29 Mar. 2005
Well, we are leaving CR tomorrow. It's been a great trip. Thought I'd give you a little feed back on how things worked out for your referance.
Airport pick up, The one thing that I wouldn't reccommend to others. Worked out fine for me, but my mother couldn't find the person with her name board and she looked for an hour. Finally, got scammed by a taxi driver. In the end, a $30 value, two $15 cab trips, cost $100.
La Sabana Motel / excellant, clean, helpful staff.
City tour was good.
Best of Costa Rica tour, excellant.
Mawamba Lodge, excellant, great guides!!!
Arenal Volcaneo Inn, excellant, the best motel we were in!!!
Thrifty car rental, great, good advice to get 4 by 4.
Mimos Motel, not that great, but considering the days with Easter it wasn't that bad Manual Antonio Park tour, great, good guide.
Canopy tour, they forgot to pick us up, waited in the hot sun for 45 minutes, finally phoned and they sent a taxi, half way thru the tour got caught in a heavy rain and lightening storm, but it was the highlight of the trip for my 80 year old mother and ten year old son!!!!
Damas Island Boat tour, good guide, but not that great, probably wouldn't reccommend to friends, you see one mangrove, you've seen them all and didn't seem likely to see the crocs and monkeys it said we might see.
So, bottom line, great trip and all your advice was excellant. I will definitely reccommend the travel store and specifically you to anybody. And a final thing, the people of CR were great!!! no problems with anybody, but I found the tourists a bit stuck up and unfriendly.
Thanks for all your help Ray.
28 Mar. 2005
Thanks for Everything. Our trip was Great!
just wanted to say thanks for all your help in getting our room in Monteverde and the van. The van did hold 15 people and since we were only 10, the rental company took out the back seat so that we had enough room for luggage. The room in Monteverde was very nice. We usually stay at El Sapa Dorado, but Montana De Monteverde was just as nice if not nicer. The staff was friendly and food was good.
We had absolutely no problems with any of the vouchers. Everything you did was great!! Everyone we traveled with were impressed as well, and I am sure they will be calling us for your number when they go back. We truly appreciate everything you did. We will definitely be using you again. We even thought of calling you when we couldn't get a room on the night of Good Friday! Finally got one at the Marriott though.
Thank you once again, we look forward to doing much more business with you in the future.
Jill & Bryan St. G.
08 Mar. 2005
Another great trip. Fishing was so so we landed 2 nice sails but had a great time and the conditions were picture perfect. It was great meeting you and I appreciate you taking the time to come by.
We are planning to return with a big group in October and I will be in touch with you to coordinate everything. Thanks again for all your help, take care and I will be in touch.
22 Feb. 2005
We just returned from Costa Rica and had a wonderful time! The arrangements you made for the car and B & B in Monteverde were handled beautifully and the people who worked with us were excellent. I'll be back in touch when we take another trip to CR. Warm regards,
22 Feb. 2005
We just got home from another great trip to Costa Rica (I've been there twice before; 1987 and 2003). The hotels and adventure arrangements you made were great!! We were unable to see the top of Arenal due to clouds and she (he?) was not eruptiong, so no hot lava flow either; however, the hotel (Arenal Lodge) is a great choice. Would try earlier to get the Junior Suite next trip. MonteVerde continues to build up with new hotels and tourist traps, but the forest is still great. (First trip in 87, we stayed in pretty rustic accomodations, but it was still worth the visit-- we saw two quetzals!!!!). The Montana needs to buff up their dining area to fit the new sections of the hotel which are very nice. Great view and accomodations in the new sections.
Had reservations at the Flamingo Beach Resort, but they were overbooked and sent us up to the Estela de Fuego above the Flamingo Marina Resort. Had a great room with walkout into the pool. Also had full use of Flamingo Beach Resort facilities, which was a nice touch for use of the beach and their pool. (Stayed there during '87 trip. Wow, what a difference!!!). Trip home uneventful.
