Costa Rica McDougall Adventure 2006
The following are edited comments
from our 2006 Costa Rica Trip:
As always, it was a total pleasure to have been on the Costa Rican trip
with you and your family this summer. This was our 5th McDougall
Adventure! It is always so nice to see the people who keep returning on
these trips and to meet the new first timers. This was no less an
adventure than before. We rode cables strung between treetops. We rode
horseback and got a volcanic mud 'beauty' treatment (you should see
those photos!). We did get in some relaxing time in our hammock reading
and watching the lizards go by or cooling off in the swimming pool by
the beach. Back in 'adventure mode', while snorkeling, we saw dolphins,
sting rays, starfish and puffers and we saw sea cucumbers in the
tide pools along the beach. Magnificent Frigate birds, Brown Pelicans, and
White-fronted Magpie Jays entertained us at mealtime - that is when the
dancers and musicians weren't yet playing. Carlos's rendition of "I'll
Do It My Way" on the last evening was amazing! The food was, as always,
a treat. We didn't have to worry if it was "McDougall approved", it all
was, and it was all delicious. Your lectures were the icing on the cake
(made without eggs or dairy, of course). Informative and inspirational.
And you were always happy to answer a personal question. Many thanks
also to Mary and to Heather and to the rest of the family. They were
tireless workers that ensured us that our vacation came off without a
hitch. Kudos to Conrad and all the wonderful nature guides. They not
only explained the flora and fauna, Mot-Mot birds and Howler monkeys,
but also explained the nuances of Costa Rican culture and history. I do
have to mention grandson, Jaysen (2 1/2 years old), and your mother
(83 years old). Watching them on this trip was an inspiration. Never too young, never too old!
- Nancy and Mary Anne Woolley
Costa Rica is incredibly interesting because there is always something either hanging from a tree, or scampering across your path, or chirping or floating or slithering or swimming, or peeking out of some bush or crevice or hunting. I could never get enough of just walking around. After sunset, the whole place comes alive with nocturnal life. The dance of the crab-eating raccoons by the pool at night was addictive. From our room we could hear the howler monkeys wake up the day every morning. All sizes of reptiles were everywhere any time of the day and they were so precious chomping down all those insects for us! The list of interesting residents is long and they are as much interested in us as we are in them. It was worth the four days of travel time from Alaska just to be graced by the presence of so many wonderful creatures.
- Katy McKerney
One of the greatest moments we had was when my granddaughter and I spotted the howler monkeys traveling in a group across the tennis court fence and up the vines into the trees. There were about a dozen of them and some of them had babies on their backs. The monkeys, some hanging upside down, others climbing the branches, picked and ate the leaves. We were able to stand right beneath the tree and get close-up pictures of them. The rooms were very comfortable and clean. The pools were crystal clear. The food was delicious. The excursions were exciting. The nightly entertainment was a lot of fun. The guides and staff were wonderful and the local people were very friendly. Lots of beautiful handcrafts to buy. Oh, the coffee was great! I don't drink coffee except when I go to Costa Rica.
- Judith Brooks
It was really funny while sitting on the beautiful terrace eating dinner, to have a foot long iguana come up to the table looking for some snacks. Although we weren't supposed to feed the animals, some people did give the iguana lettuce and fruit. We also had to be careful when we walked to our rooms not to step on all of the baby lizards and iguana that were sunning themselves on the paths.
- Anastasia Brooks, age 9
Thank you for the wonderful adventure in Costa Rica. Never before have we experienced such intimate and interesting insight into the cultural anthropology,
biology, zoology, botany, marine biology, geology and history of a
country. We admire Conrad, Carlos, Stephen and David (the official guides) for their knowledge and love of Costa Rica, and their ability to communicate it to
others. We appreciate their professionalism in dealing with anything
that arose. It's no simple task moving 25 people around the countryside
safely, while keeping them entertained. Kudos to all those who took
part in meal planning and preparations. It was nutritious and
- Pam and Adrian Kissler
WOW! What a wonderful trip! The adventures were so diverse and
exciting - from zipping through the jungle canopy, sea kayaking, horseback
riding to slathering on volcanic mud and sitting in the hot springs (my skin
really felt soft and I was so relaxed afterward!) All the guides were so
knowledgeable and friendly. What a beautiful country! The resort personnel
were great. The food was absolutely amazing - now my husband thinks I should
be able to cook as well - Ha! We met some wonderful people that I'm sure
will be our friends forever and of course, the best part of all was meeting
the McDougall's and listening to the evening lectures. The whole trip far
exceeded our very high expectations!
