Writing Our Way Into Costa Rica

Practicing the art of writing in the lush green world of the Sarapiquí
Overview

overview

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.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: San Jose arrival
    Bienvenidos - 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.

     

    Lodging
    Bouganvillea
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  • Day 2: Via Braulio Carillo N.P. to the Caribbean lowlands
    We 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.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    La Quinta
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  • Days 3-5: Writing our way into Sarapiqui
    VIew 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. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    La Quinta
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Bringing it all together
    Our 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.

     

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    La Quinta
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: San Jose / Onward
    So 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.

     

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    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Mar 8-14, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$2,295
Small group surcharge for group size smaller than 8.
Single Supplement:
$570
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
7 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
cozy, family-owned lodge
Group Size:
8-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
cozy, family-owned lodge

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Mindfully Engaging Nicaragua

Duration: 8 days

The Writing Our Way Through Costa Rica combines wonderfully with the Mindfully Engaging Nicaragua. A brief decripstion is listed below but you can link to the full trip detail. Join a small group of women travelers for a personal interaction with the... read more

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