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Natural Magic - Family holiday

Trip type: 
Family - Wildlife
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
Max group size: 
16
Avg user rating: 
5
Americas, Costa Rica | 16 days
Trip code: 
QCFR
Family Holidays | Min age 5yrs
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, on foot, boat.

Accommodation - Small hotels/lodges (14nts)

Meals - 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 2 dinners.

Trip Highlights: 
Explore a tropical paradise of volcanoes & beaches
Look out for toucans & tree frogs
Navigate the rainforest by boat & through the tree canopy
see full itinerary >>

Reviews

Don't take our word for it - read through our customer reviews. All of these have been published without any editing.

The wildlife was a highpoint but the country is so beautiful, friendly, and felt very safe. The various regions each have their own identity and the trip seemed like 5 seperate holidays all rolled into one, each with their own unique treasures.

Dawes Family

mjdawes
19th Aug 2013
I rate this trip
5
Naturally Magic in Costa Rica

The wildlife was a highpoint but the country is so beautiful, friendly, and felt very safe. The various regions each have their own identity and the trip seemed like 5 seperate holidays all rolled into one, each with their own unique treasures.Tortuguera: The wildlife was just fantastic, the lodge (Pachira) was beautiful. The rooms were basic but clean. This was the favourite of my wife. Howler monkeys living in the trees above our room was a high spot, but there call is a little scary!Sarapiqui: White water rafting was fantastic fun. The hotel (La Quinta) was a little tired but rooms were very clean and pool aras were good. Wildlife again was great. This was the favourite hotel of several in our group. The cocoa tour (optional) was very good and all who went on it commented on this.La Fortuna (Arenal): My favourite. The hotel (San Bosco) was clean, nice pool and the town was 1 mins walk with great restaurants, bars and shops. My personal favourite because of the views of the volcano and hotel. We did not do the hot springs tour but those who did said it was fantastic. Monteverde: Simply magical place. The cloudforest has an atmospere of its own. The cloud comes down quite quickly and it can turn wet. The hotel (El Establo) was brilliant. Nice pool areas, nice bar overlooking the ornamental pond and great views from the rooms. Built on a steep hill but the hotel has vans to take you up and down if you want to. We walked. Monteverde feels like a frontier town. Great place. The ziplining was great fun. The last is 1km long!Punta Leona: The hotel has all the facilities you need, decent rooms and scarlet macaws flying all around. The beach is beautiful, and pool areas spacious, large and clean. the ideal hotel to wind down a little after your trip. The favourite of our son, and it seems all the other kids on the trip, but the adults enjoyed it too. The crocodile tour (optional) was very good.

The group leader and driver were both excellent. We cannot praise them enough. Nothing was too much trouble, everything was really well organised and there was simply no worries at all throughout the trio. Although there was the set itinerary, the GL was happy to make other wrthwhile suggestions. A highlight was that out GL loved his food, and as such we NEVER ate in the hotel, except at Pachira Lodge where there was nothing else! We went to a variety of local restaurants and all were excellent. The tour was run by Costa Rican Trails and they were efficient, friendly and VERY knowledgable.

Don't worry about taking the children. Costa Rica felt very safe. The people were very tolerant and friendly and most speak a little English. Water was OK to drink from the tap throughout. A couple in our party had short term tummy upset but that was all. There were 3 of us and we spent on average about £27 for lunch (in total) and £60 for dinners although we did not have starters and only rarely a pudding. Portion sizes were good!. We did drink a few beers and some margaritas as well that is included in the cost above. Costa Rica was a real revelation. All of the photos attached to this were taken in the wild!. It's everywhere! We flew from Heathrow via Madrid and this was all painless but the Madrid - San Jose leg is long (10.5 hours) and there is no seat back entertainment so be prepared and take your own. We flew Iberia and this was OK, If you have any doubts, do it!
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Customer Reviews
19th Sep 2012
I rate this trip
5
variety of wildlife and rainforest

The variety of wildlife and rainforest in all the different regions. Manuel Antonio at the end was great. My son really enjoyed the zip wire in Monte verde.

