La Pura Vida - a wonderful Costa Rica trip! - Jan 10 - Jan 22, 2022

Traveler: Marilyn L. - Local specialist: Adriana Prado

January 2022. Our trip to Costa Rica was wonderful. Adriana, our trip planner was amazing. In planning the trip, she modified the itinerary several times to fit our specific needs and was available to answer all our questions immediately before and during the trip. She even offered to check her email after her regular hours to assure our needs were met. I never felt we were alone without help if needed.

The hotel in Arenal, the Kioro , could not have been more perfect. The view of the... read more

January 2022. Our trip to Costa Rica was wonderful. Adriana, our trip planner was amazing. In planning the trip, she modified the itinerary several times to fit our specific needs and was available to answer all our questions immediately before and during the trip. She even offered to check her email after her regular hours to assure our needs were met. I never felt we were alone without help if needed.

The hotel in Arenal, the Kioro , could not have been more perfect. The view of the volcano from the room was phenomenal. One of our most memorable moments was seeing the volcano after the clouds finally cleared. Hotel staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The dinner meal at the poolside restaurant was delicious and included many local specialties. Franklin, the tour guide for the national park hike and the La Fortuna waterfall, (and our trusted driver, Gonzalos) was entertaining, informative and helpful. He went out of his way to try to try to find sloths, making extra stops along the way. And he helped us get an item in town that we needed. The 500 steps down to the waterfall are worth the prize at the end of the journey, even though the climb back up was challenging. Take some water with you for the climb back up. A couple hours to shop in La Fortuna is all you need and a nice place to gather souvenirs (as are some of the stops the drivers make in transport - good deals). Also some good dinner choices in La Fortuna. Note: no ATMs in the hotels, so get your cash in town.

Joshua was a great guide on the Frio River in Cano Negro tour and he really knew his facts. We saw beautiful birds, such as the blue heron, the Anhinga (native to CR), Wood-stork, and Amazon Kingfisher. Turtles, and Jesus Christ green lizards – named that because the literally fly across on top of the water. Oh, and huge iguanas! Caimans were sunning on the shores all over. The big treat, though, were the monkeys. Howler monkey families everywhere and we saw an adult w/a melanin mutation, causing him to be orange. There was also a baby with the same mutation which was white. Joshua had the boat docked so we could get a closer look and we got great photos through the telescope.

Zip line tour in Monteverdi was very fun! Another memorable moment. The staff that accompanied us throughout the tour deserve 5 stars. Friendly, helpful, reassuring, professional. A bit of climbing up and down steep stairs and about a total of 2 miles of hilly trails in between the zip lines, so be aware you need to be in shape if you are an older tourist. You can do the hanging bridges without a tour guide, but another 3 miles of up and down hilly trails. So, I’d recommend stopping for lunch in between zip lines and bridges.

Manuel Antonio area was another treat. The Parador Resort was 5 star +. Again, staff very friendly and took care of your every need. Beautiful ocean views and the rainforest was right in front of the property where you could take a 1/2 mile walk. We saw Congo monkeys in the trees, white-faced howlers (cappuccinos) and sloths and macaws right on the hotel property. Breakfasts offered many choices. Eat as much fresh fish as possible if that is to your liking - mahi-mahi, red snapper, sea bass - all fabulous. Take a private birding tour if possible. Our guide, Elias, was very informed and we saw fabulous, beautiful birds up close with the telescope (a must). The tour of the Manuel Antonio National Park can be very busy and you may or may not see some of the animals you are seeking, but the park is very lush and beautiful. The beaches are clean, with beautiful white soft sand and wonderfully warm waters. Very relaxing. We had a day without any tours and enjoyed this day on the beach. Can rent chairs and umbrellas for $10 USD for the day at the public beach. (No credit cards)

Tour guides, Warner (kayaking) and Mario (Manuel Antonio National Park) went way out of their way to help us when we had an unfortunate incident. They were extremely helpful.

A huge shout-out to our drivers during our private transports: Ricardo, from San Jose to Arenal; Wilson, Arenal to Monteverdi - (a treacherous journey across the mountain); Albarro, Monteverdi to Manuel Antonio; and our driver from Manuel Antonio to San Jose made sure our check-in at the hotel was seamless before he departed. Such caring service!

The people everywhere were warm and friendly. Breakfasts included every day and lunches with almost every tour, were very convenient and tasty! I would recommend this company to any traveler going to Costa Rica and will look into using them again for our next trip. Great job!

Hotel Review

Parador Resort and Spa

Manuel Antonio

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

Great staff, perfect location, fabulous ocean views. Perfect sunsets. Great food. Fish is fresh and delicious. The rainforest in front of the hotel allows amazing opportunities to see wild life right on hotel property! Junior suites offer so much room and comfort. Several pools to choose from, clean and relaxing. 5 star.

Tips for future travelers

Take the private birding tour (at 0600 -worth it), if possible. Phenomenal birds and informative guides. And the guide will get you fabulous close up photos through the telescope. And most of the tour is right on the property!

Location

Cleanliness & Comfort

Staff

Everyone acknowledges you and goes out of their way to help.
Authenticity & Character

Tropical setting, birds and sloths on the property. Classy.
Activity Review

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge Boat Tour

Arenal/La Fortuna

Overall Rating
Activity Review

It was amazing because we saw so much. The Jesus Christ lizard jumping over the water, the huge iguana, the howler monkeys, including those with mutations. And our guide went out of his way to dock the boat and get us to shore so we could view the monkeys up close. But, it would not have been fun if we missed these sitings 🙁. It’s a 2 hour trip each way, so makes for a long day. Lunch was included, and was very good.

Food

Authentic Costa Rican meal.
Transport

Nothing, really. It’s just a long journey to and from the river.
Guides, drivers and staff

Quality of Experience

Adriana Prado profile photo
Adriana Prado, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hello Marilyn,
Thank you for your nice pictures, comments, and your time to give us such extensive feedback on your experience in Costa Rica. I am very happy to know that the trip exceeded your expectations, that you enjoyed your time in our country with all the services we organized for you, and that you received excellent attention from all the guides and providers, making this a unique experience for you in this little Central American paradise. We hope that you will visit our country... read more

Hello Marilyn,
Thank you for your nice pictures, comments, and your time to give us such extensive feedback on your experience in Costa Rica. I am very happy to know that the trip exceeded your expectations, that you enjoyed your time in our country with all the services we organized for you, and that you received excellent attention from all the guides and providers, making this a unique experience for you in this little Central American paradise. We hope that you will visit our country again in the future and I will be delighted to help you organize a new adventure for you. :)
Kind regards from Costa Rica,
Adriana