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MonicaRichards May 20th, 2008 10:18 AM

Bosque del Cabo--anyone feel nickle and dimed?
I am excited about my upcoming stay at Bosque del Cabo but one of my pet peeves is when an expensive place seems to nickle and dime their guests. It sure seems like I'm going to feel this way once I get there with the numerous mentions of extra fees, but none of the reviews mention it really. Are they just so gracious when you're there that you forget about it? I'm trying to brace myself in advance.

volcanogirl May 20th, 2008 10:33 AM

The only place expenses really added up is for activities, so we just picked the ones that were most important to us. Whenever you can, share the cost of excursions like boating, fishing, etc. with another family. Since breakfast, lunch, and dinner were included, we didn't feel nickled and dimed on that. We're not big drinkers, but they make it very convenient to just put drinks and smoothies on your tab, and you pay the whole thing when you check out.

alw1977 May 20th, 2008 10:45 AM

I just got back earlier this month, and I'd wondered about that as well. I really didn't feel nickled and dimed, for a few reasons:

1. Everyone is so gracious, and people do tips at the end, so you're not handing out $2 each time you get drinks

2. The drink prices are really reasonable. Our bar tab was around $90 after four nights, and my husband put quite a few back. Understand that my frame of reference is a large US city, where drinks are usually $4-5 for beer, $8-$10 for a cocktail. Much cheaper at BdC.

3. We stayed four nights and only did two organized things - a night hike and the Animal Sanctuary. I did think the night hike was a little steep, but the animal sanctuary was $95 for the boat (we split it), and $20 entrance donation. Totally worth it. You can go to BdC, pick one or two things you really want to do and then wing it the rest of the time.

shillmac May 20th, 2008 10:52 AM

We've never felt that way, in fact, quite the opposite. The tours (horseback, for example) are way cheaper than you'd find anywhere else in the country for the quality. That primary forest tour in the a.m., the birding, etc. They compare more than favorably with other areas. . .

For tips, you give what you want to whom you want. First time there, we didn't tip at all--didn't think of it! Now I give Kim an envelope (or a piece of paper) when I leave with a breakdown. I pay my balance with a personal check, so I just add my tips to the hotel balance and she then gives out what I specified on paper. I know what I'm willing to give as a tip total, and figure out who gets what within that parameter.

Davy1961 May 20th, 2008 11:46 AM

I read a review somewhere (Tripadvisor, I think) wherein the reviewer complained bitterly that what was supposed to be an all-inclusive lodge (BDC) had hidden charge after charge, or something to that effect. BDC website never mentions all inclusiveness at all! I don't know what you mean by "numerous mentions of extra fees." Where did that information come from? Was it the "review" that I mentioned above?

Of course, you pay for the tours that you choose to do, and those that require transportation may indeed seem expensive, but that's not nickel and diming.

We don't drink and took no tours except a sunset tour (that I could have done better on my own), and had nothing else on our final bill.

Personally, I think you should just erase this from your thoughts. Reset your expectations for a wonderful and exciting adventure! It's not heaven, but it's the kind of delightful place you'll be happy thinking about when you are having a root canal or a full body MRI.

tully May 20th, 2008 12:05 PM

No, never felt that way. And I think for what you're getting in return in very reasonably priced - what extra fees have people mentioned?

My first time there I didn't take any tours or do any activities, so there is plenty to do without paying extra although the extras are all well worth it and certainly well priced. The drinks as mentioned are fairly priced - keep in mind they can't run to the 7-11 and grab a re-supply of soda or beer, and once you come in on the road from PJ to BdC, you'll see why the transfer rates are what they are, the beatings those land rovers take are amazing and Kevin & Pato do them each 4-5 times a day usually!

Stuff like tips are at your discretion, but it's hard not to really want to leave something for everyone you come in contact with, many will know your name by the 2nd day and really go above & beyond. And a special shout-out to the groundskeepers, who I always leave something for - last week they were in full swing, we walked on the Titi trail just after it had been completely raked & cleaned and it's a good 45 minute walk alone.

So, in a word - no :)

MonicaRichards May 20th, 2008 05:35 PM

Numerous mentions of extra fees are fees to have them pick you up at the beach, transfers to the place, etc. Xandari and Tulemar Bungalows don't charge for that kind of thing, so it seems like nickle and diming that Bosque del Cabo does. I guess it's things like the nature hike by their own guide and the cost to get you from the local beach that seem the most egregious. I get the prices for the transfer to the airport, although it seems like most people do fly in so that could be included. But if it doesn't rankle when you're there, all the better.

tully May 20th, 2008 06:06 PM

I really don't remember what the beach pick up is, a few bucks at most - I'm usually too depressed that I'm leaving at check-out to notice.

Keep in mind, you can always walk back, some people do and it's free; and also that it's not a simple drive down to the beach & back, it's a good 8-10 very bumpy drive, so to have that constant wear & tear on the vehicles I can totally relate to charging something.

The guides are certainly worth their low costs, I wouldn't go there or anywhere in CR expecting them to be free.

Just another thing to throw in as to why I think it's actually a better value than other places. Most places I've stayed at have either such poor trails that you are almost forced to hire a guide every time you want to go or you have to pay to access them every time. Haven't stayed there but at Lapa Rios (which is much, much more expensive) you are not allowed on their trails without signing up in advance to go out with a group and a guide. At Bosque del Cabo - none of that! You want to get up at 5am and hike the Titi trail alone 6 times in a row, you're free to do so. So that's why compared to all other places I think it is such a great bargain.

I am sure when you get there you will see what we all mean!

