Carcinoid A rare form of "slow-growing" neuroendocrine cancer

Susan Anderson - An advocate for Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumor Awareness

   Costa Rica Adventure

March 12 – 20, 2004

Susan L. Anderson   

As some of you know my long-time friend Leslie and I were in Costa Rica March 12 – 20, 2004 with a small group of Women Traveling Together.  We had an adventuresome trip and it really was a blast.  Go to the web site URL below to see some small photos of our trip.  I am in front of white water raft (left side of photo with black shirt on); second from left in from of Fichus Tree (my room mate Judie on far left); climbing up the rope ladder in another big Fichus Tree; and on platform during the Canopy Tour.

Friday, 12 March 2004 

America West Airlines began direct flights to and from San Jose, Costa Rica and Phoenix, Arizona, USA, in mid December 2003.  American West had mechanical problems, did not get our plane fixed so brought in another airplane, we finally left 3:35 p.m.(2 ˝ hours late) and arrived in San Jose a little before10 p.m.   Due to the late hour we moved through baggage, immigration and customs rather rapidly and walked outside to possibly 50 people holding up signs to meet travelers.  Leslie spotted our Women Traveling Together sign held by Maria Elena Palomo, who used cell phone to call our small bus.  Within a couple of minutes Mario Aguilar appeared with the bus and we were off to our hotel.  Maria gave both of us lovely wrist corsages of a group of orchids and offered us cold bottled water.  We checked into the hotel, changed a small amount of money and were taken to our room where we had a good nights sleep.

Hotel Herradura, San Antonio de Belena, Heredia

Autopista General Canas.  San Antonio de Belen crossing.   In front of Mall Cariari. Heredia, Costa Rica.  Following information from their web site: Info from the hotel web site:  We are nestled in the heart of the central valley, amid a breathtaking backdrop of lush green meadows and surrounded by beautiful mountain, five miles away from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), and a short drive from San Jose, the capital city.  We target to be a first class hospitality, entertainment, convention and international gourmet center in Costa Rica, the Grand Herradura achieved through total dedication to the understanding and compliance of our clients needs obtained through reliable service and products, at reasonable rates.

A bit of background about Costs Rica from various sources including my Insight Guide to Costa Rica and The National Geographic Traveler Costa Rica. Area 51,000 sq. km (19,700 sq. miles) about the size of West Virginia; Capital: San Jose; Highest mountain: Mount Chirripo 3,820 m (12,500 ft.); Coastline: more than 1,200 km (750 miles); Population: 3.6 million; Seven provinces, 60% of the population live in four provinces, 25% live in San Jose area;  Language: Spanish.  English (Creole) is spoken by Costa Ricans of Caribbean descent, most of whom live near the Caribbean Coast;  Religion: Catholic (81 percent) (some say 90% Catholic); most others are Protestant and there is a small Jewish community; National flower: Guaria Morada (orchid);  Birds: one tenth of all known bird species live in Costa Rica.  Of the 850 species found here at least 630 are permanent residents, including 51 species of hummingbirds, 16 species of parrots and the lists goes on – it is a bird watchers and natural lovers paradise; National bird:  Resplendent Quetzal; The people are called los Costarricenses or ticos; Guaro is the national liquor; The Oxcart is the national symbol as it was used in the past to bring produce and goods to market, still used but not as much.  Costa Rica has socialized medicineTime zone GMT less 7 hours, same as Central Time in USA’  Currency: colon when we were there the exchange rate was approximately 424 colon to each U.S. dollar; Weights and measures: metric; Electricity: 120 volts, 60 cycle current.  Seasons: the rainy and the dry.  In the Central Valley the rainy season last from May to November and the dry season from December through April.  Average temperature in San Jose is 75 F.  The economy: tourism, coffee and bananas in that order.  Tourism over took coffee in 1987 probably as a result of President Oscar Arias Sanchez being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Coffee is picked my Nicaraguans, the country bordering Costa Rica to the north.  The military was abolished in 1948. Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96.2%. The geothermal pools /hot springs are heated by the over 300 volcanoes in Costa Rica.  Illness: malaria in some areas and dengue fever.  Most of us took the weekly prescription

