Costa Rica

February 27, 2011

Exclusive Costa Rica – Just for You and your Teens

Taking the leap into the river!

Thomson Family Adventures has been sending families to Costa Rica for a loong time. Our Costa Rican colleagues are truly a part of our family; they envelop you on arrival and care for you ’til you’re gone. They share abundant knowledge of everything from wildlife to forest to everyday life in their country. I’m pretty sure our past guests agree, these guides sneak into your heart and stay there forever.

I’d always heard about Costa Rica, but it wasn’t until I went myself that I really understood how fantastic this country and its people are. Volcanoes, rain forest, cloud forest, ocean, beaches, wild rivers. Monkeys, sloths, iguanas and lizards, butterflies the size of your fist. Leaf cutter ants! We could have spent hours watching those hardy soldiers carry their bits of leaves across the forest floor. And of course the warm and generous people who introduce you to this fascinating world.

After years of walking a path now so familiar to tourists we wanted to offer something more adventurous, more unique for our more mature travelers. Welcome to this new opportunity!

We’ve redirected our Teen Adventure to encompass some of the most pristine corners of the country. Away from the crowds but in the midst of the adventure action, we fly, then drive, then boat to Corcovado National Park. This remote peninsula offers untouched forest teeming with wildlife, and a beautiful reef for snorkeling.

In the center of the country we’ll ride the currents of the Class III / IV Pacuare River and thrill our hearts on a zip line you won’t soon forget.

On the Atlantic Coast we’ll pamper ourselves a bit with a stay in a luscious hotel on a beach unknown to tourist mobs. Here we’ll discover a region ideal for snorkeling the coral reef, and hiking in rain forest.

No built up tourist scene, just natural beauty waiting to be discovered by curious minds and active bodies! Come join like minded families with children from age 12 to the 20′s for our unique and exclusive adventure created just for you.

December 8, 2010

Secretly Stuck in a Vacation Rut? We Can Tow You Out.

family visiting waterfalls in Costa Rica

At the Waterfalls, Costa Rica

Hello Parents and Grandparents!I know you’ve been talking about taking your child / grandson on an adventure next year but something has stopped you from setting your plans. This year flights are limited and fares are up; let’s get going before you don’t have the choice anymore!

Being stuck is terrible; it stresses your brain and makes you feel unsettled. We can help!

If someone is concerned about safety, security, or comfort we’d love to to help you understand how a family adventure works. After all we’ve been running these trips designed exclusively for families longer than anyone else. We’re small and personal, but loaded with expertise. We’ll always take the time to be sure you understand the steps we take to ensure a safe and comfortable family adventure.

If the destination doesn’t feel quite right, we’d love to talk with you about other ideas. With all of our years specializing in family travel we’d love to help you choose just the right thing.

The perfect family adventure is an investment that you want to be sure will pay off for years to come. So don’t shop for price, rather look for the value for your money. This is a wonderful trip for both you and your child or grandchild. We know you want it to be perfect.

If you just can’t make a solid plan until after the first of the year we understand that too, but it doesn’t cost a cent to begin the research. Call us at 800-262-6255; we’re waiting for you!

April 27, 2010

Life in Motion – Without Turning Green

Turkish gulet

Several of our Thomson Family Adventures involve time on boats, or in vans on mountain roads… Ah yes, just this first sentence makes me feel queasy. And indeed we spend a lot of time chatting with families about how to combat the effects of motion.

I’ve been plagued by motion sickness my whole life. When I was a little girl the 15 minute drive to ballet lessons left me so green I couldn’t participate in the class I’d looked forward to all week. Products like Dramamine provided some relief, but mostly because I’d be passed out cold as a side effect. Over the years I learned some coping techniques – sleeping, meditation, avoidance – all of which did nothing to help me join in on the things I wanted to do. Does this sound like familiar?

