Best travel agency for booking trip to Costa Rica

Old Jun 25th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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Best travel agency for booking trip to Costa Rica


Who would you recommend to book a trip that involves three places and interior flights? Is it normal to pay the entire thing over 6 months before departure?

We are going in high season, so is it sensible to book now for smaller hotels like Makanda by the Sea, etc?

What about excursions like fishing? Is it better to wait and book either on site or closer to the time of departure?

Thank you
Kathy

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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 10:58 AM
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Iza
 
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Kathy,
We used Costa Rica Connection (www.crconnect.com) for our first trip to Costa Rica and were happy with their service. However, on subsequent trips we decided to make our own arrangments (which involved much more research but was a lof of fun too). It worked out really well.

Most travel agencies do require that you prepay your trip but 6 months sounds like a long time. If you make arrangements directly with the hotels, most will just ask for your credit card number to hold your reservation but payment is made upon checking out.

For high season, you should make your reservations in advance, especially if you really have your heart set on certain hotels. Smaller popular hotels book up way in advance for busy periods (Christmas/New Year, President's Day week, Easter). I read a post the other day from someone who could not find a room in Tamarindo for Christmas 2003.
As to excursions, we found that we had no problem booking them just a day in advance. But we go in the green season so it may be different during popular times.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 11:09 AM
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Hi, me again.
I have recommended a fellow who specializes in Costa Rica several times. His name is Pat Hewitt and he can be reached at... lovecostarica.com

I have never heard any complaints about his service but have heard many good reports. He is very honest and there are no hidden charges. He gives you an itemized list explaining every penny you are being charged. He does not charge a fee as his pay comes from commissions received from the hotels.
Most places like you to pay at least 1/2 up front and then the rest closer to your arrival time. The in country flights will most likely have to be paid in full within a short time of making the reservation. For the nicer, smaller places you might want to book sooner rather than later but he can give you a better idea. Tourism has been a little strange since 9/11. Have you looked at Tulemar Bungelows for the MA area?
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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Re: Tulemar Bungalows, can you tell me more about it? The web site made it look like it was a real family choice. My husband and I are having our 25th anniversary and don't want to be surrounded by kids--seems like it is a school vacation somewhere, no matter when you go. Also, it seemed like they just had queen beds and we like one king. But, it does have the proximity to the beach. I don't believe that Makanda has that.

We are also looking at Punta Islita for a few days. Have you been there?

The other destination is Lapas Rios, but I also have the info on Bosque del Cabo. Are both on the same level as far as food and furnishings go?

Kathy
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 02:06 PM
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We were at Tulemar with our three kids, but it didn't feel like a family place. There are only 14 bungalows, spread out, and the setting is gorgeous. The private beach is great--much nicer than in the park, so we didn't bother swimming there. The pool is beautiful and the bar/restaurant is lovely for breakfast, although we didn't think the dinner there was very good. Not sure about whether the beds were queens; probably they were, but the accommodation was great. Highly recommend it.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 05:18 PM
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I have some issues with Lapa Rios so will not recommend them but will give an assessment of both places (IMO). Basically the grounds and property at Bosque are much better suited to getting out for a stroll and hiking or bird watching than LR. LR food is a little bit better. At LR you have to climb a lot of stairs to go up to the main rancho if you are unlucky to be in one of the higher numbered bungelows. It was a very hot hike for meals. LR is run by a management group (the price went up quite a bit after the Lewis' broke up and they took over). Bosque is owner run and Phil and Kim are a lovely newlywed couple who are always working. The rooms at LR are beautiful duplexes with wood floors and walls and have a private patio except that you can hear your neighbors talking if they happen to be on their patio at the same time. Bosque has individual beautiful deluxe bungelows with bifold doors that open wide to beautiful views of the Pacific or the Gulf. Lovely covered porches with hammocks and rockers and a shower that is totally open to the sky and large enough to sunbathe in if you are so inclined. Both places had lots of birds. You could walk around and look at them at Bosque, at Lapa Rios, unless you were on a hike you would see them while hiking up and down the stairs or from the observation deck.
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