Mefloquine starting a week before our trip, and then once a week for a total of six weeks.  A few chose to take a daily prescription.  I’ll take my last Mefloquine on our Hawaii cruise <G>.  The Monteverde community (not a town) was established by a group of Quakers from Alabama, USA, in 1951.  Monteverde translates as “Green Mountain”.  They purchased around 3,000 areas of land.  Their first means of support, still very active today, was a cheese factory. Approximately 3,400 people live in the Monteverde area and the only town is Santa Elena and it was established in the 1920’s. Food:  basics of Costa Rican food - rice, beans, chicken and fish, plus plantains.  We have wonderful tasty food everywhere we ate.  Butterflies: 1,000 or 5% of the world’s species are found in Costa Rica.  Eco-tourism: people come to observe the 850 species of birds, 205 species of mammals, 376 types of reptiles and amphibians and over 9,000 species of flowering plants, including 1,200 varieties of orchids.  Monteverde Cloud Forest:  Lying atop the Continental Divide about 180 km (110 miles) northwest of San Jose, it is a difficult place to get to.  The last 43 km (26 miles) is a rough / tough drive.  The trails are limited to 100 visitors at a time to protect the environment.  This area received around 760 cm (300 inches) of rain yearly so there are many beautiful water falls.

 Map of Monteverde area

 Saturday, 13 March 200
Tilajari Resort
, Ciudad Quesada

Good breakfast buffet over looking swimming pools, orchids and other beautiful flowers.  We then walked the grounds taking photographs.  Met Sharron and Genie (of our group) and the four of had a behind the scenes tour of the orchid greenhouses by one of the gardeners.  Met our tour group in lobby and were off in the approx. 20 passenger bus. Maria Elena Palomo was our guide for the week and Mario Aguilar was the bus driver, they spent the week with us and could not have been more gracious and helpful.  First we went to the Mariari Mall where most of us changed more money, and then we were off.  Our tour director Kellie remained to meet people arriving at the airport and joined up with us in the evening.

We stopped in the town of Grecia, reported to be the cleanest city in Costa Rica.  We visited the beautiful Catholic Church.  Every small town has a Catholic Church, facing a city park / square, there is also a soccer field, several bars and a Chinese restaurant, no kidding.  People spoke to us and were quite friendly.

Next to Sarchi where we had a very tasty buffet lunch in an open air restaurant called Las Carretas.  After lunch we visited the famous ox cart factory for shopping, the sign said Fabrica de Carretas, Joaquin Chaverri Ltda, Since 1903.  I purchased some items to be shipped home.

Between Naranjo and Ciudad Quesada we stopped in Zarcero.  We visited the Catholic Church that is fronted by a very large arbor running through at opiary park that resembles a circus.  The gardener is Evangelisto Blanco and he is a genius.  Some of his evergreen sculptures are elephants, cat riding a motorcycle, cattle and other delightful creations.

Beautiful day, bright sun with a few high clouds.  After Zarcero, Costa Rica, we have a lovely winding drive, crossed the continental divide, saw coffee, sugar cane, dairy farms and the beautiful country side.  One interesting plant is “Naked Indian”, planted to be used as fence posts.  Cut back every day to peel the bark and make a tea to treat anemia.

Arrived at the Tilajari Resort Hotel near Muelle, C.R.  Judy and I had room 501 with a balcony facing the San Carlos River, iguanas, birds, flowers, and lovely scenery.  We all met, had dinner together and signed up for raid forest hike and horse back riding. Tilajari Resort, Ciudad Quesada Following information from the web site: Tilajari is a 4-star resort that offers 16 Jr. Suite, 56 Standard rooms, 4 family rooms, bar, restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, sport facilities, botanical garden, butterfly garden, conference rooms and many other services, spread over on 35 acres along the banks of the San Carlos River.  All of the rooms were equipped with air conditioning, ceiling fan, TV via satellite, hot water, and direct dial telephones.  The restaurant offers the best of the international cuisine as well typical Costa Rican dishes. Our chef gladly will prepare our favorite dish, while you are having a tropical drink, and enjoying the rich variety of birds and flowers around our open air restaurant.

