My family of five spent 10 days in Costa Rica at the end of August, 2023. Our trip was planned by Irene (and her team) who lives locally in the region. We were looking for engaging adventure while staying in higher-end hotels that could easily accommodate a setup for a family (villas or adjoining rooms). Our trip was an amazing, wonderful family event that we’ll remember for a lifetime. The overall experience with Irene, from the initial scoping of a potential trip, to the selection of regions and hotels, to the detailed planning of daily activities, and the real-time adjustments during the trip, was top-notch. Our family includes three teenage children, so we were looking for adventure. Irene delivered. My wife has several dietary restrictions, so we needed hotels and restaurants that would accommodate us. Irene delivered. We had heard from several friends that Costa Rica provided the best family vacation their family ever experienced. We now feel exactly the same way.
For those interested in more specifics, please continue to read. We spent 5 days in La Fortuna, residing at the Nayara Tented Camp, in a family tent that easily accommodated the five of us comfortably (no bed sharing for the kids!). The hotel was absolutely magical, and we want to go back. We did a chocolate workshop at Two Little Monkeys, which was a highlight for us, and well worth the drive out of town. Irene organized our excursions to the Hanging Bridges, the zip lines that rip down a mountain and a canyoning tour that had us rappelling down waterfalls. All were amazing, with the rappelling being the family’s collective favorite. We also had a dedicated driver and larger van that accompanied us for our entire chapter in Arenal (hola Jonathan!), which we highly recommend.
We hopped a short flight and spent the last 5 days in the Manuel Antonio region. The hotel, Arenas del Mar, had a fantastic beach and wonderful restaurant. The wildlife was very active, including the white-faced monkeys that were a permanent fixture on the hotel grounds. For adventure, we got to paddle class III and IV rapids and we had a epic day surfing.
Some final random thoughts: The flights in and out of San Jose were easy. The short-hop domestic flights were incredibly convenient and worth the small extra cost vs. driving for 4-5 hours between destinations. I can’t emphasize enough how much we appreciated the dedicated travel van and driver in La Fortuna.
We will partner with Wendy Perrin/Irene Edwards for any future trip to Costa Rica (we will be back). And given the strength of our experience with our Costa Rica adventure, we will certainly turn to Wendy Perrin to help us explore other parts of the world.
Irene did a fantastic job planning our family of 6’s trip to Costa Rica (kids ages 15, 14, 12, 8). Everything was seamless and she was extremely available during our trip, even for a very last-minute travel change on the day of our departure. We wanted adventure mixed with relaxation and that’s exactly what she gave us. We stayed at La Paloma in Drake Bay and I highly recommend (even though the a/c is not reliable). Even my picky-eater 8yo loved the food, and they were so accommodating to the kids. From there we stayed at Arenas Del Mar in Manual Antonio, and that was also amazing. You can’t find a nicer staff anywhere, especially the golf-cart drivers!
Highly recommend Irene and a Costa Rica vacation — I would do it again if there weren’t so many other places in the world to visit.
We had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. Arenas Del Mar had an amazing beach. The kids rode their boogie boards for hours each day. Zip lining was very fun! Our 4-year-old smiled down each line. It was very, very hot — over 100 degree heat index — so we swam a lot!! The guide through Manuel Antonio park was well worth it. He showed us bats and hummingbirds and so many things we wouldn’t have seen. We went to an eco-lodge in the Osa Peninsula after Arenas Del Mar, and it was stunning. The toucans and macaws would land on trees next to the pool. There is no air-conditioning there and the beach is not for swimming, unless you can take a 30-minute walk down the hot sand to the tide pools. Our 4-year-old struggled a bit with the hiking component because she would overheat. She still was able to do a bit and the food was amazing at El Remanso Lodge. The service was phenomenal, too. We had a wonderful vacation. I would say once our youngest is 8 we would be able to do everything on the property. 4 felt a little young for El Remanso.
Our first trip to Costa Rica was expertly planned by Irene Edwards. She asked questions about what we liked to do and personal preferences and turned it into a wonderful trip, staying at an eco-lodge in the rain forest on the Osa Peninsula, followed by a relaxing stay at a beautiful beach resort near Manuel Antonio National Park. It was a perfect blend of hiking, nature viewing, and lazy beach days. Our accommodations were exactly what we requested: beautiful views, comfortable beds, and excellent service. We appreciated Irene checking in on occasion to make sure everything was running smoothly. She is responsive, available, and also went above expectations by recovering a lost item from our first night and had it delivered to us at the airport upon departure. We look forward to working with Irene for our next trip to Costa Rica!
We spent a week in Costa Rica from Dec 31 to Jan 6, planned by Irene Edwards. Since this was our first time, we wanted to spend time both on the water and in the mountains. We started our trip with a charter flight to the Osa Peninsula and spent 4 amazing days in Copa de Arbol. The staff at the resort is top-notch and we really enjoyed getting to know several of them as they took great care of us. The food and drinks are incredible — we looked forward to every meal in the open-air restaurant. The accommodations were very comfortable. We went for a day trip to the Corcovado forest and saw many colorful birds and animals. The highlight was getting to see a tapir (a rare large animal). Our guide was very knowledgeable and very good at spotting birds and setting up the scope quickly. We also did a snorkeling tour to the Cano island in Drake bay. Would highly recommend Copa de Arbol — it is remote and quiet, which appealed to us. The boat rides to the forest (an hour) and Cano (45 min) were choppy because of the windy weather.
From Osa, we went to Monteverde to see the cloud forest. We were picked up at the San Jose airport by Jonathan, who was our guide and driver for the next 3 days. Jonathan took us for a walk through the cloud forest (primarily flora versus fauna) and on another day for a hike through several sky bridges in the trees. He had arranged a night hike, which ended up being one of our favorite things — we saw 2 green vipers, a tarantula, owls, monkeys, tucan. Jonathan had also arranged a special surprise for us, with a sunset on a hill with absolutely incredible 360 views for miles and no one around. It was very magical watching the sunset with wine and cheese, as the full moon rose behind us. A very memorable evening! Jonathan took excellent care of us during the entire time.
