If you're thinking about going on this trip, just do it. What an amazing experience. We were a group of 21- not too big, not too small, all on the trip for pretty well the same reasons- a mix of adventure, relaxation, and to make new friends.
Me-time optionals: Our group pretty much all opted in for the exact same Me-time-optionals, and I think most of us were pretty happy with everything. No one did the ATVing or horseback riding though, because of past reviews or because it was too much activity for the end of the trip, but ziplining and canyoneering were amazing, the optional dinners were fantastic, and the kayaking, snorkeling, and kayaking was good too.
The nature walks/tours were great- we saw a ton of wildlife and the weather was great for them. If you like nature, wilderness, and wildlife, you'll be pretty happy. We didn't have crazy luck with our wildlife tours, but that's the luck of the draw so I can't be angry. It was still great to be out there enoying the beautiful scenery.
Weather: The weather varies tremendously depending on where you are in the country- from hot and dry, to warm and humid, to cool/windy/dry, to crazy hot and humid lol... We had pretty well perfect weather, so I can't complain. Just bring a variety of clothes. I brought a lot of quick dry active shorts/shirts to keep myself as dry and cool as possible.
Food: If you're worried about culture shock regarding food, don't be... the food is amazing throughout the country- no complaints from me. Try food you've never had before because you won't likely be disappointed.
Budget: I brought $1000 USD with me and that just about covered me for everything including tips and the optional activities. I paid for a few things by VISA, but the 1000 seemed to pretty much cover it. There were lots of ATMs around, but they seemed to be finnicky for almost everyone at some point (particularly the Canadians due to our chip cards). Almost everything can be paid for by credit card though.
Safety: I felt safe at all times. The bus driver Felix was amazing, tolerant, and friendly. Some of the terrain is poor or very scary looking and challenging, but we got to each place safely and in good time. Our Tour Manager, Gio, was unreal- what a great guy. He had only our best interest in mind at all times, making sure we were safe, relaxed, comfortable, and having a good time. Both of them took the planning and worrying out of the equation and allowed us all to just have a good time.
Accommodations: I had no problem at all with any of the places we stayed. Clean, comfortable, safe, beautiful. They were all excellent, and while some of them had spotty WiFi, that is not a reason to complain- we shouldn't have been on our phones anyway haha.
Best moments: Hard to say, I loved everything- the scenery, the culture, the wildlife, and the activities. I had to write out what we did each day on my phone because there was so many great moments and I didn't want to forget them. The beautiful beach days at Manuel Antonio were a great way to end off a busy holiday though, so maybe that would be near the top of the list.
Would I change anything? Nah. It was an amazing trip.
-Nick Buchok, Kincardine, ON, Canada