As I think I mentioned in earlier discussions, I have a cousin living in the Desamparados suburb which makes it nice as a base.
Will call you for help with next trip to CR. Thanks again for your super help with this last trip!!!!
10 Feb. 2005
I can't believe that we're already back from Costa Rica. I loved it more each day.
I want to thank you for doing such a great job of putting tours and experiences together for us. We really enjoyed every opportunity. The transportation people were all very prompt, usually a little early. All guides were knowledgeable and very helpful. The Pachira Lodge experience was truly memorable. We enjoyed seeing so many different parts of the country as we went from destination to destination in vans or buses.
I will definitely pass your name on to others who are interested in a great vacation in Costa Rica.
I had hoped to meet you, but we really ran out of time. Thanks again.
07 Feb. 2005
I just wanted to say thank you for job WELL DONE. The trip was fantastic and the people in Costa Rica are wonderful. You already know the weather was great. Arenal was fun but Manual Antonio was AWESOME.
Thank you again,
R. John Umlauf, Jr.
31 Jan. 2005
Hi there Ray,
We tried to call you a few times while in Costa Rica but never could make contact. Sorry about that.
Everything you set up for us was perfect. The hotel in Panama City was a joy, great room with the pool just 20 feet from our patio. Found the city tour very interesting, the canal trip made for a long day, but it was worth doing.
The bus to Costa Rica was very nice, new, clean with air, restroom and English TV. The whole problem with the trip is crossing the borders. I felt like I was a Jew trying to escape from Germany. It took 4 hours to cross. We just thought of it as an adventure.
The Hotel Buena Vista was a beautiful place to end the holiday. The Villa Lapas Hotel is a birder's paradise. Roy really enjoyed the canopy experience, it was the highlight of the trip. We looked at two marinas and found two small airports.
Thanks for all your help Ray.
08 Jan. 2005
Ray, our hero!!
!?Que Paso?! y !FELIZ ANOS NUEVOS!
Just wanted to drop a quick line to say thanks to U and Carolina for Ure diligent work on getting us transportation & accommodations at a last minutes notice. Only problem was that we or maybe i should say- i didn't have enough days to really relax & kick back like i wanted to.... just means that we'll have to come back!!
The accommodations were great... and the view from La Colina was excellent.... well worth the stairway to heaven :-) transportation was excellent, as well... totally seamless. WOW, Costa Rica really knows how to host!!
07 Jan. 2005
We six want to thank you for arranging lodging and activities that helped create a hugely successful and memorable vacation. Apartotel La Sabana was gorgeous, clean hotel w/ helpful employees and an outstanding breakfast. It was centrally located whether it be for a walk in the Park, food to eat or bus riding. Nakuti Resort too was another great family place. We enjoyed the food, plenty of it and it always tasted good. The real treasure, however, was the staff. They were incredibly gracious, warm, genuine and helped make our stay most memorable. The rooms were clean and cable TV a nice alternative for when we had too much sun or just plain needed a break especially the kids. The Best of CR was, as you said, a must do and the Aerial Tram, although it was raining, was a slow ride through a rainforest inches from nature that kept us in awe. My son and niece enjoyed their dives and the Pacific Ocean water wonderfully warm. So thank you for your part in our vacation. Molly and I liked the Guanacaste Province so much we want to buy beach access property. Our ultimate goal is to retire there and if we buy a home or a condo we can rent it and still have a place to stay when we vacation there. We were wondering if you know of anyone who has bought property there close to say, Playa del Coco, and if so do you think he would answer some questions we have on how to proceed w/ our search? We plan to fly to Costa Rica within the next 6 months if we can find something we like that fits our budget and hopefully buy something whether it is a lot or a structure on a lot. If you have a few minutes and could email us about what you know on this subject we would appreciate. We know this a very busy time of the year for you so if it works for you that would be great. Thank you.
