Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife

9 days Nature & Wildlife
From misty cloud forests and lush jungles to volcanic landscapes and sun-kissed beaches, there’s so much to love about this Central American hot spot. Begin your adventure in Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, then take a dip in the natural hot springs at the foot of the mighty Arenal Volcano and explore the majestic cloud forest region before ending your tour in San Jose.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

On this guided tour, you’ll walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails, and muddy paths, with some hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • 8 breakfasts

  • 4 lunches

  • 5 three-course dinners

  • 8 guided sightseeing tours

  • Expert Tour Director & local guides

  • Private deluxe motor coach

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in San José

Fly to Costa Rica and settle into your hotel in San José.

Tortuguero 2 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Tortuguero

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drive through the Costa Rican countryside. Then, boat through jungle-lined canals to beachside Tortuguero, the Land of Turtles, for a guided tour of the tropical area.

• Pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park, home of many dormant volcanoes and placid crater lakes

• Take a scenic drive through local banana plantations 

• Learn about endangered turtles at the Sea Turtle Conservancy (Please note: Sea turtle nesting season is from June–September. Turtles may not be on the beaches for the remainder of the year.) 

Later, get to know your group at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Rainforest & canal expedition

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Learn about Tortuguero National Park’s diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, swamps and beaches.

• Boat through the park’s canals, seeking out monkeys, tapirs, caymans and more

• View the freshwater creeks and lagoons, home to endangered turtles and over 50 species of fish

Arenal Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Arenal via Guapiles

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Transfer to the highlands  for your first glimpse of Arenal Volcano National Park’s lush landscape, shaped by the majestic volcano and massive lake of the same name. Stop in Guapiles, then enjoy a free afternoon in the Arenal Region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Arenal Hot Springs & Dinner $75pp* Details

The afternoon is yours to explore an array of heated pools, kept warm by geothermal activity surrounding the Arenal Volcano. Then, enjoy dinner, along with views of the volcano, at a restaurant in the charming town of La Fortuna before traveling back to your hotel.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 5: Hiking tour of Arenal

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Hike through Arenal Volcano National Park on a guided tour.

• View the mile-high volcano, a near-perfect conical shape that emerges from the Sierra de Tilarán mountain range 

• Gaze at the placid Lake Arenal, watching for northern jacana, woodpeckers and kingfishers by its shores

• Stop to enjoy a tasting of raw sugarcane

Spend a free afternoon in the Arenal Region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Ziplining Tour $59pp* Details

Today's ziplining excursion adds a bit of adrenaline to your Costa Rican vacation. The longest ziplines on this course cover nearly half a mile, and the tallest are almost 600 feet off the ground; in short, you've never traveled like this before! You'll fly above the treetops and come home with a renewed sense of adventure.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $69)

Monteverde 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Monteverde via Heliconia Ranch

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Get another look at the spectacular Lake Arenal as you travel to Monteverde by boat and bus. There, learn about Costa Rica’s diverse ecology and vibrant culture. 

• Help with reforestation efforts by planting a native tree at Heliconia Ranch

• Have lunch at a local farm and enjoy coffee and dairy products cultivated on-site 

• Watch a presentation of traditional Costa Rican dances performed by children from the community

Day 7: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast

Take a guided tour of what may be the world’s most stunning cloud forest reserve. 

Then, enjoy a free afternoon in Monteverde or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Sky Walk $45pp* Details

The canopy layer of the Costa Rican rainforest teems with life, but until recently, it was difficult for travelers to enter this world. On today's excursion, a guided tour brings you to a series of suspended bridges high above the floor of the Monteverde cloud forest.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $55)

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 8: Coffee plantation visit & San José sightseeing tour

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel to San José today, making several stops along the way. 

• Tour the Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation to learn about coffee harvests during a hands-on demonstration and enjoy a tasting

• Visit the town of Sarchí to view the carretas, or beautifully painted oxcarts 

Then, get to know San José on a guided sightseeing tour. 

• Stop at the Plaza de la Cultura, site of many performances and celebrations, and admire the National Theater of Costa Rica 

• Pass Bellavista Fortress, home of the National Museum

•Marvel at the steel exterior of the century-old Edificio Metálico

Celebrate your trip with your fellow travelers at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Day 9: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in Costa Rica to explore Manuel Antonio.

Add Manuel Antonio & San José Starting from $749 pp

Soak in the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio, a vibrant destination where lush rainforests are side by side with postcard-worthy beaches.

