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Using JJ for a tour?

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I booked JJ in January for $45 pp. I e-mailed him this week to confirm:( and he quoted $55 pp. I copied his original message and asked him why the price increase and have not heard back from him. We leave Monday on JOS and I am a bit worried and may try to book with someone else.

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[quote name='Loucat']I booked JJ in January for $45 pp. I e-mailed him this week to confirm:( and he quoted $55 pp. I copied his original message and asked him why the price increase and have not heard back from him. We leave Monday on JOS and I am a bit worried and may try to book with someone else.[/quote]


We ran into the price increase with JJ as well and I'm sure his tour is fantastic and we would have had a great time, but were a bit surprised when he increased the cost (and our tour was a bigger increase then $10 :() We decided to go with another tour company that kept to their original price and options throughout our month plus communications.

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Since I did not hear back from JJ about the price increase ( it is more principle than the $10 pp), I cancelled him by e-mail and booked with another agent.

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[quote name='Loucat'] ( it is more principle than the $10 pp)[/quote]

Absolutely - I completely agree. It wasn't how much he increased it on us, it was just the fact he did that made us skeptical about the whole thing.

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My group cruised the Carnival Miracle a couple of weeks ago and used JJ Tours. We had a fabulous day that was well worth the $45. Initially however, we did have a little mixup with meeting him at the pier. Through emails JJ told us he would meet us as soon as we could get off the ship. Our ship docked Costa Rica and was cleared approximately 7 am (ship time). In emails we had agreed on a meeting of around 7 am. However, we did not take into account that Costa Rica is 2 hours behind ship time. Therefore, we docked at 5 am local time. Well we got off and walked through the terminal area to the red/green building where we were supposed to meet. We waited approximately one hour until almost 8 ship time. No JJ. We were getting concerned so we went inside the gated area again and tried to book another tour. We almost did when we saw JJ with a sign. So after that initial confusion we started our private tour. There was 4 of us and JJ. We started at Tortuguero canals. We were there before most tours started so it was like being on the canal by ourselves. It was great. We saw many birds, lizards and a baby croc. From there we wanted to see a sloth but it was too far to go to the sloth sanctuary so JJ substituted a nearby animal rescue. We saw a sloth, peacocks, toucans, macaws, road runners, etc. From there we went to the DelMonte banana plantation and then a local fruit stand. From there we stopped at Playa Bonita for a quick beer and then to a local grocery store for coffee and vanilla. We were then dropped off at the pier for shopping in the local craft/flea market. The tour lasted approximately 5 hours or so. Overall the tour was awesome! JJ was very informative and I agree that he will stop and show you many plants and flowers and give you a mini lecture on its purposes. We learned about hearts of palm, lemongrass, cocoa beans, oregano, etc. JJ is a fun guy who tries to make sure that everyone is having a good time. He is informative and just so likeable. I would highly recommend JJ tours with the slight exception of the miscommunicaiton of meeting place/time. This was one of the best private tours my group has ever taken and we generally book private tours on our cruises.

Mary

Carnival Victory
Carnival Legend
Carnival Legend
Carnival Conquest
Carnival Triumph
Carnival Miracle

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[quote name='marydz']My group cruised the Carnival Miracle a couple of weeks ago and used JJ Tours. We had a fabulous day that was well worth the $45. Initially however, we did have a little mixup with meeting him at the pier. Through emails JJ told us he would meet us as soon as we could get off the ship. Our ship docked Costa Rica and was cleared approximately 7 am (ship time). In emails we had agreed on a meeting of around 7 am. However, we did not take into account that Costa Rica is 2 hours behind ship time. Therefore, we docked at 5 am local time. Well we got off and walked through the terminal area to the red/green building where we were supposed to meet. We waited approximately one hour until almost 8 ship time. No JJ. We were getting concerned so we went inside the gated area again and tried to book another tour. We almost did when we saw JJ with a sign. So after that initial confusion we started our private tour. There was 4 of us and JJ. We started at Tortuguero canals. We were there before most tours started so it was like being on the canal by ourselves. It was great. We saw many birds, lizards and a baby croc. From there we wanted to see a sloth but it was too far to go to the sloth sanctuary so JJ substituted a nearby animal rescue. We saw a sloth, peacocks, toucans, macaws, road runners, etc. From there we went to the DelMonte banana plantation and then a local fruit stand. From there we stopped at Playa Bonita for a quick beer and then to a local grocery store for coffee and vanilla. We were then dropped off at the pier for shopping in the local craft/flea market. The tour lasted approximately 5 hours or so. Overall the tour was awesome! JJ was very informative and I agree that he will stop and show you many plants and flowers and give you a mini lecture on its purposes. We learned about hearts of palm, lemongrass, cocoa beans, oregano, etc. JJ is a fun guy who tries to make sure that everyone is having a good time. He is informative and just so likeable. I would highly recommend JJ tours with the slight exception of the miscommunicaiton of meeting place/time. This was one of the best private tours my group has ever taken and we generally book private tours on our cruises.

