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Phil Tardieu

I am very proud to have grown up in this country, and my passion is to share the beauties with whom I have had the joy of experiencing every day. I am passionate about tourism here in Costa Rica, and I strive to offer a highly personalized and professional service to every traveler I meet.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"With a local and expert perspective, I feel I am very knowledgeable about my country in general, so I specialize in tailor-made trips—whatever you can dream up (or if you don't have it in your mind yet), I can create for you the most incredible Costa Rica trip you want and need!"

How did you get involved in travel?

"Since I was very young I have worked in tourism, which I am very grateful for, since I love interacting with travelers from all over the world to show them my beautiful country and all it has to offer!"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"One day in the morning, being in Tortuguero, I was woken up by the noise of the trees moving, I went out to see what it was and to my surprise, I had right in front of me a family of spider monkeys playing right facing my room."

Phil is part of the following groups: Costa Rica Travel Agents
Top itineraries and travel advice
Family itineraries
Road trip itineraries

Favorite experiences

Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Nature Hike

Discover the natural beauty of the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park on a hike with an expert guide. While trekking the two-mile (3.2-km) trail, keep your eyes open for monkeys, sloths, birds, reptiles, and butterflies in the wild. The path through the lush rainforest leads you to the...

Boat Excursion in Tortuguero National Park

Embark on a unique boat adventure through the waterways of Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica's Caribbean coastline gem, accompanied by a professional naturalist guide. Choose between a morning or afternoon/evening tour to witness diverse wildlife, such as howler monkeys, northern jacana...

Recent trip reviews for Phil

Really great trip! Phil recommended to us th...
Costa Rica | Dec 20 - Dec 29, 2023

C
Cheryl W.
City of Sammamish, WA | Reviewed on Dec 30, 2023
Really great trip! Phil recommended to us the pacuare river rafting, and it was AMAZING! A couple of communication situations in the trip but they were handled quickly and well. I liked the tour groups that Kimkim uses/phil recommended, they were fantastic! Overall a great experience! Read more

Really great trip! Phil recommended to us the pacuare river rafting, and it was AMAZING! A couple of communication situations in the trip but they were handled quickly and well. I liked the tour groups that Kimkim uses/phil recommended, they were fantastic! Overall a great experience!

Hotel Reviews
Hotel Balmoral
San José

In a very bad part of San Jose, not safe to walk in or at least we did not feel comfortable doing so. No hot water in our two rooms, but staff was nice and restaurant was great!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hot water, no mildew smell in room
Hotel Aranjuez
San José

So while a cute, quaint hotel… there were ants and mosquitos and other bugs in the two rooms we had. The front door glass was shattered, making us question the safety of the hotel. Has good potential.

Authenticity & Character
Cute and quaint
Location
San Jose in general is very sketchy, homeless everywhere, but not the hotels fault
Staff
Great friendly staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
In both rooms we had, there was mold in the shower and a spiders nest in the upper corner of one. Windows in bathrooms did not have screens and let in multitudes of mosquitoes, ants, and the occasional other flying insect. Rooms and especially bathrooms seemed like they had not been cleaned recently or prior to our arrival (hence, the spiders nest and mold). Could definitely be improved, but at least the hotel itself felt safe and sheltered from the rest of San Jose.
Activity Review
Whitewater Rafting on the Pacuare River
Whitewater Rafting on the Pacuare River
Costa Rica

Fantastic exhilarating white water raft trip! Very good and safe guides, highly recommend!

Quality of Experience
The guides and the safety precautions taken. Top notch!
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Phil Tardieu
Phil
Phil Tardieu
Local specialist in Costa Rica | Replied on Jan 19, 2024
Hi Sheryl, Thank you for your review and I am glad you enjoyed the trip we organized. I'm sure it truly was an incredible experience, and I'm delighted that adding the tours enhanced your itinerary. I sincerely apologize for the disappointment you experienced with the hotels in San José. I understand that Costa Rica may not be as budget-friendly as commonly perceived, mostly when reducing the budget for accommodations in that area. It's regrettable that the hotels did not meet your... Read more

Hi Sheryl,

Thank you for your review and I am glad you enjoyed the trip we organized. I'm sure it truly was an incredible experience, and I'm delighted that adding the tours enhanced your itinerary.

