Page 3 of MaRs BaRs Travel Blog Posts



Today, Renata and I headed on a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park with Costa Rican Jade Tours. Out of all the national parks we’ve been to in Costa Rica, I found Manuel Antonio National Park to be the best park to spot wildlife. We saw sloths, various monkeys, birds and insects. The park also has a beautiful beach to relax. However, at the beach, we had to be careful of our belongings. The white face capuchin monkeys and raccoons are known to steal from unsuspecting tourist. As the day grew hotter, we headed back to our hotel to cool off. In the late afternoon, we headed to the local beach and watched parasailers in the distance and the beautiful sunset on the horizon. For dinner we headed to La Cantina, where we enjoyed some ... read more
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park


After breakfast, we headed to the Balsa River for some white-water rafting with Desafio Adventures. Our bus guide, made an impromptu stop at a road side grocery store where we learned about the different tropical fruits of Costa Rica and had our first taste of Coconut Water. Delicious! By the time we reached the Balsa River, our river guides had everything prepared for our white-water rafting excursion. We were provided with a helmet and paddle and after a quick safety demonstration, we were off on our white-water rafting adventure. The Rio Balsa is a class II and class III River that is regulated by daily dam releases. It is perfect for first timers like my sister, Renata. We steered our way pass various rocky rapid and enjoyed a relaxing float down the river. The rapids were ... read more
Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater Rafting
Crocodile Sighting


This morning, we headed out on our spelunking tour of Venado Cave with EcoTerra. With flashlights to light the way, and helmets for protection, we were ready for the unknown. To get to the entrance of the cave, we had to walk down a couple of slippery steps. We got a glimpse of our first and last encounter with a tiny red poison dart frog. The frog was only about an inch in length. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture of the frog because I left my camera and phone behind. Renata and I were told not to bring our cameras and phones because they would get wet in the cave. We walked, climbed, squeezed and crawled our way through various tight passages in the cave. I was definitely glad that I did not ... read more
Arenal Volcano Hike
Arenal Volcano Hike
Arenal Volcano Hike


Today, Renata and I are going canyoning in the Lost Canyon and horseback riding and swimming at La Fortuna Waterfall. I have never been canyoning before nor have I swam in a waterfall. Two first time adventures in one day! Our first excursion of the day was canyoning. A bumpy ride up to the Lost Canyon was rewarded with great views of the countryside. When we reached our final destination, we settled into our safety gear and after a brief safety talk, we headed to the first waterfall. Rappelling down the first waterfall, “the Baby” was a little nerve racking but once I got the hang of it, it was incredible. Renata and I rappelled down four waterfalls, jumped into pools, zipped our way on guided rappels and got soaked by rapids. The scariest part was ... read more
Horseback Riding
Horseback Riding
Rest Stop for Horses


Today, Renata and I are taking a guided hike to see the Rio Celeste Waterfall in Tenorio Volcano National Park. The Rio Celeste Waterfall is a striking waterfall that cascades down into magical turquoise blue waters. Apparently the magical blue colour of the water is attributed to the mixing of two non-colour tributaries: Rio Buenavista and Quebrada Agria. The point where the two tributaries mix is called El Tenidor, a surreal natural phenomena. The uphill hiking on uneven terrain made the day hike more difficult than I thought it would be. It was totally worth it, though. We even witnessed a cute monkey, entertaining us in the trees. After the fairly strenuous hike, we were treated to a delicious Costa Rican lunch before we headed back to our hotel. For dinner, Renata and I headed to ... read more
Rio Celeste
Rio Celeste Waterfall
Rio Celeste


Today, marks the end of Mac-Serve Costa Rica. While the rest of the Mac-Serve Costa Rica group woke up at 4:30am for their early morning flight back to Toronto, Renata and I continued our adventure in Costa Rica. Our next stop: La Fortuna, the adventure capital of Costa Rica. Renata and I decided to take transportation plus tour from San Jose to Arenal, to maximize our time exploring in Costa Rica. Today, we are visiting the Doka Coffee Plantation, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Our first stop was the Doka Coffee Plantation. The Doka Coffee Plantation had a bigger coffee manufacturing facility than the Don Juan Coffee Plantation we toured in Monteverde. As a result, I was able to understand the coffee manufacturing process a lot better during the Doka Coffee Tour. After coffee ... read more
Poas Volcano
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Doka Coffee Tour


While the majority of our MacServe group headed out early for a day tour to Tortuguero, Renata and I decided to go on a guided half day tour to Irazu Volcano and Cartago City with Gray Line Costa Rica. We had an exceptionally clear day, so we had a great view of the Irazu Volcano in the distance. We also saw the massive craters that were made from the Irazu volcano eruption in the 1960’s. After our time at Irazu Volcano National Park, we headed over to Cartago. I thought that we would get a tour of the city, but we were only there for about 15 minutes before we left to go back to San Jose. There was this interesting farmers and artisan market that I wanted to check out. Instead we were dropped off ... read more
Cartago
Irazu National Park
On the way to Cartago


We waved goodbye to Monteverde, as we headed towards San Jose this morning. On the way, Fabian spotted a cashew tree and asked the driver to stop. He picked a cashew fruit off the tree to illustrate why cashews are so expensive. Each cashew fruit contains only one cashew nut. You must pick multiple fruits to get a bunch of cashews. Cashews must be roasted; in their raw form then are poisonous. The cashew fruit is edible but their stains are impossible to remove from clothes. When we arrived at Puntarenas beach, it was early afternoon and incredibly hot. Fabian booked at room at Puntarenas Beach Hotel, so the group had a choice to either head over to the beach or to stay at the hotel pool. Renata and I decided to head over to the ... read more
View from Mirador Restaurant
Drinks
Drinks


This morning, after breakfast, the group headed to Don Juan Coffee Plantation to learn how Costa Rican coffee is produced. At the plantation, we discovered the difficult economics of growing coffee. Much work is involved but very little money is made in coffee production. During the coffee harvest from November to February, ripe coffee cherries are hand-picked. Each cherry contains about one to two coffee beans. Workers get paid based on the weight of coffee they pick. Most of the coffee pickers are from the neighbouring country Nicaragua, and receive minimal earnings for their hard labour. Furthermore, coffee farmers receive very little income to justify having a coffee plantation. Most of the money goes to the big corporations that buy the coffee and sell it for 3-4 dollars a cup. Farmers have to support themselves by ... read more
Canopy Tour Monteverde
Coffee Tour Monteverde
Coffee Tour Monteverde


Today, we were tasked with painting the railings and sheds of Santa Elena reserve a beautiful green colour. After applying multiple coats of paint, I found that we did an incredible job of painting the reserve a little greener. We even painted the bug shed, we washed down a couple of days earlier. While still being attacked by bugs, at the shed, I kept on telling myself “Pura Vida”. Some things never change. With the hot climate and the strenuous work we were undertaking, I started looking forward to snack time on the reserve. At first, snack time started off as an inside joke with the Mac-Serve group. We felt that we were being fed more than volunteering. But, we learned to appreciate snack time. Volunteering at the reserve was tiring and snack time provided the ... read more
Paint Job
Paint Job
Paint Job




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