06 Jan. 2005
Hello Ray, ,
We have arrived home after a wonderful visit, adventure and holiday in Costa Rica. Everything went very well. We would like to thank you for all of your assistance with making our holiday very enjoyable. The Apartotel La Sabana accommodation that you recommended in San Jose was just what was needed and the staff was most friendly and helpful. All of our other accommodations worked out very well,also. All of the transportation went exactly as planned including the pick up at the airport. The Interbus service was excellent and the staff very friendly, helpful and safe drivers. Do you have a contact with Interbus via email so that I could let them know how pleased we were with their service?
We had several adventures and would highly recommend the Canopy Tour in Puerto Viejo. It is owned by a family who have 7 sons who all work with the canopy business. The brothers were terrific in showing us the rainforests as well as ensuring a full, exciting and save canopy trip over 26 platforms. Do you know anything about this tour? I didnít pick up any information on the name of the company. If you are aware of this Canopy Tour would you please let me know their name and a contact? The tour office that we connected with is right in Puerto Viejo across the street from the Grant Hotel. Do you think they might have a website?
All and all it was a terrific visit to Costa Rica thanks to you and the Costa Rica Travel Store. The only thing missing was more time to spend in Costa Rica. I would certainly like to return again in the future. We had some difficulties with our camera and our pictures didnít turn out very well which was a bit of a bummer Ėhowever, Iím trying to find some shots of the places that we were at on the internet.
Thanks again for our great visit to Costa Rica and I will recommend you to anyone wishing to make travel plans for Costa Rica. Have a Great Day!
06 Jan. 2005
Happy New Year Ray, hope things are well.
I wanted to thank you very much for helping us on our family vacation and also with the large group that we had. Casa Conde in San Jose was very nice and perfectly located by my grandma's house. Also, the Montana Monteverde was very nice; very rainy over there obviously but nice.
03 Jan. 2005
As far as a favorite part of the trip.....I don't know. We literally got very lucky, with your help, and had a fabulous trip. The Costa Ricans are so friendly, clean and nice. I could definitely live here...need some help?
The first four days at Playa Hermosa in the Pacific North were perfect with great weather, snorkeling, beach, great food, and just everything. We even got to see a Costa Rican cycle race when we took a back road from San Jose over to the beach.
We took one day and drove up to Santa Rosa National Park, and after 8 miles of a very bad road (I thought it was fun to manuever the ruts) we walked onto the most beautiful beach with no one there (Naranja Beach).
One day was also spent at Playa Ocotal. It is ok, but there is a resort on the hill that we chose to have our Christmas Eve dinner at, and it was not only a beautiful view, but very good food, and elegant.
The drive to Arenal and the Eco-Lodge was beautiful and experiencing the change of weather from very warm at the beach to the still kind of warm, but overcast and windy was wonderful. You are right, we absolutely loved the Eco-Lodge and did wish we had more time there. We would have loved to take a hiking or horse tour through the area, and wanted to explore Lago Cote.
There is a delightful German cafe in Arenal that we loved on our our way to Tabacon Hot Springs. The hot springs were great and we had fun. Unfortunately I lost my prescription sunglasses here! I have sent an email to them, but do not have high hopes of any response. The food was not the best, but I do appreciate all the masses that go through here and they do a good job. I liked the way people of all ages and nationality can mingle and have a great time together.
Since we missed the canopy tour we did find (it's about 3km from Tabacon) the Hanging Bridges, which made up for the tour. It is truly beathtaking and even though it was pouring rain, we just donned the rain ponchos and enjoyed. It was our first glimpse of monkeys. I would strongly recommend this to people and it is well worth the $20/pp.
Onward heading south we had a bit of a challenge with the route, but with two maps going at all times we succeeded and arrived at Hotel La Isla. It is great. It is right on a beautiful, palm lined beach, and we figured at one time it was a very nice resort, but is not utilized to it's fullest now. In fact our business minds were planning on how we would bring it back to it's glory.
There is a mangrove forest lining the property, so we found some old canoes, located some paddles and made a trip on our last morning down the canals. This was beautiful, quiet and very serene. We saw the most monkeys on this outing.
