This time I’ve taken my grand daughter with me. She’s graduating high school this year and I’d promised since she was little that one day she’d come with me. This is it! We’re going on a G Adventures trip into the jungle. We started with a couple of days in San Jose. That post can be found here: San Jose, Costa Rica. The beginning of a great trip!
Sunday, March 17
It’s Sunday so a lazy day is allowed. We slept in then went looking for breakfast. The Soda we wanted to visit was closed so we found a 24 hour one. The menu made me realize I need more practice on the restaurant category in duolingo. Oh well. Sign language works and our waiter was very kind. We ate and it was good.
This tour was sold out so there’s 16 people altogether. They look like a nice group of Swiss, English, several Canadians, Germans and even a young man from Saudi Arabia. Strangely no Aussies!
The whole group got into taxis and met at the bus station where we boarded a local bus headed for Isidro. Once we left the city the ride was gorgeous. Switchbacks took us higher and higher until we were at 3800 metres above sea level. Then the ride back down the other side had us passing through 35 different eco systems and types of forest.
Almost 4 hours later we arrived at Isidro and after checking in realized there was a pool. Ariel I quickly changed and headed down. Later most of the rest of the group joined us. They’re going to be a fun bunch.
After dinner at a local restaurant we repacked our bags to prepare for our 3 night sojourn into the jungle. We’re bringing only what’s absolutely necessary as we have to carry it. 5 am comes early!
Monday, March 18
By 5:30 am we were on a bus headed for Isidro. There we met with two pick up trucks. We piled in the backs that were fitted with two bench seats down the sides and headed for Brujo. Some tried to take photos as the views were spectacular but it’s pretty hard to do.
In Brujo a group of ladies prepared us a delicious breakfast of eggs, gallo pinto (the rice and beans you get with every meal), tortillas and pancakes along with mangos and pineapple. With full bellies we set off to start the hike. The first hurdle was crossing the river. Everyone else had to take off their shoes and socks. I was SO glad I wore my tevas as walking across those rocks looked very painful for my tender tootsies that are always shoed.
From there the walk was pleasant but the temperature started to rise and I was sweating in no time. Around 10 am we started up the red hill, affectionately known as “inferieno rojo” or “hell hill” It’s a kilometre straight up an incline that isn’t found anywhere you’d need to use a snow plow. Apparently the shortest time anyone’s done it is 15 minutes and some take 1.5 hours. Ariel and I were last and we did it in 40 minutes. By the time I reached the top I felt nauseated. That was one TOUGH walk! There’s no way to drink enough water to keep with what we lost in sweat.
Next we had to go down. That wasn’t much better. The loose scree made it slippery and at one point I did end up falling and scraping my knee. Ouch!!
At the bottom we stopped and ate lunch that was delivered to us by a young man on a horse. Our sandwich was wrapped in banana leaves and was warm and very tasty.
Onward and upward then down and up and down some more and we finally reached our first homestead. We crossed the walking bridge to the river and immediately went for a swim. No changing necessary. The clothes were dripping wet from sweat anyway. The Savagre River was a welcome treat and completely revitalized me.
The Lopez family greeted us warmly and we all introduced ourselves. Flora and her grand daughter made us some delicious pineapple juice which was incredibly refreshing. There was a room for the girls and one for the boys and two of the couples got their own rooms. The Lopez’s raised 18 children in the house so there was plenty of room.
After exploring the area for a bit, we sat down to coffee and some incredibly tasty hot cocoa. Some of us combined them and enjoyed cafe mocha.
The house is open and the massive rocks incorporated into. Facing the river is a huge rock just in front of the kitchen that was great to climb up on and watch bird.
Dinner was cooked on a wood stove and the salad was made with fresh veggies from the garden in the yard.
Even with earplugs the rooster woke me up. He crowed off and on all night but by 5:00 am it was really time to get up. Flora, our hostess, was already busy in the kitchen, cooking breakfast over the wood stove.
I wandered about for a while and watched one of the sons milking the cow before breakfast of gallo pinto, etc. Next we participated in the juicing of sugar cane. While it boiled in a wood fed stove thing, a few of us hiked to the river for a swim. A couple hours later we were back at the sugar shack where the juice had been sufficiently reduced to a paste to make candy, peanut brittle and brown sugar.
Back at the house where Flora had again been busy cooking, we enjoyed lunch, then packed up for the hike to the next house. It started to rain but it felt wonderfully cooling in the heat. By the time we reached the Grandoza home I was soaked and didn’t care.
Here we were greeted with juice and some cake then walked around the property, checking out various fruit trees, the chickens, river and fish pond where they farm tilapia.
Senor Grandoza taught us to make chocolate bread and banana bread which we’d have for breakfast the next day. We also learned the process of making cheese.
After another amazing dinner, we played Golf, a game Sandy Lou had taught us. Manos sure picked it up quickly as he won most games.
Again I was up at 5 am so wandered about until the others rose. Our breads were delicious along with the rest of breakfast. We left to tackle the Inferieno Rojo again. This time it wasn’t as bad as we were fresh and it was a little cloudy. I borrowed hiking poles from Lilly so the way down was MUCH easier. The rain helped it be a little less slippery too.
To get to Albino and Rosa Fonseca’s home we had to cross the river on a hand pulled cable car like thing. It was a little scary and definitely interesting. The Fonsecas are a really nice, welcoming famiy and their home is wonderful. It’s completely open. There are rooms including the bathrooms in the middle and bunks on the side of them facing the river. The kitchen faces the jungle where you could watch wildlife while cooking or doing dishes.
Here we went for a swim in the river, some jumping off rocks. We learned to climb a tree with a pully system and rappel down. I wimped out but Ariel did really well.
After lunch we headed back to the river and did the traditional sauna. 10 minutes sweating in a round room heated by a wood stove, then 3 minutes in the river and repeat that 3 times. It was nice but the river was muddy as the rain had made it rise about 5 feet and stirred it up.
After dinner Albino taught us to make chocolate from the roasted cocoa beans. It was absolutely delicious!
Next we went for a wander to check out the night creatures. That’s the part I love about the jungle. The sounds are amazing.
We were all in bed by 8:30 pm. Everyone was exhausted.
After saying good bye to the Fonsecas, we crossed the river in the cable car thingy, completed the hike out, crossing the river and climbing into trucks waiting at the other side. They took us to the meeting point where we started the trip down river in inflatable kayaks and rafts. Ariel and I opted for the raft. Since the river was low, the rapids were only class 2 and 3 so it was a pleasant ride and not so intense as some. Lunch was served on a raft flipped over to serve as a table with pineapple, sandwich fixings, and amazing guacamole.
Sorry. No pictures as I forgot my waterproof camera.
Back in the rafts and our next stop was a waterfall which too was pretty and refreshing.
By the time we reached the end and our waiting bus, we were all sunburned no matter how much sunscreen we wore. The guides are smart to wear long sleeves, stockings and face coverings. Ariel’s hands were pretty burnt too so gloves would have been good.
We arrived in Dominical to the luxurious Rio Mar Villas. Nice! A pool and luxury for 2 nights is very welcome!