Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife with UCCS Alumni & Friends9 days Nature & Wildlife
Let us handle the details
Expert Tour Director
Sightseeing with local guides
Personalized flight options
Tour pace: You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails and muddy paths, with some hills.
Day 1: Arrival in San José
Fly to Costa Rica and settle into your hotel in San José.
Tortuguero 2 nights Hotel info
Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Tortuguero
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive through the Costa Rican countryside. Then, boat through jungle-lined canals to beachside Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, for a guided tour of the tropical area.
• Pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park, home of many dormant volcanoes and placid crater lakes
• Take a scenic drive through local banana plantations
• Learn about endangered turtles at the Sea Turtle Conservancy (Please note: Sea turtle nesting season is from June–September. Turtles may not be on the beaches for the remainder of the year.)
Later, get to know your group at a welcome dinner.
Day 3: Rainforest & canal expedition
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Explore Tortuguero National Park’s diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, swamps and beaches.
• Boat through the park’s canals, seeking out monkeys, tapirs, caymans and more
• View the freshwater creeks and lagoons, home to endangered turtles and over 50 species of fish
Arenal Region 2 nights Hotel info
Day 4: Arenal via Guapiles
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Transfer to the highlands for your first glimpse of Arenal Volcano National Park’s lush landscape, shaped by the majestic volcano and massive lake of the same name. Stop in Guapiles, then enjoy a free afternoon in Arenal or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Arenal Hot Springs & Dinner $75pp* Details
The afternoon is yours to explore an array of heated pools, kept warm by geothermal activity surrounding the Arenal Volcano. Then, enjoy dinner, along with views of the volcano, at a restaurant in the charming town of La Fortuna before traveling back to your hotel.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)
Day 5: Hiking tour of Arenal
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park on a guided tour.
• View the mile-high volcano, a near-perfect conical shape that emerges from the Sierra de Tilarán mountain range
• Gaze at the placid Lake Arenal, watching for northern jacana, woodpeckers and kingfishers by its shores
• Stop to enjoy a tasting of raw sugarcane
Spend a free afternoon in Arenal or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Ziplining Tour $59pp* Details
Today's ziplining excursion adds a bit of adrenaline to your Costa Rican vacation. The longest ziplines on this course cover nearly half a mile, and the tallest are almost 600 feet off the ground; in short, you've never traveled like this before! You'll fly silently above the treetops and come home with a renewed sense of adventure.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $69)
Monteverde 2 nights Hotel info
Day 6: Monteverde via Helconia Ranch
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Get another look at the spectacular Lake Arenal as you travel to Monteverde by boat and bus. There, learn about Costa Rica’s diverse ecology and vibrant culture.
• Help with reforestation efforts by planting a native tree at Heliconia Ranch
• Have lunch at a local farm and enjoy coffee and dairy products cultivated on-site
• Take in a presentation of traditional Costa Rican dances performed by children from the community
Day 7: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Included meals: Breakfast
Take a guided tour of what may be the world’s most stunning cloud forest reserve.
Then, enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Sky Walk $45pp* Details
The canopy layer of the Costa Rican rainforest teems with life, but until recently, it was difficult for travelers to enter this world. On today's excursion, a guided tour brings you to a series of suspended bridges high above the floor of the Monteverde cloud forest. Today, you'll walk where birds fly.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)
Day 8: Coffee plantation visit & San José sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Travel to San José today, making several stops along the way.
• Tour the Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation to learn about coffee harvests during a hands-on demonstration and enjoy a tasting
• Visit the town of Sarchí to view the carretas, or beautifully painted oxcarts
Then, get to know San José on a guided sightseeing tour.
• Stop at the Plaza de la Cultura, site of many performances and celebrations, and admire the National Theater of Costa Rica
• Pass Bellavista Fortress, home of the National Museum
•Marvel at the steel exterior of the century-old Edificio Metálico
Celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at tonight’s farewell dinner.
Day 9: Departure
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Costa Rica to explore Manuel Antonio.
Add Manuel Antonio & San José Starting from $749 pp
Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.
Soak in the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio, a vibrant destination where lush rainforests are side by side with postcard-worthy beaches.
Manuel Antonio 2 nights Hotel info
Day 9: Tarcoles River cruise
Included meals: Breakfast
En route to Manuel Antonio, relax on a riverboat tour of the Tarcoles River with a local guide.