Manuel Antonio 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Tarcoles River cruise

  Included meals: Breakfast

En route to Manuel Antonio, relax on a riverboat tour of the Tarcoles River with a local guide.

• Take in views of lush mangrove forests and jungle settings

• Look out for wildlife such as crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, monkeys and birds

Day 10: Manuel Antonio National Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know the country’s smallest national park, popular for its breathtaking beaches and scenic hiking trails.

• Keep an eye out for local fauna—the park is home to 109 mammal species and 270 bird species

• Walk to the top of rocky Cathedral Point to view the park from across the Pacific

• Witness a blowhole shooting sea spray over Escondido Beach

• Survey the saw cliff and sea caves at Serrucho Point 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Manuel Antonio or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Manuel Antonio Sunset Cruise $95pp* Details

Spend the afternoon cruising along the central Pacific coast of Quepos on board the Ocean King catamaran, the largest in Central America. Sail through the various islands and rock formations as you explore Manuel Antonio National Park from the water, keeping an eye out for dolphins and sea birds that inhabit the area. Snorkel in the calm turquoise waters as you explore the underwater beauty up close.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

San José 1 night Hotel info

Day 11: Transfer to San José

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free morning before traveling back to San José and rejoining your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 12: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • San José, Costa Rica
  • Tortuguero, Costa Rica
  • Arenal, Costa Rica
  • Monteverde, Costa Rica
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Costa Rica, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact Costa Rica's consulate for your specific entry requirements.      

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads, unpaved trails and muddy paths, with some hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.        

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in and depart from San Jose. A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • A boat ride to Tortuguero and back is included in the price of the tour.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.      

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
  • Contact your airline for detailed information regarding baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.          

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. Comfortable, casual clothing and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are a must for sightseeing. 
  • A lightweight jacket is recommended, as the temperatures will change with the elevation throughout your tour.
  • A sun hat, sunglasses and rain gear will help you stay comfortable in all types of weather. You may also wish to pack a swimsuit. * A small bottle of hand sanitizer may be helpful when other facilities are not readily available while on the road.
  • Binoculars are handy for a closer look at local wildlife and scenery.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.       

Health

  • There are no health risks associated with traveling to Costa Rica.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • Take proper care with sun exposure, as the sun can be especially strong in some of the regions on this tour. * There are inherent risks associated with snorkeling and other water sports, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Discuss your planned activities with your doctor or healthcare provider for the best advice on participation.
  • Drink bottled water only. Refrain from ingesting tap water, including when brushing your teeth.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to My Account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.           

Cuisine

  • Costa Rican cuisine is based on staples like rice, black beans and corn with beef, chicken or fish. Fresh, locally grown fruit includes bananas, mangoes, pineapples and avocados. Traditional desserts include custards, puddings and simple cakes. Locally grown coffee is served strong and black, but hot milk is often available if you ask.      

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Costa Rica operates on 120 volts and uses Types A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.  
  • The strength of the air conditioning in some hotels in this region may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed..

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. In more remote locations, internet access may be limited and is not guaranteed.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.  

Time zones

  • Costa Rica is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and one hour behind Eastern Standard Time (EST). Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am in Costa Rica from March through November and 10am from April through October.

Currency

  • You will use the Costa Rican colón on this tour.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.         

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.      

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 4/8/2017

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NM

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great wildlife trip!

I loved Costa Rica! We had a great group and our tour director Diego was fantastic - very knowledgeable, charming, and patient. I'm glad this tour included 3 very different areas, but Tortuguero was the highlight for me - I loved the boat trips, the wildlife, and the resort with little bungalows in the jungle. We saw sloths, monkeys, birds, frogs, snakes, caimans, crocodiles, etc. I did all of the optional excursions, which doesn't leave much time for downtime so it was a packed trip but still felt relaxing. I was scared to try ziplining but am glad I did it, and enjoyed the canopy walk. The hot springs evening was a bit disappointing - felt rushed and none of the pool jets were working. The 3 resorts were great - spacious rooms on nice properties with pools, walking paths, and plenty of food options. The San Jose hotel was not nice but we spent little time there. Some things to keep in mind - there is a good bit of walking on a couple of the days, and the Arenal and Monteverde walks (and ziplining) involved a good bit of stairs and steep slopes that can be difficult if you have knee problems or are out of shape. Costa Rica is a bit difficult to get around, so there are a couple of days that require long bus rides, but the bus was comfortable and the driver was great. Pack what they recommend - a mix of shorts and long pants, rain gear (we only needed it in Monteverde), sunscreen and bug spray, closed shoes and socks for some walks, etc. I had a camera with a good zoom, which was needed to get good wildlife pics since many of the sloths, birds, and monkeys are high up in the trees. I recommend this tour - whlie this wasn't as well organized as my other GoAhead tours in a couple of logistic items, it is a good itinerary, a beautiful country, and GoAhead guides are always amazing. With the balance of activity and relaxation, it felt like a much longer trip with great memories.

