Explore the Tropical Paradise of Costa Rica…
While You Learn How to Make Your Next Trip Pay for Itself
Costa Rica Travel Writing Expedition
With Margot Bigg
July 20 – 26, 2017
Over six, adventure-filled days in Costa Rica, you’ll:
- Traverse the treetop walkways and hanging bridges of the Monteverde Cloud Forest while monkeys swing from branch to branch and sloths laze in the midday sun…
- Soak in one of Costa Rica’s finest natural hot springs and indulge in a luxurious spa treatment while learning how to write top-notch reviews publications will clamor for…
- Visit the Arenal Volcano… sample the finest chocolates in Central America… sip on world renowned coffee while getting to know the friendly and welcoming locals…
And do it all with a professional travel writer by your side, showing you how to get your stories published when you return home so you can start funding trips like these right away…
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing your travel stories -- along with your by-line – spread across the glossy pages of magazines…
Of being able to work whenever and wherever you want…whether you’re interested in a whole new career or just want a nice side income to supplement your travels…
Then this is, hands down, the best place to begin your adventure.
Join us this July 20-26 to explore Costa Rica in a way you never could as a typical tourist – with a professional travel writer by your side, ready to teach you the simple, proven techniques for creating in-demand travel articles you can sell to glossy magazines and online publications when you return home.
Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Lush Landscapes and Peaceful Culture of Costa Rica…
Costa Rica is one of those places where you don’t need to speak the language to come home saying, “Those people have to be the nicest in the world.”
And visually, Costa Rica is just as compelling.
Smaller in square miles than Lake Michigan, this tropical utopia is home to nearly 5% of the world’s plant and animal species. Its landscapes are jaw-droppingly gorgeous – from rain forests to beaches, waterfalls to glistening bays.
And this July is your chance to see it all… exploring some of Costa Rica’s natural wonders… meeting the locals… and learning first-hand about the country’s rich culture… all while practicing your new skills as a bonafide travel writer.
Explore Costa Rica in the Company of Like-Minded Friends
First you’ll venture to the town of La Fortuna where horses graze untouched pastures…sloths laze in the riverside canopy…and visitors marvel at the magnificent Arenal Volcano.
Visit a local farm to learn the process used – from nursery to cup – for creating world famous Costa Rican coffee, and later visit Iguana Bridge, where it’s not uncommon to see countless Iguanas sunning themselves in the surrounding trees.
To help satisfy those sweet-tooth cravings, you’ll take a private chocolate tour and discover the ancient secrets of this delectable treat.
You’ll spend a day at our hotel oasis for some well-deserved personal time, indulging in one of the hotel’s many spa treatments, working on your travel stories, or simply relaxing by the pool.
You’ll journey to the city of Monteverde atop Costa Rica’s continental divide, and learn the history and culture of the area while exploring the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
You’ll gain a bird’s eye view of the rain forest canopy below as you walk along the reserve’s tree top bridges. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, sloths, reptiles, and more as you meander through this enchanting wilderness.
To top off your week of travel writing and exploration, you’ll dine with your fellow attendees and instructor for a farewell dinner at the famous Tree House Restaurant. Built around a half-century old fig tree, this restaurant is the only place in Costa Rica where you can enjoy a meal while sitting among nature’s branches.
Turn Your Stories into Cash and Your Travels into Paid Vacations Using the Skills and Secrets You’ll Learn in Costa Rica
This July, with your pen and notebook in hand, you’ll not only visit Costa Rica, but experience it. You’ll see the world through the eyes of a travel writer, all while learning how to express what you see with colorful, visual descriptions that readers will clamor for.
Not only will you come away with a real passion for this part of the world, but you’ll also learn all the ins and outs you need to travel like an esteemed travel writer – taking trips like this… time and time again… without paying a dime.
No matter your level of ability or experience, everyone will gain valuable insights geared toward propelling your career as a travel writer forward.
The bottom line is: You don’t need prior experience to sell your stories to magazines and newspapers. You, too, can learn to write interesting and compelling stories that editors will buy and readers will love.