- Gene and Elaine Collins
Thanks Dr. McDougall, Mary, Heather, and the many others who made this
trip one to remember. The whole trip was well organized and the food
delicious! We enjoyed our first time ever snorkeling, the horseback
riding, river rafting, our "beautiful" mud bath, and zip-lining from tree
to tree was just a blast! To top everything off, we enjoyed the "healthy
lifestyle" message by Dr. McDougall each evening. Will we go again on a
McDougall Adventure? You can count on it!!
- Roy and Lonna Redlinger
Thank you so much for a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. I had the time of my life!
I was challenged daily and used more adrenaline in one week then I had in the past year.
Zipping thru the jungle tree tops at 35 mph has shown me that I have the courage to do most anything!
Paddling a kayak thru the ocean surf told me I do have control over myself.
Eating three huge meals plus a snack daily and not gaining weight says this program really works.
Besides, my aches and pains are gone and I feel great!
I zipped and paddled and snorkeled and took a mud bath and drifted a river with crocodiles and danced like never before!
Thanks, again - you and your family are terrific!!
- Ruth Wyman
It is difficult to describe what a wonderful time we had on your trip...Was it seeing our parents in their 70's go jet skiing or seeing them hang upsidedown going up to 35mph swinging through the rain forest? (They have been on your diet for many years now.) Or was it seeing the look on our 10-year old daughter's face when she was seeing dolphins, whales, sea turtles, monkeys, lizards, crocodiles, raccoons, crabs, stingrays, octopus, and dozens of wild birds for the first time for real! I can't believe all the things we were able to do in one short week...canoeing, horseback riding, snorkeling, canopy tour and more...and the best thing it was all planned out for us...we were never hungry because of the delicious all you can eat buffets...(which by the way I ate far too much of...but didn't gain a single pound!!!) I am back to a normal McDougall diet and have lost 4 pounds the first 3 days home...
Thank you so much for all your efforts...it was a wonderful trip, I have never met a "Doctor" that is so approachable and easy going...you truly care about people and their health...
Hope to join you on another McDougall adventure soon...
- John, Dede, and Heather Erceg
Our recent McDougall Adventure trip to the El Ocotal Resort in Costa Rica was another memorable experience. We have been on all of the McDougall trips, including several to Costa Rica, and enjoy making new friends and getting reacquainted with the many repeat travelers. The nature guides are the best in Costa Rica and the daily adventures are outstanding. We particularly like the Canopy Tour and the River Rafting. The resort is top notch with nightly entertainment, exceptional views, and a friendly staff. And most important are John's informative lectures each evening and the delicious local style vegan food served by the resort. We would highly recommend any future McDougall trips and especially one to Costa Rica.
- Larry & Ann Wheat
Your trip was an incredible success!! I don't judge it from my perspective, but from the perspective of the participants... and my observations of their collective comments & experiences (both on & off the record). Clearly, putting this trip together is a formidable logistical challenge. Mary & Heather deserve MAJOR accolades for all their work... they pulled it off with amazing aplomb!! You are most fortunate to have such a talented team!
In case nobody called it to your attention yet... your lectures were as effective and informative as ever! Your message was conveyed effectively and with enthusiasm. Your presentations were just as authentic, just as solid and impressive, and delivered with just as much zeal & passion... as they would have been in a plush, air-conditioned conference room at the Ritz-Carlton (or Registry Resort) in Naples, at any physicians' symposium.
If you can reach ONE person vis-a-vis a message that is understandable to the layperson... which, moreover, touches his/her feelings in a way that he/she can empathize with... (e.g., your cardboard meal analogy and the extra time with your family members)... then... you will have touched their emotions, and then... you will have accomplished your mission!!
Sooooooo, congratulations! The sum total of your lectures in Costa Rica did just that -- for at least some of the people there. I witnessed it firsthand.
- Terri Stewart
Even though Annette and I have been back nearly a week from our August trip with you to Costa Rica, the glow remains. The experience was magnificent—the detailed planning, the various adventures planned on a daily basis, your daily lectures with new information and inspirational re-enforcement, the high quality of the guides on the daily trips, the wonderful people you assembled for the trip, the food, and the accommodations, including gorgeous views from all directions. We have already recommended the February trip to a few friends.
