Totally customized 2 week family trip to Costa Rica (10 Jul - 23 Jul)
Costa Rica | Jul 10 - Jul 23, 2022

A
Anna L.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Aug 02, 2022

We've just come back from an amazing trip with another family to Costa Rica. Planned and supported by Yuliana, KimKim and Amazilia throughout. Fantastic service from start to end. Thank you Yuliana and KimKim/Amazilia.

From the moment I contacted KimKim with a speculative query, KimKim’s responsiveness was immediately apparent.

A local agent was assigned to help me plan the trip within 24 hours and thereafter, all queries were responded to, at maximum within 24 hours, or within... read more

We've just come back from an amazing trip with another family to Costa Rica. Planned and supported by Yuliana, KimKim and Amazilia throughout. Fantastic service from start to end. Thank you Yuliana and KimKim/Amazilia.

From the moment I contacted KimKim with a speculative query, KimKim’s responsiveness was immediately apparent.

A local agent was assigned to help me plan the trip within 24 hours and thereafter, all queries were responded to, at maximum within 24 hours, or within minutes if my queries were sent within office hours of Costa Rica time zone, which I've noticed can often run to 7 or 8pm local time. Our minds were made up to choose KimKim to help plan our holiday within the first few interactions and supported by the excellent reviews they've received for trips all over the world.

We were not disappointed. Yuliana was the local agent assigned to us, she has been professional, helpful, and responsive throughout; irrespective of the number of questions I had and boy, I had a few questions as we knew very little about Costa Rica. Whilst there were a few tweaks to her draft trip plan, it had met the brief straightaway. We played around with hotels, number of nights at each destination and activities to suit our families. We had some specific requirements and date constraints as two of our teenagers were volunteering at a Turtle conservation centre in Uvita, in week one, therefore we had to fit in with their timeline. Yuliana helped us arrange the private transfer to collect them up from the conversation centre before picking the rest of the party up to our onward destination. She changed things around, provided additional options or clear feedback on suggestions where things may not suit, we really valued the honesty and her local knowledge.

The trips and transfers were done with a mixture of providers but we felt reassured that KimKim/Amazilia were there in San Jose to support if there were issues. The trip ran like clockwork, transfers were prompt, activities were enriching and fun and the guides were knowledge and entertaining. There were only a couple of hiccups which were not the fault of KimKim but they were on the case promptly and helped us resolve.

Hotel Reviews
Parador Resort and Spa
Manuel Antonio

A large hotel, with beautiful ground and great facilities - multiple pools, 3 restaurants including a sushi bar, it's own crazy golf course and monkey trail. Rooms were not the biggest but adequate and well equipped. Small balcony, looking onto the courtyard. A wonderful local beach, Playa Biesanz which is walking distance but quite a steep walk. We felt the hotel was very security conscious, all entries and exits were questioned and confirmed for vehicles and pedestrian. Great ocean views. We loved the Pedro, the resident iguana!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Up a very steep hill, which put us off venturing out to try the local restaurants.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Rooms were clean and comfortable, however, there was a faint damp smell to the linen.
Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco
Monteverde Costa Rica

Not the biggest hotel. More basic than the previous two we'd stayed in. We ended up being allocated a room without air con although it did have a fan. The hotel room was quite small but adequate. Storage was a bit of a challenge in that the hanging space was limited, within a short cupboard where my husband was not able to hang his shirt up without being crumpled. We had an issue with our plumbing which was quickly rectified. The grounds were very well maintained with beautiful planting. The hotel had a covered pool area with a good bar, a large jacuzzi and a large fire pit with seating which were popular in the evenings. There was a short walking trail around the grounds and plenty of outdoor seating, which I made use of to compensate for the smaller rooms. It's the only hotel out of 5 that had a menu option for breakfast, which was lovely.

Authenticity & Character
lovely grounds, with plenty of outdoor seating and a walking trail within the grounds. It was also very handy to have ramp access for the heavy cases on check out!
Location
Great location for access to Santa Elena, where we were able to sample the local bars and restaurants of which there are many.
Staff
responsive and friendly
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Arenal Springs Resort & Spa
Fortuna

Lovely hotel set in a lot of grounds. I like the lodge arrangements that was separate to the pool and restaurants. Good choice of restaurants, we particularly liked the Italian, the Sushi bar and the snack menu which was offered during the day. There was plenty of choice for breakfast and the service time from 6:30 helped with several of our early morning excursions. We preferred the evening meals from the other restaurants on site. There was a mix up upon checking where my acceptance of an upgrade for one of the rooms turned out to be a change the hotel had made, reducing our 3 room requirement to a single room which was upgraded to the Master Suite. Whilst this did come with a double room, it would not have worked accommodating with 2 families, 7 people. The hotel did insisted that we had to settle for this arrangement as they were full, fortunately KimKim were already on the case and by the time we went back to reception after assessing the room. Arenal Springs did provide us with another double room which we made work. That was an unfortunate start to an otherwise wonderful stay at Arenal Springs. We all loved the daily towel displays and chocolates and the Master Suite was luxurious with two in-room jacuzzis powered by Hot Springs, an indoor and outdoor shower and a hammock with a view of Arenal Volcano.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hampton Inn & Suites San Jose Airport
Alajuela

Good hotel, room size and facilities as you'd expect of a large chain.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Very convenient for the airport and the free shuttle was handy
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel & Spa
Playa Ballena

Cristal Ballena is one of our favourites on the trip. The hotel was fairly small therefore an intimate feel. It was tucked away off the main road and had amazing views, floral, fauna and wildlife. We got best close up view of a sloth of the whole holiday at Cristal Ballena. The staff were attentive, the food was good. We had dinner at the hotel on all 3 nights we were there. Rooms were of a good size, with air con. We had a balcony with a view into the the hotel grounds, swimming pool, the ocean in the distance for incredible sunsets.

