24 independent reviews for Costa Rica wildlife vacation

Reviews for Costa Rica wildlife vacation

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review 2 Sep 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The quetzal. Or the sloths. Maybe the hummingbirds... Or the fresh fruit and the coffee. I haven't decided!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

A poncho is a Godsend. And an umbrella is useful to use between your room and the restaurant areas when you're caught in the daily downpour of rain (yes, we went during the rainy season). If you have one of those covers for your rucksack, take that too. Wifi is available in all the accommodation, so you feel connected without losing that 'being in the moment' feeling. The trails are very, very steady and a lot of the walks so boots are a bit overkill. You'll need a jumper for the highlands where the evenings get cooler. Credit card is widely accepted in the places you stop for breaks on the drives and in the hotels where the meals aren't included. If you have a decent camera, make sure you have enough space on your cards. There's plenty of photo opportunities, but don't go specifically for photography because some of the organised walks take place at the wrong times of day. We had a group of 12. I feel as though a group any bigger than that would have been too much.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, definitely. Our guide regularly commented on how the tourism contributed to the development of things local communities or conservation project.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I had a great time! We had a great mix of personalities within our group, saw plenty of wildlife and ate lots of great food.

review 28 May 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The great diversity of this country, the climate and geographical changes, together with the plants, birds and mammals.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be ready for the rain AND the dampness...it gets into you room and your suitcase!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes...to a limited amount.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent, but do be expected to do some walking ...if you are to get the best out of this trip!

review 15 May 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Tortuguero National Park

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

This vacation will suit those persons who are happy to get up early for most mornings. By early I mean 05.00 on some days. Please check with your guide before each day as on a few days the treks through the forest were not easy or leisurely; they consisted of many steps up and down. A torch is an essential.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes we used local persons for guides and exposure to conversation. Costs Rica overall was heavily committed to environmental protection.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

An excellent trip; traveling for circa 3 to 4 hours every other day was acceptable and allowed approximately a day and a half at each new location. Guide was well informed, articulate and considerate.

review 4 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife in a good range of varied habitats. Facilitated by an excellent guide.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take a reasonable camera with a zoom lens. Be prepared for hot, humid conditions and quite a lot of travel on gravel roads.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

By supporting eco-tourism I would hope that this is encouraging Costa Rica to continue their programme of establishing and expanding protected areas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent.

review 6 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The range of places, experiences and wildlife that we saw.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We customised our trip to include private transfers. It was well worthwhile.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, and all the guides, operators, hoteliers and traders told us it did.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Outstanding.

review 26 Feb 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Esquinas Lodge. Seeing 2 and 3 toed sloths, several different monkeys and masses of colourful birds.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Just do it!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Conservation and the environment is high on the agenda in Costa Rica and everyone helps.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent

review 20 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Despite it being the dry season, the colours, landscapes and sounds of Costa Rica were a continuing delight.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Tall people (over 6 ft 4 inches) especially should be aware that the seat pitch on the smaller buses (~20 seats) is not kind to long legs! However, there are 2 seats that do accommodate longer legs.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All of the above - especially at Esquinas which is a certified carbon neutral lodge. The places where we stayed were for the most part interested in reducing the impact of their visitors on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A marvelous 'discovery' vacation - the title "Discover Costa Rica" says it in a nutshell - so many birds, mammals, reptiles and interesting ecosystems to discover.

review 19 Mar 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

This trip includes walks through various forests; coastal, mountain, cloud forests and volcanos, and each was a wonderful experience.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

A camera is essential as Costa Rican national parks are beautiful.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Each of the eco-lodges we stayed at were set up to benefit the local people and to have a small ecological footprint. I appreciated that.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Both my wife and I had a wonderful, educational, and healthy trip. At the end we wanted to do it all over again.

review 14 Dec 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I booked this trip with this tour company. It was one of their bird focused Costa Rica trips; there are a few per year. I am not a "twitcher" but just enjoy viewing wildlife and knew the birds of Costa Rica are special. It was truly memorable, superbly organised and our guide Johnny Villalobos was absolutely brilliant. We stayed in 6 lodges in around the major National Parks plus San Jose, the capital. The sixteen day trip itinerary can be viewed on the website. Highlights were the 250+ species of birds we saw, superb colours and the baby turtles hatching and making their way to the sea on Tortuguero beach at sunset.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

I visited in November at the back end of the rainy season and stayed in the rain forest for several nights. It's wet at times so you need a good waterproof and cover for your day sack. It was also quite cool at night particularly at altitude so you need a good fleece. If you are into photography you need at least 300mm zoom for the birds. It's not a cheap country expect to pay Western prices for food and drink, USD $ are fine everywhere.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Costa Rica generates around 80% of GDP from tourism so has made great strides protecting it's unique environment. The money spent in hotels and various small bars and restaurants plus entry fees to National Parks benefits the local people and country. The tour operator also put money into schools, one we visited on the last day on our way back to San Jose was a good example of how they are helping.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Brilliant, everything I expected and more. Thank you.

review 6 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Quetzal bird at close quarters.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Fly directly to San Jose

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes especially the school we visited.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent

review 24 Mar 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing wildlife close-up and in wonderful country.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Only go if you want to be woken at 0600 regularly but if you do there are opportunities to see birds / mammals at their best. More tiring than expected so be prepared.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, supported conservation and some benefits to locals

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good experience

review 7 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The vast wealth of wildlife in this beautiful country and the ability and skill of our guide to find it ... and the abiding memory is the sound of a rainforest with all the insects, cicadas, and frogs and birds - day and night - continuous - MEMORABLE!!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be ready for an energetic - often up early in the morning - quest to find what the rain and cloud forest has to offer .