Thanks for making it all possible.
- Sandy Bothman
Congratulations to you and Mary on organizing and conducting the Costa Rica Adventure last week. Ethel and I enjoyed every aspect of our time there; meeting some really fine people from all over, visiting a beautiful country we'd never seen before and doing some things we'd never imagined. Kayaking in the ocean and swinging through the forest like monkeys are experiences I'll never forget!
I'd recommend this adventure to anyone. Hope to go on another trip with you someday.
- Fred and Ethel Brooking
Since I hold the McDougalls in high regard, I expected the Costa Rica trip to be well planned, organized and staffed. Even so, it exceeded my expectations. What I didn't expect was the wonderful sense of instant community among those who attended the Adventure.
Whether on one of the daily trips or at meal time, it was so refreshing to talk to others at all various stages of their "McDougalling" - to encourage and be encouraged in our common goals. We made many friends that we hope to see on future McDougall Adventures - and expect to resume conversations as if there had been but a few hours break.
John, Mary, Heather, Conrad, Carlos, Steven and David were always approachable and truly dedicated to making each one of us feel welcome and important.
- Timothy Morris
My Mom and I want to thank you and your family for putting together such a wonderful vacation. We both agreed without a doubt that Costa Rica was the best trip we've ever been on. I can't imagine the amount of planning that went into this flawless vacation! From the moment we arrived, everything was taken care of! The tour guides were fantastic, the adventures were fun and exciting, and the food was outstanding! We ate so much food, and actually lost weight! The best part of the vacation, besides having the chance to spend time with my Mom, was making so many great friends. We laughed, danced, shared our adventures, and ate delicious food together. The Hotel Ocotal is by far the most beautiful resort in which I have stayed and the service and food was outstanding. Thank you for the wonderful memories, I can't wait for the next McDougall Adventure!
- Jenna Kinsey
Now, I've got one bone to pick with you about the trip (grin). You told me that I would bring home memories and meet new friends, which I did, and that a little bit of Costa Rica would come back with me. What you didn't tell me was that I would be leaving 5 lb. of myself somewhere in Costa Rica! I was 230 lb. when we left and exactly 225 lb. when we got home. Wow. I guess I'm not as strict when I cook as I thought - or as active during the day. Who ever heard of losing weight on vacation! Fantastic.
Thanks again for the care and personal attention you and your family give these adventures. It was noted and very much appreciated by Vidya and myself.
- Scott Hurlbert
I very recently attended the Dr. McDougall adventure vacation in Costa Rica. Without a doubt, it was one of, if not the best vacation, I have ever had. The country is beautiful as is the location of the hotel. When you read the description of the trip in the newsletter, it is no exaggeration, in fact it is better. One of the highlights was the people we met, what a fun group. The service at the hotel is outstanding as are Dr McDougall's talks each evening. I'll finish by saying, don't miss this opportunity of a trip of a lifetime.
- Roy Ellis
I cannot say enough positive things about our McDougall Costa Rica Adventure Vacation with fellow "McDougallers"!!! My Dad and I thought it was the best vacation we ever had!!! From picking us up at Liberia Airport to our arrival at the Ocotal Beach Resort, and the adventures we went on in Costa Rica, the service and hospitality provided by everyone was top rate. The scenery was beautiful and the view of the Pacific Ocean from the Ocotal Beach Resort was nothing less than spectacular!!! The best part of the whole trip was meeting and sharing great and fun times with fellow "McDougallers" including all the McDougall family!!! They made our adventure in Costa Rica way above and beyond what we expected and one we will always remember!!!
- Craig Ellis
P.S. I really enjoyed your lectures and the discussions that followed. I also enjoyed watching your grandson Jaysen ride all by himself on the Tree Top Tour. He was inspiring!!!
Going on this trip was a wonderful way to see Costa Rica without having to worry about the food. We saw plants we had only read about, beautiful new birds every day, and got a delightful introduction to the Tico culture. Our Costa Rican guides graciously shared their wealth of knowledge and pride in their country. If we had come away with nothing else, it would have been the best vacation of our lives. However, we came home with two things far more valuable than photographs and souvenirs: new friends and a renewed vigor to follow Dr. McDougall's diet and lifestyle.
