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Dolphin adventures in Bosque: Are there different providers and are they safe for kids?

Dolphin adventures in Bosque: Are there different providers and are they safe for kids?

Jul 16th, 2007, 04:38 PM
  #1  
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Dolphin adventures in Bosque: Are there different providers and are they safe for kids?

Sorry if I posted this twice, not sure where my first post went.

Hipvirgochick: I read in your travel report that you and your daughter along with another couple went out dolphin watching. Did everyone have life jackets while in the water? My 13 year old nephew would love to do this and he is a good swimmer but I don't know about ocean swimming.

Are there various companies that provide this service and isn't it illegal to swim with dolphins or are you actually, tubing, as we call it?

Thanks for any input.


sylviam is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Hi, sylvia - I'm sure hip will chime in with more info. but I can answer part of your question. We took the boat to the animal sanctuary, and when we did it the water was really calm. The boat operator said that the Golfo Dulce is often as smooth as glass, so it's probably not as rough as you're imagining an ocean to be. When we were coming back from the animal sanctuary, dolphins surrounded our boat and were swimming all around us. The operator told us that he has a plane board attached to a rope that he pulls behind the boat; you can wear goggles or a mask and dip the board down and see the dolphins all around you. Our boat was the only one out that day, so it's pretty neat to have the entire gulf to yourself. The boat was named Bosque del Cabo, and they're the ones that arrange the tours for you, so you just have to ask at the front desk, and they can set everything up for you. I'm sure hvc can you give you more detailed info.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 16th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Hi sylviam - There are different providers, but BDC hire's out it's own boat and driver. There were life jackets on the boat and my daughter wore hers. She is not a strong swimmer. During the dolphin swim, you will also snorkel for a while. She didn't want to do this even with a life jacket, because the water is pretty deep (it's near a shore though). It's true it is illegal to swim with the dolphins in the way that Mexico and Hawaii do the commercialized swimming and touching. What you do, is find a pod of dolphins and then jump in with a face mask, and a boogie board tied to a rope. Then you get towed behind the boat for as long as you want, using the board to dip down under the water where you can see all of the dolphins playing and swimming around. It'a all very cool. You may also have whale sightings as well.

It's a lot of fun, but we enjoyed the Wildlife Sanctuary even more. Have fun!
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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Hi again silvia - I forgot to mention it looks like you will be travelling around the same time as us, so maybe we'll bump into eachother! We're at BDC March 30-April 5, and probably Arenal sometime before that, but not sure what sequence the rest of the trip will be.

Happy planning!
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:31 AM
  #5  
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volcanogirl: Thanks for the info. We also would like to visit the animal sanctuary. Can both be done in 1 day or would that be too much?

hipvirgochick: The dolphin adventure sounds like fun and now I am reassured about my nephew swimming as he could use a life jacket(actually as his aunt I would probably insist on it). We have not heard back from BDC about availability of a cabin. I have e-mailed them but I may try to call. We plan to be in CR from April 3 to 11th and will hit Arenal and BDC. Depending on BDC's availability we may be there at the same time. I will let you know when I get confirmation from BDC.

Thanks to you both for your help. I am sure I will have many more questions.
sylviam is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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Hi, sylvia - I think you could easily do both in one day. Just to give you an idea of times, the car ride back into Puerto Jimenez from BdC was about 45 minutes, and the boat ride to the Animal Sanctuary was about half an hour. The boat does not have any kind of covering on it, so we wore sunscreen and brought along our rain ponchos just in case we got some rain.

The Animal Sanctuary was great - it's mostly orphaned animals. A baby spider monkey was hugging me around the leg and a baby howler crawled right up my husband and snuggled up with him. I even got to hold a sloth, so I think your nephew would really enjoy it. The boat driver told us that he's even seen whale sharks (the big ones) in the Golfo Dulce at certain times of the year. I'd recommend combining activities when you can because you're charged for the ride back into town and taking the boat out as well, so combining can save you some money. It's all worth it though!
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Hi Sylvia -- There's definitely enough time to do both in one day, and in fact that's what we did. You need to take a boat to the Wildlife Sanctuary too, so it makes sense. Hope you're not on a tight budget though, those tours do add up. We started with the dolphin swim, then snorkeled, then across the water to the Wildlife Sanctuary. I have the cutest picture of Sweetie piggybacking my daughter under her rain poncho (her head sticking out through the opening). Really interesting hearing about the good work the refuge does also.

We could have also had enough time to do the kayak mangrove sunset tour, but too much for one day. We will do this next time. They are paddled by a guide, and you just go along for the ride and enjoy
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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volcanogirl and hipvirgochick: Again, thanks for your help. Now if I could get confirmation from BDC that would make my day. Can't firm up anything without hearing from them.

I think I read on this site that they are a bit slow in responding. Did either of you find that a problem?
sylviam is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 02:19 PM
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They were usually fairly quick to get back to me - Leonardo is the one who helped me. Hope you hear something soon. Don't you hate waiting?! They are very reliable though, so I think you should hear something soon - hopefully!
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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Sylvia -- Have you sent just one e-mail? Has it been more than 2-3 days?
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Jul 17th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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hipvirgochick: Yes I only sent one e-mail so perhaps I should send another.

I have a few more questions about BDC if you don't mind answering them. From reading on TripAdvisor is it true that they prefer cash and will charge you 6% more to use a credit card?

Also, I know that food is included in the cost but no mention is made of the bar, which I assume is a separate bill.

Are all excursions you book through the resort payable to the resort, ie, dolphin tour, animal sanctuary, etc.

