Discover ACV's Costa Rica

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Day 4

ACV Dream Makers in Costa Rica

Agents Explore Villas Playa Samara and Occidental Tamarindo

with Vickie Sam Paget

On day three of the #ACVDreamMakers Mega FAM to Costa Rica—there’s no denying it—all the buzz was about the Canadian-owned four-star Villas Playa Samara.

The ACV team fool around on the beach with Canadian Villas Playa Samara owners, Louise and Philippe Brisson.

The ACV team with Villas Playa Samara owners Louise and Philippe Brisson.

Villas Playa Samara

Pankaj Dawda of Travel Edge was especially happy about the fact that the property is Canadian owned: “It’s an amazing property, but something that moved me was that it’s owned by Canadians, our fellow people,” he smiled. “That’s obviously a good motivation to book because we know what to expect from Canadian owners; they have the standards that we want. It’s my favourite property so far. I would send families and I think it’s more for the baby boomer than the millennials.”

Traditional dancers on the beach at Villas Playa Samara.

“I think this is a phenomenal property,” smiled Magdalena Debrowolska, a home-based agent for The Travel Net Inc. “And the fact that this is Canadian-owned is a big plus in my books. I love this property because it’s quaint and it’s intimate. This one may be at the top of my list.

“I think the Canadian owner made a very good move 25 years ago buying this property, because having beachfront access in Costa Rica is very rare to find. I will definitely support him and he will get my business.

Magdalena Debrowolska of The Travel Net Inc at Villas Playa Samara.

Ruth Walker, Halcyon Travel, Sharon Walker of Expedia CruiseShipCenters and Sophia Almeida of Century Travel Services enjoy an al fresco lunch at Villas Playa Samara.

“The highlight of the property is definitely the beach. The owner was also explaining that the island in the bay is now a reserve and he takes boats and runs excursions around it.”

Equally enthusiastic about the Villas Playa Samara was Kelly Burns of TPI - Kelly’s Travel and Tours: “It’s almost like they’ve taken a group of cottages and plunked them down in Costa Rica. The villas are very nicely decorated and it was very easy to walk around the resort. It has a very friendly, small, quaint feeling to it. And it had a gorgeous beach—that beach is a seller! It’s definitely worth upgrading to an ocean view.”

Ami Hisanaga of Centre Holidays and Kelly Burns of Kelly’s Travel and Tours enjoy a welcome drink at Villas Playa Samara.

Heather Rother of Sell Off Vacations, Jean Scott of Marlin Travel and Lynda Jeffery of G Stewart Travel Services enjoy an al fresco lunch at Villas Playa Samara.

Natalia Efimova and Yuen Ki Carol Cho of Aima enjoy a welcome drink at Villas Playa Samara.

Ami Hisanaga of Centre Holidays was struck by the resort’s atmosphere: “It has a real homely feel, so you can actually rest and make yourself at home here. The rooms aren’t anything fancy, but they are nice. And obviously the oceanfront room is amazing. The only thing that was missing, in my personal opinion, is a hammock on the balcony, because it’s so relaxing here!”

Also raving about Villas Playa Samara was Marigold Frontuna, ACV sales general manager for Western Canada: “It’s a hidden gem for sure,” she said. “You have to see it firsthand, because it’s really got the wow-factor. The Canadian owners who live on site—their personalities—they are a key selling feature for this property. Having them on site makes a big difference to clients.”

Villas Playa Samara's sales supervisor Alonzo Gazo and ACV's Marigold Frontuna on a site inspection of the grounds.

Occidental Tamarindo

Following an exquisite lunch on the beach at Villas Playa Samara, the agents were off for the final site inspection of the trip at the three-and-a-half star Occidental Tamarindo, where the beautifully landscaped gardens proved to be a big hit.

Connie Rowden of the Travel Agent Next Door and Zaleena Faulds of Maritime Travel Belleville explore the exquisite grounds at the Occidental Tamarindo.

Wilfred Saldanha of Centre Holidays and Sharon Walker of Expedia CruiseShipCenters explore the amazing gardens of the Occidental Tamarindo.

Agents soak up the sunset on the beach at the Occidental Tamarindo.

“The gardens are absolutely gorgeous,” explained Kelly Burns. “I find the rooms similar to a Holiday Inn and for a budget-type getaway, I think it’s a great option. The other benefit is that it’s close to town.”

Ami Hisanaga appreciated the lively atmosphere of the resort: “It could just be the time we’re visiting, but it’s the most vibrant property we have visited, because there are activities going on,” she smiled. “There were pool tables and live music and people were playing volleyball. I think it’s a good resort for people who are slightly younger who want to have a fun place to go that’s close to town.”

The fabulous farewell bash at Secrets Papagayo.

Then it was a bus journey back to Secrets Papagayo, a quick change of clothes and off to the beach for the finale dinner to celebrate our whirlwind trip of some truly impressive properties.

“This was just a quick taste of what this destination has to offer; we have barely scratched the surface of what this beautiful country has to offer,” summed up Marigold Frontuna. “I hope that we have inspired you over the last few days to come back and explore Costa Rica some more.

Pamela Copas of Stage and Screen, Lauren Barth of TravelOnly and Linda Ramprasad of Migrations Travel and Cruises at the big farewell bash at Secrets Papagayo.

“80 percent of our business comes from you guys—our B2B partners—so we recognize the value and support that you give us. We don’t want to compete for your business; we want to make sure that we’re bringing new customers to your door.”

“I hope you guys are excited because tonight is the night to let loose and show Costa Rica how much we love this destination,” Dianne Pedroso , ACV’s area sales manager, Toronto West & Northern Ontario, then coaxed the crowd. And with some good food, great music and an amazing firework display over the bay—all of the 136 travel agents in the crowd did not disappoint her!


QUIZ QUESTION - DAY 4: Where's Tina?

Contest is only open to registered Canadian travel agents.


Prize Details

This contest is now over.

15% Commission Redemption

Once you’ve responded correctly to all 5 “Where is Tina” questions, you will be receive a 15% commission form by email. In order to redeem the 15% commission, please fill out and return the form after making a Costa Rica booking. Commission will be adjusted once Air Canada Vacations confirms your file meets the below qualifications.

The 15% Commission is applicable on the below:

  • 15% commission valid per booking
  • Valid on bookings made Jan 24 to Feb 17, 2018
  • Valid on departures between Jan 24 to Oct 31, 2018
  • Valid on Air Canada Vacations Packaged Holidays to Costa Rica
  • Not valid on Group bookings
  • Not valid on Air or Land only files