Sunday, 14 March 2004
Tilajari Resort
, Ciudad Quesada

Up about 5 a.m. to light drizzle and happy chattery birds; I sat on balcony overlooking grassySan Carlos Riverbank watching the birds, and iguanas.  Had breakfast at 6:30 and met the group at8 a.m.  Two didn’t go with us, walked the gardens; the rest of us, except Leslie, went for two horseback rides.

We put on high diary barn type rubber boots and rode horses for 30+ minutes to the entrance to a private 350 acre rain forest.  Leslie came in the van and walked with us.  The horses did not exhibit any bad habits that are usual for stable horses.  I had a nice calm horse that was very rein sensitive, so a tiny movement of the reins and she responded very well.  The halters did not have bits which was good for the horses.

Our walk through the rain forest lasted about 1 ľ hours through a lot of mud.  We saw poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, two toed sloths and a nice variety of birds.  Rode back to the barn, washed our boots and then back to our rooms to shower and change clothes. The poison dart frog may hold the key to the cure of Parkinson’s disease.  The trees in the rain forest do not have ring to indicate growth years because there are no seasons.

I ate a very good hamburger and visited with others on the trip.  Then at1:30 p.m. met Maria Elene, Mario and a few of the others for a very short drive to a river to view more iguanas in the tree tops and crocodile on the river bank.  Our resort had many iguanas on their grounds along with a large variety of beautiful bird.

Next we loaded into the small bus and were off to geothermal pools -- Tabacon Hot Springs a series of five pools with water falls in between.  Beautiful area and the coolest pool was 91 degrees.  Too soon it was time to get out of the pools and move on to our next stop.

Then we drove to a hill top facing the Arenal Volcano (one of 300 in Costa Rica) for happy hour and a huge buffet dinner.  Although it did cloud over with fog and mist and we could not see the volcano we were facing it <G>. After dinner back to Tilajari Resort, Ciudad Quesada.
Monday, 15 March 2004 
Again up by5 a.m. and watched the sunrise and listened to the birds from our balcony overlooking the San Carlos River.  The gift shop had been closed on Sunday so I was there when they opened at6:30 a.m. as needed a few items.  Another bountiful breakfast buffet.

At 9 a.m. we loaded our bus for the curving scenic road trip to Aquas Bravas River Rafting. We were all in swim suits with tee shirts to protect from the sunThe black tee shirt I purchased has “Pura Vida” on the front which means “Pure Life: the most popular way to say hello, how’s it going, things are cool, great or fine. 

After getting fitted with life jackets and helmets we listened to the safely lecture.  There were five rafts, four had six people plus the guide and the one I was in had four of us plus the guide.  There were people on the trip who were not with our group.  Then we started down the Sarapiqui River for class III white water, It was great!  We stopped and all got out on the river bank and the guides cut fresh pineapple and watermelon for us to enjoy.  After the stop we resumed our white water trip down the Sarapiqui River.  Huge rocks, small waterfalls, it was really fun.  Saw many kinds of birds, including blue heron, kite tailed swallows, turkey vultures and more sloths.  When trip ended we bused to the Aquas Bravas River Rafting office where we changed clothes, NO towels, then were served a good meal of grilled chicken.  Then they showed the video made of our trip.  They were selling VHS or DVD’s and if you would tell them name of guide they would add another 30+ pictures of your raft.  I purchased one, but the mails are slow.

