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Costa Rica Gateway (1 Viewer)

Audubon

Well-known member
My wife and I are planning to go to Costa Rica for a birding trip. We found this company called Costa Rica Gateway that would put together a bespoke package for us. We can't speak Spanish and are a bit uncomfortable going alone with a strange driver all over the country. Anyone used this company or private van/driver before in CR? Thanks for your advice in advance.
 

birdboybowley

Well-known member.....apparently so ;)
Supporter
England
No, not used them. But I did CR with my girlf (neither of us speak Spanish either) and it's so very easy to do! Roads are good so driving's a doddle, national parks are all easy to find, no sfatey issues (that we encountered), plenty of accom so no need to book ahead (although we did for La Selva station). Why fork out a fortune for a middle-man.....do it yourselves, save a heap of dollars and have a great adventure whilst doing it!
 

Birdingcraft

Well-known member
As BirdBoyBowley indicates, if you feel comfortable with driving in another country, you can easily do Costa Rica on your own. As with any unfamiliar birding site, and especially so in tropical regions lile Costa Rica, you will see more with a local guide but you will still see a lot on your own.

As for Gateway Costa Rica, they routinely provide excellent service and many birders have done trips like the one you mentioned sans problems (I dont gain anything by stating this).
 

ovenbird43

Well-known member
I booked a stay at Rancho Naturalista through Costa Rica gateway, although I chose to get there and back using the buses. In my limited experience they are a good company, I ended up hiring a guide for 1/2 day to get to Cerro Silencio, he was very knowledgeable and spoke good English.

As others have said, Costa Rica is very easy to travel around even without the help of guides or private drivers. I know some Spanish now, but have traveled around via public transport in the past knowing only a few key phrases.

That said, if you do hire a guide and/or driver, chances are they will be able to speak a decent amount of English.
 

megan perkins

Well-known member
My wife and I are planning to go to Costa Rica for a birding trip. We found this company called Costa Rica Gateway that would put together a bespoke package for us. We can't speak Spanish and are a bit uncomfortable going alone with a strange driver all over the country. Anyone used this company or private van/driver before in CR? Thanks for your advice in advance.

Cannot recommend Costa Rica Gateway highly enough. They arranged accommodation and transfers for our 3 week trip and everything was very efficient. Also provided occasional local guides that helped us on some of the trickier species. Most drivers spoke some English, and all were eager to please. If time lost trying to find your way around doesn't appeal then they are a very good option!
 

jounderw

Member
I have not used this service before but I have been to Costa Rica before. As a non-Spanish speaking person, I had similar concerns. It ended up being perfectly fine and we had a great experience! Stay there for about 3 weeks building homes and never had any issues with the language barrier.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
The quotes I was given for a days guiding were pretty expensive and it was far, far cheaper to hire a car and go alone. Not as good maybe but a real cash saver.
Make sure you hire a 4x4 though as some of the roads are very, very rough. Driving was a piece of cake though ( despite what it might say in the Lonely Planet guide.)
PS I would imagine most guides have a good understanding of English too.
 
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Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
I've not used CR Gateway, but know someone who has repeatedly used them for group trips on an annual basis, apparently no one has had any issues and the species list seems to be long... HOWEVER, there is one thing that irritates me to no end...

the trip itineraries are inevitably full of this statement..."breakfast at 7:00 a.m. After breakfast you will depart from the hotel and head for..."

Grrrrrr...they usually do most of their travel in the morning, spending prime birding time on the road instead of traveling later in the day and being ready to bird the new location first thing in the morning.

I'm not sure CR Gateway is responsible for this timing, but its something to be aware of and to check on if it matters to you.
 
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Black Wheatear

Bowed but not broken, yet!
Really recommend these people, very reliable, excellent service and extremely knowledgable. Yes you can easily do Costa Rica on your own back, but guarantee you'll miss as much as you see. Didn't find the same problem as Bill, we would normally set-off for our next destination after morning birding.

Peter
 
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