Nov 17

PURA VIDA…COSTA RICA

by in Central America

PURA VIDA!

PURA VIDA!

Captivated by Costa Rica over ten years ago, before cruise ships and tourism, I worried that the gentle authenticity of the country might now be lost.

Not a chance!
We wandered a bit off the beaten cruise path, up into the rainforest outside Puntarenas (the same quirky, seedy port town I remember).  Today’s adventure:  horseback riding into the forest then ziplining over waterfalls and back out again.

It didn’t take long to realize this wasn’t your average ziplining adventure.  Perhaps it was the repeated warning that once you do the first line, you’re in for the duration:  no turning back.  Or maybe it was the realization that the horses weren’t just for fun…how else could you navigate the steep, rugged trails to get to the first platform?

Dundee making the trek

Dundee making the trek

With a few of our new best friends, we saddled up and headed off.  Sacagawea, horseback riding for the first time ever, immediately took the lead, with our Costa Rican guides carefully watching over her.  She trotted ahead, fearless, forging the stream and navigating the path like she’s been doing this for years.   Costa Rican work horses, these guys weren’t your typical nose to tail trail horses…they forged their own path (at their own speed), and we did what we could to pretend we were in charge!

A much-needed break

A much-needed break

We rode for an hour through breathtaking scenery – rainforest, panoramic vistas in all directions, streams crossing our path – before arriving at our first platform.

It’s hard to put it all into words.  Platforms nestled into the rainforest – 25 of them, to be exact – each offering a different vista and experience.  Rappelling backwards off of sheer cliffs; dropping into the canopy and screaming across the forest; zipping over breathtaking waterfalls again and again, lifting our feet and butts to keep from skimming the tops; chilling on the boulders around the middle pools of a triple waterfall; stepping off the platform again and again, each time more exhilarating and breathtaking than the last.

Nellie...hangin' in there.

Nellie...hangin' in there.

We trekked through the rainforest for well over three hours — exhilarating, exhausting, and utterly amazing – and we loved every minute of it.  Even the howler monkeys turned out to celebrate our excitement!

Back at the lodge, exuberant and ravenous, we devoured our traditional meal, comparing and contrasting each line while Toucans rested overhead.  Pura vida – the good life – is very much alive and well, and we loved it!

POSTSCRIPT:  Two days later, our sore muscles are just starting to recover.  Who knew that many muscles could hurt like that?  And yes, we’d do it all again in an instant!

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