In Monteverde, we stayed at the Senda Hotel with beautiful grounds. We saw many beautiful birds and animals right on the property during our morning walks. The small town of Monteverde is a 15 min walk away and we enjoyed a couple of great meals and shopping for a couple of art pieces. All in all, we really enjoyed our trip and look forward to going back and exploring new areas of this immensely diverse country.
Irene helped our family plan a wonderful trip to Costa Rica over Thanksgiving week. After a long day of travel, Irene had a driver meet us at the airport & bring us to our historic hotel in San Jose. We had nice meal at the hotel restaurant and a good night’s sleep before taking a short flight the next morning to Quepos. Once again a kind driver picked us up and took us to our hotel—Arenas Del Mar in Manuel Antonio. We loved the resort! It was the only one on the beach & even had its own private beach. The monkeys and sloths were thrilling to watch. We saw them all the time! All of the staff was fabulous & so friendly! Our kids love activities, so Irene set us up with a zip line tour that was fun for the whole family. Some of us did a surf lesson too. The waves were pretty big because a storm had just come through, but it was fun. We also spent time with a guide in Manuel Antonio park. It was pretty busy, but our guide knew where to go for a quieter experience. The park is beautiful and there was so much to see!
Our other destination was the Osa Peninsula. A driver picked us up and drove us the 2 hours to the small town of Sierpe, where we took an exciting boat ride through the river & mangroves & into the ocean til we reached our hotel, La Paloma. It’s a lovely luxury eco-resort & we had a room with a spectacular view and plenty of space for our whole family. Once again the staff was wonderful, so thoughtful, kind and interesting to talk to. We enjoyed scuba diving (though visibility was not great after the storm), kayaking, exploring Corcovado National Park & we even did a guided night walk to see some of the evening creatures. Corcovado Park was amazing! We saw macaws, toucans, many types of monkeys, sloths, agouti, crocodiles and even a tapir! We did have some rain on our trip, we heard it had been a very rainy year, but we didn’t mind. Makes everything so lush & green! Irene was wonderful in seamlessly planning our trip and making sure everything went well. It was really helpful to have someone so familiar with the country & knowledgeable about all the hotels & activities. Thank you for making our trip great!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had the most AMAZING experience in Costa Rica! Irene helped us plan the perfect itinerary for our family! Her hotel suggestions were perfect and the guide she provided for us, Edgar, truly made it a trip we will remember forever!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Irene planned an itinerary for our family in Costa Rica that went above and beyond our expectations. It was our first time visiting this country, and Irene helped us narrow down our destinations to maximize our experience. We cannot wait to return because our experience was the best family vacation we have had! In general, all of our transfers, excursions, accommodations were top notch. I wouldn’t change a thing! Upon arrival, we stayed in San Jose at the Hotel Grano de Oro, which was very comfortable with a fabulous restaurant. The next day we took a flight to Quepos to stay at Arenas del Mar. Our accommodations were so beautiful, overlooking the ocean and beachfront with our own hot tub and spacious outdoor area and very well appointed. Upon her suggestion, we took surfing lessons with Dante’s Watersports, which we all agreed was a highlight of the trip. We never thought we could do it, but everyone was able to ride some waves and felt very accomplished. Over the course of the next few days, we enjoyed walks on the beach, the pools at the resort, and all of the games and activities on the beach of the resort. We didn’t even have to leave the resort to see 3 types of monkeys, sloths. The food and drinks were gourmet, and the staff was very attentive to our needs. By the time we left, we felt as if we were family. Our tour of the Los Campesinos area with Heaven Tours was fabulous. We learned so much about the flora and fauna, enjoyed swimming and playing in waterfalls, hiked and traversed hanging bridges with breathtaking views. It included a homemade lunch in the home of a local family, adding a very personal touch. My daughter requested a zipline experience, which was a great adventure. Our next stop was La Paloma Lodge on the Osa Peninsula. Our transfer included a boat ride that provided such a lush backdrop and spectacular arrival. Our accommodations at La Paloma Lodge had the most amazing view! The sunsets were bursting with color. Our scheduled tour of Corcovado National Park left us speechless. We saw 3 types of monkeys, 2 tapirs and hiked to waterfalls. Macaws and Toucans were able to be spied from the main lodge sitting in the trees. The pool is small but lovely. There are kayaks available for use, which is a must-do to explore the waters surrounding the resort. It is an easy walk into town which allows a little change of pace if looking for options other than eating and drinking at the resort. There was some confusion about our itineraries at the resort, and we had some trouble getting answers. There is some staff that are interns with little knowledge and experience. Eventually, we worked things out. We also went scuba diving, which was a family request. The conditions were not the greatest, so we would not include this in our itinerary next time. There are far too many other activities that we enjoyed and would repeat again. Prior to our departure, Irene arranged for someone to come to our hotel and perform our covid tests, which made it stress free. We did not have to worry about a thing. I am usually the one who plans all of our vacations, but I am so satisfied with Irene’s planning that I don’t think I will ever do it myself again! Thank you, Irene, for so many wonderful family memories!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We returned Saturday, July 9, from a week in Costa Rica. This was our annual family vacaction and there were eight of us ages ranging from 4 to 68. Normally, we rent a big house somewhere in the US or USVI, but we wanted to see more of Costa Rica than we thought possible by staying in one location. I explained to Irene Edwards that we wanted to move as little as possible because picking up and moving every day or two with small children is a lot of work. Irene listened to our input and tailored a week that was nothing short of perfect for our family. We stayed at two very family-friendly resorts, Arenas del Mar near the Manuel Antonio National Park and then at La Paloma on the Oso Peninsula.
When we arrived in San Jose, Irene had escorts waiting to shepherd us through the airport. We are not unseasoned travelers, but having kids in tow changes things when traveling and it was invaluable to have escorts waiting to get us to our private airplane to the Manuel Antonio area. Irene suggested going private because she knew that, after a four hour flight, the little guys would be too weary of travel to withstand a three hour van ride. Don’t know about the kids, but the adults were seriously ready to get to the resort and the flight was a lifesaver!
