Costa Rica: Waterfalls & Kayaking

When I travel, I often tend to choose historical sightseeing or relaxing tours/activities.  It’s not that I don’t like being active or adventurous, but this is just how it tends to work out.  But on our Costa Rica trip, we had two little adventures that did not fit into either of my typical excursion categories.  The first was a waterfall tour and the second was a morning of kayaking. Not exactly relaxing tours, but pretty darn awesome!

The Waterfall Tour

One of the activities I was most excited to book was a waterfall tour through the Costa Rica Waterfall Tours Company.  This company offers many active pursuits led by their skilled guides, and we narrowed our choice down to the waterfall jumper tour.  This particular tour takes you on a 20 minute hike/walk through the rain forest, ultimately stopping at a cluster of waterfalls and pools to swim and jump in.  The hikes are advertised as “easy” and so we thought for sure this would be good for our entire family group.  After realizing a couple days earlier at Manuel Antonio National Park that our 2 year old is not up to the task of long walks, we made a last-minute decision to leave him home with a few others who decided not to come along.  Now onto the actual tour…

We met with our guide, Cristian, at the Costa Rica Waterfall Tours office in Jacó.  Everyone in the office was welcoming and Cristian was enthusiastic about taking us out for our tour.  After taking care of the payment, we loaded up into the van and headed south.  The ride was about 45 minutes, the last part along aa pretty bumpy road.  Once there, we parked the van, shoved our valuables into the little safe in the van, and headed out into the rainforest.

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The trail was slick and muddy as we headed to the falls and–I’m not gonna lie–that was half of the fun!  We stopped periodically to learn about different plants and even to see a troop of monkeys playing above us in the trees.

When we finally arrived at the waterfalls, we found that it was actually three waterfalls and pools of water that all connected down the hill.  We started in the bottom pool where we could all wade in the water and take a dip beneath the falls.  Pretty fun to stand under, getting pelted by the falls!img_0797

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my kiddo getting a nice cold waterfall shower!

Then we hiked up a super steep and narrow “trail” up to the next pool.  This was the moment I was SO GLAD we did not bring our 2-year-old!  As it was, I spent the whole time imagining my 5-year-old slipping down and falling off the cliff.  Ugh!  But thankfully we all made it up like champs and got to enjoy the next pool.  This second pool was a lot deeper, so this was where we got to do some jumping.  I use the word “we” loosely since I was a big chicken and skipped the jumps!  But all of the brave ones had a good old time jumping to certain death into the water.  We finally went up a little farther to the third pool.  This was where the extra super ridiculously stupid brave ones jumped and slid from the 3rd pool, down to the 2nd pool.  Just about gave me a heart attack just watching!

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2nd pool

At the end of the swimming time, Cristian sliced up some fresh pineapples for us to snack on.  This was a really nice touch, as we were all feeling pretty tired and needed some extra energy to make it back through the rainforest to the van!  Once back to the van, we all hosed off our lovely mud layers and then huddled into the van to get warm.  Oh yeah, did I mention it was cold?  I mean COLD!  The water is in the low 70s (which didn’t sound bad until I dipped in–brr!) and there was a full cloud cover.  Then of course it dumped rain on us during the last half of the tour.  Those of us not swimming in the two bigger pools cheered on everyone else with the chatters of our teeth!  Not sure why I shared that except that maybe it will help others who may be looking at this tour: be prepared to freeze (but still worth it!!!).

Sadly there are not too many more pictures to share since we were being poured on by rain and most of us did not have waterproof cameras.  But hopefully you get the idea that this was a pretty awesome trip, especially for any thrill-seekers!   And if you want some more good pics from this tour, check out their website: jumper tour.

Kayaking

Our second active adventure was a morning of kayaking.  One of the best things about our Air B&B rental is that the beach was right off of the backyard.  So when we were ready to do some kayaking in the beautiful Pacific, all we had to do was walk out our door!  Sorry, kind of a lie.  There may have also been some lugging of heavy kayaks down a steep hill, through the yard, out the gate, and onto the beach.  But then we were ready!  🙂

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Getting ready to head out into the great blue yonder…

Not all of us went out to kayak.  It was my brother, my sister, my niece, my nephew, and myself all in singles.  Then my husband and 5 year old were in a tandem.  My brother is really outdoorsy, so we shoved him off first to lead the pack.  Then we all started out after him one at a time.  We were a little perplexed when he came back to shore before we were even all in the water.  What happened, you ask?  Well, what happened was we learned a valuable lesson that day: iPhones do not stay in pockets whilst kayaking.  Ohhhhhhh man, my poor brother!  He had brought it along for music and pictures, but when a little ways out, the music suddenly stopped.  Our host had advised us to kayak early to avoid choppy water, so while my brother did a little recreational snorkeling, the rest of us headed out while the going was good…

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We kayaked around the bend with the beautiful green hills to our left and the open ocean to our right.  The water was glassy, the sky was blue, and every now and then some fish would jump up to say hello!   This was truly paradise!  And the amazing thing was that Costa Rica’s east coast was getting a beat down by Hurricane Matthew while we were blessed by this beautiful warm day with calm waters!  We ended up heading to a beach that seemed to be a resort beach.  Not too shabby for a stop–the sand was smoother than our little stretch of beach at the house and there was a swimming area sectioned off.  After this nice little break from paddling, we decided our calm sea luck may be running out as it got later, so we’d better head back.  As we were kayaking back in, we saw my brother heading out.  He never did find that darn phone, but it sure wasn’t going to stop him from getting in some kayaking!

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my brother’s solo trip out

Once we got back in, we were all pretty exhausted.  We used the last of our energy to get those kayaks back up the hill and then I believe there was some well-deserved collapsing and lazing about involved!

Next Up:

Everything Else I Forgot to Mention…

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