Ray and I usually travel on our own. We'd never gone on a "tour" with a group of strangers, and frankly, never thought we would. We heard from friends about good experiences with Road Scholar, a non-profit educational travel company and decided to check into it. We first planned to travel on the Road Scholar Nicaragua trip, with our friend, Muriel, then saw that they offered a Costa Rica trip the week before. We signed up for both, back to back. What had we gotten ourselves into?! We soon found out.
We were traveling in Costa Rica as part of a group of 19, plus a guide and a driver of the small bus we traveled in. The group turned out to be a compatible mix of couples and singles, mostly in our age group. Ray and I were the only Westerners on the trip, oddly, but we had lots in common with many of our fellow travelers. Our guide, Roger, was terrific—organized, patient, kind and, most of all, knowledgeable. We loved him.
We soon fell into easy companionship with the group, and what might have been awkward became quite comfortable. Ray discovered other retired computer people, I learned that the retired psychologist is also an artist who had her sketchbook along. There were teachers, retired and still teaching, scientists, a lawyer, a city planner and a pair of medical doctors.
Really—what nice people!
From San Jose, we settled into our first bus trip to the Selva Verde Rain Forest Lodge, a beautiful place that was a total immersion into the birds, animals, flowers and ecology of the Costa Rican Rain Forest. Like Girl Scout camp in Paradise!
From the upper porch of the lodge one can look out into the forest, or the nearby feeding area and see wondrous birds and animals. We could hike out on beautiful trails for even more and come back to the lodge for a cold drink or a meal with our new friends.
The birds were truly amazing. Several in our group were serious bird-watchers, with impressive scopes and cameras and life-lists and much more knowledge than I. And Roger, our guide, could tell you anything you wanted to know about each bird. For me, I was simply captivated by their beauty and variety.
One afternoon we had a little Latin dance lesson on the patio, and one evening a presentation about Biological Corridors and how the animals and birds migrate through the area. At night we fell asleep listening to the chorus of tree frogs and were awakened in the early, misty mornings by birdsong. And the flowers!—well, hold that thought for another day...
Beauty all around.