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Latin Destinations

oklahoma
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Latin Destinations

Has anyone booked a CostaRica package with Latin Destinations? What kind of experience did you have?

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Latin Destinations

Wally - this question has been asked before. You might try searching this forum for Latin Destinations. You can order the results by date so get the latest information.

Toronto, Canada
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12 reviews
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2. Re: Latin Destinations

Just got back from Costa Rica and we booked all our travel with Latin Destinations. Everything we booked was spot on...the hotels, flights and transfers were exactly what we ordered. When in Costa Rica, a company called Swiss Travel takes over all the arrangements and they're one of the largest travel agencies in the country. A representative was right there at the airport when we landed and made sure we found our driver right away. We moved around the country and stayed in 4 different locations and each time our transfers were handled promptly and efficiently. Whenever we checked into a new hotel a representative would call us to make sure everything was going well and if we had any questions or problems. We even changed part of our itinerary and they responded immediately and faxed us the change right away.

I was skeptical at first booking with Latin Destinations because their package price was really too good to be true. But, for Costa Rica trips at least, there's nothing to fear. I've heard they're not so good with other countries and I suspect Swiss Travel has more to do with running things smoothly in Costa Rica rather than Latin Destinations. Everything was handled efficiently and professionally.

Mentioned in this post
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Philadelphia...
1 post
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3. Re: Latin Destinations

We used Latin Destinations for our honeymoon which consisted of 1 week in Costa Rica and 1 week in Panama. During the honeymoon we travelled extensively, moving hotels every couple of days and all the hotels and transit was arranged and paid for in advance through Latin Destinations.

In Costa Rica, Latin Destinations used a travel company called Swiss Travel. They were great- the staff was friendly, all our transportation on time and they checked up on us several times during our time in Costa Rica to make sure everything was going well. We would definitely give Swiss Travel 5 stars and the same would go to Latin Destinations if we hadn't gone to Panama.

Unfortunately, in Panama, the tour company used is Gamboa Tours. If you see Gamboa Tours on your travel itinerary.... Be very careful! Once we arrived in Bocas Del Torro, there was someone to meet us but he didn't speak English and made us wait for 15 minutes for our taxi to arrive. Four days later, on our way from Bocas Del Torro to Panama City, the taxi never arrived to take us to the airport, so we paid for a taxi (it was only a couple of bucks so no big deal). However, once we arrived in Panama City at 9pm there was no one to meet us. We waited for 20 minutes and then we thankfully found the last taxi as they shutdown the airport (Panama City's smaller secondary airport) which cost us $30. We complained at the hotel and they did repay us during our next transit. However, Gamboa Tours never apologized for the inconvenience.

Finally on our last day, because of Gamboa Tours unreliability, we asked guest services at our hotel to check on the status of our taxi to the airport. The poor lady at the desk spent 30 minutes calling several numbers trying to reach someone who knew about our reservation. Finally she reached someone who found our reservation and would verify our taxi.

Unfortunately, Gamboa Tours unreliability, incompetence and lack of customer service caused us significant stress on what was otherwise a relaxing and enjoyable honeymoon.

Mentioned in this post
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Panama
Panama
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633 Reviews
Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica
Bocas Town
Bocas Town
Isla Colon, Panama
Panama City
Panama City
Panama Province, Panama
Philadelphia, PA
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17 reviews
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4. Re: Latin Destinations

We booked a nine day trip to Costa Rica with Latin Destinations in November 2011. We began the booking process quite late--only about one month ahead of time. However, we knew which specific hotels we wanted to book at that time. Latin Destinations booked the rental car, hotels for 7 of the 9 nights with breakfasts at most, and the flights from PHL to SJO. We worked with a couple of their people on the phone to customize the itinerary for our schedule. They were very professional and helpful, and allowed us to schedule two nights ourselves at another hotel (not represented by them).

