Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica was never on our travel list. An Indian family on a prior trip to Cancun told us about their adventures there and we couldn’t wait to visit Costa Rica. Friendly folks, rainforest , volcanoes, clean beaches, adventure sports ( ziplining, rappelling, white water rafting, horse back riding, you name it) and modern world amenities beckoned to this small adventure filled land in Central America. Rappell down a waterfall. Check. White water rafting. Check. Snorkel. Check.
First stop – Manuel Antonio
An overnight flight from Seattle, via Dallas, found us in San Jose. We had pre-booked a private transfer to Manuel Antonio, a semi-circular beach sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and rainforest. The drive to Manuel Antonio is lined with coffee plantations and we stopped en route for a quick ‘tipical’ lunch admist the coffee plantations. Awesome lunch, fresh coffee and relaxing atmosphere – what a great way to start a vacation!
We reached the hotel late in the evening , and rested in the balcony on leather rockers soaking in the views of Manuel Anotonio National Forest and the ocean below.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The next morning woke us up to wonderful Pacific Ocean views, costa rican coffee and howler monkeys. We had hooked up with a naturalist for a walk through the regions most famous Natural Park. Post breakfast, we walked down from the hotel to the park entrance and had an awesome time viewing animals, birds and insects and then spent some time on the beach.
We viewed most of the wildlife via telescope as they are camouflaged very well. Photos below were all taken through the telescope by the naturalist.
Sailing into Sunset
After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and then went on a sunset snorkel and sail trip. The water was a bit murky and I was not thrilled to snorkel. Vipul happily snorkelled and later we gorged on BBQ fish while watching the sunset.
White Water Rafting
The following morning, we went for a White water rafting trip. Initially we had booked a class V trip , complete with a ride down a 14 ft waterfall. I chickened out at the last-minute and we downgraded to a class IV. Our raft guide was from Wenatchee (near Seattle) and we bonded over familiar rivers and raft trips in a distant country. The river was high due to recent rains and over a particularly nasty rock formation, I was thrown off the raft, while we attempted to ‘butt’ the other raft and dislodge them as they were stuck in the rocks.
I found myself floating away from the raft – terrified and sure that I was going to die or be horribly injured. I went over couple of class II rapids. Vipul attempted to throw the rope and the oar but I couldn’t grasp either, due to wet slippery hands. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, and just before we hit a larger class III rapid, a raft instructor on a kayak reached me and I held on to his kayak with dear life – a bit reluctant to let go even after we were in shallow water – bumping my rear on more rocks than necessary.
I mentally thanked all the thousand Indian gods for saving my life and for not going with a class V rapid ;).
Luckily, we were almost done with the trip soon and I was happy to be back on my two feet.
Later that evening, we relaxed by the pool and enjoyed the views of the setting sun.
Next up – Arenal
The following morning, we checked out and drove to Arenal, in Central region, via a shared cab, to experience the live volcano and hot springs.
…to be continued.