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Walking & Wellness: Costa Rican Secrets of Longevity

Program Number: 21436RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/1/2014 - 12/7/2014; 1/13/2015 - 1/19/2015; 2/10/2015 - 2/16/2015; 2/13/2015 - 2/19/2015; 3/3/2015 - 3/9/2015; 3/10/2015 - 3/16/2015; 4/14/2015 - 4/20/2015; 5/5/2015 - 5/11/2015; 11/3/2015 - 11/9/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/7/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Costa Rica
Price starting at: $1,899.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; Health & Fitness
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Throughout the world, demographers have identified six areas where the local populations live measurably longer lives. Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula is among them. Amid its beaches and nearby forests, waterfalls and an active volcano, learn about living longer and healthier lives. Cultivate your well being, as you take daily nature rambles, relax in thermal pools and volcanic mud baths, and bask in the Pacific sunsets of nature’s paradise.




Highlights

• On walking rambles through various terrain, we will be conscious of trying to achieve 10,000 steps a day – a goal recommended for a healthy lifestyle.
• Learn about the local plant and animal life, comparing and contrasting the characteristics of the different ecosystems we’ll explore.
• Enjoy fresh, clean air, nutritious food, optional morning stretching sessions and multiple outdoor activities, all contributing to your personal wellbeing.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to five miles (about two hours) a day on forest and beach trails.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Liberia, coach to Rincon de la Vieja, 3 nights; coach to Playa Pan de Azucar, 3 nights; departure.



Arrival Liberia
Coach to Rincon de la Vieja
3 nights

Over four days in Rincon de la Vieja, enjoy four rambles — through rainforest trails, to waterfalls, a transitional forest and even to a lookout point over the Pacific to watch the sunset. Local health experts and naturalists lead these sojourns and discuss the plant and animal life and their ecosystems encountered along the way. At waterfalls at the base of the volcano, learn about energy fields and their possible contribution to wellbeing. Soak in a thermal pool, and enjoy plenty of time for renewal and reflection.



Coach to Playa Pan de Azucar
3 nights

With the beautiful and secluded Playa Pan de Azucar beach as base, enjoy three walks through varied terrain — through the dry forest culminating at “La Casona,” the original hacienda and a Costa Rican historical landmark, in Santa Rosa National Park; and two along a tropical beach. Learn about the famous turtle nesting sites of this region, and take a boat ride along the coast for a snorkel culminating in a sundowner on board and a Pacific sunset.




Costa Rica

Hugged by two bodies of water and sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica’s topography, climate and geographical position are more than mere facts: they define this tiny country. Cloud rainforests, valleys of coffee and volcanic mountain peaks fill the land between Caribbean and Pacific beaches. This ecological Eden protects its natural treasures in acres of preserved land, and is the only country in the world without a standing army.



Accommodations
Rincon de la Vieja: Charming mountain resort with bungalows and villas. Playa Pan de Azucar: Hotel on the beautiful, secluded Playa Pan de Azucar beach.
Meals and Lodgings
   Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa
  Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica 3 nights
   Hotel Sugar Beach
  Playa Pan de Azucar, Costa Rica 3 nights
 Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa
Type: Lodge
  Description: This charming mountain resort has the look and feel of a hacienda-- a feeling that is further enhanced by the property's large and well equiped horse stables. Accommodations are provided in bungalows and villas with views of the gardens and forested hillsides.
  Contact info: 9.7 miles from Cañas Dulces town
Rincon de la Vieja,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-2690-1900
web: www.borinquenresort.com/
  Room amenities: Rooms are air conditioned and have private bathrooms, hair dryers, satelite TVs, telephones, mini-bars, coffee makers, in-room safes, and terra cotta floors.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, outdoor swimming pool, hot springs, volcanic mud pots, steam rooms, spa services, canopy zip line, stables and horses, ATVs, and trails. Some amenities are provided as an extra service and will be subject to an additional cost.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Room type and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact your Road Scholar program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional nights.