Lucky for me and my traveling heart, I found a formula and a solution that works for me. Boats, cars, planes – now I am fearless, and use those little bags only for writing notes (not – you know). Maybe it can work for you too. There are three important components to this fix:

1) Stock up on Bonine, an over the counter, non drowsy anti-motion sickness medication. I’ve also found the generic drug store chain versions just as effective; look for the non drowsy label. It’s a small chewable tablet and you only need to take it once a day!

2) Take this little miracle tablet well before you step foot on a boat or car. One thing I know for sure is as soon as I begin to feel poorly there is no going back to feeling terrific. Nip it in the bud! If you’re heading out early in the morning, you might even begin taking it the night before.

3) Keep taking it once a day for as long as you are on that boat, or facing bumpy car rides. Don’t stop because you feel good! In fact you may be feeling good because of the drug. It is true you may also get your sea legs after a few days on a boat, but do you want to take the chance of ruining your good time??

Following these simple steps have allowed me to sail on small boats for days on end, and even enjoy long, bumpy, winding car rides to interesting places all while staying alert. Well, except for nap time which is mandatory on a vacation, right?

Bonine or its generic version is inexpensive, simple to use, and transformed my life. Your results (and side effects) could be different so try it out for yourselves before deciding if this is your solution too. Happy sailing!

April 2, 2010

School of Thought: 8 Things Costa Rica Taught Me

capuchin monkey, with feelings

Thomson Family Adventures partners with many educational institutions on the family travel programs they offer to their members. Thanks to Elissa Leibowitz Poma from the World Wildlife Fund Travel Program for sharing her blog post from her recent trip to Costa Rica:

8. Monteverde was founded by Quakers. Back in the 1950s, a group of U.S. Quakers avoided being drafted in the Korean War by fleeing into the lush cloud forests of Costa Rica. They chose Costa Rica because it was a pacifist nation, settling in to what is now Monteverde. They began by farming the land then smartly decided to set aside the land for conservation. It later became the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.

7. “Pura vida” is not just a tourism slogan. It’s a way of expressing just how good you are – and how well your spirit and your community and your life are in general. Literally meaning “pure life,” Costa Ricans use the phrase as a way of saying “hello,” good morning or even answering the question “how are you?” I felt like I fit in when some asked me “Como esta?” and I answered “Pura vida.”

6. Nearly a mile across, the Poas Volcano crater is the most active crater in the world. We were lucky to see the action when the fog burned off during a short visit to the volcano near San Jose. We caught a small glimpse of the emerald green, burbling, sulfuric lake below the observation deck. Steam snaked its way up through the fumaroles in the ground.

5. The Jesus Christ lizard actually can walk on water. When the punk rocker-looking lizard – more commonly called a common basilisk – feels threatened, it can splay out large fringes on its hind legs, increasing the surface area of its feet, and run across the surface of a river for 65 feet or so.

4. Education is highly valued in Costa Rica. The nation has one of the highest literacy rates in the world – 96 percent – and school is mandatory through 11th or 12th grade. It was clear that the “Ticas” value not only their own people learning but also seeing travelers learn in their land as well.

3. Accupressure bands are excellent at preventing motion sickness. The roads up the mountains to Monteverde are bumpy, unpaved and narrow. Those very few of us (read: me and one eight year old) with sensitive dispositions were well off sitting in the front of the bus, munching on salty plaintain chips and keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the gorgeous views out the the front window.

2. The quetzal is easier heard than seen. We tuned in to the suave, melodious songs of the Technicolor trogon echoing through the trees during a trek through the Monteverde Cloud Forest, but we never laid eyes on him. They tend to hang out high in the canopy, swooping down to human eye level on occasion – mostly when chasing a female.

1. Even monkeys have feelings, too. After lunch one afternoon at a local hacienda, we ventured out back to walk among the hard-dirt trails that wove through a small grove. We happened upon a group of 15 or so howler monkeys, crawling through a scratchy mess of branches maybe 25 feet up. One howler monkey caught our attention in particular – a mother with an unusual white mass clinging to her breast. Turns out, it was a baby capuchin monkey, and the female howler appeared to have adopted him. Our native Costa Rican guides Jenny and Gustavo said it was the first time they ever saw that.