Great with a couple of early issues. 4 1/2 stars, really.
Jul 12 - Jul 21, 2022
This was tough to judge. Would like to give 4 1/2 stars. We had some issues and frustrations, particularly at the start of the trip. But - those all seemed to stem from the fact that KimKim had to swap out our representative a day or two before our trip started. As a result, some things got dropped or mis-communicated. Once we got further into the trip, things were much more smooth. All in all, it meant our arrival and first night were bumpy, and the start of the second day was messy, but after that, things were pretty great. So, summary advice: DO use KimKim, they put together a terrific vacation. But if they change out your contact/specialist, DO take some time to review the trip details with the new person, particularly things that were in emails or chat that didn't get added to the actual trip plan document.
Great vibe, great location, lovely little pool, just a really good fit for us. Monkeys, lizards and exotic birds on the grounds all the time. The restaurant doesn't have the deepest menu, but the food is _fantastic_. Would stay here again, no question. One small warning: in the restaurant, particularly at breakfast, avoid the corners of the sitting area furthest from the kitchen. The flies there are insufferable. Deeper into the seating area, things are fine.
We went here at the start of a trip, got in late, left early. Didn't really get to evaluate much about the hotel, but what we saw was good. Five stars because they were accommodating (despite our late arrival). Helpful (which we needed because we were sleep-deprived and exhausted, and patient (which we needed because we were grumpy from the delays and other complications that made us late.
It's perfect if it's what you are looking for. This isn't about creature comforts. The path up from the boats to the hotel is steep, slippery and long. You'll be staying in a stifling hot cabin or a noisy, simple platform tent. Everything gets damp and stays that way. Meals are picked for you - there's no menu. No TV, viable internet or cell coverage. But if you are here to be here, to see Osa and Corcovado park, you're in the right place. Everything is astonishingly, endlessly beautiful. Scarlet Macaws nest in trees right on the grounds. Troops of Howler and Capuchin monkeys wander through all day and night. The forest, the ocean, the flowers -- this is the place to sit and soak it all in. If you want to see Osa, and be a part of Osa, this is a great place.
We weren't here very long, arrived fairly late and left fairly early. We enjoyed our stay, but there are couple of things worth mentioning: * This is a slightly odd layout. Everything wraps around a smallish courtyard. The pool area covers most of the courtyard, and the restaurant seating spills out into the courtyard. The result is that everything feels kind of packed together, and you if your room opens to the inside area, you can hear pretty much everything in the building. It's cool and exciting for large groups, who get to be "together" even when they are in different places. I saw a couple of such groups here, and they were clearly having a great time. You might enjoy it less if your schedule depended on getting some sleep earlier than 10pm or later than 7am. * The restaurant was pretty great, with a deeper and more subtle dinner menu than your average hotel. * It's tough to find, even for San Jose. Parking is even trickier - it's across the street from the hotel, and you really have to plan in order to be able to get there without circling a few blocks.
We did nature hikes in Monteverde, Corcovado, and here. Much to our surprise, Manuel Antonio was the clear winner for variety of wildlife, educational content, and overall enjoyment. Coati, monkeys, huge spiders, snakes, a variety of birds, lizards, and an up-close encounter with a sloth. Don't miss this hike!
I have a life-long, irrational fear of horses. I agreed to do this only as a trade-off to get my kids to try some other things on our trip. Much to my utter surprise, I had a great time. Our guides were patient and very clear with their instructions. They kept a pace that we could manage. We went through terrain that we never could have navigated on foot, and it was just amazing. I got my horse all the way up to a trot a couple of times. I can't say I'm cured. Horses still seem crazy to me. But, if they could deliver 2 hours of exhilaration for me, I expect they can do that for just about anyone.
Some great wildlife! Can't complain about that, really. We saw big coati family, a couple of agouti, a tapir, lots and lots of monkeys. But, I suspect we could have seen a lot more, and would have on a normal tour, but something odd was going on when we were there. Our guide spent a lot of time just _waiting_. Not sure for what. We waiting 15 minutes before getting started, then walked back and forth over the same 100 feet of trail for another 30 minutes with no obvious explanation. We paused and talked to another guide for 15 minutes later. We hung around at Sirena Station for much, much longer than planned. We headed back to the boats 20 minutes early. The end result is that we only spent about 90 minutes actively looking and exploring. I think this was unusual, some mix-up. Maybe a guide didn't show up? In any case, I'd still strongly recommend this tour, but I think we caught them on an off day.
I wanted to give this one star, because I was terrified the whole time and never really got to the point where I enjoyed myself, but that's just me and my fear of heights. The rest of my group had an amazing time. The guides were fantastic. They were very visibly obsessed with safety, which helped keep my panic to a minimum. They joked around with the kids, were patient with me and my wife, and generally did everything conceivable to maximize our enjoyment. Not their fault that it didn't work for me. Also - they used our cameras to get phenomenal number of great videos. I suspect we'll be watching those for decades.
I tired out after the first set of dives, but the kids kept going for another hour or more. Lots of great fish (including pufferfish!), sharks, some folks saw turtles. For me, the highlight was floating peacefully while hearing whales sing somewhere out at sea.