Costa Rica - Pura Vida!
Costa Rica | Aug 13 - Aug 21, 2022

Donna G.
Chino Hills, CA | Reviewed on Sep 03, 2022

This was truly a vacation that was filled with fun, adventure, delicious food, wonderful people, beautiful nature and animals, peace of mind, and memories to last a lifetime! Thank you KimKim and especially Sergio for making this such a wonderful experience. I truly appreciated Sergio’s patience and perseverance as we carefully refined our itinerary!

When we landed at San Jose’ we found our driver easily. After a red-eye flight it was a treat to be driven to our first destination, Nayara Springs! We were greeted by Andreas and escorted to a comfortable chair in the lobby where we enjoyed a cool cloth to refresh and a sample of their delicious drinks. Here is where we checked in to our room and were introduced to the many amenities of this beautiful hotel. We enjoyed a delicious lunch overlooking the Arenal Volcano and infinity pool. Our room was more like a luxury apartment! Their were two vanity areas in the bathroom, an indoor shower, private outdoor shower, large bedroom and sitting area, private patio complete with lounge bed, table & chairs, hammock, plunge pool, and the most beautiful landscape complete with birds and other creatures that graced us with their presence! Our stay here was outstanding! All of the hotel staff were super friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. The head chef was friendly & made creative dishes. It was here that we had some of the most unique and delicious meals, and the service was exceptional! Above the lobby is where I was able to get some of my first Costa Rican Coffee! Amazing! Andreas was always available to help us and even found the sloth we so wanted to see! The hotel even surprised me with a happy birthday decoration, card, and champagne in our room when we arrived home from our first tour.

Kenneth Arenal Guide was awesome! He and Pablo (great driver) provided us with our Arenal Volcano Private Hike & La Fortuna Waterfall Tour. Kenneth was truly amazing as he shared his knowledge of Costa Rica and guided us to the base of the volcano. He brought his scope along and was very talented at taking photos and videos through it to share with us. Kenneth has a passion for his work and has an incredible ability to seek out all kinds of wildlife. We had a delicious snack that Pablo had prepared for us at the end of the hike, and then we headed for the Waterfall. The 500 steps down with the cool mist of the fall was peaceful, and we stopped to take more photos of course! Kenneth was always patient, helpful, and never rushed us. What a way to begin our tour experience! I highly recommend Kenneth and also left him a 5star review on Costa Rica Travel.

Safari Float at the Penas Blancas River was also a fun. We grabbed our paddles and enjoyed a float with a small group to observe more wildlife. The guides on this float were fun, informative, and also had a great ability to find alligators, iguanas, herons, and so much more! After, we enjoyed lunch and had our first intro into extracting the juice from the sugar cane. Lots of pictures! Lots of Fun!

The transfer to Monteverde I would categorize as fun! Our driver had a new vehicle which he took pride in, and was kind enough to make a couple of stops for us to get coffee. We were enjoying the music he played as he expertly avoided as many pot holes as possible. At one point we were all singing the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now” at the top of our lungs… we were truly “having such a good time”. :)

Senda Monteverde Hotel was like being nestled in a little mountain cabin. Again we were offered drinks when we arrived and the friendly staff checked us into our room. The rain that was promised finally arrived! We had quite a down pour, but we were thrilled to be safe in our room and enjoyed watching the rain. After all it was a perfect time to relax after our long drive. By the way… I give this hotel the “Softest Robe Award”! Truly the softest and coziest robes of all the places we stayed. There were even hot water bottles at night and complimentary snacks in our room. The bartender and servers here were so friendly that we enjoyed all of our meals here!

Sky Adventures Zip Lines & Hanging Bridges - YES! YES! YES! This is a definite must if one visits the Monteverde area. We definitely chose to enjoy the hanging bridges with a guide. Again the guide was instrumental to finding interesting creatures and fully enjoying the experience above the jungle canopy. The zip lines were truly exhilarating! What an adventure! Again - lots of photos…. Lots of laughs! The staff here works hard to make this a safe and fun experience.

Coffee & Chocolate Tour - Very enjoyable! It was nice to be in a small group. Our guide was so informative and we learned so much about coffee and chocolate. It was here where I felt I was able to learn more about the culture and people who work in these areas as well. Yes, we bought lots of coffee and chocolate for gifts … and ourselves too!

Transfer to Gulf of Papagayo - again another wonderful driver. He was super kind and stopped to show us monkeys and picked a small orchid for me along the roadside. At one stop we were able to see some beautiful McCaws too!

Casa Chameleon Hotel Las Catalinas was another gorgeous hotel with an incredible view of the ocean. Again we were welcomed with a refreshing cloth and special drink. Our luggage was carried to our room for us… thankfully! Fortunately we enjoy walking and hiking and the 75 steps down to our room … and back up….well… let’s just say we stayed in shape! Our room was well decorated, complimentary snacks and drinks, and even hot tea and treats were left at night! Here we experienced still more amazing staff, food, and scenery! The servers all work so hard! I looked forward to the delicious fruit plate, coffee, specialty juice, and pastries that were served every morning. There was also entertainment at night, and they made a delicious Negroni too! William at the front desk helped me to pack some gifts that I purchased there to take home safely. There were so many extra touches… ones that might go unnoticed… such as something as simple as insuring that when we were leaving for a tour that we were notified when the driver arrived and confirmed that it was the correct one. We really appreciated all of the kindness and thoughtfulness of the staff!

Wetlands Boat Ride and Rum Tasting at Hacienda El Viejo - loved this tour too for so many reasons. Carlos/Charlie was our driver and was friendly, patient, & thoughtful too! We enjoyed our time with him in the car and also at the Hacienda El Viejo. Our guide (Daniel, I think) was exceptional as well. Helping us to find more wildlife as we toured the wetlands by boat. After we took a side tour through another section not often traveled and were able to spot so many more birds and even a rare Jabiru’! After another delicious lunch we walked down to meet our tour guide Roberto for the Rum Tasting. Roberto was also passionate about his work and shared so much information with us. We even got to blend our own rum to take home! I definitely would go back here on another visit. Hacienda El Viejo is such a beautiful place with such history, and I hear that they are adding beer tasting room soon too!

Our last tour was the Sunset Catamaran Sailing Tour. The crew was awesome and worked hard to insure everyone had a great time. Drinks were served right away and the sailing began. We even spotted turtles in the water as we sailed. When we reached a cove the crew offered snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking. They were so helpful providing equipment and assisting all of the passengers. I enjoyed kayaking and just relaxing on the boat realizing this was our last full day in Costa Rica. The crew provided some delicious snacks/dinner too! We saw a beautiful sunset and then returned to shore. Although we really enjoyed this tour, I think we would have enjoyed a more romantic type sunset cruise for our last evening here.

Thank you for helping to make this trip to Costa Rica so memorable! Even the weather was wonderful. We were expecting lots of rain, and we only experienced it a few times - once in Monteverde and then a couple of evenings in Nayara Springs. We are so grateful!

Local specialist: Sergio Bolaños
Sergio Bolaños
Local specialist in Limon, Costa Rica | Reviewed on Sep 05, 2022

Dear Donna and Greg,

I am so happy you had a wonderful time during your trip to Costa Rica! It was a real pleasure to be able to help you plan the perfect vacation. So many wonderful photos, I can tell you had a great experience! Thank you so much for your trust and your kind words.

Best regards,