• Take in views of lush mangrove forests and jungle settings
• Look out for wildlife such as crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, monkeys and birds
Day 10: Manuel Antonio National Park
Included meals: Breakfast
Get to know the country’s smallest national park, popular for its breathtaking beaches and scenic hiking trails.
• Keep an eye out for local fauna—the park is home to 109 mammal species and 270 bird species
• Walk to the top of rocky Cathedral Point to view the park from across the Pacific
• Witness a blowhole shooting sea spray over Escondido Beach
• Survey the saw cliff and sea caves at Serrucho Point
• View a pre-Columbian underwater turtle trap
Enjoy a free afternoon in Manuel Antonio or add an excursion.
Optional Excursion - Manuel Antonio Sunset Cruise $95pp* Details
Spend the afternoon cruising along the central Pacific coast of Quepos on board the Ocean King catamaran, the largest in Central America. Sail through the various islands and rock formations as you explore Manuel Antonio National Park from the water, keeping an eye out for dolphins and sea birds that inhabit the area. Snorkel in the calm turquoise waters as you explore the underwater beauty up close.
Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)
Day 11: Transfer to San José
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Enjoy a free morning before traveling back to San José and rejoining your group for a farewell dinner.
Day 12: Departure
Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Passport & visa requirements
- In order to enter Costa Rica, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
- We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
- There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
- If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact Costa Rica's consulate for your specific entry requirements.
- You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails and muddy paths, with some hills.
- Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
- You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
- If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
- Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in and depart from San Jose. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
- Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
- A boat ride to Tortuguero and back is included in the price of the tour.
- All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
- Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
- Contact your airline for detailed information regarding baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
- One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).
- Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
- We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. Comfortable, casual clothing and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are a must for sightseeing.
- A lightweight jacket is recommended, as the temperatures will change with the elevation throughout your tour.
- A sun hat, sunglasses and rain gear will help you stay comfortable in all types of weather. You may also wish to pack a swimsuit.
- Binoculars are handy for a closer look at local wildlife and scenery.
- You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
- There are no health risks associated with traveling to Costa Rica.
- At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
- Take proper care with sun exposure, as the sun can be especially strong in some of the regions on this tour.
- Drink bottled water only. Refrain from ingesting tap water, including when brushing your teeth.
- Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
- If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
- If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
- Costa Rican cuisine is based on staples like rice, black beans and corn with beef, chicken or fish. Fresh, locally grown fruit includes bananas, mangoes, pineapples and avocados. Traditional desserts include custards, puddings and simple cakes. Locally grown coffee is served strong and black, but hot milk is often available if you ask.
Electricity & air conditioning
- Costa Rica operates on 120 volts and uses Types A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.
- We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
- The strength of the air conditioning in some hotels in this region may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
- Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed..
- Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. In more remote locations, internet access may be limited and is not guaranteed.
- There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches
- Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
- Costa Rica is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and one hour behind Eastern Standard Time (EST). Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Saving Time.
- When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am in Costa Rica from March through November and 10am from April through October.
- You will use the Costa Rican colón on this tour.
- Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
- We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
- You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
- Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
- International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
- At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
- We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
- If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.
- Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour
- Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
- Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
- Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
- Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.
Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.
The scenery was beautiful. We enjoyed seeing all of the wildlife and the beautiful rainforest. The places we stayed were well located for this. The people we met on the trip were very friendly. We enjoyed traveling with them, and hope to see them on another trip. We did the zip lining and we really enjoyed that. The young people there were very helpful and friendly. We would recommend this trip to all ages. It was fun, educational, and interesting. When you were awaken at 5 AM by the howler moneys, you felt like you were in another world.
Hi Jimmie! Between the gorgeous scenery and your friendly travel companions, it sounds like you truly enjoyed your ‘Pura Vida’ experience! We’re glad you gave zip lining a try, as it provides a unique opportunity to admire the spectacular beauty above the tree tops. Thank you for recommending this itinerary. We hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 03, 2017
-AMAZING tour director -Great activities -Great accommodations -Good food
Hi Colette! Thanks for the amazing feedback. We're so glad you had a great time, and we're looking forward to seeing you on tour again in 2017!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 19, 2016
Great value and experience! This was my husband and I's first tour with Go Ahead and we are impressed! The service from booking to flying home was flawless. We first thought we'd work on finding our own flights, but after a month of searching, we decided to book with Go Ahead. All it took was a few simple emails and they took care of all of it. Adding excursions and other side trips was easy while abroad and our Tour Director made great suggestions on other not as popular items. The hotels were clean and in beautiful areas. Our Tour Director, Rafael, had a strong sense of knowledge and love for Costa Rica which made our adventure so much more enjoyable! I don't think there was a questions he couldn't answer right away that I asked. We can't wait to save up our money too book another tour with Go Ahead! Pura Vida!
