Last year on June 8th, the six of us: my mom, dad, cousin, aunt, uncle, and I, drove to the Los Angeles International Airport in California at eleven pm to catch our two am flight to Costa Rica. We were all completely exhausted. It was awful standing in line for two hours trying and failing to stay awake. Eventually we made it through security and boarded the Airbus.
Of course, we slept all the way, landed at ten am, went through customs, grabbed our luggage, and then met our guide. All of the men in our group are over six feet, and we had to get in a small van, so of course there were problems. It was a very uncomfortable four-hour drive across the mountains of Arenal to our hotel, the Tabacon.
The next morning, we toured the Venado Caves. What we had expected was a casual walking tour on lit pathways, similar to Carlsbad Caverns. What we got was much better. Our tour guide handed everyone a helmet with a light on top, a pair of knee-high rubber boots, and a breathing filter to protect us against airborne bat guano. We all thought that was creepy, so we took them and didn’t complain.
We then spent the next few hours on an extremely intense spelunking adventure, where we crawled through freezing, water filled tunnels, climbed over slippery rocks, and snapped photos with cave wildlife, for example: the whip spider which is as big as my palm. The only light source during the whole adventure came from our helmet lights. It was an incredible experience. We were hot, soaked, exhausted, and covered in cuts and scrapes at the end of the two-and-a-half mile trek.
The next day, we rafted down the Rio Toro, as series of over forty-five wet and wild class III-IV rapids in a secluded tropical rainforest canyon. At first I was nervous, but that quickly turned into excitement, because it was so much fun. We went crashing around, over, and through, submerged boulders, which catapulted us up and down like a roller coaster. My mother was almost thrown out of the raft three times, to her dismay.
Miraculously, no one in our boat fell off during the four-hour tour. Needless to say, that experience is not one of my mother’s favorite memories.
After a five-hour drive across the mountains to the Manuel Antonio coastline, we participated in a rainforest canopy tour. Instead of walking most of the way, we rode zip lines through the trees. It was scary and exhilarating, flying at high speeds hundreds of feet off the ground. Overall, it was the greatest vacation ever, and we intend to return someday.
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