Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

How to tap my and each others worldwide insights

In the post that follows I am asking for feedback.

Here’s some background:

Over the years many of our past guests have written me asking for advice about travel in general or travel to places other than Costa Rica. I have found it very satisfying to help with advice on anything from, “where should I go for my next… adventure or nature travel experience” to “I want to take a trip with my parents and my two teenagers before they leave the nest (the kids, not the parents) what can I do to make sure that everybody’s needs are met,” to “who is the best person to design and arrange cooking lessons from top chefs in Spain,”  (She happens to be a good friend.).

It is not that I am very well traveled.  I am not, but in the over 30 years since I started Costa Rica Expeditions I have become quite well connected.  For example, I have never crossed the International Dateline, but I have served on committees with the best, most creative lifetime memory vacation providers in China, India, Australia and New Zealand.  Even if I do not know the best person to help with a particular question, with a couple of phone calls I can almost always find out.

Also over the years I think I have gotten a pretty good sense of what makes for a trip of a lifetime and what makes for a trip from hell.  (Hint:  It is not where you go or even who arranges it.)  Much of what I have learned has come directly from our guests who have generously shared their experiences and insights with me.

Not only has it been satisfying to help in this way, but also I am convinced it has been quite profitable.  I have never taken a commission or a finder’s fee for a recommendation. We have designed and arranged hundreds of vacations for new guests who have been recommended to us by past guests for whom I have helped get on the right track for their next vacations, and those new guests have in turn recommended us. Also the people who we recommend refer their guests to us.

In the past all the communication has been one-on-one, usually by email. Now social media, specifically blogs, allow us to communicate with lots of people at once. Presumably, this will increase the satisfaction and increase the number of guests traveling to Costa Rica with Costa Rica Expeditions.

So the idea is to publish the questions and answers in a blog and thus make them available to a wider audience than one-on-one, including any of you if you are interested in participating in an even wider audience — known in the quaint jargon of this wonderful new era as the blogosphere.

So the first question is:

Do you think that this is a good idea?

And the second question is:

Are you willing to participate?

By participating I mean actively contribute your insights.  Whether it is your impressions of a particular hotel or your feelings about traveling with kids.

One of the neat things about blogs that I have found during my recent investigation is that rather than me pontificating in an email or even a series of emails with questions and answers, blogs allow lots of people to participate at once in a freewheeling conversation about the topic at hand.  Presumably the result is much more informative than could be obtained in just a two-way conversation.  In case you are interested in terminology the jargon for this concept is, “the wisdom of crowds.”  So if I can make it interesting and beneficial enough to get you involved, our blog will be more valuable to all the participants.

Another benefit is that it will give you new experience in blogging, which has become as important as web sites and, in terms of interaction, is challenging email as one of our main interactive media.  If you think that blogging is not for you, remember how you felt about web sites and email when you first heard about them.

An extra added enticement limited to guests who have traveled with us in the past, is that assuming enough people get involved to make it worth continuing with this blog, I will chose 6 of the participants to come to Costa Rica as my guests.  We’ll continue the conversation in person.  I’ll pay all expenses including economy airfare from anywhere in the continental United States or Latin America.  I’ll be posting more details on this shortly.

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75 Comments and 28 Replies

  • I was just looking for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative websites in top of the list. Usually the top sites are full of garbage.

    • A Trainer / IT Support Floor Walker is required on a 3 month initial contract (likely to be extended) based near Dewsbury in Yorkshire.

      • At December 27, 2012
        6:53:31 pm
        Carol Daymond said:

        I am looking forward to my trip to Costa Rica. I am a retired school teacher who has traveled a lot but I am looking to expand my horizons. I would be very interested in having a blog about my travels.

        • At September 20, 2011
          9:46:53 am
          john marcus said:

          need more info on costs ( hotels in arenas area) hotels on beach area Pac coast) cost of vans to and from jwm@aol.com

          • At July 08, 2011
            8:42:37 pm
            Valerie katz said:

            Testing

            • At July 08, 2011
              8:37:56 pm
              Valerie katz said:

              We r interested in taking our family to Costa Rica The will be an 8 month old baby. Will it be a problem? Out 11 year old is a Jr Olympic swimmer. We needs pools wherever we go. Can you send a DVD to us 9 Stratton lane. San Antonio, Tx 78257. Thx.

              • At June 08, 2011
                9:08:15 am
                Shirley Keaster said:

                Please send me a DVD of Costa Rica destinations
                My address is
                Shirley Keaster
                27805 N. 130th Lane
                Peoria, AZ 85383
                Thanks you
                PS my husband would like information about travel to Cuba..
                Thank You
                Shirley

                • At June 08, 2011
                  10:54:01 am
                  Michael Kaye replied
                  to Shirley Keaster:

                  Hi Shirley,

                  The DVD will be on its way shortly.

                  I am forwarding your request for information on travel to Cuba to my good friend Kristen MacQueen from WOWCuba, who will contact you. I also suggest that you visit http://www.wowcuba.com/ and click on Cuba on the in the list of destintions above.

                • [...] called it, “How to tap my and each others worldwide insights,” and made it the first post on this [...]

                  • At December 14, 2010
                    9:52:00 pm
                    Tina Strauss said:

                    Destination advice needed please. Where in the world should we (family = me, husband, plus 2 teenagers) go explore this summer? We take a 2-3 week independent adventure trip every year: so far we have been to Hawaii, Costa Rica, Canada (Rockies & Vancouver), Switzerland, Tanzania, Ecuador/Andes & the Galapagos. For summer 2011 (and it does have to be summer, late June to early July), I am possibly thinking about: Morocco, Australia, Croatia, or somewhere in Asia. Ideas?? Opinions??? We like active adventures, variety, and exploring. We dislike overwhelming crowds and extreme weather. Advice much appreciated!

                    • At December 15, 2010
                      12:56:39 pm
                      Michael Kaye replied
                      to Tina Strauss:

                      Reply to request for recommendation:

                      Hi Tina,

                      Happy to help, but I could use some more information.
                      Do you want to have your trip planned and arranged by a tour operator, do you want to plan and arrange your trip on your own or a combination of the two as you did when you were here three years ago?

                      What kind of activities appeal to you? When you were here you kayaked in Tortuguero did that appeal to you?

                      How much comfort do you need? Are you willing to camp?

                      Is it important to you to be in place where the culture is different from your own or would the right vacation in the U.S. or English speaking Canada appeal to you? (Canadians: I do not want to quibble about whether Canada has a different culture than the U.S. All I am saying is that Canadian culture is closer to US culture than any other, so if you want to experience a different culture Canada is not your best choice.

                      Finally what is your budget?

                      Michael

                    • At December 14, 2010
                      9:48:49 pm
                      Tina Strauss said:

                      Destination advice needed. Where in the world should we (family = me, husband, plus 2 teenagers) go explore this summer? We take a 2-3 week independent adventure trip every year: so far we have been to Hawaii, Costa Rica, Canada (Rockies & Vancouver), Switzerland, Tanzania, Ecuador/Andes & the Galapagos. For summer 2011 (and it does have to be summer, late June to early July), I am possibly thinking about: Morocco, Australia, Croatia, or somewhere in Asia. Ideas?? Opinions??? We like active adventure, and dislike overwhelming crowds and extreme weather. Advice much appreciated!

                      • At November 22, 2010
                        8:32:30 pm
                        aleix said:

                        I think you should continue blogging. case in point, i just came back from Japan and South Korea. I would love to share my experiences

                        • At November 23, 2010
                          9:37:38 am
                          Michael Kaye replied
                          to aleix:

                          Please send them to me, tell me about yourself and when you traveled with CRE or if you did not travel with CRE how you found out about this blog, and I’ll happily publish your experiences .

                        • At June 27, 2010
                          5:53:11 pm
                          Nancy J said:

                          Has anyone used a tour agency named, Yampu, for travel to Peru? We have never used this group and would like some feedback. Thank you.