I just want to be prepared cash wise as we generally charge our hotels on our trips. As everything is quoted in US dollars I assume that I am not going to use the ATM machine much.

The more I read about this lodge the more excited I get as I know my nephew will love it.
Thanks again for your input.

sylviam is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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They told us they had a strong preference for a personal check over credit card when we checked out. I had my credit card in hand, and they said it would be much easier to pay with a check, so that's what we ended up doing.

They do run a separate tab for you for the bar, and when you check out they give you a total. We found the prices to be very reasonable for things like beer, margaritas, and smoothies. They have a BdC book in the cabin that lists the prices. Watch out for the margaritas - they are stroooong!

Most of the tour prices are payable to BdC, but for the Animal Sanctuary, they ask you to make a $20 "donation" directly to the Sanctuary. The owner, Earl, was very laid-back and never asked us for our money, so as we were leaving I asked if we were to pay him directly, and he said yes.

For the most part, you'll need very little cash at BdC; they ask you your cabin name, and they just put everything on a tab for you, and you pay the total when you check out. US dollars are pretty widely accepted all over CR; we've never had to use colones at all, but if you buy something in town you may get colones back as change.

Also, we included a little extra money when we checked out to be distributed as tips to people who were helpful to us.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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volcanogirl: Good to know they take a personal check.

Was this the same in other hotels/resorts in CR like in Arenal? Or just at local restaurants and stores. I think you were there the year before.
sylviam is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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Yes, maybe you should try sending another e-mail. They also may be experiencing internet trouble right now. Not too uncommon.

From my experience most hotels/restaurants/shops do not take checks because it takes too long to clear. However, it's common to see the smaller places stating their preference for cash, because of the big surcharges on credit cards. BDC prefers a check, with a credit card for back-up, or cash. I paid in full with check for the cabina before I left home, but I figured my tipping at BDC pretty much on the same basis as I would here. I included the on-site guides, the waitstaff, drivers, maids, bartender and off-site tour guides. I tipped off-site tour guides after the tour, but for BDC I wrote the names and amounts on my receipt and included it with my final payment (asking Kim to distribute). I only say all this about tipping as I do believe it is a large source of their income. There is also a tipping guide page in the lodge guide in the cabina.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Hi, sylvia - the other resorts were stayed in had us pay with a credit card, so it really depends on each individual establishment. You might want to send an e-mail to each place you're staying, and they can let you know their preference. BdC required us to pay a 50% deposit via check when we made the reservation, which was kind of good because it divided the payment over a couple of months. Also, be aware that a lot of the credit card companies add a surcharge on to purchases made outside the country - some are 1% and some are 3%, etc. so you might want to check that with your credit card company; they call it a conversion fee or something along those lines.

Like hvc said, a lot of the smaller places like restaurant will not accept a credit card at all, so we paid those with cash. Two good restaurants in Arenal are La Choza de Laurel (rotisserie chicken) and El Novillo (for steaks).

volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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meant restaurants - sorry.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 06:36 PM
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hipvirgochick & volcanogirl: Again, thank you both. Most of our travel has been through Europe and with the exception of very small B&B's or hotels we always paid the room via credit card. Capital One does not have a surcharge and everything else we paid using our ATM cards and the local currency. CR is a new experience for us in many ways.

As background, my husband and I decided a few years ago to take each of our 7 nieces and nephews on a trip each year. This will be our 6th trip. The place is always a surprise but we choose a place we know will be interesting to the particular child we are taking. CR offers everything our nephew will enjoy plus a great vacation for us.

I have copied both of your trip reports as the information was invaluable especially when starting to plan. In Arenal we are debating between Lost Iguana (which we would love) vs Los Lagos (more kid friendly). We also try to incorporate a lot of the local culture so we like to eat at local restaurants rather than on the property and tour with local guides.

If you can offer any more insight, please do as I am very open to any suggestions. And I will e-mail BdC again or perhaps call them. Thank you again.
sylviam is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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Wow, what an amazing thing to do. You are the best auntie; I'm sure your nephew will have amazing memories from this trip.

My husband and I stayed at Lost Iguana last year, and we loved it, but I know Los Lagos gets great reviews from families. We usually like to eat off property as well - especially in Arenal; the food at Lost Iguana for dinner was pretty pricey and not our favorite, but we loved everything else there. They offer a free shuttle that goes into town around dinnertime, or at least they did when we were there. Feel free to ask any more questions - would love to help.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 17th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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fae
 
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We have been to BDC twice. Last summer when we went for the second time, I just sent a check ahead of time for the balance of room, hotel, and estimate for what we would spend at the bar, tours, etc. I also took one personal check with me which I used to pay our balance at checkout when was only one hundred something dollars. BDC was fine with that. I sent the big check in plenty of time for BDC to have it clear before we got there. Having been there before, I had no qualms doing that having met the owners.

BDC is our favorite of all places - plan to go back next summer. It will be our third time to the Osa - first at Lapa Rios and next two times at Bosque del Cabo. You can to search on my fodor's name to find detailed trip reports. We prefer to book way ahead and get the Casa Blanca house. It is awesome for a family of four!
fae is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:37 PM
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sylvia - Glad to help anytime! This is a great forum and our trips have been amazing because of it I'm sure your nieces and nephews realize how lucky they are to have such a thoughtful auntie! I think if you go for the Lost Iguana your nephew will love it! I think the majority of the hotels there are family/kids friendly, just that Los Lagos maybe more so with the waterlides/pool. If Arenal makes our itinerary next trip (which I think it will), pretty sure we'll stay here.

Enjoy the rest of your planning!

hipvirgochick is offline  
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