I sincerely apologize for the disappointment you experienced with the hotels in San José. I understand that Costa Rica may not be as budget-friendly as commonly perceived, mostly when reducing the budget for accommodations in that area. It's regrettable that the hotels did not meet your expectations and fell short of what you had envisioned. Nevertheless, we're really happy that you had a good trip, and I'm sure you'll always keep Costa Rica in your hearts.

Phil

A nicely catered and tailored vacation - great excursions
Costa Rica | Nov 11 - Nov 19, 2023

Traci
Traci V.
Seattle, WA | Reviewed on Dec 08, 2023
We initiated and finalized our travel planning with a woman who left KimKim before our travels began. Phil took over and was very responsive and helpful during our trip. One day we had to cancel our tour due to rain and he made all the calls immediately to obtain a reimbursement for us. We learned when we got to Costa Rica that mornings are best for tours but our original planner scheduled many tours in the afternoon - when you see less animals and are more likely to get rained on. That... Read more

We initiated and finalized our travel planning with a woman who left KimKim before our travels began. Phil took over and was very responsive and helpful during our trip. One day we had to cancel our tour due to rain and he made all the calls immediately to obtain a reimbursement for us. We learned when we got to Costa Rica that mornings are best for tours but our original planner scheduled many tours in the afternoon - when you see less animals and are more likely to get rained on. That was the type of insider travel coaching we were hoping to receive from KimKim when we decided to coordinate our travel plans - but apparently didn't get it. Had we worked with Phil from the get-go, it might have been a different story. Also - we traveled between several locations which on map don't seem that far away from one another and googlemaps indicated, for example, 100 miles. We assumed that it would be a 90-120 minute drive but it turned out to be nearly 300 because roads travel slow in Costa Rica. One day we were in a van traveling between locations for over six hours. This was unexpected and ate into vacation time for exploring, relaxing, and doing tours. Overall - we had a great trip, our accommodations were wonderful (and all had breakfast included which was great), and it was nice that everything was reserved and transportation was ready for us throughout our stay. Because we traveled to Costa Rica just before the busy season - almost all our tours were exclusive where we had the entire bus, boat, guide, or place to ourselves. We never felt rushed and really enjoyed the varied excursions that were arranged for us.

Local specialist: Phil Tardieu

Research accommodations before you go!
Costa Rica | Nov 11 - Nov 19, 2023

Tracie
Tracie D.
San Jose, CA | Reviewed on Nov 20, 2023
Costa Rica is a beautiful intricate layering of ecosystems, cultures, and people. The sunset tour on lake Arenal at the foot of the volcano was by far the favorite and not to be missed! Also the coffee chocolate tour and Maleku reservation. We had the best weather and most comfortable stay in La Fortuna. The cloud forest lodge was also an excellent accommodation in Monteverde. The food is amazing with incredible views and bird watching. Unfortunately it rained so heavily we were not able... Read more

Costa Rica is a beautiful intricate layering of ecosystems, cultures, and people. The sunset tour on lake Arenal at the foot of the volcano was by far the favorite and not to be missed! Also the coffee chocolate tour and Maleku reservation. We had the best weather and most comfortable stay in La Fortuna.

The cloud forest lodge was also an excellent accommodation in Monteverde. The food is amazing with incredible views and bird watching. Unfortunately it rained so heavily we were not able to enjoy our tours.

The end of our stay was a disappointment. The Hotel Naoz was about a 45 minute walk from the Mandrake reserve and the ocean . The rooms were very small and smelled of gas, and the amenities were lacking comfort. Soaps smelled medicinal in a bad way. The toilet paper was thin and rough to the touch. So bad that we asked to go back to our accommodations in San Jose. This was so unfortunate when we later learned of all the options at the opening of the Mandrake reserve that we could have stayed at instead. We booked well enough in advance that this could have been avoided had we been familiar with the area.

Phil was very helpful in getting us back to San Jose where we could enjoy the museums and markets and were back in the comfort of the Presidente hotel.

Hotel Reviews
Cloud Forest Lodge
Monteverde

Fabulous literally in the clouds!! Great trails, excellent food and with the amenities they have thought of everything.