                          • At January 08, 2010
                            6:41:30 am
                            Justin said:

                            First of all I think this is a great way to share experiences in others travels. The more you can learn from others experiences the better time you will have. I’ve had some opportunity to travel in Spain, Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico and the US and I love each and every trip I get to experience! I have been personal training in the gym setting for about 15 years now and have realized many people don’t get the chance to experience adventure in there travels and do not incorporate exercise into there everyday life. Exercise is more than just going to the gym 3 times a week. Therefore I have formed an adventure travel group to Costa Rica in March. We will be white water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, ziplining, and repelling for 9day/8nights. I have developed a 10 week exercise program in order for the individuals to get in shape and challenge there fitness levels. My mission is to incorporate exercise into there vacation through adventure. I have had a great time putting the trip together and planning the adventure. Although I have probably spent more time on the computer than is worthwile, I have learned alot about costa Rica and what it has to offer. I will let you know how our adventure turns out! Hopefully our trip will run smoothly.

                            • At December 22, 2009
                              8:11:29 pm
                              Terri Crockett said:

                              Oh, and by the way, I have added your blog to my RSS feed, so I will get “real time” updates as they are posted! Looking forward to keeping in touch with the process. Thanks.

                              • At December 22, 2009
                                8:09:16 pm
                                Terri Crockett said:

                                Hello. Our Costa Rica trip was our first, after having spent many years raising our family. Now we are approaching retirement, and hope to do many more trips, to a variety of destinations. I love the idea of being able to access such a great pool of expertise in the travel realm!

                                • At December 22, 2009
                                  4:05:19 pm
                                  Linda Wolan said:

                                  This is the first blogging I’ve ever done–so bear with me! My husband and I have done a lot of travelling, independently as a couple, solo and with groups. We loved the tiny glimpse we got of Costa Rica when you arranged a few days for us and hope to go back soon. We’re both working but have flexible schedules and would love to see more of the country and meet with more of the welcoming and patient (with our Spanish) Costa Ricans! Since we both want to enjoy more of Costa Rica I think we’d like to go as a couple. We enjoy meeting people from all over the world and would be happy in a mixed group or just couples. I’m particularly excited about all the wildlife and would love to see some of the more remote and/or ecolodge settings.

                                  • At December 22, 2009
                                    10:53:07 am
                                    Renee Lasher said:

                                    Michael, this is fabulous. I am a frequent solo traveler, and knowledgeable advice and tips is a traveler’s best friend. I love sharing my experiences with others, and I count on information I receive in return. This is a great opportunity for that exchange. Thanks!

                                    • At December 22, 2009
                                      8:05:59 am
                                      Patty said:

                                      Hi Michael, I would love to join in this conversation! Almost as good as traveling itself is dreaming about it, planning for it, reminiscing about it afterward, with people who have a similar yearning to learn about the world. I traveled more before having children (counting the days til my youngest is old enough to go to Costa Rica!). Would be happy to share experiences from China, England, South Africa, Canada, Caribbean. What makes this forum different from other online “post your review” sites is the interest from all these participants in exchanging ideas, impressions, experiences. And as one who has had the benefit of your direct advice to inquiries, it would be great for more and more people to share that as well! I started my own blog this year, about trying things I never got around to trying as a kid, now that I’m hurtling into middle age. The response has been great – readers have found support from each other in their own endeavors, and for people who love to travel, such connections are really using the internet for its best purpose – to bring us together. Many thanks, Michael, for opening up this new adventure!

                                      • At December 21, 2009
                                        11:08:08 pm
                                        Su Suits said:

                                        Hi Michael,

                                        Well, you roped me in. I do not blog but this in itself will be a new journey. Why do I travel? My life is spent dealing with the internal-being a professional pianist, and teacher. hours upon hours are spent at the piano. With every trip I take with music, I have a “companion” set of experiences that add to my musical images. These come from my travels. Can you picture the view from Manuel de Falla’s home, looking down on the vibrant city of Granada? Last summer I was in that very room, playing Falla’s piano. Now when I play “Evening In Granada” by Debussy , I can bring my self right back, as well as bring Granada to the music.
                                        On the same trip, after blasting through Tangier, and boarding 2 trains to Fez, I found myself in yet another world. After returning home to Montana, my husband and I cooked a Morrocan dinner, complete with outdoor patios, jalabas, fragrant gardens, and brought our experiences to our friends. Travelling is an expansion of the senses,reality…the whole “sheBANG”.
                                        30 years ago, my sis spent a year in Costa Rica as an exchange student. After her slide presentation, my fire was lit. It took 25 years to get to Costa Rica, and less than a year to return. All I have to do is make a cuppa C.R. Joe, and I am ready to pack. You know how unique Costa Rica,it’s people, culture, and natural beauty are. I can show you through my eyes,ears,tastebuds,responses, just how I experience Costa Rica and what I think many travellers going via Costa Rica Expeditions are looking for. Consider my name in the hat. Thanks.

                                        P.S. Living in Montana is a huge travel adventure… it is so big, I will never see it all, even though I am out many weekends a year. But it brings back so much to my daily life, which in turn I pass on to others.

                                        • At December 22, 2009
                                          3:09:33 pm
                                          Michael Kaye replied
                                          to Su Suits:

                                          Su, What a nice gift for the day after the solstice. Once we get the navigation worked out I will get back to for permission to post this so more people will be able to enjoy it then are likely to read this comment.

                                        • At December 21, 2009
                                          7:53:51 pm
                                          Jill said:

                                          Michael,
                                          I think this is a great idea. I have never been to much of a blogger but love to travel and enjoy sharing my travel experiences with others. We took our first trip as a family to Costa Rica in 2004. We used Costa Rica expeditions to arrange the trip. They made the whole experience from start to finish easy. When we arrived in San Jose there was someone from Costa Rica expeditions there to met us and take us to our hotel. Everytime we moved to a new location we were met my a rep to help us. Our first night we spend at Xandari Resort a coffee plantation. From there we went to Bosque Del Cabo for a few days. That was an amazing resort full of wild life. We really felt the full range of being in the rainforest on one of our first hikes when we heard a puma cry. It stopped us dead in our tracks. It was a surreal moment realizing we were in a place like no other. Than there was mornings, waking to the sounds of the howler monkeys, going for coffee and watching the forest wake up. We saw so many different animals. We kayak at sunset in the Guelfo Dulce. We surfed at Pan Dulce. Than from there we went to Corcovado Logde Tent Camp. When the car dropped us off at the end of the road we had a 2 mile walk to camp. My kids thought we were entering some kind of reality show like survier. Tent camp was an amazing. We ended our trip in Tamarindo.
                                          Since this trip we have been back twice more and look forward to going again. There is so much to tell about each of the places we went to and we love to share more.
                                          I will be happy to participate in this blog.

                                          • At December 21, 2009
                                            9:21:26 am
                                            Julie Meyer said:

                                            I’m not a blogger but this seems like a great idea–esp. for connecting travelers with similar tastes. My husband is Tico but, having grown up poor in San Jose, had never explored his own country so we’ve used your services for some adventures. We went to Turkey this past summer and had a wonderful trip–tho self-organized, largely.

                                            • I think the idea has potential, though it will be interesting to see what can make it unique compared to other interactive travel resources such as Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum or Trip Advisor. Obviously based on the amount of feedback here already, there seems to be a nice starting base of participants.

