On this seven-day trip into one of the richest environments of Central America, led by writer/teacher Hannah Ensor, we use writing to expand our engagement with the world around us, as we build our own senses of what it is to see, hear, feel, notice and even remember.
While much of what we think of as "keeping a travel journal" stops with a cataloging of places, names and sights, this trip allows us to write our way into the experience itself -- not only recording but creating our presence in self and place. Surprise is welcomed into our writing and our experiences as we find our way to the margins of our expectations.
Our home base is La Quinta, a lovely lodge that is part of the homestead and farm of the Gamez-Jenkins family, located in the tropical lowlands of the Sarapiqui region, two hours north of Costa Rica's capital of San Jose. Enjoy characteristic “Tico” (Costa Rican) hospitality. Our hosts are long-time friends of JOURNEYS. The setting is lush and intimate. Comfortable guest rooms offer air conditioning and ceiling fans. Each has a private porch and hammock. Red ginger plants and banana trees bloom just outside the doorways, and gardens full of colorful frogs, butterflies, and tropical birds are footsteps away.
In the near-by nature reserves, we walk the rain forest trails, cross the high swinging bridges and float the waterways in the company of superb naturalist guides. Wild sights, sounds and fragrances abound. Focus wide on the expanse of the jungle canopy. Zoom in on the line of leaf-cutter ants. Distill the orchids and bromeliads from the surrounding abundance of green. Lock eyes with the monkeys. Zip-lining over the jungle canopy is an option.
Writing is both guided and individualized, with experiments in sharing and collaborating. This trip is for writers of all levels.
If you'd like to explore Costa Rica with pen in hand, with others who are likewise inclined, please call. The group will be limited to ten.
Cost includes: Nature activities, cross-cultural activities, hosting and guiding arranged and supported by Journeys International, writing curriculum led by Hannah Ensor; 6 nights accommodation in twin share (singles may be available at extra cost); all meals beginning with breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on Day 7; Airport transfers. Cost does not include: international air (estimate $550-$800); adventure activities such as zip-lining or rafting; alcoholic beverages; gratuities and personal expenses.
Hannah Ensor is a published poet and essayist and a passionate teacher. A graduate of the University of Michigan with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, Hannah is committed to the creation of place-based, community-minded writing spaces that allow participants room and safety to experiment, expand, and experience themselves as writers. Read Hannah's blog, "Why I Write When I Travel," to learn more about her philosophy.
- Day 1: San Jose arrivalBienvenidos - Welcome - to Costa Rica where wildlife is safe. This Jesu Cristo lizard can walk on water.
You'll be greeted on arrival in Costa Rica's international airport near the capital, San Jose, and transferred to a nearby hotel, reknowned for its extensive gardens. Meet Hannah and the other members of your small group. We'll get acquainted with place and our notebooks in tandem. After checking in with ourselves and with each other about our writing practice for the week, we will settle in for the night.
- Day 2: Via Braulio Carillo N.P. to the Caribbean lowlandsWe love La Quinta where we "read" the weather report on the rock!
As we will each morning, we begin early with some loosening of our minds into our notebooks. After breakfast we depart on our beautiful drive, through the deep-green coffee-covered slopes of Costa Rica's Meseta Central, past the forests of Braulio Carillo National Park, into the fertile Caribbean lowlands. We will enjoy many pauses to write and reflect. With Hannah's guidance, we will begin thinking of place -- in this case the drive -- as collaborator and co-writer.
Our hosts at La Quinta will be waiting to welcome us. "Su casa es nuestra casa." Their home is our home -- for 6 days and 5 nights. Settle into your casita. Learn your way around the property, noting the comfortable corners for writing. Note too the frog walk, butterfly house, caiman pond, herb and vegetable gardens, swimming pool and open-air dining room. Food here is traditional and fresh, prepared with ingredients grown in La Quinta's gardens.
Together we close the day by sharing our day's writing, and spending a few minutes writing on a common theme.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- La Quinta
- Days 3-5: Writing our way into SarapiquiVIew through a wide angle at the whole rain forest or zoom in.
We wake early to birdsong, greet the day with our now-familiar writing practice, and enjoy a Tico (Costa Rican) breakfast. In the morning or afternoon, we venture out to enjoy a new nature experience or cross-cultural encounter. The towering jungle canopy and swinging suspension bridge at Tirimbina Nature Reserve, the rushing Sarapiqui River, the unpretentious market town of Puerto Viejo, and the pineapple plantation next door to La Quinta, are fertile grounds for our footsteps and our imaginations. ( If you would like to try an adventure activity such as zip-lining or rafting, there will be a space of time for that, too.)
Time for writing will be both individual and shared, both guided and free. Each day we grow more comfortable with our writing practice and with each other, as we travel through new terrain. With Hannah's guidance, we try our hands at folk tales, mythologies, letter-writing or individualized personal atlases. We experiment with collaboration, sharing ideas and inspiration with each other.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- La Quinta
- Day 6: Bringing it all togetherOur writing leader, Hannah.
On this final full day, collaborations and experiments may continue, and there is also a longer stretch of uninterrupted time for individualized, self-guided writing. This is a wonderful opportunity to check in with yourself and with Hannah about your writing and your practice. We come together on the riverside veranda in the late afternoon to read to and with each other. Later, after a delectable final dinner, accompanied by the sounds of the tropical night, we close the evening with group reflective writing.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- La Quinta
- Day 7: San Jose / OnwardSo long rocking chair, hammock, La Quinta and rain forest.
Breakfast and birdsong, and a final session of writing, and then on to San Jose for afternoon flights home or connections to other parts of Costa Rica or Central America.
Price and Date Details
Need to Know
Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.
Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.
Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure. Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well. Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.
Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.
Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.
Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.
Duration: 8 days
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