Authenticity & Character
Relatively small and intimate, with great staff.
Location
Tucked away from the main road. Well maintained and beautiful gardens. It would be 5 star if the beach was a bit more accessible. Great views and sunsets.
Staff
Friendly and attentive. They would often come over to let us know if wildlife had been spotted.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Clean and comfortable.
Activity Reviews
Whales & Dolphins Boat Tour in Marino Ballena National Park
Costa Rica

A great adventure with a relatively small group. We were rewarded with sightings of plenty of dolphins and a turtle, even though the whales didn't make an appearance on that day. We liked the way the guide was in communication with all the other boats out with the same purpose so if one boat spotted wildlife, the others would rush to the same spot so others could also. It brought an additional element of excitement to the tour. We particularly loved the way the tour started and ended, where the passengers had to enter the boat from the beach rather than a jetty and surfing the waves to get back onto the beach! What fun. The fresh fruit was a nice touch.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Damas Island Mangrove Kayaking
Costa Rica

Thanks Alain and the other guides for a wonderful experience. We saw lots of wildlife, had enough freedom to go at our own pace although there were some quite competitive kayaks :). We appreciated the food at the end of kayaking.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Hike
Costa Rica

Thank you to our wonderful guide, Carla for spotting all the wildlife (we don't know how you manage to see some of the well camouflaged insects and animals), flora and fauna and particularly for help us take some tremendous photographs through your binoculars with our smart phones.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Sloth Watching Tour
Arenal/La Fortuna

We spotted 7 in all, two and three toed sloth. We also saw plenty poison dart frogs, a Jesus Christ Lizard, howler monkeys and a tiger heron. Thank you to our knowledgeable guide and the local spotter who'd spent hours before tracking down the animals.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Guided Hanging Bridges Hike
Monteverde

Thank you to our guide Phillipe, we thoroughly enjoyed the tour. We learnt a lot about Costa Rica's eco system and climate. The transfer was a little confusing, as it was a bus full and no communication about where we had to go at the beginning so we joined the main queue, along with the other bus loads. However, all was clear when we got to reception. We were assigned Phillipe as our guide. It was really busy at the time so Phillipe suggested that we did the bridges backwards, ie. from 8 to 1 to avoid the crowds. That worked really well.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Night Tour at the Wildlife Refuge in Monteverde
Monteverde

3 star, not because we didn't see as much as we'd like but because our guide whilst informative was less conversational. Again, he tried to avoid the crowds and the searches felt a little desperate towards the end. That said, we did enjoy it and managed to capture great photos of a glass winged butterfly, pit viper, hummingbird amongst others. Thank you for providing torches.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Pick up was slightly late. We came to the realisation that this can happen where there are multiple pick ups. The buses can get very full which can be a challenge for those over 6 foot.
Arenal 1968 Hike & Visit to Ecotermales Hot Springs
Arenal/La Fortuna

Thank you Franklin, we believe he's one of the best. We were entertained. The teenagers even enjoyed the singing and the dad jokes ;). Hot and humid but we really enjoyed it. Franklin kept a good pace, although he did say at the beginning that we could ask him to slow down if we'd need him to. The heavens opened when we got to the thermal springs and for the most of our time in the springs but we enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

Quality of Experience
Food
Good choice
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Horseback Riding to the La Fortuna Waterfall
Arenal/La Fortuna

This was never going to be our favourite activity, as a group we're not experienced, therefore I don't review the horse riding part. The 3 star review is because of the mismatched in expectations around the La Fortuna Waterfall and optional opportunity to swim. We didn't expect this to be a hike (at least 30 mins) down steep steps (and back up for the return) to get to the waterfall. We were prepared for a short walk but not this level of difficulty. The walk also didn't bring us to the waterfall, whilst it was visible at the end of the walk. For those who had opted to swim, they can cross the water with a further short walk to get to the waterfall. For those who had opted not to swim, there was no way to get to the waterfall and there was nowhere to stand/sit and wait for the rest of the part. We collectively felt that this detail need to be reflected in the activity description.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Safari Floating by Raft at Peñas Blancas River
Arenal/La Fortuna

What a finale activity for us. Once again, our guide was brilliant, knowledgeable, full of humour and chat thank you Martin. We had to do a little bit of work but not a lot given the flow of the river. Our activity was made some what more exciting by an unplanned rescue of a couple of stranded kayakers (both were rescued, unharmed and laughed about their experience).

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Yuliana Valverde
Yuliana
Yuliana Valverde
Local specialist in San José, Costa Rica | Reviewed on Aug 02, 2022

Hi Anna,
I hope you are well.
I am so happy to know you have had a great experience with us, and you have collected beautiful memories with your family here.
Also, I hope the children had the best experience volunteering at a Turtle conservation center in Uvita.
It is great to read your comments and your experience during your stay here in Costa Rica. It is important to know how was everything during your stay.
I am sure it will help us to grow as a company and continue creating the best... read more

Hi Anna,
I hope you are well.
I am so happy to know you have had a great experience with us, and you have collected beautiful memories with your family here.
Also, I hope the children had the best experience volunteering at a Turtle conservation center in Uvita.
It is great to read your comments and your experience during your stay here in Costa Rica. It is important to know how was everything during your stay.
I am sure it will help us to grow as a company and continue creating the best experiences for all our visitors.
I appreciate your time to leave this amazing review.
I hope you could visit Costa Rica again in the future. 😊
Kind regards,
Yuliana