Have you ever seen those Groupons for vacations that seem too good to be true?
Well I stumbled upon one from Costa Rica Monkey Tours and my friends and I decided to take the plunge (aka risk)!
I can tell you that I think we got our money’s worth by the first day. Whew! It took every fiber in my being to conjure up my adventure loving alter ego to conquer this day.
After a bumpy ride from Liberia, we arrived at the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Center where we were told to change into swim suits as we would be horseback riding to our tubing adventure. For some reason I have an irrational fear of horseback riding so I asked for the slowest, laziest horse they had.
Mission accomplished. I arrived at the back of the pack some fifteen minutes after my sister Maddy and friend Danyelle, but I arrived smiling and in one piece. Check.
Now for the part I had already lost a bit of sleep over-Tubing. As in white water tubing. Nope not rafting, individual tubing. I was mortified. I was terrified. Now this fear was substantiated after a past Amazonian tubing mishap. (A story for another day) They donned us up with helmets and professional looking tubes.
(Much welcomed after the child’s inner tube I took down the Amazon tributary). The helmets, though, scared me a little bit. What were we in for?!
For the first time in my life I was a good listener, holding onto their every word about how to sit so as to not fall out and where to lean going over a rapid.
I have to say, it was actually FUN. It was the perfect blend of lazy river relaxing with gorgeous sweeping trees overhead and monkeys singing in the trees, to heart racing rapids and boulder bouncing, where I was grateful for my helmet. Here’s Danyelle chill as ever-
Now do I look scared?! Haha. Let’s just say that I am always “that girl” most people were probably not scared at all.
It was a long ride down the river, but I felt safe the whole way as the river guides amazingly stuck with us the whole time and in a big pack like we had on the tour, if I got stuck I always new, I would get bumper boated along before the panic set in. I am the perfect damsel in distress. Check.
We had time to regroup at the restaurant with a great buffet of fresh vegetables, fruits and even fish. Now for ziplining.
Ironically, I went in to this segment of the adventure tour with the attitude of a pro. I had ziplined in Costa Rica, the capital of ziplining, before. I survived. I wasn’t scared. How could this be any different?
Well it was, I call this extreme ziplining.
Holy cow. We spent 2 1/2 hours careening in the jungle canopy riding over canyons and at points rushing water.
It poured warm jungle rain upon us.
The platforms crowded and now slippery. We slid off a miniature slide, crazy Tarzan swung across the canyon, and I wavered between loving it and being amazed to praying for it to be over.
At the end as my clothes dripped and my mascara ran, we had to climb up small metal rungs to reach the final platform. The rain blurred my vision, my feet slipped, my heart pounded, but I heard the voice ahead saying, “Uno mas, uno mas” coaxing me to the finish. Check. I survived. I even had fun.
Here we are post ziplining wet, but smiling!
And most importantly, I felt safe and secure the whole time, this team was professional and looking out for us.
I thanked God, however, that the real heart pumping activities had come and gone, I couldn’t take any more or I’d surely lose years off my life!
Instead, we lathered up in warm mud and dipped ourselves into thermal baths at the foot of a mountain. I breathed. I took in the sound of the birds. I thanked God I made it.
We stayed the night at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, which was simply charming.
It was on the grounds of the working cattle and horse ranch.
The basic rooms looked out onto a vast courtyard brimming with tropical flowers of all colors and kinds and to get to the welcome drink and marimba player at the reception, we had to dodge frogs in our path.
We could barely hold a conversation as we sat across my each other at dinner that night, tired from the long and exhilarating day. We were happy as clams though, to be on this adventure together….
So if you see a Groupon tour calling your name, go for it. What do you have to lose? At the very least you have a story, right?
Or why not go on a Costa Rica Monkey Tour yourself? We are proof-It’s not too good to be true.
Photo Credit: Most of the photos above are from the professional photographer with Monkey Tours, Jesus, who was not only ridiculously friendly, but also great at what he does. It’s worth it to splurge for the pictures/video package!
Fly: Directly into Liberia or on Nature Air from San Jose
Travel with: Costa Rica Monkey Tours
Visit: the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin where they offer all of the adventures aforementioned for individuals or groups
PS-Stay tuned for more of our fabulous eight day adventure in Costa Rica.