Best of the Emerald Isle: North and South Ireland Tour | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

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Best of the Emerald Isle: North and South Ireland Tour

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PRIVATE/GROUP TOUR - 17 DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY

FROM £$ 12258

Private/Group Tour Highlights

  • Soak in the views of Dublin with a hop on hop off bus tour of the city, passing by St Patrick's Cathedral and trendy Temple Bar.
  • Discover all the history behind the famous Guinness brand and get an insight into the magic behind the "black stuff" at the Guinness Storehouse.
  • Visit the Titanic's birthplace and discover its history with multi-dimensional galleries, special effects, scenic tours, full-size reconstructions, and interactive attractions.
  • Witness Giants Causeway, a unique rock formation of 40,000 basalt columns that have inspired much of Irish mythology.
  • Come up close and personal with many birds of prey within the sheltered Walled Garden of Glenlo Abbey Hotel and enjoy a captivating and thrilling experience of falconry.
  • Visit one of the smallest and most remote chocolate factories in the world and see the entire process of chocolate making, including the chocolate kitchen.
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

Split between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom since 1921, North and South Ireland have seen a lot of political divide over the decades. However, today it is hard to recognize exactly where the borders lie, with their rolling green hills, craggy coastlines, and warm locals. Experience the entire island of Ireland with our suggested 17-day itinerary, Best of the Emerald Isle: North and South Ireland Tour.

Starting in the charming capital city of South Ireland, visitors will embark on a merry bus tour to take in the must-sees of Dublin, including the Guinness Storehouse and St. Patrick’s cathedral. Be sure to grab a pint (or two) while touring the city and enjoying a lively show at the famous Merry Ploughboy for an authentic Irish Evening. The journey continues to Belfast for a modern look at the historical tragedy of the Titanic with enlightening displays and interactive exhibits. Following Belfast, travelers will visit Northern Ireland to experience the famed Giant’s Causeway, one of the most photographed sites in the region.

After a visit to Northern Ireland’s capital, Londonderry, and experiencing the United Kingdom, travelers will return to southern Ireland to appreciate the famous Cliffs of Moher. Making several stops on the way to take in the coastal lifestyle and historic abbeys of the region, visitors will take part in tasting local seafood, joining in on traditional sports like falconry, and tasting the fine whiskey distilleries and breweries that have been a part of Irish culture for centuries.

 

Note: All Ireland and Scotland tours include a private driver/guide throughout the itineraries. Self-drive experiences can also be arranged at a lesser cost. Please ask a Yampu Travel Expert for more information. 

Inclusions
Price includes domestic and regional flights within the itinerary; all hotel accommodations including daily continental or buffet breakfast and daily city tax; all transfers between airports and hotels with assistance and baggage handling; guided tours in English including entrance fees. Prices include a chauffeur-driven private vehicle on the dates specified. Please ask your Yampu Tour Consultant about our self-drive options at a reduced cost.
Exclusions

International airfare (unless specifically included), airport departure taxes that must be paid on-site, gratuities, meals not mentioned, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages with meals, early / late check-out, room service, visa fees/services, and other personal items or services not mentioned.

Best Time to Travel
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

Best Good Consult

Pricing Details
  3-Star 4-Star 5-Star Luxury
Double N/A £$12258 N/A N/A
Single N/A £$21614 N/A N/A

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Please note that prices are subject to change based on availability and seasonality, especially during the holiday season from December 20th through January 5th each year. Please contact a Yampu Travel Specialist for more information on best times to travel.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary

Day
1

International Flight to Ireland

Overnight International Flight to Dublin

Overnight International Flight to Dublin

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Day
2

Hop on Hop off Dublin Bus Tour

Upon arrival to Dublin, you will be met at the airport and transferred by a private driver/guide in a comfortable Sedan.

Hop on Hop off Dublin Bus Tour

Begin your Dublin adventure by taking the Hop on Hop off bus tour and start exploring the city. Enjoy the guided tour through the fair city of Dublin, get to know its secrets, and soak in the views of the city. Pass by St Patrick's Cathedral and trendy Temple Bar. At the end of the tour, don't miss the famous Guinness Storehouse. During the tour, you'll discover all the history behind this famous brand and get an insight into the magic behind the "black stuff."
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Day
3

Dublin North & Merry Ploughboy Tour

Today, enjoy the North of Dublin, rich agricultural land whose coast has seen the rise of several seaside resorts. You will stop at Howth, a charming little fishing village, situated on the extreme tip of Dublin Bay. The spectacle of this panoramic tour is second to none. It is both wild and urban in different places and at different times while remaining close to the capital. Many paths wind along the cliffs and on the peninsula, making it possible to take pleasant walks between land and sea.

Then you will visit Malahide Castle. The castle belonged for almost 8 centuries to the Talbot family. Built around its 14th century round tower, it has been enlarged in a picturesque way over the centuries. The large hall and reception rooms are still decorated with some original furniture.

Spend your evening in the famous Merry Ploughboy. This is a nice way to spend an Irish night! Located outside Dublin city center, the evening at Merry Ploughboy's offers a show with meals and music, traditional songs, and dances. The artistic quality of the show is magnificent. It is accompanied by quality cuisine and Irish music sung by an Irish group, "the Merry Ploughboys," who are local artists. The whole will be embellished with a few steps of Irish dancing. It's an unforgettable experience.
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Day
4

Hillsborough Castle & Gardens

Leave Dublin and travel north towards Belfast. From today until day 17, you will enjoy a private driver/guide in a comfortable Sedan. On your way, visit Hillsborough Castle and gardens, the only Royal family residence on the Island of Ireland. Discover stories of celebration, entertainment, diplomacy, and negotiation as you explore Hillsborough Castle's fascinating history and stunning State Rooms. Access is to the State Rooms that make up this elegant Georgian home, including the grand Throne Room, relaxing State Drawing Room, Lady Grey's Study, State Dining Room, Red Room, and Stair Hall. Our expert Explainers will also be on hand to share details of the historic rooms. You will also have the opportunity to explore 100 acres of beautiful gardens, to complete a relaxing day out. ...read less

Day
5

Belfast Titanic Experience

Enjoy the best places in this vibrant city: historic Queen's University, Stormont Castle, The Linen Hall Library, Belfast Castle, and especially the famous murals. Watch the development of the city along the Lagan River with the Waterfront Hall and the impressive Odyssey complex. You can also discover the City Hall housing the Belfast Council, a fine example of the classic Portland stone Renaissance style, where you will see an ornate dome, grand staircases, and an oak board room. Do not miss a drink in the perfectly preserved Victorian pub, the Crown Liqueur Salon.

You can visit the Titanic's birthplace and discover its history. The Titanic Belfast Experience consists of 9 multi-dimensional galleries for a real-world experience with special effects, scenic tours, full-size reconstructions, and interactive attractions to explore the Titanic with a new and relevant eye; from its conception in Belfast in the early 1900s until its construction and departure for its infamous journey. The visit continues with the consequences of the sinking and the discovery of the wreckage until today with an underwater exploration center.

Stop in front of the Belfast Walls. These murals will allow you to truly understand the conflicts and the state of mind of this city.
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Day
6

Giants Causeway

Take the direction of Dark. It is an alley of branches with tortuous forms, very appreciated for its games of shades and lights, exerted by the sun, the foliage, and the trees' trunks. This place, known well before the film crew sets its sights, is one of the most photographed sites in the region! You will recognize the "Royal Road," which led Ned Stark to his death and Arya Stark far from "Port-Real."

Reach Giants Causeway, one of the most spectacular sites in the world (UNESCO World Heritage). This unique rock formation of 40,000 basalt columns was formed millions of years ago as a natural bulwark against the seas' devastating ferocity. The shape of its columns has never ceased to intrigue and inspire so much that we find them in Irish mythology.

On your way towards Bushmills, take a trip to the Dunluce Castle. There are few views as romantic as the ruins of this chateau, on its isolated rocky peak 30 m above the waves.

Take time to visit Old Bushmills distillery, the oldest official whiskey distillery in the world. She obtained her official whiskey license in April 1608. Since then, she has been in service ever since.
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Day
7

Walking Tour of Derry

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Discover the pretty town of Derry. A city steeped in history, you will be surprised by the atmosphere that reigns there, already making you regret having to leave it. Go to the ramparts and take advantage of this last stage in Northern Ireland. Don't hesitate to visit the Tower Museum, located inside the ramparts, which has an exhibition on Derry and the Armada history.

On your way down to Donegal, relax in the Glenveagh National Park. The park occupies the Lough Veagh Valley, the Poisoned Glen Valley, and the Derryveagh Mountains in County Donegal in Ireland. The park was created after the donation of Glenveagh Castle to the Irish State en 1981.
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Day
8

Slieve League Cliffs & Killybegs Village

Cross the county to the southwest. Pass by Ardara, a small town renowned for Tweed, before striding through the famous Slieve League cliffs. With their 600m of rock plunging into the Atlantic, these cliffs are the tallest and among the most beautiful in Europe. You will be breathless!