[Least enjoyed] Hotel at the end would be better if located closer to beach rather than  30 mins drive away.   Also at La Fortuna, The itinery states a walk up active volcano arenal,this was not included in itinerary  & is misleading.

Gustavo was fantastic. His local knowledge and knowledge of wildlife was excellent. He was great with the children & really added to the trip.

Ms P - Travelled in August 2012

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Customer Reviews
18th Sep 2012
I rate this trip
5
The whole holiday was very enjoyable

Our Guide (Dennis) - very knowledgeable, efficient, flexible and helpful. The whole holiday was very enjoyable but highlights were the turtle watching in Tortugero, white water rafting on the Pacuare River, ziplineing in Monteverde and the stay at the Punta Leona Hotel.

[Least enjoyed] The flights between Madrid and San Jose. Poor food and old fashioned, limited entertainment. Also problems with airline booking in at San Jose over weights of individual suitcases.

Some inaccuracies in published itinerary compared with offer from local agents (Costa Rican Tours). E.G. - guided tour of Arenal National Park not included (sorted by agent), no option of visit to Rainforest Alliance Banana Project in Sarapiqui, no option of horse riding or visiting orchid farm in Monteverde.

 

Mr L - Travelled in August 2012

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Customer Reviews
18th Sep 2012
I rate this trip
5
Seeing the turtles in Tortuguero

Seeing the turtles in Tortuguero, in fact Tortuguero generally, fantastic place, loved all the wildlife.

[Least enjoyed] The flight! My teenagers looked at me in disbelief at the prospect of a 10 hour 20 minute flight with no individual TV-we have always had that with every other long haul flight. And the Iberia food is best not mentioned.... 

Some of the excursions might have been better included as we spent quite a lot of time sorting out various tickets in La Fortuna for example. Everyone wanted to go the thermal springs there for example.

[Accommodation] Quite variable, the hotel in Monteverde for example was much more luxurious than the rest...(shame we were only there for 2 nights)Although none of the accommodation was unsatisfactory.

He was very friendly and flexible to suit our requirements.

 

Mrs L - Travelled in August 2012

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Customer Reviews
11th Sep 2012
I rate this trip
5
Canyoning, zipwire & rafting

Watching the turtle laying eggs.  Canyoning, zipwire & rafting (optional activity).  Manuel Antonio NP and the beach.  Hotel at Monetverde.  Animals!!  The crocodile park - optional but should have bben a standard thing: we nearly didn't do it which would have been a shame.  Gustavo was great guide.

[Least enjoyed] The brochure described Arenal as active and described walking up the volcano and seeing lava. Technically it is active, but there has been no life for two years and it is not possible to go near the crater. This was very misleading and upset several people who were especially looking forward to that.  The last day was a bit of a waste, a filler. We left Manual Antonio on Friday AM to go to San Jose for flight on Saturday PM. Either we could have left on Saturday to go straight to the airport, with another day on the beach, or had an organised activity in San Jose. The hotel did not have a pool so kids could not just play that AM.

The packing list was misleading. It should mention shoes for activities: walking sandals (Teva etc) would be ideal, but flip-flops & crocs were not suitable for rafting or zipwires. It also said to bring warm clothes & walking boots but those weren't needed, but light long clothes were needed for hot buggy evenings.

The hotel in San Jose didn't have a pool. Not a problem for short stay (eg arrival night) but irritating for kids when we had most of Saturday to kill on departure.  The hotel in Monteverde was lovely: a definite step up and much appreciated.  Generally accomodation was good.

 

Gustavo was excellent: everything a guide should be.  Helpful, efficient and knwoledgeable.  Freddy the driver was also great.

Mrs B  Travelled in August 2012


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