“The weather, the people, the plants…” 2010
“The music was divine. The cross-cultural experiences with the Cabeca were more than I even hoped for, the horseback riding and the rafting through the rain forest were breathtaking.” 2010
“Everyone on staff was very friendly and nice. Everyone. I made some new friends in the campers.” PS - New York 2010
“ My favorite was what was not here- my email, my cell phone, my boss, my tenants, etc. I love all of the activities here!”
“ The music was great (thanks Jay and Molly, Harry and Peter). Cross-cultural connections were great as was the hiking through the jungle.”
“Yes, it was great! Dancing, cross-cultural connection, beauty of nature, people, hiking, food.”
“ The cross-cultural experiences and dancing. This is a stunningly beautiful place and for northerners like us it is great to wake up to birdsong in mid-January and even to get sunburn and bug bites! We enjoyed many of our fellow campers, the wonderful Hacienda staff, the great music and dancing with the Ticos, especially the children, Sara, Jorge and Michelangelo. Thanks Beverly!” 2010
“ As the camp progressed, my hope were fulfilled by one event after another. The unique experience for me was trekking back to the Cabeca family and learning from Anita a fistful of cultural details I’ll not soon forget. The team of Bev and Peter really made the whole thing run. The band members are wonderful in making themselves available and talented and humble and good looking!” Kathy was perfect as a warm and capable facilitator…keep her!”
“Great dancing with the locals.” The organizers have done a very good job- thanks a lot!”
“Excellente! Everything was great!”
“I liked learning about the Cabeca life.”
“Very impressed by musical abilities of the band! Lovely people working here. Quiet atmosphere. Beverly always problem- solving and even-tempered, a great organizer!”
“What was special?…Very heartwarming was the participation of the Tico people…that is my favorite memory, I guess…Also loved the jamming all around- awesome talent…staff is so down to earth. Also want to mention how very enjoyable the Thursday night concert in the church (La Galeria) was…Ashokan Farewell by candlelight was extra-special…All the musicians/staff were very personable, down to earth folks, (they’re so good, they don’t need egos! This was certainly the most rounded out dance camp we’ve ever experienced and we shall treasure the Tico connection forever. Thanks so much for all the behind the scenes organization we know goes into an event like this! You are doing such a great job organizing the troops, Beverly, thanks so much.”
“ Music and musicianship excellent. Dancing excellent. Food good.” RD- Maine 2010
“The ranch, and setting, great food, picnic, hike to native home. Squares, new friends from many places, evening dances, musicians and caller. Bev and Peter, I truly appreciate the huge effort you make for this event to run as smoothly and trying to please us all.”
“Meeting new dancers, Ranch owners and staff. Bev and Peter- many thanks for making this a very special and enjoyable dance week.” 2010
“ Very enlightening trip to Cabeca home in mountains. Employment of locals brought frequent interaction. Horseback riding, dancing, food, picnic, the band members- Jay, Molly, Peter, Harry!
“About what I expected, but better- my favorite things- lunch at stream, concert and dinner at La Galeria, music, dancing, impromptu squares, beading. The food and hospitality of hosts and staff. Keep Bev involved with organizing!
“ The camp exceeded my expectations. The cowboy ride was the best experience, it was fabulous! Music was very good and the Salsa dancing was not to be missed. I like having a Latin Band one night. Having Bev meet us at the airport in San Jose was great!
“The music, dancing, staff, site all met my hopes and expectations.”
“I really enjoyed the informal jam sessions a lot. Watching the creative juices flowing from musicians in the group was my favorite activity. The scenery and climate were much appreciated. Food was very good. Dancing was a lot of fun. I liked the horseback ride but my body complained. Staff was excellent. Participants were a wonderful mix. Love the band.”
“Music, Jay and Molly- yeah! Dancing, meeting new people. I really enjoyed the Thursday afternoon picnic- great idea!”
“I loved the opportunity to take a baby horse ride. My favorites- the people, all of them, our organizer, our hosts, the staff, the ranch folks, the kids, the other locals, fellow campers and excellent music all over the place! I really enjoyed the art project with the kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you, this has been a wonderful experience!”