- Wendy & Dan McCrady
What a wonderful vacation! The only drawback was that it ended too soon. We really enjoyed rafting on the river, slathering ourselves with warm volcanic mud and bathing in the hot springs, snorkeling in the ocean, and swinging through the trees like monkeys. We especially liked the ocean trip and snorkeling -- the ride was fun and the water beautiful -- we saw sea turtles mating -- we were escorted by dolphins playing in our waves – and we swam in warm clear water with lots of beautiful fish. Our guide even
"captured" a baby octopus and a puffer fish for a few moments. Then we had a whale sighting! Our accommodations were very nice -- we stayed in one of the bungalows which was fabulous (great view; great dipping pool!) The meals were very good and the desserts wonderful -- we ate way too much but had the pleasure of knowing it was all healthy -- and the relief of seeing no added pounds on the scale when we returned home. The service was excellent at the resort and on each of the adventures. We also met lots of really nice people. The dinner entertainment (and dancing!) was really fun too. To top
it all off, we had the privilege of hearing John McDougall lecture each night - how great is that! Guess you could say we had a great time. Very, very nice trip -- hope to share another one soon! Thanks.
- Nette Johnson
Reentry is always difficult when one leaves behind wonderful memories; this is especially true with regard to the 2006 Costa Rica trip. My wife Gloria and I are so looking forward to next year's McDougall adventure. I highly recommend your adventures to anyone who is diet and health conscious because the meals are marvelous, plentiful, and vegan. It was so great not having to worry about getting healthy, meatless, dairy-less meals - just eat and enjoy. What a treat! The adventures themselves were terrific, extremely well planned, easily endured by young and old, and fun, fun, fun.
The hotel and restaurant staff as well as the tour guides were absolutely top notch. Since this was my second McDougall trip to Costa Rica, I was familiar with some of the planned daily activities so I customized my adventures a bit. Because I love being out on the ocean and snorkeling around the reefs, Mary arranged for me to go on the ocean boat ride adventure three times, twelve fun-filled, memorable hours. I especially loved the ocean spray, sun, and wind as they struck my face as the boat cleaved through the seemingly endless waves. This was a wonderful feeling and reminded me how dogs love to stick their heads out of a moving car's windows. Further, I enjoyed hanging my feet off the front of the boat as it sailed toward the various diving and snorkeling locations. The dolphins seemed like they were right under my feet as they frolicked endlessly around the boat. The whales and mating tortoises were delightful to see close up.
While the Ocotal resort was beautiful, safe, and secure, I couldn't help but let my imagination run wild when going through some of the dense jungle and river areas during the Corobici river raft adventure. I watched cautiously for Jurassic park-type raptors to appear. They didn't, however, we did come within two feet of a twelve foot crocodile. Also, I noticed that many of the larger birds flew with their legs flat and behind them like
prehistoric birds once did. Yet the contemporary, colorful and tropical bird species helped rein in my paleo imagination. I could go on and on about the other adventures as well. My wife really enjoyed the estuary, the mud bathing, and cleansing in natural thermal springs. There was something for everyone to enjoy. Last, I was truly delighted to discover that a gym was added to the Ocotal resort. It was great being able to workout and swim in the late afternoons before your informative lectures followed by scrumptious dinners. Oh, I have to say that the wireless internet access at the hotel was also a surprise. Fortunately, I was busy having so much fun that I left my notebook in its case most of the trip. Thank you, Mary, and Heather for your best-in-class, 5-Star, adventure trips.
All the best to you, Mary, and your family.
- Dane Wycoff
Fun, Food, Friends, and Feducation (Oh well, I tried.) This was the fourth travel trip that we have made with John, Mary and Heather. Even when returning to the same location it never becomes repetitious. The most outstanding part? As always, John's knowledge and encouraging presentations. And most amazing is the choice of the local guides for our daily adventures. They were not only pleasant to be with, but their broad knowledge and communication skills concerning the finer points of Costa Rica were most rewarding.
- Marcia and Bob Bailey
Thank you for a trip my family and I will never forget. What a deal, an excellent adventure vacation and the gift of health! Prior to this trip we were eating a high vegetable and fruit diet with portions of dairy and meat (mostly poultry). We thought we were doing good. After being immersed in your diet for two days my gut felt completely different. I did not feel like I wanted to wash my gut track to clean it. After four days my gut didn't feel bad at all. I did not register it. There was no discomfort, no concerns about the whereabouts of a bathroom. It was freeing. Thank you!
