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goingout33 Dec 17th, 2006 05:38 PM

Private Drivers...where does one find info/recommendations on private drivers?
We'll be traveling from San Jose to Arenal to MA and back to San Jose. I've heard about people getting private drivers but haven't been able to find much onfo on them. Any reccomendations for a private driver? How do you get in touch with them and what are the rates? Is it a lot more than renting a 4X4 ?

CRIdo Dec 18th, 2006 07:10 AM

I've been looking for a private driver for a large group trip this upcoming March. I went with recommendations from this boards & tripadvisor. I contacted the drivers or tour companies via e-mail.

These were the companies/drivers that I saw/recieved recommendations for:

Leo Rodriguez [email protected]

Orlando Vargas [email protected]

Swiss travel [email protected]

Danny Travels [email protected]

Wady Tours/Zuma Tours [email protected]

I recieved quick responses from all except Leo, although he may be currently working. Danny Travels sent me the least expensive quote, Swiss travel had the most expensive quote.

We've decided to go with Orlando Vargas, I've seen many positive reviews of him, plus he's a naturalist tour guide and was only slightly more then Danny Travels (approx $5pp/day, this is for a group of 20). He also has been extremely prompt with e-mails & is obviously very fluent in English. I'm very excited to have him booked for 6-7 days in March, from what I've read & my communication with him I think our group will have a great time with him.

I have no idea about renting vs. a private driver. I would think a private driver would be more, but it certainly doesn't hurt to contact a few people for quotes.

Suzie2 Dec 19th, 2006 01:32 PM

We have used Orlando on many many trips and we just love him. A naturalist he is. He would rather be out looking at birds etc than anything. His english is excellent. He even has some night vision glasses for a night tour. He is a lot of fun.

CRIdo Dec 19th, 2006 02:24 PM

Suzie -- your posts regarding Orlando were definitely on my mind when deciding to hire him -- thank you, your posts & others from this board have been invaluable for planning our trip to CR

I've never been a 'birder' myself, just a general nature watcher, but I'm looking forward to becoming one! :)

CRIdo Dec 21st, 2006 09:01 AM

Just wanted to update that I did finally hear back from Leo Rodriquez (very good English) & his prices for a bilingual driver for our group was almost identical to Danny Travels: approx $275/day for a group of 20.

Orlando quoted me approx $60 more/day (not per person) then Danny Travels & Leo Rodriquez for a naturalist tour guide along with a driver.

Suzie2 Dec 26th, 2006 09:42 AM

There are some hidden pay scales in hiring a driver either independently or through a travel company. Often the ones with a certain expertise or equipment can get a slightly higher pay. Orlando is a good naturalist, has a Leica scope, and has night vision goggles. When we used to use CRE it cost us more to have a guide/naturalist with us as well as a driver.

Orlando has a good eye even when driving so you should see some great things when he isn't! I can't tell you how many times we have stopped right in the middle of the road to look at a bird. Other cars just go around us.

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