“Fantastico! The camp exceeded my expectations. Enjoyed everything. Loved the light in the early mornings, the hikes, dancing with the Ticos, the children’s visit, the food, getting to know the other campers, the staff were very accessible. Would love to come again and extend my stay in Costa Rica. Loved the variety of music. The Sotos are great and the rest of the workers on the Hacienda are very friendly. Appreciated the flexibility of the schedule and spontaneous happenings.”
“Hearts of palm salad, friendly staff, German, tilapia, great band, milking the cows, Spanish lessons, Anita, hot milk and mint tea, maid service, Rolando, dancing with the Ticos, delicious food, the talk with the Shaman, extra dance lessons, impromptu camper’s band, beading “Lagrimas de San Pedro,” huevos rancheros, the beautiful site. It’s been a wonderful, varied experience with a lot of different things to do. Muchas gracias de todo!”
“Often felt awe over the whole experience and place. Everything was more than I expected….felt restored to experience it all and love it! As I especially love to ride horses, it was such a treat for me as it was a very moving experience for me to be in the rain forest.”
Rafting was amazing, the hike to the Cabeca School was very interesting, wonderful wild life, the horses and staff were terrific. Peace of the Hacienda, eating with others, comfy beds, and so many activities to choose from!
“My hopes and expectations were satisfied. Hikes, school visits and meeting new people were my favorite things. Bev, I think this was a well-organized but not over organized week in a lovely place. From the participant’s side of things, things were pretty seamless, it is obvious that this is not the first time that you have done this. Thank you for organizing.
“It has been a wonderful blend, well-scheduled, time to do it all if that is what one desires. Anita graciously answered my hundreds of questions about ranch life, Cabeca Indians, etc. She is my hero! The food was excellent too! Bev, you did an amazing job!”
“German’s hiking trips were very well done. It’s nice to experience the jungle with an expert! Everything was good. The trip was very well-organized.”- '08
“The Soto’s hospitality, the cultural connection was a huge plus, the music was great!”
“Dancing, Strutter’s music, relaxing, hiking with German, meeting other dancers, the food- were some of my favorite things!”
“The dancing was great- thanks to all, would like to have more of it! The cross-cultural experience is excellent. Getting totally away from it all and being able to choose when and if you want to do something or to take time to do Pura Nada (pure nothing) without being pressured. Friendly, relaxed and exciting environment!
Our bird guide was top-quality, invite him back!”
“If you take out anything from this trip, it wouldn’t be as good! Hikes, horses, birds!
“We’re easy, we loved it all! Cross-cultural connection, in particular, the hike to the indigenous school was very good, better than expected. It was a big reason that we came. Pura Vida is a much broader experience that includes dancing.”
“Going to the Cabeca School was especially great, so was the food!
“It would have been fun to have more horseback rides that were faster, but altogether they were still awesome, so was dancing, meeting new people and the food!
“The food, swimming, cards, people-meeting, jamming and the natural stuff were all cool! - C.S. Monkton, VT. '08
“Nature, horse rides, hikes were exceptional, 10 times more than I expected- delightful and exhilarating! Dancing was great, fabulous people, wonderful variety of interests, loved the food! - A.A. Wasilla, AK. '08
“Yes, it was great! Don’t change much! Hikes, horses, site, food, staff, cross-cultural perspective, speaking Spanish, the Soto family- incredibly warm people on staff!
“The trip more than met expectations. Dancing with the Tico community was fabulous and the guides were great! The program, schedule, hikes, horses, dancing, music, staff, site, food, meeting new people, the cross-cultural connection, Johnny, Ana, Anita and their friends who came to join us. The group was fabulous, just the right number.”
“How smoothly everything went. How friendly everyone was. Both school trips went well. The Grano de Oro School was wonderful. Ana’s Spanish class was great. The talk with the Shaman was enlightening. There were enough activities for everyone. Loved the beading, the horses, and of course, the Soto family.”
“Yes, it was all wonderful! The music, the people- us and the Ticos, visiting the schools and interacting with the students, Spanish lesson, the Shaman, horseback riding and hiking through the rain forest. Johnny, Ana, Anita and the Staff were so wonderful. The surroundings are beautiful. Great food! The ability to relax or be active was beneficial. It was great that campers offered lessons too.”
“Yes, I really enjoyed Pura Vida Dance Camp especially the walk to the Indian School- very strenuous, great cause, great scenery. It made me feel kind of wholesome! Horseback riding, playing music with the Strutters was great.