 Hotel Sugar Beach
Type: Hotel
  Description: Hotel Sugar Beach is located on the beautiful, secluded Playa Pan de Azucar Beach on Costa Rica's nothern Pacific coast. The property can accommodate up to 80 guests in comfortable lodgings including rooms, suites and beach casitas. Guests arriving or departing from the international airport in Liberia can drive to and from the hotel within 1.5 hours (San Jose is approximately 5 hours).
  Contact info: 0000000000000000000
Playa Pan de Azucar,   Costa Rica
phone: +506-2654-4242
web: www.sugar-beach.com/
  Room amenities: All rooms are air conditioned and have private bathrooms, ceiling fans, tiled floors, televisions, in-room safe, large picture windows, veranda, and garden or ocean views.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, swimming pool, beach access, gift shop, laundry service, and massage services.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: Prices subject to availability Room types and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact your program provider at 1-800-866-7111 for assistance in reserving additional hotel nights.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia. Orientation at 5pm at the program hotel. You will be staying at Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa that night.
  End of Program:
Afternoon departures from Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia. Flights as of 12pm. You will be staying at Hotel Sugar Beach the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. N/A
  Required innoculations:
Yes: No vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica, unless arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic. Please consult with the Centers for Disease Control for their latest recommendations. Participants can call 800-CDC-INFO for more information or visit their website at: www.cdc.gov/travel/
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rincon de la Vieja
  Nearest airport:  Liberia International Airport
  Transportation to site: The first program site, in Rincon de la Vieja, is located approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes minutes by car from Liberia. The Borinquen Mountain Resort and Spa provides transportation services to and from the international airport (additional costs apply). http://borinquenresort.com/ Taxi services are also available at the international airport in Liberia.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Playa Pan de Azucar
  Nearest airport:  Liberia International Airport
  Transportation from site: After an early breakfast on Day 7, participants will be transferred from Playa Pan de Azucar to the international airport in Liberia.


Required innoculations:

Yes: No vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica, unless arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic. Please consult with the Centers for Disease Control for their latest recommendations. Participants can call 800-CDC-INFO for more information or visit their website at: www.cdc.gov/travel/

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Flights from the U.S. -
Arrivals in Liberia/Transfer to Rincon de la Vieja/Exploring Forest Trails/Thermal Pools.

(Tuesday, March 3)

Note: The transfer from Liberia's international airport to the hotel in Rincon de la Vieja takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Unforeseen traffic and road conditions could affect the driving time. A final portion of the journey includes travel over a well-maintained gravel road.



   
 Arrive To: Arrivals at the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Liberia.

 Afternoon: Enjoy an introductory lecture on Liberia before departing for your hotel in Rincon de la Vieja (the drive takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes).

Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
4:30 pm - Program Orientation at the hotel.

First Ramble (2,000 steps): Exploratory walk on forest trails in hotel environs. At the completion of your walk, enjoy a rejuvenating dip in the thermal pools.

 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Meals are prepared with fresh, locally grown, farmed or caught products from the areas where you will be staying. The fruit and vegetable selections are seasonal, and also produced within the regions where the hotels are located, in some cases, from the hotels’ gardens.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Rincon de la Vieja -
Interpretive Walk/Thermal Pools/Pacific Sunset.

(Wednesday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: Optional early morning stretching exercises and dip in the thermal pools.

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Board an open vehicle and take a short drive to the start of a local trail in preparation for this morning's ramble.

Second Ramble (4,500 steps): Interpretive walk through a transitional forest with a local naturalist. Select a one or two hour walk along a flat forest trail with slight undulations.

Return to the hotel.

Following your morning ramble, enjoy an on-site talk ("The Healthful Properties of Volcanic Mud, Thermal Sauna, and Thermal Waters.") with practical demonstrations and individual participation.
 Lunch: Enjoy a casual meal at the hotel's freshwater and thermal pool complex.
 Afternoon: After lunch you will have some free time to relax before your next program activity.

Third Ramble (1,500 steps): Enjoy a walk along gently undulating trails to experience the magnificence of a Pacific sunset from a mirador (lookout point).

Time for refreshments and reflection.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Meals are prepared with fresh, locally grown, farmed or caught products from the areas where you will be staying. The fruit and vegetable selections are seasonal, and also produced within the regions where the hotels are located, in some cases, from the hotels’ gardens.
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Rincon de la Vieja -
Stretching Exercises/Waterfalls/Optional Activities.

(Thursday, March 5)

Note: Wear a bathing suit under your clothes so that you can enjoy a refreshing dip during your ramble to the local waterfalls. Participants interested in enjoying spa treatments at the hotel during free time should make advance appointments. Spa services are at an additional cost.



   
 Breakfast: Optional early morning stretching exercises and dip in the thermal pools.

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.

 Morning: Fourth Ramble (6,500 - 7,000 steps): Scenic walk to two local waterfalls with swimming opportunities.

Return to the hotel.
 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon will be at your leisure for independent explorations (at own expense). Optional activities include horseback riding, canopy zip line, forest exploration on ATVs or off road vehicles, and spa treatments.

Join your group leader and fellow participants for a pre-dinner presentation by a local speaker with a sundowner and reflections.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Meals are prepared with fresh, locally grown, farmed or caught products from the areas where you will be staying. The fruit and vegetable selections are seasonal, and also produced within the regions where the hotels are located, in some cases, from the hotels’ gardens.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Borinquen Mountain Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Playa Pan de Azucar -
Santa Rosa National Park/Beach Walk/Pacific Sundowner.

(Friday, March 6)
   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel restaurant.

 Morning: After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and depart for Santa Rosa National Park. Upon arrival, enjoy an interpretive drive into one of the last tropical dry forests in the world.

