CostaRica Expeditions or go it alone?

Old Jan 17th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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CostaRica Expeditions or go it alone?

Planning on coming in April 14 for eight nights with 5 of us, three children 7, 9 and 11. Not sure whether to continue to wait for what seems to be slow responses from CR Expeditions or to book hotels on my own. If I book on my own, can someone educate me on whether or not you can show up at hotels with no tours with guides booked. Do all of the properties or areas (Tortuguero, MA, Montverde, Arenal) have lots of choices for calling to arrange things to do at the last minute? Also, how to get from one region to another if I'm not planning on renting a car?
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 08:00 PM
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Chris,
You can book tours and arrange activities once you arrive. AND you can very easily arrange your own hotels online. It's very simple.

As for transportation for your family, you can hire a private driver (if interested, do a search on this board using the name Oscar and you'll find good contact information on one of the most sought after drivers).

Another option for transportation is to used Interbus, a company that provides safe and comfortable transportation in small turismo vans.

www.interbusonline.com
will give you all the information you need.

You should get started very soon as hotels seem to be booking up several months ahead right now. Good luck!
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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shillmac,

i didn't think travel agents charge any fees. are you saying that they do and it would be cheaper to book my own hotels, tours and book oscar? i am also deciding whether to book something thru CR Expeditions and they have been fantastic, but the quote is pricey. we are traveling june 27-july 5th. do you think it's too late to make reservations and book oscar? thanks.

kristen
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 02:31 PM
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I just recently began working with Costa Rican Expeditions. I found there rates to be much higher than what the trip would really cost, in the neighborhood of 30% more for the whole itinerary. In the end I decided to use them for the portions of the trip where I wanted to stay in their hotels.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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What are their hotels? Why couldn't you just book online?
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Jasminestarr, you can book yourself fairly easily for less money--that is a given. But at this time, many places will already be booked. That is not to say you can't find what you are looking for--I'm in the process of doing that myself for a trip beginning July 2. I've run into a few places that are full--a couple of them places where I definitely wanted to stay.

If you have some hotels in mind, I have a suggestion for you. Send an e-mail to [email protected]. She owns a hotel (and no, she doesn't expect you to stay there unless you'd like!). Consequently she receives some discounts from other hotels and will pass them on to you.

She is sometimes able to secure rooms that might otherwise be "unavailable" according to the front desks. Give her a shout--she used to be a regular Fodorite and has helped many people on this board. I think you are in a position to benefit from the assistance she can give you.

CRE has an excellent rep, but they are probably the most expensive tour group operating in CR. Good luck!
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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I might also mention that Chris, the guy who started this thread, used Neta to help him book rooms and he was very pleased--also made a friend!
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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costa rica expeditions runs Tortuga lodge in
Tortuguero and Monteverde lodge and I believe the Corcovado Tent lodge.
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Old Jun 12th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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I have been watching this board for months but this is the first time I've responded. We will be traveling to Costa Rica too June 25-July 3. We booked our trip through Costarica Expeditions since they seemed to arrange exactly the trip we wanted. We will be flying into San Jose, the Osa to hike, scuba dive and swim with whales, Arenal with hanging bridges and a time out at a private hotsprings, white water rafting and back to San Jose. They seemed very professional and it's comforting to know that everything is booked, even our driver. I will give you a trip report. By the way, I've learned alot from this board and can't wait to go.
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Old Jun 12th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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I planned my own trip through the internet and had no problems. I just posted my report (nature lovers's trip) so you could follow my suggestions.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 09:19 PM
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mothraeve,
You'll have a wonderful time, no doubt. CRE is a highly reputable company and have earned that rep through many years of keeping travelers happy. Although they are pricey, I'm sure they "deliver"--at least those who have used them seem to think so. Enjoy!
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Hi! Just to give my two-cents on the travel agency debate... Working with a travel agency is not necessarily more expensive. I have worked with one local Costa Rican agency over the internet. (They are not large like CR Expeditions, but more like a boutique agency for luxury travel) In our experience, their service was excellent and certainly took away the stress of trying to plan a vacation. I actually took the time to compare the quoted price to what I could obtain by doing everything directly on my own and the price difference was in fact a few dollars less for the travel-agency itinerary. Go figure! I asked the agent about it and she told me that they make their money based on commisions paid to them by the hotels and operators. That said, I am sure that some agents inflate prices. Guess the best advice is to find a reputable, honest agent and stick to them!

Cheers,

Em
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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We priced out our vacation first but after reading some posts of people having their reservations cancelled when they arrived, we opted for a travel agent. They sometimes are able to get better prices on hotels from their connections then if you were to do it alone.

I think it all depends on the type of trip you want to take. For me personally, we just had too many tours and activities to plan and I thought it was best left in the hands of a professional. Thanks for your good wishes.

I have stocked up on great water shoes, mosquito coils, great clothing all recommended from this site. I will be traveling with 5 teens and my husband so I'm sure it will be a great adventure!
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