The challenge was to choose an itinerary that would provide our eight-person
group with a glimpse of the Central American nation's beauty during a brief
five-day visit. We chose a private, escorted tour that provided a balance
of fixed itinerary with time for individual exploration.
After a half day getting acclimated in the capital of San Jose, the group
headed north to Poas Volcano, Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano. At
2:30 a.m, the clouds cleared and we could see from our balconies the
lava flowing down the sides of Arenal. What a magnificent sight!
The following day, we returned to San Jose for a 15-minute flight to Quepos
and Manuel Antonio, along the gorgeous Pacific Coast.
The beaches at Manuel
Antonio were fantastic: clean, white, and with water temperatures around 80
Though not as dense as the rainforests in the northeast and
southwest corners of the country, we still saw plenty of wildlife, including
three varieties of monkeys, sloths, coatimundis, iguanas, and a wide variety
of birds. Manuel Antonio also serves as a point of departure for
adventures, including white water rafting, sea kayaking, and sport fishing.