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Belated trip report: Bosque del Cabo, Central Valley, Rio Pacuare, and more!

Belated trip report: Bosque del Cabo, Central Valley, Rio Pacuare, and more!

May 14th, 2007, 01:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Belated trip report: Bosque del Cabo, Central Valley, Rio Pacuare, and more!

So sorry for the delay in posting this trip report from the end of March!

The first week was at CPI in San Joaquin de Flores, a language school outside of San Jose. I can't recommend it highly enough! Great instruction, great host family, wonderful staff at the school. A quick rating of excursions in the Central Valley:
1. Cafe Britt: totally touristy but fun and educational.
2. Rio Sarapiqui boat tour: we saw a handful of very cool animals and enjoyed the scenery immensely. It was a bit of a long drive from San Joaquin, but scenic and a little bit of an adventure.
3. InBio Park: pretty interesting, but we didn't allow enough time before closing and couldn't enjoy the lagoon area.
4. La Paz Waterfall Gardens: gorgeous waterfalls and helpful guides in the frog, orchid, and butterfly areas. A little pricey, but we had a great afternoon.
5. Rio Pacuare 1-day rafting trip: despite the low water levels in late March, it was breathtakingly beautiful and still pretty exciting in parts. The best activity we did, by far.

After the first week, my husband met me and we went spent the night at Buena Vista Hotel in Alajuela. It was spacious, clean, modern, and close to the airport, but nothing extraordinary. We ate at Vina Romantica, across the street. It's a little B&B and restaurant (I'd read about in this forum) and the food was exceptional and the setting, in a walled garden, gorgeous.

Next day, Sansa to Puerto Jimenez was delayed but it only by 1-2 hours. The flight was pretty smooth and had great views of the Osa.

We spent four days at Bosque del Cabo, which has been reviewed extensively. Let me say this: it didn't disappoint! The view from Congo was amazing--we spent hours watching the macaws and hummingbirds and waves. The wildlife viewing was truly stunning. We loved both primary forest with Philip and the early evening tour. Food was amazing, the bar friendly and fun. The trails were well-manicured and suited to a variety of fitness levels. The pool was occasionally crowded with young children, but not so crowded that I couldn't take a quick dip. The outdoor showers were really fun!

From BdC we went to Savegre Lodge. Sansa was delayed again on our return, but by an hour or so. I think it pays to not have tight connections! Re: Savegre, it was a long drive for one full day/two nights, but it was crisp and cool and scenic. We had a few snags (I know many here love Savegre, so I don't want to agitate anyone!) with securing hot water, and the basic rooms were a let down after Bosque, as was the food. But the trails were great, we saw 4 quetzals and many, many other birds. The hike the waterfall was absolutely gorgeous and is worth the effort!

The two weeks went so quickly, I want to start planning a return trip!

I'm happy to answer any specific questions, especially about CPI.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the planning--we had a great trip.
mmb23 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Wow! You put me right there with you--all places! Thanks for a great report. It was fun to read.

No worries about stepping on toes. I love Savegre, but my husband has said he doesn't particularly care to return. We've been 3 times. My big thing is birding there with Marino--he's the one who introduced me to this hobby, so I have a soft spot for the place. And love the temp. Seriously, we've had some disappointments there, too. Never have been able to get a fire to stay lit in the fireplaces in the junior suites! And yes, the food is not as good as BdC (where it is better than excellent!). Places like Savegre are very "specialized", I guess that's a good work. So they certainly don't appeal equally to everyone. And certainly, I can understand the tribulations in getting there and feeling let down after having been at Bosque del Cabo.

Lots of people think it is just best to leave the country on a "Bosque del Cabo note", but I like leaving BdC with something else to look forward to and just kind of "ease" myself out of the country!

My daughter and I have 4 years experience with CPI at San Joaquin and Flamingo. 2003, 2004, 2005, and again this year. I love it! Going back for 3 weeks in mid June. I am very glad that you enjoyed it as well. They have a terrific school. I'd love to hear more about your homestay. It might be someone I know. . !

Thanks again for taking the time. You certainly hit some highlights. I wish the school would offer the Doka Estate Coffee tour--it's much better, less song and dance, more coffee tour!
shillmac is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Let me clarify--meant to say "specialized" is a good WORD, not WORK!
shillmac is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 06:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
I always love to hear from fans of CPI! I've heard the same thing about Doka--maybe next time we'll be able to check that tour out.

I have a question for you: have you studied Spanish anywhere other than Costa Rica? My cousin (who went to CPI with me) and I are hoping to spend a week (short, but better than nothing!) in November studying somewhere. As much as we loved Costa Rica, we want to visit a new country. That said, CPI has raised the Spanish school bar very high! Any suggestions?

I appreciate any help!
mmb23 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 09:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
I'm not at liberty to give out another person's e-mail address, but if you'll post a thread with his screenname in the title, one of the Fodor regulars (screenname "nonstop") can be very helpful to you. He tries out a different language school every 3-4 months and can give you a lot of tips for Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduran, Mexico, Ecuador, and the list goes on. He's had some great experiences and would be a valuable source for you.
shillmac is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
Thanks so much, Shillmac! I'll do that.
mmb23 is offline  
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