Arenas del Mar is situated directly on the beach and has two swimming pools, obviously major kid attractions. The children loved it there. The resort featured kids’ movies in the evening with big beanbags for lounging and a popcorn machine nearby, so the little boys were thrilled. Irene arranged surfing lessons for the seven year old and his parents and the rest of us hung out on the beach while they had their lessons. Miraculously, they all were able to get up on the boards, thanks to the excellent instructors. They had a blast! Irene thoughtfully set aside plenty of down time for relaxing, but also planned enough activities to keep everyone happy. We had a wonderful naturalist in the national park and he was very patient with the little ones. One day, we took a boat ride through the mangroves around Damas Island and our naturalist spotted all sorts of wildlife for us and explained the different types of mangrove trees surrounding the islands.
After four nights at Arenas del Mar, we hopped in a van and were taken to meet a boat for the ride to La Paloma for three nights. The resort on the Oso Peninsula was accessible by water only. Meals are included and we were given three choices at each meal. The food was good home cooking, not pretentious and fancy, just plain good. The boys had kid-friendly options at each meal, too. Irene arranged a variety of activities for us and balanced activities with down time so that no one was frazzled and too exhausted at the end of the day. Tico, our naturalist, was our guide every day. He accompanied us on a snorkling trip, a walk in Corcovado National Park, and a night hike around the La Paloma property. He was so wonderful with the little boys and they got along famously with him. He is passionate about his work and it shows. Plus, he’s just a super nice man!
When we left La Paloma, we had a short boat ride to meet a van ride to the airport at Sierpe. From there, we took a short Sansa flight back to San Jose. We have wondered how it would have been possible for us to figure out all the logistics needed to make the trip possible with the infrastructure as it is in rural Costa Rica. We all agreed it would not been anywhere as seamless, if at all possible, without Irene’s knowledge and resources.
The family cannot stop praising Irene Edwards for her intuitive planning. I am quite sure everyone will still be talking about this travel adventure for years to come. Our hope is that our children and their children will learn two concepts from our travels as a family. We want them to understand the importance of strong family bonds and, at the same time, learn about the world as the larger family that we are all a part of.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica that was planned by Irene Edwards. We wanted to minimize our contact with others and so chose the Osa Peinsula for both its beauty, diversity and isolation.
Irene worked closely with us to plan the trip based on our interests and within the budget I gave her.
I also did not want to do any of the logistical planning which I generally enjoy doing. But, because of covid I did not want a lot of contact with others.
Irene placed us in very small hotels and managed every detail from planning our whale watching tour to arranging all transportation. There was not one glitch in our travel. People were always waiting to transport us or remind us of our upcoming activities.
I more than highly recommend and encourage you to use her travel services if you are planning a trip to Costa Rica.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My Husband and I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica assisted by Irene Edwards and it was amazing! We visited several times and she gave me choices of places to pick from and recommendations that were spot on. We started out in San Jose with a beautiful hotel, I saw several chains when we were leaving the airport but the Grano de Oro was a beautiful old mansion with a wonderful restaurant. Thanks to Irene we enjoyed a fantastic meal in a stately courtyard. The next morning our ride was waiting for us, dropped us off at the airport, telling us exactly what to do. After a short flight we arrived at Copa De Arbol, and we felt we had the best room out of the ten. It was a wonderful resort, and the local staff that ran the place were amazing. The trip to the national park and snorkeling were beautiful. The biggest surprise was our transfer – I read the itinerary and knew it would be about a three hour trip, I assumed car but boy I was wrong. We traveled across the ocean and then went up a river for about an hour. We loved it! What a pleasant surprise. Our next stop was Arenas Del Mar, there was a little mix up on the room – NOT Irene’s problem, but she was quick to help. If you ever want to live in the middle of a monkey sanctuary – GO. We saw lots of nature and enjoyed it so much we actually extended our trip two more days. Irene graciously helped us rearrange our flight back to San Jose, changing it to a drive – again NOT her problem and we loved it. Our driver was amazing and so full of information. He loved his country and it showed. We connected with WhatsApp throughout the trip and Irene was quick to respond to our questions and needs. She treated us to our first night supper meal, again not expecting that, but a lovely surprise. We will be returning to Costa Rica and will use Irene again. The small country has so much to offer and I will use her expertise to guide me another time. Thank you Wendy for her recommendation!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My husband and I just returned from a 12 day trip to Costa Rica (January 2-14). This is the second trip to Costa Rica we have taken using Irene Edwards to plan our trip. It was every bit as perfect as our first trip. We stayed at three different places: one in the Arenal Volcano region, one further north overlooking Lake Nicaragua and one about an hour and a half from San Jose. One place was better than the last. Everywhere we stayed was intimate and personal. There wasn’t a detail that Irene didn’t pay attention to. Our guide, through the first part of the trip, was outstanding. We had a great experience with him–he was knowledgeable and fun to be with! We had the opportunity to engage with a member of an indigenous community and learn about that culture. We also had an opportunity to visit a private reserve and meet the people who started it and who are working with communities to assist them in having potable water. Part of sustainable travel is engaging in these types of activities. Our trip was perfect and we can’t recommend Irene highly enough!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Wendy, once again your WOW experts did not disappoint. My daughters (ages 15 and 16) and I went to Costa Rica at the end of May and the trip was perfect. Irene arranged a trip exactly to my specifications. We had adventure, culture, relaxation, and beautiful accommodations. We had a wonderful guide throughout our trip who was patient, knowledgeable, and entertaining. Irene and Edgar were there to solve the few catastrophes were had along the way, including forgetting our laundry bag when we left Arenal/La Fortuna heading to Nosara. They called the hotel picked the bag up and flew it to the local airport and delivered it to our hotel in two days. They didn’t even charge us for the effort. Edgar was very knowledgeable about the country, wildlife, and food. He was sooooo patient with my teenage daughters who could often be more interested in their phones than what he was showing us.
We enjoyed so many experiences from hiking, zip lining, ATV tour, a private cooking class, a chocolate farm tour and tasting…. we were busy from the start of our day until the end.
My daughter had her birthday while we were in Costa Rica and they were so great in helping us celebrate. The hotel had a cake at breakfast. Edgar had the van decorated with balloons and a gift basket, the chocolate tour gave her chocolate bars to take home and the cooking class had a cake for her as well. The entire day a celebration for her!