Mary

Carnival Victory
Carnival Legend
Carnival Legend
Carnival Conquest
Carnival Triumph
Carnival Miracle[/quote]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=magenta]I love sloths. We saw one in Colombia and I loved it. It was the cutest thing ever. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

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Good point about the construction traffic. We were in Port Limon & there was construction traffic there as well. Just makes you want to make sure that you leave yourself enough time to get back to the ship.

Don't know what to say about the increase in the excursion. I agree that it is more the principle of it than the money. I did kind of wonder why the additional cost for the sloth sanc wasn't mentioned earlier for our tour. Of course we ran out of time so that became a non issue.

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We just returned from our cruise and used JJ as our guide. He was great. JJ was at the end of the dock with a sign that said JJ and we had no problem meeting up with him. We did the zip line, canal boat ride, fruit stand, banana plantation (although it was closed because of an Easter holy day) the grocery store, etc. JJ was very informative about native plants and what can be used to cure what, etc. We really enjoyed all aspects of the tour. He also made a point to include our kids in conversations and relocated in the van so that our daughter could sit up front and take pictures. He was very aware of the time and we were back to our cruise ship in plenty of time.
I hope you enjoy him as much as we did! Have fun.

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Took me a while to get back on here and post, but we spent the day on March 6 with JJ out of Puerto Limon. We were on HAL's Zuiderdam -- HAL changes ship time to match port time (I had verified this ahead of time), so we didn't have any scheduling snafus.

Background info, our party consisted of my family (DH and myself in our late 30s, DD almost 10, and DS almost 5) plus 4 adult friends, all in their 50s.

Below is an excerpt about our day with JJ from a longer journal of our whole cruise. If you're interested, you can read the [URL="http://www.duke.edu/%7Ejkfnoor/2009%20Zuiderdam%20trip.pdf"]whole thing[/URL], which includes a lot of pictures, but is [B][I]really [/I][/B]long..

Based on recommendation on the CC Costa Rica board, I’d arranged a tour with JJ – one of the best decisions I made planning this trip!! He was right at the end of the pier waiting for us when we disembarked (with an umbrella for us, since it was raining some). There were eight of us in our group (6 adults and 2 children, all friends and friends of friends of ours, nobody who’d scheduled with JJ separately from us) and we had JJ, his driver, and his air conditioned van to ourselves for the whole day. JJ was great about spending the time we were driving telling us about his country and answering any questions we had. His father was American and he spent some time in the US as a child, so his spoken English is excellent. He also has a bunch of kids of his own (five, I think) that span the ages of mine, so he was great with the kids and understanding of their needs.
We could have gone to a banana plantation first, but voted not to since we didn’t think the kids would be that interested and we wanted to get to the ziplining place as early as possible. The kids then decided that they [B][I]wanted[/I][/B] to see the banana plantation – doesn’t it just figure – so we planned to try and fit it in later. So, our first stop was [URL="http://www.brisasdelajungla.com/home.htm"]Brisas de la Jungla[/URL] for ziplining. Everybody in our party ziplined except for one of the adults– yes, even DS! Both kids had watched YouTube videos of zipling at Brisas de la Jungla before the trip and really wanted to try it. I’d told them that DS would definitely and DD might have to go in tandem with one of the guides, and they were OK with that. It turned out that DD was able to go independently, which thrilled her. DS loved the guide that he went with. It was pouring rain most of the time we were out, but we still a blast (DD and DS both really loved it – both have said it was their favorite part of the whole cruise!). We just kept reminding ourselves that it’s called the [B][I]rain[/I][/B]forest for a reason! Since we were completely soaked, we did get pretty cold, but a couple members of our party had actually thought to bring beach towels, so after a little drying off while we ate the fresh fruit at the end of the course, we were fine. We didn’t want the AC on in the van, though!
From Brisas de la Jungla, we headed to the Tortuguero canals. JJ checked out the boats available and made arrangements for one to take us out. We had a nice ride down the river/canal (the weather cooperated by not raining while we were out) and were able to see sloths, howler monkys, and a Jesus Christ lizard. We also stopped at a house along the bank where a boy was keeping a baby alligator that we were able to hold.
Once we back in the van, JJ gave us the choice of going to lunch or to the animal sanctuary. We were all pretty hungry, so we decided to eat lunch first. He took us to a little place on the beach with an awesome view of the impressive surf. DD got a fresh green coconut to drink – still in the coconut! She also got a grasshopper that a boy wove out of a palm frond. All eight of us got more food than we could eat, as well as a couple beers, for less than $50. While there were some other tourists there, it wasn’t crowded and had the feel of a local place.
After lunch, we went to the animal sanctuary where we held and fed a macaw, fed and pet a sloth (she loved eating banana peel – go figure!). There were also lots of other parrots and other assorted birds to see. The lady who operates the sanctuary sometimes has baby sloths or monkeys that can sometimes be held, but not the day we were there. This stop was for the kids (DD had seen pictures of it and [B][I]really[/I][/B] wanted to go, so I surprised her by arranging this stop), but the adults had fun, too.
We then made a quick stop at a grocery store for coffee and vanilla and another at a little hole in the wall market for homemade banana vinegar (JJ was telling us that he liked to cook with it and we were so interested he offered to stop at a place that sold it -- $1 for about a quart). I stayed in the van at the grocery store because DS was asleep in my lap, but DH and DD ran in and got some coconut cookies as well as coffee and vanilla.

