Gretchen, March 2019

Gretchen, mom of 8 and 6 yr olds (grandparents also joined trip)
Tortuguero Turtles, Rainforest, Volcano, Cloud Forest

I wrote up some of my notes from the trip…Overall we had an amazing adventure and are serious about coming back again next March. I’ll be in touch!!

Hotel Buena Vista, Alajuela

Loved this hotel! It was a great place to start the trip. The people were so kind there and the food was excellent.


I think this was our favorite location! (see photo above) Tortuga Lodge & Gardens was gorgeous and the accommodations were so nice. My only note with this property is the meals… 3 course lunches and dinners are time consuming and overall just too much food for our family, and the time spent in the restaurant really started to add up. Is that the only dining option they offer? Quicker breakfasts and lunches would have made things even better! Not really a complaint, more of an observation.
The boat tour guide Miguel was the best – we saw so much going out with him! Highly recommend asking specifically for this independent guide.
Flying in was so much more enjoyable than the boat/bus combo on the way out. I think given the choice after experiencing both options we would have chosen to fly both ways and had Luis pick us up in San Jose.

• He was great! So friendly, knowledgeable and easy-going. He didn’t make me feel bad when the boys were at their less-than-best behavior, and I’m sure that isn’t easy to be around someone else’s kids when they are misbehaving. I appreciated his willingness to make suggestions and help us really enjoy our trip. He also knows everyone, everywhere 🙂

Rainforest, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
• Selva Verde Rainforest Lodge was awesome – loved the property and the Italian restaurant was delicious. Breakfast buffet was also really good. However, the 2 bedroom apartment was really dated, dark, and super loud being so close to the road. The first night no one really slept! I would have definitely preferred 2 separate rooms in a quieter part of the property. We’ll know for next time J
• Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve was excellent – we saw a lot with Luis as our guide!

Volcano Arenal
• Arenal Springs Resort & Spa was very nice. We enjoyed the pools and not having to pay to visit a separate hot spring location. I loved doing yoga in the morning! It did have the most “normal resort” feeling, so I’m glad the other properties were a little more unique.
• La Catarata de la Fortuna is definitely challenging to access and would be hard for older people to get up/down all of those stairs and safely in the rocky water with the current. My parents chose to stay at the resort and that was a good choice. It might be good to be very honest about the difficulty of that location.
• Danaus Wildlife Refuge was the perfect hike with the kids. We all went crazy for the butterfly enclosure!
• Loved stopping at Macadamia Cafe on the way to Monteverde!

Monteverde Cloud Forest
• Arco Iris EcoLodge – we loved this property as well! The rooms were very nice. We had 2 bedrooms in the cabin and it was really lovely to have separate room from the kids. Breakfast was outstanding – fresh eggs and homemade goodies.
• Selvatura was fun, but we could have planned it better. Luis was quite sick that morning and we revised the plan for us to zipline first and then walk the bridges later. I think with small kids you can skip the bridges and just zipline, which requires a fair amount of walking to get between lines! My parents waited for nearly 4 hours as we were on the course that long… we just would have done it differently had we known the specifics.