1 / 4
 

Hi, Julie! Thank you for your detailed review. We are so happy to know that you enjoyed your Go Ahead itinerary through Costa Rica. It sounds like you had great luck with all the animals you saw – just what we like to hear (and see, from your attached photos)! We regret that your hot springs and San Jose hotel experience were underwhelming. Please know that we’ve sent your feedback to our Operations Department for further investigation. Thank you for your feedback regarding the physicality of much of this destination, as we certainly want our travelers to understand and prepare for such mobility demands prior to enrolling on this tour. Your advice is all great and much appreciated, by Go Ahead and we’re sure by future travelers! We look forward to your next adventure soon.

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 24, 2017

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/10/2017

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Birthday in the rainforest

This was my second tour with go ahead. I had a wonderful experience in Costa Rica. Rafael tour guide director is awesome. Hotels excellent, except the holiday in in San Jose, it is old, needs a total renovation, and the restaurant needs a new chef. Or just switch to a better hotel. The roads are bad. But that's a working progress. The itenerary was excellent, just what I was expecting. The wild life. Rainforest, the volcanos, tortugero, the boat rides through the rainfores, so close to nature and the interaction with the local people, its what I wanted. I will definitely use go ahead for my next adventure.

 

Hi Esthela! We’re so glad you had a wonderful experience on your 2nd Go Ahead tour! It’s great to know that your Tour Director contributed to the success of your trip, and we will be sure to let him know. We regret that the hotel in San Jose didn’t quite meet your expectations, as well as the condition of the roads. As you probably noticed, the infrastructure in Costa Rica is not always the most modern, which is important to keep in mind when exploring the country. We’re glad that you felt the itinerary was well-designed, particularly the natural and wildlife encounters. Thank you for taking the time to review your tour. We can’t wait to see where you’ll go next!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | March 21, 2017

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/4/2017

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Good Trip

I really enjoyed my Costa Rica tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable and helpful. Many meals were included and were good ( I gained weight!). Some of the hikes were difficult and I feel we should have been advised of that. My only complaint was the amount of time on the bus over very rough roads. I think the tour tried to cover more territory than was comfortable. I've been on several Go Ahead tours and have always found them to be of high quality at a reasonable price.

 

Hi Linda! We’re so glad you enjoyed your time in gorgeous Costa Rica. It’s great to know that you felt your Tour Director was an asset and that you enjoyed the local meals. We regret that the physicality of the tour didn’t quite meet your expectations. While we do note in our materials that travelers should prepare for uneven terrain and hills, we regret that you would have liked more information. As every traveler has different abilities, we strongly encourage you in the future to discuss your mobility concerns with our staff prior to departure. Many of our staff members have taken this tour and are glad to speak with travelers about expectations. In terms of amount of time in transit, we are sorry you would have preferred less time on the road. This is a fairly comprehensive itinerary that aims to maximize the traveler’s time in the country. We will certainly share your feedback with our team for further review. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, Linda. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | March 21, 2017

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/18/2017

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: ME

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Marvelous Trip

I really enjoyed everything about this trip! Boat rides, birds, monkeys, lizards, slothes, etc etc etc. Coffee and banana plantations were very interesting! The volcano was amazing and the hikes through the National Park and Reserves were great! The stop at the ranch with lunch and dancing with children was a blast. Edgar, the tour guide was very knowledgeable about everything and the bus drivers did an amazing job as well as the local guides. I cannot say enough about this trip!

1 / 8
 

Hi Alice! There’s just so much to love about Costa Rica! We’re glad you enjoyed the natural and cultural riches of the country. We’re also happy to learn that you felt Go Ahead staff did an exceptional job. We will be sure to share your kind feedback with them. Thank you for thanking the time to review your experience, Alice! We look forward to welcoming you on tour again next month.

