farther upriver, and then boarded a comfortable tour bus for a two-and-a-half-hour drive
southwest to Arenal Volcano National Park,
stopping for a pineapple plantation tour,
arriving in time for an arranged dinner.
Early the next morning, we were shuttled
to the park and up into the cloud forest for a
day of zip lining and hiking. If you have never
experienced zip lining, soaring 200 feet above
the forest canopy at 30 miles per hour is an
excellent way to be introduced to the sport!
Seven zip lines later, we arrived back at the
base, and then headed to the hot springs for
an evening of blissful relaxation.
Early the next morning (seeing a pattern
here?), we boarded the bus and headed farther west to the Tenorio River for some white-water rafting. We ended the day where I had
started my trip two weeks earlier, on the
Pacific coast in Guanacaste. The next morning we explored the coast on a large catamaran, anchoring in a small bay perfect for
swimming and snorkeling. That afternoon,
happy and suntanned, I caught a ride to the
Liberia airport for my trip home to Seattle.
So, on your own, or guided?
Going on your own in Costa Rica works
well if the plan is to mostly stay put, with
minimal traveling around. The pace of the
country is leisurely and relaxing, and there is
enough to see and do without having to go far.
Although small, the country has only a couple
of main highways, and many roads are hilly
and curvy, so travel times can be lengthy. If
you do want to explore, renting a car is your
best bet, but be prepared for delays due to
construction or other traffic challenges.
Although I wouldn’t use the word “
relaxing” to describe the go-go pace of my Adventures by Disney experience, I can honestly say
there is no way I could have covered as much
ground and seen and experienced as much of
Costa Rica on my own as I did with the group.
We traveled coast to coast in a matter of days,
taking in a number of highlights and participating in several activities. Our bus travel in
between locations was hosted by a local ABD
Costa Rica guide, who provided fascinating
The Gulf of Papagayo, on the
Paci;c side of Costa Rica, has
numerous bays for exploration.
details about the country’s economy, politics,
culture, cuisine and more.
Additionally, the seamless coordination
of transportation, hotels, daily meals and baggage handling created a stress-free experience
that allowed me to fully focus on what I was
seeing, without having to worry about making connections or other details.
Whichever way you choose to see Costa
Rica, be prepared for a unique, transformative experience, one that will keep you returning for years to come. C
Tree sloths would most likely
prefer the pace of solo travel.
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find these and many
other over-the-counter aids at Costco and
on Costco.com. Most prescriptions can be
filled at Costco Pharmacies.
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a video about
Adventures By Disney in Costa Rica.
(See page 15 for details.)
By Claudia M. Caruana
IF YOU ARE on vacation at a foreign destination
where there might not be a 24-hour pharmacy close
by, or if you are on a plane or train for many hours
and have no access to what you may need, bringing
over-the-counter (OTC) medications is smart and can
save you a lot of pain and discomfort. Basic meds
help relieve simple problems that can be very annoying and make your life quite miserable if you don’t
Here are some suggestions from travel medicine professionals.
For pain. Acetaminophen often is recommended for aches and pains. Although many individuals take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, for pain,
Dr. Michael P. Zimring, director of travel medicine
at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, cautions, “If
you are traveling in areas where mosquitoes are
carrying dengue, Zika, chikungunya and filariasis
viruses, and you might have contracted any of
them, don’t use NSAIDS. They can cause dangerous bleeding if you have these conditions.”
For constipation. Zehra Ahmed, chair of the
department of physician assistant studies at New
York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Center for Global
Health, recommends a stool softener such as docu-sate. For diarrhea, an anti-diarrheal such as bismuth
subsalicylate can help.
For itch and insect bites. Keep hydrocortisone cream (0.5 to 1 percent) at hand. For cuts and
scrapes, use an antibiotic cream or ointment to prevent infections. Adhesive bandages with antibiotic
cream already embedded in the pad also are a good
choice, Zimring says.
and ticks. In addition
to wearing long sleeves
and socks, use DEET,
the active ingredient in
insect repellent, so you
will not be a tasty meal for
hungry mosquitoes and ticks. Dr.
Michael Passafaro, an emergency
medicine specialist on Long Island,
says he typically recommends
“DEET strengths greater than 20
percent. Depending where you are
staying, DEET is highly recommended to be
used on your body 24 hours a day, even after a
shower at night.”
Motion sickness. Although most people
taking a cruise will include motion sickness
tablets such as dimenhydrinate or meclizine or
bands in their bags, you should also bring them
along if you are flying or traveling on bumpy
roads by bus, says Dr. Deborah Lardner, with the
NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Allergies. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine can be helpful if you have allergy
symptoms. Zimring says it is important that
adults and children who have severe allergies
keep their prescription EpiPens (epinephrine
injections) with them at all times, even when they
are on a plane, train or bus. Even cautious travelers can find themselves eating food that has
ingredients that may be mislabeled.
What you pack has a lot to do with where
you are going and how you will be getting there.
Consult your health-care professional about your
trip and possible interactions with your prescription medications and OTC drugs. C
Claudia M. Caruana is a New York–based
health and medical writer.