                                              Since we’re posting our “résumés” here ;) , I’ll go ahead and mention my own experiences and places I’m happy to provide information about. My photography has been a good excuse to travel internationally, and it’s what led me to Costa Rica in the first place. I’ll be returning to Costa Rica with CRE’s help for the third time this February, heading back to Corcovado again (one of my favorite places on earth). I’ll finally be trying something “new” as well by stopping at La Selva, but the big park keeps drawing me back. If I’m lucky, I’m hoping to meet up with some of the folks I befriended at Sirena last year. :)

                                              Other places I’ve visited and can provide insights on include Yellowstone National Park in the US, Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, New Zealand’s South Island (been twice and was married there this past March), Tanzania, Rwanda, Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, as well as several spots in Europe (Greece, the UK, Spain, Russia, Belgium, Holland, Sweden… and some decade-old memories of France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy). I also spent a week or so in China, but any advice I could dole out there would be limited. My next journey is a photo trip to Patagonia starting next week, so that’s a new location to add soon.

                                              Anyway, I actively participate and enjoy providing feedback and advice in other travel-related forums, so I’d be happy to participate here if needed!

                                              • At December 22, 2009
                                                4:41:01 pm
                                                Michael Kaye replied
                                                to Max Waugh:

                                                Max,

                                                I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your trip to Patagonia and enjoying the photos. We are going to need to figure out a way to include photos on this blog. I really enjoyed the ones that you took when you were here last time.

                                              • Hi Folks:

                                                Nice idea, Michael! I agree with those who suggest that some form of classifying will be required. As an educator, almost all my travel has been leading student groups on “study away” programs. I don’t know how often CRE is used by school groups vs. individuals/couples, but the needs (and resources) are often quite different. If groups are a big part of your business, coordinators would find a subcategory very helpful.

                                                cheers,
                                                Wade

                                                • At December 24, 2009
                                                  9:36:48 am
                                                  newing replied
                                                  to Wade Worthen:

                                                  Hi Wade,
                                                  I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at CRE, I have worked for Michael for 23 years and I am helping him with his blog. I thought I would jump in here.
                                                  We are working on sub-categories for the blog and hope to be able to launch this soon. I agree completely, the topics are varied and we’re going to have to make it easy for everyone to find what they need.
                                                  As far as student trips go, yes we do student groups at CRE. We do trips for Ecology and Biology High School and University level students. In fact, we have one school from Texas that has been coming to Costa Rica every year for that last 15 years. These kids are part of an advanced Ecology program and they spend a week in Tortuguero every year in November. Our guides particularly enjoy these trips, it’s so rewarding for them to se5 so many young people excited about the environment.
                                                  We have also done several student groups that are for MBA students doing investigation on ecotourism or sustainability. It’s not uncommon to have Michael or myself leading a group around our offices showing them our business.
                                                  Felices Fiestas!

                                                • At December 19, 2009
                                                  9:58:15 am
                                                  marta said:

                                                  Michael
                                                  Excellent idea! My husband and I are travelers.
                                                  We have traveled through Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
                                                  It will be great to hear other peoples experiences before going to a trip. I also think I can provide informations for others and will help sharing my experiences.
                                                  Thanks for the invitation.
                                                  Marta
                                                  Madrid, Spain

                                                  • At December 19, 2009
                                                    9:07:39 am
                                                    Shannon Borrego said:

                                                    AFRICA–Wow, I can see we are going to need to break down into smaller groups in order to stay on top of this! I like the idea of keywords identifying various areas of travel. I was thrilled to see that John mentioned Mark Nolting and The Africa Adventure Company. I have been to Africa 4 times and my most recent trip was with this company. I will use them for all future trips to “The Dark Continent”. And, I definitely plan to return. The company lists suggested itineraries, but they will also customize a trip around the interests of the client. I started with one of their basic itineraries and tweaked it. This is similar to the philosophy of Costa Rica Expeditions and I think it’s the perfect format. There is a basic structure in place to give you guidelines, but you are able to expand according to your special interests. I know one woman who traveled with them and spent a great deal of time studying native grasses as a medium for her artwork. She returned to the U.S. and had “canvases” made incorporating these grasses and as well as elephant dung (dried, of course) upon which she painted scenes of Africa. Another friend took a group of several couples and they reserved each of the bush camps for their private use. My trip was to S. Africa, Vic. Falls and Chobe in Botswana. We combined private tours (the wine country and a cheetah sanctuary) with group activities, such as sharing a jeep for game drives into the bush.
                                                    One last note about Africa–if you are an “armchair” traveler, you might enjoy the book, “Tales of the African Frontier”, by J.A. Hunter and Daniel P. Mannix. This is a collection of essays written by and about Africa’s earliest explorers. It describes an Africa which is long gone, but makes for fascinating reading.

                                                    • Hi Michael,
                                                      Thanks for the email. I think your travel blog is a good idea but it reminds me of a similar process that is done through Lonely Planet. However, you will have your own audience from people that you have been in contact with from Costa Rica.

                                                      I notice some questions about East Africa and I have been there twice in the past couple of years and am going again in February and possibly in September. I am a professional photographer and have started taking groups to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas. But I can also offer some helpful suggestions about Kenya and Tanzania.

                                                      Please let me know if I help in any way.

                                                      • At December 28, 2009
                                                        5:38:23 pm
                                                        Michael Kaye replied
                                                        to Doug Steakley:

                                                        Doug,

                                                        I’d love to be able to have your suggestions on the places you mention that is the whole idea of the blog. Please send them on when you get a chance. Hopefully within a couple of week we will have search and navigation that includes the comments to facilitate finding specific comments. For technical reasons that I do not understand search and navigation only include my posts. To have it include the comments as well takes some customization

                                                      • At December 18, 2009
                                                        5:35:46 pm
                                                        Diane Scarritt said:

                                                        I think this is a great way for people who enjoy the CRE experience to share a variety of travel recommendations. I feel so overwhelmed by electronic communication, however, that I am not sure how active I can be. I always tell friends who ask about my adventures in Costa Rica and recommend CRE for a quality, no-hassle trip. Diane

                                                        • At December 18, 2009
                                                          3:08:13 pm
                                                          Maricela López said:

                                                          Hi Michael
                                                          I think this blog its a wonderfull idea. I live in México City and I would like to share my travel experiencies in this blog. One of the best travel experiences my husband and I ever have, was riding the Way of St James by bike.From Roncesvalles, in the spanish foothils of the Pyrenees through Santiago de Compostela, Galicia.

                                                          Also I would like to get some advice about traveling southeast France next spring.
                                                          Thank you

                                                          My husband and I did the james
                                                          is an experience that we hardly recomend.
                                                          I also would like some advice about vsisting south east France in spring.

                                                          • At December 23, 2009
                                                            11:44:08 am
                                                            Natalie Ewing replied
                                                            to Maricela López:

                                                            Hi Maricela,

                                                            I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at CRE, I have worked for Michael for 23 years and I am helping him with his blog.

                                                            I am writing to let you know that I am working on finding you a contact for southeast France next spring. I want to be sure to give you a specific name and email address and given the holidays and the time difference, it’s been slow.

                                                            I will be back in touch soon with more specific information!

                                                            In the meantime,

                                                            Felices Fiestas!

                                                          • At December 18, 2009
                                                            10:14:02 am
                                                            meena said:

                                                            Hi Michael !
                                                            We took a family trip to S africa in 2005 and booked our travel thru United travel group . Janet , the travel agent was very helpfful and helped us to plan the itinerary very well .
                                                            Since we did nt have more time , we could only spend 12 days or so , and covered Cape town, Zambia and johannesburg .

