Finding Paradise in Costa Rica Part 2: Adventures

September 4, 2014

Spending a week in paradise changes you. Your memory becomes a little more keen and you realize you want to remember these moments forever. You learn to appreciate nature and clean air, and silence. And if you are in paradise with someone you love, you grow closer because nothing is more pure in that paradise than love for all things beautiful. 

PART TWO: ADVENTURES

In Part One I wrote about just the resort itself, The Westin. Now is when I talk about the true paradise; all the places we traveled while in Costa Rica.

Dave and I keep a nice balance between time spent in the resort relaxin, and time spent outside adventuring. I am always up for a good trip. Although the car rides to and from were not always the most comfortable or thrilling, we did stop at a lot of wondrous places.

1. ATVing on the Pacific Coast

We were lucky enough to be the only ones to sign up for this excursion, and being thrill seeking nut cases. Our guide noticed, and jumped on that opportunity to let us go wild, because that meant he could too. We started right down the road from the Westin. I couldn’t tell you what direction we went or how much distance we covered, but it was a wild trip.

After riding past families fishing and couples camping on public beaches, we stopped at a bar and hotel run by Italians. There was no one there. All three of us sat and enjoyed a few beers while we listened to our guide tell us stories.

IMG_2024
Hotel and bar we stopped at for some beers. Sadly, I met no pirates.

Right across from the bar, out in the ocean, was this little island that looked like a giant rock with trees sprouting out of the top like hair. Our guide explained that at low tide the water recedes so much that the island becomes accessible by foot, and little caves open up inside. I would have run out there if it were low tide, but I wouldn’t want to be caught inside when the tide came in…how scary.

IMG_2021
I loved these tiny little islands.

After one or five beers we hopped back on the ATVs and went through some of the most interesting environments. White sandy beaches with no signs of human life, except a broke, half buried boat. Deep forests with burnt patches where some wildfire must have raged. Dirt roadways surrounded by little farms full of bulls and chickens.

IMG_2025
Boat Wrecked.

 

It was a great way to see the country for it’s natural beauty, and to really get in there and be a part if it in a fun way.

2. Hiking and Zip-Lining

At first I wasn’t too keen on hanging 300 feet in the air above the rain forest, held up by one metal cord, and rocketing over the tree tops with nothing but a Costa Rican with a rope to stop me at the end. But after some convincing by Dave, I agreed to go. The 3 hour ride in a van with the strangest bunch of travelers was not the best part, but it was worth it to see sights like this along the way:

IMG_2232
A huge lake at the base of the volcano, which is off screen to the left. We were approaching the rain forest, so it got cooler, cloudier and a bit misty. The sudden change in climate was amazing.

So we finally get to the facility, up the mountain, and up on top of the first tower that we zip line from, and our guide asks “So who’s first?”. Everyone shrinks away. The guide looks at me and why not? I go first. My immediate thought is that I’m going to plummet to my dead and they’ll never get to my body because I’m 300 feet down below the tree tops. But once he let go and I started zipping through the trees, I was addicted.

DSC00178
First zip line.

The first was the highest, then we did the fastest, and then came to longest line. They give you a leather pad that hooks onto your dominant hand, and that’s the hand you break with by pulling gently down right at the end. They warn you to not hit the break before the end, or you’ll get stranded and you’ll have to flip upside down and pull yourself back. Or someone will have to come out and drag you back. Yes, I know, how terrifying. Well, on the longest line there was an intense cross breeze that was making my body want to spin, so I couldn’t help but put a little pressure on the rope to keep me steady. I didn’t want to keep spinning around! I was fearing for my life!

Well, much like it’s name the zip line making a loud “zip” as you’re…zipping. Mine started to slowly go down in pitch and I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the end. I was so close, about 50 feet from the platform. But 50 feet is a long way hanging upside-down, pulling yourself hand over hand to the platform. I was beat! But it was totally worth it.

3. Eating with the locals:

This is always my favorite part. I know a lot of people who go on cruises or to resorts and never leave the confinements of the resort property. If you’re going to go all this way, explore a little. Meet the locals, have the local food, see some sights. From what I’ve experienced, the best food has been in the local towns.

On our way to the rain forest we stopped to have lunch. It was the best meal I had in Costa Rica. Cheese wrapped in tortilla and fried, fresh cucumber and tomato salad, black beans, spicy chicken, rice, and a beef patty. They had this sauce that was ridiculous…mojo sauce I think it was called. But I put it on everything…twice.

IMG_2226
Not a morsel was left.
IMG_2228
For desert; rice pudding served in a coconut shell, mango juice, and beer. Delicious.
IMG_2229
Where we ate. I love clay tile roofs!

After zip-lining we spent the second half of our day traveling to hot springs on the top of a mountain. On the way there we made a pit stop to a road-side smoothie stand where I tried a fruit I never even heard of. It was called Inga and our guide highly recommended it. They were like cotton candy covered bug cocoons in a big green alien pod. Or at least that’s how my childish mind viewed them at first. But seriously, they were delicious. They tasted sweet like candy, and you have to suck the outside off of the seed and spit it out. A really interesting experience.

IMG_2242
Inga, like cotton candy bug pods.
IMG_2263
Me holding my two Ingas and my smoothie like a three year old holds their dolly. Derp.

If you missed Part One of my Costa Rica story, you can read it here. Please feel free to follow my blog to read Part Three where I talk about the wild life that Costa Rica is famous for.

More about katehowley1@me.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *