Stephanie

KimKim is perfect for a stress-free Costa Rica trip - May 1 - May 13, 2022

Traveler: Stephanie H. - Local specialist: Charlotte Törnqvist

We had Pablo from Arenal Star pick us up from the airport, show us around, and take us on tours the first few days of our trip. He was friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. He was wonderful! He brought us delicious fruit he grew himself, including a pineapple that took two years to grow! He also knew the best sodas to take us to eat. He had his friend, Victor take us on a hanging bridge tour that was amazing. We had a private tour, so could go slow , be quiet, and actually see animals... read more

We had Pablo from Arenal Star pick us up from the airport, show us around, and take us on tours the first few days of our trip. He was friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. He was wonderful! He brought us delicious fruit he grew himself, including a pineapple that took two years to grow! He also knew the best sodas to take us to eat. He had his friend, Victor take us on a hanging bridge tour that was amazing. We had a private tour, so could go slow , be quiet, and actually see animals instead of scaring them away or missing them. The other tour guides actually stopped to see what Victor was showing us. Victor had amazing spotting abilities. He actually saw a glass frog somehow on a leaf far away. The frog was transparent other than the eyes so he looked like an outline of a frog on a leaf. He showed us a red blue-jean dart frog, which was tiny, and a viper on a tree, which blended into the tree. We also saw bats and monkeys. Both Victor and Pablo helped us take pictures using their zoom scopes. Pablo showed us the only sloth we saw on our trip and got me a great photo of it. We wished we had Pablo for our whole trip. We also went on a safari raft trip. We saw bats, monkeys, owls, and of course lizards. Charlotte booked Los Lagos at Arenal for our first two nights and it was so nice. So many hot springs that we had our choice of many private. Breakfast was included and delicious. We were so lucky and got many pictures of the whole Arenal volcano! We even saw the top with steam clearly. Pablo also took us to a coffee tour that was great! He is a really good driver and a warm and caring person. We messed up on our ATV tour because we forgot we had locked our drivers licenses in the safe. It turned out ok though because they let us switch to an off road vehicle driven by a guide. It was fun and we saw some great mountain views but not much else. Our next transport driver and tour guide were Jose and Alejandro. We took a boat ride and saw Capuchin monkeys, bats, and many baby crocodiles. We ate at a hacienda on a sugar plantation which had a wonderful breeze, good views and great food. We asked for sangria and the server made it fresh for us. My only complaint is that I really wanted to stop at at least one local craft or artisan shop, but Alejandro said I could get that stuff at our resort on the beach. I explained that I wanted to buy from the artists and not a gift shop or mass produced, maybe not even Costa Rican made, type vendor. I said I wanted to buy wood crafts and maybe jewelry from a local place. There are those places, including a traditional pottery shop close to where we were. He insisted I would find it all on the beach. I had asked at the very beginning when they picked us up to make sure we had time, but I could tell he just didn't want to bother. I already know about pushy vendors on beaches and their string bracelets and trinkets and knew that's not what I wanted. The beach people were mostly pressuring us to get massages from them or to book a tour. The couple of vendors sold touristy beach scarves and cheap bracelets, just like I thought. I ended up buying a wood bowl at the gift shop for about $100 USD. I am disappointed because I was specifically looking for a jewelry box similar to a marked-up $540 USD one I saw in the hotel gift shop. Alejandro had binoculars he looked through to see things on the boat tour but used them for his own nature watching as if he were just another person on the tour. He pointed some things out but we really couldn't see them. The reason we saw anything up close was due to our boat driver pulling over and stopping. Maybe it was that Pablo and Victor set the bar high, but I wouldn't recommend Three Monkeys Tours (where Alejandro was from). I just felt like we were inconveniencing him. Our aereal tour was the worst of our tours, but not because of the tram, that was cool. It was just very strange. The guide would scare off frogs and then tell us what he had seen. We got a few glimpses. He stopped the tram to talk about the plants and trees even though he kept talking about the same ones. Then he took us through the medicinal and edible plants and did the same thing. He was nice, but he seemed like he didn't plan or know what was there. He would see a plant and say "oh another surprise" here is the such and such plant and then look around and randomly walk to and fro. Even at the top of the observation platform he said well you can see all the trees here, are you ready to go back down? At the end the gift shopped was closed, we weren't offered the option to grab snacks or drinks at their restaurant and we were not offered access to purchase the pictures they took of us. They obviously took the pictures to sell as they showed them on a screen and had a place you could buy them, but just shuffled us back onto the van. It was early in the day and there were only a handful of Zipliners there, so I am not sure why they wouldn't want to sell us souvenirs, pictures, snacks or beverages. The whole experience was strange, which everyone was saying on the van. The other two places we stayed were places we had booked. I would recommend KimKim to everyone because they listened to what we wanted and our limitations before our trip and helped us plan well, all our transportation was on time and reliable, Charlotte often checked on us throughout our trip, and we didn't have to worry about anything. The reviews I gave above really don't reflect on KimKim as they made sure we had the tours we asked for and made sure everything went smoothly.

Hotel Review

Hotel Los Lagos Spa & Resort

Fortuna

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

The rooms are huge and amazingly clean. The view of Arenal volcano is spectacular, the grounds are beautiful, and the hot springs and pools allow privacy and space. There are steep climbs, so that may not work for everyone, but I'm sure they would take mobility impaired guests up and down, as needed. Breakfast was great and the restaurant was so beautiful and relaxing in the shady, but open air.

Tips for future travelers

If you have trouble walking, call them first to discuss options.

Cleanliness & Comfort

Clean room, huge, air conditioner worked well
Staff

Nice
Authenticity & Character

Nature trail, beautiful landscaping
Location

The volcano is right in front of you. Other hiking and hot springs are close by. La Fortuna is not far.
Charlotte Törnqvist profile photo
Charlotte Törnqvist, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Stephanie,

I am glad to know that you enjoyed your Costa Rica vacation a lot. For us at Serendipity Adventures it was a pleasure to help you plan the first week of your vacation.
I thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review of the services included in your trip. It is very important for us to get reviews of the local operators we contract on behalf of our clients, and we will share your honest and constructive feedback with each of them.
Kind Regards,
Charlotte