Itinerary for the Costa Rica
Writing Down Your Soul Retreat
Thursday April 7th (-/-/-)
Arrival at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. A group transfer time to the hotel will be arranged that accommodates the majority of the group’s flight arrival times. If your flight does not coincide with the group transfer a private transfer will be arranged at a minimal additional cost. Your adventure begins as you meet the other group participants at a welcome orientation get-together with Janet and Gayle at 8pm in the hotel meeting room.
Fri April 8th (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you’ll meet your guide and board your private bus to begin exploring Costa Rica as you depart for the Arenal Volcano area where you will stay for 4 nights. Upon arrival you’ll have time to take a walk and explore the beautiful grounds and vegetable gardens before lunch. After lunch you’ll have your first introduction to the beauty of Costa Rica’s nature at the hanging bridges.
Arenal Hanging Bridges, located in front of the Arenal Volcano and within the corridor followed by migratory birds between North and South America, is one of the most beautiful environmentally-friendly projects in Costa Rica. The easy walking trails lead you into the middle of a beautiful forest where you can observe the birds, flowers, and lush vegetation of the primary rainforest. The imposing yet completely safe, hanging bridges take you into the treetops, where it feels like you have become one with the dense canopy of flora and fauna, birds, insects and other tree top inhabitants that exist high above the forest floor. The canopy harbors a world of its own not visible from the walking trails below. The scenery is spectacular with volcano views looming in the background. Return to the hotel late afternoon and enjoy some leisure time before the group meets for dinner. Evening group discussion time with Janet as she shares insights about the true Nature of Your Soul and how to connect with that personal sacred space within.
Arenal Springs Resorts’ individual colonial style cabins offer spectacular volcano views from your private front porch. Its lush tropical gardens and quiet location off the main road makes it a wonderful retreat, yet it’s not far from the famous Tabacon Hot Springs and the village of La Fortuna, where you have a great choice of restaurants and shops. All cabins have unique garden showers and amenities expected of a hotel of this caliber: a/c, cable TV, coffee maker, refrigerator, security box and hair dryer. There will be plenty of leisure time to enjoy the full service spa and beautiful pools.
Sat April 9th (B/L/D)
After breakfast the group will depart for the Maleku Indigenous Reserve at Margarita, located in the Los Guatuzos lowlands to spend the day with one of the few indigenous tribes left in Costa Rica. The Malekus at Margarita have opened their hearts and their homes to outsiders and lovingly share their culture, language and traditions with visitors to their community. In this way, they give us a glimpse into the roots and heritage of the Costa Rica of the past. Upon arrival at the reserve we will be greeted with a local drink of “chicha” and a short Maleku history and language class. Afterward, we’ll take a short walk with a Maleku guide through a medicinal plant garden where we’ll learn about Maleku medicine and their relationship with the healing aspects of nature. Before our healthy Maleku lunch, we’ll have the chance to practice making some of their beautiful arts and crafts and also have a bow and arrow class! Our visit will end as we enjoy a presentation depicting some of their ancient customs and rituals such as their wedding ceremony or man duels. After a full day, we’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in La Fortuna before returning to the hotel. Evening free.
Sun April 10th (B/L/D)
Our day begins at the Proyecto Asis Animal Rescue Shelter. Named “Asis” for the patron saint of nature, the shelter was founded by a locally-famous veterinarian to house the orphaned and injured animals brought to his practice such as wild boars, birds, crocodiles, kinkajous & monkeys. We’ll learn how injured and abandoned animals are rehabilitated and if possible, released back into their natural environment. Asis also has educational programs underway to help prevent hunting and poaching of animals in the surrounding Children’s Rainforest.
You’ll meet Hercules, the spider monkey who was chained up as a tourist attraction at a hotel and Perla, a white-lipped peccary (native wild pig) with a lot of personality! Perla was brought to Proyecto Asis after her mother was killed by poachers. But the true star of the show is Benjamin, a very curious and absolutely adorable tame kinkajou who fell from his nest in a tree as a baby.
Our next stop is Luna Nueva, a medicinal plant and organic fruit and vegetable farm as well as a working ranch where pigs, goats, chickens, water buffalo and cattle are raised. The farm’s mission statement is to help educate and connect people toward a healthy relationship with their food: an important, forgotten concept in an era of frenzied work schedules and fast-food consumption. As we amble through a maze of earthy patchouli plants, sweet lemongrass and spicy wasabi on a guided walk, we’ll learn about “miracle” plant cures and the ’sacred seed project. A delicious organic buffet lunch will be served with many products from the farm so we can taste some of the many plants we’ve learned about.