Authenticity & Character
Great trails and animal cams so you can get an inside view of the wild life.
Location
Literally in the cloud forest above the trees.
Staff
Very informative about the culture, eco diversity and community.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Super clean high quality. Umbrellas, boots, everything you think you might need.
Hotel Naoz
Manuel Antonio

Accommodations are very small, amenities smell bad. 45 minute walk from the ocean and reserve entrance. Beds are uncomfortable, We could not bear to stay another night due to the smell of gas in our room. The staff was very nice, but we were unable to get a refund.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Nothing it is too far from the ocean and reserve.
Staff
Excellent staff not their fault if is just an unfortunate hotel.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Clean but horribly uncomfortable and smelly.
Hotel Presidente San Jose City Center
San José

Great hotel and location. Some of the rooms are small, but the amenities are of very good quality. Excellent breakfast and bar. Smelled lovely and decorated very well. The staff was friendly, knowledgable, and very helpful.

Authenticity & Character
Fun refurbished factory great character.
Location
Very central location and felt safe always.
Staff
Super kind and helpful!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Very clean and comfortable.
Hotel Los Lagos Spa & Resort
Fortuna

Fantastic, fun, lots to do!! Highly recommend. I would go back.

Authenticity & Character
The pools were over the top and walking trails easy to find with very good signage.
Location
Right at the base of the volcano with spectacular Views.
Staff
The staff was a little aloof but this may have been to respect privacy. Pool bar staff was excellent!!!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Very comfortable and clean highly recommend.
Activity Reviews
Coffee & Chocolate Farm Experience
Coffee & Chocolate Farm Experience
Arenal/La Fortuna

This was very interactive. Great for all ages, very informative and we got to see Sloths and monkeys. Not only taste but also make chocolate and coffee.

Quality of Experience
Very educational and interactive.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Kindness and always ready to answer wuestions.
Transport
Very reliable and timely.
Visit to Maleku Indigenous Reserve
Visit to Maleku Indigenous Reserve
Arenal/La Fortuna

This was a wonderful experience to be learning from the native people themselves. They were generous and kind.

Quality of Experience
Very special educational activities.
Food
Lical traditional food was delicious.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Their genuine kindness and joy in sharing their culture.
Transport
On time and shared knowledge on the way to the tour!!!
Sunset Cruise with Wine & Cheese on Lake Arenal
Sunset Cruise with Wine & Cheese on Lake Arenal
Arenal/La Fortuna

Wow, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the volcano up close and personal. Very relaxing, excellent views and opportunities to see the wildlife. An array of beverages to choose from and a lovely cheese platter.

Quality of Experience
Perfect sunset and views!
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Super friendly and knowledgable!!
Transport
On time and helpful.
Local specialist: Phil Tardieu
Phil
Phil Tardieu
Local specialist in Costa Rica | Replied on Nov 27, 2023
Hi Tracie! Thanks a lot for dropping that awesome comment on our website! We're thrilled you had a great time exploring our beautiful country. Assisting you with it was a pleasure, and I'm sure you're taking home wonderful and priceless memories. About Noaz Hotel in Manuel Antonio – we're sorry about the hassle. You're right, the 35-minute trek (2.2 km) to Espadilla Beach is a bit much, however there are buses that get there in just 7 minutes and they practically stop at the hotel's... Read more

Hi Tracie!

Thanks a lot for dropping that awesome comment on our website! We're thrilled you had a great time exploring our beautiful country. Assisting you with it was a pleasure, and I'm sure you're taking home wonderful and priceless memories.

About Noaz Hotel in Manuel Antonio – we're sorry about the hassle. You're right, the 35-minute trek (2.2 km) to Espadilla Beach is a bit much, however there are buses that get there in just 7 minutes and they practically stop at the hotel's doorstep. Taxis are another quick fix.

Also, when we were arranging your move to San José, we wish you'd let us know about your dissatisfaction with the Naoz Hotel. It would've made a big difference when we tried to get a refund for that early checkout. We could've reimbursed you, the same way we did with the activity you had planned that very same day! 🙂

I sincerely apologize once more for any inconveniences experienced towards the conclusion of your journey. Nevertheless, I am genuinely pleased that, on the whole, you found the adventure amazing and a fabulous experience.

Can't wait to see you back around here soon!

