Monday, March 19, 2012

San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City, Panama

Sunday morning we said goodbye to the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the luxury JW Marriott Resort.  It was a long drive back to San Jose, but we took time for a boat cruise on a river known for its crocodiles – big ones!  However our boat captain was slightly crazy!  His legs were NO more than 8 inches from the mouth of several crocs when he was feeding them chicken meat.  It was so dangerous that I could not watch the whole time.  He had to coax the croc to snap for the chicken, but the croc could have snapped his ankle just as easy – dragging him under the water – they drown their prey.  The caption on his T-shirt said, “Send more Tourist! – the last one tasted great!” 

Crocodile along the River

Feeding a Crocodile
Feeding a Crocodile

Sunday evening we had a dress up farewell dinner in a restaurant at the top of the downtown Holiday Inn, after which we took a group photo. We began saying good-bye as some of those on early flights had to leave the hotel by 4:00am.  Our group was so friendly, congenial, prompt, and considerate – we commented several times how it was amazing that a group of 40+ people could get along so well and no one was late.    

We left the hotel at 7:30 this morning and had an uneventful flight (what we wanted) to Panama City. Caravan Tour personnel were there to meet us and sent us on a shuttle to the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Panama City.

Sky Line of Panama City
I really have not said much about Caravan Tours.  This is actually the first Tour Company we have used so we cannot compare them to others.  The travel agent in Iowa City who Iowa MOST uses to book plane tickets recommended Caravan to us.  From our experience in Costa Rica they have been wonderful – taking care of every detail. The Costa Rica Tour explored lots of wildlife, and the rainforests.  We did not feel like we were being caught in tourist traps, and yet if we wanted gifts, there was availability.  Our Tour Director Elston, a Naturalist by training, was helpful, good looking, smart and knowledgeable - we wonder how anyone can be as good as him.

As of tonight we have now began our Panama Tour with dinner and then orientation at 8:00.  This tour will be different from Costa Rica as it will be based primarily around the Panama Canal.  When we met our Panama Tour Director we realized Elston had major competition - a cute Panama Tour Director!! Tonight at the Orientation we met our new tour-mates. We will be learning a whole new set of names and personalities.               

Tomorrow morning we will be on the bus by 9:00.  

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