And this July in Costa Rica, we’ll show you exactly how it’s done... while having the adventure of a lifetime!
Here’s What Past Great Escape Publishing Workshop Attendees Have to Say…
“Great Escape Publishing pulls out all the stops to plan an ‘experience’ not a ‘trip.’ Absolutely recommend them for seasoned and novice travelers alike.” — Connie Owens
“Great Escape Publishing keeps their workshops small on purpose so that each individual has one-on-one time with instructors and comes away with tangible results. You feel that they sincerely want you to be successful because they understand that your success… is their success! Destination workshops and world travel – works for me!” — Sarita Simmons
“My experiences from the 4 events I’ve attended with Great Escape Publishing have been fantastic! The people have been tremendous and the help and guidance given throughout have been topnotch. I can’t wait for the next one.” — Scott Noe
“Great Escape Publishing is the only group I want to travel with on my journeys around the world.” — Sheri Escobar
“These workshops are a wonderful opportunity to travel to a new locale and explore while learning a new skill.” — Sandra M.
“I would definitely recommend this workshop to others. It’s a great way to explore a city and one’s own creativity.” — Heather G.
“You all did an awesome job. I have learned so much in 7 days… totally priceless.” — Nelda Bernal
If you’ve ever leafed through a glossy travel magazine and thought, “I could write a story like that”…
If you love to travel and are looking for a way to help pay for your adventures…
If you have always liked to write but don’t know how to start selling your stories…
Or, if you are just hungry to see the world in an adventurous and safe way, alongside a small group of like-minded people…
Then join us on this exciting adventure to Costa Rica, and we’ll help you transform your writing skills… and your life.
In just six days, you’ll learn everything you need to get up and running fast so you can start selling your stories and enjoying the freedom, flexibility, and incredible travel opportunities that are all part of the travel writer’s life.
Meet Your Instructors
Your instructor, Margot Bigg, is a full-time freelance writer and editor. She writes about travel, social issues, and the arts for publications around the world including National Geographic Traveller India, Travel + Leisure, Rolling Stone India, Slate, Sunset, and The Oregonian.
Margot has spent much of her adult life overseas, first in France and England, and then in India, where she worked on the editorial staff for Time Out Delhi and wrote several guidebooks including Moon Living Abroad in India, Moon Taj Mahal, Delhi & Jaipur, and Moon Spotlight Delhi. She is also a co-author of Fodor's Essential India. These days Margot lives in Portland, Oregon, and works as an editor at the expert hotel review site, Oyster.com.
In Costa Rica, Margot will show you how you, too, can turn your love of travel into a career. She’ll provide personal feedback on any articles you’re working on while there and answer all your travel writing questions. She’ll also share her hard-won insights and secrets for writing top-notch hotel and spa reviews.
Here’s what past workshop attendees have to say about Margot:
With Margot by your side, you’ll quickly learn:
- The tricks travel writers use to travel for free and what it takes to get started…
- How best to get on the invite list for free trips so that offers for free stays come directly to you…
- The proper way to contact an editor if you want to score an assignment…
- How to look like a pro, even when you’re not…
- Which travel markets and publications are eager to work with freelancers…
- Where to sell your Costa Rica stories when you get home…
- And more.
THE GREAT ESCAPE PUBLISHING DIFFERENCE
Here at Great Escape Publishing, we’re committed to creating tours and experiences that are unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere. Here’s our 4-POINT PROMISE about what you can expect on this expedition and what makes us different.
1. SMALL GROUPS
You’ll be part of a small group of like-minded travelers… folks who want to explore, experience, and enjoy what’s unique and authentic about a place. The group size is just 10-12, so you get the chance to know everyone in the group, and you get plenty of one-on-one time from our staff and instructors.
2. AUTHENTIC ACCOMMODATIONS
It’s important to us that our accommodations match the destination. We avoid big chains like Hilton and Marriott because they’re the same around the world. And instead we opt for small, family-run boutique hotels that match the splendor of the city. Each hotel has the same level of comfort and amenities as these bigger brands, but with a lot more charm and character.
