Costa Rica is a country that offers travelers a little bit of everything. The wonderful climate means you can be on a beach one day, and hiking through a cloud forest the next. There are mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls and thermal pools to be discovered and enjoyed.
Did you know, for example, that over 1,000 species of butterflies can be found in its rain forests and along its coasts, as well as more than 200 species of mammals, 830 kinds of birds and 400 species of reptiles? It’s true. For a small country, the biodiversity is just incredible! You won’t find a better place to get up close and personal with nature.
Costa Rica is safe. There’s no political unrest. There are excellent medical facilities, and the food is delicious. Try ceviche, for example. It’s a blend of fresh seafood served cold and marinated in lime juice. Another favorite is gallo pinto, a stir fry of white rice and black beans, mixed with chicken or beef and local seasoning. If your family is looking for relaxation, coupled with a bit of adventure and some wonderful, teachable moments for the kids, Adventures By Disney will make it all memorable.
We caught up recently with Anthony, 15, and his aunt Dee. They took the trip last year.
“I take each of my nieces and nephews on a personal trip when they become 15, “ explains Dee. “I want them to feel special and it’s a great way for us to spend some quality time together.” She offered Anthony a few options for possible trips during his week off, and Costa Rica was his number one choice. Why? “Well,” says Aunt Dee, “Anthony is a kid who enjoys being totally active. Given the itinerary, I knew this trip would grab him.”
But she wasn’t exactly sure in the beginning if it would grab her. The thought of being up close and personal with wild monkeys for example, was not thrilling. The trip offered “gentle hiking”, canopy zip lining and white water rafting in a class II-III river. While not considered physically strenuous, most days did include one or more hours of walking, often in a rainforest environment.
“The thing I keep coming back to is how easy Disney makes it for you,” she says. “You do have to be just a tad adventurous to want to do this, but the benefits far outweigh any misgivings I might have initially had. They really do take care of everything. And honestly, it was great fun and a very interesting experience for me personally.”
“Both of our English-speaking guides were with our group for the entire week. They took care of our luggage, arranged all our tours and meals and accompanied us the whole time,” adds Dee. “For me, the one downside was in the jungle. There was no air conditioning. But we did have plenty of ceiling fans. All that was explained to us ahead of time, so I expected it. For this kind of trip, you just have to be flexible and put away the hair dryer.”
While Anthony has traveled to many other destinations with his family over the years, and still want to visit many other countries, he would love to go back to Costa Rica. There’s only so much one can do in a week’s time. And he agrees that his Aunt Dee was a little apprehensive at first. “You’ll definitely need the bug spray. That’s for sure. And it’s not like being at a fancy hotel all the time,” he explains. “But the positives way outweigh the negatives. There were so many nice people on our trip, and you really get to know everyone.”
He definitely pushed his aunt out of her comfort zone once or twice. For example, he begged her to do the zip line with him, but she was very apprehensive. But after a little coaxing, she agreed. “I admit, even for me, it was a bit scary in the beginning because you’re so high up,” says Anthony .” But the whole experience was so much fun! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”
Article written by Ann Forstenzer. Ann lives in Montclair, NJ. She travels frequently with her husband and teenage son.