Thirty-somethings Costa Rican Adventure: Trip Report

Sep 17th, 2004, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 11
Thanks for the great tips, we're going this November with very similar itinerary as yours. We are flying into SJO at 10am and plan to spend only one night at the Peace Lodge, then 2 nights at Los Lagos, and 5 nights at La Mariposa. We are taking advantage of the 5th night free at La Mariposa. We want to know if one day at the Peace Lodge gives us enough time to relax and enjoy what the area has to offer. Thanks
travel_duo is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 06:55 AM
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Hi again, hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Had some time to check the thread again, sorry for the delay.

Travel duo....getting in at 10am and heading to Peace Lodge for the entire day and a night will be perfect...especially considering the destinations after that. You will have a great time!

Nichal...about my top 5 destinations: Sometimes they change based on what specifically is being considered "Most adventurous, most beautiful, most romantic, most historic, best culture...etc." but here is in my opinion the top 5 experiences that I will return to again and again:

5. Costa Rica/Central America (Watching the lava flow at 230am at Arenal)
4. Greece and the Greek Islands
3. Egypt (espec riding horseback through the desert near the Great Pyramids)
2. Hiking the Na Pali Coastline on Kauai
1. Overlooking Rio Dejaneiro (City, Ocean and Mountains) from atop the "Christ Redeemer" Statue/mountain.

It is a big world out there though and so many wonderful experiences: Ask me tomorrow and the list might include touring Tuscany or shopping at the Kasbah in Marakesh...a glacier landing on McKinley via a Cessna equipped with ski's,exploring the ancient ruins at Ephesus, Turkey.....

"Pura Vida", really encapsulates this doesnt it?

brandonmichael is offline  
Sep 19th, 2004, 10:55 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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BrandonMichael -

I just came across your report. I am sooo glad you enjoyed Peace Lodge as much as we did! Isn't is a true escape? The owners are building at Arenal too & should be complete in another year.

Too bad you didn't find Hacienda Pozo Azul as exciting as we did. I'm curious if the one in Arenal had the "safety" line or if you were zipping on one cable the whole trip. I just can't say I have that much courage in me.

It's interesting, though - my husband & I invited several friends along - and finally at the last minute we did have another couple join us who seems to enjoy traveling as much as we do. They just recently completed an around-the-world trip. Anyway, we have seen some of the same places you have & it's just funny to read that some of our "top places" are the same. Egypt, Rio, Costa Rica. Have you gone on a safari yet? That is another one of my top places. It's great to hear of other young couples who are just as addicted to traveling as we are! My husband is in China right now for business (I couldn't go unfortunately) and the pictures look amazing as he's been emailing them to me already! Let me know if you come across any other "must sees" as our travel tastes seem to be similar! Thanks for the report!
sclubb is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 02:56 PM
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Posts: 22

Good to hear from you..

No there was no second safety line on the Arenal zip line. (I believe Hacienda Pozo Azul is the only one in the country with a second line above the mainline in which you are attached in case the first line breaks.)

We are in the early planning stages for a safari..the only hold back has been the political situation in Kenya/Tanzania/Zambia...waiting for things to get a little more stable. Maybe its starting to look a little better.

I came across an earlier post of yours that you love travel so much you started your own business...that is you have a website or something, maybe we could compare notes on some travel destinations.

brandonmichael is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 04:37 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 356
I do have a website ( And, here's my disclaimer - I am not trying to use this board for advertising. You asked! I really have learned so much from this board in planning our CR trip & I now use this as a research point for other clients trips throughout the world. It is always best to hear first hand knowledge & get some hidden tips that you just don't get elsewhere.

Sorry for going off your link's topic...Our safari was far too short & we have been dreaming to go again. We did a 3 night safari in Kenya at the end of a 17 night cruise that started in Greece. Quite amazing. The safari experience was very surreal & we just couldn't get enough of it! Friends of ours recently did a safari in Botswana that looked absolutely amazing! They camped & literally had elephants & all sorts of animals walking right through their camp. It looked very up close & personal & much more adventurous than the one we did. They used a company called Botswana Safaris & Tours ( Maybe this will help with other ideas. One of our dreams is to climb Kilimanjaro! It's a big world out there!

If you want any other info about the Botswana company or to compare other travel notes, you can email me through the website listed above.
sclubb is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 12:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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The beginning of this thread really is a great journal here. I didn't say that the last time I deposited 2 cents. I have 2 cents more . . .

ZIP LINES : I was told that zip lines were originally designed (outside of CR) to transport military forces - AND - that the cable you ride is the last thing to worry about breaking. The failure occurs at the pin that connects the pulley apparatus to your harness.

brandonmichael : do you have similar journal entries on this or another website for the other travels you listed? I appreciate the time it took to make these entries here.
TripleSecDelay is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,183
Sclubb and Brandon,
I too have a serious passion for travel. It sometimes takes over my thoughts and drives me nuts when I find myself stuck at home for too long!! It sounds like you guys have had more experience than me so far. Sclubb, I'm so happy to hear that you have found a way to work travel into your business life. I keep trying to come up with a business venture that would allow me to travel extensively, but under pleasent and relaxing circumstances. If only!!

Brandon, I loved your report. I also visited Peace Lodge and Arenal Paraiso this summer and enjoyed them both. We didn't eat anything but breakfast at AP, so maybe that's why we liked it more than some other people. I too would be interested in reading some of you trip reports from other countries if you have them posted somewhere.
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 08:41 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 356
Hey LA_Fadeaway! Didn't you just get back from Jamaica? Where do you stay when you go there? I just happened to fall into the travel industry about 10 years ago & then went out on a limb with my own (small) company almost 3 years ago. It does allow me to "think" about travel all the time - but it is truly addicting! Especially since I see so many faxes & emails come through with sales, it is so hard to resist the urge to just travel nonstop! I always joke with my husband about selling all our possessions & just moving to Costa Rica or traveling the world for a year or so! Maybe one of these days....

Anyway, good to hear from you!
sclubb is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 05:25 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 94
Hi Brandon Michael,

For someone with a short attention span, I actually read your post and really enjoyed it. We are in the very beginning phases of planning our CR vacation in January 2005. If you, or anyone else, would sum up CR in one basic tip, what would that be?

By the way, since the topic of safaris came up, my husband and I did a safari in South Africa in October and fell in love with the country. Our tip is to always go with a private safari lodge to guarantee you will see the animals you want to see up close and personal. We stayed at Akeru, the least expensive of the private safari lodges, and had a fantastic time. Food was fantastic, price inexpensive, and amazing personal service.

twoinluv is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 05:49 AM
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Summing up CR in one basic tip--sorry, I can think of 2 things!

1. Don't try to see too much of the country in one visit thus spending too much time transferring from locale to locale. Good rule of thumb is 7-8 days, 2 locales max. 10 days, 3 locales.

2. Not a tip. . .just a truth. On Fodor's you hear a lot of wrangling about what is best to do and how it is best to do it. Much of that is nonsense. Because Costa Rica is Costa Rica, you really do not need to worry that you are going to make a bad choice and have a lesser experience than you might have had otherwise. Every facet is fun and adventurous. Even the scorned captital of San Jose is interesting (for a brief while) to those who have never experienced a Central American city. Just get on down there and enjoy your time!
shillmac is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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sclubb: JUST DO IT! We sold everything three years ago and moved to Costa Rica and it truly is the most amazing experience of our lives!

Lisa in Manuel Antonio
Latitude9Lisa is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 06:56 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 356
Lisa - Thanks for the encouragement! I guess it is just a matter of taking the "plunge"! My husband seems to think it isn't quite as easy as my "dream world" - but I know that at least it can be done if we put some thought into it! I'll keep the site posted if we have any dramatic changes in our future. The good news is that we're still young that we have a (hopefully) long life ahead of us to get the courage to make such a move. Glad you were brave enough to go through with it!
sclubb is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 09:23 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 22
Hi Everyone!

Thanks Jenny (great safari tip!), LA Fadeaway, and TripleSecDelay for the posts.

I signed in tonight and was surprised to see that the thread is still going...especially happy to see all the fun information and different topics you are all contributing! That is what it is all about...that's great!

It sounds like if we ever wanted to assemble our own travel group and pick a destination, I bet we would have a blast!

Its funny that a couple of you asked if I had any other trip reports. In the back of my mind I have always wanted to be a Travel Writer, but never pursued it (yet?). In fact the trip report is only my 2nd on this site (I posted an Alaska Trip Report last year)and unfortunately I have no others from the other adventures. If I could ever be of help by sharing my perspective on some of these other destinations, you definitely wouldnt have to twist my arm, it would be my pleasure!

I have been in the mortgage industry for the past 10 years and recently have opened my own firm. My dream is to make the business a go so among other things, we can pursue and explore the "ends of the earth." When I get back from a trip, it is only a matter of days before I am trying to figure out where and when the next trip sounds like you all can relate! Since my return from CR a couple of weeks ago, I am looking into Peru (Macchu Picchu) and Galapagos Islands Trip next spring. But then I think about climbing Mt Kilamanjaro and the African Safari or trekking in Nepal...paragliding in New Zealand..and then I wonder how I am going to continue to "support this habit."

I like to hear stories like Lisa's...moving to CR...Sclubb, starting your own travel business (when I get a minute, I'll shoot you an email)
How awesome!

Thanks again for your feedback and have a great week!

brandonmichael is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 298
Jenny: That's a tough question re: one tip. Shillmac makes a most important point. Don't try to cram too much into one trip. Half the fun is the "journey", getting from place to place, making small discoveries along the way and not having to rush about. I think it's also important to come to Costa Rica with the understanding that it's very different than the United States and appreciate it's uniqueness. I think it's fantastic that Brandon spent time with Miguel! Understanding others opinions re: politics, their beliefs about "life in the US", Tico lifestyles and such makes your trip much more enlightening!

Lisa in Manuel Antonio

Latitude9Lisa is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,183
Hey Sclubb,
I hear you about selling everything and traveling the world. If my husband and I weren't in the process of taking over his dad's company, I might have a shot at convincing him. As it stands, we can only hope this thing remains succesful so we can either hire good people to run it or sell some day.

The trip to Jamaica was awesome. It was our first time there. We spent three nights at Xtabi in Negril. The cliffs there are fabulous! The next six nights were at Hedo III in Runaway Bay. We actually won the airfare and stay at Hedo or else I normally wouldn't have picked an AI resort. We enjoyed our time there, but I can't imagine having paid full price considering the quality of the food, no balconies on the rooms, etc.

LA_FadeAway is offline  

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