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | March 22, 2017

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/18/2017

Number of Past Tours: 9

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Ineresting trip to a new part of the world

This was my first trip to Costa Rica, and I was definitely impressed by the country and its people. Our director, Edgar, was top notch. He shared so much information with us on different aspects of his country as we rode alone to our destinations. We saw many different types of wildlife native to the country. Our only major problem was our boat getting stuck on the way to our hotel. This was due to no significant rainfall in two months, and the water level being down. This was something out of everyones control, but we thought the boat tour company should have notified our director ahead of time. Everyone was a good sport, and we all got out and pushed until the boat was in deeper water.

 

Hi Sidney! We’re so glad you were impressed with Costa Rica! Between the remarkable biodiversity and the warmth of the people, it’s a wonderful destination for Central America enthusiasts. In terms of the challenge your group encountered during the boat ride, we greatly appreciate your and your group’s patience as our team navigated an unexpected obstacle. It’s true that ‘Mother Nature’ is out of everyone’s control, but the good thing about traveling with Go Ahead is you always have your Tour Director and other staff available to ensure your safety and comfort. We’ve already spoken with our staff on the ground about this experience, and we thank you for your feedback about it. Again, we’re delighted to hear you enjoyed your trip, and we look forward to welcoming you on your next one later this year!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 05, 2017

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 12/3/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TN

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

another world

The scenery was beautiful. We enjoyed seeing all of the wildlife and the beautiful rainforest. The places we stayed were well located for this. The people we met on the trip were very friendly. We enjoyed traveling with them, and hope to see them on another trip. We did the zip lining and we really enjoyed that. The young people there were very helpful and friendly. We would recommend this trip to all ages. It was fun, educational, and interesting. When you were awaken at 5 AM by the howler moneys, you felt like you were in another world.

 

Hi Jimmie! Between the gorgeous scenery and your friendly travel companions, it sounds like you truly enjoyed your ‘Pura Vida’ experience! We’re glad you gave zip lining a try, as it provides a unique opportunity to admire the spectacular beauty above the tree tops. Thank you for recommending this itinerary. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | January 03, 2017

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 12/3/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

AMAZING

-AMAZING tour director -Great activities -Great accommodations -Good food

 

Hi Colette! Thanks for the amazing feedback. We're so glad you had a great time, and we're looking forward to seeing you on tour again in 2017!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | December 19, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 12/3/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: UT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing Experience

Great value and experience! This was my husband and I's first tour with Go Ahead and we are impressed! The service from booking to flying home was flawless. We first thought we'd work on finding our own flights, but after a month of searching, we decided to book with Go Ahead. All it took was a few simple emails and they took care of all of it. Adding excursions and other side trips was easy while abroad and our Tour Director made great suggestions on other not as popular items. The hotels were clean and in beautiful areas. Our Tour Director, Rafael, had a strong sense of knowledge and love for Costa Rica which made our adventure so much more enjoyable! I don't think there was a questions he couldn't answer right away that I asked. We can't wait to save up our money too book another tour with Go Ahead! Pura Vida!

 

Hi Chloe! We’re happy that you enjoyed your first Go Ahead tour. It’s also great to know that, from the time of booking until the time you came home, your Go Ahead journey was smooth and easy. We'll definitely let our team know! We appreciate your feedback on your Tour Director, as well as your hotel accommodations, and we thank you for taking the time to review your tour. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | December 22, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 12/3/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

1st Timer but not last time with GoAhead

I was so happy with everything about this tour. Note - this is my first time with Go Ahead and I will use them again, but my fellow tourists, who were well seasoned world travelers, were remarkably loyal to Go Ahead. Many had used Go Ahead in all different parts of the world and they stated without equivocation that this tour company is consistently high quality, safe and reliable for good prices. I appreciated the entire tour. The accomodations were high-end; much nicer than the price would suggest. Our tour guide and driver, Raphael and Hector - terrific traveling companions. Knowledgable, down to earth and genuninely concerned about making the most of this visit. ( p.s. I notice that they completely took care of luggage - we didn't have to carry a thing. Other tours were lugging their own baggage down a somewhat steep hill to get to the boats :( ) Raphel is a natural professor and kept a fascinating running dialogue about costa rican history, people and customs. I especially enjoyed his appreciation and affection for the country. Hiding in plain sight - the rainforest guides were serious about pointing out wildlife on the river and canals. I never would have seen so much without their help. This of course, is the point of the trip and they delivered big time. I have only good things to say about this trip -

