Client Testimonial- The Rodericks

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We love to make our clients happy...

Here's what the The Roderick Family had to say ~ Summer 2010

"OK – where do we start?  It was a FANTASTIC vacation, and we’re just going to try to summarize how it went.

First off, it was SO COOL to have somebody at the airport with our name!  I’ve never had that before, and it was comforting to come into a new country and feel that we were welcome and someone was looking out for us.  And that feeling was echoed throughout the entire vacation – it was wonderful to have people say “are you the Rodericks?”  roderick-family.jpgEspecially when we were wondering if we were in the right place!

Let’s start with the first night – the Grand Oro was beautiful, and  we loved the layout – very different from the standard “hotel/motel” in the states – do they have straight hallways in  Costa Rica?  I hope NOT!  Mike mentioned that  we could probably have stayed somewhere a little less pricey because we weren’t there to enjoy it (and he has a point – we were there less than 12 hours), but it was beautiful and gave us a taste of what was to come.

I can’t say enough about the trip to Tortuguero – I would have never planned the trip by bus/boat to Manatus – I probably would have set up a flight via Nature Air – and what we would have missed!  The trip through the mountains (banana and pineapple plantations – gotta admit – I thought pineapples grew on trees!) and the boat trip (saw a big croc 2 minutes into the trip and he was eyeing a cow – yikes!) were one of the highlights. 

The guides from Manatus were awesome – and very patient with our Spanish (or lack thereof)  The arrival at Manatus was incredible – I remember you mentioning a “complimentary fruit drink” – OK that sounded nice, but the whole atmosphere was just so warm and inviting!  The tours there were awesome – boat tours – lots of incredible wildlife and how Chito spotted them, I don’t know.  We had monkeys that peed on us and spiders that could jump!  And the turtles – the night we went out to watch the turtles we saw one coming in, one laying and one returning to the sea – WOW!  When we were leaving one of the sites and the guide whispered for us to move on once we were ready, Sam almost stepped into another nest – no lack of turtles there!  The village itself was very gracious – no pushy shop owners – a surprise!  And the flight out was cool – I really like the airport and the air traffic controllers (guy in shorts standing at the end of the “runway” with a clip board).

Renting the vehicle – make sure that people thoroughly investigate insurance options.  Hertz made us call American Express to verify that we had coverage.  If we had not set it up ahead of time, we would have been charged extra.  You let us know that (thank you!), but you might want to emphasize it!  And the GPS  is a MUST.  You know, you guys should think about marking the roads with some road numbers:)  The GPS won’t get you everywhere, but it will help.  And your directions were a big help!

Mike here-I loved driving in CR! Intense, but organized. The lines in the middle of the road mean nothing to these people; however, we never witnessed a single collision during our 10 day stay. Lots of cool, twisting, turning mountain roads that provided a visual feast to all of us. Such a clean country. Just wish we could figure out the school schedules. Saw kids in school uniforms walking the roads all through the day.

Tropical Bungee will be one of my most memorable experiences. It should go on everyone’s Bucket List! The guys were cool, I felt safe, I got a cool DVD and most importantly, Sam Sarah and I lived!

Leaves n'Lizards ...what can I say?  Must admit we never thought we would get there, and our poor little BeGo sounded like it was gonna fall apart – but it made it!  And it was well worth the trip.  The cabins were beautiful and the views were incredible!  Love those front porches and those rocking chairs!  The cabins were constructed of native hardwoods (bamboo and teak – I think), and the view – well what can I say?  We loved the atmosphere – very laid back – and very GREEN.  Mike loved looking out at the cattle grazing on the hillside, toucans perched in the trees. Steve and Debbie (the owners) were very gracious and they are doing wonderful things with that piece of land.  We hiked trails . . . .milked cows . . . .ate wonderful food and all with an incredible view!

Rappelling with Pure Trek was cool – pretty touristy, but we still enjoyed it!  Had to deal with one diabetic lady who collapsed on the trail – an exciting afternoon!

Now let’s talk hot springs – we really had no idea what to expect, so we picked the middle of the road – Baldi.  This was the only “touristy” place that we visited, and gotta admit – we could have done without it.  We did hike the trail up the north side (I think) of the volcano – near the Observatory Lodge – this was a treat!  Think you should mention it to folks visiting Arenal.

On to the canopy tours and superman zip lines!  This was very cool, and the kids and Mike are glad they did it . . . . .and I tried.  I really did!  However, once I reached the platform, I realized that my fear of heights was not going to be conquered on this trip!  I politely excused myself and headed to get my book.  The also provided some very cool pictures and the gift shop was pretty cool.

Now to the beach and the night of the twilight zone.  We left Turu Ba Ri and headed for Timarai Resort.  We made it to Parrita fine, but the directions from there were sketchy to say the least.  We got to the beach road and took a left, and then it said “follow the signs” – there were none – and after 4 Km in the rain, it was getting dark.  Then we ran out of road . . . .it ended . . . .washed out – despair set in – then Mike spotted tire tracks to the left.   We followed them . . . . .around the back side of three properties.  All of the sudden it turned and we saw lights!  Could we have found civilization??  We were very happy to see lights and Mike got out to ask directions to Timarai – a man offered his umbrella and asked “are you the Rodericks?”  It was Xavier and he loaded up our luggage and led us to our room . . .cottage . . . . our cabin . . . .Swiss Family Robinson’s treehouse – VERY cool.

Our first night there was a little ifffffffy.  Part of it was the dark and the rain.  Part of it was that Sarah was sick.  The waitress (after bringing a menu to our cabin), ended up ordering for us (bamboooozled as Mike put it) and ordered the seafood platter for all of us – one of the worst meals that we have ever eaten!  We had no hot water and asked about it – next thing we know we have HOT (like peel the flesh from your body HOT) water.  It was Friday night and well into the evening the bar was open with the music loud (admittedly, if Sarah had not been sick, this might not have been a problem).  But by the end of the night, we were not sure we had made the right decision.

Sam and Mike went on the Manual Antonio National Park tour (Sarah wasn’t feeling up to it.)  At first they felt a little like cattle as they were herded into the area, but they saw sloths and white-faced monkeys!  So it was worth it!

And then we woke up the next morning and went to the beach – I don’t know how to describe it!  It was beautiful and deserted.  As far as you could see in any direction . . . there was no one!  At low tide, the beach extends out hundreds (yes hundreds) of yards – incredible!  And the sand dollars!  I have never found a sand dollar on the beach IN MY LIFE – and here we saw over 60 – WOW!  The 2nd night we decided to order in – nothing extravagant – but the food was good.  The breakfasts were OK (compared to other spots), but there was something different about Timarai.  The other places we stayed were very gracious – took very good care of us.  Here, we were a sideline to their own little world.  I now understand what the reviews were trying to say – but we don’t regret staying there.  The cabins were really cool and the beach was incredible.  You did have to put up with erratic showers – water pressure and flow was inadequate to non-existent; however, it is a beautiful spot, and I’m glad we got a chance to see it!

And then to Adventure Inn – very nice – hard to comment much because we weren’t there for very long.  We did have dinner there and it was very good – comfy beds – the rooms were noisy and you couldn’t shut out all of the “people” sounds. Perhaps offer a less expensive option?

Thanks for all your help. This was definitely the trip of a lifetime!"

~   Mike, Jenelle, Sam and Sarah Roderick

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