Costa Rica · 5 Days · 12 Moments · December 2016

Beth's journi to Costa Rica

29 December 2016

We arrived at the hotel in Dominical just in time to watch the sunset over the beach. It was also great to have a shower in a private bathroom, wifi, and a beer. After watching the sunset we had drinks at a local bar then had a musical de la playa dance party. Dominical was a really cute low key beach town. At sunset the beach was hopping with guys playing soccer, and music playing from vehicles parked on the beach. It was a fun night.
We left our third homestay after breakfast. The sunrise over the view from the porch over the stream was amazing! We set out for the last leg of our first hiking tour- to reach the starting point of our rafting trip. I was in a raft with one of our guides, Abraham, and Chrissy, Mari, and Elle. The first patch of the trip had a lot of rocks and many Rapids. I fell off the raft the in the stretch which was really terrifying. Given the number of rocks it's a miracle I didn't get hurt. I fell off again later in the trip too! Other than that the trip was great. At halfway through we stopped along the river to have lunch. At the end of the rafting trip we changed and made our way to Dominical!

28 December 2016

After lunch we had a short break- I choose to take a siesta! Then we took turns trying to climb this giant old tree with a ficus type plant around it. Some people made it to the top- I gave it a shot, but didn't get too far. Then we went to a sauna the family built next to the river. We did three rounds of ten minutes in the sauna, then 3 minutes in the river. The first round in the sauna felt like the longest ten minutes of my life, but in the end it did feel very refreshing. By the time we finished the sauna it was dark and we still had to walk back to the house- without lamps which was a little scary. Once we returned we got cleaned up, had dinner, then had a lesson in basic chocolate making with cocoa fresh from one of the families trees. We're turning in early again tonight as we have another busy and early day tomorrow- which includes another hour of hiking to our rafting start point.
This morning I was awoken even earlier by many more loud roosters! Yep, this is my (farm) vacation. Today we started with breakfast, then myself and two other girls set out to make this morning hike for time. Rainforest hike WOD! We make it in 1hr and 5 mins which was pretty great. We waited to the rest of our group at a stream with a wonderful breeze and we could fill up on water from the stream. From there it was a couple minutes hike further to the next homestay. However, we had to take turns crossing the river in a pulley cart to cross- which was pretty awesome. We arrived at the home, settled in and prepared for zip lining. However! My group got lost in the rainforest trying to find the zip line launch area- twice! Pretty scary, but we finally made it and I did my first zip line! The zip line I was told was about 300m. I should have relaxed a little more and looked around, but I was a little too focused on my end destination.

27 December 2016

We continued our hike which took us 49 mins to the next family homestay. I immediately took a shower, which was my reward to myself for being one of the first to arrive. We were greeted by the family with cafe and hot chocolate, tamales, plaintain bread and yuca bread. The property was beautiful. They had a great view straight down the the stream, and a bird feeder with many beautiful birds visiting it. They also had a dog and two cats. On the first floor was a large kitchen, open air living area and a couple bedrooms. The second floor had several bunk beds and mattresses on the floor. After settling in we had cooking lessons learn how to make a banana and chocolate bread and a local cheese. For dinner we had Casado (rice and beans), a papaya slaw, tomato cucumber salad and a beef dish. After dinner we had tastes of a local wine which was half wine half sherry. It was a busy day and everyone went to bed pretty early.
The next morning the rooster who us up nice and early. A few of us helped milk one of the cows. I tried, but was no help! We then had a delicious breakfast, then helped make sugar by crushing the family grown sugar Kane. While the sugar was cooking down we went for a swim in the river at the bridge. The scenery couldn't have been more beautiful- clear water running over the rocks surrounded by rainforest. After a swim we went back to the Lopez house, finished the sugar Kane, had lunch and packed up to hit the trail again.

26 December 2016

At the end of the hike we arrived at out homestay where I immediately took a shower! Even though it was cold it felt amazing after such a muddy and partially rainy hike. The family made us a corn meal and cheese pancake snack along with cafe and hot chocolate. A bunch of us talked over cafe and compared the number of steps and travel distances our iPhones counted. Mine said 11.6 miles and 24,000 steps- which seems insane/ inaccurate? The view from the house is beautiful. It is two story with open layout on the first floor and three bedrooms with beds on the second floor. The family has 18 children- all are grown now. The 13th child, Abraham, was one of our guides on the hike. They have a beautiful naivety scene with flashing lights in the open living area. The showers and bathrooms are in a separate building close by. The family is raising chickens, turkeys, pigs and cattle. A few of the grandchildren are running around hanging out with us.
This morning we set out bright and early for our bike hike. After driving for about a half hour we loaded into the back of pick up trucks to take us and our day packs to the start point of our hike. The drive in the truck was beautiful and bumpy. The views were extraordinary and we even spotted a toucan. After riding open air for 1.5 hours we make it to desayuno, also the start of our hike. Breakfast was delicious- rice and beans, super sweet pancakes, fresh mangos and eggs con cafe of course. We then started our 10k very hilly, muddy hike. The hills were never ending but the views were amazing. Most of the hike was on horse roads through the rainforest. We stopped several times along the way to fill our water bottles with fresh water from streams- which was very tasty and clean. We had a corn tortilla, refried beam and potato mash sandwich at on of our rest breaks at lunch. We had to travel over two cable bridges which were while safe, wobbly.

25 December 2016

Relaxing at the end of the day before an early morning
Christmas Day mass
Feliz Navidad! This morning we stopped to have desayuno at a local restaurant on the side of the road. Delicious and the coffee was amazing. We went on a nice walk to Volcan Poas and around the rainforest to see the Laguna. Hiking along the path was surreal. It was like someone carved a cave out of the rainforest to walkthrough. The weather is warm but not too hot and it's very sunny. It was amazing to be at the crater of the volcano above the clouds.
Parque Nacional Volcan Poas