From Hacienda-style lodges in Ecuador… to luxury tent camps on the Serengeti in Tanzania… a garden inspired boutique hotel in Thailand… or a luxury boat in Ha Long Bay… our choice of lodging might just be your favorite part of the trip! And here in Costa Rica you will stay at three different, hand-picked hotels, where you can continue your study of the local customs, people, and unique surroundings.
3. INSIDER EXPERIENCES
We like to explore something the average tourist might not know about. We’ve made connections on the ground so we can visit the best sites, markets, festivals, restaurants, cafés, and villages that would be hard to find on your own. We’ll use local guides where possible instead of well-advertised companies and we’ve geared our schedule toward photographers or writers, so you can skip right to the heart of Costa Rica and capture something the regular tourist never will.
4. GENEROUS TEACHERS
Photography or writing tours are a dime a dozen. But try to find a tour that teaches you how to write compelling stories AND how you can sell those stories for a nice side income, and you’d be hard pressed.
The truth is, a lot of people today aren’t crazy about sharing their writing secrets and their income-earning advice with newbies. But the photographers and writers who lead Great Escape Publishing trips are some of the most generous teachers out there. They know that the need for great photos and great articles is only increasing—so the more people who can fill this need, the better for everyone!
On this expedition, you’ll have an expert by your side every step of the way, ready to share her professional insights and secrets to help you travel the world and get paid to do so.
Learn By Doing
On a hands-on, boots-on-the-ground expedition like this, you’ll learn travel writing in a fun way… among new friends… and absorb skills faster than you ever thought possible!
With your notebook in hand and camera ready, you’ll draw inspiration from the world around you – the mountainous terrain, abundance and diversity of flora and fauna, the culture and history of the people, and the stunning landscapes.
You’ll return home with invaluable skills, sure to have you exploring the world in record time on someone else’s dime.
Not to mention all the memories you’ll make and the people you’ll meet… those you’ll learn with, have fun with, and continue to grow with.
This is going to be a travel-writing adventure you will never forget.
And when you’re not taking notes about the history of a volcano, or sampling some of the finest chocolates in Central America, or snapping photos of a pristine waterfall as you meander through the Monteverde Cloud Forest… you’ll have time to explore on your own, take photos, and create long-lasting memories that make your experience truly unique.
Discover for Yourself the Fun and Adventure of the Travel Writer’s Life
You'll find this expedition fast-paced and fun, and you will really see this destination in a way you never could as a regular tourist. We have a full itinerary planned for each day, and most of the workshop will be done out and about on foot, so you'll need to be prepared for moderate to high activity throughout the week.
You’ll benefit from unique, small-group instruction on a daily basis from experienced travel writer Margot Bigg. It’s this kind of learning experience that can improve your skills in record time.
Plus, you’ll learn which types of stories sell best for magazines or for online sites, and exactly how to get your first by-line.
And, every day on this expedition there will be a lesson or special group review where you’ll receive valuable feedback and tips to help take your writing to the next level.
What’s more, every attendee will have access to an exclusive online Facebook group, so you can continue to support each other on your journey, ask questions, and share your successes when you return home.
Whether you’re just starting out and have little experience, or you’ve already had stories published, you’ll benefit immensely from this expedition.
Margot will provide you with all the insights you need to write your stories, get them published, and get paid.
Here's a run-down of what you can expect…
THURSDAY, JULY 20: ARRIVAL IN SAN JOSÉ
You’ll schedule your flight to San José International Airport (SJO) on this day and transfer to Hotel El Rodeo.
In the afternoon, you’ll meet Margot - your instructor - and fellow attendees to go over the schedule and have your first travel writing session.
Dinner tonight is on your own, but we’ll likely eat together at Hotel El Rodeo or head into town for a casual dinner together.
FRIDAY, JULY 21: LA FORTUNA
After breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and make our way to the town of La Fortuna, home of the famed Arenal Volcano.
