Costa Rica Unplugged » Review by Teija
From start to finish, Costa Rica Unplugged and my first Contiki experience were awesome! I went solo, and got really lucky with my fantastic and friendly group. Overall the tour was well-organized and action-packed.
Highlights: boat ride in/out of Tortuguero and the whole Tortuguero experience. Ziplining in Monteverde. Hanging out at the beautiful beach in Manuel Antonio. Hot springs in La Fortuna. Night out in Monteverde. Waterfall stop near La Fortuna.
The accommodation were great - better than expected, including the tent suites. I had envisioned spiders creeping down the walls, and instead the tents were bug-proof (as long as you are diligent about keeping the screens zipped) and cozy. The hot water worked at all of our hotels. Probably the only shocking thing I encountered was a huge bat flapping around my bathroom at the La Fortuna hotel at 3am.... must've gotten in with the cleaners. Many of the rooms had mini-fridges and air-conditioning (but not all).
Our tour guide, Allan, and driver, Felix, were friendly, knowledgeable and reliable. Allan was hilarious - and has a great knowledge of the plants & animals of Costa Rica.
For the most part, I enjoyed the ME Time Optionals and found them to be worth the money. In particular, the canyoneering and zip-lining were great! The sea-kayaking was fun, and the catamaran booze cruise can't be missed (although the drinks are watered down). The whitewater rafting was disappointing, perhaps just because I've rafted way better rivers before.... the water level was quite low and we spent way too much time getting stuck on rocks in lame Class 2 rapids. But it's included, so enjoy the float down the river! The ATVs were fun, but too many rules - they don't let you break out of line or go very fast.
Throughout the trip I was impressed at how much was included - meals, activities, etc. The food was delicious. Sure it's beans & rice a lot, but the food is nicely prepared and there are plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.
The travel days are not overly arduous. They make frequent stops for food/bathroom breaks, and I think the longest haul on the bus was about 4 hours from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio...and honestly by then we enjoyed the nap time.
This trip is good value for money and it's certainly never boring. You see so much of this beautiful country in just 12 days, and you really get a sense of what Costa Rica is all about, how people live and the culture. Loved every moment! :)
Review written Mar 2014event 0.3