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Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Florida
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Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Hi , we just booked to go to Costa Rica from 25th Dec till 1st jan this year . we want to do Arenal , Monteverde and Manuel Antonio , wanted to do peace lodge but it's booked for the days we want .

Can someone suggest if I should book with a tour company or just hire a car / driver to take us everywhere and book everything else myself .

Thanks .

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

It is easy to plan and book for yourself - however your timing is the most sought after and thus, maybe it is better to use a tour agent / company. In this case look at several local agents. Don't cry over the Peace Lodge, there are many places full of wildlife in Costa Rica (and not in cages).

Managua, Nicaragua
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2. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Tour agencies make it easier.

Hassle free

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Agree with Xelas. If you plan and book it yourself, you will have a wide choice of accommodations and it's really pretty easy to do without getting a third party involved.

Florida
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148 posts
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4. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Thanks guys , your help is much appreciated . We don't like to drive while on vacation , is it possible to get a car with a driver ? And also good hotel suggestions in Arenal , Monteverde and Manuel Antonio , luxury but not outrageous prices .

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Yes, it's possible to hire private transportation. www.tucanlimoservices.com gets raves reviews here.

As for "good hotel suggestions" -- there are SO MANY in the areas that you will be visiting that you can look at these websites and pick the ones that suit YOU.

www.arenal.net or www.fortunawelcome.com

www.monteverdeinfo.com

www.manuelantoniopark.com

You can also check here www.anywherecostarica.com which has some good general information about the various areas, lodging and also transportation options.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Yhe best now days...book directly with travel servicrs providers....avoid commision seekers...

If upu book by a middle person or company ask for a total break down...you will be amaxe about how much they overcharge most of the time...no break dowm...find another way to book yout vacation

Roadadvisor

La Fortuna de San...
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7. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

Good luck on finding accommodations for that time of the year. We have relatives that recently decided to come visit over the holidays and cannot find any decent hotels. They're on a bunch of wait lists, but it's starting to look like the spare bedroom and couch will be their living quarters for the holiday.

My personal opinion on tour operators is it is a great way to do it the first time you visit. Yes, it can be done on your own, but it requires a fair amount of research, time and effort. There is also the problem of not knowing who is recommending what to you and for what reason. There are a lot of tour operators and hotel owners on this forum that give "advice", but don't tell you the reason they are giving it. Don't get me wrong, there are A LOT of very helpful people on here that dedicate their time, such as several of the previous posters. I'm just saying that if you do it this way, you really need to invest the time, do thorough research and make a lot of phone calls and emails until you find what you want.

I respect roadadvisor, but do not agree with him on the breakdown as many tour operators offer complete packages as a product. This system has been around for many years and really is simple economics. Items that are packaged often have a lower rate (visit any buyer's club in the United States and that is generally the only way you can buy anything - but at a lower cost than if you were to buy each item individually at a supermarket). Another travel related example is reserving a flight/hotel package from an airline. Try getting a breakdown from them. Just because they do not provide a breakdown does not mean it is not a good deal. To the contrary, it is often a good way to save money.

I travel frequently and almost always reserve packages as I save money and gain a local contact that can be held accountable. They have references, reviews and if things go wrong, I have someone to turn to that has a reputation to protect. After receiving several estimates, I always create a spreadsheet and compare prices with what I can do it for on my own. While it is often lower with the better more established companies, sometimes it's higher, but this is often due to value added services. If I cannot figure out why it is higher, I just skip and go to the next one. When I find the best overall value with all things considered and the company has good reviews, I usually reserve with them.

I should also mention that I work hard and prefer to enjoy my vacation without a lot of work. That's just my travel preference and opinion. Others have their preferences as well. Some people really enjoy putting the work and research in and by all means they should reserve direct.

8. Re: Book with tour company or just do it myself.

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