Brooke, December 2022- January 2023

Mom of 7 and 12 yr olds
9 day Arenal Volcano, Samara beach with eco-Upgrade lodging
We had an amazing trip — loved every minute.
We enjoyed SO MUCH of our trip, just as we did last time. This time around, we REALLY loved the ziplining tour through the canopy at Arenal. It was one of the most memorable things we’ve ever done, and my 7-year-old loved it as much as the rest of us. Walter took us to a wonderful place very close to The Springs that had a gorgeous view — but more importantly, the guides were extremely professional and GREAT with kids. We also had the best time exploring the Hanging Bridges in Arenal, too, especially when a monkey leapt right above my husband’s head from one branch to another.
Some of the best parts of our time with Walter were the impromptu ones — when he’d spot an animal in a tree roadside and stop the van and we’d all pile out with the scope and binoculars to study whatever he spotted. If the kids saw something, he was also very willing to stop the van, take out his equipment and give us time to enjoy the animals. We saw so many sloths! We also adored when Walter took us to a restaurant called Chelas — which was off the beaten path, served amazing food and set up bananas for the birds so we could all enjoy the toucans, etc.
I have to say that Arenal might have been my favorite place we’ve ever visited in Costa Rica, even more so than Manuel Antonio and Monteverde. The sun was out everyday and the lush forests and wildlife really captured our hearts and imagination!
We had a fantastic time taking surf lessons in Samara with Tico’s Surf Lodge. I’m not sure when you went to Villas Kalimbas last but a couple from Texas bought it and renovated the pool and restaurant area. It’s so beautiful! The lodging itself is a bit threadbare on the inside, but it’s lovely for the price. (Did you know they don’t let you flush any toilet paper down the toilet? You collect it in a waste bin that is changed only once a day.) I would keep that latter detail in mind when arranging lodging there for some of your pickier American clients. LOL. While we quickly adjusted, I’m not sure everyone would be okay with that.
Thank you again for setting this whole tour up. Having a guide always enriches our experience when we go to Costa Rica. John and I said many times that we would never have had so much insight into the place without Luis and Walter illuminating us during both of our journeys. We feel as though we didn’t just travel to Costa Rica — we truly experienced the Tico life.