Totally awesome day trip! It is a long drive from tamarindo but it was totally worth it as a quick overview of Nicaragua. I surprised myself by enjoying it so much i want to go back for a longer stay. Feeding the monkeys was definitely a highlight, especially since you cant do that in CR.
This was a wonderful experience and our guide Jose was exceptional. Everything we did had a wow factor including crossing the Border! and though it was a very long day it didn't feel like it - except for the last leg when tiredness hit us all. Breakfast by the lake, the volcano, boat trip and visit to Granada were just wonderful. PS the only gripe was viator contacting us by email the day before to say the trip may need rearranging and when we replied a response was not forthcoming so we had were left in a state of flux and had to contact the local tour company ourselves to find out what was going on. 5 star for the trip and 1 star for viator........
Picked up at our hotel as promised, driver spoke no english, tiny bus was overcrowded, and had to use the 'fold-down' extra seats so the aisle was blocked while driving to the border. Expected breakfast in Liberia but we didn't stop there and only got breakfast once we reached Nicaragua after a border crossing that was not quite as smooth as promised. Our guide met us at the border and was VERY helpful with the crossing and very helpful and efficient in all aspects of our trip - she was the best part of the services supplied. Nice visit to the viewpoint at Caterina but too much time allowed at the attached market afterward. Visit to magnificent volcano at Masaya was outstanding but rushed. Lunch should have been held on the plaza at Grenada or very nearby as it took too long to get to the lunch spot, too long for lunch, and too long to re-board for the short trip to the Plaza by the cathedral. The stop at the 'chocolate museum' was completely unnecessary and ate up about 45 minutes of precious time. It consisted of an informative 10 minute talks and then 20 minutes of tasting/marketing and could have been skipped altogether. We did NOT get to go to the top of the cathedral for photos as promised in the pre-trip literature - in fact some folks who were expecting to have a guided tour of the cathedral did not even get inside the building. Then we were taken to the boats and toured quickly through the islands. Again it was too short and, more annoying, only the folks seated at the front of the boat got to see the monkeys 'up close' - those 8-10 folks crowded around the guide doing the feeding and the rest of us were unable to see/photograph past them and in fact were asked to move FARTHER back by the boat captain to balance the weight of the folks who had crowded to the front of the boat. Coming back to the border we just barely made the duty-free if we had time after lunch in the square at Grenada we could have done our Nicaraguan shopping there and not had to visit the duty-free at all, just a suggestion. Also, have a photocopy of your passport with you because we had to surrender our passports before going to duty-free and could not make purchases without the passport. Final comment - from Border to Hotel our non-bilingual driver was on his cellphone almost continuously - which led to some 'questionable' driving imho. Also from the border to Liberia the bus was again overcrowded and many clients had to sit in the uncomfortable and dangerous - no seatbelts fold-down aisle seats.
1 the sights visited were amazing and I don't regret going
2 should have had a real bus with seats for everyone and a washroom
3 all legs of the trip should have a bilingual guide available to address questions/concerns
4 our trip had a mix of english and spanish speakers so guide had to deliver same info in both languages. Should have separate trips for different language customers
5 guides should work out a better system so some clients aren't left-out when viewing monkeys at Islands near Grenada
6 all activities and promises made in the literature should be delivered.
Our tour was really fun. Mario was a good host and was able to answer all our questions. There were 10 of us and we got along well which was a nice plus. We enjoyed the trip on Lake Nicaragua, the trip to the live volcano, hanging out in Granada and even our first border crossing into Nicaragua. The lunch in Granada was great but the shopping at the market was a waste of time. We would rather have spent more time in Granada and skipped the market. Also be prepared for a long day of travel and when viator says says snacks - that means bring your own....
This was an amazing tour and well worth your time! The day is LONG 4:30am - 9:30pm but the guides kept us on schedule and know the routines and areas very well. Breakfast and lunch were delicious, the volcano was super cool to see, and Granada has so much history. Nicaragua is stunningly beautiful! You might not otherwise see Nicaragua on your own, so take a day and do this. I rate this 5 stars - but a long drive! Be prepared. Bring your passports AND proof of your flight out of Costa Rica. You will need it upon re-entry into Costa Rica. Im told some travelers have forgotten that and had to return all the way to the border the next day to show it. Dont let that be you.
This was our first adventure on our week-long trip to Costa Rica and it was well worth it!!! We were picked up in Liberia which was great as we did not have be up and ready until 6am and we got back a little before 9pm. Our tour guide for the day in Nicaragua, Claudio, was fantastic, knowledgeable, great sense of humor, and crossing the board with him went very smoothly. The day was packed full of wonderful adventures that would have taken my friends and me at least three days to do on our own. It was full of beauty, laughter, and new friends!
This tour was well worth the visit. Claudio the tour guide and Santos the driver were awesome. Crossing the border was a breeze. Claudio was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the tour which made it a great experience. He timed everything perfect allowing our group less congestion with other groups. Breakfast was just ok...but lunch in Masaya was terrific! I highly recommend this tour!!
This trip was great. We had a great tour guide Marlena Don't know if that was her name or not and I feel horrible about not remembering because she is great! who met us at the border. She had pride and was very passionate about her country and sharing about her personal life. I'm glad I read the reviews before going because it prepared me for the long day ahead. I would suggest bringing water because you only get one bottle on the trip. The food, volcano, chocolate tour, and feeding the monkeys was a great hit! We didn't get home until really late and left really early, but this trip makes us want to go back and spend more time in Nicaragua.
David our tour guide in Nicaragua was informative and our breakfast was prepared beautifully. I'm including pictures of the town of Granada which were taking from the top of the church. Monkey Island where Linda came up to the boat, the active volcano and the dormant volcano. This trip was fabulous and I would recommend this trip to anyone in Costa Rica.
I booked this tour through Native's Way by way of Viator in March. Viator was extremely helpful since there weren't a lot of offerings for the area / hotel we were staying. I had contact Viator and they were super friendly when I explained where I was staying and having issues trying to book other tours. They provided me with Native's Way name and their website, which enable me to book other tours. I would recommend them Native's Way as a tour company and would book through Viator as well.
I've actually been back to Costa Rica early this month May and reached out to Morgan at Native's Way. She's spot on for what you are looking for and had hired Miguel.
Miguel is a funny personable person. He loves his country and truly enjoys his job. He makes sure you are have good time. I plan on taking my father next year to Costa Rica and you can bet my bottom dollar I will be reaching out to Morgan and requesting Miguel.