Day Six: Morning of Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Falls, Afternoon at Arenal Bungee and Evening at Baldi Hot Springs.

 

Nina, who gets a little nervous around horses, asked for a “despacio” or “slow” horse and ended up riding “Padre” or “Father.” He was very gentle.

Chris rode the very aptly named “Pura Vida,” the number one expression in Costa Rica, which means “Pure Life,” and basically sums up the Costa Rican lifestyle and mentality.

For the better part of the journey to and from the waterfall, the horses all walked very, very close together, which was a bit nerve racking, but still nothing compared to our first horse back riding experience in Costa Rica, which should have killed us!

We rode with mostly young American students on a three-month intensive Spanish language program, a family from Canada and a Russian man and his son. Nina befriended one of the students from Alabama. However, we all hated the Russian guy because he was very rude, an obnoxious know it all and extremely aggressive and demanding with his son.

Padre loved walking next to a small black horse ridden by a Canadian girl, but hated and got in two minor fights with the gray horse ridden by the jerk from Russia. At the very end of the tour, when the horses were getting anxious for a rest, Padre and the “Russian” horse got in an all out brawl.

We rode up and down some very narrow and muddy trails. There was a lot of nerve racking stumbling on the part of the horses.

It was basically three hours of follow the leader... Some of the other horses had clever names like Tequila, Whiskey, Macarena, Marijuana, Taco and Chalupa.

Our guide Rudy was great! He was a bit of a flirt and someone asked him his marital status. He said that he's single but can cook and wash his own clothes, however, his sister does his ironing! Kathy taught him the English words “bachelor” and “bachelor pad.”

A view of La Fortuna Falls from the lookout. A lot has changed in the five years since we first visited La Fortuna Falls, there are now several shops, a fee station and actual signs.

The steep and narrow hike down to the falls, however, is still just as precarious as it was five years ago!

 

Chris and Nina enjoyed a much needed break, sitting on a rock at the base of the falls, with the spray hitting our faces.

There's a beautiful, moss covered, grotto at the base of the falls.

Vines and little rivers of water fall from the top of the grotto.

 

We passed through a field of cows on the return trip and “Rudy the Flirt” took some of the girls galloping.

Rudy leads the way home...

In the afternoon, we visited Arenal Bungee, a new attraction in the town of La Fortuna. Chris and Nina did “The Swing” together and Chris did “The Bungee” and “The Rocket Launcher.” Kathy chose to keep her feet on solid ground and was the official photographer.

For the swing ride, we had to wear a “giant taco shell” and we were the stuffing! We lay down in a large, heavy fabric net with straps and cords on the back.

The cords were then attached to a pulley, while we held onto the railing. Then... we started to be lifted backwards...

Here, we are about to be launched. Nina, who has bungee jumped before, was felling pretty confident up until this point. Suddenly, she got nervous, but was trapped in her “taco” with no where to go!

So.... Nina just closed her eyes and held her breath.... and next thing she knew she was laughing!

It was like we were flying side by side...

Chris stands on the edge of the platform, ready to jump!

And he's off..... bungee!

Check out that form....

Incoming!!!

Touch down!! Chris actually thinks bungee was the most disorienting due to all the spinning.

Now there's a proud and happy bungeeing fool! How cute....

Round three... Chris prepares for the “Rocket Launcher.”

The cords begin to tighten and extend... like a giant sling shot.

Costa Rica.... We have lift off!

That's damn near horizontal!! Don't barf...

Chris proceeded to do some flips while he waited for the bouncing to finish.

How's the view from up there? Tourists and Ticos alike were standing on the side of the road taking pictures and pointing at Chris. The driver of one car even slammed on his brakes, did a U-turn in the middle of the street and blew through a stop sign, in order to pull over and watch!

Yes, I survived! Hail, the conquering hero!!

After all that bouncing around in mid-air, we needed some serious relaxation time at the Baldi Hot Springs!

There are three different hot springs that have a water source from Arenal.... Tabacon, Baldi and Eco Thermales. We've been to two of them.

Tabacon is heaven on earth, but the most luxurious and therefore expensive hot spring. Baldi is the middle ground and middle price, a little bit like Las Vegas or a frat house, with disco balls and techno music, but also beautiful blue and yellow tile work. Eco Thermales is the cheapest, but you can hear barking dogs, blaring stereos and traffic noise.

Baldi has two swim up bars, this one, underneath a restaurant, was our favorite. It played great Latin music videos and Nina enjoyed dancing in the water.

Like Tabacon, Baldi has lots of small, medium and large pools of hot water. It also has two huge water slides, which Chris loved!

Baldi also has these cool under water tiled lawn chairs...

Kathy and Chris enjoy one of “many” drinks at the swim up bar at reception.

 

Ahhhh.... how cute. Chris and Nina pose underneath one of the many waterfalls at Baldi.

Group photo! Aren't we sporting some “interesting” tan lines!?

Nina bonded with an American exchange student from Tennessee on a three month Spanish language intensive program outside San José. Staysha was a bit homesick, so Nina, natural born “mommy” that she is, took her under her wing. Staysha is a lovely and stunning girl that wants to be a journalist.

That night, we ate at La Choza del Laurel, a restaurant in La Fortuna that was recommended by Edgar, our kayaking guide. Note the hanging bunches of plantains decor!

Nina had nachos, again.  She practically lived on nachos and gallo pinto (traditional Costa Rican fare of beans and rice) the entire trip.

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