I’ve wanted to go down to Costa Rica for years. UGA has a study abroad program in the Monteverde area (Santa Elena), and a colleague went down there to help them with their internet access a few years ago. Two former Shaved Monkeys (dart teammates) live and work down there, and at times it has seemed like everyone I know was on their way to Costa Rica, or had already been. So when Quint Newcomer, Director of UGA Costa Rica donated a travel package to the Georgia Museum of Natural History fundraising auction, I was determined to win the bidding. The donation included two nights lodging and food, with an option to extend your stay at a discount. Amy and I decided to spend 4 nights at UGA Costa Rica, and three nights each at the Arenal Volcano and on the pacific coast at Manuel Antonio.
I’ll get to an account of the trip in the next few posts, but first a shout out to those amazingly generous and helpful people associated with UGA Costa Rica. Although I’ve yet to meet Quint Newcomer, he provided a wealth of travel planning information, the kind of tips you get from a friend who knows the place well. We traded several emails, and once it came time to make firm arrangements he passed us on to Eduardo Vanegas, the Reservations and Logistics Manager on the San Luis campus. Eduardo took care of everything, offering suggestions on itinerary, arranging a driver to get us from one area to the next, and even helping with last minute alterations to accommodate my stupid blunders. And once we got to the lab we met academic programs manager Lindsay Stallcup and resident naturalists Sam and Alexa, who went out of their way to make us comfortable and keep us engaged. The service provided by the UGA Costa Rica staff was outstanding, and the prices were more than reasonable: if you’re traveling to Costa Rica UGA Costa Rica is a great place to start!