TESTIMONIALS:  Costa Rica Tour & Play


The tour organizers, Tony and Celeste Horpel live in Costa Rica and organize tours for the passionate pickleball player. Our tour included the “real” Costa Rica meaning we experienced a variety of things locals enjoy off the tourist “path”: We interacted with monkeys, iguanas and saw crocodiles, jungle cats, coatis, numerous tropical birds including toucans, macaws and parrots; hammocked on a desolate beach; and played pickleball in San Ramon’s salon communidad with tour goers and locals alike.

It was another pickleball adventure in the wonderful world we share – the awesome thing is wherever you go pickleball players are so similar. They were welcoming, eager to share their little piece of heaven, smile a lot and just want to play pickleball. The tour goers who we got to spend the week with were great! We shared some awesome sights, fabulous pickleball and hearty laughs. I recommend meeting up with Tony and Celeste to get both your Costa Rica culture and pickleball fix.  See their Facebook Page @pickleballcostarica.   

Jennifer Lucore,  17 time National Pickleball Champion, San Diego, CA. To see her entire review, go to www.allpickleball.com/jennifersblog/pickleball-in-costa-rica


Thanks so much!!! We all had an awesome time!!! So many wonderful memories with these new pickler friends in Costa Rica. Tony and Celeste introduced us to the real Costa Rica!!!    

Beverly Youngren,from Google Survey         USAPA Ambassador, San Diego, CA. 


I just want to thank you for our tour of Costa Rica. I thought you both did a fantastic job. We really appreciated being able to tour Costa Rica through the eyes of a local couple. We have been telling everyone in our area how great it was and encouraging them to go.  It was fabulous to meet you both. Thanks so much!!! We all had an awesome time!!! So many wonderful memories with these wild and crazy picklers in Costa Rica. Tony and Celeste introduced us to the real costa rica!!!   

Laura Schwarz  from Google Survey


Tony and Celeste were awesome hosts. They were constantly trying to make sure we were comfortable and enjoying ourselves. I liked that meals were included in the price of the tour. The dinners at Andy and Susan’s house were amazing. Seeing the house was a treat. I loved the pickleball instruction by Jennifer Lucore and her dad, Bob Youngren. I would definitely consider going back again.
This was sooooo much fun!    

Jacque Smith from Google Survey


I had a great time and improved my game. Also learned much about the country. All of the tour stops were outstanding. I would like to have played a little more.  

“Anonymous” from Google Survey


I think you guys did a really great job. Really loved Andy and Nancy place and their wonderful hospitality. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience. Loved Costa Rica.

“Anonymous” from Google Survey


What a great tour – it was a great mix of pickleball and getting to know Costa Rica. 

“Anonymous” from Google Survey


So happy I was a part of the very first pickleball tour in Costa Rica. Good luck on your next one. Our group will always be the best. 

“Anonymous” from Google Survey


Tony and Celeste, 

All the excursions were wonderful! They felt personal and the right amount of time to still play Pickleball before or after the excursions. The resort you took us to is a great place to go. Very Costa Rican environment in an All inclusive venue and I loved the monkeys, iguanas and racoons! There were many other extracurricular things to do for non-Pickleball playing partners. Playing with the locals at John's bi-level Pickleball was great!  Andy's meal! Yummy!!! Andy's house! What a touch of class and friendliness. Loved it!  My host and hostess!  You have got to have a trained iguana that you can pick up so we can take pics!  Monkey Beach!           

Carlos Annich via email.      USAPA Ambassador,  Columbia, South Carolina.


Tony and Celeste, Thank you so much for hosting us on our wonderful trip to Costa Rica through Pickleball Costa Rica.  We thoroughly enjoyed it and eagerly look forward to returning.  A highlight of our trip was the beautiful Punta Leona Resort.  There was so much to do, including the daily pickleball, which would have been impossible without you.  The resort had it all, including beautiful pools and beaches, outstanding food and drink, music and dancing, comfortable accomodations, and fascinating side trip opportunities. 

It is so comforting and relaxing to know that everything is taken care of with tour leaders who have great local knowledge and a fluent command of the local Spanish language.  We felt completely safe and secure. 

There is so much to see and do, whether or not you play pickleball.  The local flora and fauna, the incredible sunsets, and the friendly people made for an unforgettable vacation. We loved it.