We also had our special WOW moment which was really something special. Edgar picked us up in the late afternoon and we drove to the lake where a boat was waiting. There was a three piece band and dance teacher aboard. We were serenaded and taught to dance salsa (or at least they tried to teach us the Salsa). As the sun went down we toasted our great stay in La Fortuna. After we arrived back on shore we were taken to the private home of a chef in town. He and his wife prepared a delicious 4 course dinner and we could see the prep as the kitchen was outside by the table. The food was fantastic. Little did we know our guide Edgar had been observing our food preferences throughout our trip and dinner was chosen from his recommendations. So much thought was put into the experience. My daughters and I will remember the night fondly.
We ended our trip in Nosara, a small beach town were we could unwind and relax before heading home. My only complaint was the hotel was not anything special. It was a very low key, beachy hotel with minimal bells and whistles. Once we got settled in it was fine and we could walk to the beach and surf as they provided surf boards and boogie boards. We definitely got to relax after or jam packed time in La Fortuna.
I would recommend Irene for planning a fun filled trip to Costa Rica. And Edgar was the bomb….patient, kind and knowledgeable
PANDEMIC TRAVEL I used Irene and her team to coordinate our first trip to Costa Rica. Irene provided us with an itinerary that focused on our interests. Her hotel recommendations were great but more importantly she took us to areas of Costa Rica that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own. Once in Costa Rica her team of drivers and activity guides were excellent. Overall it was a great trip and we would recommend Irene to others planning a trip to CR.
May 22-30, 2021
We just got back from our 9 day vacation in Costa Rica which was organized by Irene and of course, my husband. Thank you,thank you, thank you! Irene’s people were ALL amazing. Very knowledgeable, courteous, attentive to all details, prompt, pleasant, and everyone made it clear that we were their priority. Transportation went smoothly; guides were excellent (in particular-huge shout out for Gerardo Gutierrez)! He drove carefully and was still able to point out and scope amazing wildlife out of the van and while we were driving. He never compromised safety, but his outstanding understanding and knowledge of the flora and fauna was so impressive! He was able to perfectly explain everything in perfect English. He always made us feel like we were his priority). Irene’s team picked fabulous hotels, restaurants, and arranged amazing excursions. I cannot adequately express how very pleased and satisfied we were with them!
Thoroughly appreciated their planning and attention to detail.
Total positive recommendations and praise for Irene and Selena!
Thanks once again for an outstanding vacation.
Meticulous and well-organized describe how well Irene and her staff put together this vacation. I gave her a lot of flexibility to design an itinerary for two adults (mother/daughter) with only an outline of our preferences. Everything was seamless.
Each driver from airport pick-up to excursion pick-up was punctual and friendly, offering advice about local activities, foods, etc. They could not have been kinder.
The locations were amazing. The Parador in Manuel Antonia was beautiful. Our room had a beautiful view and was spacious. The activities that Irene arranged were great: white water rafting and a local hike with guide. Having a guide really makes all the difference when traveling and Raul was amazing.
Osa Peninsula was another beautiful location. Danta Corcovado Lodge was unique and the service exceptional. I’m sure I never would have discovered this location myself. The staff are attentive and very accommodating. For future travelers: as this is a rain forest, bring light, quick-dry clothes/shoes. There is no air conditioning, only portable fans in the rooms. The meals were plentiful and delicious. The excursions were also amazing: dolphin and whale watching, night hikes, and a visit with an indigenous community. We used a WOW moment on this trip to learn about LAST: Latin America Sea Turtles. Wendy and Irene did an amazing job planning this day for us and allowing us to learn about local conservation efforts…thank you!!
I cannot recommend Irene’s staff enough in arranging this trip. I am not an experienced traveler. Having a planned itinerary was super-helpful and allowed us to get more from our vacation. Lastly, we loved meeting and talking with the locals. Flor was great, taking us into her home, meeting her family and sharing her food :)
Bring colones for tipping; although, US dollars are widely accepted
Pack light; quick-dry clothing is helpful
A small pair of binoculars would have been amazing to have
Sun-protective clothing for boat rides…invaluable!!
Our family of 5 just returned from a fantastic trip to Costa Rica, which was expertly planned, curated and executed by Irene and her team. Irene was very knowledgeable and helped guide us to the perfect itinerary, allowing us to enjoy a mix of nature, relaxation and adventure. From the warm reception at the airport to an all hands on deck effort to track down and personally return a stuffed animal one of our children left at one of our destinations, Irene’s team took great care and effort to make sure we had a memorable and stress free trip. Gracias por todo Irene, Selena & Eduardo,
The McCulloch Family
Irene Edwards and her team were fantastic. First of all, the itinerary was perfect. We loved all three places we stayed and we had the right amount of time in each. I am certain that we would never have found the Kura Villas on our own. This might be the most beautiful place I have ever been, rivaling the Il San Pietro in Positano. Just gorgeous. In terms of during the trip, the people on the ground were wonderful. All of the guides and drivers were friendly, really nice and very knowledgeable. Everybody was perfectly on time and extremely accommodating. Most important, we realized that we had left our camera battery charger and spare batteries at home and the battery in the camera was dead. Before we realized that we could charge it on a mini SB port, we contacted Selena Solis and she was incredible about contacting camera shops to find a replacement charger and battery and was going to deliver it to us at the airport and, if we didn’t connect there, to send it on the next flight to Osa. We were very relieved to realize that we didn’t have to put her to all of that trouble but she was completely on top of it and was going to make it happen. We were very impressed. I would definitely use Irene and her team for our next trip to Costa Rica.
The drivers for the ground transportation were exceptional. I appreciated the Mercedes van and the extra effort taken to remove a row of seats on our first couple shorter trips with the Toyota van. I ended up riding in the front seat on the return to San Jose which also improved the ride.
All the accommodations selected were also on the very good to exceptional range. The meals at Finca Rosa Blanca and the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel were also very good to exceptional. We did not stay long enough at Finca Rosa Blanca to get a better feel for the accommodations but it seemed a good choice for the first overnight near the airport and certainly much better than a more conventional chain hotel.
The Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel casita was cozy and a good way to decompress from our travel and busy preparation phase.