Phil

Costa Rica is a fun, fabulous country to travel
Costa Rica | Jun 22 - Jul 10, 2023

Pip
Pip S.
New Zealand | Reviewed on Jul 15, 2023
Overall our trip was a fabulous experience. We had some wonderful interactions with local people, some fantastic accommodation and the National Parks were some of the best I have ever seen. Highlights: Tortegeuro eco lodge (guide Oliver was funny, informative and well organised). The lodge was in an
incredible location and the wildlife was amazing
La Fortuna thermal pools and walk to the volcano (also a great guide with very good local...
Read more

Overall our trip was a fabulous experience. We had some wonderful interactions with local people, some fantastic accommodation and the National Parks were some of the best I have ever seen.

Highlights: Tortegeuro eco lodge (guide Oliver was funny, informative and well organised). The lodge was in an
incredible location and the wildlife was amazing
La Fortuna thermal pools and walk to the volcano (also a great guide with very good local knowledge)
Horseback ride Tamarindo through the forest and on to the beach was lovely and the beaches were beautiful
Zip lining and Cloud Forest walk Monte Verde (incredible being above and amongst the rainforest canopy).
Manuel Antonia national park walk (guide Roy was brilliant and the wildlife was incredible)
Corocavardo national park walk (again amazing flora and fauna and wildlife)

Disappointments: Whale and dolphin watching when there were no whales or dolphins and were never going to be at
the time of year. (would have like to see the famous waterfall near here instead if we were going to be
in Domincal)
Snorkeling from Tamarindo pretty much nonexistent
Danaus park night walk ( saw one frog and the guide was on his phone most of the time)
Snorkel at Cano Island the guide took amazing underwater videos of the sharks and turtles and
promised to send on whatsap but never did

Some really big issues were the lack of information on our itinerary. We often found that we didn't have any information about what we were doing, time frames for trips and what exactly was included in the day.

The hire car company Mapache was dreadful: we were given a very old front wheel drive tiny vehicle when we had booked a 4 wheel drive larger vehicle and on several occasions this vehicle was dangerous and inadequate for our trip. We were told to leave the vehicle full of petrol at the drop off and spot and when we arrived on empty there were no petrol stations for 25K so we had to hand fill our car from plastic drums and only out of the kindness of a local was this possible. Also we were not given any maps and the car had no navigation system so we took a lot of wrong turns.

We would definitely recommend Costa Rica as a fun, fabulous travel destination. Our trip covered a lot a beautiful areas and we found the local people helpful and interesting. Self drive was easy and gerat to be able to stop wherever we wanted.

Local specialist: Phil Tardieu
Phil
Phil Tardieu
Local specialist in Costa Rica | Replied on Aug 05, 2023
Dear Pip, Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are thrilled to hear that overall, you had a fabulous experience and enjoyed wonderful interactions with the local people, fantastic accommodations, and breathtaking National Parks. It brings us great joy to know that you found several highlights during your journey. We sincerely apologize for the disappointments you faced during the whale and dolphin watching, while is true that it wasn’t the whales’ season, it is normal to watch dolphins... Read more

Dear Pip,

Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are thrilled to hear that overall, you had a fabulous experience and enjoyed wonderful interactions with the local people, fantastic accommodations, and breathtaking National Parks. It brings us great joy to know that you found several highlights during your journey.

We sincerely apologize for the disappointments you faced during the whale and dolphin watching, while is true that it wasn’t the whales’ season, it is normal to watch dolphins in the area. We’re sorry that the Tamarindo snorkeling didn’t meet your expectations and that you didn’t have any luck with the Danaus Park night walk, normally you can watch a lot more animals than that.

About what you mentioned as the lack of communication regarding your itinerary, I’ve reviewed again your roadbook and it seemed very precise, every activity day by day, and hour by hour was included, as well as all the information of each reservation and the borrowers’ contact information. Would it be possible that you didn’t click on the hyperlinks to see the Google map and information about each place? We understand how important it is to have accurate information and experiences that meet your expectations, and we are truly sorry about your inconformity. With this being said, I also offered you a few times to make a phone/video call so we could discuss a bit better the itinerary.

Regarding the car hire experience with Mapache, we are deeply sorry for the inconvenience and safety concerns you encountered. This is certainly not the level of service we aim to provide, and we are already waiting for their response to that. We work a lot with them, they have very reasonable prices and never had any incidents with them. However please note that the navigation system is rented apart and has a cost extra, which in our opinion is not worth it since these devices don’t work as well as mobile phone applications such as Google Maps or Waze.