For the better part of history, La Fortuna was nothing more than a sleepy agricultural town. But in 1986, Arenal erupted after nearly 400 years of dormancy, turning this remote community into a central population point.
Visitors from around the world flocked to the city to witness the eerie lava flows, find red hot boulders expelled from the volcano, and gaze up at fiery night skies.
Today, Arenal has calmed to a few puffs of smoke and the occasional rumbling, but the simple sight of this impressive mountain continues to leave travelers in awe.
Before reaching our hotel in La Fortuna, we’ll stop to tour a local coffee farm. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about its history, the various stages for production, and other intriguing details that make Costa Rica’s golden bean world-renowned.
After the tour, we’ll make one last stop at Iguana Bridge. This unassuming destination just outside of La Fortuna is home to hundreds of enormous iguanas, often found sunning themselves in the surrounding trees. It’s also a great place to sample some local ice-cream.
Next we’ll check into our hotel and spend some time resting and relaxing before our evening travel-writing session.
SATURDAY, JULY 22: LA FORTUNA
In the morning, we’ll enjoy breakfast at the hotel then set out to enjoy our sweetest rainforest experience… a chocolate tour.
Here, you’ll learn all there is to know about this tantalizing dessert – from its discovery and use in tropical America to the process used for creating the sweet treat we know today.
During the tour, you’ll help the chocolatiers through every step of the process… harvesting the fruit, drying and grinding the seed, developing the traditional ceremonial drink, and finally sampling this sweet, organic treat.
After the tour, you’ll have some well-deserved free time. You can rest and relax at the hotel, work on your travel writing, or dip your toe in one of La Fortuna’s famous geothermic hot springs.
In the evening, we’ll come together for a travel writing session and group review.
SUNDAY, JULY 23: LA FORTUNA
After a leisurely morning and breakfast at the hotel, we’ll meet for our next travel-writing session. Then the rest of the day will be for you to explore and find your own version of La Fortuna.
You can venture to the local wildlife center to learn and see Costa Rican wildlife close up… or take a gondola ride through the rainforest for a breathtaking aerial view of the world below… or simply meander through town, learning more about the local culture. You’ll also get the chance to choose a custom spa treatment from a wide variety of choices like a hot stone lava massage… chocolate massage… aromatherapy Swedish massage… pure honey delight massage… and many more.
And in the evening, you’ll take some time to write, turning the things you saw and experienced today into travel stories you can sell.
MONDAY, JULY 24: MONTEVERDE
After breakfast, we’ll make our way to Monteverde and check into our hotel there. Once we’ve dropped our bags and freshened up, we’ll take a walking tour through the city to learn more about its history and culture.
Along the way, you’ll learn about women’s roles in the city’s development, facts about its ecological surroundings, and find local artists perfecting their craft.
After a full day of exploration, you’ll meet with Margot for an evening travel writing session.
TUESDAY, JULY 25: MONTEVERDE
To protect its dense population of plant and animal species, 25% of Costa Rica’s land is protected through a system of conservation areas and national parks, one of which is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
This unique forest highland is continuously enveloped by clouds and mist, providing ample moisture for the area’s tremendous biodiversity to flourish. In the morning after breakfast, we’ll set out to explore this enchanting jungle.
You’ll begin your adventure in Selvatura Park, traversing the treetops on a series of suspension bridges, bringing you face to face with the rainforest canopy and its inhabitants.
Next, you’ll venture just off the beaten path to Monteverde’s butterfly gardens, home to nearly 30 species of butterfly, living in four different climate-controlled habitats. Here you’ll also see over 20 species of live insects and arachnids in the world’s third largest insect collection. Not to mention the frogs, lizards, geckos, and snakes you’ll find in their own amphibian exhibit.
After a full day of exploring, we’ll make our way back to the hotel for our final travel-writing session, followed by our farewell dinner at the Tree House Restaurant.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 26: DEPART FROM SAN JOSÉ
Fly home from Costa Rica or extend your visit in this incredible country and do some exploring on your own.