                                                            Cape town , of course was lovely , with its Table mountain and gardens , but we also saw the special museum , showing artifacts from Black history .. a very moving experience . We had a side tour to District 11 , where the blacks were moved to . The guide was very proud of teh new small aprtments and housing they are building to help teh blacks .
                                                            Johannesburg was even more interesting , in a diffferent way . We visited R island and saw Mandela’a prison cell as well as Soweto and Mandela square .A guide from the hotel near Mandela square took us for this tour . One could see how proud the S Africans are of their freedom struggle . The guide was apologetic about the run down streets and buildings , but told us to return , in 5 yrs and find a new Johannesburg .
                                                            We spent a few days at MANDIKWE LODGE , about 4 hours drive from Johannesburg ,a non malarial lodge and went on safaris ,both in the morning and evening with Colin, our knowledgeable warden , giving us a very fascinating tour as we saw lions and other animals in the wild . The staff was very courteous and considerate . They brought us hot water botttles to warm our feet at night , since the cabins could get cold sometimes ! Kenya is supposed to have a larger area for safaris , but we did not have the time . We also had a scary experience of lions scratching our cabin door at night !
                                                            Then we flew to Livingstone , to see the victoria falls . We were welcomed by African dancers in costume , singing and drumming , avery colorful sight .
                                                            The food was fabulous and they took us to a fantastic african show , with authentic performances by dancers over a campfire . It was a sight …..when we saw a monkey come to one of the tables and collect all the sugar packets and leap away . One could be eating breakfast , while watching Zebras prancing away in the distance .
                                                            We took a Zambesi sunset cruise , a very relaxing evening , watching teh glorious s unset over teh river , while Hippos raised their heads in the water below .
                                                            The falls , of course are inccredibly lovely , with a rainbow stretched across , most of the time and it was hard to leave . From there we could see the bridge to Zimbabwe .
                                                            Near they falls they have many stalls selling african handicrafts and one could spend hours shopping . It is interesting to note how carefully they use any paper , since it is so scarce .
                                                            The tour was very well arranged and we had no problems getting our transport and transfers at different points .

                                                            • At December 18, 2009
                                                              9:10:38 am
                                                              Bob said:

                                                              Michael
                                                              Excellent idea! My wife and I are travelers. I would be valuable to hear other peoples experiences BEFORE we go… gives us a heads up… we also feel we can provide hints and tips for others…
                                                              Thanks for the invitation.

                                                              • At December 18, 2009
                                                                7:23:06 am
                                                                Tina Strauss said:

                                                                Hi Michael,
                                                                Yes, this is a great idea, as long as you keep it small, personalized and focused. Otherwise you run the risk of becoming too much like all the other web-based travel site forums…. overwhelmingly large, no consensus, and tainted by marketing and sales pitches. I plan an adventure trip every summer for my family: so far we’ve been to Hawaii, Costa Rica, the Canadian Rockies, Vancouver Island, the Swiss Alps, and Tanzania. We want to have these experiences as a family before my kids, now teenagers, leave home. This summer, I’m looking at the Galapagos Islands or Australia, or possibly Vietnam. People are always interested that I’m able to research and plan these trips online, and often say that they couldn’t figure out how to do that. It’s difficult to find good information on the web, and even harder to find trustworthy opinions. Something like this blog would be a valuable resource. I’d like to participate, both to share my knowledge, and to benefit from other people’s experiences.

                                                                • At December 23, 2009
                                                                  2:13:32 pm
                                                                  Natalie Ewing replied
                                                                  to Tina Strauss:

                                                                  Hi Tina,

                                                                  I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at CRE and I’ve been helping Michael with his new blog. I’ve worked for the company for 23 years.

                                                                  You family trips every summer sound wonderful. I can certainly appreciate why you want to get as much as you can in before your teenagers leave home. I am figuring that I will get one maybe two more vacations with my two teenagers before they are off doing their own thing. :(

                                                                  You mentioned that you are considering Australia, Galapagos and Vietnam for next summer. For Galapagos we have some wonderful friends that I haven’t communicated with in awhile that have an outstanding operation. I will email them today and get you a name and email for a contact person.

                                                                  For Australia I’ll have to do some research, but we have some ideas and will be back to you shortly.

                                                                  For Southeast Asia we highly recommend Trails of Indochina, I’ve pasted in the contact information for Vinh Lam, your contact there.

                                                                  TRAILS OF INDOCHINA Limited
                                                                  Contact: Mr. Vinh Lam (US Representative)
                                                                  Email: vinh@trailsofindochina.com
                                                                  Website: http://www.trailsofindochina.com
                                                                  9092 McBride River Ave
                                                                  Fountain Valley, CA 92708-6464
                                                                  Tel:1- 800 835 1376 (West Coast)
                                                                  Fax:1- 714 908 1844

                                                                  I’ll be in touch as soon as I have a contact for Australia and Galapagos.

                                                                  In the meantime, as we say here in Costa Rica,

                                                                  Felices Fiestas!

                                                                  • At January 04, 2010
                                                                    4:10:11 pm
                                                                    Natalie Ewing replied
                                                                    to Tina Strauss:

                                                                    Hi Tina,

                                                                    I was able to get in touch with our friend Eduardo and Dolores Diez, they are the owners of Quasar Nautica and offer services in Galapagos and mainland Ecuador. Not only do they have a fantastic operation, they are really neat people too. When you decide to start investigating Galapagos the contact information that we suggest for you is:

                                                                    Quasar Nautica
                                                                    Contact: Dolores Diez
                                                                    Email: ddiez@quasarex.com
                                                                    Web: http://www.galapagosexpeditions.com/

                                                                    I still owe you a contact for Australia, as soon as I hear back from them I’ll let you know.

                                                                    Feliz Viaje!

                                                                    Natalie

                                                                  • At December 18, 2009
                                                                    12:37:10 am
                                                                    Tamara Rivera said:

                                                                    Michael,
                                                                    Great idea! I love to travel, but since I have small children now and less money to spend on travel, I haven’t had the chance to take a great trip in a long time! I’ve been to a lot of great places (Europe, Morocco, Israel, Jordan, Indonesia, The Philippines, and my favorite, Costa Rica). With each new adventure, I keep wanting to try new places, yet the one and only place I’ve felt the need to return to is Costa Rica. I’ve been there four times, although I haven’t been since 2002:( I’m probably biased about Costa Rica since I lived there for a few months in 1992 and still have some friends I keep in touch with. I used your agency to go to Tortuguero in 2002. It was a great experience and I would highly recommend CRE to others. I don’t usually travel with a tour company but I was very pleased with my experience with CRE. I don’t know what else I might contribute to the blog since I haven’t done much traveling since 2003. I’m new to blogging as well, but it should be a great new learning experience. If nothing else I’ll be dripping with envy while reading everyone else’s more recent travel experiences. Good luck with your blog!

                                                                    • At December 18, 2009
                                                                      6:55:09 am
                                                                      Terri replied
                                                                      to Tamara Rivera:

                                                                      Hi all-I love the idea of a travel blog and reading everyones commments as well as contributing to the discussion of travel. With two kids 8 and 11, our family has a certain perspective, as well as some limitations for travel, but it also can be doubly rewarding to see a child see a spider monkey for the first time, or some other awe inspiring moment. The only problem I see with this is that the commments might remain very general or go into tangents(specific regions) and it will be difficult to search for them with out subcatagorizing by region or topic. Good luck.

                                                                    • At December 17, 2009
                                                                      10:17:28 pm
                                                                      LIsa Poppleton said:

                                                                      Hello Michael,
                                                                      I am excited to “get to know” all these folks who share a passion for travel, and gain inspiration for future adventures of my own. Thank you for creating this new network.

                                                                      • At December 17, 2009
                                                                        9:13:41 pm
                                                                        John said:

                                                                        I like the idea and am happy to contribute. My wife and I have been married for over 21 years and we typically take 1-3 adventure trips a year, so we can share insights on a lot of places- we even hit our seventh continent last year (although like us, some of the information may be a little old, depending on the local). My only suggestion is that you divide this blog in some way so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. I am already a little intimidated by the number of posts in just a day or two and I fear it will become so large that people will start to tune out. Maybe we should each be assigned to groups based on regions we would like to comment on or the types of travel we like to do.

                                                                        • At December 17, 2009
                                                                          8:53:27 pm
                                                                          Laura said:

                                                                          This is a wonderful idea which can benefit travelers of all styles. I’m in a constant state of exploration and am happy to share my insights as well as tap into the contributions of others in hopes of discovering new adventures. Count me in!