Hi Chloe! We’re happy that you enjoyed your first Go Ahead tour. It’s also great to know that, from the time of booking until the time you came home, your Go Ahead journey was smooth and easy. We'll definitely let our team know! We appreciate your feedback on your Tour Director, as well as your hotel accommodations, and we thank you for taking the time to review your tour. We hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 22, 2016
1st Timer but not last time with GoAhead
I was so happy with everything about this tour. Note - this is my first time with Go Ahead and I will use them again, but my fellow tourists, who were well seasoned world travelers, were remarkably loyal to Go Ahead. Many had used Go Ahead in all different parts of the world and they stated without equivocation that this tour company is consistently high quality, safe and reliable for good prices. I appreciated the entire tour. The accomodations were high-end; much nicer than the price would suggest. Our tour guide and driver, Raphael and Hector - terrific traveling companions. Knowledgable, down to earth and genuninely concerned about making the most of this visit. ( p.s. I notice that they completely took care of luggage - we didn't have to carry a thing. Other tours were lugging their own baggage down a somewhat steep hill to get to the boats :( ) Raphel is a natural professor and kept a fascinating running dialogue about costa rican history, people and customs. I especially enjoyed his appreciation and affection for the country. Hiding in plain sight - the rainforest guides were serious about pointing out wildlife on the river and canals. I never would have seen so much without their help. This of course, is the point of the trip and they delivered big time. I have only good things to say about this trip -
Hi Mary! We’re delighted that you had a wonderful first Go Ahead tour experience. We certainly have a loyal traveler community, and we’re glad that you are a part of it! Thank you for the feedback you kindly provided. We’re glad that you were impressed with your accommodations, as well as the efforts of your Tour Director and driver. We’re especially glad that your Tour Director added value to your trip, particularly while you were in the rain forest learning about your exotic surroundings and the animals which inhabit the area. It certainly helps to have an insider's insight! Again, we’re thrilled that you feel satisfied with your Go Ahead experience in Costa Rica, and we hope to welcome you on another tour in the future.
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 16, 2017
The most amazing tour
I don't really write reviews, but I cannot write enough about how awesome this trip was. I have never travelled in such a group before, and was a bit apprehensive about the idea. But to summarize, Go ahead really goes beyond. Our tour director, Rafael, and driver, Hector really cared, and made it sure that we had the best experience ever. I could write a separate review on Rafael, that is how good he is. He is extremely knowledgeable, including the scientific names, and taxonomy of the flora and fauna spread across our tour ( and again, being a scientist myself, it is really impressive). And as I said earlier, he really cared that we have a good time. The trip itself was excellent. It was well organized, the hotels were great, and despite hurricane Otto hitting North Costa Rica, we managed to have all the experiences promised by the tour. Again, I could not recommend this tour enough. The icing on the cake was watching just hatched baby sea turtles making their way to the ocean. Once in a lifetime experience. The zip lining at Arenal was super adrenal rush, and so was sky walking at the hanging bridges. And yes, hot spring at the resort with swim is bar. That is how I want all my vacation to be.
Hi Anindya! We’re so glad you took the time to write a review! It’s wonderful to learn that you enjoyed your first group tour experience. It sounds like your Tour Director and bus driver enhanced your time in Costa Rica, and we’re glad to hear it. We will be sure to let them know that their expertise added value and enjoyment to your trip. We appreciate your feedback on the itinerary as well as your accommodations. We’re very glad that the hurricane didn’t disrupt your tour. Safety is our top priority, which is why we have an Emergency Services team dedicated solely to monitoring both natural and world events. In the event that we believe anything should pose as a threat to our travelers, we always work with our Tour Directors and ground staff to make the appropriate changes. Again, we’re thrilled to learn that you had a great time in Costa Rica and that you enjoyed many unique experiences from watching baby sea turtles take their first steps to zip lining at Arenal. We are super excited to see that you are already booked on your second Go Ahead tour – this time to Kenya in 2017! See you on tour soon, Anindya!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 02, 2016
After reading most of the reviews I thought I had a good idea of what to expect. In fact, no amount of words or photographs can begin to describe the beauty of Costa Rica as experienced with the help of a director (Rafael) who is not only knowledgeable, but passionately in love with his country and it's people. He was also friendly and accommodating while unobtrusively taking care of all those little details that can pile up and suck the fun right out of a vacation. Our driver, Hector, was also amazing and friendly. Even though he spoke no English, he was always willing to help me with my Espanol. There was much bonding in our relatively small group and many of us are now friends for life, anticipating our next tour together. Much has been said in the hundred-plus reviews about the physical beauty of the landscape and how much they enjoyed the activities -all true - so I'd like to say a word or two about a couple of the other things that some people took issue with. The long uncomfortable bus rides. Based on the reviews, I was really dreading them, especially after spending so much time on planes and in airports. At no time was it uncomfortable or unpleasant. There was so much to see and learn and talk about. And the food. We are all told from the outset that the food would be based on the Costa Rican diet, which is mostly rice and beans. I was never given the impression that this was going to be a five-star restaurant eating tour. I can get that at home. To sum it all up, I LOVED this tour - every minute of it.