Perhaps one of the most memorable parts of our trip was hike in the Nectandra Cloud Forest and Private Reserve. We were absolutely impressed with the personal tour by the delightful owners. This fit in the “wow” category and we felt privileged to have met these ecological heroes. The cloud forest night hike was fun and interesting and we managed the trail with the other guest and a couple kids. I am glad we did not run into a puma but was hoping for a few more frog and other night creature sightings. The guide was a gentle, friendly local man who kept us informed of our surroundings. We worked up an appetite and enjoyed a fine dinner later at the lodge.
Arenas Del Mar was a perfect choice for the rest of our trip. We were very impressed by your ability to book our particularly spectacular private suite overlooking the small semi private beach. We spent most of our time at this beach or exploring the other parts of the hotel and surrounding area.
The Sansa air travel cancelation issue on our last day was handled expertly by Selena and the van service. We were also pleasantly surprised by our first friendly driver when he greeted us at the airport to make sure we arrived in time to make our flight back to LA.
Irene & Selena were outstanding to work with. From the outset, Irene was both timely and thoughtful with her advice, insights, ideas and recommendations. We got started a little late from a timing standpoint, yet Irene was able to identify 3 outstanding lodges for us to stay at. She orchestrated a diverse set of experiences and locales, and clearly had strong relationships with each of them based on how warmly and personally we were welcomed and supported throughout our trip. In addition, Irene was able to orchestrate a number of personal touches which made our trip that much more special and enjoyable. When we ran into an unforeseen problem due to the diversion of our day 1 flight, Selena could not have been more responsive or helpful in organizing a stop-gap hotel reservation to tide us over for one night, so we could continue the rest of the trip as planned with as little difficulty as possible despite the unfortunate circumstances. Overall, I cannot recommend Irene more highly. I will most certainly seek out Irene and her team again when we make our next visit to Costa Rica.
Absolutely loved our trip! Our family of 5 just returned from 9 nights, planned by Irene. She and her team managed to plan a trip that delighted our 5 year old as well as the college age kiddos and my husband and I – never an easy feat. Not only was every destination fantastic, but the attention to detail was superb (a booster seat for the 5 year old without us asking!). Our favorite was the remarkable Copa de Arbol on the Osa Peninsula. Breathtaking. We can’t wait to go back, and we’ll definitely use Irene again!
Irene booked us several resorts in Costa Rica that were fantastic and that we never would have found on our own. She cut through the magnitude of the choices to shape an experience my family will never forget. In addition to booking three fantastic resorts (two on the water and one in the mountains), she arranged all the travel for our group of 11 between the resorts, mostly via charter and small commercial planes. This saved time getting to each destination and was an adventure in itself. We were guided at each step of the way by wonderful guides and drivers who made sure we were taken care of. We especially liked our guide Priscilla in and around San Jose – she was incredibly smart, knowledgeable, and personable. In addition, the staff at Isla Chiquita, a new glamping eco-resort on the Gulf of Nicoya stood out — they were absolutely phenomenal. The manager Jason arranged a birthday party for one of our group during a snorkeling tour – complete with champagne, cake, and balloons on the beach. Our guide Erick was passionate about nature and it shone through as he taught us more about the eco-system we could have ever expected. Our hard-working young waiter Andy took care of our meals every day with a friendly smile and charm. At our second resort at Punta Islita, we had a beautiful 3-bedroom villa with its own infinity plunge pool and a fantastic view of the Pacific ocean. A wide variety of activities (e.g., zip lining, horseback riding) were included in the price, Extra activities, such as a visit to the Macaw Rehabilitation Center, were reasonable ($20 per adult) and fascinating. Two of us went to the last resort in the mountains – Hacienda Alta Gracia. This resort was beautiful – perfect for those who want to enjoy a quiet vacation enjoying the spa, excellent food and wine, and local excursions. I definitely recommend Irene to anyone wanting a customized itinerary that makes the most of their experience in Costa Rica!
Irene Edwards planned a spectacular, unforgettable travel experience for my wife and I. Starting with a telephone interview, Irene listened to our expectations and then came back to us with a written agenda full of information. We changed very little of what Irene suggested. She knows what she is doing. Absolutely everything worked: All transfers were on time in clean, modern tourist vans. The drivers were friendly and helpful. Irene’s knowledge of the accommodations and activities added tremendous value. We simply would not have found these places on our own.
When an airport closed for maintenance prior to departure, she was on it and rearranged the Sansa flight to another strip (and all logistics related to that change). We flew LAX to SJO (1st Class) and upon arrival, we immediately saw the sign with our name. The private transfer was flawless, thanks to a friendly, skilled driver (and Waze!). We spent the first night at the beautiful Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation, arriving around 4 PM. Our suite was fantastic, the service excellent, and we enjoyed a nice dinner in the open dining area with a fantastic view of city lights and mountains. Breakfast was ready early and we enjoyed it.
Our same transfer driver was there exactly when he said he would be, and we were off to the airport to catch a Sansa flight to Palmar Sur, a fun hop to the Osa Peninsula. We were met at the PMZ airport by Cynthia from Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge. Cynthia was truly one of the highlights of the trip… so smart, friendly and in tune with Costa Rica. Here we began our journey to Casa Corcovado, the ultimate combination of luxurious comfort and jungle adventure. Check out their website. We got on a boat at the C.C.J.L. Hacienda and headed down the Sierpe River, out the mouth into the Pacific and down the coast to the Jungle Lodge where we made a wet beach landing! So exciting! Everyone at the lodge was friendly, hardworking and accommodating. They had all of the gear… rubber boots, ponchos, snorkeling gear, wet bags, flashlights, spotting scopes. We stayed three nights in Unit 3… absolutely beautiful! Cynthia, Steven, and Manfred took us on great hikes and snorkeling at Cano Island. We had a blast! What a country!
Before we knew it, it was time to head north to Manuel Antonio and the beautiful Arenas Del Mar Resort for three nights. We had a fantastic ocean view room in a resort with unparalleled beauty. Fantastic hikes with Estoban, our guide, in Manuel Antonio National Park and the Los Campesinos bridge and waterfall. Terrific food in the world-class dining room with top-notch service. A++ service from the welcome area arrival to the checkout experience. Our final private driver transfer back to the airport included a stop for the jungle river crocodile boat cruise at Tarcoles. It was fun and we saw a bunch of crocks and Macaws! This trip could not have been any better. Eight days, seven nights of WOW!
