Thursday, October 04, 2012

April 19--Arenal

We had a joke that if it involved a helmet and water (rafting and ziplining), it was going to be an incredible activity. And our horseback excursion to the La Fortuna Waterfall didn't disappoint. Originally, we thought the only water we'd encounter would be swimming at the waterfall. Wishful thinking. It started raining on our way to the waterfall and it didn't stop. By the end not only did we have that unpleasant rainwater odor, we also smelled like wet horse. YUCK!

My lovely horse Negro had a mind all his own.

I just wanted to get a good picture.
He just wanted to  get a drink.

The trail to the waterfall provides some spectacular views of Arenal as we criss-crossed fields and farms.
The beautiful trail
Sitting at the base of the dormant Chato volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall drops 230 feet into a beautiful swimming hole of blue-green water. 

Getting to the waterfall was an adventure. First, we had to hike down a crazy, narrow, trail with 550 stairs. I'm using the term "stairs" loosely as the "stairs" were mostly rocks and boulders fashioned into something resembling stairs.

Then we had to cross this swaying bridge.

Before wading through a stream and over some boulders.

But getting to the waterfall was worth it!


Do you know how hard it is to get a picture under a super powerful waterfall? Hard. As soon as you tried to pose, the waterfall would just push you away.

Since I didn't take a lot of videos (lack of good waterproof camera), this one does a good job of showing the "trail" and the scope of the waterfall.

Costa Rica has a number of indigenous peoples and we stopped at the Boruca village on the way back. They are know for their elaborate masks used for religious ceremony, but I loved their carved coconut shells and had the hardest time deciding which one to get. Their language, dress, buildings, and culture reminded me of the island people. 

Our last stop on our horse riding adventure, was a butterfly and toad farm. We'd seen all these beautiful blue butterflies painted all over, but we didn't know until our visit to the farm that it's because the blue Morpho butterfly is a national symbol and is considered somewhat of a good luck charm.

We basically had to check out and begin the drive to San Jose as soon as we got back, but that didn't mean I couldn't spend a few minutes on the back porch enjoying the last view of the volcano.

While the dirt roads with their many potholes waren't ideal, over a mountain they're better than paved. A paved roads mean a busy road. And if windy, narrow roads weren't bad enough, stop-and-go on windy, steep, narrow roads with almost no visibility due to the fog, raining pouring down, and cars on your tail was beyond petrifying. By the time I pulled into San Jose my whole entire body was shaking from the fear of stalling or rolling back into the cars behind me. 

Beginning our last road adventure

I was so grateful that I didn't have to do all the driving myself because Rachel was a ROCK STAR!

Saying goodbye to our trusty car.

I couldn't get over the fact that it's no big deal to wait at the side of the freeway for the bus. Or to walk across major lanes of traffic.

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