Back from trip #2 to CR

Jan 27th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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cm -- Yes. I'm at work right now. Boooo!
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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You have my sincere condolences, hip! Hang in there; Costa Rica approaches...
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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While staying at Arenal Obervatory Lodge, employees said they lived on the property, working 3 weeks straight, then 1 week off. Or some such number.

MichelleY is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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That makes sense, Michelle, especially for a more isolated location like the Observatory Lodge.

Thanks for sharing the info.
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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It's funny you mention Jenny cause I always think of her & Heilyn together. One of the girls just starting work there last visit was Jose's grandaughter I believe. I think that's pretty much the standard at many places, but I remember Gerly used to go home mostly everynight, so I think a lot of it's transport as well (and wanting to drive that stretch a couple times a day). I remember our guide with Sunset Tours, he said he worked 29 days straight, then a week off.
tully is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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Hi tully,

I'm sure that drive to and from BdC would get old fairly quickly if you had to do it everyday. It would be an adjustment to spend so much time at your actual worksite, but I suppose it's all what you grow accustomed to. At least BdC is a beautiful, tranquil worksite!

Okay, so time to wrap up the final trip report details...

Chapter 9:

December 11th, 2007.

We had our final breakfast in Costa Rica seated on the pleasant terrace adjacent to the Marilyn Monroe bar. By this time, Orquideas felt like an old, comfortable friend.

We lingered as long as we could, and then it was back up the hill to our room to finish packing. Checkout proceeded without issue and then we loitered in the hotel lobby waiting for Luis to meet us for our Doka Plantation tour.

We ended up getting a late start because Luis had offered to take an ailing fellow hotel guest to a nearby pharmacy to get some medication. This was a very nice gesture on his part, but I thought we might have to cancel Doka since we would be pressed for time. Luis promised we would be able to fit in the tour and assured us that we would be glad to have witnessed a real working coffee plantation.

After a brief, scenic drive, we entered the Doka grounds. It's a really pretty place with lots of hydrangeas and hibiscus lining the main entryway which serve as a splash of bright color against the backdrop of rolling green hills covered in coffee plants. We joined a few fellow tourists and followed the very knowledgeable Maricruz around the plantation grounds. Luis also accompanied us and offered additional knowledgeable tidbits of his own. We learned about all phases of coffee production from seedling, to harvest, to processing. It was a really informative and interesting tour! One of the best parts of course, was being able to sample all the different coffees that Doka produces and sells on site. We really liked the Peaberry blend and bought LOTS of bags that we then had to find space for in our already overflowing luggage!

As we drove to the airport, we chatted amiably with Luis about everything from politics to his desire to someday travel to the U.S. and visit an area where he can actually see snow! He mentioned Colorado and we put in a plug for Utah (where we all originally hail from).

Within short order, we were safely delivered to the airport. Luis shook my brother's hand and actually gave my mom and I each a little hug. He wished us a safe journey home and expressed the hope that he would have a chance to meet up with us again someday; and he actually seemed quite sincere about that! As mentioned before, we found him to be an extremely personable young man. I would definitely recommend using his guide services.

Our airport time was completely uneventful; no delays or issues. Our flight took off on schedule, and a few hours later, we were back in Florida.

It was another wonderful visit to Costa Rica! BdC was clearly the scene stealer, but we genuinely enjoyed our time in the Central Valley as well. Costa Rica just has so much to offer. I hope to have the opportunity to visit again and again and again.

Many thanks again to everyone who managed to wade through this whole report! I fear the lengthy-ness may have scared away some readers (can't say I blame them!). I hope those of you who have read the whole thing have been somewhat entertained!

On a whim, I looked at airfares from Orlando to San Jose earlier today for the May/June timeframe, and they're not too bad right now. Hmmmmm... ;-)
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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Yes, hmmmm, indeed! This has been a fun thread, Cam. Thanks for making it available to everyone. It's been fun chatting with all of you!

Regarding work hours, the people we have known best (a group of young folks who have worked the all-inclusive circuit for the past 7 years) typically work 6 day weeks. Frequently, they choose to work 12 straight so they can have 2 days, particularly those with families (children) in Nicaragua. It's a hard life and that money goes straight home to their families (speaking of at least a couple of young Nica moms that we know). Several of them are surely approaching the age when they will no longer be wanted as part of an entertainment/activity crew (30 plus). What will they do then, I wonder? Many of those we first met years ago at Allegro Papagayo are now working at the Paradisus Playa Conchal.

I agree the girls at BdC are just adorable. And very genuine. Typical of the people of Costa Rica. Jenny and Heilyn are wonderful employees and I know Kim realizes their worth. I've often thought how tough it must be for Eduardo, that drive back and forth every single day--and to be there early enough to lead that a.m. birding tour at 6:00. Perhaps Carlos has taken over that early tour for him. I don't know if Carlos drives or not.

The dynamics in a little "village" like Bosque del Cabo must be pretty interesting. So many employees living on the property, working long hours. Kim hinted once that it is sometimes difficult to manage because of in-group bickering, etc. And don't you know that must be true at times? It would take some pretty creative/tough management to keep things on a even keel.

Looking forward to your pics, Cam!
Hi Tully and Hip. We celebrated Miss Isa's 3rd birthday this weekend and my Florida kid has returned to the Sunshine State!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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Sounds like you must have had a fun weekend, Jill! Happy birthday to your little granddaughter.

Thanks for your additional insight into the working situation. I bet it would be a huge challenge to oversee such a large staff as BdC requires. The great level of service is a true testament to the management skill that Kim must possess.

I feel for your Nica friends and admire them for working so hard to do the best they can for their families.

cmerrell is offline  
Jan 28th, 2008, 07:45 PM
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Hi Shillmac. Happy birthday to the little one. Awe, I remember those days. So much fun when everything is something new.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 05:54 AM
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I am so sorry that your report is over, I can't wait to see all of the fotos.
We are taking our family back to CR in May/June. Spending time in MA w/the G-kids (one is 5 and one will be 18months old in May). We thought BdC would be hard for the toddler. So after a week at MA, that part of the family heads home and the rest of the group head back to BdC for a week.

I really enjoyed your report, sorry it's over. I got valuable info from this board when we went for the first time 5 years ago. Now on trip 3. Great group of experts!

Post pics soon! Toni
parrmt is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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Excellent report, c; thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to your pictures!
volcanogirl is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Great report and great stories! Thank you for you have to go back so we can continue to read about your adventures! Keep checking those airfares!
ShellD is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 04:38 PM
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Also looking for forward for those pictures!
110 posts in this thread...hurry up
xyz99 is online now  
Jan 29th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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cmerrell: What time was your flight home? Our flight out is 12:45 pm but not sure if that would give us enough time to do anything like visit the coffee plantation.
sylviam is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the nice comments! I really do appreciate it. You are all completely awesome for slogging through my lengthy narrative!

I will get those photos posted soon, I promise!


I think our flight home left around 2:30 p.m. I believe the Doka tours start reasonably early in the morning and it was a quick drive to the airport from the plantation (maybe about 15 minutes). I would check with your hotel tour desk to see if it makes sense to fit it in. We definitely enjoyed it, and it was nice to have one last experience to add to our collection of wonderful memories for the week.

It's now 11:30 p.m. Florida time. Better get to bed. Goodnight and sleep tight all...
cmerrell is offline  
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