Monday, July 23, 2007

Costa Rica [Day 6] Canopy Tour at Arenal

Official Agenda (Costa Rica Online ARENAL VOLANO

After an early breakfast the guides and staff from the Sky Tram / Trek will pick you up at the Volcano Lodge’s main lobby, approximately at 8.15 am, to start the half day adventure in the rainforest. After a 20-minute drive to the park, board the sky tram for the 10-minute aerial ride through the rainforest. Take in magnificent views of the volcano and the Arenal Lake on your back. One you reach the main platform, review the safety instructions and receive the required gear. Embark on one of Costa Rica’s top canopy adventures as you glide down 10 zip lines for a total of over 2 miles of cable.

We woke up in the morning to Brian’s phone alarm. It was a good thing he set his phone as a backup, since the scheduled wake up call never came! I found that my nausea had been replaced, but with a splitting headache. I was moving pretty slowly. I decided that I would try to go to breakfast, and if I made it past that, I would go on the canopy tour. The canopy tour wasn’t supposed to involve a lot of rigorous hiking. Rather, it had a sky tram ride to get up to the zip line platforms followed by over two miles worth of zip lines.

Breakfast went OK. I still did not have much of an appetite, but I managed to eat some rice, hot tea, and a piece of watermelon. The boys enjoyed a large breakfast from the buffet, complete with sausage, cheese, eggs, fruits and toast.

[A clear, bright morning makes for a great view of the Arenal Volcano]

On our way to meet the tour bus, we stopped to make spa appointments for later that afternoon, figuring that would help make us all feel better. Although this has been a wonderful vacation so far, we are all exhausted from the packed full schedule.

[A little more dramatic-looking volcano shot]

[And a yellow flower with morning dew that didn't look that great in color]

The tour van picked us up on time. However, upon going to the Tabacon Springs Hotel, we ended up waiting for over 30 minutes for the family that was to join us to emerge. We all had plenty of time to get extremely annoyed in this interval. When the family finally came out, the mother apologized saying, “I’m sorry! We didn’t know anyone else was coming along.” We had a rare moment of complete silence when none of us answered her. Generally, I try to take the high road even when the boys are silent, but this time we were all pretty tight lipped, and the ride there was pretty awkward. Fortunately, the family turned out to be pretty friendly and we warmed up to them more as the tour went on.

When we arrived at the location, we were all fitted with our equipment, including a harness, carabineers, helmet, etc. Our guides were very friendly and funny and took many opportunities to take pictures of each group, which was very nice, and saved us the $10 they charged for pictures of us at the end.

[The troops ready for action]

We boarded the sky trams and they slowly started up the incline, gliding high over the rain forest, to the main platform. We had great views of the canopy, and the guides pointed out some animals and other things of interest. Tim, who wasn’t sure about the whole situation, started to get a bit nervous especially when the car stopped high above the canopy and began to swing. We sat down for awhile and he looked at some other pictures on his camera to get his mind off of the situation. I was proud of him for even going this far, considering his extreme hatred for situations he feels he has no control over.

[Elevator going up!]

[The peak of the volcano coming nearer through the clouds]

[White gasses from the volcano and purple flowers on the ground]

[At the main zip line platform]

As soon as we arrived at the main platform and got out of the cable car for our first look at the cables stretching far across the valley disappearing into the jungle on the other side, Tim told the guide that he did not want to do the zip lines. The guide was very patient and told him to just take his time and that maybe he would want to do the two practice lines before heading back. Tim said he didn’t want to, but he ended up doing them anyway. I was very proud of him, and I got a photo of him on the first practice one.

[Just pretend that I'm hundreds of feet above the rainforest (I'm really about 5 feet above the ground...REAL EXTREME!!!)]

[Kendra gearing up for the real thing....]

[What it looks like before you let go...]

[...and there she goes....]

[...and goes some more.]

[Brian's on deck...]

[...and Brian's gone.]

[Hangin' out in the big sky.]

After the two practice lines, Tim took the stairs down off of the platform, and took the tram back to the headquarters. On the way, he chatted with a young employee who asked him if there were any rainforests in Philadelphia and if the main language of Philadelphia was English or Spanish. Tim answered the former question as “No” and the latter as “A little bit of both!”

[Some good views of the mountain on the ride back down]

Brian and I continued on down the zip lines. The cables went very high over the rain forest canopy and were very fast moving. It was a lot of fun, and the guides were great. It was especially cool how you could still look down and see streams flowing far below and the trees.

On the last leg, we could see the main building and I flagged down Tim. He saw us and waved and took photos of us on the last platform as we came down.

[Kendra coming down the final line]

[Brian's triumphant entry]

[A graphic portrayal of what Kendra and Brian had just completed]

On the way home, we saw some howler monkeys in the trees and the drive (Jorge) stopped to let us take some pictures. Tim got some great shots of the expressions on the monkey’s face with his zoom lens.

When we arrived back at the hotel, we had lunch at the pool restaurant. I was able to eat a little more by now and ordered a medium serving of pasta. Tim finished what I couldn’t eat. We all headed back to the room and took a nap for an hour before going to our spa appointments.

[When we arrived back at our room, our bath towels had been transformed into a shirt (on Brian's bed) and a pair of swans (on ours).]

[Dessert at the pool restaurant was definatly photo-worthy!]

I got a volcanic mud body wrap with was very warm and relaxing. Tim got a Swedish massage, and Brian got a deep tissue massage. After all of our treatments we relaxed a bit before heading off to dinner around 6:30pm. We had made reservations at the main restaurant of the hotel, which was supposed to be the best in the area. Our waiter was very precious and reminded us of Michael Dur from Tim's work. The waiter’s name was Dagoberto (“Dago”).

We ate a ton of very yummy food, included a dessert of en fuego banana prepared right by our table!

We headed back to the room, stuffed and tired, and started to pack yet again. We were leaving again in the morning for our final destination before having to leave for home.


At 12:33 AM, Blogger Isabel's Mommy said...

Both times we went I really wanted to do the acnopy tour, but Andy was not game for it and I didn't want to go by myself.

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