Trip to Costa Rica
Feb 9 - Feb 22, 2019
Overall, our trip to Costa Rica met our expectations, aside from a small number of issues.
First, the good news. Randall and the KimKim team did a great job of planning a nice itinerary, and the hotels and activities were very good. The people of Costa Rica were delightful, and we had a fun trip. We especially enjoyed the zip-lining and the white-water rafting. The toucans and monkeys at Tortuguero were awesome.
Now to the issues.
We had a miscommunication with Randall on the maximum luggage weight for our internal flights. We thought the 40 lb limit was just checked luggage and that we could also carry on up to 10 additional lbs. The reality was that 40 lbs was the total weight limit, including both checked and carry-on luggage. So, we ended up having to pay for extra weight on all internal flights. Also, the airline, SANSA, told us that several tour operators had special arrangements to allow for extra weight, but that our operator was unknown to them, so we felt let down by this situation. This was not a huge issue, but it was a hassle, and could have been avoided, we feel. We did have an e-mail exchange with Randall about weight limits prior to our trip, but as far as my e-mail record shows, my question about total weight was not clearly answered.
Second, on the morning/afternoon of February 14, KimKim had planned for us to have a tour of the Hanging Bridges and La Fortuna Waterfall, plus lunch. The lunch turned out to be at the same restaurant as the dinner they had planned the night before, and it would have been nice to have a different restaurant for variety. But the real issue was that KimKim had planned for us to have a second tour that day, starting at 3:10 PM: a hike to the base of Arenal. We were really looking forward to this second event, but the problem is that by the time we had finished lunch and got back to our hotel from the first planned activity, it was almost 5 PM! Aside from being too tired from the active morning events to do a hike to Arenal, we were way too late for the second event. So, we felt that they had tried to cram in too much on this day, and it was impossible to have both excursions. The bottom line is that this day was not well thought out and we had to miss a planned (and I assume, paid-for) excursion.
Third, I want to mention that several of the planned activities during our trip involved being picked up and dropped back off by busses that made the rounds to several hotels and thus were filled with many people requiring multiple stops that take a lot of time. It would have been nice to have had private cabs or other transport so we didn't have to wait for other people (both pick-up and drop-off) at other hotels. Although we were always ready early for pick-ups, other guests were late, and so the entire bus-load got delayed. Not fun.
Finally, the KimKIm description of the food tour in San Jose was way off: the food courses that we got were far fewer that described, and we were all hungry after the tour. For examples, the description we were provided by KimKim (and which we got before deciding to purchase this tour), said we would "..try a Costa Rican-style hamburger made with delicious homemade tomato and achiote bread." We did not have a hamburger at all during our tour. Additionally, we did not have a guaro tasting nor any sangria as described in the detailed itinerary. We even asked about the sangria and the guide said that would cost extra. There were other differences as well. Our guide did tell us that he was anxious to get home for a big soccer match that evening, so perhaps we got a shortened version of the tour, and we were too tired from our international flight that morning to push back. But since this was supposed to be our dinner, we missed out on most of the food we were expecting! Our guide was nice and informative, but the tour was certainly far less than what was described.