 

Hi Mary! We’re delighted that you had a wonderful first Go Ahead tour experience. We certainly have a loyal traveler community, and we’re glad that you are a part of it! Thank you for the feedback you kindly provided. We’re glad that you were impressed with your accommodations, as well as the efforts of your Tour Director and driver. We’re especially glad that your Tour Director added value to your trip, particularly while you were in the rain forest learning about your exotic surroundings and the animals which inhabit the area. It certainly helps to have an insider's insight! Again, we’re thrilled that you feel satisfied with your Go Ahead experience in Costa Rica, and we hope to welcome you on another tour in the future.

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | January 16, 2017

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 11/19/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The most amazing tour

I don't really write reviews, but I cannot write enough about how awesome this trip was. I have never travelled in such a group before, and was a bit apprehensive about the idea. But to summarize, Go ahead really goes beyond. Our tour director, Rafael, and driver, Hector really cared, and made it sure that we had the best experience ever. I could write a separate review on Rafael, that is how good he is. He is extremely knowledgeable, including the scientific names, and taxonomy of the flora and fauna spread across our tour ( and again, being a scientist myself, it is really impressive). And as I said earlier, he really cared that we have a good time. The trip itself was excellent. It was well organized, the hotels were great, and despite hurricane Otto hitting North Costa Rica, we managed to have all the experiences promised by the tour. Again, I could not recommend this tour enough. The icing on the cake was watching just hatched baby sea turtles making their way to the ocean. Once in a lifetime experience. The zip lining at Arenal was super adrenal rush, and so was sky walking at the hanging bridges. And yes, hot spring at the resort with swim is bar. That is how I want all my vacation to be.

1 / 8
 

Hi Anindya! We’re so glad you took the time to write a review! It’s wonderful to learn that you enjoyed your first group tour experience. It sounds like your Tour Director and bus driver enhanced your time in Costa Rica, and we’re glad to hear it. We will be sure to let them know that their expertise added value and enjoyment to your trip. We appreciate your feedback on the itinerary as well as your accommodations. We’re very glad that the hurricane didn’t disrupt your tour. Safety is our top priority, which is why we have an Emergency Services team dedicated solely to monitoring both natural and world events. In the event that we believe anything should pose as a threat to our travelers, we always work with our Tour Directors and ground staff to make the appropriate changes. Again, we’re thrilled to learn that you had a great time in Costa Rica and that you enjoyed many unique experiences from watching baby sea turtles take their first steps to zip lining at Arenal. We are super excited to see that you are already booked on your second Go Ahead tour – this time to Kenya in 2017! See you on tour soon, Anindya!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | December 02, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 11/19/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Pura Awesomeness

After reading most of the reviews I thought I had a good idea of what to expect. In fact, no amount of words or photographs can begin to describe the beauty of Costa Rica as experienced with the help of a director (Rafael) who is not only knowledgeable, but passionately in love with his country and it's people. He was also friendly and accommodating while unobtrusively taking care of all those little details that can pile up and suck the fun right out of a vacation. Our driver, Hector, was also amazing and friendly. Even though he spoke no English, he was always willing to help me with my Espanol. There was much bonding in our relatively small group and many of us are now friends for life, anticipating our next tour together. Much has been said in the hundred-plus reviews about the physical beauty of the landscape and how much they enjoyed the activities -all true - so I'd like to say a word or two about a couple of the other things that some people took issue with. The long uncomfortable bus rides. Based on the reviews, I was really dreading them, especially after spending so much time on planes and in airports. At no time was it uncomfortable or unpleasant. There was so much to see and learn and talk about. And the food. We are all told from the outset that the food would be based on the Costa Rican diet, which is mostly rice and beans. I was never given the impression that this was going to be a five-star restaurant eating tour. I can get that at home. To sum it all up, I LOVED this tour - every minute of it.

 

Hi Joan! It certainly is difficult to describe the awe-inspiring beauty that is Costa Rica! We’re so glad your Tour Director’s efforts helped you discover it and appreciate all that it has to offer. It sounds like your bus driver was also a joy to be around, and we’re glad to hear it. We appreciate your feedback on the time in transit for this tour. We’re happy you felt you had a lot to learn and discuss during this time. We’re also pleased that you felt prepared for the meal options on tour. We greatly appreciate your feedback on the various aspects of your experience, and we’re thrilled that you loved every minute of it. Thank you for your review. We can’t wait to see where you’ll go next!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | December 02, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 8/20/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: MT

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A Dip into the Rain Forest!

