Honeymoon: Rafting/San Jose

We were scheduled to leave the tree house relatively early in the morning, but Sylvia and I got up at least a couple of hours earlier than that. I can’t recall if the howler monkeys got us up again or if it was just the weird nature of how early the sun comes up, but we were definitely up with enough time to pack everything up and relax a bit before our van showed up. Our ultimate destination that day was back to San Jose, but we had planned a rafting excursion that was halfway between Puerto Viejo and San Jose. On our way out, we picked up another couple and spent the next couple of hours in the car just relaxing and hearing all kinds of trivia about Costa Rica from a guide.

We were the first group to roll up to the way station for the rafting trip and there was a nice breakfast spread while we waited for the other groups to arrive. Once they did, we started to get ready with sunscreen and the right shoes before getting on another bus that took us to the beginning of the rafting experience. Along the way, we got our crash course in how to raft, row and the importance of following directions. After at least 45 minutes, we made it to the start and were assigned to a raft and guide. Sylvia and I were paired up with the couple we’d joined up with as we left the tree house area and off we went.

Having never rafted before, the first 2 minutes were a bit terrifying, but after that, it was definitely one of the most fun experiences I’d had in a long time. The rapids themselves were class 3 and 4 if that means anything to you, but for those of you that don’t know what that means, this video can give a bit of an idea of what we went through. It wasn’t rough all the time and weren’t rowing constantly, but it didn’t matter what was going on, there was a lot to see and soak in while we were on the river. We kept seeing cable pulleys stretching above the river and apparently one half of the river was the rest of the world and the other half were isolated indigenous groups that accepted occasional shipments from the rest of the world.

After a couple of hours on the water, we slowly came to the halfway point where everyone piled out of the boats to get some time on their feet and all of the guides from the other rafts started unpacking and making lunch. Not only was the lunch of whatever stuff they brought with them in watertight barrels tasty, but I was also fascinated that we brought all the leftovers with us when we left. It makes sense really; what garbage service would come to the middle of nowhere just to pick up scraps from tourists? Anyway, after resting up a bit, we all piled back into the rafts and went on our way.

It’s really hard to give a sense of the trip as I didn’t have a camera. They told us well in advance that the trip would be wet and not to bring one unless it was waterproof. They weren’t lying either because we definitely got completely soaked a few times. Shortly after lunch, we even hit a slow stretch where we could just hop out of the raft and float in the river for a bit. In retrospect, I wish I’d have had something like a GoPro camera with a waterproof case, but hindsight is always 20/20.

As we came close to the end of the trip, we saw a group of boys jumping off of a train bridge and into the river. The bridge was pretty high up over the water and Sylvia mentioned that she thought they were either showing off or trying to freak us out. They were doing a pretty good job of both considering how high up it was and how little we understood of the river depth at that point. By the time we got over their insanity, we were at the end of the river and the rafting was over. Once we got out of the raft and cleaned up and changed, we got into a different van and headed on toward San Jose.

The only photo depiction of our rafting adventure

Driving through the Costa Rican countryside is always pretty and there are always cool things to look at if you have any interest in nature at all. I’d imagine that’d be the case even if you didn’t have an interest in nature, but I can’t speak to that as much. The country itself isn’t crowded outside of San Jose, so there is always something green to look at and you’re often up in the mountains so you can see pretty far. That is assuming that it isn’t particularly cloudy out, but it was definitely sunny on our way in to civilization.

Because of the nature of time in Costa Rica however, the sun was definitely almost down by the time we arrived at our hotel. Sylvia and I didn’t care though because having a hotel room for the first time in what felt like a while that had air conditioning was amazing. We immediately pulled out all of our damp clothes and hung them all over the place and got the fan going full blast as well as some AC just for the novelty of it. After getting cleaned up and dressed, we decided to wander around a bit to try and find some food in the area, but we quickly realized that there was definitely nothing within walking distance to explore other than the bridge over the highway.

Yup, nothing to see here

After realizing that there wasn’t anywhere to go, we turned around and went back to the hotel. It was kind of strange having only the option of a hotel restaurant, but I guess that’s what happens when you go from a large variety of choices you can walk to to nothing within walking distance at all. Granted, the food was still pretty good, but it wasn’t quite the same. After dinner, we realized that we weren’t anywhere near ready for bed and we changed and hung out down in the hot tub and swimming pool for a little bit. We didn’t spend a lot of time soaking, but it was kind of refreshing in it’s own weird way. Once we’d had our fill there, we pretty much got ready for bed because there wasn’t anything else to really do and then realized, that after all the rafting and physical activity of the day, we were pretty exhausted. It didn’t take long for both of us to pass out after that.

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