“The Strutters! - You all are amazing- of course including Bev. Thanks for so much gracious giving and hard work. The new dance floor was quite beautiful and will be made in the future to be less slippery. The music is always a highlight. What I like best is the authentic experience of a Costa Rican family, town, working ranch and natural landscape, relatively untouched by tourism. I love the quality of the horses, staff, balance and harmony of the place. The food is wonderful.”
“The experience was all and more than I expected. Loved the walks. German’s hikes were more than expected. The whole time was full of quality times. Please accept my deepest thanks and keep up the great work. I had a great time at my first dance camp!”
“The hikes and rafting were superb! Outdoor activities, the site and staff were some of my favorite things.” - '08
“My favorite things were the salsa music wafting across the grounds, the horses, the food. The contradancing was great.”
“All of the outdoor activities were wonderful, did them all. Enjoyed learning about the Cabeca people and visiting the school.” - 08
“Dancing, hikes, the music of course, were favorites. I did appreciate the stops at attractions on the way.”- 08
“The site, the food, the dancing, the music, new people, cultural connections were all excellent! - '08
“Adventures- hikes, rafting trip and site were excellent. It was good to meet new people. A lovely community as usual. There were many fun things to do.” - '08
“I liked the nature and the dancing. The horses! The site is beautiful. Hikes were fun. The food was very good, liked the “Tico” breakfast best. - '08
“The cross-cultural experiences exceeded my expectations. The dancing was wonderful and the music was great. Although dancing was my favorite part of the trip, I really did enjoy all the things. I loved the school visits. You did a really good job making things run smoothly.” - '08
“The adventures and cross-cultural experiences certainly met my expectations. The music and meeting new people and practicing my Spanish were my favorite activities. The rafting trip was great and the hike to the school as well. The Soto’s generosity was appreciated.”
“ A very well-planned trip and a beautiful location. Very enjoyable, campers were so friendly, thoughtful. Food was great and the music likewise!”
“ Around the ranch birding was pretty good with Luis. Meeting new people, dancing especially with the locals, the food, and hiking with German were my favorite things to do. The rafting was great.”
“The natural adventures, the dancing and the cross-cultural experiences not only met my expectations but often the expectations were exceeded. A lot of thought and preparation has gone into the program. It’s a great way to experience a new country. I loved the remoteness. The cultural connections, the other campers and mixing with the performers; great fresh, filling food, a stunning location, lots of activity and nice options for pura nada (pure nothing).”- '08
“Bev, first I want to say thank you for all of the work that you have put into this week. It’s been wonderful!! The care that was put into the organization by yourself and the Soto’s was incredible. Thanks again for a wonderful week. The natural adventures, the site, meeting new people exceeded my expectations.”
“The horseback riding was excellent. They take you different places every time so even if you go twice, it is never the same. The horses are very relaxed, you can move at whatever pace you feel comfortable with. Rafting was amazing. The river itself was beautiful and exciting to raft on. The guides were knowledgeable, giving attention to points of interest. They were also humorous, figuring out their “audience” and acting appropriately. The visit to the Grano de Oro School was much more than I expected. I thought we would be a sort of interruption to the kids, sort of there to gawk at their daily routine. I was very impressed with the variety of activities that we shared with them from our culture. The kids seemed to truly enjoy it, as I did. The grounds were beautiful; it was such a pleasure to be in such an awesome landscape. The staff was great. The Soto’s especially were beyond courteous. Anita is wonderful. She talked about how the farm works and what projects she is working on. Excellent people, excellent trip!” - '08
“As a first timer to Costa Rica I was easy to satisfy for the natural and cultural experiences. Favorites- the site, certainly, a gem. Staff and food, the people, being here. And the careful organization that allowed this to be a vacation and not an aggravation.”
“I loved the whole experience- excellent work, y’ all. I liked the talks offered by other dance folks. The Shaman talk was excellent!
“I chose this trip because of the exposure to local culture and the remoteness of the location.”
“The best thing about this experience was how smoothly everything went! Delicious food whenever I am hungry, music for dancing and singing at just the right time, many choices for adventures that met every need. I loved visiting the Cabeca Indian schools and home. It was wonderful to see the improvement in living conditions from last year and to know that our donations may have made an important contribution to their education and happiness. They were so happy to see us and less self-conscious than last year. My body is in great shape now from dancing, hiking and horseback riding. Better than any health club and the five days down here were worth a month working out at home. The natural wonderland can’t be beat. Johnny and Ana Soto and their family care for everyone as if they were their own. Every wish is granted! Every dream comes true! The “folklorica” dance presentation was perfect!
