Great week in Costa Rica (with some minor caveats) - Dec 19 - Dec 25, 2019
Our family (3 adults) really enjoyed our first trip to Costa Rica. The process of planning the trip with kimkim was very easy and convenient, and our specialist Yenyi was always very responsive and helpful with our questions.
Overall, we had a great time on our trip. We went to Arenal and Monteverde (one of our guides described it as going from the rainforest to the cloud forest), which were unique and beautiful. Our accommodations were wonderful, especially our stay at Tabacon resort in Arenal - which has the best hot springs facilities in town (the town is famous for the natural hot springs due to the nearby volcano). We ended up going to the hot springs every day! Our hotel in Monteverde - Fonda Vela - was also nice, although it was definitely a bit outdated (especially the bathroom) and they were actively doing construction during our stay (a bit dirty and loud at times), but our room had a beautiful view of the forests and Pacific Ocean.
Out of all of our activities, some of the highlights were zip lining in the cloud forest (10 different lines) and the nocturnal nature tour (we were able to spot snakes, birds, and unique insects in the complete dark with our guide). We also really enjoyed our Rio Celeste day trip - unfortunately the trip itself was cut short due to heavy rainfall closing off half of the park (and the river was brown instead of blue), but our guide Michael was so amazing he really made it a fun and educational trip (teaching us about local plants and insects), and the lunch was good too.
The parts we didn't enjoy as much/some issues:
- Our local tour operator was late several times and did not give us notice. For our boat ride, we waited 30 minutes in our lobby; the tour operator did not contact us, we had to ask the hotel to call them to see when they were arriving.
- The description for "Arenal to Monteverde by boat" is extremely misleading. The kimkim page described it as 3.5 hour boat ride, in reality it was a 40 minute boat ride followed by a 2 hour car ride on extremely bump roads.
- The La Fortuna Waterfall tour was also a disappointment. It was billed as a half-day tour, but the tour itself was only one hour (you climb down the steps, see the waterfall, then climb up the steps). We had to leave the hotel at 7:30 AM, the drive was an hour round trip, and the tour was an hour. We had to wake up so early but then were back at the hotel by 9:30 AM. Our tour guide didn't really explain anything to us, and towards the end he was rushing for us to leave even though the tour was much shorter than we anticipated.
Issues aside, we did have a wonderful time in Costa Rica. The majority of our guides were awesome and super knowledgeable. The accommodations were great and everything was nicely organized. We loved the food and the friendly people everywhere.