Hughes Parkes Costa Rica - Jan 8 - Jan 23, 2018

Traveler: Lauren H. - Local specialist: Mariana Monestel

Kimkim organised a 16 day self drive tour of Costa Rica for my family (my, my partner, our kids 5yrs, 8yrs, 11yrs and my mum). They were extremely prompt, very responsive and personal throughout the planning. They showed great attention to detail regarding our car seats, wifi and GPS. Fabulous accommodation everywhere. We had a wonderful time. It was great to have that extra flexibility a package tour cant provide.
Marco and the team are Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero were an absolute highlight. We loved the whole immersive experience of living on the rivers and in the jungle.
I was really glad we drove down the Carribean Coast. El Encanto Inn was great. Dinner at Sonja's home restaurant was gorgeous. We walked to a great Calypso night from the hotel and El Encanto organised all our tours. Luis escorted us to a Medicinal and Chocolate Farm in the Bri Bri reservation which was wonderful. The Jaguar Rescue Centre was also fabulous, thanks to our guide Carlotta. Puerto Viejo was a wonderful swimming beach and we narrowly missed a world surf comp. Playa Negro was sadly quite polluted but it was a great community to walk amongst. We saw several sloths up close from the road.
The drive to Sarapiqui was a big one. The Rain Forest Lodge was a bit of a let down with its Museum closed and Gallery never opened. It seemed to cater for large bus groups and wasnt quite our style. KimKim were right that we needed to stop somewhere closer than Arenal that night though so we were glad of somewhere to sleep.
Arenal Springs was luxurious. Their hot pools were a huge hit with the whole family. I wouldnt book a tour through the hotel though as they add a hefty surcharge.The local laundromat gave fabulous local advice and we had our own car. The road to El Castillo wasnt nearly as bad as the guide book says and we really enjoyed our visit to the Eco Zoo, meeting Victor and our guide Andrew. Victor's wildlife photography is stunning.
The Pacific Coast was much more commercial than I had hoped for but we were excited to see Turtles nesting there (we were out of season in Tortuguero). Pasa Tiempo was a great lodge with a fantastic shared living, dining, entertaining area. We were treated to love music and enjoyed the pool, reading and playing cards amongst others.
Monteverde and Manuel Antonio were both spectacular. It was really worth saving our ziplining for the cloud forest. 60km per hour through a cloud was truly exhilarating. The guides at Selvatura were fantastic with our family.
If you have already been to Tortuguero you dont need a guide at Manuel Antontio. I was pleased we did it independently to allow the kids to travel at their own pace. Gorgeous beach. I'd never seen a raccoon before so that was exciting! Plaza Yara was gorgeous and Roger was a fabulous host who even gave us a wee gift on departure.
Trapp Family Country Lodge was a fabulous airport oasis. Definitely recommend over a chain hotel.
Thanks for everything Kim Kim we will definitely use you again.