No available rooms at Arenal area!!!!

Old Jun 24th, 2004, 07:35 PM
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No available rooms at Arenal area!!!!

Help!!! My travel agent just told me that all the hotels in the Arenal area including Arenal Paraiso, Montana de Feugo, Los Lagos Hotel and Volcano Lodge are fully booked for the nights of July 29 and 30. He said the only hotel with available room is Hotel Lagos & Senderos. However, I can't find any information about this hotel in the web. Could anyone give me any advice? My vacation dates are fixed and I can't change my schedule. I'm so desperate.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 07:51 PM
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Have you tried contacting the hotels themselves & confirming they're actuallyy booked?
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 09:57 PM
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I've sent email inquiries to some hotels myself, but got no reponse. Then I tried to book thru travel agents. However, whenever I had additional inquiries, it always took a week - in one case, even 2 weeks - for them to respond. Then they told me the hotels of my choice are fully booked and asked me to make quick decision. Otherwise I may even without a room in San Jose. So far I have nothing reserved yet.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 10:03 PM
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In late July you can just show up at any hotel in Costa Rica and they will have a room for you, I'd bet a free trip on it. This is the lowest of the low season. It cannot even be a Tico holiday because if it were, Los Lagos would be the first place to be filled, since it is popular with Ticos (a great place, by the way).

Hotel staff in Costa Rica (and the entire tourist industry there) do not understand our need to have instant responses to our emails. You'll probably get a response or two in a few days. They think that is a "timely response", and in Latino culture, it actually is. Muy mellow. No problema. And certainly no rush.

My advice is to reserve your first and last nights in San Jose or thereabout, and on arrival ask the hotel staff to make you reservations at the place you want to visit next. They'll call on the telephone (not email) and you'll be ready to go. Then at that hotel ask them to make the next reservation, etc.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for your advice, Barbarian. Both travel agents I've contacted so far, ie., www.costaricantransfers.com (was recommended by someone in this forum) and www.expedicionestropicales.com told me that room availability at Arenal are limited because July is a peak season for being Tico's mid-year vacation time.
www.expedicionestropicales.com even said that I may end up without a hotel room at San Jose if I don't book before going there. If Los Lagos is a great place, perhaps I should take it, though I was told that only the more expensive premium rooms are available. I really like to have everything pre-arranged because either me nor my friend speak Spanish.
panish.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:33 AM
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I had trouble with hotels not replying to my emails for the most part. But, I found a better response when I faxed them - so you may want to try that too. I am surprised though since you are using two specific Costa Rica "experts". Good luck!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:46 AM
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One other thing...I am a travel agent & sometimes the companies I work with to book hotels for my clients are "sold out" of their allotment. That does not mean the hotel is sold out & it would be up to me to contact the hotel further to see if the hotel has space by booking directly with them. The travel agents might just be telling you that what they have been allotted by the hotels is sold out. I have found that for the majority, Costa Rica is really an area that should be booked on it's own - by the traveler (or travel agent) contacting the hotels directly.

I wanted to have my hotels lined up in advance like you said. Again, by sending the faxes, the hotels were quicker to respond.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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In addition to the properties already mentioned, there are also several nice looking smaller properties in the town of La Fortuna itself. They won't have the great volcano views, but I'm betting there will be availability.

Jean
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:54 AM
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I just don't buy SJO being fully booked in July, which leads me to doubt the info about the Arenal hotels. Someone is trying to take you for a ride. E-mail the hotels (it usually takes a few days for them to respond) or just call or fax them.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 05:22 AM
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I have seen the web sites for both and they sure look the same.
Los Lagos-
http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/arenal...gos-arenal.htm

Sendero-
http://www.costarica-net-guide.com/senderos.html
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 05:47 AM
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I contacted the Arenal Lodge yesterday, 6/24/04, and had no problem reserving a junior suite for 7/31/04 thru 8/03/04.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:34 PM
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Thanks all, now I got a Superior room at Arenal Paraiso, dramatically. It took so much efforts! After getting advices from you guys, I tried to send both email and fax inquiries to all major hotels with good volcano views, eg, Arenal Paraiso, Volcano Lodge, etc. No problem with the email but, for hours I couldn't get thru a single fax line. As I didnt get any reply emails from the hotels, I started to call Arenal Paraiso and Volcano Lodge ( I was hesitate to call before because I speak no Spanish). Surprisingly we could communicate well in English. However, their answers were no room available. Disappointed, I checked my mail box again one hour later and found an incoming message by Arenal Paraiso, replying that they have Superior Room available for my specific date. I informed my travel agent and he made reservation for me rightaway. I asked myself why I need a travel agent to book the room for me. I have to pay in full in advance booking thru a travel agent, while if I reserve the room myself, I only pay upon checking out. I'll even probably get some discount if I offer to pay cash. Am I wrong on the thought?
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Congrats on the room. I agree with your thoughts. I will be going to CR for the first time in November and was in the same situation. I decided to go with my travel agent for peace of mind but I did voice my disappointment that I was able to get a room that she couldn't and then negotiated a lower rate with the agent. I noticed that this reduced the commission a little but it's not like the agent earned it or anything.

On the other hand, there was another place that my agent could not book and I booked directly and was offered a nice discount if I settle the balance in cash.

It depends on what you are more comforatble with though. Good luck.
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