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Old 03-26-2013, 11:10 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Gonecruisin View Post
Bring a hat, extra sunscreen, water - you'll be glad you did.

Let me think of more
Bring water, as in the ones ABD give away?
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:48 AM   #62
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Gonecruisin, so glad you had a great trip! Looking forward to seeing more of your Trip Report! I'm going to have to figure out how to post a link to it on our Trip Reports Sticky!

Those scallops look yummy!

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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:29 PM   #63
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Thank you. That is very helpful info! How was the "puddle jumper" flight?
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:04 PM   #64
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Each family was given a small duffle bag type of thing about this size


Quick dry clothing was great to bring along too.
The guides were always handing out water. You should grab a bottle to bring along.

The puddle jumper flight was awe inspiring. I'll get to that very soon hopefully tonight.

Thx sayhello! It was all yummy
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:50 PM   #65
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Bring water, as in the ones ABD giveaway?
The water bottles are history.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:07 PM   #66
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The water bottles are history.
They don't give them away anymore?? Oh no!
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:39 PM   #67
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They don't give them away anymore?? Oh no!
They no longer give away the metal water bottles. Don't want to make it sound like they let you go thirsty.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:36 PM   #68
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How is the WiFi availability at the different locations? You said it was really hot. Is it cooler at night? One more thing, you said the souvenir shopping was limited, so which location is the best place to do the shopping? Thanks again...gracias!
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:48 PM   #69
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Oh is that what you meant? The guides gave out plenty of bottled water but no metal bottles.

Trip report cont'd...

We last left our travelers snoozing in their incredibly comfortable beds. When we woke up it was dark, so we checked out the gift shop and had a light dinner at one of those fun fire tables. La Chica had a beer and I tried a caipirinha - Brazil's national drink of fermented sugar cane juice, sugar and lime lol It was tasty.



What a beautiful night. A bit breezy but compared to Boston, it was just right.

"Dinner" was a basket of beef empanadas and toasts with bean dip. yummy



And that was pretty much it for our arrival day. The next morning dawned bright and sunny. The Marriott puts on a fabulous breakfast buffet. The servers were all helpful and spoke near perfect english. Since we arrived a day early, we had time to do something on our own while we waited for the other adventurers to arrive. So we made our way to the Reservations Office to book a Coffee Plantation tour. I took pictures along the way because I was in love with this hotel The old world hacienda style was masterful.



So we booked a pricey (I think it was about $60/pp) coffee plantation tour that included transportation and lunch. Were we taken advantage of? Maybe. But boy oh boy does Britt coffee have a good thing going in CR. Whoever does their marketing deserves a raise. Their signs and products were all over CR and often took up 1/2 the space in gift shops.

So the van stops at several hotels and delivers guests to the plantation



The place was crowded but they took a page from Disney's book and have become experts in crowd management (and offer a big gift shop ). The guides were entertaining, fun and kept a nice easy pace as they led us through shady trails. I learned more about coffee than I ever wanted to know!



The buffet lunch was very good - a simple fare of beans and rice, veggies and chicken. Dessert was a very good tres leche cake (brush up on your spanish, guys, it will help you know what you are eating! ) Then back to the van and back to the hotel. In total, it was probably about 4 hours. Was it worth it? Yes. We had fun. The tour was like a comedy show. The food was good. Transportation was smooth. A carefree excursion in a foreign country - who could ask for more?

Back at the hotel, there was a voice mail message waiting for us in our rooms (we had to call the front desk to access it for some reason, not sure why). It was our ABD Guides Geraldine and Fico!!! They were in the lobby and wanted us to stop by asap.

I know from reading the threads here that some of you have already met with Geraldine and Fico. Geraldine is well known for guiding the Montana/Wyoming Adventures and Fico has been a tour guide in CR for 17 years So we rushed down to the lobby to meet them. I was so excited that I didn't take any pictures but they were friendly and organized and gave us an armload of documents and gifts and lanyards and stuff

This is also when we learn that we had to have our bags ready for pick up tomorrow morning at 5:30 am We'd meet at the same time for a quick continental breakfast and then head to the airport to begin our adventure. I am now very glad we arrived a day early.