Hi Joan! It certainly is difficult to describe the awe-inspiring beauty that is Costa Rica! We’re so glad your Tour Director’s efforts helped you discover it and appreciate all that it has to offer. It sounds like your bus driver was also a joy to be around, and we’re glad to hear it. We appreciate your feedback on the time in transit for this tour. We’re happy you felt you had a lot to learn and discuss during this time. We’re also pleased that you felt prepared for the meal options on tour. We greatly appreciate your feedback on the various aspects of your experience, and we’re thrilled that you loved every minute of it. Thank you for your review. We can’t wait to see where you’ll go next!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 02, 2016
A Dip into the Rain Forest!
I really enjoyed this tour! I saw so many animals and actually stayed in the middle of the rain forest which was an amazing experience. Monkeys climbed on my roof! The food was so delicious! Some of the best dishes I have ever had. The scenery was so colorful with lush greens. I enjoyed ziplining and the sky walk excursion.One spectacular highlights was going to the beach late at night and watching giant sea turtles come up from the ocean and lay eggs! That is a memory I will never forget! As far as notes, I do wish there was a whole day for San Jose. We got there around 5:30 p.m. and dinner was at 7:00p.m. I would have liked to have seen the city besides a quick little bus tour. After dinner, it was dark and there wasn't any time to explore the city. Unfortunately, we couldn't explore the next day because we flew out in the morning. Rafael was alright as a tour director. He was very knowledgeable but not very friendly. There were times I felt like I was bothering him when I asked him questions. It is hard when you have had amazing tour guides with this company prior to this tour. Other than that, it was another great trip! I would recommend traveling here!
Hi Katie! It sounds like you came away from tour with a true taste of the unparalleled beauty of Costa Rica. Spotting animals and enjoying the sounds of the rain forest are certainly a couple of the most enticing activities to do in this destination. What a thrill to watch sea turtles lay legs! We’re so glad you had such unique experiences on tour. We appreciate your feedback regarding other aspects of the tour, such as wanting more time in San Jose. We will be sure to share this with our Product Development team. In terms of your Tour Director, we are glad you felt he was knowledgeable, but we regret that he didn’t meet your expectations in other ways. We will be sure to communicate this to his supervisor. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 31, 2016
Beyond What I Imagined
My husband and I booked this trip on a whim and had NO CLUE as to how awesome it would truly be. It was our first time on South America and I am actually thinking of taking our next trip to another country in S. America as well. We can't stop telling people about the wonderful time we had on the trip, if you're adventurous as heart this trip is definitely for you! The itinerary was jam-packed (which is something we enjoyed), the food was so good, the hotels were in stunning locations, and our tour guide/bus driver went above and beyond for us to enjoy our time there, we would definitely recommend this tour to anyone!
