Thursday, March 20, 2014

Honeymoon Part Two

Day Four
It was Thanksgiving. We woke up early and headed to the beach right after breakfast, taking nothing with us so that we could actually swim together instead of one person swimming, one person guarding camp. We came back to the hotel after a while to pack up our bags and have lunch in the bar before our ride was to arrive at noon.

Anyone who’s been to Costa Rica will probably tell you that getting somewhere is half the battle and we learned that lesson, too. Our shuttle didn’t arrive at noon, even though we’d coordinated it months in advance, so we had to use the bartender’s cell phone to call the hotel and get a replacement that arrived a couple hours later. We knew the ride would be long. We were headed from the Pacific Coast to a more northern and central part of the island – the Tenorio National Forest. It was quite interesting that our transportation was a little roller skate of a car because I knew the last few miles before getting to our next hotel were pretty much 4WD necessary. But off we went.

We finally got close, after the driver had to stop and get directions, and those last few miles on 4WD terrain took at least an hour and were absolutely terrifying! I am not exaggerating when I say I was praying the rosary in the backseat. It was just dark and foggy and in this small car, I thought for sure our driver might say F it and take us back down. But we finally made it to the beautiful Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel and were greeted with some amazing juice and led to our little bungalow house nestled in the rainforest. The digs at this place were all amazing, everything was beautiful and eco-conscious and the scenery couldn’t be beat. Our balcony faced right out into the rainforest. We got some dinner in the resort restaurant that night and went to bed.

Gorgeous bungalow at Rio Celeste Hideaway

Our deck facing the rainforest

Day Five
We had breakfast at the resort before heading off on an adventure to raft the Tenorio River! Our guides picked us up and we drove for about an hour or so to a little restaurant area where we met with other groups and then took one car together out to the drop-in spot.

The guides were so nice and funny, the rafting was definitely a trip highlight. We had read the rapids would be Class III and IV, which to me was a little scary but it turned out to be perfect. It was an absolutely beautiful day with the sun shining, we saw some wildlife and shouted Pura Vida after getting through big rapids. So much fun.

One of the guides has been talking about a 12-foot drop at the end of our route since the morning, but I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not and Jon said there was no way. But he wasn’t joking! At the very end, there was a big 12-foot waterfall. They pulled us all off to the side before we went in and gave us all the tips for what to do if we flipped (we later learned that about 99% of boats flip…), etc. Our boat went first in our group and… we flipped. Haha. It was not as scary as I thought it would be, though. I think it’s like you have to fall out once to know it’s not so bad. I came up and there were ropes to grab onto so I held onto one tightly until a guide pulled me out (the water is super strong). Then we watched the other groups come down and one actually made it without flipping.

After the rafting, we had a little snack riverside and headed back. We had dinner in the hotel and relaxed for the night. (I don't have any actual pictures of rafting to share; we did take a few photos and of course video on the GoPro but Jon has them.)

Day Six
After another breakfast at the resort, we met our guide for the morning who would be taking us on a guided hike in the Tenorio National Forest. We walked a kilometer or so from the hotel to the park entrance.

The hike was really nice. We saw lots of interesting plants and wildlife and the Rio Celeste. This river runs through the forest and at one point, it completely changes to a bright blue color. We were able to hike right past the point in the river where it changes which was super neat. We also got to see a huge waterfall (always cool) and it was a great hike all around.

Prehistoric ferns in the Tenorio Nat'l Forest

Where the water turns blue in Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste Waterfall (forget the height)

When we got back to the hotel, we relaxed for a while then got a couples massage. That evening we hung out in the bar using Google Translate to translate a few issues we had with the hotel into Spanish so that we could mention them during check-out the next day. We enjoyed our last dinner in the restaurant, a night cap in the bar and then headed back to our little bungalow.

My favorite drink at the resort, "Blue Lagoon"

Day Seven & Eight
Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel and after doing my best to read our translated-to-Spanish concerns, we actually got a really good discount (nice!). Our shuttle picked us up and drove us back to San Jose where we’d stay one night until our flight left the next morning. San Jose was busy when we arrived. We walked around for a little while, ducking into a grocery store for some snacks and Costa Rican goodies (aka coffee) to bring back home. That night we just got a pizza and watched the Redskins game. On Monday, we left early in the morning for the airport and headed back state-side.  

The honeymoon was a great trip. Costa Rica is a beautiful place with many friendly people, but I will say the transportation/getting around is the worst. We really enjoyed the relaxing, eating, drinking and exploring that we were able to do as husband and wife after a long year of wedding planning. There is a lot we weren’t able to see just having a week there, so I would definitely go back again.

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