Come and discover the pretty village of Killybegs, considered to be the most important fish harbor in Ireland. Walk near the docks and admire the boats, fishermen, nets, and maybe even seals! Continue to explore Donegal Town, 'Fort of the Foreigners' referring to the Vikings who landed there.
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Day
9

Oyster Experience & Lissadell Estate

Head south to discover County Sligo, and while there, treat yourself with a unique seafood experience, the Sligo Oyster Farm Tour. It offers an immersive guided tour and visits to the Coney Island working oyster farm on the shores of Sligo Bay, overlooked by the majestic Belbulben and Knocknarea. Sligo is arguably the home of the oyster with the Irish word for Sligo 'Sligeach' meaning 'abounding in shells.'

Take some time to visit The Lissadell Estate, the home of Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, and their seven children. Lissadell Estate is more famous as the childhood home of countess Constance Markievicz. Constance was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising and was the first woman to be elected to Dail Eireann, where she served as Minister for Laborar, thus becoming the first woman minister in a modern Western European democracy.
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Day
10

Westport House Tour

Today, you will head to Achill Island, where the dazzling landscapes and its rich history offer visitors a full range of tourist attractions, and the beauty of these places is not to be missed. With no less than 5 blue flag beaches, Achill offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. This includes the sand of Keem Bay; a beautiful valley lost on the western tip of the island.

The Atlantic Drive through the Island includes more than 40km of breathtaking coastline views and is ideal for a car trip or even better, by bike! On the road, we find the Kildavnet tower, a 16th-century vestige used by the legendary pirate Reine Granuaile (Grace O'Malley). The Deserted Village in Slievemore is a disturbing reminder of times gone by. Comprising around 80 stone cottages and situated at the foot of the majestic Slievemore Mountain, this village offers a fascinating view of life on Achill in past centuries.

Head down to Westport Town, Cathair na Mart in Irish, which literally means the city of oxen. You can admire its magnificent flowery bridges and discover its alleys with irresistible charm. This city, full of elegance and Georgian charm, was planned and built around 1780 for the region's landowner, Johne Denis Browne. Until the railway's arrival in the 19th century, Westport Quay was an active port on the estuary, bordered by important 18th-century warehouses.
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Day
11

Kylemore Abbey

Today, enjoy the drive through Connemara National Park. The park spans approximately 2,000 hectares of rolling hills, expanses of peat bogs, heaths, meadows, and beautiful woods. Some of the park's hills, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack, and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens and the Beanna Beola range of hills.

Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980. It is one of six national parks in Ireland managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service. You can go to the Killary Sheep Farm, a traditional mountain farm that is still active. It has about 200 ewes and sheep with black heads, more adapted to the mountain's harsh winters. You can enjoy demonstrations of herding dogs, shearing sheep, and mowing peat.

Also visit Kylemore Abbey, on the shores of Lough Pollacappull, a Victorian Tudor-style castle beautifully situated on the edge of a lake and surrounded by the Twelve Bens. It is today the only remaining monastic dwelling of the Benedictine sisters in Ireland who have also restored the Victorian gardens which are also worth a visit.
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Day
12

Falconry Experience at Glenlo Abbey

In the morning, enjoy a captivating and thrilling experience - falconry the sport of kings - is available to our guests of Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate. Come up close and personal with many birds of prey within the sheltered Walled Garden of Glenlo Abbey Hotel. Guided and instructed by experienced Falconers, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact with some of nature's top predators.

In the afternoon, take the time to explore this little city full of life - Galway. The city is an ancient medieval city with a multitude of things to do and see (pubs, restaurants, arts, crafts, culture) and people to meet. You can visit Eyre Square, The Court House, Salmon Weir Bridge, and the Cathedral. An unmissable monument of this city is the Spanish Arch. It was built in 1584 and is located on the bank of the Corrib. It is best known to the locals by Ceann na Bhalla (The head of the wall). It was originally the extension of the famous city walls, created to protect the quays. In the past, she was known as the blinding ark. It now houses the city museum.
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Day
13

Cliffs of Moher with Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory & Burren Smokehouse Tour

Today, you'll depart Galway for Clare. On your way south, stop and admire the view of spectacular Cliffs of Moher - which fall 200m steeply into the wild Atlantic Ocean. Pass through the Burren - without dispute, one of the most unique and strangest landscapes in Europe. The Burren is bounded by the Atlantic on the west and rocked by Galway Bay to the north, it is a multi-layered landscape where rare and delicate plants have adapted in order to thrive and flourish between harsh crevices.

