Packed to the Brim Adventure Day - The Morning

Trip Start May 07, 2010
Trip End May 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Las Colinas Boutique

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Sunday, May 9, 2010

What were we thinking on this day?  The colorful hotel brochures had several tour options from mild to wild, from something little to everything in mind.  At first, our unbridled excitement drew us towards the "all day everything you can think of plus the kitchen sink" adventure option which included kayaking and white water rafting in the morning, zip-lining in the afternoon, a hike to the volcano in the early evening, and a visit to the hot springs at night.  Sounds good right?  Well, reason soon set in, and we decided that a kayak trip in the morning, a hike to the volcano in the afternoon, and the hot springs in the evening would suffice.  We made the right choice pruning things down because at the end of this day, we were beat.

Details of our adventures started off with a kayak ride down the Rio Penas Blancas.  Our guide, Pedro, and driver Giovanni picked us up at the hotel lobby at 7AM.  Inside the Canoa Adventures shuttle van were our tour buddies, Freddie and Stephan.  The plan was to glide quietly down the river observing wildlife the whole way.  If you have thoughts about doing this kind of tour, I would recommend that you do it with a guide. 

Pedro, with his experience of the area and his familiarity of the local wild life often pointed out things that one would otherwise not see or simply ignore.  Recall that to survive in this environment, most animals have developed effective camouflage... unless of course, the animal intentionally advertises its presence which usually means they possess a poisonous defense systems (i.e., dart frogs, etc.).

Freddie and Stephan were locals (Ticos).  Freddie working in La Fortuna as part of its urban development, and Stephan being involved in the IT field.  These guys gave us some intimate, local info regarding La Fortuna (recommended restaurants and bars), and provided an additional splash of color on our trip.  At first, Freddie and Stephan had some trouble navigating their inflatable kayak often spinning in circles as they drifted down the river.  At the end, however, they pretty much had a smooth system in place.

As for me and Rowena?  Look at the pictures and see for yourselves.  Rowena's duties was photographic duties mostly; attempting to catch wildlife in action and pictorially record our river adventures.  At times, I did ask her for some assistance, but when she contributed, she simply got us going in circles. LOL.  In the end, I had pretty much rowed for 2.5 hours solo.  It was worth it though as demonstrated by the pictures.  Good job Honey!

At the time we navigated this river, it was towards the end of the dry season and transitioning into the wet or green season.  Hence, the river itself was rather shallow.  The banks of the river, 25 meters on each side is considered government property; outside of that range is private property mostly owned by farmers.  For the most part, the banks are well preserved though there are parts where erosion has taken a hold.  In those areas, Pedro and a team of people have participated in a program to plant trees to preserve the banks.

At about 11AM, we had completed our journey down the river and had sculpted, sweet fruit waiting for us, courtesy of our driver, Giovanni.  Having filled up, we stopped by a restaurant known for "caring" for wild iguanas.  The restaurant provided them fruit (their normal diet being a combination of fruit and greens) and they leisurely hung around the establishment.  One friendly guy actually approached us, so we started petting the guy.  Apprehensive at first, Rowena did eventually touch the iguana.  Those spikes on its head are actually soft believe it or not.

When we got back to La Fortuna, Rowena and I decided to check out La Choza De Laurel.  This restaurant had been recommended by Freddie and served typical Costa Rican food.  We walked back to the hotel at about 3PM and waiting for us at the lobby was our next shuttle to take us to our Volcan Arenal late afternoon hike.  Non-stop action for sure.
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