                                                                          • This is a great idea and it’ll be cool to get ideas from like-minded travelers who’ve already been to places we’re dreaming of going. We’re hoping to get to Alaska in 2010 so will definitely be contacting Mary Ann Benoit re her B&B and Seward. There you go….it’s working for us already! Thank you.

                                                                            • At January 04, 2010
                                                                              1:11:18 pm
                                                                              Natalie Ewing replied
                                                                              to Kathy McCabe:

                                                                              Hi Kathy,

                                                                              Happy New Year!

                                                                              I am Chief Marketing Officer here at Costa Rica Expeditions. I have worked for Michael for 23 years and I’ve been helping him with the blog.

                                                                              You mentioned interest in travel to Alaska in 2010 and we wanted to give you the contact information for a fantastic company in Alaska.

                                                                              The company is
                                                                              Entree Destinations and your contact is Gwen Horchover, a Senior Alaska consultant. Her email is gwen@entreedestinations.com.

                                                                              I have been in contact with Gwen today and she knows that you may be contacting her.

                                                                              Enjoy!

                                                                              Natalie

                                                                            • At December 17, 2009
                                                                              5:31:10 pm
                                                                              Jennifer Fletcher said:

                                                                              This is a winning idea!
                                                                              The fact that you say that you,too,are new at this is very encouraging to me.
                                                                              I’d be willing to bet that you develop quite a following in a short time.
                                                                              I’d like to participate.

                                                                              • Hi, I think it is a great idea and am happy to share my own travel insights. I also own a bed an breakfast in Seward Alaska and am a wildlife biologist here so am happy to share information about wildlife viewing and travel in this part of Alaska to those who are interested.

                                                                                • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                  4:45:07 pm
                                                                                  Debbie Card said:

                                                                                  Hi Michael,

                                                                                  Would love to help anyway I can. I have traveled quite a bit since visiting CR in 2002. I have traveled across the USA (both coasts) as well as international travel to Canada, Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), Italy, Peru, Ecuador, Australia, Greece, Spain and soon to China. Some trips were with an organized tour company and others were just on our own (which we researched heavily using the internet). Currently planning trips to Vietnam/Cambodia and East Africa. I would welcome any info this blog can provide as well as assist any traveler with information I learned from my travels.

                                                                                  • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                    6:05:59 pm
                                                                                    Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                    to Debbie Card:

                                                                                    Debbie,

                                                                                    If you go through the comments below you will already see that there are 2 people interested in advice on Africa. I am trying to contact friend in the business in Africa and they are all on vacation—or as they say it “on holiday.” As soon as I they get back I’ll put you in touch with the best person for arranging trips and advice on East Africa.

                                                                                    It would be wonderful if you could send what ever contacts, tips and advice you can on Southern Africa.

                                                                                    As soon as possible I want to set up a way for bloggers to have accounts so that they can post new topics. In the meantime, please email what ever you have to me at mskaye@expeditions.co.cr. Make the subject. Vacation
                                                                                    Time is Precious/Africa so I can spot it easily. I am also looking into ways to be able to record posts for those who are more comfortable talking than writing.

                                                                                    • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                      6:11:45 pm
                                                                                      Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                      to Debbie Card:

                                                                                      PS Debbie.

                                                                                      I have Vietnam and Cambodia contacts as well. I’ll also start looking for the right person to talk to.

                                                                                      • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                        9:28:50 pm
                                                                                        John replied
                                                                                        to Debbie Card:

                                                                                        East Africa is one of my favorite places and I am sure you will love it too. There are lots of groups that organize excellent tours (we worked with Mark Nolting, owner of the Africa Adventure Company, on a custom family tour and he did an amazing job). Lodging ranges from basic to over the top luxury depending on taste and budget. There are two things I would strongly recommend. First, if it is at all possible in your budget spend at least a couple of nights in a mobile tented camp. You get the feel of the classic British safari experience sharing a glass of wine around your own campfire (rustic luxury, with hot showers and all) and being out there on your own away from everyone else is amazing. Second, if you are in the region, I cannot recommend highly enough going to see the mountain gorillas- I rank it in the top 2 or 3 things I have ever done. It is expensive but worth every penny.

                                                                                        • At December 23, 2009
                                                                                          9:23:01 am
                                                                                          Natalie Ewing replied
                                                                                          to Debbie Card:

                                                                                          Hi Debbie,

                                                                                          I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at Costa Rica Expeditions. I have been helping Michael with his new blog.

                                                                                          You asked about travel to Vietnam and Cambodia so I have been in contact with a fellow tour operator for those countries. The name of the company is Trails of Indochina. I spoke with Vinh in thier offices in California yesterday and they would be delighted to help you with the planning of your trip.

                                                                                          The person that you should contact is Vinh Lam, his email address is:

                                                                                          vinh@trailsofindochina.com

                                                                                          their website is:

                                                                                          http://www.trailsofindochina.com.

                                                                                          phone:

                                                                                          1-800-835-1376

                                                                                          They plan and operate trips in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Burma.

                                                                                          Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

                                                                                          Happy Travels!

                                                                                        • Hello Michael: I suspect that this will prove very resourceful.

                                                                                          I am already looking for more information on Africa. Of course, I am always thinking of Central America and the riches of its biodiversity. I have used your resources as a part of every trip (3x) in my stitched together trips to CR.

                                                                                          To Lynne above, fortunately, my Son embarrassed me to come to China while he was there several years ago! One of the most important aspects was havinng a native Chinese friend travel with us. The kids were the travel guides and I guess, I was the banker.

                                                                                          Michael, one suggestionns (that may be in the threads above) is some way to providing a subject/topic/keyword identifier as your blog grows.

                                                                                          Thank you for the opportunity.

                                                                                          • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                            5:39:54 pm
                                                                                            Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                            to Kevin P Wheeler:

                                                                                            Kevin, Very good point. We never thought that we were going to get this much response so quickly. We are already playing catch-up. There is a keyword search already, bit when I just checked it was not working. As soon as we can we will fix the search and add tags and navigation.

                                                                                            Please bear with is and keep your comments coming.

                                                                                            • At December 30, 2009
                                                                                              4:39:14 pm
                                                                                              newing replied
                                                                                              to Kevin P Wheeler:

                                                                                              Hi Kevin,

                                                                                              I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at CRE and I am helping Michael with his blog. It’s been a lot of fun reading all of these comments.

                                                                                              You mentioned that you are interested in travel to Africa and I have some information for you. We have two companies that we know quite well. One is Trans Africa Safaris and the other is &Beyond. Unfortuantely our friends, Nicky and Steve Fitzgerald are no longer at &Beyond so I don’t have a specific name to give you today, but I hope to have a contact for you soon. I personally traveled with &Beyond in 2008 with my two teenagers. It was a fabulous experience and I would be happy to share information with you. We went to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Phinda Nature Reserve, Ngala Nature Reserve and Matetsi in Zimbabwe. We also spent a day at Victoria Falls.

                                                                                              There is one other company that has been mentioned twice on the blog, this is The Africa Adventure Company. We don’t know them first hand, but they are highly recommended by two past travelers on this blog.

                                                                                              In the meantime, I do have a contact for you at Trans Africa Safaris, they are a great company.

                                                                                              Trans Africa Safaris
                                                                                              Contact: Michelle Meyer, Tours Manager
                                                                                              Email: michell@transafricasafaris.com
                                                                                              Web: http://www.transafricasafaris.com
                                                                                              Phone: +27-21-713 2063.

                                                                                              As soon as I have more information from the other African companies I’ll let you know.

                                                                                              You also mentioned thinking of Central America and it’s biodiversity, have you ever been to Nicaragua? If not and you would like some insight, I’d be happy to help.

                                                                                              Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want additional information.

                                                                                              Happy Travels!