“Great food, wonderful staff and music, beautiful, peaceful site, loved those hikes and mellow horses, great guide German, social action project, loved the “new building” on the church site, the natural springs and picnic and thanks for taking down the bunk beds, too! - '07
“The friendliness of the Soto family and staff, the concert and dinner in the “church”, the cowboy ride, salsa with the locals were my favorite things. You can ask for special things to do and they are granted! There is such a willingness to help!
“Would like the trip to be longer! I loved all of it- the Sotos were all wonderful, also their staff and guides- Rolando, German, Bernardo.”
“There was such an opportunity for a variety of experiences- rafting, German’s guided hikes, visiting local people, the cultural exchange. Best was the generous hospitality of Ana and Johnny!”
“My favorite things were the hike to Ricardo’s, a cross-cultural eye-opener; connections with other dancers, the music of the Clayfoot Strutters, especially their concert at the “ex-church” and horseback riding for the first time!”
“The natural adventures were all great fun as well as exciting and educational. I liked the horseback riding, dancing with the native people and the food was great!”
“The beautiful scenery." - '07
The ranch, the view, the Sotos, rafting, the cross-cultural experiences, most everything is high
on the list!”
“Discovering the beauty in these surroundings, the horseback ride to the Cabeca School, the concert and dinner in the “ex-church,” bird watching. There were so many choices in activities and all were enjoyable. This is my first experience and so it is hard to imagine it better!”
“I liked seeing the schools of the Cabeca people and dancing with the Ticos, birding walks, cowboy ride, and the Clayfoot Strutter concert in the “ex-church.”
“Everything was wonderful! The rafting was great! The hike to the “new” Cabeca School, the opportunity to meet some locals from Grano de Oro and visitors from
“The outdoor adventures were plentiful, varied, vigorous, great. The dancing and music were high quality and fun. The warm, homey, gracious ambiance of the Inn (Ranch). The concert in the ex-church was so unique and wonderful.”
“This is what heaven must be like, warm sunshine, looking for birds, with beautiful music filtering through in the background. I especially liked the cultural aspect. Visiting the schools and watching the families and children at the dances were highlights for me. The dance performances by the young people were a nice compliment to our activities. Birding, impromptu music audible from the distance around the ranch, the food and seeing local lifestyle are all included in my favorites.”
“ I was expecting a camp that was focused on the environment and the culture, with contra as a unifying side note. The horses, the site, the ranch and the Sotos were incredible, and beyond expectations; the food; and the Salsa and connection with the locals of Grano de Oro.
This was such a great experience!”
“The food, people, the cross cultural experience, the square session!
“My favorite things - the food, the outdoor activities, the music and the dance.”
“Dancing; the thoughtful and gracious management and hosting by Beverly and the Sotos, et. al; the variety of activities that we could choose from or ignore; the music and musicians, the food.”
“I appreciated the healthy balanced Costa Rican meals Ana and her staff prepared and the information that Johnny shared about the ranch…Favorite…hmmm…evening in the “ex-church” eating by candlelight, walking back under a star filled sky accompanied by the twinkle of fireflies. And the rafting! A very well-organized and welcoming dance camp!”
“Everything was wonderful, especially the band, great trips to the schools (Cabeca Indian Schools).”
“I loved every piece of it, I wouldn’t change anything! Perfecto!” - SA, Vermont, 2007
“I like the horse riding, visiting the Cabeca homes, hiking, the dancing, the music jams, everything...the people, all the activities, food, countryside, meeting and making new friends, all the accommodations, rooms were clean and comfortable, the serenity, cool night, warm days....”
“I loved the people, especially the Soto family. The camp is great in every way. The hikes were wonderful. The dancing was good, the band great...Food was excellent!”
“Experiencing the culture of Costa Rica- Indian School and home, horseback riding, walking to town, hike to the river and swim, speaking Spanish...Johnny and Ana Soto made us feel cared for, food was great, rooms were clean and service was fabulous, providing for our every need and desire...friends, wonderful people, great children...dancing with the Ticos.”
“I liked....getting to know Johnny & Ana and family, the lovely location, the delicious food, the fellow campers, dancing with the Ticos, the option of activities or “pura nada”, listening to music jams, the Strutters!”
