OK so first off when planning this trip, we used a basic sample itinerary and then added days and nights. The local company advised us where to add places and nights and were amazing because it took a while but the final trip planned was perfect. We stayed in 6 different places over 18 days, all Caribbean side, apart from San Jose. All of the lodges, rooms were gorgeous and all of the trips just brilliant. Especially the white water rafting, the forest walks and swims in forest pools and then cycling around the coast in Puerto Viejo. Actually the whole trip was amazing!
Marianna was so prompt in helping us plan our trip and during the trip was at hand 24/7 if we needed to change, up date or just check on a part of each section of the trip. The guides that we had were just great, especially Jose in San Jose and Alessandro on Finca Sura pineapple farm and the Rios Tropicales gang for the rafting and lodge crew, who were the funniest and best bunch of all.. But all were good, helpful and on time for transfers. I loved dealing with all at the local company and their knowledge of Costa Rica is 100%.
We didn't like the huge tourist buses that took us from San Jose to Tortuguera at all, they did not seem in keeping with Travellocal, however I understand that moving so many people in one go is more eco friendly than lots of smaller buses. Plus the trips around the waterways in Tortuguera were too big and full of what I would call 'tourists'! Lots of loud people who seemed more interested in their mobiles than the amazing wildlife, setting and flora of the areas. Also, more info should be given about what to wear and take for the Pacuere River part of the trip, Such as to make sure that you have suitable clothes for the rafting in and out of the lodge and a small bag to take for the few days there and the jungle walking that is done there.
All of the guides were really good, but two stood out and they were Jose in San Jose. He took us to a great and until then undiscovered area of San Jose. We walked there and Jose gave us huge amounts of info about the places, parks and areas and then we had cerviche in Rafas which was to die for. We ended up in Barrio Escalante for food and couldn't wait to go back next day to try out further places. Jose was lovely company to spend an evening with. Then there was Alessandro in Finca Sura. He guided us around his uncles farm, which included huge amounts of different fruit, herbs, spices and vegetables. All organically grown and surrounded again by the incredible Costa Rica wildlife, including frogs, bats, and incredible birds. They also have Mathilder the pot bellied pig who eats all of the pineapple cores! Alessandro was hugely knowledgeable about everything around us, but also gave us huge amounts of info regarding how the Costa Rica government allocates land, the politics and Costa Rica in general. The food here was also amazing, with freshly caught and cooked Tilapi. Rafting on the Pacuare river was one of the best things that I have ever done and made all of the better with Louis, Andrea our guides and then crazy Tori the chef in Rios Tropicales Lodge. They were just the funniest and best crew ever. We loved this place and the people we met there.
Make sure that you enjoy the wildlife, forests and beaches, by giving yourselves time to just be there. Do less places if it means that you can spend longer in a forest or on a beach. Less is more. Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places on this planet. Absolutely go onto the water either by raft or kayak, but do as much of this as possible.
Probably rafting on the Pacuare river and staying at the Rios Tropicales lodge, however each and every part of our trip was different and amazing. Costa Rica fauna and flora just blew me away. You can stop anywhere and within seconds will see an amazing bird, frog, monky, sloth, lizard or flower. And of course the gorgeous sloths. I assumed that they were endangered, however these gorgeous, funny creatures are almost everywhere and watching them is a joy. Going for forest walks, drifting down rivers, walking on empty white sand beaches or cycling in the pouring rain. It was all just perfect and we cannot wait to go back.
Our local partner based in Costa Rica replied...
Hola Jacky, Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience with us. I am really happy to hear you loved your time here! I will make sure to let Jose and Alessandro get your comments, I'm sure they will be very happy. Please don't hesitate to contact us again for your future trips 😀 As always, we will be happy to share our local knowledge with you. MarianaOur local partner based in Costa Rica