After the white water raft trip we drove through the mountains, above the clouds, for a very scenic drive back to San Jose.  We stopped at a Pops Ice Cream store, and then Mario gave us a tour of the city before we checked back into our hotel again.  Hotel Herradura, San Antonio de Belena, Heredia 

Tuesday, 16 March 2004

Up before5:30 a.m.  Breakfast then four hour bus trip via Pan American Highway and then narrow rocky rough roads to Monteverde area.  Half way there we had a rest stop where we could see the Pacific Ocean and visit a local open air market / fruit stand.  I had not seen the flower of cashew trees or that the nut is actually in the stem.  We also drove through a dry tropical forest with many flowering trees.  We observed many fast flowing creeks over rocks and waterfalls that were beautiful.  Those who visit the Monteverde are nature lovers and those interested in ecology.  We check into the Cloud Forest Lodge, Monteverde, a bird and nature watchers dream. 

After lunch we were off on our next adventure!  The Original Canopy Tour:  The tour includes 2 suspended walkway sections (some call them hanging bridges or sky walk ways), 11 tree platforms, 8 traverses high in the treetops, and 2 rappels, which are vertical descents on ropes assisted by our highly trained personnel andP.S. from Susanplus four ladders the last being the rope ladder up through the tree.  Information on much in the area on this web site.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge --  Following information from the web page:

The Original Canopy Tour Costa Rica at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge was the first canopy tour in existence in the world. The location at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Lodge is perfect and we are very close to all the attractions that this area provides, including the town of Santa Elena and the Monteverde biological reserve. For those looking for lodging in the area, this hotel is very cozy and has one of the best views around and is only 1 kilometer from the town of Santa Elena. It's also one of the best bird watching hotels as it has many exclusive trails through the private reserve, which is part of a natural corridor between the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Santa Elena reserve. In fact there are usually more Quetzals, emerald toucanettes and three wattled bell birds here than in these other 2 popular reserves. There have been more than 180 different species of birds logged here.

The Cloud Forest Lodge itself is a true mountain hotel but is only minutes away from everything in the zone, including the orchid gardens, the butterfly garden, the Ecological Farm and of course the Monteverde biological reserve. It has 18 separate cabins with private bathrooms and hot water. The hotel also offers a dining room, bar and lounge.  

The reserve consists of approximately 70 acres of primary and secondary tropical rainforest and cloud forest, which is extremely rich in its biodiversity. There are over 5 kilometers of trails through primary and secondary rainforest and cloud forest. This eco-system contains a variety of Bromeliads and Epiphytes, among other species of plants, animals, birds and insects on the huge branches of the trees. Here we have constructed a series of observation platforms and traverses that will take you through the canopy layer of the rainforest. As of January 2002, the tour includes 2 suspended walkway sections (some call them hanging bridges or sky walk ways), 11 tree platforms, 8 traverses high in the treetops, and 2 rappels, which are vertical descents on ropes assisted by our highly trained personnel. P.S. from Susan plus four ladders the last being the rope ladder up through the tree.

The tour starts with a short guided hike through the private reserve of the Cloud Forest. The first part of the tour will take you through secondary and primary forest and then a climb up a ladder to the first platform, about 8 meters above the ground where an ingenious series of cables connecting the trees awaits you. After a soaring through the tree tops on horizontal traverses and platforms suspended in the tree tops you will rappel back to the forest floor and hike another 50 meters where you will have a spectacular climb up a rope ladder through the inside of a huge, hollow strangler fig. This is the only one in existence. Dangling from 22 meters off the ground the eight-meter-long walkway (that winds around the various trees that the strangler fig has consumed in its lifetime) makes for an unbeatable vantage point for observing the surrounding rainforest. You will then continue your tour from platform to platform, assisted by our expert guides, and finally have a second rappel which takes you a long way down back to the forest floor.

The platforms vary in height from 8 meters to 28 meters above the forest floor. A cloud forest generally has several layers to the canopy rich in biodiversity, all of which can be seen on the tour. The climate in the Monteverde area is generally warm to cool. It is not often a "tropical heat" that people expect in these parts. In fact, in the nights the temperature can go down to 7 or 8 degrees above zero (Celsius, which is about 48 - 52 degree Fahrenheit). Shorts can be worn, but jeans are also comfortable. Hiking boots are a good idea, as it rains frequently. Insect repellant, cameras and binoculars are also recommended. Participants must bring a passport or other ID. The Canopy Tour takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to complete.