La Chica and I decide to make the most of our time in San Jose so we grabbed a taxi to go to the Gold Museum but after an hour of driving we had the driver turn around and take us back to the hotel. Costa Rica was hosting the Pan American games and most of the city roads were closed for a bike race. Traffic was backed up for miles and we were getting nowhere fast. Instead we relaxed by the pool, read, enjoyed delicious complimentary fruit skewers and cool fragrant towels delivered by delightful employees.




Ahh Heaven

Last edited by Gonecruisin; 03-27-2013 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:57 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by emesmom View Post
How is the WiFi availability at the different locations? You said it was really hot. Is it cooler at night? One more thing, you said the souvenir shopping was limited, so which location is the best place to do the shopping? Thanks again...gracias!
funny you should ask. This actually was an issue that got a lot of discussion with fellow guests (but not adventurers) at our last hotel. All the hotels had free wifi - except the last hotel. I thought this was odd since we even had free wifi in the middle of the rainforest but most people didn't have laptops so it wasn't a huge deal.

Each location had very different weather. San Jose was warm, breezy with a bit of a chill at night but still comfortable. Tortuguero and Arenal were hot humid rainforests day and night. Guancaste was omg hot and dry.

I thought the gift shops all had the same things but in different quantities. My suggestion to you is if you see it and like it, get it just in case the next few places do not have that particular item.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:41 AM   #71
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Thanks for taking the time to post, Gonecruisin. Like emesmom, our CR adventure is coming up in a few days and your pictures and experiences are appreciated.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:52 AM   #72
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Gonecruisin, thank you so much. Your trip report is great and I appreciate the answers to my questions. You have helped me plan my packing a little better. I want to use our iPods to communicate to home, so I am glad there is good WiFi service. We had Geraldine for our first ABD trip, Southwest Splendors. She and Maura were a great team....actually every single ABD guide we have had has been awesome. I'm nervously exited to head out on our adventure!
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:58 AM   #73
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To Soldierbot: my daughter is very happy there will be at least one other girl on the trip. She really likes hanging out with the other kids on these trips. See you soon!
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:38 PM   #74
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Oh wow I'm so excited for you guys You're going to have a great time.

Let's see...

I'm starting to forget things like exact times but...

Bright and early (really early) on ABD Day Two, you meet your fellow adventurers in the lobby for a continental breakfast before you board the bus for a short ride to the airport. The other people on your tour really play a large role in how smoothly things run, how enjoyable your experience is and just sort of set the tone for the entire trip. So let me talk a bit about my fellow adventurers, 33 in all. They were a really nice assortment of people from all over the US and Canada ranging in age from 7 to 79. Most had been on a ABD before - these were very experienced travelers and that's a good thing. There was another mother/daughter pair though the DD was about 12, two single ladies, a fun sans children couple, two sets of grandparents/grandsons, and 5 families. The most unique thing about this group was the 7 boys from different families all in the 10-12 age range. They immediately hit it off bonding over video games and silly jokes and were a lot of fun to have around. Their energy really added to our experience.

But on with the trip report.... at a tiny airport, we boarded two small planes



and had the ride of a lifetime over CR. La Chica said this was her favorite part of the trip. That she could fly over Costa Rica all day long ..... lol



We saw farm land, towns, mountains, and clouds. In about 1/2 hour Tortuguero was in sight.



That sliver of land between the Caribbean Ocean and the river holds the lovely but rustic Laguna Lodge. Upon landing, we were directed to a boat which would bring us to the lodge but what was even more interesting was who was waiting to greet us - The Costa Rican Coast Guard !!



From what I was told, they had been in the area when the planes landed and decided to check us out in case we were drug smugglers. We weren't



I did feel safe though
One more picture of the Guardacostas. That's the Costa Rican flag on the side for those of you who are wondering.

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Old 03-28-2013, 06:31 PM   #75
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Eagerly awaiting the next installment, Gonecruisin!! Thanks for sharing!!
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