MonicaRichards May 20th, 2008 06:52 PM

Yeah, with a five year old girl who balks at taking the dog for a walk around the block, I'm pretty sure I won't be walking back from the beach! :0)

shillmac May 20th, 2008 09:39 PM

Please don't take this as being critical, but to take to BdC a 5 year old who balks at walking around the block means you probably won't be able to explore all the trails to the extent that you would be able to if you didn't have a young child along.

As Tully stated, the main attraction for most people are the many trails at Bosque del Cabo that you can take whenever you want, all included in the cost. To be quite honest, if I couldn't do those trails several times a day, I would not feel that I was getting my money's worth. I can hang around the pool and take little short walks at lots of less expensive but beautiful lodgings all over the country.

To make it more personal, I'd like nothing better than to take our 3 year old granddaughter to BdC with us, but that will wait until she is much much older AND until she has shown an interest in hiking, birding, doing all the nature stuff that we go there to do. BdC is too expensive (my opinion) not to be able to fully enjoy all that it has to offer. She enjoys other areas of CR with us every year, but that one will have to wait!

As for that ride back up from the beach, with a 5 year old-- and once you have taken the 1.5 hour hike DOWN to the beach--, you'll probably think that ride back up is quite a bargain!

Same is true for the Pacific Trail, one of my favorites. No way could a little one tolerate it, and no way could I carry her! The waterfall is a great place to explore once down there, but again, not with a small child. Too much precarious climbing.

Please don't misunderstand. . .I'm not criticizing. It's just that you seem concerned about spending too much while you are there when there is a good chance you won't be able to fully enjoy the things that you can do for free. There's no question that BdC is more of a 12 years and older type of resort. . .and even then, only for those well suited to and interested in exploring the natural surroundings most of the time.

volcanogirl May 21st, 2008 05:40 AM

Monica, wow, you're taking a 5-year old to BdC. Please do a trip report when you get back; people often ask me if someone that young can handle BdC, and I would love to hear your impressions. Things are not that easy there, i.e. a bit of a challenge to get to the beach, no blow dryers, etc. but we love it. I hope it's everything you imagine.

alw1977 May 21st, 2008 06:03 AM

Monica, when you get to BdC, take a look at the information book in the room. It answers some of these questions, such as "why am I paying $10 for you to pick me up from the beach?" Really, it's a matter of how remote the Osa is. Gas, supplies, food (most) - everything must be brought in at considerable expense. Also, the humidity and natural environment mean that all equipment takes a beating. In the end, I definitely didn't feel nickled and dimed.

An example: they have dial up internet which is outrageously expensive for 30 mins - something like $20. I met someone who had to get online, so he paid the price. In the BdC book, Kim explains that the expense of maintaining the connection (corrosion, rust, bugs) is so expensive, and bugs even get inside of the computer, meaning repairs and replacement are a fact of life. I believe that any expense at BdC isn't gouging - it's a financial reality. They still serve Imperials for $2 - and they could ask $4 and people would still buy just as many.

Someone was there with a 2-year old when we were visiting. They said it was fun, but a little stressful to look after him. They did do the Pacific trail and other hikes, but had to take it more slowly.

sumi May 21st, 2008 07:54 AM

Just to offer a thought.

Maybe it's a perception issue that has to do with how the other lodges in the area and in the same price range package their accommodations. I did notice that places like Lapas Rios, La Paloma, etc. all offer multi-day packages that include the room, meals, transfers, a few hikes, etc. Most people do tend to stay more than one night and do require transfers and will opt to do a few tours but when you're comparing properies/prices before booking, the tendency is to compare BdC's base rates (i.e. with only meals included) against these package rates at the other places. Although it's certainly not BdC's "fault", it doesn't surprise me that some people are surprised when they see all the add-ons.

Just as an example, my experience was that most hotels in CR include breakfast in their rates. After a while I didn't really think about it when comparing places/rates. I have to admit that when I checked out of Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, it was more than I'd expected -- and the difference was the $50 breakfast. Now, it wasn't like TL misled us or anything. Nevertheless, it gave me pause.

MonicaRichards May 21st, 2008 08:01 AM

She will walk on hikes just fine because there is stuff to see but she's not as good on straight walks. I know after playing at the beach all day she definitely won't be up for walking back. As far as taking kids to Costa Rica, this is our third time doing it (the older one is 7) and I know we will have a great time. They love the nature and I think it's important to get them when they still have that sense of wonder about it. Plus Costa Rica is one of my favorite places to go! I can see how taking a two year old to BdC would make one nervous because they have no sense of danger, but by 5 they've learned not to go to close to the edge, etc. And of course I will write a trip report! My previous two from Costa Rica are and

MonicaRichards May 21st, 2008 08:06 AM

Oh, and of course we won't have to do everything as a family! I could take a hike while my husband stays with the girls (or just the youngest) and vice versa. We travel a lot as a family (obviously) so we've got it down.

volcanogirl May 21st, 2008 08:27 AM

Great idea, Monica; one of you can relax at the pool with the girls if the other wants a hike. It sounds like your girls have adventurous spirits.

MarciaM May 21st, 2008 09:20 AM

Does BDC have a service charge added to their rates? Are the tips in addition to that, or instead of it?

volcanogirl May 21st, 2008 09:28 AM

They just charge a flat meal rate, and then when you check out, you can add tips on to your total bill. You can designate how much you'd like to leave and for which people.

hipvirgochick May 21st, 2008 10:29 AM

The prices for guided walks, transfers and tours outside of BDC grounds are listed on their website so I wouldn't consider these either hidden fees or nickel and diming. As already mentioned, the drink prices are reasonable and it is appropriate to tip all staff and guides. You can also have laundry done for a small fee.

volcanogirl May 21st, 2008 10:35 AM

Welcome back, hip! How are you doing? Hope you're doing okay.

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