Wednesday, 17 March 2004 
Up very early again at the Cloud Forest Lodge.  The rooms had very high ceilings with nice wood paneling.  No T-V, no phone, etc.  We had 6:30 a.m. breakfast then were off for a very full day.  Maria, a delightful female naturalist with a degree in tropical biology joined our group for the day.

In 1972 under the threat of homesteading in the surrounding rain forest, visiting scientists George Powell and his wife joined forces with long-time resident Wilford Guindon to promote the establishment of a nature preserve. The Tropical Science Center was receptive to these efforts and accepted institutional responsibility for ownership and management of the protected areas. An initial land purchase of 328 hectares formed the core of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica.  In 1975 the 554-hectare community watershed reserve, founded in the mid-60s by members of the Quaker community and named Bosque Eterno S.A., was annexed under an administrative contract to the Preserve.  After the Preserve's creation, the Tropical Science Centerc ontinued to secure the financial and human resources necessary to expand, consolidate, and properly protect and manage the Rainforest Preserve's current 10,500 hectares.

In Monteverde Costa Rica rain forest are found more than 100 species of mammals including 5 species of cats, over 400 species of birds including 30 kinds of hummingbirds, tens of thousands of insect species(over 5000 species of moths) and 2,500 species of plants  (420 kinds of orchids). The area is acclaimed as one of the most outstanding wildlife refuges in the New World Tropics.

First stop was the 26,000 acre private Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.  We hiked in the preserve observing many birds, flowers, ferns, trees, plants.  Next we walked a short distance to the Hummingbird Gallery and what a good variety of large beauties they had.  This was named Hummingbird Gallery for the scores of rufus-tailed, violet saber-winged, and fiery throated hummingbirds that zip in to feed on the patio of the gallery.

Next to Café Monteverde to learn about coffee and how they grow it in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.  Next to the coffee company we visited was The Artisans’ Cooperative of Santa Elena and Monteverde. Works by over 100 local artists, from paintings to sculpture and ceramics.  Sales benefit the local community.

Next we drove to La Pizzeria De Johnny Restaurante Italiano in Monteverede for brick oven baked pizza lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas) for a tour of their biodiversity center.  First visited the insect displays and then into the four gardens to view over 40 species of butterflies they raise only for educational purposes.  We also observed a leaf cutter ant colony hard at work, very interesting.  Although they have email I have not found a web site.

Of all the insects, none elicit pleasure and curiosity more readily than butterflies. Like the abundance of mountains and beaches, butterflies are ever present during one's visit to Costa Rica. There is nowhere one goes, whether a 3,000 meter volcanic ambit or the arid plains of Guanacaste where butterflies are not present.   Costa Rica is unusually blessed by the diversity of its butterflies. There exists about 20,000 butterfly species worldwide. Of these, about 1,000 or 5% can be found in Costa Rica.

After the Butterfly Gardens we drove to the Sky Walk  Sky Walk is a spectacular combination of suspension bridges with easy and well maintained walking trails build in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and above the tropical forest canopy. 

To start at the beginning required a hard climb up a tower that resembled a fire lookout tower.  There was also a walk up with many steps.  Kellie our tour director obtained permission for some of us who did not want to climb, but still wanted to walk the bridges, to enter at the exit and walk bridges, including the longest one.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest plants abound which are specially adapted to absorb moisture directly from the mist. It is from these huge, misty forests that Costa Rica's abundant water sources derive.  Epiphytes (plants which live on trees in order to reach the sunlight) also abound in these forests, adding to the water-gathering ability of the trees. The epiphytes are not parasites; they feed off water and dust and nutrients which accumulate around their roots.