                                                                                            • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                              3:15:01 pm
                                                                                              LaRaye said:

                                                                                              Happy to help. Most of my travel is for business, but that takes me to some pretty interesting places (Papua New Guinea, Australia, China, Malaysia, North Sulawesi …) and I usually take advantage of some down time to get a flavor of the culture. You may be delighted to learn that despite exposure to some of these exotic places, we have returned to Costa Rica for our family spring breaks for the last nine years. We still find new things to learn and do during every CR visit. Happy trails.

                                                                                              • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                2:58:28 pm
                                                                                                Bart Stegman said:

                                                                                                Great idea, Michael! We can’t wait to join in the discussion. We love to travel when we can afford it. My wife is a nurse and I am a teacher, not high paying professions, but we have traveled to many countries and seen many beautiful places, using companies like Costa Rica Expeditions.

                                                                                                • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                  1:35:09 pm
                                                                                                  Alicia Anino said:

                                                                                                  Michael, the blog is a great idea. I often find blogs useful in google searches for information on my travel destinations. I hope I can be of help, especially on information regarding Panama, a friend Tican neighboar.

                                                                                                  • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                    1:04:13 pm
                                                                                                    Connie Powell said:

                                                                                                    Dear Michael,
                                                                                                    I think the blog is a wonderful idea. I appreciate how social networking provides connections with diverse individuals and perspectives. I think the blog will be a valuable tool in researching and sharing memorable travel experiences. I’m willing to assist in any way I’m able.

                                                                                                    • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                      11:18:28 am
                                                                                                      Adam Lynch said:

                                                                                                      Great idea, I’m willing to help. Like many others on here I had a great experience with CRE a couple of years ago. I’ve travelled abroad a couple of times since and I’m always looking for information from people who really know the area. I always look for much more than what I can get from a guidebook and I’ve always found people who have gone through the experience already are usually the true experts.

                                                                                                      • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                        10:28:17 am
                                                                                                        Janet Band said:

                                                                                                        Michael,

                                                                                                        I am pleased to participate. I have long believed that the Internet is the best way to share travel information–anytime, anywhere around the world. I also believe that travelers’ most valuable information comes from frank, inside assessments from travelers just like themselves.

                                                                                                        I loved the trip we did with CRE last March. I have high standards, and, like most travelers, high expectations. I was delighted with the service we received through CRE. I will be planning expeditions in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia over the next few years for my family and would appreciate the “inside knowledge” this group can provide. In particular, I am looking for the travel expert on the ground in the countries that I will be visiting. Again, most of us can find the international travel brands; it is the local company, like yours, that can often provide the authentic experience at the reasonable price.

                                                                                                        Good luck. I look forward to participating in this venture.

                                                                                                        • At December 30, 2009
                                                                                                          4:37:06 pm
                                                                                                          newing replied
                                                                                                          to Janet Band:

                                                                                                          Hi Janet,

                                                                                                          I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at CRE. Michael has asked me to pitch in with the blog.

                                                                                                          I am delighted to hear that you had such a good time in Costa Rica last March.

                                                                                                          I see that you are interested in contacts for travel to Africa, India and Southeast Asia. I am working on getting contacts for each area, but I wanted to send you what I have so far.

                                                                                                          For Africa, we have three companies. Trans Africa Safaris we have known for years, they are an excellent company and Michael has been in contact with them about the blog and they know that they may be contacted by some of you. The contact information for them is:

                                                                                                          Trans Africa Safaris
                                                                                                          Contact: Michelle Meyer, Tours Manager
                                                                                                          Email: michell@transafricasafaris.com
                                                                                                          Web: http://www.transafricasafaris.com
                                                                                                          Phone: +27-21-713 2063.

                                                                                                          We have another two companies in Africa that you may want to consider. One is &Beyond, we have very close relationship with the former managing directors, Steve & Nicky Fitzgerald, but they are no longer with the company. I have made contact with &Beyond and am waiting for a contact to give you. I personally travelled with them, my two teenagers and I went to Cape Town, Joburg, Phinda Game Reserve, Ngala Game Reseverve, the Matetsi Game Reserve in Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls. If you would like any input from me, I would be happy to provide details.

                                                                                                          The other company that has come up on this blog for Africa is The Africa Adventure Company. I have also made contact with them and hope to speak to their US rep on the phone soon. As soon as I have a green light I’ll let you know.

                                                                                                          For Southeast Asia, I spoke yesterday with Vinh from Trails of Indochina. We’ve known them for years as we participate in some of the same industry events. If you are interested in speaking to him, his contact information is:

                                                                                                          TRAILS OF INDOCHINA Limited
                                                                                                          Contact: Mr. Vinh Lam (US Representative)
                                                                                                          Email: vinh@trailsofindochina.com
                                                                                                          Website: http://www.trailsofindochina.com
                                                                                                          9092 McBride River Ave
                                                                                                          Fountain Valley, CA 92708-6464
                                                                                                          Tel:1- 800 835 1376 (West Coast)
                                                                                                          Fax:1- 714 908 1844

                                                                                                          You also asked about India. I’ve been on the phone and email with Amber Tours, but I still have not been able to have a full conversation. The time difference, distance and the holidays are making it a bit tricky. As soon as I have something more concrete I’ll let you know.

                                                                                                          In the meantime, as we say here in Costa Rica…

                                                                                                          Felices Fiestas

                                                                                                        • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                          9:43:42 am
                                                                                                          Roseann Bowerman said:

                                                                                                          This sounds like a good idea. We loved our CRE trips and even converted a friend who is a world traveler and always avoided “group tours” like the plague. He came to Costa Rica with us and we traveled with your fabulous company…he was floored by the experience. One of my interests is combining travel with language learning. We’ve done it in Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico. I’d like to get to some other Latin/South American countries as well. It might make a useful blog discussion!

                                                                                                          • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                            9:41:06 am
                                                                                                            Margaret said:

                                                                                                            Great idea, I have such fond memories of our time in Costa Rica!

                                                                                                            • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                              9:26:14 am
                                                                                                              Helene said:

                                                                                                              Great Idea! Count me in!!

                                                                                                              • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                                8:06:59 am
                                                                                                                Shannon Borrego said:

                                                                                                                Michael, What a wonderful opportunity for fellow travelers to share recommendations and warnings about travel destinations! Since the focus is not on Costa Rica, I think everyone will feel free to be candid without any concern about stepping on toes. As a frequent traveler I am always in search of the off-the-beaten-path experience. I have a feeling that fellow bloggers share that desire and I look forward to enthusiastic and spirited exchanges!

                                                                                                                • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                  9:02:04 pm
                                                                                                                  Terry Burridge said:

                                                                                                                  Please count me in! Our family still remembers our trip with Costa Rica Expeditions (and Kenya Mendez as our guide) as one of our absolute favorite trips (and my sons were teenagers at the time, so the bar was set high!). Being able to replicate that type of experience in other parts of the world, through the advice of those who have been there already, would/will be wonderful. So I need advice on Africa, Peru, Scandinavia, China, Viet Nam…!

                                                                                                                  • At December 30, 2009
                                                                                                                    4:43:23 pm
                                                                                                                    newing replied
                                                                                                                    to Terry Burridge:

                                                                                                                    Hi Terri,
                                                                                                                    I am Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer here at Costa Rica Expeditions. I’ve worked with Michael for 23 years and I’m currently helping him with the blog. I’m thrilled that we made the grade for your teenage boys, I have teenagers too, a girl and a boy and I know how hard they can be to please!

                                                                                                                    You said that you need advice for travel to Africa, Peru, Scandinavia, China and Vietnam. I’ve been doing some investigating and while I don’t have all of the contacts for you yet, I have a good start.