Thanks for recommending Irene. Everything was perfect; everyone was wonderful! We can’t wait to plan the next one!
Our family traveled to Costa Rica in December 2017 on a trip that Irene Edwards planned for us. It was my third trip to Costa Rica, my husband’s second trip, and our children’s first. Irene put together a perfect itinerary that allowed us to explore destinations that none of us had been to before, and that was not overrun with holiday travelers. On Irene’s recommendation, we traveled to the Osa Peninsula and to Nosara. The trip was the perfect mix for us of jungle and beach time. The wildlife viewing in Osa was amazing, and we all had a blast learning to surf in Nosara. Irene arranged for stays in great eco-lodges, advised us on tours, checked in with us during our trip, and was very responsive to our questions prior to and during our travels. All of our air and land transfers went very smoothly. We would gladly work with her to plan another trip.
Irene Edwards did a wonderful job putting together our trip with another couple to Costa Rica for Feb 2018. None of us had been there and wanted to get a taste of the country.
One of the hurdles for Irene was to find a resort with a great Golf Course for the men, which she did! We were worried about splitting our time up among three hotels, but honestly, that was the only way to see Costa Rica. In fact, we would have added another hotel in the Arenal Hot Springs area. We stayed in Casa Rosa Blanca Finca outside of San Jose on our first night We enjoyed the outdoor restaurant, unique rooms, and coffee plantation tour. Our second stop was at El Silence Lodge, it was a wonderful and different experience, we had our own cabin with hot water bottles tucked in our beds while we were at dinner. Also had wonderful hikes to the waterfalls. We then went Ziplining which was thrilling and visited a hot spring in the Arenal area. Our last stop was in Guanacaste and we stayed at the Andaz hotel. It too was a great resort, with the best housekeeping staff!! Our driver, guide, and naturalist, Jonathan was very nice, courteous and knowledgeable. Jonathan was like a friend and we have recommended him to all of our friends. He took us to some of his favorite restaurants and they were amazing.
If you haven’t been to Costa Rica I recommend that you not delay.
My name is Fay Wang and we had our trip to Nicaragua (Pacific side) on Jan 31- Feb 102018. Our trip to Nicaragua was wonderful. We were picked up and welcomed at the airport as soon as we landed in Managua. All the drivers and guides were great, on time and very knowledgeable about the cities and places visited. We especially enjoyed the history walk in Managua and Leon. We loved the charm and the horse carriage ride while visiting places in Granada (including the cemetery).
We wish we had a chance to visit the Volcano Masaya at night instead of daytime to see the live volcano better but no regret visiting at daytime either. We wish we had more time in Ometepe to enjoy the island. We loved our stay at Morgan’s Rock! Very relax and very nice amenities. I wish we had a chance to visit San Juan Del Sur before going to Morgan’s Rock for a total relaxation.
Driving cross country sites allowing us to get a feel for what life is like in Nicaragua and we truly appreciated it.
Irene Edwards was our travel specialist. She was professional, attentive, kind, flexible, patient. She listened to my suggestions and wishes and made suggestions in accordance with our travel desires. Irene was quick to respond to questions or concerns. She arranged our guide, also our driver, who was outstanding. Mauricio Quiros was the best. He was concerned for our safety and comfort at all times and was excellent in helping us find the birds we were looking for, as well as very knowledgeable in identifying local flora. His connections with other guides were very helpful, as well. Irene did a superb job in selecting Mauricio for our guide. We highly recommend Irene and commend her for her remarkable efforts in arranging a memorable trip to a beautiful country. This was my third trip to Costa Rica and my husbands second. We knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. Irene made it happen for us!
Irene arranged a terrific trip for us on such short notice. My wife and I both found visiting Costa Rica completely engrossing and meaningful. Our encounters with nature were especially memorable, but they were especially enriched by the people who guided us. It was remarkable to meet so many people with a knowledge of animals and plants, who had developed the ability to see so much. We felt excited to be in a country that has found a way to turn the preservation of nature into a sustainable and economically positive force. I’m sure it’s not perfect or easy, but it’s a real accomplishment.
High points. Lapa Rios is an extraordinary place, and the guides and staff are superb. Beyond the remarkably fresh air and beautiful site, we enjoyed the bird walks and hikes. By the third day there, we could spot birds and monkeys that were invisible to us when we arrived. And we were awed by the trees in the primary forest. Arenas del Mar is a bit more of a traditional resort, but the Pacific beach was restorative, and we loved the mangrove tour—we learned a lot from the guides—that Irene arranged for us (we didn’t go to Manuel Antonio National Park, as it seemed like it would be redundant after Lapa Rios). We had told Irene that we were especially interested in plants and gardens, so she arranged a visit to Nectandra Garden in the cloud forest on the way to El Silencio. Evelyne Lennette, who established the garden with her husband, gave us a good introduction to the cloud forest, and her garden is haunting. At El Silencio, we borrowed rubber boots from the staff and we immersed ourselves in the forest for many happy hours. And while there, we visited a small orchid garden nearby in Bajos del Toro that belongs to a man named Don Martin that was completely delightful (again, the young man who took us was remarkably knowledgeable about the orchids and generous with his knowledge).
So, all in all, a memorable experience, flawlessly planned in less than two weeks. Irene’s staff even figured out a transportation workaround that saved us several hours when an internal flight was delayed.
Irene and her team did a really good job putting this trip together for our family within a few months of the journey. We took our twin daughters for their 30th birthday during the Winter Holiday, Dec 17. They were able to arrange some great locations and properties. The highlight included our stay at the LaPoloma Lodge in Drakes Bay on the Osa Peninsula. I think if we did the trip over we would reduce the number of locations traveled in the 9-day trip to provide more downtime. Whenever we had an issue, Irene and her team addressed them immediately.
Irene Edwards and her staff worked closely with us to put together a last minute 6 day trip to Costa Rica. In early December 17, we visited the Cloud Forest northeast of San Jose and the Osa Peninsula to the south. Every aspect of our journey was smoothly coordinated with just the right amount of adventure and relaxation. Staff and guides at the eco-lodges were welcoming and knowledgeable.
