Trip to costa rica, Costa Rica - Mar 13 - Mar 20, 2018

Traveler: Debra H. - Local specialist: Randall Jiménez

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with extremely welcoming and genuinely nice people. Overall we had a nice vacation in Costa Rica but mostly because we were able to roll with the things we found disappointing. We found that all the tours/adventures booked for us by Randall were excellent. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and the tours/adventures themselves were well executed. The guides were always on time and went out of their way to be welcoming.

The accommodations were from OK to terrible. The Country Inn in San Jose was fine. There was no real restaurant to have dinner at night. The casino next door that did have dinner, was not an appropriate place to have my young son visit.

The hotel in La Fortuna, was serviceable. We did not enjoy the bunkhouse feel of the room. Although the grounds were nice, the hotel room was just ok. Again, there was no restaurant for dinner and we had to walk to town in the dark when we arrived, not knowing where we were going.

Finally, the hotel in Puerto Viejo, the Cariblue, was terrible. Even though we switched rooms, the second room had roaches, had a shower that didn't drain well, curtains that didn't provide privacy and was generally built with old shoddy materials. It was really depressing. And although it had views of the ocean, they were across a busy road with loud motorcycles, construction trucks and other vehicles. It was very loud all night. We did call Coast to Coast about our disappointment, but nothing was done. We felt trapped and frustrated.

I have to say that in my dealings with Randall prior to our trip, I felt he tried very hard to meet our expectations for our trip. However, we obviously were not on the same page (with him or Kim Kim) regarding what I wanted for our vacation in terms of accommodations and beach feel. We expected to stay at much higher quality hotels, like at the Tabacon where we enjoyed the hot springs. And, the Caribbean side was not what I was looking for during the "beach" portion of our vacation. We found the Caribbean much more suited to the "surfer" crowd and was not appropriate for the family vacation we wanted. It was a real party scene and not the tranquil wide open beaches we were hoping to relax on. Most of our tour guides told us that that would be found on the Pacific side. We were really upset that we spent most of our time on the Caribbean. Also we also did not realize that we would be in a van for over 12 hours (at least 4 hours through a congested commercial area that was not very attractive) getting from one location to another. I wished that had been made clear.

In terms of our dealings with Coast to Coast in Costa Rica, I have mixed reviews. Our driver, Jose, was always on time, was very knowledgeable and stopped at restaurants he knew along the way for lunch/snacks. We really appreciated that. However, we did not enjoy being in his older, loud van for 8 hours. We also found him to be an aggressive driver and he seemed upset when we told him to be more careful. We also found him moody, especially after the trip back to San Jose, after we had complained about our hotel to Randall. This made for an unpleasant ride back.

I put the blame on Kim Kim, Coast to Coast and myself for not discerning or appropriately communicating what we were getting/asking for. You should let your customers know that you provide middle of the road accommodations for a middle market. I will not recommend any of your companies to my friends.

Debra Hernandez

Randall Jiménez, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Debra,

I would like to thank you so much for your comments. As I always say, it is quite important to us to receive completely honest feedback.

In Costa Rica, the fortunes of hotels can change very quickly and when we receive complaints, we like to act quickly. We will certainly be looking into making a new site inspection, mainly to the hotel Cariblue on the Caribbean coast, which is ranked within the best 10 hotels in that area and I always try to offer trips that are perfectly... read more

Hi Debra,

I would like to thank you so much for your comments. As I always say, it is quite important to us to receive completely honest feedback.

In Costa Rica, the fortunes of hotels can change very quickly and when we receive complaints, we like to act quickly. We will certainly be looking into making a new site inspection, mainly to the hotel Cariblue on the Caribbean coast, which is ranked within the best 10 hotels in that area and I always try to offer trips that are perfectly tailored to my travelers interests, and as you very much wanted to experience the Afro-Caribbean culture of Puerto Viejo, I made sure to include it in your trip. However, I apologize for not setting more realistic expectations for the limited variety of hotels available in this lesser-known part of the country. While clean and safe, there are other areas in Costa Rica that would have better suited your accommodation and beach preferences had our communication been clearer on what your expectations were. Moving forward I will be sure to educate my travellers on this subject so we can both be sure the destinations perfectly suit their travel styles.

As you said, perhaps the Pacific coast would be a better area for you to stay and I mentioned that to your husband when he called us the day that you arrived in Puerto Viejo, for an obvious reason, we could not take you that day from one coast to the other which was the only option that I think you would be happy to.

As far as the driver from Arenal at 8:00 am to the Caribbean coast, you had included that day a 2- hours tour in the middle to the Sloth Sanctuary, that is the reason why you arrived at the Caribbean coast about 4:30 pm, 8 hours and a half after you were picked up in Arenal

I am very sorry to hear about the bad feeling that you have at the end of the trip because the most important thing to me is to create unforgettable vacations for people who visit us. We will take your comments very seriously as we are a small company but one that prides itself on the service we offer and we can only improve on this with feedback from clients.

Best regards,
Randall