Hi Alexis! We’re so glad that you and your husband enjoyed your time in Costa Rica! You certainly chose an incredible part of the world to explore. We agree that this tour is for the adventurous and for those looking to soak up the wonderful natural and cultural beauty of this Central American gem. Thank you for your feedback on the itinerary, food, hotels, Tour Director, and bus driver. We will be sharing it all with our teams internally. We appreciate your recommendation, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 25, 2016
I enjoyed this trip much more than I'd expected to, Our guide, Edgar, was wonderful. He was friendly, organized, and extremely knowledgeable. Our driver, Jorge, was also great. He kept long drives fun and was also very knowledgeable about the area. I learned so much about Costa Rica thanks to these guys. Planned excursions were great. We explored areas by boat, hiked around a volcano, went to the hot springs, and hiked through the Cloud Forest, among many other things. I can't say enough about how gorgeous the country is. If you go during the rainy season, which I did, be prepared for the rain to come and go throughout the day. It didn't stop us from anything though. We made sure to have have slickers and ponchos at all times, and were able to get to where we were going without any trouble. I added the optional excursions. Despite the fact that heights make me nervous, I couldn't pass up ziplining and the Sky Walk. I highly recommend both. The ziplining crew was fun and professional. The Sky Walk allowed for a view of the rain forest from a different perspective. Meals were tasty. We had opportunities to eat delicious authentic food for most if the trip. Hotel accommodations were comfortable. There were bugs, but that's a given being in the rain forest. Just make sure to be prepared with bug spray. We saw many creatures during our drives and also at our hotels (sloths, monkeys, and iguanas to name a few). Everyone I encountered during my trip was so friendly. I hope to be able to go back and visit again. Another excellent vacation thanks to the Go Ahead crew!
Hi Vanessa! We’re thrilled that this tour exceeded your expectations. We also appreciate your feedback regarding your Tour Director and bus driver, and we will be sure to share it with them. This itinerary includes a lot of unique activities, and it sounds like you took advantage of them! Zip-lining through the rain forest is definitely a must, as well as the Sky Walk. It’s great to know that you gave these activities a try, despite your fear of heights. We’re glad you were prepared for rainy weather. With the right gear, a little rain certainly doesn’t have to put a damper on your experience. You’re also right about bringing along bug spray. That’s always a good item to have in the rain forest! We’re so pleased you enjoyed your tour, and we appreciate that you took the time to share you experience. We hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 20, 2016
Didn't Have To Lift A Finger
Loved this trip as I travelled with my 16 year old daughter and left hubby and son behind. I'm usually having to plan everything along with the meals, etc, and this time I opted to spend a little more $$ and "just show up". It was fabulous! The food was awesome - my daughter is a vegan and Aninga Lodge made special plates for her that everyone else was jealous of! It was a fast paced trip and active, and we are active people so that was great. The group dynamic with other travelers was terrific-this was a very educational tour so we learned a lot. The ziplining was both challenging but manageable and not careless as I have heard other tour companies are. Only downside is that San Jose accomodations were only "eh", but we only stayed for getting there and leaving. Next time I'd take the longer trip extension. Loved our guide and it was the best trip ever. Thanks Go Ahead!
Hi Susan! What a special trip for you and your daughter! We’re so glad you two were able to relax and make lifelong memories together. It’s wonderful to hear that you felt this was an educational experience, as education is at the heart of our tours. We’re pleased that your daughter had no trouble sticking to her vegan diet, and we’re also happy you gave ziplining a try. Ziplining is a must! We regret to learn that the San Jose accommodations didn’t quite match your expectations, and we will be sure to share this feedback with our team. Thank you for your review, and let us know when you’re ready to travel again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | August 23, 2016
OUR GUIDE MADE THIS A FANTASTIC TRIP
This trip was positively excellent. Diego our guide was wonderful. He offer that little extra bit to make the trip the best. He was very knowledgeable about the forests, flowers, insects and animals. He carried a telescope with him so when he heard a bird, he would find it, identify it and was able to show the bird to us up close. Thanks Diego. Please consider the zip lining excursion, it was so amazing and fun. We had people from their 20s up to 80 going. The view was Beautiful. If you enjoy nature this is a trip for you.
Hi Marjorie! We’re delighted to learn that your Tour Director went out of his way for your group and that his expertise enhanced your overall experience. We completely agree that zip-lining is a must-do, and we’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 11, 2016
As if it wasn't enough to leave cold, snowy home to get away to Costa Rica for 9 days, this trip was the experience of a lifetime. I so enjoyed meeting all the great characters that chose to travel at the same time as my trip. It was quite an adventure. I booked for April 9-17th which happened to fall in the dry season. It was a great time to go. I still wore insect repellant and got a few bug bites, but nothing too bad at all. The dollar is widely accepted but the exchange rate is about 500 colones to a dollar so it was pretty easy to navigate. I was a solo traveler along with 6 other solo travelers 1 family and a few couples which included people from all over the US and Canada. Pure Vida is the Costa Rican expression that translates to pure life and is a great way to describe the way many Costa Ricans live. The food was tasty and plentiful, there were so many meals included. I feel like I really got a taste of the entire country as we traveled from the caribbean coast to the mountains and back to the city. Rafael was our fantastic tour director. You can tell he loves his country and his job. He had a lot of useful suggestions as well as a ton of culture and history information to liven up the bus rides. Some rough, mountain dirt roads caused a bit of motion sickness for me, but they were really good about rest stops and the pace of travel. We saw a ton of wildlife and plants throughout the tour and the pictures really just don't do it justice.
