My mother and I read through Esteban's phenomenal reviews on Trip Advisor and knew that we had to book him for our trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Simply put, Esteban was the single best decision that we made on your first visit to Costa Rica. My mother was very apprehensive about traveling to Central America and Esteban was diligent about responding thoroughly to every single one of her multi-faceted emails. My mother even remarked that he was much more prompt and informative than the concierge at the Four Seasons.
Other reviews have mentioned this, but it cannot be overstated: Esteban speaks PERFECT English. He is 100% fluent in the language and can hold conversations about things as obscure as the shocks on his 4x4. His fluency is a huge asset and really made our trip enjoyable.
Initially, we booked Esteban for two tours during our time in Monteverde, but we became so comfortable with him over the internet that we asked if we could use him for transportation services too. He graciously accepted and was waiting in the lobby of our hotel at Arenal when we came down to check out. His car was impeccably clean and very comfortable for the tough roads to Monteverde. Best of all, Esteban made our 3 hour trek exciting by pointing out interesting landscapes and stopping for exotic bird and animal spottings. He also picked some great places to eat on the way!
In Monteverde, Esteban led us on two tours. The first was a morning tour at the Curi-Cancha reserve. Everyone at the reserve knew Esteban and repeatedly told us that we were lucky to have the best guide in the park. Boy were they right. My mother was dead-set on spotting the Quetzal and Esteban used his well-honed bird calling and tracking skills to lead us right to a beautiful male in a completely random and secluded part of the forest. He has a wonderful relationship with other guides, and was actually able to collaborate with his friend (via cellphone) to maximize our experience. As we were leaving the reserve, we walked past dozens of tourists with their guides camped out at one Quetzal nest, disappointed by a complete lack of activity. I felt so privileged to have such a fantastic guide.
While other tour guides get frustrated and push their guests to move on, Esteban is patient and willing to wait. This proved to be true on our night tour at the Santa Maria reserve when Esteban craned his neck up to the sky in order to let us know when a sleeping sloth would spring into action. Throughout both tours, he was able to miraculously notice things that avoid the normal eye (even in the dark!). His dedication and hard work really made our experiences incredible.
When it was time for us to leave Monteverde, Esteban drove us up to the Four Seasons. Saying goodbye to Esteban was the hardest part of our vacation. He is the most honest and sincere man I have ever met on a vacation. During your trip to Costa Rica, use Esteban for every possible aspect of your experience. It will be the best travel decision you've made in a long time.
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