Visit one of the smallest and most remote chocolate factories in the world, Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory. Due to the open floor plan of the shop and factory, the entire process of chocolate making, including the chocolate kitchen, is viewable by all who pass through their doors.

If you're not that much of a sweet tooth yourself, you can indulge yourself by visiting Burren Smokehouse Visitor Centre located in Lisdoonvarna just off the Wild Atlantic Way and a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher, and sample the silky, smoky texture of the Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon. Discover the mystery of salmon smoking and the secret of how smoked salmon is handcrafted.
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Day
14

Bunratty Castle

An early morning, start your day full of breath-taking landscapes. Just after you pass the Limerick city, stop and relax at the Bunratty castle. You can transport yourself back in time and experience first-hand Irish culture and way of life many years ago.

On your way to Killarney, you will pass through the postcard pretty Adare Village. Adare is the proud bearer of the title: "Ireland's prettiest village". This wonderfully picturesque rural village does its part to keep the Irish traditions alive.

In the evening, visit the legendary Danny Mann pub in Killarney for Irish night. With its large open fireplace, flagstone floors, timber beam ceilings and old world furniture the Danny Mann is the quintessential Irish pub. Here you can experience the best of traditional Irish cuisine and enjoy Traditional Irish music accompanied by Irish dance.
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Day
15

Choice of Visiting The Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula

On your second day in county Kerry you have opportunity to join one-day tour of Ring of Kerry. You will head to the Gap of Dunloe and continue through the region. The spectacular cut of the coastline dotted with charming fishing villages gives a pleasant rural atmosphere that has not changed in 200 years. Make sure to stop in the villages of Waterville and Sneem.

Or maybe try the one-day tour of Dingle Peninsula. Feast your eyes on its breath-taking scenery overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and its beaches and monastic villages. You will reach the most westerly point in Europe at Slea Head, from where you can see the Blasket Islands, the largest of which is the Great Blasket Island which was abandoned by its inhabitants in 1953.
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Day
16

Kilkenny Castle & Smithwicks Brewery Kilkenny

Depart Killarney today for Kilkenny. En route, visit the spectacular Rock of Cashel, once seat of the High Kings of Munster. The rock towers over the town. It is one of Ireland's great historic sites, featuring a cathedral, round tower, high crosses, and Cormac's chapel with the country's most important frescoes.

Join the town of Kilkenny to visit Kilkenny castle. Residence and seat of the powerful Butler family since 1391, it has a large rose garden, all with 20 hectares of charming land. The estate overlooks the Nore River as well as large trees and shrubs and an ornamental lake among the many points of interest. This castle is very well maintained and presented.

Smithwicks Brewery Kilkenny invites you to see the working factory of this most famous ale. Smithwick's trade secrets have been passed down over 300 years, originating with John Smithwick. His is an inspirational story, fraught with hardship, courage and an unwavering determination. Also included in the tour is a visit to St. Francis Abbey, which dates back to the 12th century and can be found on the same site as the brewery.
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Day
17

International Flight Home

At the appropriate time, you will be met at the airport and transferred by a private chauffeured vehicle to Dublin airport for your flight home.

At the appropriate time, you will be met at the airport and transferred by a private chauffeured vehicle to Dublin airport for your flight home.

Dublin, Ireland

Belfast, UK

Derry, Londonderry, UK

Donegal, Ireland

Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland

Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Galway, Ireland

Clare, County Clare, Ireland

Kerry, County Kerry, Ireland

Kilkenny, Ireland

Places You'll See

  • Dublin

    Named as the friendliest city in Europe by TripAdvisor, Dublin is a charming capital city with the intimacy of a small village and the friendliness of a pub.  Visitors can see for themselves as they walk along the Liffey River that flows through the city’s center lined with pubs and restaurants filled with live music and laughter. Those who enjoy a little shopping will love the lively Grafton street with its musical performances and shop-lined streets while history buffs will appreciate sites such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. No visit to Dublin is complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse for a multimedia experience of how the country’s iconic black stuff is created, followed by a delicious pint (or two) with views of the city from its rooftop bar.

  • Belfast

    Serving as the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast has a long and complicated history with the division between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. However, today the city is a bustling tourist attraction that welcomes all visitors with endless sites and activities. Travelers can step back in time with visits to numerous museums including the Titanic Visitor’s Center where Titanic was designed, built, and launched in 1912. History buffs will also appreciate the Northern Ireland War Memorial and the Belfast Cathedral while foodies can get a taste of traditional Irish fare and tasting whiskey at the Belfast Whiskey Club.

