Our Last Days in Costa Rica


Our vacation in Costa Rica is winding down. We saved two of our biggest adventures for the last.

Yesterday we went horseback riding – everyone but Mom. She opted out as she was having some trouble with her back and she did not want to be sore and miss out on the zip line tomorrow. The proprietors of Chalet Nicholas set up the horseback riding tour for us. We were given directions to drive about 10 minutes down the road to a stable which we did. When we arrived, it was a true working stable – not a tour company.

The man who was in charge was called “El Gato” (his name was actually Hector). He met us and greeted us in Spanish. It soon became apparent that he spoke no English and none of us speak very much Spanish – that made the adventure even more interesting. It also became quickly apparent that he was a cowboy and not a tour operator.

He got all of us on our horses (including my 81 year old father) and off we went. Soon after, we realized that he assumed that all of us were as familiar with horses as he was – which we are not. While we had all been on horses before, for most of us riding a horse mostly consisted of riding horses that were attached to a wheel at the fair. I am exaggerating bit, but not much. The horses were fairly well behaved, but they were working horses, not trained tour type horses.

The ride was very beautiful, but not the easiest ride ever. A lot of up and down over uneven surfaces. We rode down to Lake Arenal and the two ranch dogs that came along played in the water. We saw a troop of howler monkeys and the views of the lake were incredible. Dad waited when we went down to the lake the second time. His hip and leg were bothering him and the down hill portions of the ride were causing him pain. He was wise to wait for us in the meadow as the ride down to the lake was a bit difficult.

The ride lasted a little over 2 hours and was only $25 per person. It was a lot of fun. My sister, Tracy, enjoyed the ride more than any other activity on the trip and the kids did great.

Today was zip line day! Everyone was excited about this experience and it was what my Dad had been waiting for. We did Sky Adventures, SkyTrek and it was a terrific, exhilarating experience. I was extra proud of my mother and sister who are both afraid of heights, but faced their fears so they would not miss the experience. They both had a blast. My dad did great and because of the system of braking this company uses he had very little stress on his knee during landing which is what had me worried.

The highest point on the line was about 600 feet and the longest line was a half mile. The views were incredible and the zip lines were fantastic fun. We had a great day! I wish we had done a zip line when we were in the area around Carara. I had forgotten how great the zip lines are in Costa Rica.

Tomorrow we make the long, windy drive back to San Jose area to stay at a hotel near the airport and Sunday morning we leave for home at 7:00 AM which means an 4:00 AM wake-up time for the group.

This has been a great vacation, but it is time to go home. We have all gotten along well, but the last couple of days people seem to be getting a little less tolerant of one another and it is evident that the togetherness may be wearing out its welcome. I think that if the vacation would have been three weeks instead of two, it may not have ended quite as well.