August 2003

Vol. 2     No. 8  

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Life with the McDougalls in Costa Rica is a Daring Adventure

Raft with 12-foot crocodiles, swim with man-eating bull sharks, ride quarter-mile-long steel cables through the tree canopy, horseback ride in the rain forest, surf at a world class surfing beach, snorkel with octopus and white tip sharks, wagon ride in the rain forest, boat ride on the ocean, bird watch and hike – This is what 92 people (ranging from 7 to 87 years old) did with us in Costa Rica the week of August 3 to 10, 2003.  Helen Keller described our time well when she said, “Life is a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

Being adventuresome was not a requirement for taking this trip.  Some people spent a very relaxing vacation on the tropical hotel grounds, and surely had as great a time as all the others.  Everyone, regardless of how they spent their day, appreciated the great food served in a dining area looking over the warm Pacific Ocean and companionship of like-minded people – all enjoying a better life.  Each evening Dr. McDougall lectured to an enthusiastic audience.

Do you want to learn more? Many people share their experiences in photos on our web site at  and descriptions of the trip below.  You will also find a song and a poem about our trip at the end.

For our 2004 Costa Rica Adventure Trip August 1 through 8, it is not too early to sign up by calling (800) 941-7111 or (707) 538-8609 or writing  Over half the people on the 2003 trip told us they were coming back next year.

From Costa Rica Trip 2003
click here

The Following are Edited Comments from Our 2003 Costa Rica Trip: 

The McDougall adventure in Costa Rica was the "best bang for your buck" vacation we have ever taken.  The five daily adventures were spectacular, the food was awesome and to have an opportunity to hear Dr McDougall speak every evening helped my husband, son & I realize that you can HAVE IT ALL.  You can have great tasting food AND good health.  I am so thankful to Dr.& Mary McDougall for their efforts not only to educate us with the facts but to put together vacations where you can come home thinner and healthier!  Thank you, we will be back next year!

Not only would we be interested in coming to Costa Rica again but I know at least 10 more people from Miami who would!  Maybe 20. 

Laurie, Hans & Kristoffer Huseby
, Florida

My comments on the trip are that it was probably the most exciting and fun trip Robby and I have ever been on. We were doing something new and challenging everyday, from riding a horse in the rain forest to zip-lining through the tops of trees and kayaking on the ocean, it was a blast! The food was great and we loved meeting wonderful people from all over the US. The view from our room of the Pacific Ocean was absolutely breathtaking. Plus, we got to hear the number one doctor in the country tell us how to get healthy and stay healthy.  What more could we ask! Thanks again for a super trip.

Leila Anne Rowan
, Alabama

My daughter, Mary Anne, and I had a wonderful time on our Costa Rica Adventure vacation. We have been on "adventure" type vacations before - to Glacier National Park, rafting between Taos and Santa Fe, climbing Guadeloupe Peak in Texas, camping at 12,000 feet in Colorado. This vacation ranks up there with the best! There was even time to take it easy and hang out in a hammock or stroll on the beach, after swinging through the treetops! The nature guides that accompanied each group were the icing on the cake (made without eggs, of course).  As Texas Master Naturalists, we appreciated their knowledge of the flora and fauna and their giving us insights into the way the 'Ticos’ live. Your lectures were fascinating enough to draw a crowd and my 17-year-old daughter, even though you had to compete with the beautiful sunsets over the Pacific. You, Mary, and Heather (behind the scenes) are always so approachable and gracious. Thank you for another unforgettable trip. This was our third time traveling on a McDougall Adventure and we already look forward to joining you again next summer.

Nancy Woolley
, Texas

Another great McDougall trip!  Costa Rica was the third one that Marcia and I have taken with John and Mary, and they get better each time.  There is no doubt that detailed planning and experience has gone into each phase
of every trip.  The food, friends, fun and facts provide multiple thrills each day. 

Marcia and Bob Bailey

We were invited by my father- and mother-in-law and we committed to attending the trip just 6 weeks prior to departure. The last thing on my mind during a vacation was listening to talks about health, however I found myself at the talks every evening and even looking forward to the next topic.  I am a life long meat and pizza eater living on the fast track American diet. I told my wife before I left that I was going for fun but did not want any part of eating any vegan diet.  My plans were to go to town eat fish and have adventurous fun. But instead my eyes have been opened to a new way that the evidence shows is beneficial to our health and well-being. So far I'm two weeks into my normal living and still no milk, or red meat. With my wife's help we are eating a low fat diet, and I feel great! Thanks for the trip, but more importantly thanks for the education.

Mark Copelin
Manitou Springs
, Colorado

Although my typical vacations usually involve a golf course, it was a fabulous first time experience on this trip to substitute golf clubs for surfboards. The beach was user friendly for surfing rookies and the town of Tamarindo was made to order as the backdrop.  For my daughter Kristy and I to actually get up on our boards a few times and be able to enjoy the feeling of riding a wave was an unexpected joy we were able to share.  Not bad for a couple of tourists from Minnesota. Between our common interest in the McDougall Program and the shared activities, everyone, regardless of age, seemed to have an easy time getting to know each other. Thanks for a wonderful vacation experience…now if we could only get you interested in golf, all would be well in paradise.

Paul & Kristy Carter
Edina, Minnesota

Thank you for our recent McDougall Adventure to Costa Rica - it was
excellent!  After three remarkable trips with McDougall Adventures, it is obvious to me
that you know how to put together worthwhile activities and take care of
your travelers. I look forward to the next adventure with you. Once again, you created the
opportunity for a valuable experience and treasured memories.

