If white water rafting wasn’t enough, we dedicated the next day to climbing Arenal’s baby sister volcano Cerro Chato, which, from the ground looked fairly doable, but how wrong I was. We’d been warned it was ‘extreme’, but you know when you just think somebody is trying to sell something. It started with an uphill surge, continued in the same fashion and ended with this:
You might have noticed the sweaty tops and red faces? We stopped about 3/4 on the way up for ‘breathers’, but Christ, I would have taken more. I don’t know if everyone was putting on a front, but my heart was palpitating just slightly. Even so, we made it. A proper achievement. Cerro Chato, you have been conquered. But the proper treasure was to be found just after… we had made the top, but after a steep climb down, we found a lake. A lake. In the crater of a prehistoric volcano, and we were swimming in it. Last week, I was watching Pointless eating Monster Munch.
Limbs aching, we spent the rest of the evening in our pool. I haven’t got much experience with hostels, but I didn’t know pools came with them… ever. Lew, Josh and I played headers while the girls had some cocktails. We played cards and had a few beers.
The following day was spent mostly travelling to Monteverde. La Fortuna hadn’t been what I expected, but neither has Costa Rica, so perhaps it’s time I stopped second guessing places. Monteverde is right up in the Gods. We’re talking 4000ft I think, and I’ve been sleeping on the top bunk. Our lungs are doing some serious work up here. The journey up here was cool, a scenic ferry took us past the many volcanos of Costa Rica and there was a little bird very keen to say hi.
After, we took a creaky bus up into the clouds and arrived at the Sloth Backpacker’s Hostel, where we met Izzy and Rosie.
The first day was a taste of what was to come. We found the ‘Ficus Tree’, an ancient tree which had natural roots enabling us to climb its inside to the lofty heights of 39.5m.
Josh was the biggest achiever, reaching almost the very top. The rest of us hung below, trembling at the knees knowing that one slip would be quite bad. (UNDERSTATEMENT) We had faced some fears of heights, but the next day we would take on zip lining with 100% Aventura. One review read, ‘100% Aventura, 99% Terror’.
A candid assessment. Unfortunately, there could be no photos and describing the fear of Superman-ing 200m above is next to impossible. We rode about 1250m along and above the canopy of Monteverde forest. If you had the composure to look, the views were unbelievable… but we were mostly in the clouds. Yeah, that high. I’m not usually scared, but that felt a little too close for comfort.
Then the last activity; a Tarzan swing. If you know what that is, sympathise… if not, it’s a free fall drop relying on your harness to engage once the rope extends. The man at the bottom was in charge of your brake. Pretty mental, but worthwhile. I watched Finny head down the bridge for hers, before seeing her drop, squeel for around 5 seconds before calm kicked in. That meant I could not make a noise. Not in any circumstances.
As a squad, we all did it. More achievements. More life in danger moments, but I promise we aren’t doing this on purpose. That was an adrenaline junkies’ day. Love it. Also, shout out to Tacos from Taco Taco. Unreal. I just wish we had more.
Next up was the canopy walking tour of Cano Negro trail… we expected a lot of hanging bridges- we got none. Realistically, this was quite disappointing as we saw a few birds, a few insects and no real animals like Pumas or likewise. The walk was right up in the clouds again which meant it was particularly humid, there were no views over the canopy and it was quite cold. At least it was only €7! And there were some half decent photos to be taken…
So, a few fears have been overcome in Monteverde. Next up, Nicaragua and the luxuries of a home stay. We will have a family (I think) cooking for us for a few nights and will be staying on Isla de Ometepe. Speak to you soon!