“We liked....horseback riding especially with the cowboys, rafting...even in the rain, great music, the hospitality of the Sotos, the effort of Bev to keep everyone’s needs in mind, Anita’s warm smile and open sharing, Johnny’s helpfulness on traveling Costa Rica, good and plentiful food...learning about the local culture, both the indigenous and Spanish heritage.”
“Horse riding, seeing the native people, learning about the Costa Rican culture, being in the middle of nowhere is great, great people, great food...I wouldn’t change anything!”
“I liked everything....I think it should be a week longer!”
“The dance camp...I loved every minute of it—both years! The hosts- Johnny is a tower of kindness and Ana glows with generosity and compassion, their daughter Anita is a delightful companion and guide. The lodging...the room and my roommates were wonderful. The garden, the gazebo, the front porch, the picnic table out back..all invited us for reading, writing, jamming or just contemplating the beauty of this place. Loved the local food and it’s preparation. The river rafting trip was even better this year! Thanks Bev, for your constant attention to our needs!”
“I am happy to report that this was one of the best vacations I have ever had!”
“This was the best family vacation that we ever had. The cultural connection was very special. We really got to know people in Costa Rica in one week in a way that would not have been easily possible outside of this dance camp.”
“Peter and Beverly, it was great meeting both of you...you two have made great memories for me. I am starting the campaign to get the Strutters to our dance weekend in June 2007. I came home and learned “Villa Rosa”, one of the waltzes you played one afternoon for my personal concert...Thanks!
“[What I liked best about the dance camp was ]...the comraderie, opportunities for fun things to do, dancing, music, beautiful scenery, gracious hosts, adventure, new experiences, ability to learn and to help....the chance to interact with the indigenous people is something I haven’t experienced even on high priced treks.”
“…can I possibly be the same having been touched so deeply, seen so
“Admittedly, I enjoyed Carlos, Johnny and my time fishing and riding with the vaqueros (it was spontaneous, serendipitous and altogether one of the most fantastic days of my life). I can’t imagine having a better time in Costa Rica. Johnny and Ana and the staff here have been so warm and kind it boggles this American mind. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna hide in the barn while the bus leaves. THANK YOU.”
“…the profound beauty present at the ranch and in the surrounding areas…the peacefulness and spiritual nourishment I felt while being here…” - M.K. Vermont 2004
“The unique aspect of this dance camp is the opportunity to learn about the indigenous population and see Johnny and Anna’s good works and be a small part of their outreach.”
“I enjoyed the varied activities, great food and super host and hostess, the comraderie amongst the campers. I had 3 super roommates. I will certainly come back!”
“Where to start? The beautiful setting, wonderfully generous hosts, energizing music, great dancing and a congenial crowd.”
“It’s a special, special thing to be able to have the Ticos join in and dance with us. This is incredibly unique to events like this. All the cultural interaction – the local kids, the trip into Grano d’Oro, the visits to CATIE and the Guayabo Ruins…I’d strongly consider coming again…it was great.”
“I was amazed at how like-minded we were as a group, even as I discovered each new personality. I chose to do just about everything, but it was nice to know that now one would have minded if I had sat under a tree…”
“I’m grateful to all of the organizers and my fellow companions for an unforgettable experience at Albergue Moravia… Our week together was the bestg dance camp week I’ve been to yet… and such a spectacular setting as well.”
“It’s hard to imagine that a week ago we were having such a wonderful time in sunny and warm Costa Rica. This trip was truly one of, if not the, best vacations that I have ever had. What made it sooo exptra special was all of YOU! From the bottom of my yeart, I want to thank each and every one of you for being who you are and making our week so wonderful and memorable. Take care of youselves and I look forward to being with you again soon.”
“…I’m still in a Costa Rican cloud… dancing to that sweet, honest music and singing in the porch at sunset. I haven’t had such an instant and easy sense of community since colletge and I savored evey minute of it (once I adjusted to ‘Tico Time’ that is.)
“The band was outstanding as I’ve heard before at Oregon Cascades and in the southeast when I lived there. Pure delight to hear and dance to magical tunes playing in barn setting in Central America…” - L.F. California 2003
“Still living high off the week.”
“It’s a trip that fulfills self-study in Spanish, gives great health and fitness.”