While we were in Costa Rica, we knew we wanted to do one of the adventure sport activities that they offer. We decided on white water rafting. The neat thing is, is that the company that we went with picked us up from Puerto Viejo and then would drop us to another place of our choosing, all free of charge! The company is called Exploradores Outdoors. It was the perfect way to get to our next destination: La Fortuna. The white water rafting was one of the highlights of our trip so far. We had a great guide in our boat and got to go through some grade 4 rapids. We were in the front of the boat so got absolutely nailed!
Andrew and I were hoping the boat would flip at some point but unfortunately this did not happen. But we were able to jump out of the boat a bunch of times for some swims in the river. We spent nearly a whole day on the Pacuare river and went through a lot of rapids. The river wound its way through the rainforest and it was absolutely stunning, butterflies were everywhere. We also got to stop at a beautiful spot in the rainforest for a delicious tortilla lunch.
We got dropped in La Fortuna in the early evening and had a pretty chilled night having a look around the town. La Fortuna is located right in the foothills of Arenal Volcano, which makes for some pretty amazing views. We pretty much lived on empanadas in La Fortuna and Costa Rica in general, absolutely delicious, and very cheap!
While in La Fortuna we went on a pretty gruelling hike up the Cerro Chato track on Chato Volcano. It is about a two-hour steep uphill hike to the rim of the volcano. We thought we were pretty fit, but that uphill in the heat really took it out of us! But it was a very beautiful walk through the rainforest, even though sometimes we didn’t appreciate it. Once we made it to the top, we decided to descend a few hundred metres and swim in the Crater Lake. It was another steep climb – downhill this time, using tree roots and a few ropes to swing down. Once there the water was a very sweet reward! It was such a spectacular place to go for a swim. I got a fright though when a few fish started nibbling my toes! We didn’t get to spend too long in the lake, as the rain and fog started coming in pretty fast. It was pretty awesome to watch, and really shows how much the weather can suddenly change up a mountain (or volcano!). So we had to climb back up to the rim of the volcano in the pouring rain, which made for an extremely muddy experience. Sometimes it is easier going uphill than downhill, as we soon discovered on the very muddy and slippery descent down the volcano. We both landed on our butts a few times. It was a challenging but fantastic hike and we loved it.
After the hike we needed some chill time. So we took a taxi straight out to La Fortuna San Carlos, which is about 15 minutes outside of La Fortuna. La Fortuna San Carlos is a river that is naturally warm as it is heated by the volcano. We have hot springs in New Zealand but these give off a sulphur smell and often leave your clothes and towels pretty smelly. This is not the case in La Fortuna San Carlos, no sulphur in the water, just warm river water. Also the springs here are absolutely free, great for if you’re on a budget. We spent a few hours in the evening just relaxing in the warm water and floating down parts of the river. I could not recommend this place highly enough; it was incredible.
Our time in La Fortuna, and Costa Rica in general, was at an end. We were sad to leave Costa Rica as it has so much to offer, but our wallets were definitely pleased that it was time to depart!
Here is a breakdown of our costs for 2 days:
Budget = US$320 (NZ$470)
Accommodation – US$48
Activities – US$222
Food/Drink – US$38
Travel (incl. Taxis) – US$43
Miscellaneous – US$16
Total spent – US$367 (NZ$543)
So we were US$47 (NZ$70) over budget. We did some pretty cool activities and anything you want to do in Costa Rica is very expensive. It would have been hard to cut costs on anything here.