Young adventures Lucia and Oscar just finished their second trip to Costa Rica this year with their family. This time they came back to visit one of their favorite places: The Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park on the South Pacific of Costa Rica, and this time they took my suggestion to also visit Tortuguero National Park on the extreme opposite side of the country, the North Caribbean. Lucia and Oscar's Mom, Katherine, shares their experience with us:
First, thank you so much for the bug book and the towels and water bottles!! I really appreciate how you go all out for your families, the great care you put into creating a wonderful travel experience from start to finish. I absolutely could not recommend Wildland Adventures more highly- I am a walking advertisement to anyone who asks about our trip!
It's interesting because some friends of ours traveled to Costa Rica a few weeks before us and had a totally opposite experience: they had planned their travel on their own and had one disaster after another- late flights, reservations lost, no rental cars available, and long bus rides with a hungry, miserable 6-year-old. I know part of this was just bad luck, but it made me especially grateful for what Wildland Adventures offers to families with younger children: being met at the airport after a very long day of travel by friendly, helpful, knowledgeable guides; stopping at the market for some snacks for the kids on the way to the hotel. Someone is always there to help you, to welcome you. Having Wildland Adventures plan and coordinate the travel details lifts all the worry and anxiety off my shoulders (how do we get to the airport? how much time do we need? how do we find a taxi? where do we get food? No worries...), and when you're traveling with young kids these details are especially important. You're just not your 20-year-old, backpacking-self anymore!
If you wish to keep reading the details of their trip review, please find it below. If you need help planning a family trip to Costa Rica don't hesitate to contact your Wild Tica, I'll be happy to assist you with a trip of a lifetime.
EVALUATION FORM FROM THE FAMILY
1. How well did we help you plan and prepare for your Wildland Adventure?
Flawlessly. Grettel's recommendation to visit Tortuguero was inspired. We loved it. A highlight was our kayak tour in the park. My kids loved the beautifully presented itinerary and studied it often before our trip. And my husband and I love the packing list and all the pre-departure info! It's spot on and very helpful.
2. What places or experiences did you enjoy most and why?
We just adore Drake Bay, Corcovado National Park, and La Paloma Lodge. Pure heaven for wildlife lovers. Our whole experience on the Osa peninsula was wonderful. All four of us went on the snorkeling trip to Cano Island, the mangrove tour, and a hike through San Pedrillo Station in Corcovado. Only my son and I went to Sirena this time because we thought it would be a bit too much for our five-year-old daughter (who also needed a rest day by that point). All of these tours were wonderful and I wouldn't want to skip any of them although if I had to choose, I'd visit Sirena over San Pedrillo. Also, the Bug Lady Tour is not to be missed. In Tortuguero we loved our boat and kayak tours, the walks through the forest surrounding La Tortuga Lodge. We also really really enjoyed our visit to the villages and our experience teaching English to students at the village school. So glad Grettel recommended this- it was such a great experience for the kids!
3. Please comment on the enthusiasm, professionalism, or other qualities of your principle trip leader(s) and other local guides. Mention names when possible.
Osa: One of the fantastic things about La Paloma is that they work with wonderful local guides. Can't say enough good things about Randall, who led our trips through San Padrillo and the mangroves. We had him for the mangrove tour last time as well and were so impressed by his knowledge and ability to spot well-concealed wildlife! He is an excellent guide and naturalist, very enthusiastic about sharing the natural wonders of Drake Bay, and very good with kids. All the same is true for Walter who led our trip to Cano.
Tortuguero: Our guides in Tortuguero were very good.
Also, I want to mention how wonderful all our local guides (who took care of our transfers to and from airports and hotels) were. So friendly, welcoming, helpful and accommodating. Very professional.
4. What kind of tips or advice would you give to travelers going on this Wildland Adventure?
This is a very active and adventurous vacation. Plan some downtime and expect your kids (and yourself) to get tired! We always wish we had one or two more days to stay- I think 7 nights would be our ideal. That way we wouldn't miss any of the tours (and maybe go to Sirena twice!) and still have a day or two to just play on the beach and get an extra nap. Bring some dry snacks for emergencies- granola bars, nuts, crackers, etc.. My kids are always hungry on this trip. Bring lots of sunblock! Get your kids some animal guide books before you go.
5. How well did we handle your airline and ground transportation arrangements?
6. How were meals on the trip? What did you like? What could be improved?
Kids and adults alike loved the food at both La Paloma and La Tortuga. Very very good. Fresh, healthy, lots of delicious fruits and salads. It was a little easier to come by last minute snacks for kids at Tortuga Lodge, perhaps because it's a bit bigger and there's more staff around but also This is a big plus with active kids who get hungry between meals.
7. Please rate your accommodations considering comfort, ambiance, service and meals.
Both excellent all around. Very comfortable and beautifully maintained. Wonderful staff- so friendly and helpful. There was an interesting difference in the ambiance of the two lodges. Overall La Paloma has a friendlier, more social, yet more intimate and personal feeling. This extends to the other guests, the staff, and the guides. Still loved La Tortuga though!
8. Looking back when you signed up for this trip, what were the main reasons you chose this itinerary?
9. Please recount any personal highlights, insights and impressions of the places, people, and experiences that touched you and the children most.
My son announced when we got back to Seattle that we should go to Costa Rica, and particularly the Osa Peninsula and La Paloma Lodge, every year. That sums it up. Just some of the many highlights: the warm welcome and assistance of local guides helping us get around, fantastic staff and service at La Paloma and La Tortuga Lodge, and all of the natural beauty and wildlife of these truly amazing places! Our kayak tour, our English teaching experience, all of our tours in the Osa Peninsula. Oscar wanting to hang out with the other guests every night and share his photos of the day before dinner at La Paloma Lodge. Swimming with a sea turtle and getting up close to a tapir. For Oscar- seeing a bull shark hunting right off the beach at Sirena. For Lucia- all the boat trips, seeing dolphins jump out of the water.
Find out how their first trip went: Is the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National park for kids? ABSOLUTELY!