Marsha Lang
, California

First of all I want to express my appreciation for all the effort you, Mary
and Heather expended in order for the trip to be the success it was.  What a
team!! An adventure it was from sailing from tree to tree in the forest canopy to
staring into the face of a crocodile from a river raft.  The food was
delicious, the lodging comfortable, I learned much from both yours and the
guides presentations and met some very congenial people.  This timely trip
to rural
Costa Rica was a welcome respite from the bedlam which best
describes life in
California today.

Bev Davis
, California

We had been there about six years ago, but this trip was much better.  The scenery was beautiful. Activities were fun. Dr. McDougall's eight hours of lectures were inspiring.   Food was plentiful and delicious. It reminded me of a cruise ship but, even though we ate everything in sight, I lost two pounds.

Gene Sullivan
, Illinois

Ann and I have been on all the McDougall trips and have especially enjoyed the Costa Rica trips.  They seem to just get better and better.  The highlight of the trip this year was a scuba diving trip to Bat Islands to see the giant bull sharks.  We were reacquainted with old friends that had been on previous trips, made new friends, and your lectures were great as usual. It was another outstanding adventure--sign us up for next year!

Larry Wheat
Belvedere, California

WOW..........what a trip! I had a blast. I am already planning next year’s trip.

Ellen Matics
, Ohio

It was more than I ever could have imagined.  On our own we'd never have been able to put together such fun activities, never would have met so many wonderful people, and would probably never have learned so much about the
health-promoting McDougall diet.  One of the real "plus’s” for both of us was the wonderful naturalists that accompanied us everywhere.

Liz Fowler and Jerome Smith
, California

PS. the hotel and staff were also wonderful.  An outstanding package...

The food and companionship were great - and Roberta even lost 2 pounds!  What a relief not to have to worry about what we were eating.  We can't wait to go back and try some of the things that we didn't have a chance to do, like horseback riding and kayaking.  And it will be such fun to meet up with the folks we met on this trip - lots of new friends!

Mark and Roberta Joiner
Santa Cruz
, California

Everything was perfectly organized, thought-out, and arranged for us so we didn't even have to think.  All we had to do was "go-along for the ride" and enjoy the
magnificent trips with super guides, the beautiful hotel and views and of course the delicious meals.   

Allan & Pat Bonilla
, Florida 

This year's trip to Costa Rica - my 2nd McDougall adventure was a week well spent.  Apart from the excellent food, which I have now come to expect, I was pleased with the wide range of activities and the way they were organized to cover more than 90 participants, not an easy task.  For guys like myself who like to break away from the crowd there were 2 full days of kayaking on the Pacific, exploring the offshore islands and the northern coastline.

The evening talks were most informative in rounding out the basic principles of the McDougall program.  It's hard to come back from a trip like this without a better idea of how the program works and how it can improve the quality of life at any age for all who

Best regards, 
Bob Harris
, Illinois

Most trips are for fun, but the drawback is that you gain weight by the time you return home, and you feel lousy, too.  What I enjoyed most about this trip was going back for seconds, as well as dessert.  (I was definitely one of the "little piggies"!)  But I only gained a pound, and I feel terrific.  This was my granddaughter's favorite trip, even though she usually doesn’t follow a vegetarian diet.  A bonus was that my granddaughter and my wife felt so good from the diet during their week in Costa Rica that they both are sticking with it, even though they never had any such intentions before they went.  Maybe now I won’t be the only vegetarian in the family.

Dick Stratton
San Diego
, CA

The Song

by  Roberta Joiner 

To the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” 

Take us to Costa Rica
Take us there with a crowd
We’ll eat tortillas and brown rice there
Cholesterol lowering is our only care , so it’s
Toot toot toot from the Black Beans
Meat, milk & fat out the door
Thanks to John, Mary & all of the crew
We’ll be sick no more! 

The Poem

By Dottie Bray

Saturday so soon – Time to Depart
Seems like I’m leaving part of my heart

Arriving at El Ocotal filled with familiar faces
And lots of new people from various places

So many choices of things to do
Good Job the schedule says, “This is for you.”

Don’t be startled if I point you out.
This trip is so perfect, I just want to shout.

Costa Rica – what a caring, loving nation,
The guides overwhelmed us with great information.

On the bus from
San Jose we first met Rafael
With love for birds and mammals and a belief in the Diet as well.

Thank you Dennis for presenting the fascinating birds,
And showing us Tamarindo, too quaint for words.

Conrad – So informative, jovial and cheery,
Produces a nature chart at the slightest query.

Marcel, such fervor, what can we say,
On plants and fruits, you showed us the way.

Each day on the bus great knots you tied.
Now bracelets and anklets we wear with great pride.

Contributions from each of you are so unique
On fish, birds and woods, from balsa to teak

Now to our leader, the reason we’re here.
His message needs broadcasting far and near.

He promised adventure and, boy, he came through
Along with some info that we never knew.

Snorkeling and surfing, rafting and riding,
Coaxing the wildlife to come out of hiding.

For those who dared, the Tree Tops beckoned,
Flying like Superman, a feat to be reckoned.

The Lectures were stirring and straight to the point,
Guaranteed to put lots of noses out of joint.

Even though family and friends say “I don’t want to hear it.”
With so much valid info, why not spread it with spirit.

Keep working to show that without Meds you’re well.
Your shining good health is sure to sell.

Thanks to the Doctor with his courage to fight.
We know time will prove that he’s certainly right.

This was a vacation with well-planned timing.
I hope I’m doing justice with my simple rhyming.

Thanks to Mary and the rest of the crew.
We know none of this could happen without you.

Thanks to the staff for the wonderful food.
We all ate too much – To not would be rude.

Lastly I’ll say this is not just a doctor, he’s an institution.
I suggest we all seriously join his revolution.

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