White Water Rafting in Turrialba

Today we were up early and back at the bakery for breakfast. The white water rafting company was supposed to pick us up at 0830 in front of the hotel, so at 0825, we were outside and waiting. Every time a vehicle came around the corner, particularly a truck, we all thought “Oh, that must be them”, but invariably it wasn’t. At 0845, a van rounded the corner that had a big inflatable raft already inflated strapped to the roof. OK, this has to be them.

We all piled into the van and met everyone else already inside. We were surprised to find out there were 5 staff for 5 only passengers. Two were to be in the raft with us, one was the van driver, one a rescue kayaker, and one a photographer who would be kayaking around us and taking photos.

Turrialba is supposed to have some of the best white water rafting in the entire world. So, we expected it to be a short drive over to the river. At first we were on a nicely paved road, and the scenery was much the same as we have seen the last couple of days. Here are a couple shots we took while driving.

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The three of us were surprised at how far away from Turrialba we had driven when we finally turned off into a national park. The driver paid the entrance fee. Ah, we thought, we must be here now. But we weren’t. It was Continue reading White Water Rafting in Turrialba

The Tarzan Swing and Drive to Turrialba

Continued from yesterday”¦ Of the three of us, this time Christi went first. Being strapped in was scary in and of itself because they have you hanging over the edge while they strap in the harness. There were three people holding onto Christi as they worked, but still, hanging over the edge before the harness was on was a little heart stopping. Even when the harness was secure, it still didn’t feel totally safe. With the zip lines, there are two cables you are strapped to, so if one breaks, you still have the other to keep you from falling. But with the Tarzan swing, you are only attached to one feeble looking rope. OK, actually, the rope is pretty solid looking, but still, there is only one.

Christi took a deep breath and waited for the signal. They said go and nudged her a little. She thought “This is insane”, and suddenly she was in the air, screaming at the top of her lungs as she initially swung down towards the ground, then went flying up towards the highest branches of the trees surrounding us. She clutched onto the rope for dear life, praying it didn’t break right then. The staff had a hard time getting her slowed down and stopped. She kept flying back and forth for much longer than most everyone else. Finally, they got her stopped and unhooked.

Then it was Eric’s turn. Out of nowhere, the wind picked up and it started to drizzle a little bit just as he was getting harnessed in. When he jumped, he let out a loud yell that resembled George’s scream from “George of the Jungle”. It was a bit garbled because he had a hard time overriding the instinctual scream that rumbled up from his gut. But most everyone in the group knew what he was attempting and it got a laugh from the spectators. As the staff grabbed at his feet to try to get him to slow down, they yanked one of his shoes off and it went flying into the jungle behind us. That got another laugh from the crowd.

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Then it was Mike’s turn. And it right then, Continue reading The Tarzan Swing and Drive to Turrialba

The Canopy Zip Lines

The morning greeted us with soft sunlight filtering through the early morning mist and the songs of several kinds of birds. We opened the sliding glass doors, taking in the air scented with tropical flowers, the temperate climate, and the stunning landscape around us. It was absolutely perfect.

At 0730, we headed over to the little restaurant on the hotel grounds where we were served Gallo Pinto, the traditional Tico breakfast of two scrambled eggs accompanied with a big mound of rice and beans mixed together, a piece of cheese, and a piece of pan fried ripe plantain. Butterflies flitted about while we ate. It was almost surreal.

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Yesterday, we booked a zip line canopy tour for this morning. At 0930, a van picked us up and took us to their facility on the slopes of the volcano just outside of downtown La Fortuna. We stepped off the bus onto a covered patio where several staff members were waiting with harnesses and leather gloves we were told were the brakes. The three of us were amongst the first to be strapped in, and we waited while everyone else in the rather large group was harnessed in.

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Then we were marched over to a little zip line set up just a few feet above the ground, basically two cables strung between two trees. A staff person demonstrated how to do it. Let the Continue reading The Canopy Zip Lines

Wilderness Hikes, Active Volcanoes and Hot Water Springs

Continued from yesterday”¦ Amazingly enough, our guide spotted a two toed sloth with a baby. He was really excited about it and proud of himself. Two toed sloths are rare to start with and hard to spot, so seeing them in the wild is a big deal. Seeing a mother/child duo was an especially big deal. We watched the sloths for a long time, each taking turns looking at them through the guide’s binoculars. True to their nature, the mama barely moved at all, not doing much more than turning her head. The baby also barely moved, though the baby was harder to see. They have an almost prehistoric look to them, sort of like a tiny ape, but even more primeval. Seeing them was so exciting!

The guide pointed out a small fern that curls up when you touch it. Of course, we can’t remember what it is called now. When we were in Tahiti, we went on a tour where the guide had pointed out that same plant to us, mentioning that it was an introduced species, not indigenous to Tahiti. Now we know where it came from. We also spotted the plant in Tonga, too. The guide also showed us a species of elephant ear plant with the biggest leaves we have ever seen.

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Here is a shot of Eric and Christi near the Continue reading Wilderness Hikes, Active Volcanoes and Hot Water Springs

Welcome to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

This morning the alarm went off at 0500. It was still dark and we had a hard time getting up. We were out the door right at 0600, just after sunrise. We were on our way to the airport to pick up our friend, Mike, who was flying in from San Diego. Even though Heredia looks really close on the map, we were told it would be a 40 minute drive from the hotel.

On the way out of town, we did a quick drive up and down some of the more prominent streets to at least get a glimpse of this supposedly great city. As in most towns in Latin America, there is a large town square near a big church, but we didn’t see anything else that looked particularly historic or noteworthy. Heredia looks like an average town. We were literally the only car on the road. Ticos (Costa Ricans) must not like to go out early on Sunday mornings.

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There is a two lane highway that connects Heredia to the airport. We found the road and headed out of town. On the outskirts of Heredia there were Continue reading Welcome to La Fortuna, Costa Rica