Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Of Ziplines & Hot springs

DH and I woke up at 5 AM to the incessant birdcall, and did some pre-dawn bird-watching, binoculars in hand. It had rained last evening and night, so it was a little chilly. We could not see much beside the black outline of the birds, colorful tails and pointed beaks. In a little while, they all flew away, chattering like angry fishwives.

I narrated the shrieking episode of the night to Sophie at the reception. She said matter-of-factly that it might have been people attacked by mountain cats. Making a spur-of-the moment decision, we joined a canopy tour, where you are hooked up to ziplines and swung from platform to platform across the forest. After breakfast, we met Brenda and Pearl from NY, who were on a 2-week vacation and we chatted as we waited for our pick-up.

The Canopy Tour appears to be one of the more popular activities in La Fortuna and there were 10 people in total, including the 4 of us. A guide showed us the ropes (literally), gave us a safety briefing, and we did a few practice swings. We then boarded a tractor that wound it's slow way through the forest to the first platform. We climbed what seemed like 1000 steep steps up to the platform. There were 2 guides and a professional photographer. We were helmeted and strapped to a harness. One guide stayed on the first platform with us, while the other one swung to the next platform, where he would receive and lower us onto terra firma.
We then held on to the overhead cable with a gloved hand and the strap connecting us to the cable with another and swung over the treetops. Yee-haw! There were 10 ziplines in total...some, longer and some faster. On one of the ziplines, we were able to get a beautiful picture of the Arenal waterfall. We spotted a majestic white eagle on another.
At the last zipline, a waiting tractor took us to an Indian reservation, where a member of an indigenous tribe of Indians gave us a glimpse into his tribe and their culture. Hand-painted masks, bowls, cups and birdfeeders were on sale.
We then rode through the forest on horseback, arriving at the stables at the starting place.
The afternoon was equally eventful. We had booked a Volcano hike, followed by a visit to the Baldi Hot springs. The volcano hike was a short, easy hike through the a national park (it rained throughout the hike), leading up to a look-out point. Luckily, the rain stopped and the sky cleared at this time, so we were able to see the active Arenal volcano spewing out lava and red-hot boulders hurtling down the mountain.
We ended the day at the Baldi Resort, where there were 25 hot pools, at various temperatures. One pool was as hot as 120 degrees. We sipped margueritas, while soaking in the pools. After a dinner of chicken fajitas/beef steak, cream of asparagus soup and pineapple juice, we headed back to Arenal Green.
We were quickly running out of clean dry clothes, because most of these activities made us wet/sweaty. I washed our clothes and hung them up to dry. We then hit the bed, exhausted.

No comments: