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COSTA RICA

The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders

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Costa Rica

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Natural History

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Road Scholar
Program #11586RJ
13 Days | 12 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Marilee Henneberger Jan 31, 2015 at 11:10 AM

For those who are bothered by the notion that you're asked to place used TP into receptacles next to the toilet instead of flushing it down… it's because of sewage issues. This is common practice in some other countries too. Don't worry about Costa Rica… the accommodations you're staying in are very clean and the contents of the waste cans are emptied and cleaned out every day. You won't have problems or smells. Take along some little disposable bags to put in the waste can for your personal use if you like.
Judith Prager Jan 31, 2015 at 01:36 PM

thanks for answering my post Marilee- very helpful! :)


Judith Prager Jan 31, 2015 at 09:22 AM

We'll be on the Feb. 15th trip leaving from Boston. Anyone else? I have a question for previous trippers - does it get cold on the bus? Just wondering what to bring for the bus rides. Also, let's get down to it :)-did you find the "bathroom breaks" sufficient?
Marilee Henneberger Jan 31, 2015 at 10:58 AM

There are ample bathroom breaks… this is a popular trip and the leaders are tuned into the needs of their travelers. As for cold on the bus, I don't remember ever needing a sweater, but everyone is different, obviously.
Donna Cover Jan 31, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Your posts have been SO helpful, Marilee. Thank you for sharing them. By the way, what was your technique for dealing with insect protection? Did you do the Permethrin routine described by Anne Tracy (thanks, Anne)?
Marilee Henneberger Jan 31, 2015 at 01:18 PM

Donna, I had some Deep Woods with me, but honestly, the bugs weren't all that bad. I used repellent when I remembered. I think using permethrin on clothing is a choice, but how effective is it for uncovered areas of your person? Clothing just by itself is pretty good protection. Mosquitos in Costa Rica are no worse than in many parts of the USA, so take precautions as you might at home.
Elaine W Jan 31, 2015 at 03:18 PM

The only time I needed my fleece jacket last February was during the drive over the mountains to San Gerardo de Dota and for the early morning birding there ( I'm not a "birder" but it was worth getting up so early.) I'm dreaming about that trip as we hunker down for another Artic blast in Cleveland!


Anne Tracy Jan 22, 2015 at 03:03 PM

Rainforest meant frequent downpours; poncho essential. Also true in cloud forest. I wore hiking boots almost every day. Keen sandals for all boat trips. Running shoes were wonderful for bus days and dry walks. I treated all my clothes, shoes, hat and a bandana with Permethrin before packing. Used insect repellent on my skin only a few times. I got about 5 bites on my legs, but they healed without problems. Bring 1 pair long socks to wear with provided rubber boots in worst mud. Enjoy!
Donna Cover Jan 22, 2015 at 03:55 PM

Great ideas. When was your trip? Some folks have said they did not take hiking boots. I wonder if they are as essential in February.
Marilee Henneberger Jan 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM

I never needed or wanted hiking boots. Keens and similar shoes were the footwear of choice for most. Some just wore sneakers. There is little actual hiking… one short jaunt up a rocky trail at the volcano, but my Keens did fine.


Mary Mura Jan 21, 2015 at 06:02 PM

On the most recent trips, how was the weather? Curious about how much rain & bugs? Also whether to take short hiking boots or just running shoes & Keens?? We leave Jan. 31 for our trip. Can't wait.
Julie Glenn Jan 23, 2015 at 11:48 AM

I was there in November. Sudden outbursts, so poncho, yes, but I also wished I had brought a small umbrella for when we walked from dining halls to rooms -just a short trek. We had some mud on hikes, and I wish I had brought hiking boots. Limited number of boots in sizes, so my walking gym shoes got muddy. Keens were great, but in humidity it took them forever to dry wrhen
Julie Glenn Jan 23, 2015 at 11:49 AM

When they got wet.
Julie Glenn Jan 23, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Also, I had no problem with bugs in Nov. Once in awhile I used insect repellent, but not often. At least in Nov. bugs issue overplayed. I just remember being hot and humid, especially on hikes and when I wore my poncho. Any discomfort is well worth the glories of this trip.


Carole Sklar Jan 21, 2015 at 04:09 PM

Ha! Ha! Ha! Practice makes perfect. How's your aim?
Some hotels on the Central American trips I've taken have a sign asking if you mind
using towels more than a day, too. This is
phrased as environmentally correct. Some twist towels into animal and/or fruitlike forms. All of it is good clean fun.


Carole Sklar Jan 21, 2015 at 07:30 AM

It is true that some of the hotels, (most of which are luxurious), because of older plumbing, request that you do as you described. This should not deter you from taking this splendid trip.
Cassie Witteborg-Wallace Jan 21, 2015 at 11:21 AM

My experience was that in all Costa Rican bathrooms, there is a receptacle for the toile paper. This includes hospitals and clinics. I know this out of personal experience. I was told Costa Rica uses septic tanks as an explanation. It is not a problem.
Larry Buege Jan 21, 2015 at 03:36 PM

I suppose I could place a receptacle in my bathroom at home so I can practice, but I don’t think my wife would approve.
Donna Cover Jan 22, 2015 at 03:58 PM

I have traveled to some places in other countries that do not have toilet paper at all.
Larry Buege Jan 22, 2015 at 04:05 PM

I have also heard that and plan to bring a small roll. My daughtor visited CR about ten years ago and had no issues with toilets. From what I read the problem is that before 1975 the drain pipes were only two inches in diameter and not the US standard four inches. Any toilets built before that (and there are man) will have issues. When in Rome do as the Romans do. My guess is the hotels will be similar to American but the pit stops along the bus root will be more similar to some of the other posts on this issue. TP is cheap and worth adding to luggage.


Larry Buege Jan 21, 2015 at 06:04 AM

From what I have been reading, many places won’t allow you to flush toilet paper and have you deposit it in a receptacle near the toilet (google Costa Rica toilets). Has anyone had such experiences?
Julie Glenn Jan 21, 2015 at 09:33 AM

Yes, but it is no big deal and everyone quickly gets used to it.
Mary Mura Jan 21, 2015 at 05:56 PM

This is common in Mexico at the resorts on Riviera Maya. Just do it.
Larry Buege Jan 21, 2015 at 06:55 PM

I was considering slipping into the rainforest with my trusty TP until I came across a web site (http://www.insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2012/july/12/costarica120071208.htm) proclaiming there are 1.86 poisonous snakes inhabiting ever football field size area in Costa Rica. I have no fear of the 0.86 poisonous snake, but with my luck the remaining snake will be a ten-foot fir-de-lance with an attitude. Such an encounter would surely resolve any constipation issues I might have. Lest you think I am an urban whip, I must divulge that I have survived fifty years in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula among the peat bogs and cedar swamps infested with carnivorous black flies and marauding squadrons of maladjusted mosquitoes.


Carole Sklar Jan 10, 2015 at 08:14 PM

Glad it worked out for you. I am certain you will have a most wonderful trip. I did.


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12 nights of accommodations
34 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
7 Expert-led lectures
19 Field trips

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