Note: Workshop schedules are preliminary and always subject to change for weather, construction, and other unpredictable events. The primary focus of this workshop is on travel writing and locations or events that provide interesting story ideas. While no photography lessons are included in our itinerary, we strongly recommend bringing your camera. You will want to capture photos as you go, for yourself and to support your stories. A DSLR camera is best, but don’t feel it is necessary. A good point-and-shoot will suffice.
Margot is excited to share her years of experience and knowledge with you and just 11 others, providing lots of one-on-one guidance and class time to improve your writing skills.
The information you’ll gain at this workshop could, quite literally, change your life…
Pricing and What’s Included in Your 6-Day Costa Rica Expedition
Full Price: $4,789 per person
Special Early Bird Discount: Save $400 with your Early Bird Discount when you sign up today.
The full price of this workshop is $4,789 but you’ll pay just $4,389* when you add your $400 Early Bird Discount and register today.
If your spouse or a guest would like to join you, he or she can do so for just $3,989.
(*Note: Additional discounts may apply. You can click through to the registration form at the link below to learn more.)
Easy Payment Plan: What’s more, if you’d like to take advantage of our easy payment plan, you can register today for just $1,100 down.
Here’s how it works:
- Reserve a seat on the expedition for just $1,100 when you put your name on our attendee list today.
- When you do, you’ll automatically lock in the discounted workshop price of only $4,389* – a full $400 SAVINGS for you! (*Note: Additional discounts may apply.)
- We’ll bill your credit card $1,100 today, and 3 equal monthly payments thereafter. So you spread out the payments comfortably between now and when the workshop starts in July.
The registration fee for the workshop includes:
- Admission to six days of intensive class sessions and reviews geared to produce stories you can sell to magazines, newspapers or online websites…
- Six nights’ hotel accommodation…
- Breakfast daily…
- Private transportation to and from group activities…
- Local, English-speaking guide…
- Airport transfers are included if you stick to our itinerary. If you arrive early or stay late, you’ll need to arrange your own transfers at an additional fee. We can help you with this…
- Entrance admission to all events and activities…
- A custom spa treatment at our hotel in La Fortuna…
- A special farewell dinner on our last night…
- Expert hands-on tuition from professional travel writer Margot Bigg, right by your side through this adventure…
- Access to an exclusive, members-only Facebook group where travelers can ask questions, share their plans, meet one another before the event, and stay connected post-event…
- Pre-Event Guidance from Great Escape Publishing Staff including what to expect, what to pack for the weather, equipment list, travel tips, and more…
Your Registration Does NOT Include:
- Meals not already listed above (allow $40-$80 a day for this depending on whether you want fine-dining experiences or local eats).
- Airfare to and from San José International Airport
- Equipment – you must bring your own writing equipment (e.g. laptop, notebook, etc.) and camera
- Exit taxes
- Tips for tour guides and drivers (please allow $15-$20/day for tour guides and $5/day for drivers)
Our Commitment to Affordability
We pledge to offer expeditions at the best possible price.
We create tours for travelers, not tourists. Folks who want unique experiences they wouldn’t likely find on their own. And we strive to make each and every expedition better than the last.
The only way we can ensure affordable tours without sacrificing these experiences, is to offer them one at a time, which means we don’t publish a yearly expedition schedule on our website.
Many other tour companies use a simple formula, designed to shuffle tourists from one place to the next. They’ll use the same itinerary year after year, without making modifications. And that’s not who we are.
To keep our prices low, and our itineraries fresh, we stay on top of the trends, deals, and best-value opportunities that we can get our hands on. This sometimes means we’ll put together a trip very quickly, and you might not have as much advance notice.
But you’ll have a great price (oftentimes $2,000-$3,000 less than what you’ll find elsewhere), and a great itinerary. That’s our pledge to you!
Please note: If you’re someone who needs more advanced notice for budgeting and planning purposes, we have plenty of trips that are announced 9-12 months in advance. But other trips require quicker planning and execution, so please understand that sometimes we announce trips with just 3-6 months’ advance notice.
