Take an open air tram ride through Costa Rica's Veragua Rainforest and immerse yourself in its fascinating and exotic ecosystem.
This also included a short version of the aerial rainforest tram.
Once again, we had bus issues! Due the the early rains, the road to the rainforest was too wet for our large bus to make it, so we sat for about 40 minutes while smaller buses were sent down form the park to pick us up. Our guide left the bus to get local plants, talked to a nearby farmer and retrieved an interesting hanging nest. He even went into a tiny store and bought us some local snacks to taste while we were waiting.
The rainforest park was very educational. We were given the option to pick one of two routes. The more strenuous one would take us to a waterfall, the other would not. Most people chose to take the least strenuous walk, but our young guide convinced us that ii wasn't too bad. For those of you on the fence here, the waterfall route has 350 step of varying height and widths, usually with a handrail. There are also a few steeply sloping stretches without steps. The downward hike wasn't bad, but the hike back uphill was a bit challenging. The waterfall was nice, but not a must-see if you have any doubts about your ability to make the hike.
We saw cages of many types of snakes, an indoor frog exhibit, both with cages and in an open dark enclosure where the guides, with flashlights, highlight the frogs. There was also an enclosed butterfly area that was very nice. Not quite as impressive as the butterfly farm on Aruba, but very close.
Our guide was very knowledgable. The tram ride was very interesting, if a little short. We heard toucans and saw a sloth in one of the trees overhead. After we departed the tram, we hiked to and from the waterfall and took the tram back to an open sided visitor center for a light lunch. The sandwich was so-so, but the fruit was excellent, as was the Costa Rican coffee and fruit juice.
Our bus had somehow managed to make it to the park and the ride back to the ship was interesting as our guide continued to share information about his country. I'd love to go back to this area.
There was a small shopping area with local handicrafts and souvenirs near the dock. The vendors were pleasant and not pushy.
Provider: Princess Cruises
The first thing that I have to mention is that the roads into the park are bad - rocky, muddy, narrow, not meant for big buses. Our bus on the way back tried to pass another car and it went into the mud and it felt like our bus was going to turn over and roll down the hill. Everyone was scared and trying to get to the other side of the bus to keep it from rolling over. There was no communication from the tour guide/driver to inform people what was going on. They couldn't get the dour open because it was stuck in the mud. They left us on the bus thinking we were going to roll down the hill.
We sat on the road in the middle of nowhere for over an hour waiting for a replacement bus.
Now the tour - The rainforest is pretty but I didn't like my tour. The description indicates you can "leisurely stroll to the riverside jungle observatory or hike the virgin forest to a pristine waterfall." They force you to stay with a guide and they split you up in the beginning into waterfall or easy walk people. So if you have people who want to do different things you have to do the tour completely separate from the other people in your party. I feel we did a lot of waiting around because it was so crowded. The food that they give you (sandwich and fruit) isn't very good, especially for $139. The Princess cruise people received a hot meal, not sure if it was any better but it looked good. I think the Rainforest is a nice place to visit but not on a cruise excursion.
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Combination tour. The main reason we came on this trip was to do a rainforest canopy tour. While nice, the tour did not actually have a true canopy tour, so misleading.
Provider: Princess Cruises
We went with Eduardo Humpreys, Your Lucky Tours, for our aereal tram tour of the Veragua Rainforest and boat ride on the Tortuguero Canals. We had wonderful time touring the rainforest and canals. There were only the four of us in a private van with Eduardo Junior as our driver and our wonderful guide Stephani. The Veragua rainforest is beautiful and extremely educational. We saw leaf cutter ants, howler monkeys and poison arrow frogs along with numerous beautiful birds. Our boat ride on the Tortuguero Canals was on a small boat piloted by Eduardo Junior's father-in-law. He took us in towards shore when there was something interesting to see. We saw sloth, numerous iguanas, a cayman and again, numerous multi-colored birds. We then traveled to a locals restaurant, situated on a Caribbean beach where we had a wonderful meal. We then were transported to Eduardo's homestead where we were treated to fresh coconut milk and a tour of the family's private cave. We can't say enough good things about Eduardo, Eduardo Jr., Stephani and Your Lucky Tours. Use them. You won't be disappointed. The cost was $120 but $55 of that was the entrance into the Veragua Rainforest. It was so worth it.
Provider: Independent Operator