That evening we had a very good dinner at a fantastic Italian restaurant in Quepos.
I hope this is not too much information, but in your business I do know it helps.
Thank you so much for all your wonderful help, and I sincerely hope I can visit again soon. I am also serious about my interest in residing there soon.
Happy New Year to you and yours!
01 December 2004
EVERYTHING was wonderful: I have already recomended your services to all of my friends here in Louisiana, and will continue to do so. We even enjoyed the 6.2 earthquake while spending the evening in Jaco Beach! And of course, Playa Tambor speaks for itself.
I was MOST PLEASED with everything you prepared for us, including the car rental and the canopy tour.
THANKS AGAIN AND I WILL BE BACK!!!!
22 November 2004
When you plan a trip for clients, you really go all out...that earthquake was quite a send-off for Norm and me! Actually, we faired well, but never went back to sleep afterwards, so had no problem getting to the airport with time to spare.
We appreciate the thorough, detailed plans you made for us. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with wonderful people. We really enjoyed our trip, even with all the rain. We also enjoyed getting the chance to meet and visit Patricia and you. Thanks for your time and help. I'll pass your business card on to our travel agent in Reno (Gail Kosach) and will also recommend you to any friends who want to visit Costa Rica.
13 November 2004
I thank you so so so much! We appreciate your warmth, professional, effiency.
Thank you again. We will recommend other people to you.
Dr. Ping Wu
July 26, 2004
Hi Ray, We had a wonderful time in costa rica. The hotel cocal is perfect for us to see the beach and take tour also. Thanks also for accomadating us for 10AM last Thursday going back to San Jose. My comment only is the driver dropped us to the airport and we showed him where to drop us off but he said he doesn't go there. So we get a taxi to the hotel to pura-vida. Pura vida hotel is a lovely place to stay.
Thanks so much.
July 23, 2004
Hi Ray, hope all is well with you. I just wanted to take a moment to THANK YOU!! for all your effort in making our vacation a wonderful one. It truly was a trip of a lifetime. We had a wonderful time and you have the most beautiful country I have ever been too.
We could not have asked for anyone better than Maria and Fernando as our guide and driver. They were most knowledgable about everywhere we went and were a pleasure to be around. I forwarded your name and e-mail to Jeff Dorshkind at Crocodile Bay Lodge and I would hope he will refer you in the future. We will definitely be back to your country and would look forward to you handling the in country travel arrangements.
Thanks again for a job very well done.
Thanks for putting our trip together, everything went fine.The fishing trip out of Quepos netted 12 billfish, glad I didn't cancel.
The estuary tour was lackluster, I think the kids expected a little bit more from that experience. You may want to look into another guide service, was not impressive.One of the kids left money and some costa del mar glasses in room C-1 at Coste Verde.See what you can do to get those back. Thanks again for everything.
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 08:16:44 -0700
Can't thank you enough. We had an awsome time and all accommodations and arrangements were perfect. No snags at all. Did you plan that weather? Only 1 full day of rain and 1 night! Good surfing and lots of relaxing beach time. I had my reservations about Puerto Viejo, but it was very charming and the people were great. I would recomend that area despite the travel warnings.
Thank you again Ray. We will most definately be going back.
Tammy & Jeff Young
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Carolina of the Travel Store in Escazu set us up with our airline tickets and travel packages. We have used the services of The Travel Store several times in the past and have always been more than pleased with their professionalism and knowledge of our destination. Ray Beise
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Patrick and I want to thank you for helping make our holiday so pleasurable. Our trips to Guatemala and Cuba were wonderful! Caty, the proprietor of the Pura Vida, couldn't have been more gracious. Her advice on where to eat and things to do were very helpful plus she allowed us to leave luggage that didn't need to be taken to Cuba and Guatemala. Costa Rica is beautiful. It is hard to say what area we enjoyed most - Arenal, Cano Negro, Occotal - Playa De Cocco, Palo Verde, Monteverde or Manual Antonio. All have so much to experience and enjoy. Two highlights for me were the snorkeling at Occotal and the Sky Trek at Monteverde. Experiencing the different eco systems, climates,wildlife and hiking were great too. We will recommend your services to anyone who is considering a trip to Costa Rica and its neighboring countries. Thank you again. Kathleen and Patrick Kirklin
1 March 2004
Our day trip yesterday was wonderful -- Arnold our tour guide was most enjoyable.
