How The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica Lured Me In
Bahia Ballena is where this city slicker was first introduced to the Costa Rican rainforest and all of its delight. As an extremely light sleeper, falling asleep the first night was a bit challenging due to the nocturnal symphony that surrounded my friend’s house. It was both loud and peaceful at the same time. I remember waking up the first morning to what I thought was a pack of barking dogs. Unbeknownst to me, it was the drum portion of the local rainforest howler monkey orchestra.
There is something very serene about being surrounded by nature. I believe it is really how we were meant to live. It gives you space to sit and just be. It allows you to be alone with your thoughts and to feel like you are a part of Mother Earth. It affords the opportunity to see things that you normally might miss, like a slow moving sloth carrying its baby through the trees.
One of my bucket list items was to go zip lining. I had researched the Costa Rican Superman zip line (where you glide on your stomach, head first and feet last) but they were closed during the rainy season. So, my friend found another zip line company and off we went! As we geared up, I was both nervous and excited to be able to check this item off of my bucket list. I was told that this excursion entailed completing 8 different zip lines and that we had to hike to each one. Please remember that I have Cerebral Palsy so I was less than thrilled when I found out about hiking (you can see the look of concern on my friend’s face in the photo below :)). I was given a walking stick and off we went. The first sail was scary. I am pretty sure I closed my eyes and let out a little yelp… OK, it was really scary and I screamed. Each zip line got easier and easier and I was able to breathe and enjoy it by the fourth sail. The last zip line was done backwards and my initial thought was “there they go trying to take away my fun again!” Being the slight control freak (ok… large control freak) that I am, I did not like blindly racing backwards hundreds of feet above the rainforest floor, seeing trees zoom by then come to an abrupt halt at the end of the line. Needless to say, I survived and breathlessly checked that adventure off my bucket list.
Cheese and Chocolate Anyone?
We left Bahia Ballena and drove to the mountains in Canaan de Rivas. Here, we went to a farm that produced cheese (Quesos Canaan https://www.facebook.com/quesos.canaan/about). Surprisingly, this city slicker actually milked a cow as we learned about the cheese making process and even made our very own cheese!
My friend that lives there owns an organic chocolate company Samaritan Xocolata so our next stop was to visit her store and learn how to make chocolate. The production of chocolate from the cacao seed to a piece that is ready to be devoured is an interesting process that more than satisfied our taste buds and increased our waist lines.
Luckily, we just so happened to be in Costa Rica during their run in the World Cup. It felt like the entire country was in the streets celebrating. The flags were flying, team jerseys were everywhere, and the car horns honking all had me swept up in the excitement and cheering for the team too!
This was a quick 5 day trip to paradise that gave me a taste of what this amazing country has to offer. I rarely go back to the same destination more than once, but there was something about this beautiful place that I just knew I would be back.
From my adventures to this magnificent country I learned a few important lessons that I wanted to share with you. It is not an all-inclusive list but a few short tips that will help you along with your travels in Costa Rica…
- Bring and Use Bug Repellent – Due to the Zika virus scare, I probably inhaled more bug spray than my lungs could handle but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
- Cash – If you are pinching pennies like I am, I would advise bringing a little more cash than you think you will need. Two ATM machines tricked me into numerous bank fees by stating I could not take out a certain amount of money in one withdrawal. The ATM did allow me to make two withdrawals but made certain to charge me for each one. I am still mad about that!
- Don’t Flush Paper Products Down the Toilet – Depending on which part of the country you are in, the treatment of wastewater will vary. If you see posts in bathrooms that ask you not you flush paper products down the toilet, please adhere to the request. They have trash bins for you to put your used paper products in. We are visitors in their country and we don’t need to pollute their local environment or add to any infrastructure limitations.