CR I didn't know where to start. After reading two travel books and looking extensively online I read over and over again that Costa Rican Expeditions was a great company - knowledgeable, responsive and importantly, there on the ground in Costa Rica.

We decided to approach them to help us design a tour with a range of activities. I emailed them and within hours Gustavo Mendez replied and from the start he was fantastic. He quickly put together a program for us based on our interests and organised accommodation as things were already very tight. He provided us with a fantastic itinerary with useful information for each activity plus lots of information on the country, and answers to all sorts of questions a traveler would have when visiting a country for the first time.

From our guides to our drivers we were in safe hands. Everyone was friendly, courteous and helpful. We had terrific guides when walking in the cloud forests of Monteverde - Estevan and Samuel - and were able to see loads of wonderful birds. In La Fortuna, we greatly enjoyed our twilight riverfloat, visits to Finca Don Juan and ASIS, the wildlife refuge, the waterfall rappelling and our beautiful evening at Ecotermales, the hot springs resort.

We stayed at Monteverde Lodge in St Elena which was a very special place and really convenient to all the activties as well as the nearby restaurants and shops. We also stayed at Casa Luna Hotel in La Fortuna which was a very comfortable, cozy place with a terrific outdoor restaurant. Loved the ceviche! In both places the staff were terrific and helpful.

I would definitely recommend Costa Rican Expeditions - I'm really grateful to them for their guidance and help with organising everything. Thank you Gustavo for an amazing holiday! We loved Costa Rica and would love to come back!

Date of experience: December 2014
Thank seshrubb
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 reviewResponded January 6, 2015

Dear Seshrubb,

First off, we want to thank you for taking the time to leave us detailed and generous reviews for not only Costa Rica Expeditions, but also our lodge property - Monteverde Lodge & Gardens.

I’m really glad to see that Gustavo was able to set you up with a tour that satisfied your desire for variety. He is one of our most experienced travel planners, and loves to help families put together trips that are outside the bounds of the ordinary. I passed him a copy of your review so that he can see his work payed off.

We’re especially pleased to read that your guides and drivers were a valued part of your expedition. We think knowledgeable guides are inherently important in creating a true connection with a place when you travel. And of course that they, and your drivers made sure you felt in safe hands is what we’re all about!

Thanks again for the review. I hope you can come see us again one day.


Sincerely,


Natalie Ewing

Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction

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Reviewed January 2, 2015

Luis and company at Costa Rica Expeditions did a great job for us in planning our recent 8 day trip. They are extremely thorough and put together a nice itinerary that met our needs (and desires). We particularly enjoyed the cloud forest trips in Monteverde. The hotel there was also our favorite along with the small town of Santa Elena (we highly recommend, Taco Taco in Santa Elena). Carlos, our guide with Monteverde Reserve, was outstanding. He's so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his work, it's infectious. I would say the same for Maurice, our guide at Carara National park. Overall, the trip was a great experience. Costa Rica is a wonderful destination. We can't wait to return.
SLK

Date of experience: December 2014
1  Thank Fabietz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camila R, Guest Relations Manager at Costa Rica Expeditions, responded to this reviewResponded January 5, 2015

Dear Fabietz,

We are really happy to hear that your experience with Costa Rica Expeditions and Luis, your Travel Planner was a very nice one. It might seem a little too much planning at the beginning with questions but it is really important to us to get to know our visitors. As you say we are very thorough and the point of all this is to design the best vacation you can have in Costa Rica based on your wishes. Our conviction is to please our guests in every way possible but with an honest and clear guidance of what can be achieve in the country.

I am glad that you were able to visit the Cloud Forest Reserve of Monteverde as this is a unique place in Costa Rica. I can only imagine all the things you learned with Carlos de guide during your walk. The cool thing is that you can pass all this information to people that are also interest in similar things.

Carara National Park is also a great place to visit. It is very different from Monteverde and I am sure you noticed this. I am a great believer that the right guide can help you enhance the experience at the parks.

Thank you for writing us this review. It will help other people to come and visit this wonderful destination.

Kind Regards,

Camila Romero
Guest Relations Manager

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Reviewed December 29, 2014

We booked our 8 day trip through them. They did a great job, and could not have been any more responsive than they were (before the trip and during the trip). The only trouble I had with communication was faxing from the USA (did not want to send passport info through unencrypted email). I tried about 10 different ways (with country code, without, etc. no luck). Other than that, everything was incredibly easy. I would also like to add that we had a VERY BAD experience with a local tour company when we were there. We had a free day and decided to add in an activity (booked through the hotel; not Costa Rica Expeditions). I felt very unsafe, as there was an issue with the absence of life jackets in the boat (on very rough waters). It made me realize how important it is to book through someone trustworthy. Would highly recommend.

Date of experience: December 2014
1  Thank travel_RB-12
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 reviewResponded December 30, 2014

Dear travel_RB-12,

“Could not have done a better job” is a true motivator for your staff, thank you for taking the time to post a review. I’ll be sure to let your Travel Planner and our Concierge Staff know that you felt they could not have been more responsive before or during the trip!

I’m sorry to hear that when you booked a tour on your own, you had a bad experience with a local tour company that. You’re right, it is super important to book these tours with a solid reliable company. We are fanatical about safety and conduct annual inspections for many of the tours that we offer. If a tour doesn’t pass our inspection, we won’t book it.