                                                                                                                    For Scandinavia

                                                                                                                    Delta of Scandinavia A/S
                                                                                                                    Contact: Mads Tange
                                                                                                                    Email: mads@delta-scandinavia.com
                                                                                                                    Web: http://www.delta-scandinavia.com/
                                                                                                                    Vesterbrogade 35
                                                                                                                    DK-1620 Copenhagen V.
                                                                                                                    D E N M A R K
                                                                                                                    Tel: (+45) 33 31 12 01
                                                                                                                    Fax: (+45) 33 25 16 37

                                                                                                                    For China

                                                                                                                    Eastern Journeys – Travels through China
                                                                                                                    Contact: David Allardice, CEO & Owner
                                                                                                                    E-mail: david@easternjourneys.com
                                                                                                                    Web: http://www.easternjourneys.com
                                                                                                                    Tel: + 852-2544-5488 Fax: + 852-2544-5489
                                                                                                                    The 5th Floor, Anton Building, No. 1 Anton Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong SAR, China

                                                                                                                    For Vietnam & Cambodia

                                                                                                                    TRAILS OF INDOCHINA Limited
                                                                                                                    Contact: Mr. Vinh Lam (US Representative)
                                                                                                                    Email: vinh@trailsofindochina.com
                                                                                                                    Website: http://www.trailsofindochina.com
                                                                                                                    9092 McBride River Ave
                                                                                                                    Fountain Valley, CA 92708-6464
                                                                                                                    Tel:1- 800 835 1376 (West Coast)
                                                                                                                    Fax:1- 714 908 1844
                                                                                                                    Cell:1- 714 933 5252

                                                                                                                    For Africa

                                                                                                                    Trans Africa Safaris
                                                                                                                    Contact: Michelle Meyer, Tours Manager
                                                                                                                    Email: michell@transafricasafaris.com
                                                                                                                    Web: http://www.transafricasafaris.com
                                                                                                                    Phone: +27-21-713 2063.

                                                                                                                    I am still working on getting you a specific contact person for another two companies in Africa and onefor Peru. For Africa, we have a relationship with Trans Africa Safaris, mentioned above, we have known them for years. We also have had contact with &Beyond. As Michael mentioned in one of his posts, &Beyond has changed management and we are in the process of figuring the right contact for you. I personally travelled with &Beyond in 2008 with the kids and it was fantastic! If you would like to hear more I would be happy to share.

                                                                                                                    I also wrote The Africa Adventure Company, they were recommended by fellow bloggers Shannon and Mark. As soon as I hear from them, &Beyond and Peru I’ll be back in touch with specific names and contact information.

                                                                                                                    In the meantime…as we say in Costa Rica,

                                                                                                                    Felices Fiestas!

                                                                                                                  • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                    8:11:13 pm
                                                                                                                    Charles Plotz said:

                                                                                                                    Three generations of our family have enjoyed Costa Rica under your guidance and thank you for it. We have traveled to almost every part of the world and our major advice is to try to fit in with local customs and strengths–if all you’re looking for is creature comfort, stay home.

                                                                                                                    • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                      7:57:23 pm
                                                                                                                      Michael said:

                                                                                                                      I think it’s very valuable to have a forum to connect with fellow travelers. I think the key is to make sure it’s organized for easy navigating by geography. I’d be willing to post my experiences from various places around the world and would also see the advice of others for my new adventures.

                                                                                                                      This year we are headed back to Costa Rica and plan to rent a villa somewhere south of Dominical. We are still hunting for just the right place This will be our 5th time to Costa Rica (in 6 years). Last year we went to St Barths. It is a nice place – but the weather was iffy and not so warm in March.

                                                                                                                      • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                        7:33:41 pm
                                                                                                                        Cheryl Shnider said:

                                                                                                                        Michael
                                                                                                                        I think a blog is a great idea. I usually do extensive research before I travel and find that people who have been there have pearls of wisdom and insider knowledge that can’t be found on websites or in travel guides. Reiterating what others have said, my experience with Costa Rica Expeditions was unsurpassed and I would be very grateful to find other organizations with a similar philosophy and equally high standards. Thanks!

                                                                                                                        • Hi Michael, I’m a neophyte at blogs but I’m happy to support it and contribute what I have learned leading groups for Cincinnati Nature Center for 36 years. Our nature center has used your company every time we come to Costa Rica, and with supurb leaders like Charlie Gomez, and driver guides like Nino, we’ll continue to use you guys. But we only come to Costa Rice every 5-10 years, after all there’s a big world out there, so there are plenty of other destinations I can share my two cents. I’m looking forward to seeing (and learning) how this develops.

                                                                                                                          • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                            3:54:16 pm
                                                                                                                            Alex Sunarich said:

                                                                                                                            Hello Michael,
                                                                                                                            I think that this is a wonderful idea! I frequently use the web and sites such as Trip Advisor in order to research and/or share information regarding travel destinations or accomodation. The thing which is missing is a forum where travellers can share in- depth information and insights regarding specific concerns and issues on a one to one basis, from the “front lines”, so to speak. I would be very happy to participate!

                                                                                                                            • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                              3:41:41 pm
                                                                                                                              Alex Sunarich said:

                                                                                                                              Hello Michael,
                                                                                                                              I think that this is a great idea! In researching any vacations, I actively use the internet and sites such as Trip Advisor in order to gain and / or share information about destinations, accomodation, etc. The thing that seems to be missing is a forum such as the one which you are launching; something which will provide real insights into various vacation destinations and ideas, as well as providing a venue for addressing specific questions and concerns, from the front lines, so to speak. I will be glad to participate!

                                                                                                                              • Yes, Michael, GO. Use the force (and don’t crack under pressure)

                                                                                                                                • Go Michael!
                                                                                                                                  The more interactive, the more creative and the more conversational, the more engagement and real. I think this could be the beginning of answering interesting questions which resonate…such as how do you define a “vacation”? When you think of spending quality time with others, how do you most want to do that? What types of new experiences are most memorable for you based on your past experiences? What were you doing and why did that experience stick with you? In your “wildest dreams”, what’s next on the travel frontier? Met with Don George about this with another company a couple of months ago. Very good thing to be doing for Costa Rica Expeditions. Will publish my CRE story…

                                                                                                                                  • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                                    11:56:37 am
                                                                                                                                    Francina Franks said:

                                                                                                                                    Hello Michael, This is a wonderful idea and I’d love to participate. Before any trip, I do extensive research on the web and this is a way to pay back those that I’ve learned from in the past. (Pay it forward?)

                                                                                                                                    • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                                      10:46:21 am
                                                                                                                                      Cindee Klement said:

                                                                                                                                      Hi Michael,
                                                                                                                                      This is a great idea, I rarely make a significant purchase without looking at customer reviews on line, the insight gained by reading about the experiences of others is extremely valuable in my decision making process. Our Costa Rica vacation was the most relaxing vacation my family of four has ever experienced. Costa Rica Expeditions took the stress we took the vacation. If you made a recommendation I would trust it with out a doubt. I look forward to reading the wealth of knowledge to come from your blog and will gladly spread the word to my friends.

                                                                                                                                      • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                        11:20:41 pm
                                                                                                                                        Michael Schwimmer said:

                                                                                                                                        Michael- I think a blog is a wonderful idea. Given that Costa Rica Expeditions is as close to a perfect travel agency as I have ever encountered, I would have to think that the people who would participate in this blog would be sophisticated travelers with, of course, impeccable taste and would also have very reliable opinions

                                                                                                                                        • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                          9:44:27 pm
                                                                                                                                          David Harris said:

                                                                                                                                          We struggle to find quality active vacations similar to the one we took in Costa Rica yet we are always looking for similar experiences in mew countries. This summer we went to Turkey and worked with a local travel agent to create an active, customized itinerary which worked out very well but it would be great to have a source of ideas and this blog concept could be a good start.