Then we went back to the pier – there was probably time for us to go to the banana plantation before we sailed, but one of our friends was scheduled to give a talk right at sail away and he understandably wanted time to shower and rest a bit beforehand, so we called it a day. My family did stop at the booths right across the parking lot from the pier (inside port security) to pick up some cheesy souvenirs (postcards, key chains, magnets). Edited by ncmomof2

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[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=magenta]Good to hear you have had a good tour with JJ. Sounds great. I hope to go to Limon next time. I think Punta Areanas is not as good. No sloths. I love sloths. I wish I could have one.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

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We just got back from the most wonderful tour ever with JJ. We arrived in Puerto Limon the morning of April 10. JJ was waiting at the pier for us. Apparently there was another group who hadn't made a reservation who arrived before us and tried to pretend that they were who he was waiting for. Luckily, JJ knew we were coming, so he waited for us. We had just the four of us (my husband, myself, and our two sons, ages 7 and 9) and JJ and a driver. It was my son's 7th birthday that day, so we wanted to make it a great day. It was better than we even could imagine. We had already told JJ what we wanted to do, so once we met, we were on our way. JJ has five children of his own, so he really knows how to keep the kids interested. We were on our way to the first step when JJ had the driver pull over to the side of the road. There, on a fencepost, was an eyelash viper. Needless to say, our boys were ectastic. Above us were two sloths in the trees. It was incredible. Then we went to a fruitstand where JJ introduced us to all sorts of fruit. We even got to drink fresh coconut milk right out of the coconut. JJ took the time to explain everything to us. We all loved it. Then we went to the Del Monte banana plantation, which was really interested. Because it was a Holy Day, there was no production going on. JJ still took us in and explained the process to us. Then we went to the T. Canal where JJ arranged our own boat to take us through. We saw all sorts of stuff including sloths and iguanas. Very nice. Then we stopped at a house where the boys could hold a baby crocodile. Then we went to the animal rescue up the road and were able to feed a sloth. We also saw all kinds of birds. It was wonderful. Then we stopped at lunch at Playa Bonita. The food was excellent, but the service was a little slow. I started getting worried about time because we still wanted to go on the zipline. After lunch we went to Jungle Breezes. Because we had waited until after lunch, per JJ's suggestion, all the other tourists were gone and we had the place to ourselves. All four of us went, and wow, what an experience. Our 7 year old had to have a guide with him on only two platforms, and other than that, we were all able to do it on our own. It was really amazing. Then, we headed back to the boat and even had time to go shopping quickly before boarding.

This tour was by far the highlight of our 10 night cruise. We all loved it and can't wait to go back. We will absolutely use JJ again. We loved him!

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Has anyone done a tour with just 2 people with JJ. I have a tour booked with him for my wife and myself in. In all of his emails he keeps asking for me to find more people to join our group. I'm fine with other people joining us but I'm not going out of my way to find these other people. That's really not my job. I'm fine with telling others if it comes up but I'm not going to sell his tours for him. I'm just worried at this point he may say it's not worth giving a tour for the 2 of us. Leaving us stranded at the port we are most excited about. Anyone have any experience in this.

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[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=magenta]I think it's because of overhead costs. I used him, but we were a party of 8. I would make a post on your roll call and see if anyone wants to join you. That would be easy. I do agree that it's not your job to "sell" his tours. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#ff00ff]JJ is fairly new at this business so I think he hasn't quite learned the ropes. He worked for a big tour company before. He does know the area well. We were on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#ff00ff]It would not be in his better interest to leave you stranded. Word of mouth goes a long way.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#ff00ff]Good luck to you. Keep us informed.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

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We did jj tours in april....LET me tell if someone says that they never showed up THAT IS WRONG... when we were on the pier with him there was a couple who never showed up nad he waited at least half an hour past our time. Don't froget that these tour operators are not allowed onto the pier with the ship sponsored tours, so sometimes you have to look.

HAVING SAID THAT:
Claudia was our guide and she was great.
we did the banana plantation
river cruise
zip lining
beach and lunch (at a great beach and restaraunt)

DON"T worry about JJ tours ...they are very good, I would say the best that we have ever used and they will show up...
HAVE FUN

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