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Destination: Costa Rica

| March 28, 2012

It’s been a whirlwind these past two months and though there are so many posts I wanted to write, I haven’t had the time. Instead I was stretched in every direction, working on too many projects that everyone wanted done “yesterday”. BUT- I somehow made it through relatively unscathed (who says you need to sleep at night?) and finally got to take a vacation- my first in two years!

Destination: Costa Rica

Day 1: Depart from NY at 6 am Sunday morning. After a 4.5 hour flight we arrived in San Jose airport and then held on for dear life in a 3 hour van ride full of bumps, twists and sharp turns. Just when we thought we couldn’t take it anymore, we got to our hotel Arenal Nayara. They greeted us with big smiles and delicious fruit juice (papaya, guava and something else?). The hotel grounds are beautiful. Each room is a separate unit, with total privacy (even in the outdoor shower!). Everything is surrounded by lush greenery and flowers and wildlife (birds, rabbits, lizards and a lot of other mysterious sounds…).
After settling in our rooms we ate our dinner in the restaurant- frozen meals that we picked up in San Jose from the Kosher Center. The hotel was very accommodating, they kept our food in their fridge, heated everything double-wrapped, and provided all the plastic utensils and plates. And the food was surprisingly good!
Since no one had slept for two days we all turned in before 9 pm. I think that’s a new record for me.

Day 2: Got up at 6:45am and a van picked us up from the hotel at 8:15 to go ziplining at SkyTrek. After getting harnessed, you take a cable car up 236 meters. From the top there are breathtaking views of the Arenal volcano and lake. The guides then try to psyche out anyone who is nervous by joking that it’s their first time doing this and not too many people have died. There are 7 cable lines + 2 practice lines, the longest of which is 2,525 feet long and 456 feet high. It is the coolest sensation to be flying along with the most spectacular view and the wind rushing in your face. I recommend it to anyone traveling to Costa Rica.
After ziplining we went back to hotel, ate lunch and then had another van pick us up to go ATVing. It was fun while I was driving, but to save money my friend doubled up with me. Riding in the back was terrifying bc there’s nothing to hold onto, and it’s extremely painful as well. We went through some fields that had hundreds of cows roaming around, and then stopped at Lago de los Lirios, a beautiful lake.

Day 3: Rafting with Costa Rica Descents! We got picked up from our hotel at 9:15 and made a stop on the way by a fruit stand where we got to sample interesting fruits and drink from cold coconuts (yum!). The van dropped us by an Israeli hotel called Lands in Love, and from there it was a short hike down to the river (Rio Balsa). Rafting was a blast and we were so busy trying to follow directions that there was no time to get nervous. We went over level III & IV rapids.
After the rafting they took us to an organic farm where we had a short tour (did you know that pineapple is a flower, not a fruit?) and made freshly squeezed cane sugar juice. After our first taste of the juice they gave us shots of it mixed with rum. 3 shots of rum + empty stomach = very tipsy person.

Day 4: In the morning we had a tour of Proyecto Asis (Project Asis), an animal rescue center that rehabilitates animals to go back into the wild, or in some cases provides a permanent home. The highlight of the tour was a raccoon named Feilipe who climbed all over us, and some sticky fingered monkeys that knew how to work the zippers on my purse.
After Project Asis we stopped in La Fortuna to do some souvenir shopping. Then in the afternoon we had another tour in Arenal Natura where we saw frogs, snakes and crocodiles. The frogs were really amazing- most were tiny, and they were all hard to spot because they camouflaged so well. We actually got to hold a Red Eyed Tree Frog, and it jumped on my face and in my hair. Gross, but I was laughing.
Our last night there we relaxed and drank pina colados at the wet bar in the pool. Fun.

Day 5: Finished packing in the morning and went around the hotel grounds taking pictures before leaving for the airport. Another bumpy 3 hour ride, some downtime in the airport, and then we were on our way home. This was absolutely one of the best vacations I have ever been on, and I didn’t want it to end. Back to reality now.

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