Feb 17, 2004
....It has been crazy since I got back!
Thank you so much for arranging everything! All the transporation and reservations at the various hotels were perfect! We ended up taking the Sky Trek tour in Monteverde.....that was pretty scary! But the day was gorgeous! Tabacon and Monteverde experienced the normal rain, but at Monteverde it was rain and wind. El Sapo Dorado mountain suites did not have a heater.....needless to say, we were all bundled up.....It was nice at Tabacon, because you wanted to stay in the hot springs when it was raining....very cool! We were all excited to see sun in Melia Conchal....very nice hotel and wonderful pool, it was a perfect ending to the trip.
My favorite place of all things was the Hotel Grano de Oro.....we all absoultely loved this place.....My cousin and his family met us for dinner there, and it was incredible!
My friends were very much impressed with Costa Rica and plan to come back....and I know I will always go back!
Thanks again for everything....I will recommend you to anyone who plans to go there....I already gave out your information to a couple of people!
22 January 2004
Now that we have returned, just a quick note. Everything went very well--seamless.
The coffee plantation tour and lunch was very nice, and they were so generous that because we toured ahead of the other group, and ate lunch earlier, they sent us on in our own taxi to the Grano de Oro, not having us wait for the bus and the other group.
The Grano de Oro was great, and Susan and I could not get over how excellent the food was, and the dining value.
Lava-tours mtn bike ride down Irazu was very good. Very good equipment, and our guide was excellent. They take digital photos of the ride, and email them to you at home, as well as post them to your own temporary web site, and offer to email that link to your friends at home while you are still away. Very nice touch.
The two day rafting/canopy/hike was great also. However, the canopy ziplines are definantly a thrill ride, and not a wildlife viewing experience.
The Karahe hotel, ocean front rooms, was a good location. The rooms are furnished minimally, but comfortable, with good air conditioning. They were very helpful in setting up some extra excursions.
While there, we also took a boat/mangrove tour, and had monkeys coming down to the boat. We also took the butterfly farm and nature walk tours across from the Como si no (?) hotel. We took both of those because until that point we had seen minimal animal life. On that tour we spotted animals including an anteater and a sloth, not to mention the hundreds of butterflys, and other small animal life.
The waverunner tour was nice, with good equipment, though the snorkeling was limited and unimpressive.
We purchased the transfers from the Karahe to the local airport, as they were not part of our voucher package. We ran into a glitch at the local airport, as they only allowed about 30lbs per passenger, and of course we were packing for 8 days. We were not the only ones who did not know ahead of time of the limit. We paid about $28 in weight overage fees. We also almost did not get our luggage to fly with us back to San Jose, because the total weight of luggage for the plane was over limit. They even weighed each person flying to see if there was room for allowance. Ultimately, some of passengers who were not connecting had their luggage held for a later flight and Sansa ultimately agreed to taxi it to their hotels. So we made it to San Jose airport OK.
At the airport there was no one there for our transfer voucher, and the infomation clerk called for me. He was put on hold and told me the distance was only a short walk and it may be faster than waiting for the transfer. So we walked instead...it made sense. I'm thinking the transfer was supposed to be from Karahe to the little airport, instead of at San Jose.
I've included the good and bad just to let you know our experiences so it might help you make recommendations to others--we are definately not complaining. This was a great vacation.
I want to thank you for all your help. I tried to locate your office to stop by and thank you in person, but all I had was the PO box. Susan and I were impressed at how smoothly everything went, not to mention the friendliness of everyone and overall positive experience.
San Jose, Costa Rica
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