Santa Rosa National Park is located along the country's northwestern coast in the Santa Elena Peninsula. The park owes its name to a famous battle that took place in the area during the mid 1800s. Although the park was initially created in an effort to honor and protect the historical battle grounds, the national park has played an important role in helping to safeguard important habitats and endangered species.

Fifth Ramble (5,000 steps): Take part in an interpretive walk along trails in the dry forest. Your walk will culminate at "La Casona," a historic hacienda with ties to the country's fight for independence. A site lecture will recount the three battles that were fought in and around La Casona and review their contribution to the independence of Costa Rica.

Depart for Playa Pan de Azucar.

 Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Arrive at Playa Pan de Azucar and check-in at hotel.

Sixth Ramble (1,500 steps): Stretch your legs during a short ramble along the beautiful crescent beach in front of the hotel.

Return to the hotel to change and freshen-up before driving to nearby Tamarindo town for dinner. The drive usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour.
 Dinner: On your own to explore dining opportunities at Tamarindo. Transportation to a selection of restaurants will be provided for your convenience.

The laidback beach town on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula is a popular destination for beach goers, nature lovers, and surfers from around the globe. Tamarindo offers a wide range of dining options, from small cafés and casual seafood joints, to restaurants featuring sophisticated international cuisine.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sugar Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Playa Pan de Azucar -
Beach Walk/Longevity and the Blue Zones/Coastal Boat Ride and Snorkeling/Sundowner.

(Saturday, March 7)

Note: Wear a bathing suit under your clothes in case you wish to take a swim at the beach after your morning ramble.



   
 Breakfast: Optional early morning stretching exercises and dip in the thermal pools.

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Transfer to Brasilito Beach in preparation for this morning's walk.

Seventh Ramble (6,000 steps): Choose your own distance during a morning walk along the beach. A site lecture will address the human and natural history of the region and its record as a Blue Zone for longevity.

Return to the hotel to change clothes and freshen up.

 Lunch: At the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the Flamingo area.

Enjoy an afternoon boat ride along the coast with snorkeling, culminating with a sundowner on the water.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sugar Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Playa Pan de Azucar -
Free Day/Select Your Own Activities.

(Sunday, March 8)

Note: Choose from a variety of optional activities to create your dream day. Lunch options and activities on this day are at your own cost.

Try to total at least 10,000 steps on your own today!



   
 Breakfast: At your leisure at the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: This day you will have free time to select your own activities and meals. Your goal should be to total 10,000 steps on your own this day.

Select from a variety of optional activities (at your own cost) such as hiking on local trails, deep sea fishing excursions, surfing, sea kayaking, paddle boarding lessons, mountain biking on coastal trails, golfing at Playa Conchal, beach activities, and relaxing.
 Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.
 Afternoon: Continue with optional, free time activities.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: Celebrate the end of your Costa Rican journey with a farewell BBQ dinner at the hotel with musical entertainment.
 Evening: Time at leisure to enjoy your last night among your new Road Scholar friends or get a good night’s rest in preparation for your international travel next day.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Sugar Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Departures -
Transfer to Liberia/Fly back to the U.S.

(Monday, March 9)

Note: The drive from Playa Pan de Azucar to the international airport in Liberia takes approximately 90 minutes.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).
 Morning: Transfer to the international airport in Liberia to check-in for flights back to the U.S.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Whove Lived the Longest


Author: Dan Buettner


Description: National Geographic explorer, Dan Buettner, travelled around the world in search of communities that seem to have found a formula for living long and fulfilling lives. These areas with large concentrations of long-living people were dubbed Blue Zones. His research (partly funded by the National Institute on Aging) took him to locations in Costa Rica, Japan, Sardinia, and even the U.S. where he spent time with centenarians, listening to their stories and learning about their culture and lifestyle.



A Brief History of Central America


Author: Hector Perez-Brignoll


Description: A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.



A Neotropical Companion


Author: J.C. Kricher, Mark Plotkin


Description: From plants and animals to birds and bugs, it's all here in this wonderfully written overview of the ecology, habitats, plants and animals of Central and South America.



Costa Rica Adventure Map


Author: National Geographic


Description: A double-sided map at a scale of 1:500,000.



Costa Rica Birds


Author: James Kavanagh


Description: A handy, laminated fold-up card with full-color illustrations of birds commonly found in Costa Rica. Great for kids, too.



Costa Rica Birds Field Guide - iTunes App


Author: Birding Field Guides


Description: Designed for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This Costa Rica birding field guide features range maps, habitats, photos, and descriptions for more than 620 species. The app also contains vocalizations for more than 320 species.



Culture Smart! Costa Rica


Author: Jane Koutnik


Description: A guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.



Lonely Planet Costa Rica Country Guide


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: Regional maps, detailed site information and general tips will be useful to travelers of all budgets and interests.



Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.





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