We hope you will have many unforgettable memories of Costa Rica and that you will come and see us again.

Feliz Año Nuevo,

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.
Reviewed December 26, 2014

I used this company for a custom tour some years ago. They did a great job. Thus, I was looking forward to working with them again for our 11 member family tour. Unfortunately, this time was different. We started planning close to a year in advance but it often took several weeks to get responses to my questions. I received better service only after I emailed the president.
They made some good suggestions for the trip, such as the Springs Hotel and the toucan rescue center. They encouraged us to get their private guide to accompany us for the first few days. However, we had guides supplied by the places we went for all but the canopy tour and, on that tour, he added very little. He made little effort to relate to the children.We had requested a very child friendly guide. Also, the tour at the Spring Hotel was supposed to be at dusk and include flashlights. The tour actually starts at 3:30 and ends at dusk. They do not have night tours.
Our experience at Punta Islita was very unfortunate and Costa Rica Expeditions should have done better. We had a villa for 8, with 3 young children, which turned out to be a 15 minute walk to the resort where we also had 2 suites. It was the villa farthest on the property from the hotel. The suites were supposed to have day or twin bed and seating area. Instead we had very small rooms without even a chair. Hotel management claims we had extra patio space instead. The web site and description of the rooms is deceptive. We were supposed to have a golf cart with the villa but they ran out and gave us a 5 passenger car for 8.people. Costa Rica expeditions should have requested golf carts and made sure ahead of time that we got good rooms. I could have easily booked this reservation on my own and done better. They compensated us with 4 massages but that can't begin to make up for the difficulties in planning this luxury tour and the lack of attention it received from Costa Rica Expeditions.

Date of experience: December 2014
5  Thank 739jga
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 reviewResponded December 30, 2014

Dear 739jga,

As far as the communication with your Travel Planner about your private day trips and the rest of your services, it’s true that in the early stages of planning she was taking too long to respond to your questions. After you emailed Michael Kaye, our CEO & Founder, I personally spoke to you on the phone and after that, the communication went back and forth regularly.

From our perspective, one of the most difficult things about planning your private day trips and the rest of your vacation was that you continually told our Travel Planner that you knew better. In spite of the fact that she has done the tours you were considering and understood the logistics, any time she made a recommendation, you challenged the information and cited websites (that didn’t always have accurate information) as knowing more than our Travel Planner about the possibilities for your family.

In this business we expect changes of plans, after all it’s your vacation and we’re here to facilitate the best possible experience. One of the aspects we love the most about what we do is the fine tuning and the special touches that make each aspect of each day as good as it possibly can be. In your case, we found it almost impossible to ever get to the stage of fine tuning and special touches due to the constant changes. Plans were changed continuously making it virtually impossible to plan anything in detail. After emails and phone calls going over something, you would give us the go ahead on the plan for a day, we would invest time sorting out the details and then you would decide that you didn’t want to do this anymore.

When I read your review of the Naturalist Guide that accompanied you on your private day trips, I was very concerned; I now have a full report from him. According to the guide, there was very little opportunity for him to interact with the children and young adults because they were immersed in their iPads from the time he met you in San Jose.

Had there been a proper introduction by one of the adults and some parental control of the use of electronic devices, our guide thinks that he may have had a chance to engage with them and get them to fully experience Costa Rica, its wildlife and its environment, but he tells me that even the parents were unable to control the children.

So much so that in one instance, our driver stopped the van because one of the boys was standing in the isle, our guide explained that we would not be able to continue until the boy had taken his seat and fastened his seatbelt. The child yelled that he would not sit down until his mother returned his iPad, 15 minutes later, when his mother tried to wrestle him to his seat; he punched her in the face.

Even the most child friendly guide in the world is not going to be able to insert himself into a situation like this and engage children that have no interest in being engaged. Although your review of our guide is quite bad, he tells me that the head of the family insisted that he and the driver wait while he met them in the reception of the hotel on the day you said good bye and that he gave them each a very generous tip.

As far as your stay at Punta Islita, the suites and the villa that was assigned to your family were the exact rooms that you had selected after multiple emails, phone calls, reviews of maps and measurements.

Starting with your check in at the resort, between ourselves and the staff at Punta Islita we checked air conditioning that was in perfect working order, added chairs to rooms, and provided detailed plans and quotes for special dinners. The only thing we didn’t do was send a person with a measuring tape to measure the room and demonstrate that it did have the square footage described. Your initial complaint was that the living space in the villa was too small for your family of 11, however this same villa has a large palapa and a deck that is often used for rehearsal dinners for weddings of up to 30 guests, imagine our confusion when hearing that it was too small.

As far as transportation, the best vehicle available was assigned to your Villa, enabling you to move freely throughout the property. The vehicle was not large enough for all 11 of you, but then not all of you were staying in the Villa. In addition to this, the resort offers free shuttle service to and from the reception area and the Beach Club.

In closing, I agree with you, it would have been better if you had planned your private day trips and the rest of your services on your own. The reviews below and above yours speak to the kinds of guests that are a good fit for us, in your case I wish that I had identified early on that we weren’t right for each other.


Kind Regards,

Natalie Ewing
Director Marketing & Guest Satisfaction

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