Costa Rica: Day 6 Arenal

Sarah’s pro tip for technique, don’t drink copious amounts of tequila the night before you go rappelling for the first time. She claims to not really remember much of the night before, but I certainly do and to this day tease her about it. As we are walking towards breakfast the following morning she’s nudging my shoulder saying, “Hey, Hey! Guess what? I’m still drunk!” This was all good fun until we made it to the first waterfall in our rappelling adventure and I looked back up the line to see her sitting down, head in hands, hangover fully kicked in.


The view right outside our hotel room. The volcano in the background is the Arenal Volcano.

I wouldn’t exactly call it FOMO, but I had made the decision that I wasn’t going to let my fear of heights hold me back from trying some really cool activities while on this trip. Rappelling down waterfalls was one of those activities. We were given a crash course on how to rappel and then taken to the first waterfall on the trail to test it out. This waterfall was only about five meters tall, so I handled it quite well and I felt quite confident as I trekked down the path towards the next decent.


Waiting at the first rappel. Most of the photos in this sequence were taken by the guide company.

This is where shit got real. This was a couple hundred meters, and there was a solid meter drop between the end of the metal platform and the beginning of the rock face. When I saw it I knew I was in some serious trouble. I hung back, trying to get the nerve up. If I didn’t think this could get any more difficult, after a few meters on the rock face, the guide at the bottom tells you to let go of one of the lines and you zip-line down the rest of the way to the canyon floor. I was certain there was no way in hell I was going to be able to let go of the ropes. Eventually I took the plunge and went over the side. I was so freaked out by being so high up that when the guide shouted to let go of the ropes I did without thinking. Well, without thinking until gravity started to pull me backwards and down the ground. I’ve been told that the group could hear me scream clear down the canyon.


An extremely terrified me heading towards the canyon floor



Between descents we got to hike through the canyon over smaller waterfalls and climbing over rocks. This was the part I like best, though I seriously wished for more solid shoes than the ones I was wearing. I liked the climb and it was beautiful and fun jumping into rock pools on the way down. Some how I managed the last two rappels. I couldn’t have done this without the really awesome guides we had. They were beyond patient with me, joking the whole way and at no point did I feel like I was an inconvenience to them (even though I’m sure I was).


Getting pushed around in the waterfalls between rappels

We had lunch there–chicken, rice, and beans, a meal we had had in some form every day of the trip–and then back to the resort for a bit of R & R. We showered, I did a bit of laundry in the sink, and then we met up for our dinner expedition.


We went to a farm outside of town, to learn about traditional farming in Costa Rica. Then to the school down the road where we got to hang out with a few of the kids and they showed us some traditional dances they’d been practicing. Then it was back to the farm–we did the journey in a wagon pulled by a tractor so ancient I wasn’t sure it was going to manage the hills. There was a home made spiced alcohol and we made our own fresh corn tortillas. Dinner was at one long table on the balcony and there was great food, music, and more of that home made brew.

As I looked off into the night where I knew the forest started, I started thinking about home and how my I really didn’t want to go back.