What to Bring:
- Your passport
- Your favorite notebook (or a few) and pen
- Your camera
- Spare batteries and charger (plus an adaptor and/or transformer if needed)
- Spare memory cards
- Your laptop (if you don’t have one, that’s ok, but you’ll really find it a great benefit for typing up stories and ideas in the evenings.)
- Light rain jacket
- Layers and comfortable shoes for walking
- Insect repellent
- A sense of adventure!
What to Expect:
Health: As with all overseas travel, it’s recommended that you’re up to date on all routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends the hepatitis A and Typhoid for travelers going to Costa Rica. You can find all this, as well as more information pertaining to health precautions such as safe food, water, and animal interactions on the CDC website.
Money: Costa Rican Colón is the standard currency in Costa Rica. However, U.S. dollars are frequently accepted, as are American Express, Visa, and MasterCard credit cards. Note: Visa is generally considered to be the most widely used and accepted. ATMs are also available in all of Costa Rica’s major cities as well as in the San Jose International Airport.
Exit Tax: Depending on which airline you fly, an exit tax of $29 USD (subject to change) may be levied on departure. Certain airlines include this tax in the cost of the ticket while others do not. For more information, you can visit the Costa Rican Immigration Agency website and the San Jose International Airport website.
Internet Access: All hotels we are scheduled to stay at on this trip offer free Internet access.
Electrical: Costa Rica operates on 110 volts and has a frequency of 60 Hertz, using prong types A and B – the same type of outlets found in the United States.
Insurance: We highly recommend insurance coverage for cancellation. This should be taken at the time you book the trip. We also recommend supplemental travel insurance to protect yourself in case of unplanned medical emergencies.
Entry/Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens are required to present a valid passport when traveling to Costa Rica with at least one blank page for your entry stamp.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: MODERATE TO HIGH
In Costa Rica, we will spend much of the time out and about walking, sometimes up and down hills, on irregular stairs, and often on uneven terrain. You should have the ability to walk comfortably for two miles and/or for an hour in these conditions.
If you are unable to keep up with the group, please understand that you might not be able to participate in an activity. If you have concerns about physical limitations, please contact a Great Escape Publishing staff member before registering. You can email us at email@example.com or call (561) 860-8266.
To ensure you get plenty of time with Margot, this expedition is limited to just 12 people.
Again, space is limited for this unforgettable adventure. I strongly urge you to sign up today. It could be years before you get another opportunity to explore Costa Rica with such a small group of like-minded people – and with an expert travel writer by your side!
We’ve had a number of requests to save seats already -- this program will fill up quickly! And I’d hate for you to miss out.
So please, register here now by clicking below or if you have any questions call our office today at (561) 860-8266 (U.S. Eastern Time Zone). You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is going to be the trip of a lifetime – with plenty of stories and photos to prove it!
Director, Great Escape Publishing
P.S. If you can write a simple paragraph, you have what it takes to become a successful freelance travel writer. It’s that easy. The many successful folks who have attended one of our workshops in the past don’t do anything you can’t learn to do.
You don’t need a journalism degree. And you don’t need writing experience to get started. In Costa Rica, you’ll get all the real-world know-how you need to turn a trip here or a vacation there into a little cash on the side… or even jump in full-time. To turn 2017 into the year you transform your life, join us in Costa Rica and learn how you can pursue your dreams of travel writing and get paid to do it…
NOTE: You may qualify for additional discounts on The Discover Costa Rica Workshop. Click below on the Register Today button for details or call our office at (561) 860-8266 to find out how much you can save.
Cancellation Policy: All our workshops and expeditions are non-refundable. If, however, you are unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances – and you give us at least 60 days notice – we will be happy to apply your payment toward a future workshop, minus a $300 processing fee. If you cancel due to reasons that are covered by your purchased travel-insurance policy, we will advise the insurance company that your travel and conference fees are non-refundable.
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