Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Back From...a family adventure in Costa Rica!

Laura Davidson recaps her family's summer adventure on an Abercrombie & Kent trip to Costa Rica.

The highlight of my summer sabbatical was a two-week trip to Costa Rica organized by LDPR client, Abercrombie & Kent. This was my third time there — it’s one of my favorite countries — but the first visit with Andy and the boys (Tobey is 10 and Jake is 9). I can see why Costa Rica is such a hot destination this year: it’s easy to get to, yet exotic; it has dramatic topography, yet it’s easy and safe to get around; it has delicious cuisine; and the Ticos are the friendliest people in the world.

We spent our first week at Lapa Rios, a fabulous ecolodge deep in the primary rainforest of the Osa Peninsula. Many thanks to all my media friends for this recommendation! Our bungalow was a luxury cottage perched on a ridge hundreds of feet above the smooth rolling waves of the Pacific. Every morning we awoke to the screeches of macaws and the grunts of howler monkeys. We took a different guided hike each day, threading our way through lush rainforest and picturesque waterfalls, checking off more wildlife than we ever thought we would see (three species of monkeys, sloths, macaws, toucans, snakes, agoutis, vultures, etc.). The added bonus: Lapa Rios is a paragon of sustainability (meaning that it has no negative impact on its pristine surroundings). If anyone in the travel world needs a template to copy, then this is it!

Laura, Andy , Tobey and Jake get ready to hike the primary rainforest at the Lapa Rios preserve

For the second week we joined an A&K “Family Departure that combined adventures in two very different ecosystems: Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast and Arenal, an active volcano in the center of the country. I now understand why people say that the guide is the most important part of any tour. William Granados was brilliant, not just as a guide, historian, naturalist, but also as a buddy to the kids. Thanks to him, I feel like an expert on the destination (and car games).

In Tortuguero we went kayaking with crocodiles (William claimed they were a rare vegetarian species), saw sea-turtle nesting sites, and incredible bird life. But the most memorable experience for my boys was when William organized a game of soccer with the local kids in the village. Tough competition!

                                 Kayaking in the Tortuguero National Park

At the Arenal Volcano the scenery was vertical instead of horizontal, but just as spectacular. The days were clear of cloud, so we saw the volcano in its full glory, all the way up to its crater rim belching smoke. We went hiking on suspended bridges in the rainforest and toured an organic farm where the kids got to squeeze out their own sugar-cane juice.

            Laura, Andy, Tobey and Jake hiking near the Arenal Volcano


Much to my great surprise, I came home relaxed. Everything ran so smoothly and I had such confidence in William that I had no choice but to sit back and enjoy the ride. Coming from a mom with two hyperactive, food-picky, danger-magnet kids, that is high praise for A&K indeed!

                         Up close and personal with a turtle family

1 comment:

  1. love love love it! really hope to get to Costa Rica myself one day. thanks for sharing!



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