I really enjoyed this tour! I saw so many animals and actually stayed in the middle of the rain forest which was an amazing experience. Monkeys climbed on my roof! The food was so delicious! Some of the best dishes I have ever had. The scenery was so colorful with lush greens. I enjoyed ziplining and the sky walk excursion.One spectacular highlights was going to the beach late at night and watching giant sea turtles come up from the ocean and lay eggs! That is a memory I will never forget! As far as notes, I do wish there was a whole day for San Jose. We got there around 5:30 p.m. and dinner was at 7:00p.m. I would have liked to have seen the city besides a quick little bus tour. After dinner, it was dark and there wasn't any time to explore the city. Unfortunately, we couldn't explore the next day because we flew out in the morning. Rafael was alright as a tour director. He was very knowledgeable but not very friendly. There were times I felt like I was bothering him when I asked him questions. It is hard when you have had amazing tour guides with this company prior to this tour. Other than that, it was another great trip! I would recommend traveling here!

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Hi Katie! It sounds like you came away from tour with a true taste of the unparalleled beauty of Costa Rica. Spotting animals and enjoying the sounds of the rain forest are certainly a couple of the most enticing activities to do in this destination. What a thrill to watch sea turtles lay legs! We’re so glad you had such unique experiences on tour. We appreciate your feedback regarding other aspects of the tour, such as wanting more time in San Jose. We will be sure to share this with our Product Development team. In terms of your Tour Director, we are glad you felt he was knowledgeable, but we regret that he didn’t meet your expectations in other ways. We will be sure to communicate this to his supervisor. Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 31, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beyond What I Imagined

My husband and I booked this trip on a whim and had NO CLUE as to how awesome it would truly be. It was our first time on South America and I am actually thinking of taking our next trip to another country in S. America as well. We can't stop telling people about the wonderful time we had on the trip, if you're adventurous as heart this trip is definitely for you! The itinerary was jam-packed (which is something we enjoyed), the food was so good, the hotels were in stunning locations, and our tour guide/bus driver went above and beyond for us to enjoy our time there, we would definitely recommend this tour to anyone!

 

Hi Alexis! We’re so glad that you and your husband enjoyed your time in Costa Rica! You certainly chose an incredible part of the world to explore. We agree that this tour is for the adventurous and for those looking to soak up the wonderful natural and cultural beauty of this Central American gem. Thank you for your feedback on the itinerary, food, hotels, Tour Director, and bus driver. We will be sharing it all with our teams internally. We appreciate your recommendation, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 25, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/9/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Costa Rica

I enjoyed this trip much more than I'd expected to, Our guide, Edgar, was wonderful. He was friendly, organized, and extremely knowledgeable. Our driver, Jorge, was also great. He kept long drives fun and was also very knowledgeable about the area. I learned so much about Costa Rica thanks to these guys. Planned excursions were great. We explored areas by boat, hiked around a volcano, went to the hot springs, and hiked through the Cloud Forest, among many other things. I can't say enough about how gorgeous the country is. If you go during the rainy season, which I did, be prepared for the rain to come and go throughout the day. It didn't stop us from anything though. We made sure to have have slickers and ponchos at all times, and were able to get to where we were going without any trouble. I added the optional excursions. Despite the fact that heights make me nervous, I couldn't pass up ziplining and the Sky Walk. I highly recommend both. The ziplining crew was fun and professional. The Sky Walk allowed for a view of the rain forest from a different perspective. Meals were tasty. We had opportunities to eat delicious authentic food for most if the trip. Hotel accommodations were comfortable. There were bugs, but that's a given being in the rain forest. Just make sure to be prepared with bug spray. We saw many creatures during our drives and also at our hotels (sloths, monkeys, and iguanas to name a few). Everyone I encountered during my trip was so friendly. I hope to be able to go back and visit again. Another excellent vacation thanks to the Go Ahead crew!