Despite the challenges, we are grateful that you would still recommend Costa Rica as a fun and fabulous travel destination. We appreciate your kind words about the beautiful areas you explored and the helpful and interesting local people you encountered.

Once again, thank you for choosing us to be part of your journey.

All yours,
Phil, QBR Team

The Emanuel Antonio Nation Park Tour led by R...
Costa Rica | Jun 22 - Jul 10, 2023

A
Anna S.
Australia | Reviewed on Jul 13, 2023

The Emanuel Antonio Nation Park Tour led by Roy (Estelle Tours) was fantastic. Roy was personable, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

The whole trip was wonderful.

Local specialist: Phil Tardieu
Phil
Phil Tardieu
Local specialist in Costa Rica | Replied on Aug 05, 2023
Thank you so much for your kind words! We are thrilled to hear that you had a fantastic experience during the trip. It's wonderful to know that you like Estelle and she was personable, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic, which surely made the trip even more enjoyable for you. We take pride in providing memorable experiences to our guests, and your feedback is truly appreciated. Your satisfaction is our ultimate goal, and we are delighted that you had a wonderful time throughout Costa Rica! If... Read more

Thank you so much for your kind words! We are thrilled to hear that you had a fantastic experience during the trip. It's wonderful to know that you like Estelle and she was personable, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic, which surely made the trip even more enjoyable for you.

We take pride in providing memorable experiences to our guests, and your feedback is truly appreciated. Your satisfaction is our ultimate goal, and we are delighted that you had a wonderful time throughout Costa Rica!

If you have any other comments or suggestions, please feel free to share them with us. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back on another adventure soon!

Once again, thank you for choosing our tour, and we wish you many more fantastic journeys ahead!

Phil was polite, responsive and courteous thr...
Costa Rica | Jan 2 - Jan 10, 2023

cathal
cathal y.
Ireland | Reviewed on Jan 13, 2023
Phil was polite, responsive and courteous throughout my trip. However, a few things could have been better planned and the last day was quite frustrating. My 8-day solo trip had 3 legs which started off in La Fortuna, then onto Manuel Antonio and finishing off In Corcovado National Park. Phil did an amazing job arranging a car rental pick up and drop off at specific locations which really helped my journey. He also very kindly helped with the flight back to San Jose from Drake on the... Read more

Phil was polite, responsive and courteous throughout my trip. However, a few things could have been better planned and the last day was quite frustrating. My 8-day solo trip had 3 legs which started off in La Fortuna, then onto Manuel Antonio and finishing off In Corcovado National Park.

Phil did an amazing job arranging a car rental pick up and drop off at specific locations which really helped my journey. He also very kindly helped with the flight back to San Jose from Drake on the last day after I realised I had booked the wrong flight time. Thanks!

Unfortunately, I was given the wrong international dialling code so I wasn’t able to get Phil on WhatsApp until day 3. During this time he was not contactable on the KimKim platform either. It got sorted out eventually.

The Volcano Hotel Inn at La Fortuna was pretty basic to be honest and didn’t have any hot water for the shower. Spending $3,000 I would have expected a little bit of a higher standard. What lacked in quality was made up somewhat for a location as I had a breathtaking view of the Arenal Volcano from my room. The Baldi hot springs were super cool and highly recommended. I was disappointed that the waterfall tour was cancelled because of a lack of numbers and I would have liked an alternative to being arranged rather than a refund.

The next leg of my journey was a 9-hour drive to Manuel Antonio. In hindsight, I think this could have been planned better. I was able to break up the journey by stopping off at the La Paz waterfall which was beautiful and the crocodile bridge which was also cool. Then I was privileged to see a family of 9 whales on the afternoon whale-watching tour at Uvita. I didn’t realise I had to double back on myself to Manuel Antonio with another 2-hour drive. This left me absolutely exhausted when I checked into my hotel.

The Manuel Antonio hotel was fine, nothing spectacular but again the location was superb as I was right on the beach. There was a degree of noise outside my room with loud music coming from a local market across the way a few yards away. The itinerary said I should book a ticket for the local national park but when I got there it was already booked out for the next 2 days. I wished Phil had booked this for me in advance and can’t understand why it wasn’t.

The final leg of the journey started in Rancho Corcovado in Drake Bay but I had to pay for the ferry boat to get there. Phil kindly refunded me this fee. The hotel was right on the beach and the location is truly spectacular. The instructions for the pick up the next morning for Corcovado could have been better as the hotel manager didn’t know where I was getting picked up and Phil had some vague direction that it would be from the beach I was on.

