So two weeks ago I got home from Costa Rica and I have been meaning to post about it. It all started when I spotted a deal on Groupon for an adventure vacation through Desafio Adventure Tours. I love a good bargain, so Cliff and I went the week of my birthday. We took a van from the airport to La Fortuna, the town near the Arenal volcano. In the van we met Mary Ann and Julie, who became our adventure buddies that week. Our first stop was at the Desafio office, where their complimentary coffee included the usual assortment of sugar, cream, Kahlua, Bailey’s, and “Moonshine” (which on further investigation turned out to be home made cherry liqueur– it wasn’t bad!). I could tell right away that this was going to be a fun week.

Our hotel room had a wonderful view of the volcano:

Our first adventure meant canyoning through the back side of the volcano. We hiked, jumped in pools, and rappelled down a 150 foot waterfall. The pictures from this aren’t very flattering since I almost lost my shorts going down that waterfall, but here are a few:

Notice the crooked helmet and attempt at hiding my terror! HAHA!

That evening, after a couple of shots of tequila, we went zip lining. There are no pictures from that, which I don’t mind since it was the most terrifying thing I have done. For one, I am terrified of heights. For another, this type of zip lining is not where you just hang on and slide along; instead you have a mitt on one hand that you hold on the line and use to control your speed by your grip. When I am afraid, I want to grab onto something tightly, but when you grab the line tightly, you slow yourself down to a stop… maybe quite a ways from the platform…which means that I found myself hanging there in my harness, 150 feet in the air, birds chirping far below me, having to pull myself hand over hand along the line until I made it to the platform. I had nightmares about it that night. I even have sweaty palms as I type this! The next morning we went white water rafting, which I loved. Of course something had to happen, and sure enough, I was the one person to fall out of the raft and get swept down the rapids. It wasn’t until my peeps rescued me and I was back in the raft that I thought, hmm, that could have been really bad…Lucky for me, I only had a couple of minor bruises. Here’s me, Cliff, Mary Ann, and Julie (and our river guide) before I fell out:

That night we had dinner at a nice restaurant in the rain forest near the hot springs.

The hot springs were pretty nice, especially the part with the swim-up bar… except that we ended up getting into an argument with security. Oh well. So our adventures at Arenal were done, but we had a driver take us to our second location, Playa Grande. On the way there I learned that Costa Rica traffic is a little different than Los Angeles traffic:

Playa Grande is a sleepy surfer town a few miles north of Tamarindo. When we got there it was the tail end of the dry season, so all around it looked like we were in the desert, and once we crossed through the dried tress with insects buzzing ominously, we found ourselves on a beautiful beach.

RipJack Inn

We hung out a lot at the RipJack and met some awesome people there. We even made friends with this kitty, who naps on the bar and will have a drink with you.

About a mile up the beach we found a black sand beach. It looked almost like asphalt, but that is sand that my feet are in:

We took a little Cessna plane back to San Jose, from a little municipal airport where cattle and sheep graze just feet from the runway. I had never flown in a Cessna before, and not only was it fun, but we got a great view of the rest of Costa Rica from above. Sometimes when I travel, I begin to get a little homesick towards the end, but this time I was definitely sad to leave.

But this was just the first of many amazing adventures for me and Cliff. Stay tuned…

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