Return to Costa Rica

  • Posted on 31 August 2004
  • By Jack Bohlka

Back by popular demand: After a hugely successful trip this year, the Angeles Chapter is sponsoring a second trip to Costa Rica in 2005. I was privileged to be a trip leader on the 2004 adventure, and can say this was one of the most memorable, wonderful experiences I have ever had.

Of all the attractive tropical destinations in the world, Costa Rica is one of the most diverse and exciting. Its features range from tropical rainforests to palm-lined beaches, active volcanoes to windswept mountaintops, culturally rich cities to remote retreats-all in a tiny country located on the Central American isthmus. With the highest standards of health care, literacy, and hygiene in Latin America, many American retirees have chosen to live here.

Visit ecosystems from the Amazon to a Swiss alpine forest by simply walking uphill! Imagine a country where you can travel to dense rainforests; mountain cloud forests wrapped around towering volcanoes; dry open savanna; rich coffee, sugarcane, pineapple, and banana plantations; rain-soaked jungle, lagoons, estuaries, and swamps teeming with wildlife. Each day of the trip offers new, exciting choices: river rafting with an overnight stay at a jungle lodge, exploring a coral reef, a jungle island or a limestone cave with colorless frogs and fish.

With only three ten-thousandths of the world's landmass, this country contains fully 5 percent of all known species. It has the most varied flora and fauna of any country on the planet, according to the World Resources Institute.

This 17-day trip is a comprehensive tour from the Pacific through the central highlands to the Caribbean, April 7 through April 23, 2005. The leaders, John Lajeuness and Andrea Lim (and a veteran or two of this year's sold-out trip), have designed this trip to offer participants the chance to plan their own activities and see things that most interest them. The tour takes you to various towns, staying in each location for several days. You can select your own adventures from a leisurely walk in a cloud forest to a gentle float trip down a tropical river or up to Class IV white-water rapids. It's your vacation; you decide what you want to do! The trip is open to all ages and abilities.

The mid-range hotel accommodations have been selected to be near Arenal Volcano (last year's participants saw car-sized boulders coming out during eruptions); the Monteverde Cloud Forest; Manuel Antonio National Park, with stunning beaches. We will stay in the capital city of San Jose, with opportunities to visit museums and other cultural sites; the island of Tortuguero, which faces the Caribbean Ocean; and the Caribbean seaside village of Cahuita. Between these locations, stops will be made to view significant natural/cultural sights.

This is not a typical tourist trip! In the towns, our accommodations were selected so that participants can interact with the local Ticos, as Costa Ricans are affectionately known, and their businesses. Participants will receive a list of possible activities for each location.

The cost of this fully escorted land package is $1195 (about $70 a day)-far less than any commercial offering. Discounted group airfare (about $490) will be offered. The land package increased by $100 over this year's trip, but the airfare is $90 less. The accommodations have been upgraded, less packing/unpacking, more meals added. Included in the price are: all accommodations (double occupancy), all transfers by private air-conditioned coach, leader/escort ratio of 1:10 participants, 13 meals, some park/entrance fees, guides, taxes, and miscellaneous expenses. Plus all proceeds of this Chapter Fundraising Outings Committee trip go to fund Chapter development. How could you go wrong?

See Outings section for further details. Act now to sign up! Last year's trip sold out almost immediately.

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