What’s a nice spot for Christmas hiking?


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Week of October 10-16, 1996
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What’s a nice spot for Christmas hiking?

What’s a nice spot for Christmas hiking?
Question: Dear Adventure Adviser, I’m trying to put together a Christmas hiking vacation and could use some recommendations. Criteria are: daytime temperatures of 55 or better, a good variety of day hikes available, and great scenery, birding, wildlife viewing, etc. Can you suggest some sites that will fill the bill? Thanks a lot!

Roger Thomson
Chicago, IL

You’ll share the rainforest trails with monkeys in Central America.

Adventure Adviser: If you’re not limited to stateside travel, I’d suggest catching the first plane to San José, Costa Rica, a relatively easy flight from the Windy City that will get you out of the snow and ice and within 100 miles of some of the country’s best rainforest and coastal hiking. The destination of choice? Corcovado
National Park on the wild and lonely Osa Peninsula. Base yourself at the Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp, a remote jungle compound run by Costa Rica Expeditions (doubles, $68 per person, including all meals; 011-506-257-0766). From there, head out on foot for an overnight hike north along the white-sand Pacific beaches to the ranger station at Sirena, where you’ll be greeted by
spartan accommodations and three generous meals a day–all for $16 per person. Call the ranger station in advance for reservations (011-506-735-5036). Keep your eyes peeled for big cats, scarlet macaws, and more monkeys than you can imagine.

As long as we’re talking about Central America, Roger, consider also the cloud forests of southern Belize. Head to the newly revamped Fallen Stones Butterfly Ranch and Jungle Lodge, where a simple, screened, double cabin overlooking emerald-green valleys will set you back $105 per night, including breakfast (011-501-72-2167) and where exceptional hiking is right out your
front door. Particularly noteworthy is the three-hour hike through thick bush to the Rio Grande river, where you’ll be picked up by canoes for a paddle to the primitive Mayan village of San Pedro (full-day trip; $15 per person). If the near-rampant wildlife–tapirs, river otters, and hordes of monkeys–don’t convince you that you’re way off the main tourist track, the fact
that the nearest town, little more than an outpost, is an hour away via rocky jungle tracks, should. For other ideas about hiking south of south of the border, check out “La Ruta Tropical” in Outside‘s 1996-1997 Winter Travel Guide, coming online soon.

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