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Hi Vanessa! We’re thrilled that this tour exceeded your expectations. We also appreciate your feedback regarding your Tour Director and bus driver, and we will be sure to share it with them. This itinerary includes a lot of unique activities, and it sounds like you took advantage of them! Zip-lining through the rain forest is definitely a must, as well as the Sky Walk. It’s great to know that you gave these activities a try, despite your fear of heights. We’re glad you were prepared for rainy weather. With the right gear, a little rain certainly doesn’t have to put a damper on your experience. You’re also right about bringing along bug spray. That’s always a good item to have in the rain forest! We’re so pleased you enjoyed your tour, and we appreciate that you took the time to share you experience. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | July 20, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 7/9/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Didn't Have To Lift A Finger

Loved this trip as I travelled with my 16 year old daughter and left hubby and son behind. I'm usually having to plan everything along with the meals, etc, and this time I opted to spend a little more $$ and "just show up". It was fabulous! The food was awesome - my daughter is a vegan and Aninga Lodge made special plates for her that everyone else was jealous of! It was a fast paced trip and active, and we are active people so that was great. The group dynamic with other travelers was terrific-this was a very educational tour so we learned a lot. The ziplining was both challenging but manageable and not careless as I have heard other tour companies are. Only downside is that San Jose accomodations were only "eh", but we only stayed for getting there and leaving. Next time I'd take the longer trip extension. Loved our guide and it was the best trip ever. Thanks Go Ahead!

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Hi Susan! What a special trip for you and your daughter! We’re so glad you two were able to relax and make lifelong memories together. It’s wonderful to hear that you felt this was an educational experience, as education is at the heart of our tours. We’re pleased that your daughter had no trouble sticking to her vegan diet, and we’re also happy you gave ziplining a try. Ziplining is a must! We regret to learn that the San Jose accommodations didn’t quite match your expectations, and we will be sure to share this feedback with our team. Thank you for your review, and let us know when you’re ready to travel again!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | August 23, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/4/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

OUR GUIDE MADE THIS A FANTASTIC TRIP

This trip was positively excellent. Diego our guide was wonderful. He offer that little extra bit to make the trip the best. He was very knowledgeable about the forests, flowers, insects and animals. He carried a telescope with him so when he heard a bird, he would find it, identify it and was able to show the bird to us up close. Thanks Diego. Please consider the zip lining excursion, it was so amazing and fun. We had people from their 20s up to 80 going. The view was Beautiful. If you enjoy nature this is a trip for you.

 

Hi Marjorie! We’re delighted to learn that your Tour Director went out of his way for your group and that his expertise enhanced your overall experience. We completely agree that zip-lining is a must-do, and we’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | July 11, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/9/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Pura Vida

As if it wasn't enough to leave cold, snowy home to get away to Costa Rica for 9 days, this trip was the experience of a lifetime. I so enjoyed meeting all the great characters that chose to travel at the same time as my trip. It was quite an adventure. I booked for April 9-17th which happened to fall in the dry season. It was a great time to go. I still wore insect repellant and got a few bug bites, but nothing too bad at all. The dollar is widely accepted but the exchange rate is about 500 colones to a dollar so it was pretty easy to navigate. I was a solo traveler along with 6 other solo travelers 1 family and a few couples which included people from all over the US and Canada. Pure Vida is the Costa Rican expression that translates to pure life and is a great way to describe the way many Costa Ricans live. The food was tasty and plentiful, there were so many meals included. I feel like I really got a taste of the entire country as we traveled from the caribbean coast to the mountains and back to the city. Rafael was our fantastic tour director. You can tell he loves his country and his job. He had a lot of useful suggestions as well as a ton of culture and history information to liven up the bus rides. Some rough, mountain dirt roads caused a bit of motion sickness for me, but they were really good about rest stops and the pace of travel. We saw a ton of wildlife and plants throughout the tour and the pictures really just don't do it justice.

1 / 8
 

Hi Lori! Welcome home, and thank you for your review! We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed the “Pura Vida” experience. It sounds like your Tour Director and group contributed greatly to the success of your tour, adding a layer of enthusiasm and wonderful company. We’re sorry to hear you experienced some motion sickness on the mountain roads, but we’re glad you felt you had enough periods of rest to combat it. It’s wonderful to know you saw so much wildlife and learned about different kinds of plants. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity, surely one of the country’s greatest attractions. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience and look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 26, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Love the Countryside

Costa Rica wildlife and plants, mountains, views, waterfalls, were all gorgeous and even breathtaking! I loved the jungle and the abundant wildlife. I saw some of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen. The accommodations in some areas was not as good as one might expect on a guided tour but we were in the a remote area of the rain forest so one must take that into account. The people were friendly but San Jose was not a place to be alone at night. During the daytime it was a bustling city much like the places in the US but just as in the US, precautions must be taken during the evening hours. I loved Cost Rica, our tour guide was most knowledgeable and I learned so much about all aspects of the country from the government to the natural resources. A beautiful place to visit!!!

