Monday, February 18, 2013

Costa Rica Day 9

Thursday February 14

Valentine's Day! Not that James and I are used to celebrating it special but this year ...
Breakfast at 6:30am
Leaving for the zipline at 7:30am

I was so nervous but kind of looking forward to it. We walked to the zipline station, got fitted with the equipment and briefed. Then we walked up the mountain to the first platform where we were instructed some more.

I really liked this!!!

The pictures were taken by a 'paparazzi'. Sorry to say that when I loaded them into this blog, they were thrown all out of order. Don't know why.

Since we knew that we would buy pictures anyway I thought it was a good idea to ask the 'paparazzi' to take this picture of us.

And what do you think about this?

James was asked whether he wanted to go upside-down and he said "yes, why not". After him one more and Nestor did it too.

James told me that the guides strapped him in differently and that it was a strange sensation.

Group photo of course.

There were 11 platforms with 10 'zips'. Over way to soon.

As soon as we were back the next adventure started. On horseback to the hot springs and mud bath.

 James' horse always wanted to be first. I don't blame him. The way was very dusty.

The horses were very well trained and responded to the slightest tack left or right. But I let mine mostly go were it wanted because I was sure he knew better.

 No pictures from the hotsprings with "all the trimmings". We had a great time starting with a steam room over the hot springs, then mud, the several pools from very hot to luke-warm. You can read a little more in the itinerary at the bottom.

Off to the Sunset Bar! Have to go past the horsies.

 Since it was Valentine's Day we all got a complimentary drink and some dips. It was lovely.

Special touch at dinner.

View from our room door. And boy, were the frogs and birds noisy in the night and early morning.

* * * * *
The official OAT itinerary of today:

Day 9
Following breakfast, we begin our day with an elective horseback ride that takes us through the verdant jungle and into the remarkable thermal area near our lodge. Those of us looking to travel by horseback will get a safety talk and riding lesson from experienced wranglers before we saddle up and ride through gently sloping pastureland and along the tropical dry forest’s narrow trails, while those who prefer a motorized means of transport will enjoy a tractor ride instead. Either way, everyone is heading for the same destination: the thermal baths!

We can thank the Rincon de la Vieja volcano in northwestern Costa Rica for creating this rustic, open-air retreat. Subterranean thermal currents produce warm mineral mud pots, hot and warm pools, and even natural saunas. Getting close to nature is part of the Costa Rica experience, and we experience it firsthand this morning.

What better way to shake off the trail dust than by savoring a soothing soak? Here, we invite you to participate in the typical mud bath regimen, starting with a pore-opening sauna near a fumarola, a thermal vent in the earth’s crust. Next, slather on handfuls of warm mineral-rich mud, transported here from bubbling pools deep within the mountain. Finally, rinse off the mud and then dip into a warm, relaxing thermal pool to wash the rest of your tensions away. It's a tranquil, rejuvenating, and—when several group members are caked from head to toe in soothing gray mud—hilarious experience!

We make our way back to the hotel for lunch, after which you may choose to join us for a thrilling Forest Canopy Ride. We begin our optional excursion with a moderate, 20-minute uphill hike, followed by a safety talk. Then, strapped into our harnesses and wearing thick leather gloves, we head to the first of ten platforms high up in the treetops, where we’re sent off on the ride of our lives. Whizzing from tree to tree on a zip-line, we’ll experience the thrill of flight while enjoying panoramic views of the upper layers of the forest. We can also choose to zip through the canopy “taxi-style”—together with an instructor who handles the braking while we enjoy the ride.

Or, spend the afternoon at leisure at the lodge, where you can enjoy a nature walk on your own, relax and write in your journal, go for another round of birding on the grounds. We conclude the day with dinner at our hotel. Please note: Travelers on May-November departures can enjoy today's optional Forest Canopy Ride tour before breakfast, followed by all other activities as described.

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