I thought I was spending 2 nights inside the remote parts of the park but I only found out on day 2 that this wasn’t the case because there was no room for me at any station in the park. I felt let down when I found this out. I thought I had given KimKim and Phil enough time to arrange for this. I was very disappointed that I never received any communication about this. On day 1, this was the highlight of the whole trip. I saw so much wildlife and took many pictures. Our guide was amazing and had so knowledgeable about everything. He had a telescope with him and was able to zoom in on every animal so we could see everything in amazing clarity. The people on my tour were great and so friendly.

Day 2 of the trip started out with more wildlife watching, which is what I came for. Amazing! I was then told then the group would depart around 11, and I would be on my own with the guide which would turn into “more of a hike”. This was not clear in the itinerary as it mentioned “backyard station” which I took to mean a station inside Corcovado. This was not the case. There was also confusion about my large bag which I had kept on me and even hiked for 2 KM with on my back on day 1. In my opinion, it should really have been left behind in Rancho Corcovado but the communication on this wasn’t there, and at the last second I was told to leave it on the boat at San Pedrillo. I didn’t have time to really get anything out of my large bag to bring with me on the hike.

And so, to the “hike” which was very intense and very difficult through some very thick and dense forest. There wasn’t much of a trail and it was very muddy even for the dry season. As we were gaining altitude it was noticeable how little wildlife there is up here as they like lowland terrain just like humans. I really didn’t enjoy this at all, and the last thing I wanted on my last day on holiday before 20 hours of flying back to Ireland, was a workout like this.

I was very warmly welcomed at the lodging that evening, and while I had my own room, I couldn’t believe there was no mosquito netting around the windows, it was completely open. Even my guide said he had complained previously about this and was told there are no mosquitos around here. How wrong that was. I woke up the next morning with lots of mosquito bites, and for another gruelling hike back towards Drake Bay. It was really disappointing that I felt I only got half a Corcovado 2-night experience.

Overall, Costa Rica is a beautiful country with amazing people and I would have no reservations about recommending it as a destination for other travellers. My expectation was slightly off given some of the accommodation. Using KimKim on the whole was a useful experience. I guess where I feel let down is in some of the finer details which I was hoping I didn’t need to micromanage so closely.

Hotel Review
Hotel Manuel Antonio

The Volcano Hotel Inn at La Fortuna was pretty basic, to be honest and didn’t have any hot water for the shower. Spending $3,000 I would have expected a little bit of a higher standard. What lacked quality was made up somewhat for a location as I had a breath taking view of the Arenal Volcano from my room

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
The impressive Fortuna Waterfall
The impressive Fortuna Waterfall
Arenal/La Fortuna

Didn't happen because there was not enough people to fill the tour

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Whale & Dolphin Watching Tour (seasonal)
Whale & Dolphin Watching Tour (seasonal)
Costa Rica

Absolutely amazing. Really amazing guides and very professional. I was honoured to see so many whales!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Corcovado Reserve Package - 2 nights
Corcovado Reserve Package - 2 nights
Corcovado National Park

I thought I was spending 2 nights inside the remote parts of the park but I only found out on day 2 that this wasn’t the case because there was no room for me at any station in the park. I felt let down when I found this out. I thought I had given KimKim and Phil enough time to arrange for this. I was very disappointed that I never received any communication about this. On day 1, this was the highlight of the whole trip. I saw so much wildlife and took many pictures. Our guide was amazing and had so knowledge about everything. He had a telescope with him and was able to zoom in on every animal so we could see everything in amazing clarity. The people on my tour were great and so friendly. Day 2 of the trip started out with more wildlife watching, which is what I came for. Amazing! I was then told then the group would depart around 11, and I would be on my own with the guide which would turn into “more of a hike”. This was not clear in the itinerary as it mentioned “backyard station” which I took to mean a station inside Corcovado. This was not the case. There was also confusion about my large bag which I had kept on me and even hiked for 2 KM with on my back on day 1. In my opinion it should really have been left behind in Rancho Corcovado but the communication on this wasn’t there, and at the at the last second I was told to leave it on the boat at San Pedrillo. I didn’t have time to really get anything out of my large bag to bring with me on the hike. And so, to the “hike” which was very intense and very difficult through some very thick and dense forest. There wasn’t much of a trail and it was very muddy even for the dry season. As we were gaining altitude it was noticeable how little wildlife there is up here as they like lowland terrain just lie humans. I really didn’t enjoy this at all, and the last thing I wanted on my last day on holiday before 20 hours of flying back to Ireland, was a workout like this. I was very warmly welcomed at the lodging that evening, and while I had my own room, I couldn’t believe there was no mosquito netting around the windows, it was completely open. Even my guide said he had complained previously about this and was told there are no mosquitos around here. How wrong that was. I woke up the next morning with lots of mosquito bites, and for another gruelling hike back towards Drake Bay. It was really disappointing that I felt I only got half a Corcovado 2 night experience.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Baldi Hot Springs & Meal
Baldi Hot Springs & Meal
Arenal/La Fortuna

