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Costa Rica Adventure - Part VII

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Postcard... from you


    Join Anne, Tarek and Kurt Kutay of Wildland Adventures (800-345-4453) and five other families, on their last day of a 10-day overland journey through Costa Rica.  Seven 1st and 2nd graders, one kindergartner, and a 6th grader traveled through rainforests, past volcanoes, and over highlands on their way to the Pacific Coast.  Find their full adventure in the back issues of Have Children Will Travel.

    San Jose and home... As a group of 18 we had arranged our own charter flight back to San Jose scheduled at 11 am.  At the airstrip there was one tree with enough shade for Herb and three kids. The rest of us waited in the bus.  The plane arrived right on "Tico" time, a powerful, twin engine craft with a pilot and co-pilot.  We cut smoothly through the thermals for a short 40 minute flight--it certainly beats the 5 hour drive. Rolando and Jeff were waiting for us on the tarmac with the bus. We decided to check out downtown San Jose.
    Sunday is the best day of the week in any Latin American city when families are relaxed, strolling in the parks after church. We stopped the bus  and disembarked to watch a group of folk dancers giving a free performance to raise funds for 18 families who lost their homes and belongings in a neighborhood fire. The kids didn't miss a beat when it was time for lunch. Within seconds they were in the Burger King across the street, except for Sammy and Steve, who couldn't bring themselves to pass through those doors when there was a local Costa Rica chicken roaster joint on the corner.
    We left plenty of time to check in at our hotel, the Grano de Oro, and repack for our trip home the next day. Next door to the Grano de Oro is the Casa Main, a small orphanage run by Catholic nuns, which the hotel helps support. Eldon, the owner, or Marco, the General Manager of the Grano de Oro, check in on their needy neighbors as part of their daily routine. We asked Marco if Wildland Adventures could join them in their support. Our Brighton School group was the first Wildland trip to visit the orphanage; we had brought donations of toys and clothing from our school to share with the children at the orphanage.

    “After settling in at our hotel, some of us went to the orphanage down the road. We gave the children stuffed animals, toys and silly putty. There was only about 8-10 girls in this orphanage. One of them was 13 and I became friends with her.  We exchanged addresses to be pen pals. In fact, we took her out to
dinner with us. She and I had a GREAT time and her name is Uriela. Then we came back to my hotel and I gave her my Gig-a-pet and some clothes and toys I didn’t need or want anymore and walked her back to the orphanage.”


                    -- Jillian Clark, 11 years old

    We had our farewell dinner at an upbeat Costa Rican family-style bistro and reflected on our adventure.
    What made the trip so great? Our kids playing together. Watching them discover amazing things in the tropics. Our compatibility and companionship as a group. The relaxed pace of the adventure.The abundance of wildlife. The excitement of Arenal Volcano erupting.
    Ask the kids and you’ll hear about the water slides, hot springs, pools and horseback riding.
    Of course, all these places, activities and personalities made the trip a fun adventure.
     We never encountered venomous snakes and hardly met up with mosquitoes or biting insects. We traveled in a comfortable air-conditioned bus with a safe driver on good roads, accompanied by a skilled naturalist guide. Accommodations were charming, full of local character, and comfortable, frequently exceeding parents' expectations. Although a few adults experienced 12 hour upset stomachs, we all ate freely of the delicious fruits and vegetables, and consumed water and drinks served at all restaurants without any debilitating illness. As a result, everyone was relaxed and let the trip unfold as they realized Costa Rica was a perfect destination for family travel.

“I liked the hikes and being able to see all the different kinds of animals. I also liked the last 3 days on the beach and going horse back riding. I wouldn’t change anything about this trip. It was wonderful. It was like a relaxing vacation most of the time. If I was to give the next kid advice about this trip, I would tell them don’t think all you’re going to do is hike in the hot sun and get sweaty and tired like I thought. Well it is nothing like that. We went on a hike like every other day for at least 1 hour which goes by so fast. Just make sure someone your own age is going.”      --Jillian Clark, 11 years old

            This was one of the best vacations Anne and I have ever experienced!    
                          -- Kurt Kutay

                       

 

Where is Alyx?


Alyx is near the 10,677-ft elevation of this Ski Resort offering awesome views and super ski slopes. Where is she? Click here to find out.

Tips, Tricks & Tactics

Camping the Great Outdoors
...ideas to consider

   "Since that first camping trip, all of our trips have been only partially planned, with itineraries set more as ideas than as fixed schedules.  We usually take each day one at a time, and do whatever feels right for that particular day.  Slowing down to smell the roses has never been so sweet as when we travel with our two kids!"  -- David, Westminster, MD

 Take it from David, there's a time to plan and a time to take one day at a time.

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