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-   -   Can anyone evaluate this Costa Rica Tour for me? (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/can-anyone-evaluate-this-costa-rica-tour-for-me-946294/)

nannibray Aug 11th, 2012 09:13 AM

Can anyone evaluate this Costa Rica Tour for me?
 
My husband and I are in our 70's and are wanting to visit Costa Rica. Although we have travelled independently extensively in Europe, I just don't want to attempt independent travel in Costa Rica. My husband cannot drive and I just don't want to drive AND navigate by myself.
I have been able to secure free airfare with award miles to coincide with this tour (Feb 5 - 14). This airfare reservation is on "hold" until Aug 12 - midnight. Free air is a huge help!

How does this Tour look to you? Hotels? Seems like a LOT is included? Right, or not? Is having so many meals included a good thing?
The total cost (with taxes and fees) is $1357. pp. It does not go to Monteverde. Does this tour include other areas similar to Monteverde? How does the PACE of the tour look?

Thanks to ANYONE who takes the time to read the tour and give an opinion!
Nannibray
http://www.caravan.com/tour/costa-rica

RAC Aug 11th, 2012 01:00 PM

Looks like a solid overview of the country and decent pace. Hotels appear to be good names.

Monteverde is really a specialist destination. You can't see every 'must-see' in one trip.

nannibray Aug 11th, 2012 02:42 PM

Thanks RAC. Do the things that are included in the tour seem pretty inclusive or will we need to do a number of optional things on our own? If so, what optional tours would you recommend?

frustrated Aug 11th, 2012 04:01 PM

I think this is a very good taste of Costa Rica. If airfare is included, it is a pretty good price too. We've crossed paths a few times with the Caravan buses and everyone seems to be having a good time. When you don't have the option for independent travel, I think Caravan tours are one of the better tours to take.
Next time (and you will want to be back) hire a private driver and go to some of the other "must sees".
Happy Trails

volcanogirl Aug 11th, 2012 05:30 PM

I think it looks nice; you're hitting up a lot of the most popular spots and looks like you'll be able to see some wildlife.

schmerl Aug 11th, 2012 06:17 PM

Friends of mine who are about your age did the Caravan Tour of Costa Rica last year. They LOVED it!

nannibray Aug 11th, 2012 06:57 PM

Thanks everyone! I am encouraged! You have been a big help!
Nannibray

nannibray Aug 11th, 2012 07:01 PM

By the way... any suggestions for the FREE DAY in Guanacaste on the Pacific? Will we be isolated at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa or will we have access to do something on our own? We could certainly handle one day independently. In fact we will probably be wanting to get away from a busload of 40 people!!
What are the most important options for this area?
Thanks again.

Kinkazote Aug 12th, 2012 06:30 AM

Just as a point of comparison, you might look at OAT's "Real Affordable Costa Rica." Their package costs more but promises only 10-16 on the tour. All of these tours require a lot of bus travel time. Fortunately, there is a lot to see as you travel, and there will probably be stops along the way that you would not know about if you were on your own. Restroom facilities vary in quality, and you will want to take advantage of every stop. (Carry TP with you.) It takes a long time to process a busload of 40. Your tour covers a lot of territory, and an inflatable seat cushion might be a good idea. Your tour guide/director will provide suggestions for your free day.

Meals. When in Costa Rica, we eat to live, not to be entertained. You need to reset your flavor expectations. Some meals seem dull and bland: rice, beans, cabbage salad, a chunk of fish, chicken or beef. Watch for (and eat) patacones, guacamole, fried yucca, gallo pinto, and fruit. Costa Rican tortillas are excellent. However, before you douse your food in hot sauce, taste it, looking for subtle flavoring, such as celery leaf in rice or finely diced red bell pepper in various foods.

volcanogirl Aug 12th, 2012 08:16 AM

frustrated is right; if you wanted to do things on your own, you don't have to drive or navigate - you can easily hire private drivers, and there's also a shuttle called Interbus. We book drivers through our hotels when we reserve them. If you're excited about doing the tour though go for it.

nannibray Aug 12th, 2012 05:32 PM

Thanks again to you all. Kinkasote, I have looked at the OAT Tour and it raally has an apeal to us. Small groups is so much better. The OAT tour is also more in depth!
Will now have to make the final decision.


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