  • Derry

    Derry, officially known as Londonderry, is the last remaining completely walled city in all of Ireland. Intact since the 17th century to thwart incoming settlers from Scotland and England. Within the walls, visitors can see the town’s original layout with its well-preserved Renaissance style street plan along with St. Columb’s Cathedral, the city’s most historic building. After exploring the city’s history, visitors can appreciate modern architecture while crossing the nearby pedestrian Peace Bridge across the River Foyle, a visual treat, and a vital stop while in Londonderry.

  • Donegal

    Situated in the remote northwest of Ireland, Donegal is the second-largest county on the island. Located along the scenic Wild Atlantic Way, Donegal offers outstanding seaside views and famed surf towns where music, pub life, and surf culture collide. Just a few miles from the main island, visitors can also explore the island of Tory where spectacular cliff scenery is complemented by a rich and varied history.

  • Ballina

    Known as an exceptional salmon fishery, Ballina is located in the Mayo County on the mouth of the famous Moy River. Located in the center of Ballina is the popular Ridge Pool, often found teeming with salmon and anglers looking for a fresh catch. Aside from fishing, Ballina’s quaint village offers a thriving art center, numerous restaurants and pubs.

  • Westport

    Sitting pretty on the west coast of County Mayo, Westport is a picturesque town with a quintessentially Irish welcome and charming streets that draws visitors in the moment they step foot there. Offering award winning food and handmade souvenirs, Westport’s streets come alive with the bustle of artisan food producers and street performers. Get a true taste of the west at the country market where mussels and clams from local waters are sold each week.

  • Galway

    Galway County, home to one of the most spirited cities in Ireland of the same name offers visitors a glimpse into some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes including boglands, lakes, and mountains of Connemara and the historic Aran islands, just offshore.  Galway city’s vibrant student life brings a modern vibe to the charming city, lined with colorful pubs, local shops selling Claddagh rings and Aran sweaters, and restaurants who celebrate local ingredients.

  • Clare

    Brimming with natural charm, County Clare is a stunning coastal county on the Atlantic coast of the isle best known for the iconic Cliffs of Moher. The stunning views of the staggering ocean cliffs are a memorable site with wildflowers abloom and numerous bird species including Puffins to be seen. Be sure to visit the small nearby village of Doolin for an evening of traditional Irish music and charismatic locals.

  • Kerry

    Known for its striking terrain of rugged coastline, striking mountains, and green moorland, County Kerry is a splendid mix of natural beauty and charming towns. Within Kerry is the town and national park of Killarney which welcomes adventurers around the world to explore the region’s landscapes as well as its history with traditional farmhouses, cathedrals, and castles.

  • Kilkenny

    Kilkenny is a county where modern city life meets medieval history in the center of Ireland’s Ancient East, providing a memorable ambiance and wow-factor to its visitors. In Kilkenny City, venture through maze-like alleyways that surround Kilkenny Castle before heading to the countryside to explore picturesque villages dotting a fairytale landscape.

Hotel Options

4 Star Properties

Dublin : The Alex Hotel

Belfast : Grand Central Hotel

Derry : Beech Hill Country House

Donegal : Lough Eske

Balina : Mount Falcon Estate

Westport : Knockranny House Hotel

Galway : Glenlo Abbey

Clare : Dromoland Castle

Kerry : Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel

Kilkenny : Mount Juliet Hotel

Testimonials

R

Traveled May, 2014

Everything you arranged was perfect to the last detail

Everything you arranged was perfect to the last detail. The hotels were all nice. My favorite was probably Remota, in Puerto Natales, Chile. Their food was excellent, tour guides and drivers are all professionals. I learned a lot.

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Wafa A.

Traveled

Great experiences

Great experiences, with Yampu tours the staff are very professional and helpful and they provide timely services and try to find solutions and alternatives

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Kurt & Rosabel, family of 5

Traveled August, 2010

I consider using your company again

The trip was fantastic. No complaints about the accomodations and I was truly impressed with the transportation arrangements. The guides from the various companies were courteous, polite and extremely helpful whenever a problem arose. The atmosphere on the Caribbean coast (Tortuguero) was completely different from that encountered on the Pacific coast (Guancaste), as was each location along the way. I honestly can’t say I preferred on spot over the others, though perhaps I was little more outspoken about the comforts of Arenal Springs compared to rest. The two beach spots along the Pacific were memorable for the ocean and all the things we did there.All the above said, I have no problem recommending your firm, and yourself in particular, to any of my friends and acquaintances regarding having you help them with their travel plans. Indeed, I have done so repeatedly today and will continue to do so into the future. It also goes without saying that I consider using your company again when Rosabel and myself start planning our next vacation or adventure trip.

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