Hi Lori! Welcome home, and thank you for your review! We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed the “Pura Vida” experience. It sounds like your Tour Director and group contributed greatly to the success of your tour, adding a layer of enthusiasm and wonderful company. We’re sorry to hear you experienced some motion sickness on the mountain roads, but we’re glad you felt you had enough periods of rest to combat it. It’s wonderful to know you saw so much wildlife and learned about different kinds of plants. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity, surely one of the country’s greatest attractions. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience and look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 26, 2016
Love the Countryside
Costa Rica wildlife and plants, mountains, views, waterfalls, were all gorgeous and even breathtaking! I loved the jungle and the abundant wildlife. I saw some of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen. The accommodations in some areas was not as good as one might expect on a guided tour but we were in the a remote area of the rain forest so one must take that into account. The people were friendly but San Jose was not a place to be alone at night. During the daytime it was a bustling city much like the places in the US but just as in the US, precautions must be taken during the evening hours. I loved Cost Rica, our tour guide was most knowledgeable and I learned so much about all aspects of the country from the government to the natural resources. A beautiful place to visit!!!
Hi Jennifer! We couldn’t agree more about the breathtaking natural beauty of Costa Rica! It’s lush, varied landscapes are just teeming with unique flora and fauna. We’re glad you were able to see some of the many beautiful birds endemic to the country. We regret to hear some of the hotels did not meet your expectations. It’s important to note that what might be considered a three, four, or five star hotel in one country is quite different than another. Also, there are some locations in this itinerary that are fairly remote, so as you say, it is important to take that into account. We do appreciate your valuable feedback and will be sure to communicate it to our Operations team. We are happy to hear you found the people of San Jose to be friendly. Regarding safety, it is our number one priority here at Go Ahead. San Jose is a great city, but like any major city, you should be aware of your surroundings. Your Tour Director is a great resource in terms of telling you places to avoid or offering best travel routes to and from a place you’d like to visit. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience, and we’re so glad you enjoyed your time in Costa Rica. We hope to welcome you on another tour soon!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 05, 2016
Eco Tour Means Eco Tour!
Beginning with very early flights (which was a good thing, missed most commotion of busy times in airports), this tour was an on the move tour. I don't think there was a moment that we were not on the move. It certainly is a tour for those who are fit or at least semi fit! We hiked and walked and hiked some more! We rode a coach over some of the roughest roads I have ever traveled on, and I live in West Virginia. We followed the coach ride with a long soothing boat ride on a river. Our hotels were great except for the one on the mountainside in Monte Verde--so steep for walking and we were housed at the top level. I think even mountain goats would have had problems going up and down. Luckily the hotel provided shuttles up and down! The meals were great but got to be so so after 3 or 4 days of much the same fare. I loved plantains until the last 2 days! Some of our group became sick--me included on Thursday evening. Some thought they had eaten bad food or had drunk bad water. I believe I was dehydrated. It is very easy not to drink enough water when riding on a coach with no facility aboard. I would suggest Goahead look into that. I would recommend that the tour director make at least one stop at a local McDonalds just for the tourists to note the differences in them between countries. Some of my group really would have like a short breakfast stop there. We had a fantastic trip and met some very wonderful new people so over all it was an excellent tour, but I will stick with the non eco tours from now on! Our tour director Rafael and our coach driver Oliver were wonderful and I would recommend them to all future tours to Costa Rica.
