Sun, smiles and adventures in Costa Rica

If you can’t see yourself spending days just sprawling on the beach drinking cocktails, and you’d rather get a rush out of the activities you do on holiday, this one’s for you.

As a child, I would always pick the scariest, loopiest ride in the theme park. I would always be the one rushing up the hill to gape at the view from the top of a boulder, threatening to roll down under my feet. I would always get the silliest ideas, like climbing out of my window after having been tucked in, and down a vine into the garden to ring the door bell and almost give my poor grandma a heart attack (true story).

Therefore, it is no surprise that going on an adventure holiday to Costa Rica proved to be the best trip of the year for me. Let me take you through the highlights of my series of adventures, which included a wildlife boat safari, a crazy zip-line canopy tour, and some very wet rowing on a rafting boat. We booked most of our activities with Xplore Costa Rica, who were really helpful and flexible, and their tour guides were absolutely lovely and hilarious.

A little bus took us from the hotel and a smiley tour guide drove us to the Palo Verde national park. On the way we stopped to marvel at the howler monkeys in the trees, which treated us to a deafening concert. This brought out the inhabitants of the little cottage under the trees, who also turned out to be animal lovers.

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We arrived at the base where we dropped our things off and got on the boat to start the safari.

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A few minutes later we were starting to despair, because all we’d seen so far was an iguana high up in the trees followed by a boa, which was almost invisible, hidden in a hole in the bark of a tree.

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Finally, the guide excitedly pointed to the shore, where a crocodile was fishing. We got as close as possible without scaring it off. However, everyone on the boat wanted to get a closer look, and people started getting out of their seats, so the boat started to rock dangerously. It was pretty thrilling in such close proximity to a massive hungry predator, but the guide settled people down with a joke about preferring to have his meal in an hour, rather than becoming the meal now.

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We then made our way further down the river, and were greeted by this little fellow. He really was close enough to touch, and almost climbed onto the boat with us.

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Having encountered most of the animals we had set out to see, we got off the boat and made our way to the next activity.

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Naturally, I got the most temperamental mare from the group, which had its own opinion on the best route through the forest. I have to hand it to her though, she was exceptionally sure-footed, and overtook every other horse, and came out ahead at the top of the hill.

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P1050711^ All geared up and ready to go. Last-minute photo with the volcano in the background for luck. We’ll be going down a series of zip-lines, the best one just under a mile long.

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IMG_5915^Me, making a “look-how-beautifully-I-am-gliding” face while I’m trying not to scream out with joy like a five-year-old.

Whoooooosh, fast forward to the next activity.

We decided to go rafting on the Tenorio river, which is classed as 3 to 4 (out of 5) in the international scale for river difficulty. No biggie. To be fair, most of the river was a 3, and involved us going through fun little rapids, and sometimes rowing under the beautiful canopy. But for your entertainment, here is what going through the level 4 section of the river looks like.

DSC_0104^ Excited face.

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^ “What-did-I-get-myself-into” face.

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^ Soaked face.

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^ Delirious, what-just-happened face.

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^ At the end of the ride, the overwhelming emotion was expressed in a happy face.

After all the adrenaline, it was time to unwind with some spa. However, it proved to be a very smelly treatment. Volcanic mud is supposed to be very good for your skin, but what people fail to tell you, is that it has a foul smell, and is nigh on impossible to scrub off once dry.

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I spent a good 5 minutes trying to wash the caked mud off myself, so I decided to hit the slide and splash into the pool at the end of it just to be sure it’s all been dealt with.

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And off I go into the next adventure!

Coming up

The next post will guide you on a breathtaking tour of Monteverde, a mystical cloud forest in the heart of Costa Rica, overshadowing the beautiful lake Arenal. There is nothing lurking in the jungle… or is there?

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xx Niya

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