Customer reviews: Walking in Latin America and the Caribbean
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our walking holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their walking holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their walking holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By Miss Black on 24/04/2017
Costa Rica is a fascinating country with great scenery and amazing wildlife. The weather involves some rain, even in the dry season and some walks were hot and humid, making them harder work than might be expected from the distance covered. On some of the longer walks there were shorter options available. The first days walk was the least interesting and maybe some of the local guides could suggest something better. The 2 boot grading seems right. Some transfers are long but are through interesting countryside and in any case, are unavoidable. Alain was a great driver and Guierlmo a good guide and fund of information. Between the 2 of them they made sure we saw lots of wildlife we wouldn't have spotted ourselves.
If you enjoy birds and wildlife as well as the walking, we would highly recommend this holiday.
By Mrs Shaw on 09/03/2017
Great way to see Costa Rica despite long days in minibus.Excellent variety of birds, flora and fauna with knowledgeable guides.
By Mr Patten on 09/03/2017
I am writing g this review whilst still on holiday.
I have been wanting to give this 4 starts but a series of issues has lead me to 2 stars only.
The flight and travel details have been fine together with the car rentals, except you need to be aware that on Martinique the hire is for 5 days exactly so do not late return.
The notes and walking information are ok to a point but not sufficiently honed. There are some errors and walking options are not particularly helpful as there is far more information available once looking at the interpretation panels. You can make much better use of each day by a bit of careful planning and this you will need to do due to the heat.
There is a substantial amount of driving, often 2 hours each day, in heavy traffic with roadworks. The roads are narrow and twisty. If you take a picnic, I mean who wants another hot meal at midday, you will need to allocate time to find a boulangerie and supermarket either the day before or early in the morning. And the French go manic in the morning driving everywhere and rushing to car park spaces.
The hotel on Martinique is just too upmarket. The rooms are really hot sheds of wood with no veranda and the shower is a minuscule corner of the toilet. The main evening meal does not start until 7.30pm and service is so slow you do not finish your meal Until 9.30pm. The menu is not varied and repeats after two days. It is very pretentious and the kitchen is not efficient. I did not like the cuisine and you barely were able to eat one of your 5 a day for dinner., whereas on Guadeloupe it is a totally different story. Lovely tropical tastes and efficient meals served. Homely attitude and comfortable rooms with large beds and decent shower.
You need to plan your day well since it becomes very hot in the afternoon between 12.00 and 15.00. This means early starts and relaxing at midday or being high up a mountain where it is cooler.
This is a good concept by Headwater but a better hotel on Martinique and a few more notes of advice would enable domestic and planning arrangements to go smoother.
By Sir Brooke on 28/11/2016
Bermuda is a delightful place and absolutely ideal in November: lovely climate, beautiful beaches, historic interest, luxuriant vegetation, helpful people, more British and Britain. There is even a Marks & Spencer. and an excellent hotel.
By Mr Brown on 18/11/2016
Bermuda is slightly off the beaten track, the air temperature is good for walking but also swimming etc. Bermudans are exremely friendly and not once did we feel threatened or have to stop people trying to sell us goods.
By Ms Kay on 13/06/2016
Bermuda is a first class holiday destination. Walking round much of the island is a great way to experience the culture of the island first hand. Headwater enabled us to do that.
By Mr McPoland on 18/05/2016
This holiday was promoted as a walking holiday, but in reality, the climate made walking difficult - temperature 32 Celcius, heavy rain most days and very humid. For people of average fitness, it proved tiring, so that we did more sightseeing, and particularly beach days (the beaches are excellent and uncrowded). It was also necessary to drive everywhere, which detracted somewhat from the experience. A gorgeous location, but not really suitable for the typical Headwater holiday maker.
By Mr Brownscombe on 27/04/2016
We had never been to the Caribbean before and found this a good introduction to find our way around. The days in Paris were enjoyable and got us in 'French mode'. We loved the vibrant colours, the warm weather and the lush vegetation of Guadaloupe and Martinique. The hotels on both the islands were good with friendly, helpful staff and really excellent meals. We especially appreciated the wonderful selection of fresh fruits and yoghurt at breakfast. We liked the fact that everything was French and almost all the other tourists were French which seemed to make it feel more exotic. The high points for us were walking in the rain forest, the visit to the ÃŽles des Saintes, the fantastic beaches, clear blue seas and great snorkelling. We did find there was a lot of driving and that the roads were sometimes very busy with traffic jams near the large towns. It might have been better to be based in two different places, especially on Guadaloupe.
By Mrs Goldsmith on 25/04/2016
Walking in the French Caribbean was a wonderful experience. You do need to be prepared for all weather conditions; mostly very hot and humid particularly when walking away from the coast, but also some huge downpours (a particularly wet, albeit very enjoyable, volcano walk!). The coastal sections were our favourites, with the warm Caribbean wind to cool us down a little.
The catering (both dinners and breakfasts) was superb at both Jardin Malanga and Plein Soleil; the latter was rather leisurely in style. Claire at Jardin Malanga was a charming hostess.
We had a room upgrade at Plein Soleil; it was well worth it to have the terrace and plunge pool.
Both of our hire cars were small which was good for parking etc. but the hilly terrain could make them struggle rather! The access road to Plein Soleil was incredibly potholed and difficult to drive along.
By Mr Dane on 25/04/2016
We had a great holiday, because of the varied landscape, brilliant beaches, cultural mix and food. Also the welcome and service at Jardin Malanga made the stay in Guadeloupe really special. We loved the Caribbean but we are not sure a walking holiday at the time of year we went was the best thing for us. The temperature in Martinque ranged from 28-31degrees. We were always up by 7:30 having breakfast and out before 9o'clock....but by the time we drove to our allotted destination and embarked on a 9km walk, we ended up walking in the blazing midday sun, often up a steep incline which was just not enjoyable.
Guadeloupe had torrential rain as well as heat, and although you can't control the weather,we were ill prepared for the rain, especially stuck on the side of a volcano 300m from its rim. We spent most of our Guadeloupe stay driving north or east to get out of the mountain range with its rain!
By Mr Cameron on 06/04/2016
Varied and interesting trip with excellent driver and enthusiastic and knowledgable guide
By Mr Moore on 29/03/2016
Excellent for seeing wildlife. Local guide Erika and driver Rono greatly enhanced this holiday with their expertise and knowledge- a lucky combination as Rono was a wildlife enthusiast himself. Some of the walks were not '2 boots' however heat especially during the latter part of the holiday dictated length of walks. Most of the hotels were very good/excellent and those which were not of the same standard compensated by location. Excellent boat trip and night walk which were highlights.
By Mrs Wallace on 29/03/2016
Really enjoyed holiday in Bermuda. Beautiful island. Excellent walks. It is an EXPENSIVE destination, and therefore (for us) Special, But we don't regard Coco Reef as meeting 'special'. Fabulous location, but it's a bit tired, could do with freshening up, and no apparent sign of management involvement- maybe that's the Bermudian way? Furthermore its close to a Bermuda College, and during our stay a group of students were also resident, who although decent kids, kept different hours to us, and on 2 occasions kept us awake into the early hours. I don't think hotel management is doing itself any favours by mixing them with holidaying guests.
Restaurant food excellent, but menu needs regular update, a bit 'samey'after a week.
Dear Mrs Wallace,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday feedback and for your constructive comments. It was great to see you enjoyed your holiday overall. We were however sorry to read there were areas within the hotel that did not meet with your expectations. Firstly, we can advise there is a new Hotel Manager in place; she has already made noticeable improvements to the feel of the hotel and is keen to work with us to ensure our customers have a great holiday. The latest customer feedback is positive and a good reflection of the improvements she is making.
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing Headwater and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mrs Rome on 21/03/2016
Overall very good, only minor improvements needed on mid day meals- not needed when travelling for prolonged time-could be more snack based when having a three course evening meal.
By Ms Freeman on 04/02/2016
Although flights were arduous with 4-hour stopover in US, on the whole flights were good. Costa Rica is a fantastic place and our guide Pedro was so enthusiastic about the country and wildlife and very interesting on political and historical details which greatly enhanced our experience. We travelled in a small (4) group which although initially I was doubtful about, in fact worked out well. The driver of the bus was very good and we got to places in comfort and in promptly. The walking was fantastic. Some walks were quite arduous but not impossibly so and always very interesting. Highlights for me were the night walk in the forest near Cebadilla and the boat trip through the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. The final hotel at the beach at Playa Hermosa was a wonderful end to the holiday.
By Mr Kerry on 04/02/2016
The guide was very good at getting us to places when there was no one else around which made things more exclusive. In addition it was our idea before we went to have the boat trip at Cano Negro in the afternoon which was a great success. We had the river to ourselves, saw 23 different types of bird and even the guide saw things she had never seen before, like howler monkeys on the ground.
By Mr Whitley on 04/02/2016
Costa Rica is a fantastic country for wildlife and fauna, however doing a walking holiday there may not be the best option if you are going primarily for the flora and fauna. Getting there and back is painful going via the USA; if BA bring in a direct route from LHR then that will be much the best option.
The people are lovely, and our guide (Erika) was always smiling and very helpful.
By Mrs Longfoot on 07/12/2015
A beautiful country, lots of wildlife and lush countryside.
By Mr Marsh on 27/11/2015
Bermuda is friendly, beautiful and relaxing. We followed all walks but one and wished we had had longer to do more (the walks didn't leave enough time for visiting museums etc). Coco Reef was a lovely place to stay.
By Mr Beck on 17/06/2015
Thank you, Headwater: we would never have thought of visiting Bermuda if your brochure had not suggested it as a base for a walking holiday, and we would have missed a treat. A delightful destination, with friendly and helpful people, a comfortable hotel in an attractive beach-side setting, some lovely walks along the old railway trail and the stunning coastline, and a range of places to visit and learn about Bermuda's fascinating history, customs and society.
The accessibility of all parts of the island and its excellent (and entertaining) bus and ferry service make it easy to 'pick and mix' elements of the recommended walking routes. We made full use of this flexibility so we could spend time in some of the museums and historic houses that help bring Bermuda's rich history and culture to life, as well as exploring the various nature reserves that feature in some of the walks.
Highly recommended (and we found May a perfect time to go - warmth and stunning flora).
By Mrs Little on 17/06/2015
Generally very good.
By Mrs Bishop on 21/05/2015
Beautiful location, average breakfasts, excellent evening meals although limited menu.
By Dr Garwood on 08/05/2015
Overall a very interesting and excellent holiday. Beautiful country with varied scenery and an amazing variety of wildlife. Very well looked after by our excellent guide Jorge Arias and driver Suri Herrera. They both ensured that it was an excellent holiday and nothing was too much trouble for them. Although the Bosque del Mar was excellent we would have preferred another day walking or staying on a nature reserve rather than a day on the beach.
By Mrs Greenhill on 29/04/2015
Walking in Bermuda was described well in the brochure and ideal for those of us who don't want a sun/beach /pool holiday. The bus/ferry service was excellent for getting around either before walking or after, we sometimes split the walk over 2 days as we stayed an extra 3 days and decided that to go to the end point (often a sightseeing place) and walk back, rather than start by walking. Everyone was very friendly and willing to show us the way if we were unsure. The maps and the guide notes were good. We added in going on the glass bottom boat and swimmimg with the dolphins as extras but readily available.
By Mrs Conaghan on 02/04/2015
We really enjoyed our holiday with you. We didn't meet our rep which was unfortunate ( he was unwell) . I had hoped that he may contact us later in the week. We followed all the walks which we enjoyed. We both thought that the Island was rather more suburban than rural. Really enjoyed the bus trips and Bermuda.
By Mr Steinbock on 11/03/2015
Lovely island with great walks. Eating and drinking out can be expensive
By Mr Walker on 03/03/2015
Bermuda was excellent
Costa Rica was a rushed experience rather than a holiday; there was too much road walking!
We were disappointed with the Flora content
By Mrs Spencer on 26/02/2015
Recommend how wet and cold it can be in Costa Rica in the 'rain forest in February!! Didn't expect the level of cold and damp and should have taken warmer clothes.
By Mrs Hills on 13/02/2015
The walking aspect of the holiday was great but the Coco Reef was a disappointment. The hotel needs to be refurbished and better maintained and the main hotel receptionist who was on duty during our stay was disinterested to the point of rudeness. Bermuda in the winter is an ideal walking holiday destination, but visitors need to be ready for a virtually empty hotel with a skeleton staff.
Dear Mrs Hills,
Thank you for taking the time to provide your post-holiday feedback, it was great to see that you enjoyed the walking aspect of your holiday. Although, we were surprised to read of your disappointment with the Coco Reef. Ordinarily this hotel receives positive feedback. However, we realise that we cannot afford to let our high standards of accommodation and service slip, and have discussed your feedback with the hotel manager. He would like to offer an apology for the poor service you felt you received from the reception staff, and assures us this will be addressed immediately. There are also plans in the pipeline to replace the soft furnishings in the rooms and public areas. Whilst we realise this does not impact on your holiday, we hope that it goes some way to show we take the feedback we receive seriously.
We would like to thank you for travelling with Headwater this summer and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater customer service team
By Mr Schafer on 09/02/2015
Wonderful trip with excellent opportunities for wildlife sightings on hikes across several different ecosystems
Our guide Perdro was excellent! He had an uncanny ability to spot and identify wildlife that we would have otherwise never seen. Pedro has an in depth knowledge of the varied species that inhabit the different ecosystems we were able to visit, He allowed us time to observe the habits of the wide variety wildlife we encountered. On multiple mornings he offered pre breakfast bird watching walks around the hotel grounds. He educated us about the history of Costa Rica in an informative and engaging manner. Our driver Walter provided us with safe, reassuring transportation while working with Pedro to help spot wildlife along the routes. Walter also prepared several wonderful picnic lunches/snack breaks. He had a good working knowledge of English and was eager to learn and practice.