Hi Joanne! Thank you for your valuable feedback. We’re so glad one of our team members was able to speak with you on the phone about your experience in Costa Rica. It sounds like you had a wonderful time on tour! We regret that the hotel in Monteverde did not meet your expectations, but we will be sure to communicate this feedback to our Operations team. In spite of your dissatisfaction with the location, we are glad you were able to utilize the shuttles provided by the hotel. We are also sorry to hear that you became dehydrated on tour. It is especially important to drink a lot of water in warmer climates, particularly on more active days. We will also communicate this to our team to ensure that this is made clear on future departures. We’re thrilled you had a fantastic tour and we hope to welcome you on another soon!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 05, 2016
This was a great tour as you experience 4 very different areas from the city of San Jose to the mountains of Monte Verde. Excellent way to really see the country and understand the diversity of Costa Rica. Make sure you go Zip Lining! You cannot leave the country without doing it once! Our Tour Director was great and he shared many facts about the country and its people which made for a really full experience. Food always fresh and well cooked, however, the staple of Costa Rica is beans and rice, so don't be surprised if you are offered it 3 times a day. I would recommend this tour to anyone who really wants to see nature and enjoy the river scenes, along with majestic views of mountains and rolling hills. You are amazed at the extraordinary amounts of birds and animals around you which makes the whole adventure just all that more fun. Pur Vida! Relax and enjoy Costa Rica! The people are lovely and genuine really wanting you to
Hello! It's great to hear you enjoyed your tour of Costa Rica. We agree that zip lining is a must, and we're so glad you did it! We're pleased that you were able to see so many animals and appreciate the natural beauty of Costa Rica. It's also wonderful to know you enjoyed your Tour Director. Thank you for sharing your experience!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 24, 2016
Snapshot of Costa Rica
The tour covers three distinct areas: Tortugeuro, Arenal, and Monteverde. These are well described in the tour itinerary, so I won't duplicate. Positives: Tour director Rafael was outstanding with encyclopedic knowledge of local flora and fauna. You do get see a variety of Costa Rica geography from rain forests to volcanic areas. We saw a good variety of wildlife thanks to the eagle-eyed guide. There were a few walking/hiking excursions that were fun. The rooms at the hotels were very good. Negatives: There is a lot of time in transit via bus and/or boat between venues. This is unavoidable given the geography. One stretch is on unpaved roads and quite rough. There was far too much down time in the afternoon and evening in isolated locations with nothing to do and no accessible town. I would have preferred longer and more activities that involved walking or hiking. However, about a third of our group was challenged by the very moderate level of physical activity in the program as it was. The food was always decent, but not very interesting. Not sure if this was to find a lowest common denominator that suited everyone or characteristic of Costa Rican cuisine.
Hi Jason! Thank you for sharing your experience. We’re pleased to hear you enjoyed the variety of experiences on this tour, as well as your outstanding, expert Tour Director. It sounds like you were able to spot lots of wildlife and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. How wonderful! We’re also glad you were impressed with your accommodations. Our Operations Team strives to provide the best experience for our travelers, keeping in mind quality, location, and value. You’re right that there is a good amount of transit in this itinerary. Given the geography, the transit time is unavoidable when covering so much ground. We regret to hear you felt there was too much down time built into the itinerary. We do our best to strike a balance when designing tours so that travelers are able to see and learn a lot, while still having enough time for individual exploration. It’s good to know you would have liked longer and more physically engaging activities and that you found the food to be somewhat mediocre. It sounds like there may be room for improvement on this tour, and we will certainly communicate your valuable feedback to our Product Development team. Again, thank you for your review and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon.
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 07, 2016
Rain, rain, go away
Tour, extension, and tour guide, Raphael, were excellent. Well paced, quite informative, excellent accomodations that put you in the true spirit of the country. It was nice to experience the rain forest with rain, but two and a half straight days was a little much! (I know Go Ahead has no control over the weather and we didn't miss any activities.) My rooms for a single were excellent, something I can't say about a previous tour. Food was quite repetitious at the breakfasts and lodges; somewhat more varied in the few restaurants we frequented but still limited choices. Fellow travelers were friendly, inquisitive and fun. Since I didn't go directly home from Costa Rica, but flew to Panama, it was nice for Go Ahead to arrange airport transfer in San Jose and return flight from Panama.
