What do you get when you put together four best friends from college, one sister, and one husband, in a foreign country, where 66% of the group doesn’t speak the language? A hilarious, but once and a lifetime trip to Costa Rica! Trying to coordinate the schedules of six different adult humans for eight days away can seem like a fools errand. But, when we found a block where we were all available we had to jump on it.
Our trip to Costa Rica can be split into two categories. First was our ‘Adventure’ portion of the trip! It was 4 days of non-stop activities. Several of them with un-advertised exercise incoporated into them, Costa Rica is not for the weak at heart. Exhibit A – sprinting up a hill, in the middle of the jungle, at night. But, more about that later. Our second portion of the trip could be entitled “Never took off my bathing suit”. (I’ll get to that in another post).
First up on our long list of adventures, was horse back riding to a waterfall. Yes, you heard me right, and yes, it was just as magical as it sounds.
I have always loved horseback riding. I had friends who were into it when we were kids. So, I went to quite a few horseback riding birthday parties. Clearly I’m a pro. Obviously kidding, but, I do love horses and jump at the opportunity anytime I have the chance. It was at this point in the excursion that José’s horse, who decided he was done with all the girl talk, and took off for some alone time. We didn’t catch back up with him until we got to the waterfall.
After about 30 or so minutes on the horses we made it to the waterfall, or the point where you walk down to the waterfall. This is where the un-advertised exercise comes into play. It was a steep 20 minute hike down to the waterfall, and the whole time down, all I could think was walking up this is going to be a real pain to walk back up.
But it was totally worth it. I mean come on, I’m a sucker for waterfalls, but even if you aren’t too, you have to admit this one is pretty beautiful. I could of stayed there all afternoon, but I had a daunting trek back to the horses to get to.
After practically dying, and bringing up the rear the entire way up, we were rewarded with the most delicious, juiciest, freshest pineapple.
Our guide took us on hike through forest (more unadvertised exercise!) on the lookout for native Costa Rican wildlife. We got to see several different species of monkeys and toucans, which was all very cool. But the best part was our guide. He was like the Costa Rican, Bear Grylls. He was always hopping off the trail in search of another animal or weird plant to show us.
After the animals, we went to a great lookout point for Arenal Volcano. It is pretty rare to get a clear view of the volcano during the day, in rainy season. But, we lucked out, and for the whole two days we were in Arenal we had unobstructed views from various angles.
To end the day we headed to a natural hot spring. There are no pictures of this because we had to, walk down a hill, in the dark, in nothing but our bathing suits. If that seems sketchy, it only gets better. The ‘natural hot spring’ ended up being a river, under a overpass, that was blocked off by some fallen trees, to form a little pool area. You had to be careful because there was still quite the current. If this all sounds weird, and not worth it, you’d be right on the first part, but totally wrong on the second. I loved it! It totally seemed like a spot you could only find with a local. I could totally imagine local high school students sneaking off there with their friends.
Next stop, Monteverde, where got to do one of my favorite activities, ziplining! The place we chose, actually boasts the longest zip line in Latin America. They also had 2 superman ziplines, which was the most amazing thing ever, it felt like flying! However, I only have one picture from ziplining because I was a chicken and didn’t bring my phone with me. I just had visions of dropping it somewhere over top the Costa Rican jungle. My friend Britni, brought her phone with her though, so pop over to her Instagram if you want to see some videos!
Now you might be thinking to yourself, at the beginning I mentioned sprinting through the woods in the dark, and I haven’t said anything about it yet, and if you weren’t thinking that, well tough. We hadn’t planned on doing this next activity, but the B&B we were staying at recommended it, and I’m so glad we did. We did a night hike on a search for wildlife. A tour guide led us through the woods keeping an eye out for various wildlife. They used walkie talkies to communicate with the other guides in case they saw anything good.
I should have known we were in trouble when the guide said “You guys are young, we’ll be able to move quickly”. Seconds later we were running through the dark forest, after our guide got a call on his walkie. In the end it was totally worth all the huffing and puffing, because we got to see a sloth! That alone was worth the $20 bucks. I could have spent the whole night just watching the lazy little fellow moving along. But, we also got to see 10 other animals, including frogs, scorpions, snakes, toucans and so much more! To top it all off our tour guide was a great photographer. I have some world class animal photos on my phone because of him. If, you ever go on the Kinkajou Night Walk, ask for Jean.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Costa Rica trip, also entitled “Didn’t take off my bathing suit for 3 straight days.”