Costa Rica private driver recommendations?

Old Aug 18th, 2009, 05:06 AM
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Costa Rica private driver recommendations?

I've heard a lot of good things about hiring a private driver in Costa Rica. I love the idea of someone introducing us to their country and being able to stop and see random things along the way! Since the trip from Monteverde to Manual Antonio is a long one, my fiance and I were thinking that would be a good leg of the trip to hire a driver.

Do you have any recommendations? Would you mind giving me an idea of what the cost will be like? (I know it varies from person to person, month to month, and by trip, just looking for a general estimate.)

Thanks!
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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We are using Leo Rodrigues as our driver in November. He comes very highly recommended from Dyer and others on this forum.

I found his pricing very fair, he is easy to deal with, quick to respond to e-mails and very happy and willing to stop at various places on the way to your destination.

He is taking us from San Jose to Savegre - San Gerardo de Dota which is about 2 1/2 hours drive for $140. Of course that may turn into a lot longer if there are plenty of hummingbirds at the two places we are stopping at along the way!

His email is [email protected]
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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I HIGHLY, 5 stars, recommend Wilson Rojas (whom I found from reviews on this board). He is a great guide and driver - I can't say enough good things about him and how he shaped our trip. If you haven't seen my previous post, check out my blog to see the video I made about Costa Rica (which highlights Wilson), I also wrote something on the blog about him too! You will NOT regret using him.

Pricing wise - he was about $150 from SJO to Arenal; $Arenal to MA about $200; MA to SJO about $130 -- I will add we paid way over what he asked - we felt he deserved more b/c he made so many stops showing us things along the way we would have never seen on our own.

www.hollywoodwannab.blogspot.com

Wilson's email is: [email protected] Sometimes it takes a day or two for him to respond bc he may be on the road. I suggest booking this in advance bc they do get booked early on.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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Our friend Kattya Corrales lives in Monteverde and offers transportation to other points in the country. She was educated in the local Quaker school, and speaks English perfectly.

She can also help with local tours and advice. She has over fifteen years in tourism, and is just a delightful gal. Very competitive pricing too.

We use her whenever we can. This is sustainable tourism at it's best. No big company, just a local family.

You can reach her by email at: [email protected]. Give her a day or two to respond. She relies on local cafes for her web access.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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We use Carlos Bogarin
[email protected]
http://www.destinos-encantados.com/

We paid $140 to go from SJO to Arenal with him and have used him twice. He's very kind and brought us cool bottled water and even blankets and pillows when we arrived at night. He knows a lot about real estate and politics - we had fun talking with him. He also offered to stop at the grocery store, any restaurant, etc. He even spotted toucans for us. I would definitely use him again.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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I've always used Alberto Artavia Barrantes - [email protected] Great guy as his assistant Carlos. He's great at doing whatever you want to do but also offering suggestions as to what may work better or what you may not know about.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 11:48 AM
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www.tripadvisor.com/members/tripadvisor

Knowledgable driver/guide well worth it for me

Drives average $150 not bad at all for a drive/tour

figuring per person...
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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I'll second the recommendation of Wilson Rojas. He was excellent - both as a driver and a person to share his country. He was great with our kids as well. He made us feel very comfortable and was very friendly. We'd use him again if we every decided to hire a driver.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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shutter, I should add that before we found Carlos, we just booked drivers through out hotels; that's another easy option. You might check with the places where you're booked and check costs with them.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Wilson is wonderful - so sweet and knowledgeable.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Thanks for all the wonderful recommendations!

volcanogirl - Great idea on checking with our hotels.. I'll definitely look into that!
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 07:28 AM
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Note that for us, when we looked into using transportation through our shuttles they were and were not sometimes cheaper but in each case we would be with other people traveling -- good to that, may be able to say $25 - $50 bucks, bad - it is JUST transportation, unlike with a private driver that will (if you want) stop and show you places along the way, take you to local places for lunch etc. Just a thought...
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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If you book through your hotels, you will be with a private driver unless you go with something like Interbus. shutter, we found that to be pretty easy to do, and they just roll up the costs with your hotel.
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Another reccomendation for Wilson. If he's not available, Elsy will find you someone you can rely on to be ALMOST as good.
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 02:12 PM
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We have been using Orlando Vargas for years and have learned so much from him. We have become very good friends over the years and have trusted many family members coming to visit us with him as well. Travelaroundcostarica.com is his new web site and he has lots of pictures if you just want to have some fun.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 05:26 PM
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HIGHLY recommend Oscar Mora. Used him on two family trips, the 2nd time my teen kids actually opted to drive MORE around the country so that they could be with Oscar!

He was the highlight of our trip and I am so glad to know him and call him a friend. He was $150/day for all 5 of us. Worth so much more, way more than just a driver! He is avail for you morning till night if you need it. Took care of us and our belongings when we did tours, helped me with planning, sat on the beach with us (even filling the cooler) and was a secure guide, knowledgable, kind companion. We treated him as a friend and he did likewise. Whomever you use, I hope they enhance your trip for your family as much as Oscar did for us.
He's driving clients so email response is not immediate.
Oscar Chavarría Mora <[email protected]>
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Old Aug 28th, 2009, 01:47 AM
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I think it's awesome that everyone pretty much consistently loves their drivers; you never read about a bad experience.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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Hi
I was reading these posts to find out about hiring drivers. Do I rent a car and than a driver, or does the driver supply the vehicle??
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 03:07 PM
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The drivers have their own vans for transport; you just pay for the driving.
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 04:12 AM
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I've e-mailed Wilson Rojas at the e-mail address above and had no response. Does anyone have a better way of contacting him?

Also, Peace Lodge quoted the following costs for private car:
SJO Airport – Peace Lodge: $70
Peace Lodge - Pavas Airport: $80

This seems very high. Any alternatives?
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