Costa Rica with my grand daughter continues. 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! Next we joined our group doing Trek Hidden Costa Rica. The jungle home stays post can be found here: Trek Hidden Costa Rica. Into the jungle we go!
We arrived in Dominical to the luxurious Rio Mar Villas after 3 different home stays in the jungle. A pool and luxury for 2 nights is very welcome!
Friday, March 22, 2019
Most of us met in the lobby by 7 am to hire taxis to take us to the Baru Nature reserve where we hired a guide to show us the park. David didn’t disappoint. We managed to see several creatures, including the white face monkeys and 3 toed sloths.
The taxi dropped us off in town and Ariel and I explored the quaint village and walked the beach. Lunch was at the “Delicious Cafe” They didn’t lie. It was really good.
After walking back to the hotel we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the bit of luxury we’ll be getting on this trip.
So what do you think is my best side?
Saturday. The journey to Diamonte with Pacific Journeys
The bus was ready for our luggage by 7am so we loaded it up and went for breakfast. By 7:40 am we were on the road, ready for our waterfall adventure. At the home of Diego, Mano’s brother we did last minute preparations for the hike, including waiver signing and boarded the back of a pick up truck.
Then came the hike. 2 km up hill. I mean UP hill. The first kilometre was mostly steps which doesn’t sound too bad but they’re quite steep, uneven, twist and turn and you really have to tread carefully. Well, I did anyway. I’m paranoid of falling.
After about an hour we stopped at a plateau where they’ve set up a beautiful garden with fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Diego explained what the various plants were and we tried several. The most interesting were the magic berries that change your taste buds. A sour mango tastes sweet after eating a berry. It’s really weird.
The second half wasn’t as difficult although still mostly up. The last bit we climbed down, then up again to the cave, our accommodation for the night. One of the ladies had picked things from the garden on the way and that was part of our lunch. YUM!
After a bit we headed upwards again. This time about a 40 minute hike ended at a swimming hole. The water was so nice and cold! Some jumped from the waterfall, a 7 metre jump that looked way too high for me. Even Ariel did it.
Then the hike back down. I almost stepped on a BIG snake that skittered out of my way. We later learned it was a pirate snake and not poisonous.
A bit later Gorge told us to get ready for the sunset hike. By then, I’d had enough of the steps and Ariel wasn’t keen on going so we opted out and instead wandered the area taking pictures while Ariel sketched.
Dinner was the most delicious spaghetti I’ve had for a long time along with garlic bread and salad.
Afterwards they started a fire and some roasted marshmallows. By 9 pm I was ready for bed and apparently not the only one as within a half hour pretty much everyone was asleep.
The swimming hole!
You don’t sleep late in a cave. I was awake around 4:30 so I just read my book until others started stirring. After packing up our stuff, putting away sleeping bags and having a really good breakfast, they started suiting up for rappelling. Ariel, Gorge and I stepped up to be official photographers. Jumping off a cliff on a rope is nowhere near my bucket list. There were a few in the group who were terrified yet did it anyway. Lili was in tears at one point but she ROCKED it. I was so proud of her. I have great admiration for those who don’t let fear stop them from doing scary things that just might be FUN. Way to go Lili! She may never do it again but now she KNOWS she CAN as she DID.
The trek back down the hill wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Trekking poles really help. I stopped a lot for photos and to enjoy the view. We had seen a group of howler monkeys while coming up the hill and today we heard them coming down but couldn’t find them in the trees.
At the bottom we waited for the pick up truck to get us then back to Diego’s home for a water refill and bathroom break, loaded the luggage on the bus and left for Uvita.
It was too early for check in but kindly the hotel Luz de Luna had the rooms ready and let us check in. We quickly cleaned up a bit and changed out of our smelly, sweaty clothes then headed for town for lunch. I arranged for a tour for the next day and we bee lined for the national park.
Uvita beach is gorgeous. It goes on for miles. Ariel, Nicole and I stripped down to swim suits and made for the waves. SandyLu watched our things for us. The water was wonderfully warm and the waves so much fun. Soon the rest of the group joined us. After wandering a bit we walked the 3 km back to the hotel to clean up for dinner.
Monday, March 25
Doesn’t everyone who takes a teenager on vacation wake them up at 4:30 am? She’s not complaining either!
Sandy Lu, Fred, Nicole, Gorge, Ariel and I were picked up at 5 am and driven to the river for a kayak trip through the mangroves. We didn’t see much wildlife but the kayaking was nice. While waiting for our ride we were treated to a sighting of several scarlet macaws. Gorgeous birds!
Sandy Lu, Ariel and I found a nice place for a hearty breakfast then headed to the beach to check out the whale tail since it was now low tide. At the end of the tail, Sandy Lu kindly watched our bags and puttered on the beach while Ariel and I went snorkeling. We saw a few nice fish including parrot fish, trigger fish, assorted cyclids and some puffer fish.
Next we headed off to Ariel’s surfing lesson. It was just her and a nice young couple from Sweden. Diego was excellent instructor and she got up on the second try. After 2 hours of constant surfing she finished the lesson exhausted but happy with her accomplishment. She may be hooked!
Diego drove us back to town and Sandy Lu treated us to an ice cream for the walk back to the hotel. Some of the others joined us for some pool time before we hit the showers and cleaned up for dinner.
Uvita has it all. Snorkeling, surfing and wave jumping. Fun for everyone!
Tuesday March 26
I was awake early and hoping to catch up on emails but the wifi, down the night before was STILL not working. Annoying.
Some of the others were going to a waterfall and I asked if I could join them. Ariel didn’t want to go so I left her at the hotel to rest. We enjoyed the delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel and set off. By the end of the 1/2 hour walk we were dripping with sweat and the water looked inviting. I’d already packed and, since the walk was a last minute decision, didn’t have my swim suit on. Some of the others jumped in and it looked so inviting. The jump was about 12′ and looked REALLY scary but I did it. TWICE! Yay me!
Apparently you can slide down the bigger waterfall. Check out this video if that’s your thing. It’s been so dry that we weren’t sure how safe it was (as in, how much would I HURT myself?!). Later we noticed others doing it so I guess it was okay. Jumping was adventurous enough for me!
The walk back was even hotter but being dripping wet made it more comfortable. I cleaned up, showered, pack my wet things in a plastic bag and we walked to the bus station where we enjoyed an ice cream before boarding the bus for San Jose.
The ride was scenic and quite enjoyable. It stopped at a snack bar about half way for a bathroom break and to get food if needed. The excitement there was a spiny lizard in a bathroom garbage pail. I tried moving it but it jumped at me so I squealed and jumped. Another girl (probably thinking I”m a wimp) tried and had the same reaction when it jumped at her. Next thing you know he was skittering all over the place. I just went and did my business and hoped the little fellow got away safely.
Back in San Jose, Ariel and I went to a grocery store for bus food for the next day. Our last dinner together as a group was really nice and we said good bye to everyone. They’re a great bunch and we had a lot of fun together.