Costa Rica has roughly 1,500 species of orchids, almost all of them epiphytes. Costa Rica provides much of the world's supply of orchids. Other epiphytes include bromeliads (over 200 species, much more commonly seen than the orchids.) The epiphytes, treetops and vines create a canopy that preserves the moisture within the forest, and also provides a home for many small animals and insects that live their whole lives in the canopy, never touching the ground. The cloud and Costa Rica rain forest comprise some of the world's most complex ecosystems. Sky Walk gives a chance to everybody to easily see up close the beauty of the canopy.

Until recently, little was known about life in tropical forest treetops, because getting up there was nearly impossible. Early explorers used ropes and pulleys or ladders carved into tree trunks. Today, biologists explore the canopy via towers, suspension bridges like Skywalk, rafts lowered gently onto treetops by dirigibles, and even construction cranes.

Biologists now know that about 90 percent of all organisms in a rainforest are found in the canopy. The sun that barely reaches the forest floor strikes treetops with full force, fueling the photosynthesis that results in leaves, fruit, and seeds. Since there's so much good food way up there, animals abound in the canopy.

The Sky Walk tour includes 2.5 kilometers of trails and 6 suspended bridges across deep canyons at the level of the treetops. The longest bridge is about 243 meters (800 feet) in length. Anybody that can walk for 2 hours can live this experience. There is no strenuous climb or mud and the trails are very well maintained. It takes an average of 2 hours, much more if you pay attention to all the different plants, trees and wildlife along the way. The temperature can be cool in these mountains so wear pants, good walking shoes and bring a light jacket or sweater. Insect repellent is not necessary but suntan protection lotion is. Binoculars and poncho or umbrella are recommended. After all, this is a Cloud Forest. At the entrance, you can find a restaurant & souvenir shop. Because there is a 12 person maximum capacity per bridge, reservations are recommended, especially in July, August and from December till May.

After the Sky Walk we drove to and stopped in the small town of Santa Elena and did a bit of shopping.  Then we returned to Cloud Forest Lodge for dinner and the night.

Thursday, 18 March 2004
Breakfast then drove through the Monteverde area that was settled in 1951 by a group of American Quakers from Alabama.   The area has the Sky Trek, Sky Walk, Canopy Tours, Serpentario, Frog Pond, Aerial Adventures, Coffee Plantation, Butterfly Gardens, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Monteverde Cheese Factory.  

We next toured Orchimex, Orchid’s Farm   During our visit two older gentlemen played wonderful marimba music, and after the tour there was fresh fruit in the gift shop for us to enjoy.  The manager gave us a very interesting and detailed tour (see below).  At the end of the tour he gave each of us a bunch of orchids, rust, yellow, red and lavender. Orchimex de Costa Rica now offers a tour of our facilities to show our visitors the orchid world, the most massive and beautiful family in the plant kingdom. Guests will learn about orchids in general as well as practical tips on orchid care. Walking through our greenhouses you will have the opportunity to see the different type of orchid hybrids that we export around the world and our orchid collection with species of our country and from around the world.  Following information from their web site.

The tour consists of a walk through our greenhouse with explanation in designated stations as follows:

 Station#1 (Rooting Area Greenhouse):  In this station Visitors will learn
- First years of orchid enthusiast - Where our plants come from - Tissue culture laboratory - Handling of young plants - Time needed to transplant - Material used to root it - Conditions needed by the plant - Factors to consider for development of young plants - Watering, fertilizer, etc
  Station#2 (Greenhouse):
- What we produce at ORCHIMEX - Hybrids and how they reproduce - Illustrated process - Names of area flowers - Materials and conditions needed by the plant
  Station#3 (Greenhouse):
- Flower production - Harvest and frequency - Grade and length - Varietal names - Harvesting periods and process - Transport to packing house
  Station#4 (Greenhouse):
- Plants we sell - How to take care of your orchids - Species for beginners
  Station# 5 (Collection Greenhouse):
- About the collection - Varieties in the collection - Hybrids and others Our Collection
  Station# 6 (Packing House):
- Quality control - Packing process - Cold room – Markets – Transport - Market prices
    End: Time to enjoy marimba music, fruits and our Gift Shop!  