 

Hi Jennifer! We couldn’t agree more about the breathtaking natural beauty of Costa Rica! It’s lush, varied landscapes are just teeming with unique flora and fauna. We’re glad you were able to see some of the many beautiful birds endemic to the country. We regret to hear some of the hotels did not meet your expectations. It’s important to note that what might be considered a three, four, or five star hotel in one country is quite different than another. Also, there are some locations in this itinerary that are fairly remote, so as you say, it is important to take that into account. We do appreciate your valuable feedback and will be sure to communicate it to our Operations team. We are happy to hear you found the people of San Jose to be friendly. Regarding safety, it is our number one priority here at Go Ahead. San Jose is a great city, but like any major city, you should be aware of your surroundings. Your Tour Director is a great resource in terms of telling you places to avoid or offering best travel routes to and from a place you’d like to visit. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience, and we’re so glad you enjoyed your time in Costa Rica. We hope to welcome you on another tour soon!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 05, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 3/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: WV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Eco Tour Means Eco Tour!

Beginning with very early flights (which was a good thing, missed most commotion of busy times in airports), this tour was an on the move tour. I don't think there was a moment that we were not on the move. It certainly is a tour for those who are fit or at least semi fit! We hiked and walked and hiked some more! We rode a coach over some of the roughest roads I have ever traveled on, and I live in West Virginia. We followed the coach ride with a long soothing boat ride on a river. Our hotels were great except for the one on the mountainside in Monte Verde--so steep for walking and we were housed at the top level. I think even mountain goats would have had problems going up and down. Luckily the hotel provided shuttles up and down! The meals were great but got to be so so after 3 or 4 days of much the same fare. I loved plantains until the last 2 days! Some of our group became sick--me included on Thursday evening. Some thought they had eaten bad food or had drunk bad water. I believe I was dehydrated. It is very easy not to drink enough water when riding on a coach with no facility aboard. I would suggest Goahead look into that. I would recommend that the tour director make at least one stop at a local McDonalds just for the tourists to note the differences in them between countries. Some of my group really would have like a short breakfast stop there. We had a fantastic trip and met some very wonderful new people so over all it was an excellent tour, but I will stick with the non eco tours from now on! Our tour director Rafael and our coach driver Oliver were wonderful and I would recommend them to all future tours to Costa Rica.

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Hi Joanne! Thank you for your valuable feedback. We’re so glad one of our team members was able to speak with you on the phone about your experience in Costa Rica. It sounds like you had a wonderful time on tour! We regret that the hotel in Monteverde did not meet your expectations, but we will be sure to communicate this feedback to our Operations team. In spite of your dissatisfaction with the location, we are glad you were able to utilize the shuttles provided by the hotel. We are also sorry to hear that you became dehydrated on tour. It is especially important to drink a lot of water in warmer climates, particularly on more active days. We will also communicate this to our team to ensure that this is made clear on future departures. We’re thrilled you had a fantastic tour and we hope to welcome you on another soon!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | April 05, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 2/20/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: ON

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Pur Vida!

This was a great tour as you experience 4 very different areas from the city of San Jose to the mountains of Monte Verde. Excellent way to really see the country and understand the diversity of Costa Rica. Make sure you go Zip Lining! You cannot leave the country without doing it once! Our Tour Director was great and he shared many facts about the country and its people which made for a really full experience. Food always fresh and well cooked, however, the staple of Costa Rica is beans and rice, so don't be surprised if you are offered it 3 times a day. I would recommend this tour to anyone who really wants to see nature and enjoy the river scenes, along with majestic views of mountains and rolling hills. You are amazed at the extraordinary amounts of birds and animals around you which makes the whole adventure just all that more fun. Pur Vida! Relax and enjoy Costa Rica! The people are lovely and genuine really wanting you to

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Hello! It's great to hear you enjoyed your tour of Costa Rica. We agree that zip lining is a must, and we're so glad you did it! We're pleased that you were able to see so many animals and appreciate the natural beauty of Costa Rica. It's also wonderful to know you enjoyed your Tour Director. Thank you for sharing your experience!

Posted by Katie, Manager of Quality Control | March 24, 2016

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