Hello all of you fortunate people (fortunate because you have found the Selva Mar Travel Agency, based in Costa Rica.
First, let me just say that booking a Costa Rica vacation with Walter Odio Victory of Selva Mar, is a very intelligent and wise decision; you will not be disappointed. In fact, you will be extremely pleased, satisfied, and likely be surprised at how Walter is able to meet, and quite possibly exceed your expectations, and at such a reasonable price. Trust me please on this.
My wife and I are still in awe regarding what a wonderful, professional, beautiful, successful and extremely well planned and executed package that Walter was able to put together for us. And again, all at a very affordable price.
I could easily write a short book on all of the details, and how happy and satisfied we are, but instead, I will try to just stick to the highlights. Not easy though.
It all started on November 2nd, 2014 when our plane landed in San Jose, and our personal and astoundingly knowledgeable, experienced, professional, and personable guide, Herman Venegas, was waiting for us and quickly began our amazing experience. And to be more accurate, it actually all began several months earlier when I was dealing with Walter, and booking all of the details. I really can’t say enough about Walter. He is incredibly patient, (I am not an easy client), professional, efficient, and above all, Walter absolutely had our (my wife and mine) best interests at heart. True Statement. This became more and more obvious as Walter and I exchanged emails regarding the package. Walter was very willing to customize our tour, offer excellent ideas, achieve our goals, and all the while keeping the cost very reasonable. Bravo Walter!
(To be honest, I was beginning to wonder if this was all really happening as promised; and believe me, the vacation experience that Walter programmed for us more than met our expectations. By far. And Walter actually undersold the whole thing; unbelievable)!
Again, we had the very fortunate experience of having Herman as our personal guide. (We booked a ten day birding tour). I cannot speak for any of the other guides, I would assume that they are very good, but I can tell you that Herman went well beyond the average duties and responsibilities of what a “good birding guide” does. It was very evident from the beginning when he picked us up, until the end when he dropped us off, that Herman genuinely enjoys what he does. Which would at least partially explain why he is so good at what he does. And what he does is transform a great birding tour, into an incredibly fantastic, successful and personalized birding experience/vacation/tour. In a word, magnificent.
Herman is a real pro. Period. His knowledge of birds, of the Costa Rican very varied climates and landscapes, and of course, where to find the birds that we are looking for; all top notch.
Not to mention his willingness to be sure that my wife and I were comfortable, satisfied, happy, and above all, surprised on a daily basis from the time he brought us his own freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning, then throughout the day all of the wonderful and exiting birds that he found for us, and then even some night time birding. Which included owls, and other night birds in whatever area we were in at the time.
Herman made our trip. He always had the answers to our sometimes difficult questions regarding the Country, the birds, or anything else that we wanted to know regarding this incredible Costa Rican experience. He would say, “if there is a Manakin (or some other difficult bird that we were after), in this area, I will find him for you. And Herman delivered. Every time. Our list of birds that we were hoping to see was long, and Herman found them all, plus many many more. Of course, we got to see and photograph the much admired and beautiful Quetzal. What a treat. Speaking of photographs, not only was I lucky enough to capture many wonderful images of many magnificent birds, with my camera, but Herman would quickly find the bird in his powerful scope, so that we could see the details of these beautiful birds. Then he would use my smart phone to take photographs for me through his scope! And Videos. Fantastic!
Herman brought us to three different locations of Costa Rica; all with entirely different varieties of birds, vegetation, climate, and weather. From the highlands, to the “middle lands”, to the rain forest at sea level. We loved it all. Every minute of it. Herman just made everything so fun and interesting.
We stayed in three different lodges; Quetzal Paradise (high mountains), Bosque del Tolomuco (middle elevation), and Cerro Lodge (rain forest). Herman finally dropped us off at Hotel Robledal for our final night in Costa Rica, where we were treated to some unexpected evening and morning birding before being shuttled back to the San Jose Airport. All three locations were wonderful. All three lodges were great; (and the final hotel), all very eager to please us, and make sure that we were happy and comfortable. All had great food and the best coffee in the world!
While it was very sad for us say goodbye to Herman, (we truly felt like we were saying goodbye to a very dear and wonderful friend), we knew that we will be back again, and again, every year, for more of this absolutely incredible experience.
We will ALWAYS book our trip through Walter Odio of Selva Mar, and we will ALWAYS have Herman as our guide. Not just our birding guide, but a guide through the Country of Costa Rica.
Walter told me from the beginning that his goal was to be certain that my wife and I had a very high quality experience, from the moment of my first email to him, and to the moment that we arrived back at the airport. That was an understatement on Walter’s part. He is a very humble, honest, sincere, genuine, professional that knows how to make your vacation into an unforgettable, amazing experience. Really.
Please feel free to contact me through Walter of Selva Mar, I am happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding this review. It does sound exaggerated, but I assure you, it is not. Every word is true. You won’t be sorry if you place your trust and very valuable vacation time with Walter Odio.
Ron and Eva