Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 8 September 22 Sarapiqui Rainforest Happy Birthday to me!

It was so nice to have that wake up call by the howler monkeys again!  I do so enjoy this and a great way to start my Happy Birthday to me day!!!!!!!  We got up and enjoyed our breakfast – we ate out on the porch of the dining room and watched the howler monkeys as we visited with the Road Scholar group.  We were getting ready for our excellent adventure of the day.  We would start with horseback riding and then the excitement of white water rafting!!!! 
We were met by our driver from Selva Verde and transferred about 15 minutes to the farm where were we would be horseback riding.  We met our guide Diego and a couple of his horses.  On his farm, he has over 40 horses, some ponies, about 400 cows and over 400 hectors of land.  We were given our safety helmet, then we met our horses, John’s horse was Maria and I had Layla and Diego told us how to ride the horse as it was John’s first time on horseback, the last time I was on horseback was on my last visit to Costa Rica in 2003.  So no prior experience is needed for this adventure!  Not only did Diego join us on our ride, but one of his ranch hands to open & close the gates and about 5 or 6 puppies ran with us.  During our ride we crossed a couple creeks, through pastures with cattle, hills and patches of forest.  We rode for about 2 hours with and we did stop for a few minutes, I am not sure if it was to give the horses a break or to give my bottom side a break!  When we returned back to his house he had juice and fruit waiting for us.  I defiantly recommend wearing long pants for horseback riding, some of the grasses where very high and they had some stickers so it was a good call.  Our driver arrived back to take us back to Selva Verde Lodge about 10 minutes after our ride ended so perfect timing.  We got back to Selva Verde and had some lunch and downloaded the few photos we had taken, changed clothes for the next excitement – white water rafting.  Our guide, Danny and Oscar were right on time and drove us down to where we put the raft in the river at La Virgen de Sarapiqui.  This tour takes you through the beautiful part of the river filled with exciting rapids.   This is a good area to begin for 1st time rafters, this was John’s first time rafting and I had only been one other time about 15 years ago.  The “ride” is about 9 miles and takes between 2 ½ - 3 hours, with a stop about ½ way down to rest and enjoy terrific pineapple!  Before we began our adventure Danny gave us a safety orientation to prepare us for the challenges we will face in the water.  They then handed us our paddles and our safety helmets and we are off and rafting!  Oscar the other guide was in an awesome little kayak; he could do a lot of different tricks and looked like a lot of fun if I was about 20 or 30 years younger!  It wasn’t far down the river before we came up to our first rapid and the water was COLD!!!!  But damn was it fun!!!  Oh my goodness, the excitement could be addictive.  John & I paddled as we were told, and we were in another rapid.  The first part of the river we had quite a few rapids one right after the other.  We almost felt like spinning in the washer machine.  But it was GREAT!!!!  We got to one rapid and Danny asked if we wanted to go surfing in the rapid, and of course we said yes, we were up for anything!  We watched Oscar do this in his kayak and Danny our guide told us what to do so we paddled back upstream and got back in the rapid to do surfing.  I thought it was great, but poor John took the worse of it with the water!  As I mentioned earlier we did stop about half way down for fruit and the pineapple was so sweet and good!  It was much calmer the second half of the trip so we were able to relax a bit and search for different birds and animals.  They dropped us off at the lodge and we got a shower and changed and since it was my birthday we headed to the bar to have a beer or 3!  Selva Verde Lodge had made me a terrific cake and they fixed us pizza!!!!  This isn’t just any ordinary pizza; they have a wood – fired oven to fix their pizzas.  It was a delicious birthday dinner and a wonderful and exciting birthday. 

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