The Baldi hot springs were super cool and highly recommended.

Quality of Experience
Food
Very Basic Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Phil Tardieu
Phil
Phil Tardieu
Local specialist in Costa Rica | Replied on Feb 10, 2023
Hi Cathal! Thank you very much for taking the time to provide this detailed feedback, without a doubt it helps us a lot to improve our service and to improve the choice of partners for the tours we hire. Also, thank you again for entrusting us with your vacations. We are aware that it is a great responsibility that we have, from the moment the traveler decides to hire our services, I know that it is difficult not to be satisfied with Costa Rica and its exotic fauna and stunning nature, but... Read more

Hi Cathal!

Thank you very much for taking the time to provide this detailed feedback, without a doubt it helps us a lot to improve our service and to improve the choice of partners for the tours we hire.

Also, thank you again for entrusting us with your vacations. We are aware that it is a great responsibility that we have, from the moment the traveler decides to hire our services, I know that it is difficult not to be satisfied with Costa Rica and its exotic fauna and stunning nature, but I hope that in general terms you have been satisfied with our organization of the trip.

I have to say that I do not agree with the way you have evaluated us since we have always been with you every time you have contacted us during the day, you have requested modifications and very specific events in the middle of the high season that we have been able to arrange for you. Also, you rated us with 1/5 stars on the guided tour to the Fortuna waterfall because you did not do the tour as we had told you from the beginning, that possibility existed since you were traveling alone and the tours need a minimum of 2 people to be able to open. However, we gave you all the information and we even tried to convince you to do it alone since you can also enjoy it a lot. To me, that’s a bit unfair.

As far as Corcovado is concerned, you were looking for a very specific combo of days of a lot of adventure through the national park, where there are very few amenities. We sent you the specified schedule with each activity day by day, and according to the company, it was carried out to the letter.

Although it was the first time we used this combo because it is quite unusual and adventurous, we have a lot of working with this tour company in Corcovado and our travelers have always been very satisfied with their services.

referring to your points:
-the code area, was undoubtedly a bad mistake from our end, at the end it was a typo but we have no excuse for this. However you could always contact the Kim Customer Service so they could reach us or take care of the situation, We were able to get in contact with you the very same day.
- Regarding the Volcano Inn, we find it unacceptable that it did not have hot water, we have contacted them so that they give us an account regarding this; We would have liked you to let us know at the time so that we can make a claim
- Regarding la Fortuna Waterfall, as we told you, it was one of the disadvantages of traveling alone; many tours are not opened by a single person unless that person pays double the tour. However, we suggested doing it without a guide which is possible and also worth it.
- Regarding the 9-hour journey that you mention, we are a little dismayed by what happened, and we are convinced that something was not done right. These are routes that we do a lot for many travelers, and that we have done ourselves, so they are not that many hours... From La Fortuna to Manuel Antonio is about 4h50 and we included the Google Maps link with each journey. Then it was 1h10 later to Manuel Antonio.

Congratulations on seeing the family of 9 whales, I am Tico and I have not had the opportunity to see so many, I am very happy for you that despite so many hours of travel you had these rewards.

-I am sorry about Manuel Antonio National Park, buying the ticket is very easy and it's actually cheaper if you do it on your own, however, I forgot to ask you if you’d like us to purchase it for you. It was not done basically so that travelers could better choose the entry time since this has to be chosen in advance.

Finally, I hope you liked the country very much and you had an unforgettable experience.

All the best,

Phil