Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day 3: Rafting and Hiking in Manuel Antonio

Today, we had the most amazing time on our rafting trip with Iguana Tours. This rafting trip started out like previous rafting trips, they come to your hotel early in the morning to pick you up, then drive you out into the middle of nowhere, throw some boats in the water and you´re on your way.

Except, today was more fun than previous rafting trips because it was in one word, exciting. Today´s rapids were a little larger and faster moving than normal due to all the rain in the area. As a result, two of our fellow rafters were thrown from the boat within the first two minutes.

Within the first ten minutes, another boat within our party, filled with a Dutch family capsized, throwing everyone including the guide overboard. Within seconds the guide had reoriented his boat and was back aboard. It was amazing to watch him pull each passenger back aboard.

Minutes later, another raft from our party managed to throw two more rafters overboard, we were fortunate enough to be near her and I was the hero who pulled one of the two girls out onto our boat.

Alin and I were having a blast with all this mayhem. Our guides spent a great deal of time in the beginning telling us what to do in various scenarios and tried to temper fears by explaining that going overboard was unlikely. Apparently the Gods didn't agree on this day.

By the end of our trip, another boat had been glued to a giant boulder from the heavy current with it's remaining passengers hanging on to dear life from the very same rock. There were likely countless others who went swimming with the fish further upstream that we weren't a party to.

Fortunately, Alin and I survived the rafting excursion with a head full of exciting memories and only some minor scrapes and bruises. It was a great trip.

After the trip, we had a second tour lined up which left shortly after. Unfortunately, it appeared that no one told our bus and our guides were halfway back to our hotel before we asked them how we'd get to our second tour.

Fortunately, our tour bus was near behind us and was able to pick us up from the side of the road without delay. This second tour, a hike through Manuel Antonio's national reserve was a touch less heart pounding but gifted us with some amazing photographs.

Our guide, Micheal, brought a small telescope for spying on birds, monkeys and other critters hiding in the trees above. This telescope, when coupled with our digital camera led to some of the best pictures Alin and I have ever been able to take. I'm talking National Geographic material here.

The hike took us through the mangrove forests and passed three gorgeous, pristine beaches. When we arrived at the last beach, our guide gave us all 10 minutes for ciesta. I decided to head near the shore and got pounded by a wave when I wasn't paying attention. The rest of my ciesta was spent washing the sand and beach water from my shorts so I didn't end up at home with chaffed legs.

In the reserve, we were able to catch photos and glimpses of lizards, howler and white-faced monkeys, birds, and cousins of the raccoon. The monkeys were of course the most interesting due to their intelligence and courage in interacting with the human visitors.

After our two hour tour of the reserve, we ended up back in Manuel Antonio for some quick refreshments. Shortly after, the tour dropped us off at home and Alin and I decided that it was time for dinner.

We changed into some more comfortable clothes and hopped in the car to head back to Manuel Antonio. On our way, we noticed that the restaurant we tried to visit the day before, Agua Azul, was now open. So naturally, we decided that this is the best place we could have our dinner.

Alin and I, both starving from our hike, decided that it'd be best if we both ordered what they called the "Big Ass Burger." When it finally arrived, we indeed were blessed with one such burger.

I barely finished it and poor Alin made it through about half of the thing. With food in our bellies and a tired body, we made our way home. That wraps up another night.




  1. Can't wait to see your National Geographic photo material....
    Mrs. H.

  2. Steve, we havn't forgot about you and we feel terrible for missing your wedding. We have a new baby named Caleb Steven Mackessy almost 7 months old. We would love to see you some time. Please know we love you and hope you are happy and well. We are very happy for you two and it sounds like you had an incredible time in Costa Rica. Love Erica and Don