Jamie, November 2015

Mom of 6 and 8 yr olds
8 day Custom Rainforest, Volcano, Samara Beach Itinerary with Tico Lodges

Wow, what a great trip! Everything went so smoothly and we truly had a blast!!! Luis was a wonderful addition. We were lucky to have him on our trip. We would never have been able to see or do as much if he wasn’t there. Thanks for such a beautiful and memorable trip!!!

Some highlights/comments:

San Jose

· Buena Vista hotel was great! We had a small room for the first night & a larger one on the last night. I would definitely recommend booking a family of four in the larger room. We really enjoyed it! The restaurant was delicious and very accommodating as well. They even provided a takeout breakfast which they had ready at 5AM the day of our departure. Shuttle was prompt.

· Exit visas – Actually, you should check in & ask at the airline counter before you buy an exit visa. We had tickets on Copa Airlines that I purchased on Expedia.com and we found out at check-in that the exit visa fee was included.

Stop in La Paz Waterfall Gardens

· I would HIGHLY recommend this. We absolutely loved it! What a nice place…. we didn’t do the lunch option. We stopped at a soda afterwards which was perfect.


· The Andrea Cristina B&B was our favorite stop of the entire trip. Alex made us feel right at home. We loved the breakfast especially…food & great wildlife joined us nearby 🙂 Alex was really nice to talk to as well. He welcomed us like family. I would have liked to stay somewhere like this on the other stops as well.

· Ziplining {Hacienda La Linda} was the activity highlight of the tour. It was the favorite of both of my kids (6 & 8 years). Our 8 year old did most of the lines by himself!

· We did the riverboat tour which was also really nice. We would definitely recommend it.

· We’d highly recommend the smoothie/ice cream shop that Luis took us to. We were able to get treats for everyone for a grand total of $6.

· Rainforest walk was nice but we got there late. It was getting dark so we didn’t see much. I would have liked to spend more time doing this but we were trying to squeeze too many things in.

Volcano Arenal

· It POURED during our entire visit. We only had disposable ponchos with us. I think they would have been okay if it was off & on rain but we were pretty miserable.

· Hotel was okay… didn’t feel strongly either way. The breakfast was really good though. The kids really liked the pool but we only used it for a few minutes considering the weather. We did get a huge bag of laundry done for $16.

· Hot Springs – this was my least favorite activity of the trip. I expected a more natural setting with ponds and nature haha… Maybe you described it as a waterpark but I really don’t remember.

· Volcano hike. This was lovely but it was pouring haha… We would have done a longer hike if the weather had been a little better.


· Absolutely loved the beach and town!

· Surfing lessons was the only activity that we did. My 8 year old loved it!! Would highly recommend.

· I loved the organic juice place right outside the public beach entrance. Also, the falafel place around the corner YUM!!!

· The Fenix grew on me during the stay… First impression wasn’t good. We weren’t interested in using the kitchen. We would have rather had a prepared breakfast like we did at the other hotels 😉 Also, it’s impossible to swim there during high tide. The water was filled with branches and the beach is way too covered in debris. {Note- this is seasonal, related to storms, in April when I was last there the beach was clean and swimmable). They really should clean it up. I felt like we were living with the family in the room next to ours and once we became friendly, we found ourselves talking to each other when one family was inside the room & the other family sitting on the chairs outside. Kind of amusing haha. We enjoyed walking from the Fenix to the main part of the beach. We spent all of our time in front of the surf place. Our kids had a blast in the Fenix pool!!! Overall, I think Fenix is not perfect but it is certainly a good choice.

Food: We ate mainly at Sodas and that was just perfect for us. We found that the food was almost the same at restaurants… they just had higher prices. We did go out for pizza a few times which the kids really enjoyed.

I included a few photos below. Thanks for such a beautiful and memorable trip!!!