When we approached Irene in order to plan our trip to Costa Rica, we had no idea what we were looking for, where to go, or what to do. Irene was quick to lift that burden by discussing with us in great detail about our lives, hobbies, and passions. When her proposal came in, it was above and beyond anything we could have ever imagined planning. (and somehow still in our budget!) We wanted an authentic and adventurous trip, where we could immerse ourselves in the local culture and experience the stunning nature and wildlife of Costa Rica. She did not disappoint. We began our trip by flying into San Jose, where we were met by Mauricio. Let me stop here to discuss Mauricio.
He was by far one of the most knowledgeable, caring, funny, and genuine persons that I have ever met. He would point out historical landmarks, native plants, animals, mountains, lakes, etc. and tell you the history and everything there was to know about them. My wife gets car sick easily and he was very accommodating, making frequent rest stops to catch some fresh air and explore local markets in between the winding roads. He never allowed her to feel sick, and consistently checked to make sure she was having a pleasurable car ride! At one point on the trip, I needed to withdraw cash due do card difficulties, and so we stopped in a local town. I attempted to go into a bank to make a withdraw, and after waiting for a while was unable to do so. At this point Mauricio walked me in the rain from bank to bank, negotiating and translating for me, until we finally were able to complete the transaction (about 2 hours later). He was so patient and positive the entire time, and I would not have been able to do it without him. I could keep going on and on, but long story short, he was one of the best parts of the trip, and someone I hope to visit many more times!
We began by going to Dona Mara’s Home (Irene’s Mother) on the way to the Arenal volcano region after San Jose. She taught us how to prepare homemade tortillas, and prepared an amazing Costa Rican lunch filled with Gallo pintos, chicken, yucca, etc. (and made Mauricio, and I wear “cute” aprons and hats that my wife got a kick out of). She was so welcoming, and invited us back anytime! Next, we continued on to the Arenal Region of La Fortuna with Mauricio. Here Irene arranged a beautiful hotel for us at the base of the volcano amongst the natural hot springs. The hotel was Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa. The staff was professional yet very friendly. It was not your average tourist all inclusive ( which I consider basically America but in another country and a waste of a trip) but a rather authentic Tico experience. Pura Vida all the way. In the Arenal area, Irene arranged for us to go Ziplining, white water rafting, rappelling, and on a hanging bridge and wildlife tour. All in three days. It was amazing!!! We then got back in the van with Mauricio and headed to Nosara Beach on the Pacific side. This was the relaxation portion of our trip, where we were able to arrange our own activities, and surf as we pleased. The area was everything that we could have wanted. It was a vibrant local beach area without major resorts or attractions. Most everyone traveled by ATVs, which we rented from a local surf shop along with boards. We also got to see thousands of sea turtles arriving to lay their eggs, which only happens once or twice a year, for a few days! We surfed every day and ate at local restaurants and bars with some other tourists from our hotel. The Hotel was Olas Verdes and was right on the beach. It was all open air, with a different menu each day, and amazing staff. They stored our surfboards for us so that we could go whenever we pleased! This was the best trip we have ever had and was entirely hassle free ( minus my own banking issue) thanks to Irene and her staff. All of the transportation was safe, comfortable, and private!
Irene truly cares about the experience of her clients and personally takes the time to get to know you. She sat through hours of calls with us in order to ensure we got the perfect honeymoon. We now are hoping to make this trip at least every 2 years, and would not dream of doing so without Irene and Mauricio. We promise you will not be let down!!!
Costa Rica: Coffee Plantation, Osa Peninsula, Nicoya Peninsula
The trip was fantastic and what we had hoped. We traveled with our 2 boys (6 + 9) as well as my mother whos in her 60s and Irene was able to plan and accommodate everyone’s interests. Given the remoteness of Casa Corcovado, we would never have been able to set up the trip so well like Irene did (chartered flights, drivers, etc.). On my birthday, Irene had a wonderful surprise dinner set up for me at our hotel. The accommodations were great – especially given the number of people we were traveling with etc. The one snafu we hit was the hotel in the Nicoya Peninsula. We planned on going out on excursions (to be planned once we got there) and the hotel said it was policy to pay for excursions with cash – we had planned on using a credit card. After wasting 1/2 a day trying to sort this out (we didn’t have $800 in cash) our travel agent worked it out that we could use a credit card.
I worked with Irene to plan a family trip to Costa Rica for June/July 2017. We just returned home and we couldn’t be more pleased with the experience. It was seamless from start to finish. Irene and her team picked wonderful properties and activities, and all the logistics went smoothly. Mauricio, her in-country guide, was kind, professional, and very knowledgeable about Costa Rica. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we got to spend with him. I would recommend GreenSpot to anyone headed to Costa Rica. Pura vida!
Irene and her team at Green Spot did an absolutely amazing job at all stages. We had flight delays, and they handled re-bookings completely gracefully. Our trip was wonderful, and our guides were top-notch. Perfect on all fronts!
Irene Edwards made our trip to Costa Rica happen! We were late in planning and as such Irene had to scramble to arrange not only hotels but also the various activities. Not only was she able to source great hotels, she also managed to arrange several fantastic guides for our excursions. This included some backcountry hiking and an amazing open-water snorkeling trip. Access to local guides and off-the-beaten-path boutique hotels turned the trip from simply good into something great. P. S. Trust Irene when she recommends something off the beaten path, our hotel in Drake Bay was quirky, but absolutely top notch.
Irene Edwards and Selena Solis planned one of the nicest if not the nicest trip I and my family have ever taken. They worked hard ahead of our trip to plan it and quickly answered any questions we had during our time in Costa Rica. Hotels and excursion were terrific. Our trip to Costa Rica was simply amazing because of them.
Irene Edwards and her team prepared a varied itinerary and delivered without a hiccup. We felt very well taken care of and presented with a very rich and delightful experience. We loved the country and would recommend a trip to Costa Rica with Irene to those looking for adventure and nature.
Irene Edwards planned a wonderful trip to Costa Rica for me and my wife. She was very good at listening to our travel needs and meeting our expectations. The primary focus of our trip was to see wildlife, spend some time at the beach, and enjoy nice food and accommodations. We were very pleased that each of these needs were met.
