Our first two days in Costa Rica were filled with pools, monkeys, food, and sleep. And it was wonderful. The kids capacity for action filled adventures is only about a half a day and with the Andaz being a fair distance from any exciting activities, we decided to just lay low while at the Andaz and relax.
Once we arrived at The Springs Resort in La Fortuna, there was so much we wanted to check out. Ken and I love adventures but we had been ziplining in Hawaii so we decided to try out waterfall rappelling. Luckily, family agreed to hang out with the kids for us! We also decided on visiting an the animal rehabilitation center at Proyecto Asis. And Lastly, we decided on hiking in the rain forest on the Hanging Bridges.
Our first adventure started about 30 minutes outside of La Fortuna near La Tigre at Proyecto Asis. Soon after arrival, we were greeted by our guide who would spend the next couple of hours introducing us to all the animals that they were housing. The majority of the animals were permanent residents who would never be returning to the wild. They either were too injured or too domesticated to survive in the wild. But there were others that were just waiting until they were ready for their return.
Our guide was great and introduced us to all types of birds, monkeys, snakes, wild boar, etc. We learned that the vast majority of animals that they receive from law enforcement officials were taken from the wild as babies to use as either pets in private homes or as attractions at hotels. The law just recently was reinforced making the consequences for poaching wild animals much more severe. The fines are now quite significant and if you’re not able to pay the fine, you go to jail. It was very informative and educational. I enjoyed it a lot although if it had been much longer, we would have had some cranky kids (and adults!).
So, before we knew it, we were headed back to The Springs for some lunch and rest for the kids and for pick up for Ken and I for the waterfall rappelling. We were picked up promptly and then off to another hotel to pick up several other guests. We waited for them for about 15 minutes and they never showed up so we thought we were going to be a small group. But, while eating lunch, we were informed that they were now ready for pick up so we’d have to wait until they had eaten lunch before we could start the rappels. Not a great start, but not their fault either.
But all was forgotten when we arrived for the first rappel. It was to be the highest of the four rappels, and was next to a waterfall. I don’t like heights, but I do like to push myself. I was definitely shaky on the first one but I did well if I didn’t look down. They got subsequently easier for me as I got the rhythm down. Overall, we very much enjoyed this activity and would highly recommend it.
After returning to the hotel and having a great room service dinner, we passed out, ready for our next day’s adventure. The next morning we headed to the Arenal Hanging Bridges for a hike in the rainforest. We met our guide at the entrance and headed in. He had a scope with him which was invaluable for seeing animals at any distance. It also helped us take some great pictures. We were on the fence about whether or not to hike with a guide but we were glad we chose to do so. He knew what to listen and look for and we saw things with him that we would have never spotted on our own. We saw a pit viper, a blue jeans frog, a sloth, a tarantula, and some monkeys.
It was great to be out and participate in some physical activity. Our four year old son did awesome which was quite encouraging that we may be able to return to hiking within the next few years when our daughter is his age. We love to hike but haven’t done so regularly for many years due to the kids ages. But we may be hikers again soon!
After our adventures in Arenal, we were off to Manual Antonio National Park further south on the Pacific coast. Our first adventure there was a Vacation Buggy daytrip. This included a guided tour in an off road vehicle to the middle of the rain forest. The ride into the forest was very informative and great fun. The kids even fell asleep! After picking up drinks and ordering lunch, we arrived to where we parked the buggy and headed over a lonngggggg bridge connecting the parking spot to the waterfalls below. It was very, very, very cool, but as I mentioned before, I’m not keen on heights so it made me a bit nervous. The kids had to walk because the sides weren’t high enough to be safely carried. Needless to say, I was nervous.
Once we arrived to the other side, we hiked for five minutes down to a water hole. We all swam and enjoyed just being in the middle of the rain forest. After about an hour we headed back the way we came, across the crazy bridge. Upon returning to the other side we continued past where we had left the buggy for another 20 minutes to another water hole, this time with a beautiful waterfall. This was a bit more treacherous but the kids (young and old) did great! Unfortunately, we only stayed here for a short amount of time as it started to thunder and lightening. So, we headed back to the buggy and before we knew it, we were having a fabulous homemade Costa Rican lunch. Then it was back into town with a return to our hotel. This was by far our favorite activity of the trip.
Our last activity of our Costa Rican vacation was a walk through Manual Antonio National Park. We hired a guide who was amazing in spotting animals and insects. The things he could see from so far away was really almost as amazing as the animals themselves. With the help of his scope, we saw sloths, lizards, monkeys, and some really cool insects. This, too, was lots of fun and a great way to conclude our week long adventure.
In all, we had a blast. If I had my druthers, we’d spend a few months each winter in Costa Rica. We have a while before the kids graduate, but this will continue to be my retirement dream!
Stay tuned for my last post on our dinners that shined and our Costa Rica vacation totals!