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The Best of Costa Rica: Exploring Natural Wonders

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Program #11586RJ

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13 Days | 12 Nights
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.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. 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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Charlotte Drayer Feb 13, 2016 at 11:37 AM

We returned from Costa Rica to the frozen north last night and I have two tips for future travelers, one reiterated from a previous poster, and one of my own. Plan to take your dirty laundry to reception in the morning in Selva Verde, in the bag on the desk, with the list of items completed. When you return from your afternoon field trip, you can pick up your clothes. They charge by the pound. Everywhere else it's by the item. If you plan to wash clothes in the sink, take a universal stopper. Only "quick dry" clothes will dry in the tropical rain forest, (no A/C at Tortuguero or Sarapiqui) so don't bother trying to dry cotton or you'll be traveling with wet clothes. To that end, take some plastic bags. My other tip is for ice cream lovers. When I lived in CR in 1972 for 14 weeks, my college friends and I would look for ways to go past POPS for ice cream. My favorite was coco (coconut) with ron con pasas (rum raisin) coming in second. My culinary goals for this trip were fruits, fish and POPS coconut ice cream. On the drive from Poas volcano back to San Jose, we made a restroom stop at a small mall that included POPS ice cream! It's as good as I remember! Most of the people in our group tried it and all of them agreed. Then, imagine our delight when we found that there is a POPS near the restaurant where we ate in La Fortuna! There is one at Punta Leona as well, though I didn't avail myself of the treat there. Have a wonderful time!

Charlotte Drayer Feb 12, 2016 at 09:47 AM

We're heading home from this glorious trip, today and it will be 10 degrees at home when we arrive at midnight. I wish we could stay! You will love this trip! Pura vida!
Jean Gilman Feb 12, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Since you have just been there, could you comment on the mosquito situation. Also, a Colombian-born friend just returned from that country, and she told me to take extra insect repellent because Central and South America has a shortage.
Pete Wilbur Feb 12, 2016 at 11:46 AM

While waiting to board Alaska Airlines at San Jose I really wanted to stay longer. Charlotte, you are right on point PURA VITA!
Charlotte Drayer Feb 13, 2016 at 10:51 AM

Jean, We took individual packets of insect repellent with DEET and used it in the places that were particularly damp and warm, Tortuguero, Sarapiqui, and for the Arenal Hanging Bridges. The first time I erred and put on the anti-bug juice before the fragrant sunscreen and got 3 bites on my elbow, but they didn't behave like mosquito bites and weren't a problem. I didn't get any bites after those in Tortuguero. Some people never used it and avoided bites anyway. I recommend the foil wrapped wipes because they don't count as a liquid for flying, and putting one in your backpack adds little weight. I'll reiterate what a previous poster said, you don't need to buy Colones. Dollars are accepted everywhere, though you'll get change in Colones, so you'll have some anyway. Have a GREAT trip!
Jean Gilman Feb 13, 2016 at 01:32 PM

Thank you for the info--especially about putting on repellent after sunscreen. Thanks also for the laundry tips and for recommending Pops ice cream.

Judith Adams Feb 12, 2016 at 08:27 AM

Anyone going on the trip that starts on Feb. 29?

Anne Turner Feb 11, 2016 at 04:52 PM

Good question! I was wondering that too, and decided to buy a 25" suitcase on sale into which the sticks will fold up.

Jannine McCurley Feb 11, 2016 at 04:20 PM

How are people packing walking sticks for the plane? Ours will not fit in the suitcases we are using.
Clara McCall Feb 11, 2016 at 04:31 PM

Mine collapse small enough to pack diagonally in my checked baggage.
Connie G Feb 11, 2016 at 04:38 PM

I have taken walking sticks as carry ons. Check with your airlines, but they should be in the same category as canes or crutches, and they shouldn't count toward your 2 item limit. Also, you shouldn't be charged extra for them. If you pack them you can just about guarantee security will open your checked baggage.
Jannine McCurley Feb 11, 2016 at 05:46 PM

Thank you for the insights! I'll contact the airlines.

Jannine McCurley Feb 11, 2016 at 04:19 PM

I am not good with heights so the hanging bridges event does not thrill me at all. Are there other activities that can be substituted once at that site?
c. Mannheim Feb 11, 2016 at 05:02 PM

a long soak in the hot springs, or book a massage or spa treatment.
Jannine McCurley Feb 11, 2016 at 05:45 PM

Good ideas! Thank you!
Pete Wilbur Feb 11, 2016 at 08:10 PM

I hate heights also. There was someone in our group who had the same problem. We stayed together for moral support and had a good time. The scenery and wildlife are spectacular. Consider trying it. We did not think we could do it but did and had a good time. Pura Vida!

Anne Turner Feb 10, 2016 at 02:42 PM

Hello. I'm a single woman in her early 70's, not as fit as I wish. I'm debating whether to bring my walking sticks for added stability and stamina. Thoughts, anyone?
Pete Wilbur Feb 10, 2016 at 03:03 PM

Bring them. There were a couple of times I wish I had mine. You are going to have a good time. Pura Vida!
c. Mannheim Feb 10, 2016 at 06:50 PM

you won't be able to use then on hanging bridges, where you'll want your hands free to holds the "rails." but there are a few other places where the uneven ground might make them handy to have along.
Clara McCall Feb 10, 2016 at 08:40 PM

I am in my "early 70's" and in good health. There were some trails that I would definitely have used my walking sticks if I'd thought to bring them.
Charlotte Drayer Feb 12, 2016 at 09:41 AM

There were times I'd wished I'd had a walking stick. Those who brought them often carried one and let someone else use the other. The most uneven surfaces are between the hanging bridges where you have to watch each step (but there are rope, wooden or concrete handrails), the end of the hike to see Arenal, and the hike at Trogan. I suggest using one so you have your other hand for the binoculars, camera or railing.

sue jordan Feb 10, 2016 at 10:46 AM

I will be traveling to Costa Rica on the May 9 tour. I am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a lightweight binocular?

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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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