All of the lodging recommendations made by Irene were excellent; food, service, staff, and cleanliness were the best in the area. Transportation was always on time and the guides provided much information about the area. When he discovered I became easily motion-sick, our guide even brought me homemade ginger tea from his garden. When Irene was verifying our itinerary, she went above and beyond by verifying our reservation with a hotel I had booked directly. Thank goodness she did as they had no record of my reservation! Irene already had a solution in place before bringing this concern to my attention. Without hesitation I would recommend Irene and Greenspot.
We traveled to Costa Rica using Irene Edward’s services before (in March 2012), and had such a good experience that we did not hesitate to book a trip with her again. This time, my husband and I were traveling in November 2015 with our two adult children and one of their friends, so the logistics were a bit more challenging. We asked for a mix of relaxation and activities that would work for all of us, and Irene perfectly guided our resort selections. Our trip started at The Springs Resort and Spa in a great suite of connecting rooms with awesome views of Arenal Volcano. The float trip she booked for us was wonderful, as was the guided tour on the hanging bridges at Mistico Arenal Park.
Next, it was off to the cloud forest and our stay at El Silencio Lodge. The lodgings, food and service were all world class. We went on an unforgettable horseback ride through the cloud forest with views of Poas Volcano and the surrounding countryside, then were able to split up during the next day and go on easy and more ambitious hikes as desired.
Finally, it was off to the beach. We had opted to be driven from El Silencio to the beach and asked Irene to schedule a lunch stop to break up the 5 hour drive. Irene booked a lunch at Villa Caletas, and it was a truly memorable experience. We had a leisurely lunch from a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the view, food and service were excellent.
Our final stop was at Arenas del Mar Resort, where our connecting rooms were again extremely comfortable with great views. We went on a guided trip through Manuel Antonio National Park and saw an outstanding array of wildlife with an expert guide. In addition, one member of our party went on some amazing surfing trips that Irene set up for him.
This review would not be complete without acknowledging our wonderful driver/guides. Mauricio was our guide for the trip from the initial airport pickup until we reached El Silencio, and Sterling was our guide from El Silencio until our drop off at the airport. In addition to being expert and safe drivers on Costa Rica’s sometimes-challenging roads, they were extremely nice people who were knowledgeable about the culture and natural wonders of Costa Rica. They were skilled at spotting birds and pulling over safely to point them out to us, and also took very good care of us in other ways. For example, we were delayed leaving the airport because of a nearly 4 hour wait in immigration, but Mauricio called ahead at The Springs Resort and made sure we would be able to eat dinner after our late arrival. On another day, when dropping off my daughter’s friend at Jaco for surfing, Sterling made sure there was a safe place to stow his gear and that he knew how to safely get back to our hotel. We were fortunate to have almost everything go smoothly, but we always knew that Irene and her staff had everything under control if there was the slightest question or concern.
My advice to anyone booking a trip to Costa Rica would be to work with Irene. She listened carefully to our wishes and expertly guided us to make the right choices of resorts and activities. Once we were in Costa Rica, her staff made sure that we had no worries from the moment we were picked up at the airport until we checked back in for departure. This was the second time we used Irene Edward’s services and would not hesitate to work with her again. I rarely submit such glowing reviews, but Irene and her staff have truly earned this one.
This was our first trip to Costa Rica and we were looking for a luxurious eco experience focused on wildlife and culture. From our first contact with Irene, we knew that we were in extremely capable hands. After only a few brief conversations, she created an itinerary that was perfect for us, with every detail carefully selected to provide the range of destinations and experiences we were hoping for.
Our time in Costa Rica was extraordinary. From the moment we arrived in San Jose every aspect of the trip was amazing, from the transfers and internal flights to the hotels and guides. The three premium hotels we stayed at were outstanding and the guides were superb – we could not have asked for a better introduction to this beautiful and happy country. When we did encounter a problem (which happened only once), Irene dealt with it promptly and decisively.
Irene’s vast experience of Costa Rica, along with her excellent contacts, made our trip very special indeed. We are delighted to have found Greenspot – their commitment to customer service and satisfaction is truly exceptional and we can recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone planning to travel to Costa Rica.
Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for everything you’ve done to make our trip so amazing.
I feel so lucky that we found Irene to plan our trip. Not knowing much about Costa Rica (except that everyone I know who had traveled there raved about the experience), I needed a lot of guidance. Once Irene submitted an itinerary, I was then able to “fine-tune” it with her to best meet our interests. I wanted a combination of luxury accommodations and exhilarating activities.
All the hotels were just incredible. The food was amazing. The activities were astounding. But I think if I had to name the best thing GreenSpot offered it would be our guides. Not only were they wonderful people, but their knowledge, personalities and obvious love of their country were inspiring. Our guide the day we went from Arenal to El Silencio even made a detour so we could stop at a hot spring he knew. Not to mention our tireless guide at Copa De Arbol who would not rest until he found tapirs for us to see. A perfect trip and an amazing travel expert.
As seasoned travelers, having been to all 7 continents, we’ve learned when choosing a travel consultant it is best to find someone who specializes in a country or region. When planning our 45th anniversary trip to Costa Rica we selected GreenSpot over several other agencies. Irene Edwards was easy to work with, understanding of our desires, extremely knowledgeable, and responsive to our email and phone requests. We wanted a private, upscale and luxurious vacation, and Irene obliged with great destinations, magnificent hotels, friendly and knowledgeable guides, and an adventurous itinerary well suited to our desires. To allot maximum time at each destination and minimize travel time from place to place, Irene arranged private charter flights. We wouldn’t think of planning another adventure to Central America with anyone but Irene and GreenSpot.
We had Irene and Richard plan our trip to Costa Rica and it was amazing. Every detail was handled, and all we had to do was go and enjoy. One of the most beautiful places we stayed was El Silencio Lodge and Spa. The food was out of this world and the grounds were breathtaking. Irene even arranged it so I could catch the fish I would eat for lunch, and the chef gave me a lesson in how to clean a trout. The room we had was stunning and so quiet and peaceful. We couldn’t have been happier with their travel arrangements.