THIS is Rockin Rica!
Day 1 of Rockin’ Rica: Berry Loves and body shots at our hostel swim up bar
We had an awesome afternoon splashing around in the pool with a swim up bar at Arena Hostel in the beautiful highland town of La Fortuna. We entertained each other with many body shots and a shot challenge like no other: The Mermaid/Merman Challenge – 2 shots of a mysterious local spirit punctuated by an underwater lap of the pool! Fabio is always on a mission to make everyone have fun - there’s no saying no to Fabio the bartender! Traveller’s tip: order the Berry Love cocktail, you won’t regret!
Day 2 of Rockin’ Rica: Sloth spotting and salsa dancing gringo style!
Many of us were keen to go white water rafting and today was the day! Much to our relief none of us fell out of the boat, however a few were pushed playfully by our cheeky guides! We were promised that if we didn’t see a sloth along the river we would get our money back. Not a bad deal, and not only did we see two sloths up in the trees but our guide also found and showed us a tiny Strawberry Dart Frog (aka a Blue Jean Frog account of their red bodies and denim-blue legs). To round out the day the guides took us to a commercial wholly organic local farm. Highlighting the benefits of sustainable and natural agricultural methods and showcasing an extensive array of produce, the farm was the perfect scene to highlight Costa Rica mission to live in harmony with nature. The guide even gave me a baby pineapple to take, which became our unofficial mascot for the days to come.
That night we all took part in a Beer Pong tournament (Vodka Pong for some!) our hostel put on and later we hit up Latin bar Magic Mountain where we gave salsa dancing a go. Us gringos had our time to shine later in the night with our ‘freestyle’ (Read: enthusiastically and drunkenly awkward) moves...the local Latinas didn’t know what to think of us!
Day 3 of Rockin’ Rica: A good day for ducks and poncho purchases
It was raining and muddy, a good day for ducks! Undeterred, we walked in our rain jackets and ponchos to see the popular Rio Celeste waterfall. In the afternoon we had the option to go swimming at a nearby lagoon with a rope swing, while I chose to shop up a storm buying souvenirs for myself and gifts for family and friends back home.
Day 4 of Rockin’ Rica: Floating and feeling Zen at La Fortuna Waterfall
After a longish walk down almost 500 steps into a picturesque river valley we were rewarded with seeing the very tall and beautiful La Fortuna waterfall up close. After floating, sunbaking and meditating in the crystal clear waters/ponds nearby, we all left feeling pretty Zen and at one with nature. This is the life!
Day 5 of Rockin’ Rica: Jumping into adrenaline activities in Monteverde
After a bus ride, a boat ride and another bus ride through the cloud forest while eagerly looking out the window on the lookout for more sloths in the trees (no luck this time), we arrived Monteverde ready to jump (literally) into all the action packed activities the town had to offer! For the few of us crazy enough, we went bungee jumping, the highest in Central America at 143m! Our lucky pineapple came along for the ride, and as the guide said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of things up here, but never a pineapple.’ In groups of four we went out by cable car suspended above the middle of the beautiful valley where we then took turns jumping off after being counted down by our guides. It was easily the biggest adrenaline rush of my life, I just wanted to do it all again! Good thing the following day offered more thrill seeking opportunities...more on that later!
After we’d all jumped we walked back to the reception area to view our bungee videos and saw two macaws we had spotted in the trees on our way in just chillin’ on the ground. Costa Rican wildlife is incredible! It was a taste of what was to come on our night tour that evening, where we walked around the forest with flashlights attempting to be quiet in order not to scare the wildlife, and spotted a tarantula, green frogs, sloths, ants, scorpions and toucans!
Day 6 of Rockin’ Rica: Treetop times in the cloud forest!
The exciting activities continued on day 6 with zip-lining through the treetops on the longest of its kind in Latin America at 2km! For the last two lines we zoomed ‘Superman/woman style’ horizontally through the forest. It was so fast and fun we felt like we were flying! Then to top it off we finished with the Tarzan Swing – a contrast/mix of sheer terror for the first few seconds while freefalling shortly followed by the sweet relief and absolute joy of being caught by the rope attached around your waist and swinging like Tarzan, side to side through the trees.
Our tour guide Mike had been building the suspense for a surprise activity planned for all of us later that afternoon, and finally it was time to reveal what it was! We were told to wear appropriate footwear and bring some drinks, then off we went walking through the town, up the hill and further through the forest, where a little dog we named Taco adopted us and showed us the way. We came to a clearing where there were huge Strangler Fig trees, which as their name suggests grows over its host tree, slowly squeezing and depriving it of light and moisture and eventually killing it, becoming a freestanding tee of its own. Brutal! On the plus side the fig tree does then provide food, habitat and shelter for many animals that live in the cloud forest. As the trees were hollow, they provided a natural set of stairs - we could climb up from inside them all the way up to the top of the cloud forest! Not without danger though, there was even a policeman positioned at the bottom in case of accident.
To follow along the impressive tree theme we all had dinner that night at Tree House Restaurant, a 3 story building built around a giant living tree! This place was incredible! With a live band and good energy, it was a great start to our last night of the Rockin’ Rica tour. We headed back to our hostel afterwards for some drinking games and then went out for drinks and dancing at the only bar in town! It was time to say goodbye to more of our fellow travellers. It was certainly bittersweet, so sad to say goodbye but so glad we got to meet.
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