Please save yourself the poor service from the above related companies that my friend and I used for out trip to Costa Rica, especially from Carrie Spitler of Travel Cuts and Lynn Degan of Adventure Travel Company. The following is an email I sent to the travel agent Carrie who without answering any of my questions forwarded it to her supervisor Lynn to respond to. After responding the supervisor accidentally forwarded the nasty email to me–the client. The second email was from Carrie informing me of the fiasco. After viewing the emails I spoke to both of their bosses, who really did not seem to care. I hope this information is useful to all who reads this because having to deal with this mess after a trip is no fun! n—————————————————– nYep-spoiled. nI have put some comments in bold below. nLynn Degen nAdventure Travel Company nSan Diego Office n619-544-0800 nwww.atcadventure.com ntheadventuretravelcompany.wordpress.com n> 06/13/09 7:53 PM >>> nSince I haven’t received any correspondence from you following up with nthe trip, I decided it would be best to contact you with my feelings. nJust as a refresher the whole purpose of this trip was to celebrate mine nand Ashley’s college graduation. It was supposed to be a relatively nstress-free venture, mostly filled with exciting activities planned. nWhen we decided to plan this trip, Ashley recommended imag trav and you ndue to previous positive experiences. I usually plan my own trips and am nmore than capable of booking hotels and activities from sun up to sun ndown. But, I trusted Ashley and decided to let a travel agent take the nreins since they generally have more access to discounts, information, netc. However, I think from now on I will continue to organize my own ntravels. I was extremely disappointed with how the trip was devised and nthe following are my concerns: n- Spending three days in cahuita was a complete waste of time. I was nunder the impression that there were more activities to do in the area nand wished you would have helped suggest more things to do or inform us nmore about the area. Even though we wanted to spend more time there, it nwould have been appreciated if you let us know what to expect there and noffer other places that would better fit our needs. It really wasn’t the ntown to send two white females without any guide or male protection to. nAfter reading in a local travel book and confirming it with locals that nAmerican/euro women come there for flings again is not the right place nand something a travel agent should know. The time spent there could nhave been split up to see other parts of the country like the Pacific nside. nWe were mirroring the Turtles and Beaches trip, which went to nTortuguero and Cahuita. Most people go to Cahuita to enjoy the nnational park and beautiful beaches, as well as the laid back caribbean nvibe there and good food. There are day tours that are offered by the nAtlantida Lodge and are easily booked at the hotel. It is possible to nbook snorkeling and fishing tours, guided park tours, a day tour to a nsloth sanctuary, wildlife viewing tours to Manzanillo, horseback riding ntours and ziplining tours. There is also a very good tour company in nthe middle of town that is happy to book day tours for you. We are nsorry that you had the impression that there was more to do in Cahuita, nbut not sure where you got that impression. n- The whole ordeal with having to switch hotels in cahuita was nridiculous and caused so much stress, time and frustration. Ashley and I npractically spent the whole day dealing with uncooperative viajes sin nfronteres reps and atlantida hotel staff. nWhile the Atlantida Lodge offers simple rooms, they have very pretty ngrounds, nice porches, a big swimming pool, resturant and pool bar. nThere are not many other, if any other places in town that offer these nthings. In addition, they are right across the street from Playa Negra, nwhich is a popular place to be. nWe agree that it was a bit ridiculous that you spent all day dealing nwith the issue and think you would have enjoyed yourself more if you had nstayed with the itinerary as planned and just taken a hotel back to the nhotel at the end of the night. n- The atlanida lodge was not the level of accommodations I was looking nfor, the location was too far from the center of town, was not safe to nwalk day or night and had no restaurant. nThere is a restaurant and bar at the Atlantida Lodge, as well as a very ngood restaurant about half a block down the road called Sobre las Oles. nThere is another very good pizza restaurant a couple of blocks away on nthe road into the hotel. Our agent, who is a single female, stayed at nthis hotel and walked to and from town while there. She did not feel nthreatened at all walking into town in the daytme. Also-if you intend nto stay out late and party, it is a short taxi ride back to the nAtlantida. The Atlantida is the property used by Imaginative Traveller nalso, so the accommodations would have been the same if on the group ntour. n- I am having a hard time seeing exactly where $800 went. I would like nto request a complete breakdown of where the money was spent i.e. ntransportation, hotels etc. nWe do not give pricing breakdowns. We did give the option to book the ntour or not. n- I would also like to know when the refund for the atlantida lodge nwill be sent to me. nAs per our conversation with your father, there will not be a refund nfor the unused room nights at the Atlantida Lodge. If there was a nlegitimate problem with the door locks at the Atlantida, the front desk nwas willing to get that fixed or offer another room. No request was nmade for this. We did advise your father to tell you that if you nchanged hotels, there would not be a refund. n- I knew that the trip was for independent travelers but again did not nthink that it would be such the extreme case. We would literally be ndropped off at a hotel without any guide or form of help to check in nwhich posed problems due to the language barrier. It would have made the ntrip run smoother if there was someone to inform us of what was going non, where we were going next, what was going to happen, etc. nAs you stated, you knew that you would not have a guide escorting you nthroughout the trip. There was an english speaking guide that met you nat the airport to explain your vouchers and answer any questions you may nhave had. There were guides available the entire time you were in nTortuguero. The only time you were without a guide is in Cahuita and nthe hotel desk would have been happy to book any day tours for you. In naddition you had the services of Viajes Sin Fronteras, who did contact nyou to try to resolve the hotel issue. They contacted the hotel on your nbehalf and found that the hotel clerk did not know anything about a nbroken lock, but would gladly fix it or change your room. n- I have never been out of the country and it was incredibly stressful nto have to deal with all the problems that arose. I assumed that this nwas unlikely to happen when hiring a travel agent to organize. The namount of things that happened created tensions and nmade me completely depressed about how things were progressing. nInternational travel can be stressful. It sounds like you should be nsure to book group tours that offer guaranteed departures in the future nso that you will have a guide with you all of the time to handle any nproblems that arrise. We do have many people every year that travel to nCosta Rica using a similar package to the one your purchased. There nhave not been any previous complaints about the program or service. nPlease note that the time after Cahuita was booked and planned by you. nWe arranged transfers for you as a favor, and were not consulted about nthe itinerary planning or hotels booked. n- In Tortuguero, we were grouped with 18 only English or nSpanish-speaking people, which is way too big and confusing. The tour nguide, Alexa S. spoke predominantly in Spanish and canceled our jungle nhike last minute, only to do another boat tour. In the itinerary we were ntold we were doing a jungle hike and had to make plans with another noutside guide to do so. nThe jungle hikes have been causing a lot of damage to the area and nrecently they have been cancelled in some cases and an extra wildlife ntour substituted instead. This would also have been the case with the nImaginative Traveller tour. While we regret that you were not able to ntake a jungle hike with the group, this is out of our control. nIn Tortuguero, everything must be done in groups. That is the nature nof the area. If you had taken the Imaginative Traveller tour, you would nhave been with a similar size group for the entire tour, including the ntime in Tortuguero. Most people think that the unique experience of nvisiting this area is worth the trade-off of sightseeing with a group. nThe group tours are always optional and you are free to book a private nguide if you chose to do so. nOverall, I really wanted to have an awesome time and thought I would be nreceiving that from your expertise. After the imag trav trip was ncanceled and transferred to you, I felt that was your opportunity to nstep up and provide an unforgettable trip, especially when people are nnot traveling like they used to. If you felt someone else had better nknowledge of the country (i.e. coworker) I wish you would have told us nthat you could only do so much and referred us to someone who was more nknowledgeable and organized. nWe have sent many people on similar land packages and have not had any nprior complaints. When traveling in a foreign country, you have to be nflexible and not expect everything to be like you have a home. The ncaribbean side of Costa Rica is a beautiful place, but has to nappreciated for what it is, and not for what it is not. It is a nbeautiful area where the howler monkeys wake you up in the morning and nthe capucchin monkeys will try to steal a snack while you are hiking in nthe national park. There is good food and a very casual atmosphere. It nis not an area with lots of deluxe resorts and tons of optional nactivities–or the crowds that go with them. nWell that’s me 2 cents–basically I think that she is a poiled brat and nany friedship would have been strained by travelling with her.! n——————————————————— nIt has come to my attention through my manager that an email was inadvertently sent to you last night by an agent from Adventure Travel Company, the tour company we work with for VSF bookings. Our office was contacted today by the agent to apologize for the language she had used in the email, which she forwarded to you by accident. She was responding to the concerns you had about your trip to Costa Rica, but used language that we at Travel CUTS consider completely inappropriate. nI would like to apologize that this email was sent to you and say how disappointed I am in the lack of professionalism shown by this agent. We just want you to know that this email was not sent or approved by Travel CUTS. nRegards, nCarrie Spitler nTravel CUTS n1430 SW Park Avenue nPortland, OR n97201 [email protected] nPhone: 503-274-2323 nFax: 503-274-0901 nwww.travelcuts.com/usa nOolbsurfgirloonlos angeles, CaliforniaU.S.A.