The remainder of the day is at leisure. After dinner, Janet will be available for a short group discussion. A time for you to tell your stories and learn from one another about how the experiences of the past 2 days have brought you closer to understanding the Nature of Your Soul.
Mon April 11th (B/-/-)
This day is at leisure for you to do whatever you wish! Sit back and relax, enjoy the hotel facilities or choose from a variety of full day or half day tours encompassing a wide range of activities. Lunch and dinner on your own today.
Tue April 12th (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast we’ll board our bus and head for Monteverde Cloud Forest where we’ll stay for 4 nights. Upon arrival we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch and then visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden, or Mariposario. This is the area’s original and largest butterfly garden housing more than 50 species of butterflies. Situated in Cerro Plano, between the town of Santa Elena and the Monteverde Reserve, the Mariposario offers a biodiversity center, medicinal plant garden, live leaf cutter ant colony, in addition to four climate-controlled butterfly gardens where visitors can observe some of the most beautiful and fascinating insects in the tropics.
We’ll also discover why cockroaches are actually great neighbors and how jewel scarab beetles can distort light waves! Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and return to our hotel mid afternoon. Enjoy some R&R time before dinner. Optional evening group discussion time with Janet after our butterfly encounters. We’ll explore the stages of our own souls metamorphosis from caterpillar to beautiful butterfly!
Nestled on a peaceful mountain slope with views of the Pacific, Hotel Sapo Dorado offers individual suites with private entrance and a front porch to sit and relax. Enjoy lush gardens and plenty of walking trails, a bird-watcher’s paradise! The trails are reserved for the exclusive use of the guests and offer a quiet alternative to the trails at the larger reserves. El Sapo Dorado means “the Golden Frog” and you can spot the “arty” frogs on the grounds.
Wed April 13th (B/L/-)
This morning we’re off for a short drive to visit Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve which sits astride the Continental Divide. A cloud forest is a special type of rain forest and as the name suggests, is usually engulfed in clouds with relative high humidity. The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is smaller and younger than the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and receives only a fraction of the number of people thus offering its visitors quiet trails and a much more personal intimate experience of the cloud forest. Santa Elena is one of the first community managed reserves in the country and opened in March 1992. The philosophy of the Reserve is unique in that long term sustainability is not only a concern of the Reserve, but of the community as a whole. Proceeds from entrance fees, guided tours and the souvenir shop are either reinvested in the management of the reserve or are channeled to a local high school to help upgrade technology, and fund courses in environmental education, biology, agriculture, languages and tourism.
The reserve teems with life, the trails will take you on an amazing journey of discovery through the hanging vines and vegetation. Mosses, orchids, bromeliads and epiphytes flourish in the trees. Scientists have already recorded 800 tree species, 3000 vascular plant species, more than 400 bird species, 121 mammal species, 140 reptile and amphibian species, and believe that many other species still await discovery.
A myriad of spectacular birds are found in the reserve and it is well known for its 30 hummingbird species. You can spot toucans, great green macaws, three-wattled bellbird, the resplendent quetzal, black-faced solitaires and many other unique bird species. Be on the lookout for howler monkeys, white faced monkeys, red brocket deer, agoutis, coatimundis, and more plus sloths hanging in the trees. Costa Rica has 6 cat species; all on the endangered list, ocelots and jaguars are the easiest to spot but are shy and rarely seen. But you can see tarantulas, thousands of insect species, poison dart frogs, red eyed tree frogs and various other colorful amazing frog species. This is nature at its finest and offers us the gift of personal renewal as we connect with nature and the innate wisdom of the earth. If the weather is cooperative, the Arenal lake and volcano are visible off in the distance to the northeast. We’ll enjoy a hearty lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel. Afternoon is free dinner on your own tonight.