After enjoying the orchid farm we drove across the highway for another bountiful lunch on an outdoor patio over looking a river.  Sorry I did not get name of the wonderful restaurant.

Following lunch we returned to our 20 passenger bus and continued our trip.  We stopped the bus after crossing a river called Rio Tarcoles to walk back onto the bridge and view the wild crocodiles from both sides of the bridge.  Very large crocodiles and some very active.

Next we stopped in Jaco, Costa Rica, and shopped for a short while.  This was the first real “tourist town” we had visited, with street vendors.  We stopped as several people needed to go to a bank.

Next we arrived at El Parador Hotel, Manuel Antonio, about4 p.m.  Judie and I had a great room with balcony over looking swimming pools, gardens and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  Some of the gals got in one of the swimming pools, Leslie and I walked the beautiful grounds taking pictures.  Later all fourteen of us had a wonderful dinner on an outside terrace overlooking flowers, pools and the Pacific Ocean.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Friday, 19 March 2004
Enjoyed huge breakfast buffet outside on a terrace overlooking flowers, and the Pacific Ocean.  Some of our group went into town to shop, some hiked to the beach and through the forest.  I remained at the hotel.  Left ankle and foot very swollen, but NO pain.  Lots of bruises up and down legs and one arm, no ache or pain, think they are from the Canopy Tour and / or white water rafting.  Had a marvelous time and have the bruises to prove it <G>.

We went by our bus to the airport where after a short wait we boarded our 18 passenger charter flight back to San Jose.  I sat on back seat by window so I could take pictures, and assisted our flight attendant in closing the steps / door so we could take off.  This was a short 20 minute flight that was somewhat bumpy.  After landing in San Jose, Costa Rica, we were taken back to our hotel.  Hotel Herradura, San Antonio de Belena, Heredia 

We met at 6:30 p.m. for an hours drive to our final dinner, west of San Jose on a mountain top.  I believe the lovely restaurant is named Tiquicia Restaurante.  The view of the city and valley with lights was breath taking.  We enjoyed a very large buffet and then entertainment – teen-agers doing folk dancing in native costume, marvelous.  Less traffic on the drive back to our hotel, only about 40 minutes. Time to get luggage in order and ready to leave.

Saturday, 20 March 2004
Up very early again.  Judie, Leslie and I were taken to the airport at6 a.m.; Genie had been taken at 5 a.m.  We paid our departure tax, my checked luggage was searched, and then we settled down to wait for our planes, taking turns shopping while we waited.  America West flight scheduled to depart at8:30 a.m., but arrival in Phoenix was a little late about1:25 p.m.

P.S. 3/26/2004: A couple of weeks before we left for Costa Rica I thought I may have cracked a little toe.  When I returned home, due to swelling Howard insisted I see my internists.  She worked me in Tue., had me get x-rays, now have learned ankle OK, but I did fracture my little toe.  No pain! Have appointment with foot doctor on Mon. 3/29/04 no doubt a waste of time.

Costa Rica 2004 (March 12 – 20)
Women Traveling Together (WTT)

arranged by Central American Tours
maria Elena Palomo

As some of you know my long-time friend Leslie and I were in Costa Rica March 12 – 20, 2004with a small group of Women Traveling Together.  We had an adventuresome trip and it really was a blast.  Go to the web site URL below to see some small photos of our trip.  I am in front of white water raft (left side of photo with black shirt on); second from left in from of Fichus Tree (my room mate Judie on far left); climbing up the rope ladder in another big Fichus Tree; and on platform during the Canopy Tour.
If above URL is too deep go to the home page of Women Traveling Together at:

View 2004 Tours & Retreats and click on Photos from 2004 Completed Tours

Copyright 2004 and beyond by Susan L. Anderson

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Last modified: 07/19/15