                                                                                                                                          • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                            8:00:59 pm
                                                                                                                                            Brian Grogan said:

                                                                                                                                            I think this is a great forward thinking idea to share yours and others traveling experiences. One of me best trips ever was to Costa Rica and have recommended it to many people. One of my most fond memories is the white water rafting on the Pacure River and the 2 nights at the Pacure Lodge. I am an avid armchair traveler and all the time wanna be real time traveler. I recently completed the Tour Du Mont Blanc, a 105 mile hut to hut hike around Mont Blanc through France, Italy and Switzerland. This was a trip of a life time and another one I would highly recommend to folks that love hiking and something different in spectacular surrounds.
                                                                                                                                            Again kudos on this new venture. I hope to learn more from this blog in the near furure.

                                                                                                                                            • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                                                              4:34:08 pm
                                                                                                                                              Debbie Card replied
                                                                                                                                              to Brian Grogan:

                                                                                                                                              Brian, we also loved whitewater rafting down the Pacaure and staying at the Lodge. If you love hiking, you must go on the hiking/rafting trip down the Grand Canyon (used Arizona Rafting) and the Lodge Trek (Salkantay trail) to Machu Picchu (used REI Adventures).

                                                                                                                                              • At December 23, 2009
                                                                                                                                                9:28:03 am
                                                                                                                                                Natalie Ewing replied
                                                                                                                                                to Brian Grogan:

                                                                                                                                                Hi Brian,

                                                                                                                                                I have worked for Michael and Costa Rica Expeditions for the past 23 years and I’ve been helping him with this wonderful new blog. My present position is Chief Marketing & Guest Satisfaction Officer, but I’ve done almost every job in the joint. The Tour Du Mont Blanc sounds like heaven. Can you point me in the right direction? I’m looking for a special trip for next year.

                                                                                                                                                Happy Travels

                                                                                                                                              • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                3:21:27 pm
                                                                                                                                                Robert Cohen said:

                                                                                                                                                Hello Michael, I like to think a blog site will give information that you usually find out at the end of your trip. Used successfully one gets detailed infomation about a travel destination that you would not normally find in a brochure. You would get comments and feedback that you might not normally see.

                                                                                                                                                • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                  6:47:09 pm
                                                                                                                                                  Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                                                                                  to Robert Cohen:

                                                                                                                                                  Precisely, Robert. The idea is to achieve what you suggest and hope fully. Proust said, “The highest aim of travel is not to see new sights, but to gain new eyes.” My hope for the blog is that it helps us all not only find out what to see and where to go, but also how to travel in most nourishing way possible.

                                                                                                                                                • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                  3:11:43 pm
                                                                                                                                                  Robert Cohen said:

                                                                                                                                                  Answer ot both questions, YES.

                                                                                                                                                  • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                    3:09:20 pm
                                                                                                                                                    Lynne Caletti said:

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I do think it is a good idea. It is great to learn from others’ experiences. Also, I often have specific questions. Our son spent a semester in China and our daughter a semester in Australia. This seems to be a part of many college students’ studies now. We did not visit them while they were overseas but possibly would have, if we had felt we could get more personal information about travel options there, especially in China. I have never blogged either, but I guess we all need to be continually learning new things.

                                                                                                                                                    • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                      11:31:43 am
                                                                                                                                                      Kari Mofford said:

                                                                                                                                                      Dear Michael,
                                                                                                                                                      I think this is a great idea and I do feel that the trip I took to Costa Rica was the best trip I’ve ever had. I’m still recommending it to people if they are looking for a honeymoon idea. Unfortunately, due to the economy my traveling has been very curtailed and Costa Rica is the last place I’ve gone to for fun that wasn’t accessible by car. Even the travel funds for work are rare, so I feel like my advice would be too dated to help much with the blog. But I’m sure you’ll get some good insights from lots of other people. I wish you the best, as I think you have a great company.

                                                                                                                                                      • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                        11:29:51 am
                                                                                                                                                        Roger Taylor said:

                                                                                                                                                        Hey Michael …. count me in … I love to travel and explore our world … i am a new-be with blog’s but certainly willing to learn and participate.

                                                                                                                                                        • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                          11:28:33 am
                                                                                                                                                          Michael McGowan said:

                                                                                                                                                          Hi Michael,
                                                                                                                                                          I am happy to participate. One caution, although you have more marketing experience than I do.
                                                                                                                                                          Possible conflict of interest if blog comments from participants can be rewarded with a travel perk. Would hate for a nasty marketing backlash if your competition wanted to make something look scandalous.

                                                                                                                                                          • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                            6:42:35 pm
                                                                                                                                                            Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                                                                                            to Michael McGowan:

                                                                                                                                                            Good point. The idea is not to reward people for saying wonderful things about me, Costa Rica Expedition, or even the blog. The idea is to use the blog to select a few people who together would create a magical few days. I am working out the idea as I go along. More in a few days

                                                                                                                                                          • Michael -
                                                                                                                                                            I think this is a great idea. Sharing personal experiences with fellow world travelers would be valuable. Keep up the good work.

                                                                                                                                                            • Hi Michael,
                                                                                                                                                              Your business will surely benefit from a blog, for all of the reasons explained above. Personally, I like to go to a website and then investigate what they do or sell. A blog can let me to see what a company’s personality is like, and interact directly with them and the other participants. The downside, for me, is how much time all of the e-mailing and blogging takes up.

                                                                                                                                                              • Michael,

                                                                                                                                                                I think it is a good idea. You look at some of the other blog spots that have taken off in regards to various parts of travel and there is a place for it. I also think setting up alliances with other similar firms is a good source of cross referrals. Since our trip with you, we have mentioned on several occasions that we wish you did the same thing in Africa or could recommend a firm that cares as much about the overall experience.

                                                                                                                                                                If you build it, they will come.

                                                                                                                                                                • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  9:01:14 am
                                                                                                                                                                  Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                                                                                                  to Dave Patriarche:

                                                                                                                                                                  Six months ago recommending a company in Africa would have been easy, &Beyond. (Used to be called CCAfrica). Now my good friends, Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald have left the company, so I am not so sure. I’ll write them see what they say and get back to you.

                                                                                                                                                                  • At December 16, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    1:01:48 pm
                                                                                                                                                                    Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                                                                                                    to Dave Patriarche:

                                                                                                                                                                    I got an “out of office” from the Fitzgeralds. They are in the bush and off line until after the first of the year. I am writing my other good African friends, Andres Botha and Jennifer Patterson from TransAfrica Safaris.

                                                                                                                                                                    • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      7:46:34 am
                                                                                                                                                                      Michael Kaye replied
                                                                                                                                                                      to Dave Patriarche:

                                                                                                                                                                      All my African friends seem to be off on holiday. I am getting jealous. Jennifer Patterson from Trans African Safaris will be back in the office on Dec 28. When are planning to travel. I can call and get one of their consultants, but if there is time I would rather talk to the owners first so that they can put you together with the right person.

                                                                                                                                                                      • At December 17, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        6:17:16 pm
                                                                                                                                                                        Kathleen replied
                                                                                                                                                                        to Michael Kaye:

                                                                                                                                                                        We had a marvelous trip to Kenya and Tanzania with A&K, knowledgeable professional guides, lovely accommodations and excellent arrangements throughout. Just like CRE.

                                                                                                                                                                  • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    6:53:29 am
                                                                                                                                                                    Michel Chenier said:

                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Michael,
                                                                                                                                                                    Yes!It is a great idea, I will like to share my experience of travel with others, so I will like to participate in your blog although I am french speaking (from Quebec).

                                                                                                                                                                    • At December 15, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      1:16:25 am
                                                                                                                                                                      Jane Horlings said:

                                                                                                                                                                      Hello Michael: In answer to your questions, Yes, and Yes! Blogs, chat boards and other websites have an incredible amount of power and influence in travel, allowing us, the travelers a great source of information and opinions. I have a hard time remembering when, and how, we traveled without the resources and influence of the internet! I can cite so many instances in which another person, online, contributed significantly to my travel experience. I try to give back, in kind, by sharing our experiences with others.