As I can afford it I'll be joining you in the future. Your dedication to your beliefs is to be admired. You have inspired me. I've been looking up information on the internet to share some friends. It will be an uphill battle, but one that can be won with patience and calm determination.
- Wes Andrée
This trip was beautifully organized and tremendously executed to be fun, interesting and safe. Ocotal is a great resort on the Coast offering a special staff wanting to meet the needs of our group in most gracious way. Terrific guides who deliver a high level of expertise about the Country and the Natural Life. Adventures including Tree Canopy, River Rafting, Oceanic Activities of all kinds, Mud and Thermal baths, Nature hikes and evening lectures offering different levels of activity and all in a safe mode. The best!!! A unique opportunity to spend time with the McDougall family, and wonderful people from all walks of life and all over the Country, all coming together committed to learning more about health and changing eating habits to be lifesaving and a better way to live. About well being and having fun. A turning point in my life following a difficult transition period. The evening lectures are loaded with intelligent information based upon years of McDougall research and experience, delivered with integrity, passion and humor. I absolutely look forward to another trip with this extraordinary family.
- Jane Garassino
A wonderful, but not relaxing, vacation. Highlights for me and my wife were:
We look forward to future trips.
- A chance to meet and fellowship with the McDougall family
- Evening lectures with Dr. McDougall
- Daily adventures led by superior guides
- Great vegan meals
- An opportunity to visit Costa Rica
- Ed Brewton
Wow! This trip was worthwhile and fun even for someone who hates heat (that would be me!) The food was beyond belief; three huge buffets a day of fresh, delicious and healthy offerings. The guides were top notch, full of information not only about the natural history but also the social and political history of Costa Rica. The trips and tours were fun and so well organized; many thanks to Mary for all the effort that went into getting all of us off to our varied destinations each morning and dealing with personal requests for changes and repeats. John's evening lectures were informative, inspiring and entertaining. The accommodations were lovely and the setting beautiful. And yes, it was HOT! AC on the buses and in the bedrooms made it livable for those of us with a decidedly non- tropical bent. Thanks to all the McDougalls for a real class act and a wonderful break from cooking for ourselves!
- Claire Perricelli
We had a marvelous time! The resort is beautiful—fabulous friendly wait staff, and excellent food! I learned a lot and met lots of great people. Our favorite part was the Buena Vista trip—the horse back ride was wonderful—such gorgeous scenery and the mud bath was great fun—even our five month old loved it! We also thoroughly enjoyed snorkeling—we got to see dolphins and humpback whales!
- Kelly Sullivan
"Costa Rica . . . Pura Vida!! A myriad of colorful birds, butterflies, flowers and fish -- 'eye candy' extraordinaire. What an experience! Seven days of adventurous thrills (especially the zip-line, adrenaline-pumping ride through the tropical forest canopy). Excellent vegan food. Beautiful weather. Highly educational lectures. Meeting some interesting and fun-seeking "McDougallers," as well as many warm and friendly Costa Ricans. If you love the eco-friendly parts of Planet Earth, then Costa Rica is a Must Do Trip!!!"
- Bob Leitch
Jerry and I would like to thank you and your family for putting together such a wonderful adventure trip to Costa Rica. We had such a good time and met so many great people. The daily adventure activities were so much fun, and the guides were just full of interesting information about Costa Rica. Your lectures each evening were really so interesting and enlightening. The meals we had were fantastic. This was the first time in a long time that we have eaten strictly vegetarian food for a full week. We certainly feel better for it. Your trip has truly motivated us to continue to eat this way again in our quest for better health. Thanks again for the enjoyable time.......and especially for the motivation! We do want to do it again.
- Jerry and Kathy Ehrlich
The 2006 Costa Rica Adventure Vacation was all I could have asked for and more. I was especially looking forward to the food since cooking for only me is a chore as I'm not very imaginative in the kitchen. The first picture I took was of my two (yes, two) plates of food that first evening. We even asked the chef for the basics of one of his recipes (he didn't share amounts). When asked about my favorite tour—there was no doubt that it was the Canopy "ride". What fun to fly through the trees like Tarzan. It was a memorable vacation; one that I will never forget.
- Trisha Bagby