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Review of Caravan tours

Sunnyvale...
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Review of Caravan tours

I took the 10 day natural paradise tour in May. Caravan sends you home with a survey to fill out. This is a copy of that survey which acts as a review...

Hotels

All except the Terraza de Pacifico were outstanding and beyond. I had read in advance many on-line reviews that the Terraza de Pacifico was a dump and was disappointed to see Caravan still used it. No A/C and 1 minute of hot water. I see why you make that one all inclusive. You really should consider another hotel as that one is the black eye of the trip.

Meals

The food was fantastic! In fact it was too good as I gained 11 pounds!

Sightseeing and Activities

Just about everything was great. I loved the banana plant, Poas, canal cruises and Manual Antonio. My only lowlights were the guide at the cloud forest I could not understand, wishing I had more time at Poas, would’ve like to see Laguna Arenal and a better butterfly garden. (to be fair, a storm had caused a hole allowing most of the exhibits to escape) My only major complaint was with the price of drinks at Baldi hot springs. I understand that you cannot control that but a warning should be made in advance that Baldi is much, much higher priced than any other place we stop. Since you leave your card at the front and charge the drinks you get a nasty shock at the end. This happened to many people on the trip.

Rest and Photo stops

All were great!

Tour Director

Paul was amazing. The pride and knowledge of his country was extraordinary. He made this tour the best I have ever taken. Virginia on the parallel tour was outstanding as well. I cannot say enough good things about either of them.

Local Guides

As I mentioned above, the cloud forest guide, Graybean was difficult to understand. Part of that is my bad hearing. Eddie at Tortugero was fantastic!

Driver

Jose was excellent, courteous and very safe.

Motor Coach and Boats

All were very comfortable. Very nice coach.

Additional Comments

All in all this tour is an outstanding value and I would highly recommend it to others.

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Thank you for the review :)

Izel

Chicago, Illinois
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1,047 posts
21 reviews
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2. Re: Review of Caravan tours

We took the same tour in March. All of our tour guides were good to excellent. We actually had a decent experience at Terrazzo del Pacifico - no problem with A/C or hot water and the food was very good. My detailed trip report is titled Caravan Trip Report - All in One Go.

Colorado
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62 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Can I ask how much you paid for the tour? Was airfare included? How many people were on this tour, other than whoever you traveled with. How much "down" time did you get to go do whatever you wanted to do. Did you visit any beach areas? Volcanos? Sorry for all the questions. We want to plan a trip to Costa Rica for next year and trying to figure out the best way to go about it. Any info you can provide will be appreciated.

Thanks

Chicago, Illinois
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1,047 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Cost ranges from $995 to $1095 depending on the season (we paid the higher price for high season which is also considered the 'dry' season).

I thought it was pretty relaxing for a tour. We had early morning starts but we would take a snack and stretch break mid-morning (sometimes coupled with a tour but could be during a longer bus drive) and then we would get a leisurely hour for lunch (all meals included in this tour). We arrived at our hotels by 4 p.m. - so time to relax before dinner.

You can go to the Caravan tours website for the details and my trip report (as mentioned in the prior post) is a very detailed day by day report so you can see if this trip is for you.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Forgot to add that airfare is not included and group size is a maximum of 44 and the tours tend to be closer to the max. We had last minute cancellations on our tour and lucked out with just 34. You can purchase travel insurance for $100 which allows you to cancel fairly close to the travel dates with no penalty other than the non-refundable insurance amount. The insurance even covers your cost of airfare (which is not purchased through Caravan) so it's definitely worthwhile to add on the insurance.

Colorado
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62 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Wow! Thanks for the info. I will certainly go check out your trip report.

Los Angeles...
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927 posts
36 reviews
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7. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Hi:

My hubby and I have been looking at doing this tour. Can you tell us what the average age of the travelers are?

Also what did you like BEST about the tour? And what did you HATE most about the tour?

Just looking for honest answers, ones you don't see in there brochure haha.

Thanks!

Chicago, Illinois
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21 reviews
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8. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Stepping in with my two cents.

The BEST things about the tour was not having to worry about any details, excellent guides, seeing more than you could on your own in the same amount of time, well-travelled travel companions (Costa Rica is typically a first-time traveller destination).

I didn't HATE anything but did not care for the 'continental' food served at some meals - meals were great when they were Costa Rican and Caravan does a better job than most tours offering local specialties. Would have been nice to have had a few more stops - sometimes we would just literally drive by a sight rather than stopping to see it. An abundance of fruit grows in Costa Rica - would have loved to see papaya and mango more often - it was maddening to drive by groves of these fruits and then not see them on the breakfast table! Though when I did mention this to our guide he made a special stop for me at a fruit stand and purchased several mangoes!

Read my trip report - I think it's pretty honest!

Chicago, Illinois
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21 reviews
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9. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Whoops! Meant to say that Costa Rica is NOT a typical first time destination. Also, average age of our group was older (over 50) though dh and I are in our early 40s with kids ages 6 and 10.

Los Angeles...
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36 reviews
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10. Re: Review of Caravan tours

Thanks Singermom :)

We got our plane tickets and can't decide if we should do it on our own or take the tour still. We are planning on going during Thanksgiving time.

Hubby and I took a cruise last year and he hated it. He didn't like how when we stopped off at the ports we were only allowed a few hours off the boat and had to be back by a certain time.

It sounds like this tour may be similiar to that and I can hear him complaining already :(