Hilary Mackintosh review 2 Sep 2010
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The "adrenaline" activities - horse-riding, rafting, canyoning. Watching the children playing in the hotel pool at Arenal while the volcano puffed in the background, and feeling slightly uneasily like a citizen of Pompeii... Sitting one metre from an egg-laying turtle.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
A really strong insect repellent - ours was sold in a metal canister as it dissolves plastic, and seemed to be more effective than other people's! Definitely do the optional kayaking at Tortugero - you get a much more intimate wildlife experience than from the boat-ride, though that was good too. Don't worry about any of the activities - my family are not all fit and sporty but we all did all of them and thoroughly enjoyed them.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Costa Rica really impressed me as a beautiful country that seems completely unspoilt. It seems to have by-passed the industrial revolution and to have taken only the best of modern development - resulting in quality tourism infrastructure in a stunning landscape. I felt our visit supports this tourism model, encouraging the preservation of their wildlife habitats, and clearly all the local businesses we visited were individually benefiting from our patronage. I was particularly impressed with the way the turtle watching was organised - this seemed a good way of encouraging local people to protect this species, while giving tourists a good experience that interfered as little as possible with the turtle's natural behaviour.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Excellent - the country lived up to expectations, we had some terrific wildlife sightings, the organised activities were great fun - but what really made it special were the friendships we all - adults and children - made. The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is that we went on a boat trip in Canada last year through you, and that was even more amazing - it's going to be hard for any holiday to top that!