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

Trip of a Life Time Part 2: Bienvenidos a…Costa Rica!

When we left Patty she had just taken off into the sunset on her flight from New York to Costa Rica…

We’re here!  Scrambling off the plane, I hook up with 2 fellow Trip of a Lifetime travelers and we head toward baggage comparing notes on how excited, nervous and completely unprepared we feel for what is ahead.

“I haven’t been this blind going into something since my homestay studying abroad junior year,” I say.  Come to think of it, that was a DISASTROUS experience.  My host family locked me IN the house with a phone that wouldn’t dial OUT while they went to work all day and I was terrorized by their 2 out-of-control German shepherds.  I spent my first day in England barricaded in a bedroom while dogs barking bloody murder threw themselves at the door and chewed down the doorknobs.  Gee.  I hope this trip turns out better than that…

Cheryl and Jen are seasoned travelers, who efficiently packed for a week without checking luggage and under the 25lb weight limit for the boats we’ll be taking.  Either my bags or I will have to lose some weight, fast.

Together, we’re 3 grown women used to running our lives, or at least, knowing where we’re going most of the time.  And now we’re looking for a Costa Rica Expeditions guide to lead the way.

He comes, in the form of William Granados (, and true to the CRE tradition of guiding guests like showing friends around your country, within minutes he makes us feel connected in a hundred ways.  “Do you speak Mandarin?”  he asks me and is delighted to hear I do:  “My son is learning Mandarin!”  Jen grew up in Wales, lives in Montreal, used to teach French and is now speaking Spanish to William in the van.  Connected.

William delivers us to the hotel and suddenly I’m starving.  Cheryl, Jen and I order tapas at the open-air hotel bar and wonder what is in store for us this week.  White water rafting (which I’m terrified of) has been promised/threatened, as well as teaching English to local schoolkids and being filmed for unknown purposes…beyond that it’s a mystery.

A pause in conversation, and Jen looks around at the lit-up courtyard, the serrano ham croquettes, the night sky and says “Isn’t this just like being in…well, Costa Rica, I suppose!”

We all laugh, and agree: after all the miles traveled and not knowing what tomorrow will bring, right here, right now, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.

There’s something magical about arriving in the dark.  I go to sleep in a Marriott hotel room that could be anywhere, and in the morning I open the door and this is what I see

No German shepherds in sight.  It’s going to be a good day.

In her next post Patty sets out to brave the Class II & III rapids of the Pejibaye River.

Ever had trepidations as you set out on a trip?  What worried you the most? Let us know.

Share with Delicious Share with Digg Share with Facebook Share with LinkedIn Share with MySpace Share with reddit Share with StumbleUpon Share with Twitter

Leave a comment

(Required. Will not be published)
(Not required)

2 Comments and 0 Replies

  • At December 14, 2010
    9:04:24 pm
    Patty Chang Anker said:

    What a great story, Marylou! I don’t know, the thought of watching my kids rappeling makes me want to scream and throw myself at their ankles to keep them from going over the edge! I should learn a lot from your example.

    • At November 23, 2010
      6:17:46 pm
      Marylou Austin-Nichol said:

      As each grandchild turns 11 he/she is allowed to pick a trip of his/her choice. My granddaughter, Shea, chose Costa Rica. When asked for her reason, she simply said, “ADVENTURE”.

      We e-mailed and SKYPED until our itinerary was set. She wanted to go rappeling, rafting through level three and four rapids, zipling, horsebackriding and snorkeling. We did all of this plus extraordinary sightseeing. Keep in mind that I am 64 and she was 11. During every new adventure we did it appeared that I was the oldest and she was the youngest. It is one thing to handle one’s own fears as you step off a 95′ cliff but it is entirely different to watch your 75 pound granddaughter push herself to the front of the line. That’s trepedation!

      We pushed ourselves to the limit and enjoyed every second. I would recommend Costa Rica Expeditions to anyone who would like to be calmly guided through whatever type of adventure they would want.