One unavoidable aspect of booking via Latin Destinations, is that once you make your selections for dates of flights and hotels, you have to wait for their local representative (Swiss Travel in Costa Rica) to confirm all the bookings. Expect to wait about 7-10 days not knowing whether everything will fall into place, while they have permission to book the full amount to your credit card. If something is not available, you will need to make another choice and have them resubmit that booking, or you may cancel your itinerary entirely at that point. In our case, Magic Mountain Hotel was not available (turns out there was a medical conference going on in La Fortuna); our second choice, Arenal Observatory Lodge, was not one of the Latin Destinations website options, but Swiss Travel was able to book it for us anyway. (It was a great choice, too!)

Upon arrival in Costa Rica with our vouchers, the car was ready for us at National and the hotel bookings were in place as expected. There were no unexpected costs at the hotels, but we had read everything carefully to know which meals and other items would be additional expenses. [For a rental car, you will have some additional insurance expenses in Costa Rica.] Having the rental car gave us flexibility to shop for groceries or eat elsewhere when we needed to. We were also provided with a cell phone for booking/car emergencies and GPS. I don't think the GPS was supposed to be provided free of charge as it was to us; however, we would have gladly paid the $10 per day for it, as it is really a necessity for a tourist driving in Costa Rica.

I will report elsewhere on TripAdvisor with more details but here is a quick summary of our bookings:

National Rental Car: small 4WD Daihatsu, underpowered, but fuel-efficient; seemed roomy; National was professional and prompt with shuttles; educate yourself on Costa Rica rental insurance reqs/options before showing up.

Savegre Mountain Hotel: our basic room was adequate, but not much more; meals good but expensive; professionally run hotel; nice property for birding/hiking

Arenal Observatory Lodge: professionally run; clean, modern room; property is beautiful; restaurant good

Hotel Bougainvillea (Alajuela): clean, modern pre- or post-flight hotel with lovely gardens

American Airlines: one connection, no surprises, no significant delays

We estimated that the bookings with Latin Destinations saved us $400-$500 (total for the two of us) over what we would have paid booking everything ourselves separately. Plus we didn't have to do the work of booking a car and three different hotels. I have to agree with the other posts: for Costa Rica trips at least, it looks like LatinDestinations and Swiss Travel work well together and can save you time and money.

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Alajuela
Alajuela
Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Washington DC...
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34 reviews
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5. Re: Latin Destinations

Yes I have and we had a wonderful time! All transfers went smoothly and it was one of the most well organized trips I have taken in a long time!

Washington DC...
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9 reviews
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6. Re: Latin Destinations

I was just looking for a place to say something about Latin Destinations. The booking experience was quite easy. Although, even after we got our confirmations, every hotel was changed. If you're doing a driving package, it was extremely difficult to find the "greeter" at the airport - they were actually outside of the terminal even though many of the other greeters were waiting for their guests right by baggage claim. We had a hard time getting back into the airport to get our rental car - you're not supposed to go in and out. Also, we booked a 4x4 and they did not have one for us.

I also wish that Latin Destinations would have told us how difficult it is to drive in some parts of the country. It's quite dangerous. And, one of the hotels they changed us to was up and around this VERY steep and treacherous road. Thank goodness my husband is very good with a manual transmission. Also, it take A LONG time to drive anywhere. It may only be 130 km, but it will take you over 4 hours to go that distance.

My advice you be to double check your vouchers often as they will change, even after your trip has been "confirmed".

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
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8,197 posts
43 reviews
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7. Re: Latin Destinations

Well, there have been some mixed reviews of this company. Besides what I have read about them in the forum that's about all I know. Sounds like you had a so-so experience. Thanks for posting.

Cheers

8. Re: Latin Destinations

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San Jose, Costa Rica
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49,669 posts
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9. Re: Latin Destinations

I´m with INCA in this one...

roadadvisor

Dayton, Ohio
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2 posts
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10. Re: Latin Destinations

We booked belize trip through Latin destinations. They sub contracted out to solar tours who in turn sub contracted out to discovery expeditions. If you can contact a local provider directly from a guide book etc, that might save you some money by taking all these middle men out. In my experience, when you asked questions, they were completely clueless, dwould not return calls. If you choose their hotels and itirinary, you may be ok. We tried to customize and upgrade and did not have a very good experience. They claimed everything we wanted was not available. After you pay there is a long wait before you hear back about confirmations. They kept increasing the price twice after you booked. I will never use them in the future.