Excellent intro to Costa Rica - outstanding guide Edward
Wow, just back from our 2 week adventure. I don't usually do reviews but this one is definitely worth a few lines! Firstly, our guide Edward absolutely made the trip for us. Enthusiastic, unfappable, great with kids. Very knowledgeable about all aspects of the country, particularly wildlife and specifically birds (Edward is a trained and expert ornithologist and took keener members on a couple of early morning twitching trips). Edward gauged the needs of our diverse group really well, and made just the right number of decisions for us to keep it relaxing without being constraining. A special word for how he dealt with a favourite cuddly toy being left in a hotel (when we noticed about 200 miles away). Edward's connections, organisation and determination led to a reunion the next day! Costa Rica, generally, delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Amazing wildlife and landscapes. The big highlights for us were the additional paid-for trips. White water rafting was exhilarating, with just enough thrills to feel edgy for our 9 and 11 year olds, whilst feeling completely safe and in control. Zip wire near Arenal volcano was similarly exciting. As someone with an intense dislike of heights (I feel wobbly in thick socks - and seriously, struggle to stand on a step ladder) I'd encourage anyone like me to go for it. The start and interim platforms are deep in the trees, so don't feel at all exposed or high. And the "zippy" bits are, yes, high above the valley, but high enough for the drop to be abstract and so fast there's no time to look down! The only slightly tricky bit for me was the walk (down a spiral staircase - think of a fire escape) at the end. Tips:
- Everyone accepts dollars, and debit cards work everywhere too (including all the restaurants). - It's wet in August! (as everyone kept reminding us - it's a rainforest...). Doesn't interfere with the enjoyment at all but anything that gets wet, will stay wet and then smelly. If we went again we'd take 7 days worth of clothes and get them washed (i.e. and also dried) at a couple of hotels. This was fast and efficient when we tried it. - We travelled 1000 miles on fairly slow roads (so, a bit more than 20 hours in total) over the 2 weeks. For younger kids, bring activities for the coach. Feedback for Exodus (other than the obvious "it was all great and Edward is amazing")
Cahuita didn't really do much for us and also featured the weakest of the set of hotels. Nothing specifically bad about it (so don't worry, prospective bookers!) but maybe drop that (and the 2 long-ish transfers) for more time around Arenal?
The last 36 hours felt a bit flat/wasted. Maybe have an early start, drive straight from Dominical to the airport on the last day, and have an extra night in Dominical? Overall, and excellent trip, well worth the money, and we'll be back for more in the future!