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Most definitely - not only benefited the locals in every way but is taught to children and lived out - their example could benefit us. Their of goal of being carbon neutral soon is a very realistic goal.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A lovely vacation, a beautiful country, welcoming people, an excellent guide - and for an over seventy year old - two weeks of invigorating pleasure. A small country but one that is treasuring its natural assets in its National Parks and preserves.

review 3 Oct 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole experience was mind blowing but I guess seeing a Sloth on the first day's lunch stop has to be the one.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Don't pack too much and remember most hotels and lodges have laundry facilities.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes except for the flight over there.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Fantastic.

review 26 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Diverse landscapes, biodiversity, wildlife viewing - loved the humming birds at Savegre Lodge

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take a good camera and be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, to some extent

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent, had a great time

review 22 Feb 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Many. Great variety of eco-lodge type locations enabled great wildlife watching. Playa Blancas area favourite location.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Leave kit behind- no need for mosi nets, towels etc, as venues all great. And do night walks where they are offered.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, by providing jobs, income and security.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Great, would get top score if not for too long a time on bus at end and a day including Cartago and San Jose which I would drop from future itineraries.

review 14 Feb 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

All good, made even better by the local guide Gustavo and driver Carlos. Location excellent and birds and wildlife fantastic.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ponchos and insect repellent

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful experience with good group of people

review 10 Nov 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The natural landscapes and forests along with the different mammals and birdlife. Resplenent Quetzal say no more!!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

You will get rain - but it is warm.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not a poor country but very environentally aware. Vacation fitted into this.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

If you like every type of different forest you will enjoy. We enjoyed.

review 8 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Staying in Tortuguera and floating down the canals thru the jungle watching birds,monkeys and iguanas, The cloud forest, Esquinas lodge in the rain forest where we also had free time to follow the forest trails

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Costa Rica is very humid.Take more clothes than normal as they will be soaking wet 10 min after you put them on and will not dry. Take every optional trip offered, this is an amazing country

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, most accomodation was locally owned and run - we did not use any large chains. The food was all locally produced. The company supports a school and small local farms.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent

review 25 Apr 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

A wonderfully diverse trip visiting lots of different areas of Costa Rica seeing lots of different ecosystems and wildlife.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared to get wet it does rain even in the "dry" season.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good.

review 8 Jan 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing all the wildlife and amazing natural landscapes. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and you will stand in awe at the beauty of the rainforests.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Travel light. There is a lot of traveling around the country and you will only stay in the one location for a couple of days. Also be prepared for it being hot. When we travelled it wasn't the 'summer' season yet it was incredibly hot and humid in the rainforests.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The hotels do put some effort into energy saving and conservation yet this is only in its infancy. On the penultimate day we did travel to a local school where some of the vacation fee had been donated. This was a worthy cause.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Fantastic vacation. The wildlife and natural landscapes are amazing and worth the trip alone. For the sheer scope of diversity, colour and experiences this trip is unrivalled.

review 22 Dec 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Looking at the two poisonous snakes that the guide found for our group to see and the two that I saw only one of which one other member of the group also saw and the fourth which I showed to everyone else including the guide who did not find it for us.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you are bird crazy then this is the vacation for you since this was designated as a bird watching special the guide spent a lot of time identifying the various species seen and there were many of them. Those people who like to watch birds but are not of the "twitcher" type of person should bring a good book with them as the guide will often spend 30 mins in identifing the bird sitting on a telephone wire two hundred yards away which appears in outline only against a bright sky.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes sometimes at the expense of the tourists, an example is the Esquiners lodge where the local water is only filtered but not treated in any other way so those of us with delicate stomachs could not drink the water or the coffee or eat the soup or anything made with the water as we got the "runs". All the lodges supported the conservation ideals and we paid for them locally in cash as well.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This was a three star vacation the people were nice touristas and locals

review 26 Feb 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing a rhinoceros beetle the size of a hamster.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take a spare battery for your camera

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It indirectly benefitted local people and conservation simply by distributing money in those areas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

One of the best we've had.

review 15 Dec 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Saw lots of animals, birds, plants and butterflies. Thankfully did not see the tarantula. Seeing sloths close up, active but moving in slow motion was great as was seeing little turtles hatching and running to the sea. Saw lots of birds and had a very knowledgeable guide to help us. The quetzel fly past was pretty good!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you are interested in birds then you do need a decent zoom, though good quality compact may be enough just to get pictures for identification. May need to take an extra change of lightweight quick drying clothing.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, there is a lot of emphasis on 'Eco-tourism', some hotels this just seemed to mean not changing the towels every day but in other places like Esquinas, the lodge was a local community project.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Good vacation, lots of traveling and a few places like Manuel Antonio park very noisy and touristy but other places really great. Would like to have spent more time in fewer places but this was a good introduction to Costa Rica. Accommodation and food good.

review 21 Feb 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Difficult to pick one highlight. The boat trips at Tortegua where we saw an osprey, an otter who played alongside the boat. A very angry caiman coming to protect her youngster. The resplendent Quetzel in the cloud forest is unbelievable. Looking at the frogs in a night hike in the rainforest and also finding a feu de lance.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take warm clothes for the cloud forest it can be very cold at night and some of the lodges have limited heating. Expect to get wet somewhere. Have plenty of camera cards and take good binoculars - essential. This is a vacation for wildlife enthusiasts. There is lots of walking over uneven ground and some very bumpy roads.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

It is obvious that the tourism in Costa Rica is set up to minimise the impact on the environment and there is much evidence to see how local people were involved in supporting the industry. We visited a local school and a family farm - lovely highlight.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Fantastic and tiring but nice tired! , wonderful experience, so glad we did it.

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