Thurs April 14th (B/L/-)
The locals say to learn about coffee is to learn about the history of Costa Rica! If you are a coffee lover this morning will be a highlight for you. Mid morning we are off for a short tour of a coffee farm. Costa Rican coffee is some of the world’s best due to the rich volcanic soil, the altitude of over 4,000 feet, and the ideal tropical climate of Costa Rica. The Don Juan Coffee Tour takes you to a working coffee farm and offers an interesting opportunity to learn about coffee and Costa Rican folklore. You will learn about the history, cultivation, and operation of a functioning coffee “beneficio.” You’ll hand pick some coffee beans yourself and take a ride in the farm’s ox-drawn cart. There’ll be snacks to sample and of course, lots of delicious Costa Rican Don Juan Coffee. There is a gift shop with lots of coffee type gifts and you can purchase Don Juan coffee to take home with you. We’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel. The afternoon is at leisure for you to enjoy optional activities.
Fri April 15th (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. This day is yours to do as you please! Take optional tours, explore on your own or just enjoy a peaceful, relaxing day. Lunch and dinner on your own. This evening Janet will facilitate a final group discussion time as this is our last night in Monteverde.
Sat April 16th (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the hotel and check out. We’ll begin our drive back to San Jose to spend our final night in Costa Rica. Along the way we’ll stop for lunch and have some time to stretch our legs and explore the colorful towns of Grecia and Sarchi. The famous Sarchi Village, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO is known as the center of Costa Rican handicrafts where they make the famous colorful oxcarts or carreta. The oxcarts even became a status symbol and the tradition of painting and decorating them with a particular design would identify which part of the country the driver was from. The metal church in the Grecia Village park was originally imported from Belgium and was transported by oxcarts to its present day location. This evening we’ll enjoy a private farewell group dinner at the hotel.
Sun April 17th (B/-/-)
Private guide transfer to Juan Sta Maria Airport. Return home after a magical adventure within the natural beauty of Costa Rica. Taking with you wonderful memories, many new like-minded friends and a deeper connection to the divine place within yourself that is The True Nature of Your Soul. Welcome Home!
Writing Down Your Soul Trip Costs
The 2011 trip cost is: $2,295.00 USD per person double occupancy based on a minimum of 15 travelers. If you desire a single room, the cost is an additional $495.00 USD per person (these rooms are limited).Your deposit of $500.00, along with a completed registration form must be submitted to reserve your space. Final payment is due: February 1st, 2011. Any cancellation made in writing between: February 1st, 2011 and March 1st, 2011 will result in a cancellation fee of $500.00 USD. Any cancellation made between: March 1st, 2011 and the trip departure will result in a total loss of your $500.00 USD deposit along with any non-refundable funds made to our suppliers in Costa Rica. Any cancellation made: after the trip departs will result in total loss of trip funds. We reserve the right to cancel the trip if it is not meeting the trip minimum. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended to cover such issues.
Important Information for our Costa Rica
Writing Down Your Soul Retreat
Nowhere else on earth is biological abundance and diversity so evident than in the Costa Rican rain forests. Twelve distinct ecological zones of incredible beauty cover an area the size of New Hampshire. Tropical rain forests contain more than half of all living things known to man. The rain forest is a place of peace and renewal; mysterious, life-affirming, and of majestic proportions. Costa Rica alone has more plant species than the whole of Europe, and a staggering world of exotic wildlife, flora and fauna that runs into the millions of species. We invite you to join us for the experience of a life time as we explore the magical diversity of nature within Costa Rica.
- Many meals are included in this itinerary and are in brackets (10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners).
- Workshop sessions facilitated by Janet Conner
- English speaking guide
- 10 nights accommodations double occupancy
- All ground land transportation in private bus
- All transportation/hotel transfers upon your arrival in Costa Rica (unless you require special transfers).
- Group tours as listed in itinerary.
- Your round-trip air flight to and from San Jose, Costa Rica.
- Airport departure taxes ($26.00 USD)
- Meals not listed in itinerary
- Phone calls, laundering services and souvenir shopping are not-included.
- Trip cancellation & medical travel insurance
- Tips to porters, bus drivers, local guides etc.
- Optional tours not listed in itinerary.
Regarding Flights: Feel free to make your own flights, but please confirm them with us before booking.
This schedule is tentative- Due the remote areas we are traveling to, weather, bad roads and other unseen obstacles may cause us to make changes in the schedule or to visit different sites. We understand that if this happens we were not meant to be where we were going! The actual schedule of teachings and what we will be doing day to day is not published. This is because we teach by channeling spirit which comes in the moment. Every day will be a magical experience for all of us, teachers included! Keep you heart and mind open to the experience life brings us.