The hiking was varied and interesting traversing forest trails, dirt tracks and paved roads. The two boot rating seemed accurate as there was some elevation change incurred several of the hikes. The use of local guides on the Monte de Barva, Arenal Night hike, and Cano Negro boat tour enhanced the overall experience and the extra set of eyes allowed for additional wildlife sightings.
As described in the program literature, several of the hikes involve long transfers, but they were scenic drives through the countryside/small towns.
We were able to photograph over 100 different animals including 80+ species of birds.
Make sure you bring your binoculars!
The Hotels and Meals
With the exception of the Canon de la Vieja lodge the hotels and meals were wonderful. Lodging at Canon de la Vieja was more basic and the meals there were uninspired buffets. The other hotels were well appointed with a breakfast buffet and excellent dinners ordered from a menu. Beers averaged about $3. Wifi was available but slow/spotty in the rooms. All the hotels had wonderfully landscaped ground with a fair amount of wildlife. A torch/flashlight is advisable for returning to your room after dinner
By Mr Neininger on 31/12/2014
I can put in one word GO It`s worth it
By Mr Pittam on 27/10/2014
Bermuda was an excellent choice for a walking holiday & Coco Reef a great hotel. The food was better than our expectation. Walking was very easy just unfortunate that the storms had blocked the Railway Trail & paths. Just very unfortunate to have 2 storms hit within one week but cannot fault the care , help & advice given to us by Headwater - esp Lisa - & Tim who arranged taxi to airport etc
By Mr Stather on 04/06/2014
May is a good time to go for wildlife - and weather not too hot
By Dr Harrison on 01/06/2014
Walks were slightly different to those in brochure, not a problem, but needs up dating. Very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. Bermudan people are extremely friendly and helpful, why can't we all be like that? Buses and ferries very reliable.
Hotel looked a bit dated and the food was poor on Tues and Thurs - Island and Buffet night, so we went out as had read the headwater previous visitors book comments. Other nights the food was fantastic. Beach is rather small could be busy at peak times. Ran out of towels on 2 occasions. Can be very busy when the cruise ships are in.
Overall, the walks were longer than advertised but very enjoyable. We had a great time. Lovely way to see Bermuda and some bits that others may not get too - Coopers Island.
By Mr Wright on 19/03/2014
Walking pretty much as described, care needs to be taken on switching from rail track to road and vice versa… Avoid multiple bus changes at weekends as they run less frequently. The hotel has large parties of sporty types out of season, try to find out if any are there while you plan to stay, if there are, don't book. They are loud, boorish and their behaviour is totally unacceptable. Don’t expect the shop to be open out of season. Do take the ferries, though only one runs out of season. Do explore apart from your route notes, there are many other nature reserves to visit and also ramble around headlands, Simson's island particularly rewarding. The friendliness of the local people and the great hotel staff contribute to making this a really special destination and the stunning scenery everywhere is overwhelming.
By Mr Tuffill on 21/02/2014
The walking is pretty good but it especially suited us because there are good places to visit including the Aquarium, the Underwater Exploration Institute, the Museum at the Dockyard and the town of St George. The food at the hotel was very good quality and value as was the combined bus/ferry ticket which takes you everywhere on the islands. You can minimise the waiting times for the transport with some careful pre-planning. And you can walk straight from the hotel onto the sandy beach and swim in the warm ocean, even in February.
By Mr Kirby on 09/11/2013
We found the route notes were a times lacking in information, distances from one point to the next for example, and at others over complicated when there was a perfectly good way mark to guide us. The hotel was excellent, very friendly, the food was very good, I did not repeat a dinner main course selection in the 11 days we were there!
By Mrs Howells on 07/11/2013
Walking is a great way to see a country, and Headwater provides a good service for doing so.
By Mr Fisher on 24/11/2012
The hotel has lovely beach front location and excellent food. Enjoyable, safe and mainly level walking with lots to see and do. Easy access to buses and ferries. Bermuda is a delight!
By Mrs James on 05/05/2012
A lovely island with friendly people. The bus passes worked well but it was a shame that quite a lot of the walking was on road.
By Mrs Kingston on 08/03/2012
Most enjoyable way to discover this island
By Mrs Owen-jones on 10/02/2012
Good restful break. Rather quiet as off season -we were alone in the restaurant at times
By Mrs Westall on 00/00/0000
A very good holiday but in all honesty Bermuda is not really a walking destination. Once you accept that this is really a sight seeing holiday on foot and that most of the walking will be on roads it's fine. Fabulous coast and beaches and excellent accommodation.