Larry and Teresa Amick  via email    BOTH are USAPA  Ambassadors, Fishers, Indiana

 Claudia Fontana, clinic coach. (results from Google Survey); 

  She was happy with the amount of pickleball play and the amount of tours we went on and liked playing at the beach and the cool of the highlands in San Ramon.  She enjoyed every place we took the group to, and liked the amount of time we played pickleball during the tour.  She commented that the people of Costa Rica were wonderful and friendly, as were Tony and Celeste.   We received a 5 out of 5 in Satisfaction with the tour. 

 Yovanna F.  (from email)  It was a great trip.  The country of Costa rica is breathtaking and the hospitality of the "Ticos" is exceptional.  The food is delicious.  Thank you Tony and Celeste for organizing an unforgettable trip and experiencing the "real" Costa Rica.  You two did a great job of organizing and showing us around.  Thank you, also, to Claudia Fontana for your great teaching and drills.  Costa Rica has always been on my list to visit especially with my boys' dad being a "Tico".  We had such a wonderful group of people to experience the trip with.  God gives us different talents and the opportunity to love on others.  I look forward to seeing the photos and the video of our trip and will keep in mind about a future trip.  Blessings to you both until we meet again.  PURA VIDA!!!

 Kathleen T.   (from email.) Hi Tony and Celeste

I had a lot of fun and feel I made some new friends!  I guess I shouldn't be surprised since us pickleballers are a friendly bunch.  It was wonderful to visit another country I've not been to and have heard a lot about.  It was a great experience and I really enjoyed myself getting to know you both and the others on the trip.  I wish you all the best and hopefully our paths will cross again sometime in the future.       

 .Shirley.   (from email)

We had a great time and enjoyed our trip from a picklebal and a Costa Rica point of view.  Our lives are enriched for having the time we spent together.  Hugs to you.

Shirley K. (From Survey):

 She was happy with the amount of play and the amount of tours we took and liked both the beach and the cool weather of the highlands of San Ramon, playing pickleball in both places.  She liked every place we took our group.  Gave the trip a 4 out of 5 for tour satisfaction on our survey.    

 Karen R. (from email)

  Thank you once again for the lovely time we had together in Costa Rica.  It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the activities you planned for us.

 Robert R.  (from email)

 We had a wonderful trip.  Costa Rica is a beautiful country and I thought we had a great group of people.  You both were perfect hosts.  (from email)

(from Google survey)  He gave us a 5 ourt of 5 for satisfaction on the entire tour.  Satisfied with the amount of pickleball play and the amount of tours and liked playing at both the beach and the cool highlands of San Ramon.  He was satisfied with all of the places we took the group. 

 Jane C. (from email) 

Tony and Celeste,

I really enjoyed the trip...such a great group of people!  I enjoyed the tours in San Ramon.  They really gave you the flavor of Costa Rica.  I liked having two different hotels..one in the rain forest and one in the cool mountains.  I would not have missed the tours in San Ramon...so much fun. 

(from Google Survey)  Jane was happy with the amount of both pickleball play and touring, and liked staying at both the beach and the cool of the central highlands in San Ramon.  There was one dinner house she didn't really care for.  She gave us a score of 4 out of 5 for tour satisfaction.

   Charissa U. (from Google Survey) 

As I was uploading my photos from my phone to computer today, I was thinking about how blessed we all were to have experienced all we did last week in Costa Rica.  What an amazing week!  Great hosts, instructor, and pickleball friends.  Costa Rica is a tropical paradise.  Thanks again for all of your preparation and planning and your passion for pickleball.  Nancy and I had a blast.

 (from email)

Having done the trip, if she were to do it again, she would want more pickleball play..as much as possible and staying the cool highlands of San Ramon the entire time. She liked evry place we brought our group, but preferred to have a bigger bus.  Her comment to us was, "You two are so hospitable and tried to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable experience.  I especially enjoyed the dinner at Andy and Nancy's Hacienda, the butterfly visit, monkey beach, and the coffee farm. (warn people to wear the right shoes)"  Charissa gave a 4 our of 5 score for tour satisfaction.   

 Laurel M.  (from Facebook)

 I made some AWESOME new friends, had incredible pickleball instruction from Claudia Fontana, stayed in the rainforest in Punta Leona, visited the cool highlands of San Ramon where we played with the residents of Costa Rica and took tours of a butterfly farm, a coffee farm, fed monkeys, visited an animal rescue, watched sugar can juice get squeezed, and drank some great coffee..PHEW!  And so much more. PURA VIDA!  

(From Google survey)

She gave us a 5 out of  5 for satisfaction on the tour and was happy with the amount of pickleball play and the touring we did.  She liked every places we took the group.  Her comment about the tour was, "I really had a nice time.  The bus could have been larger, however."        

Julie (from Google Survey)

She would prefer a lot more pickleball if she were to do it again and suggested that a "pickleball boot camp" would be preferable and would want to stay the entire time at the beach. Allover feedback on the tour was,"Better accomodations, more free time, and less shuttle time."  She gave a score of 3 out of 5 for satisfation of the tour.  (This was not listed as a "Boot Camp" on the website.  Claudia was advertised to do "clinics").

Kathleen T. and Shirley K. (from email)

Dear Celeste and Tony,  The tour was wonderful!  We really like the beaches and pools at Punta Leona, they were awesome.  The buffets at P. L. and included breakfasts at La Posada were great.  The wildlife, bird watching and being surrounded by nature were awesome and the Costa Rican people were too.  They couldn't have been friendlier or more willing to help.  They were very accommodating.  The courts were very nice too.  Tours were both fun and interesting.  Stopping to see the town of Jaco and horseback riding at Esterillos Beach was awesome.  The tour to the animal rescue/reserve ZooAve was very nice but we thought the family-run butterfly farm and organic coffee farm were just amazing.  It really gave you an appreciation for the hard work and what people will do for a livelihood for their families. And they have such strong family values!  The lunches and dinners were great but who wouldn't enjoy the evening with your pickleball friend and his wife at their beautiful home?!  That was so gracious and amazing of them to host us for dinner.  It was also wonderful to learn about and see the commitment Costa Rica has made to sustaining its ecology, rainforest and environment.  Lastly, it was wonderful how everyone got along on the tour and really "bonded".  That was exceptional and certainly we appreciated all of your hard work and effort in putting on this tour. Thank you for a great experience!




Hello Tony and Celeste,

Greetings from Spokane where the weather is finally warming up. No monkeys swinging in the trees and no exotic birds chattering nearby however. I reminisce frequently and appreciate so much your thoughtful planning for this terrific and diverse adventure. I miss all that we did during our trip to Costa Rica. You made this trip worth it for all of us. Until we do it again, wishing you many good things.  

Steve D.

My husband and I recently returned from a two-week trip with Costa Rican Photo Tours, one of the most interesting and memorable trips we have ever taken. Our guides, Celeste and Tony Horpel, were professional, well organized, knowledgeable about Costa Rica, fluent in Spanish and simply fun folks to travel with. Tony is an excellent photographer and videographer and very willing to share his expertise.

The sites we visited were interesting to photograph, varied and, for the most part, off the usual tourist routes. Although the trip was planned with great attention to detail, there were lots of opportunities for spontaneous photo ops such as the day we happened upon a local wrangler training his horse to “dance” for an upcoming parade. My favorite part of the tour was our 4-night stay in a lovely resort/lodge located deep in the tropical jungle where we photographed foliage, insects, macaws, parrots, toucans, coatis, peccaries and a variety of other animals.

I’d highly recommend traveling with Costa Rican Photo Tours for a personalized, rewarding photographic experience.  

Jan Tenold

“When you can say ” there is not one thing you would change” after returning from a vacation, you want to let others know about it! If you are looking for the chance to soak in cross sections of Costa Rica and all that it offers, then this is the tour for you.

American-born but now locals themselves, tour guides Celeste and Tony offered us the best of the best…from where to see a great variety of birds and animals to where you can grab great food.

Their command of the language and easy- to -like personalities helped us to enjoy the local markets, the restaurants, and the friendly Costa Rican people.

The tour was planned out in detail, yet allowed for flexibility in the schedule so we could take advantage of an unexpected and delightful photo op (whether it was a town event, or a park with iguanas and monkeys, or groups of rummaging coati, colorful birds (including but not limited to those gorgeous Scarlet Macaws, or hermit crabs at night!).

The places we experienced were target rich for photos of eclectic buildings, local markets and towns with character, lush vegetation, and …oh, did we mention the variety of wild birds and animals??? 

Costa Rica has been on our list of adventures and we are so grateful to the Horpels for making our tour exciting as well as safe. PS It took us a LONG time to go thru our many images, but it was fun reliving the experience.”   

Dora Z.