In Costa Rica, there are plenty of tour companies that will happily show you around the area. To keep things simple, Mike and I chose to hire guides for things we couldn't get to on our own.
Hiking through the Arenal Volcano National Park was something we could handle on our own. With a ten dollar entrance fee to the park, we saved a considerable amount of money not going on a guided tour. The trade off would be that a guide could point out bugs, flowers, and points of interest.
We saw and heard plenty of wild life, and we were able to go as fast or slow as we wanted. Leaf cutter ants were every where.
After the National Park it we went down the road to do some zip lining. I think I've mentioned how unadventurous I am? This was definitely out of my comfort zone, but to pat myself on the back, there were other people really scared that backed out at the last minute and I didn't. Enough boasting.
We suited up with sour smelling helmets, gloves, and rock climbing harnesses and enjoyed a gondola ride to the top of the rain forest. This zip line was made up of eight different cables. The longest being over 2,000 ft long. The ride lasted a mere 45 second because you were zipping along at 50ish mph.
The first four cables were painful. Why? Because it started raining. As you were zipping along, the rain was hitting you in the face. Ever been in a sand storm? Same feeling. Just as I was getting used to the sensation of flying through the sky, the rain let up. No roller coaster feeling in your stomach, well -except for once. This was a lot of fun. We were soaking wet and wind blown in the end, but it was great. The rain also explains the sour smell of the gear.
There are several look out spots for those that can't make the hike down, or for picture taking. Just around the base of the waterfall are giant basalt boulders perfect for sitting and watching everyone trying to swim against the power of the water. Fifty yards to the left of the fall, separated by a bunch of rocks, is a calm pool to swim in. There's even a sandy area to set up a picnic. Mike and I hiked around and found a nice flat rock to have a snack and enjoy the surroundings. Once you toughen up to the chilly water, it is heavenly. I could have floated in that crystal clear water all day.
COSTA RICA PART I