La Fortuna Waterfall
When I first heard that there were 500 steps just to get to a waterfall, I was like...no thanks. However, by the time we ended up at the bottom, the view was absolutely incredible. Just being able to look up and watch this immense waterfall crashing down into a stream is an experience you would never comprehend until you’ve seen it in person. Of course, because this was fresh water from the river, the water was quite cold at first, but nothing you couldn’t get used to. What was interesting though was the strength of the currents sliding and crashing through the rocks into the stream. Far from where the waterfall fell into the stream was another pool-like area where you could swim. However, just getting across to it from where we initially got in was not as easy as it seemed. After crossing through the currents into the calmer area of the stream, there were rocks across the bottom that people could carefully stand upon. There was more than enough room for people to commune and especially take a great picture. The view from the bottom of the waterfall in the stream was arguably the best view. Seeing the true capacity of the waterfall was not only inspiring, but it gave you a sense of relaxation. Although we are occasionally the rowdy teenagers, the true power behind the waterfall brought focus to this amazing place. If there was one thing I would suggest to anyone reading this, it would be that, should you have the opportunity to see or interact with a waterfall, anywhere, take it. For everyone who has seen a waterfall, I think most would say the view is worth it in itself. If that’s not enough, it also makes a very interesting story to tell to those around you.
For probably most people, you think that the flavor of every candy bar is the exact same taste as the beans that come out of the cacao plant once ripe. However, my mindset has shifted once again as I found out differently today, as well as the rest of the Costa Crew. We were told the origin of the cacao plant, it’s history, how it grows, when it’s ripe, and how it’s made into the chocolate we know and love today, of course. It always seems interesting, to me at least, to find out that what you’ve been told your whole life is a lie, relatively speaking. Have you ever noticed that on many candy bars, there’s no percentage of cacao on it? Well, it’s a low percentage. It takes maybe 4 beans to make that candy bar. Now, how about a bar of say 85% cacao: approximately 70 beans. Puts into perspective how much sugar is in those things. And just as an even bigger perspective, there can be anywhere from 26-40 beans in a cacao plant. And on each tree that makes cacao, only 3% of the produced plants will ever be used to make chocolate. So, what did I take away from all of this? Three things, or at least three that I feel won’t bore you. 1) Cacao is super bitter and it about 15 days to ferment properly, so appreciate the time put into each bar of chocolate. 2) The history of chocolate is a long and interesting one, so do a bit of research and treat yourself to some interesting factoid to impress your friends. 3) El Chapo Guapo (our Chocolate tour guide) is a pretty cool dude.
Kayaking on Lago Arenal
Our kayaking adventure started with a small boat ride to a shed floating on the water. Within it held all of the kayaks and the double-ended oars. Each kayak held two people, so we had to make a choice about who our partners were going to be. As soon as we got into our boats, our two guides told us that while we were getting everybody else ready, we could practice kayaking. It was difficult at first, but after learning the basic directions everyone got the hang of it. Earlier, Irene (our tour guide) encouraged us to pick our partners wisely because we would have to work together. During that practice, my partner and I learned the hard way on how to successfully communicate and cooperate. When everyone was ready, we followed the guide to one end of the lake where we ended up climbing out of our kayaks to swim around. We enjoyed the water, the people around us, and the place that surrounded us. Near the end of our activity, we kayaked ourselves back to the other end of the lake, where we started. My kayaking partner and I were off to a rocky start, arguing about how someone was paddling or if one of us was splashing the other. But, in the end, we made it and ended up singing on our way back!
Baldi Hot Springs
Little words can express how amazing it feels to bathe in the hot springs of Baldi, especially after a long day of exploring the exotic areas of Costa Rica. The hot springs gave us time to unwind and observe how beautiful Costa Rica really was. There were many different hot springs with a variety of temperatures so that you can find the perfect spot for relaxation. In our case, we were able to hang out with friends and reflect on what a journey we've made so far or just enjoy each other’s company. We all know the feeling of entering a hot tub: at first, it feels a bit too hot, but after a while you drift aimlessly letting all thought melt away. So if you ever get the chance to visit these hot springs I highly recommend it.