My partner Jonathan and I went to Costa Rica for 7-day trip this month. We rented a car and stayed in multiple places (Punta Leona/Jaco, Montezuma, Malpais, San Jose). While we were in Montezuma we saw a ton of travel companies stationed in the downtown area, but none of them really "wowed" and had a cattle-like factor, so we decided to keep on with adventuring on our own. We decided to head down to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve (not knowing that CB is closed on Mon/Tues), so we were quite disappointed to get down there and find that it was closed and decided to head back into town (Cabuya). As we were driving into Cabuya, we noticed a sign for "Solo Bueno Tours" and decided to stop and I asked for the tour operator. This tour HQ is actually the home of Jeffry (the owner), and he was there enjoying a meal with his family. I didn't want to interrupt, but he seemed more than happy to welcome our inquiry.
I quickly learned more about Solo Bueno Tours (which is just Jeffry) and what kind of tours he offered, and within a second he proposed a customized tour for the tour of us based on our interests (which was a little bit of everything - hiking, swimming, and snorkeling). He dropped everything and within minutes we were on our way. We hiked through the edge of Cabo Blanco, hiked to secret Cabuya Waterfalls and went for a swim, spotted exotic monkeys/birds/, picked limes. The entire hike Jeffry shared stories about growing up in these lands (this was his "backyard" so he knew the area very well...in fact we were often WAY off the actual trails) and gave us ecological lessons along the way. We even found ourselves up in the hills of an old farm, and before we knew it we had a dozen cows parading us. That was pretty funny....
After the hike we went back to Jeffry's house to get ready for the next portion of our day - Isla Cabuya (Cabuya Island). During low tide, you can actually walk there, so that's exactly what we did. This beautiful island houses a cemetery (including Jeffry's grandmother), and Jeffry knew the stories of nearly all of the deceased who lay to rest there. After that we went snorkeling off the island (he provided us with snorkeling gear), but unfortunately we didn't see much of anything as the recent rains made the water pretty cloudy)...in any case, it was fun! After a little while of swimming and snorkeling, we walked back to the mainland.
After our adventure we drove back to Jeffry's house and hung out a while with him and his house guests (in addition to running a tour company, he also rents out a room via airbnb.com). He highly recommended we check out Cabuya Bakery and cafe for lunch (which was probably the best meal we had in Costa Rica). He gave us tips for the best way to hike to Montezuma Falls, as there are 3 different swimming areas, which many folks don't know about (and we ended up going there after our tour). He also gave us some other recommendations (Vista de Olas hotel and restaurant in Malpais), where we ended up staying the next night - and it was GREAT.
This is an adventure we couldn't have had with another tour company. It was spontaneous, personal, intimate (just us!), highly educational, adventurous, and affordable. Beyond the tour, he also gave us tips (NOT in the guide books) that were essential in helping us chart the rest of our course in Costa Rica. We spent the whole day with him...and we felt like we made a new friend, too.
I can't recommend Solo Bueno enough. We literally showed up at his doorstep, and he took us on with no notice, and showed us the best day we had in Costa Rica. If you're looking for the "real" Costa Rican adventure, look no further!