Hi Robert! It’s fantastic to hear you enjoyed your tour, extension, and Tour Director. We strive to provide the most authentic travel experiences for our travelers, so we are thrilled to know that you felt you saw the true spirit of the country. We regret to hear that it rained so much while you were in the rainforest, but we’re happy you didn’t have to miss any activities. Our goal is to run everything as planned, so long as the weather cooperates enough to make that happen. We’re pleased to learn that you were impressed with your accommodations and that you enjoyed your tour group. Regarding your meals, we will be sure to communicate your feedback to our Operations team. We thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 09, 2016
Best Tour Director
Our Tour Director was a native, a self-taught biologist, and very motivated that we should enjoy his country. The success of the trip was in large part because of the Tour Director. He was able to provide us with very interesting narratives regarding all the places we were going while we were riding in the bus. Our Tour Directors also was able to stop the bus when he saw something that he thought would be interesting for us. This made the long bus rides very easy and gave us something to look forward to. Our Tour Director also assessed the needs and interests of the group and was able to modify the tour agenda so that the time we spent on the bus was minimized. We were very appreciative because there was a lot of bus riding. As for the trip agenda, we visited 5 eco-systems, from the east to the west coasts, which were fascinating, as we got to stay in those areas for 2 nights to explore. The hotels were all very clean, typical of the area, and the food ranged from average in one place to really excellent in others. The bus ride was extensive, but there was no other way to see what we saw. The bus was clean, and we were treated to scheduled rest stops that were interesting in their own right. Our bus driver was a truly excellent driver. We were blessed as he was able to maneuver the bus into and out of spaces that had very little clearance and around and over the gravel roads and pot holes. He was a gentleman and helped everyone. We loved the bus driver, too. I loved this trip and I loved Costa Rica because the people who led it truly loved and respected their country and wanted us to love it too.
Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your thoughtful review. We love to hear that your Tour Director and bus driver made such an incredible impression on you. It’s true that we work with some of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful people. We are honored that you recognize their passion and professionalism and that it had such a positive impact on your overall experience. We’re glad you were impressed with the hotels, the bus, and the itinerary. This tour covers quite a bit of ground, but we’re happy to hear you felt it was worth it. It helps having a fantastic bus driver! Again, we thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | February 18, 2016
Best Tour Director EVER!!
We've had good tour directors before, but Ozzy was in a class by himself. He grew up in Tortuguero, and his knowledge of his country, its history, wildlife, and terrain was exceptional. He has an eagle eye, and was relentless in finding birds and other wildlike where he knew they should be, and making sure that everyone could get photos. Ozzy was very mindful of people who had physical limitations, assisted them, and also modified our itinerary when he could tell we needed a little rest. The trip itinerary was very good - covered a lot, from the Caribbean side to the volcanoes and cloud forest, to the Pacific side. We LOVED this tour. The accommodations were great, considering where we were at times. The food was very good everywhere - the fresh fish and fruit were great! Our bus driver, Cho, was very good also. But Ozzy really made this trip outstanding - he is a special man and excellent guide.
Hi Christina! We are thrilled to hear that you loved this tour! It sounds like your Tour Director made a very positive impact on your experience. We’re so glad you felt he was mindful of those with physical limitations and that he adjusted the pacing of the itinerary whenever possible. We’re also pleased that you were impressed by his knowledge of the country. Our Tour Directors are truly passionate and eager to share their knowledge with our travelers. It’s also wonderful to know that you enjoyed the food and accommodations. Our Operations Team works very hard to provide the best options for our travelers. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again soon!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | February 18, 2016
All in all this tour was excellent. Our tour director was very knowledgable about all of the areas that we visited and very accommodating (the friend I was traveling with has some serious food allergies and he went out of his way to not only make sure that there was always something she could eat at each meal but that it was not the same thing everyday). All of the hotels that we stayed at we beautiful and very unique. My friend and I did both of the optional excursions on the tour. The zip-line excursion was, for me at least, the highlight of the tour, it was just incredible how much you could see and how fast you moved through the rain forest canopy. I was less impressed by the cloud bridges however, since the place where they are located also has zip-lines the people on the zip-lines scared away any animals in the area and my hope for the bridges had been to see more animals closer up. That being said this same location had a hummingbird garden that we visited before the walk on the cloud bridges where the birds would land on you if you stood still which was also a very cool experience. If you're looking for a high-energy tour and the chance to see plants and animals you would never see in the United States than I would highly recommend this tour to you.
Hello! Welcome home, and thank you for sharing your experience. We’re glad to hear you had an excellent time on tour. Costa Rica is an incredible destination, and we agree that zip-lining is just one of the amazing experiences you can have there. We’re happy you enjoyed your Tour Director and that he was able to accommodate your friend’s food allergies. All of our Tour Directors care about our travelers and work very hard to meet all needs. The Hummingbird Garden sounds like it was a magical experience for you, as well as seeing all the unique flora and fauna endemic to Costa Rica. We’re thrilled you would recommend this tour, and again, we thank you for taking the time to review your experience. We hope to welcome you on tour again soon!
Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | February 09, 2016