Hi Dave - travel was definitely rough, but the trip was very nice once we made it!
The Westin was pretty and the food was good. The beach was very nice but not private so you had to run through the all the peddlers to get through. The rooms were nice and we were located close to the pools/restaurant/gym. The kids really liked the all-inclusive experience. We did have some trouble getting into places for dinner. When we checked in, they said all the places were booked up except one table at the French restaurant for the first night & nothing the second night. When we went to dinner the first night, there were plenty of open tables so we just showed up someplace the second night. They didn’t want to give us a table as they claimed they were booked but again there were open tables so they did end up letting us in. So that might be an improvement point for the hotel. The resort did not seem overly crowded - actually there was plenty of seating available at the pools during the day which was good!
The Springs property was beautiful. Our room was great - very large and fantastic view of the volcano. The only negative we had about the Springs was that the dining options were limited. We didn’t mind going to the same places each day but the menu was limited and remained the same each day.
We did do a couple excursions in Arenal. We did the Mistico Hanging Bridges - it was very pretty and not too far away. We did it as a guided tour which I’d highly recommend - our guide was very informative. At the Springs, we did two things at Club Rio. The first was a guided tour through their wildlife refuge. It ended up being just the 4 of us and our guide - only $10 a person and well worth it to see animals up close and personal. We also did the night walking tour - which was a cool way to see frogs/nightlife.
CATours was professional. Drivers were very quiet and didn’t point out much, but it was VERY nice not to drive - so glad we did that!
We went to La Fortuna for a few hours and ate at My Coffee - it was a cute, inexpensive place with a nice patio & some good local dishes.