Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde, Costa Rica- Part 1-Zip-Lining

Today’s post is another part of my collaboration with My Costa Rica. A big thanks to both them and Desafio Adventures for another amazing experience!  

I knew that at some point during our 5 months here in Costa Rica, I would want to go Zip-lining. I had been once before during a previous trip, but Shaun hadn’t. In fact, Shaun has a little bit of a fear of heights. I actually thought I was going to have to fly solo for this adventure, but Shaun decided he was in. What a brave lad.

geared up, and looking a little nervous!

geared up, and looking a little nervous!

Desafio hooked us up with a day at Selvatura Adventure Park. We would start the morning by zip-lining through the cloud forest, and then move on to the hanging bridges. It was going to be a busy morning, so we made sure we got a good nights sleep.

Our shuttle picked us up at 8, and we drove about 30 minute to the park. As soon as we pulled up, we were whisked away to get geared up. Their process is beyond efficient. You walk into a room full of guides and gear. One of them makes eye contact with you and calls you over. Before you know it, you’re in a harness, a helmet, gloves, and you are on your way. It all happens so fast that you really have no time to even think about what lies ahead.

Our orientation, and one of the few photo's I would take this whole time.

Our orientation, and one of the few photo’s I would take this whole time.

After being put into our gear, we got into a shuttle for a short drive to the starting point. The entire process from getting there to getting to the entrance took less then 10 minutes. All of a sudden we were in the middle of the jungle, and faced with a very big adventure ahead of us.

The orientation was great. We were given clear instructions about the course, and the techniques we needed to know to get it done safely. Selvatura works on a hand brake system, which essentially means you stop yourself by pressing your glove on the line. Your glove has a big leather pad on the palm but It’s still kind of a scary thought at first. This was the technique I used last time, so I was okay, Shaun on the other hand, was not digging the whole “braking” aspect of the adventure.

Totally stole this photo from the internet, but it gives you an idea of what we were working with! Click for the link!

Totally stole this photo from the internet, but it gives you an idea of what we were working with! Click for the link!

So essentially zip-lining goes like this: they strap you to the line, you sit down in the harness, lean back, put your head to the side, lift your legs, put your dominant hand on the line behind you, and your other hand holding the line attaching you to the cable. Got it? Totally a completely natural and relaxed position to be in as your zoom thousands of feet through the air!

As you zip, the fingers of your dominant hand should circle around the line, like you are making the “Okay” sign with your thumb and pointer finger. When see the guide at the next platform putting two hands in the air (like he’s saying STAHP STAHHHHP)  it means it is time to press your hand flat on top of the line to begin braking. It was raining the day we were there, which means the line go faster. They told us there may be a chance you would need to put both hands behind you to brake. Meep!

Shaun zooming in on one of the first lines

Shaun zooming in on one of the first lines

Lucky for us, we only had to do the two hand brake once. In fact, most lines we didn’t have to brake at all! Often we were stopped by an automatic stopper the guides put out on  the line.

Once we got the hang of the whole braking process it was smooth sailing…or zipping from there.

Selvatura has 15 cables to zip through of all different lengths. Trying to describe the experience of zip-lining is nearly impossible. You are flying above the trees, through the clouds, at incredible speeds.the wind is hitting your face so hard you can barely keep your eyes open. It’s truly breathtaking, and a feeling that is impossible to capture in words.

Taken from below, a couple doing the final Kilometre long zip together

Taken from below, a couple doing the final Kilometre long zip together

The last line is a kilometre long. Can you imagine! An entire kilometre soaring through the air. But you don’t have to experience it alone, the last cable you are with a partner.Shaun was behind me, with his legs wrapped under my armpits, and I was just dangling there for dear life. It was like some sort of crazy couple bonding experience! 

The final big obstacle at Selvatura is the King Swing. Essentially a small bungee jump set up, but instead of falling straight down, you swing out and then back and forth till you stop. It’s an optional experience, so Shaun vetoed it immediately. Having bungee jumped before, I figured I could handle it and jumped at the chance to take part

It wasn’t quite the same as bungee jumping, as you don’t really have a choice when you jump, they just sort of open the gate, and you fall forward. Either way, it was awesome and I’m so glad I did it.

After our zip-lining it was time for the hanging bridges…but I’ll put a pin in it for now. I can’t promise as much death defying excitement in the next post, but it was memorable nonetheless.

Have you ever zip-lined or bungee jumped? Lets hear about it!

Pura Vida


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Cabinas Eddy, Monteverde, Costa Rica

I love it when we find a place to stay that makes our time in a town extra special. I can’t recommend Cabinas Eddy enough, so bare with me as I gush.

tucked up on the hill, Cabinas Eddy

tucked up on the hill, Cabinas Eddy

Cabinas Eddy is located a short 5 minute walk from the “centre” of town. I use the word centre loosely, as it really is only a small strip of shops and restaurants. The hotel/hostel has a variety of room options including both shared and private. We opted for a private room with ensuite bathroom, but in retrospect we could have easily taken one with a shared bathroom. The bathrooms were so clean and nice, that it would have been totally fine. Along with their cleanliness, Cabinas Eddy also offers their guests WiFi, a shared kitchen, free coffee, tour information, and even a barbershop! I can’t even tell you how many travellers I saw in there getting a much needed haircut!

The lobby that would transform into a restaurant in the mornings

The lobby that would transform into a restaurant in the mornings

One of the most amazing aspects of Cabinas Eddy is their breakfasts. Often when places advertise that breakfast is included you either get a very limited buffet, or are actually faced with an extra charge for breakfast upon arrival.

Cabinas Eddy is VERY different.

Every morning we would go downstairs and the lobby would be set up like a full fledged restaurant. Eddy and his family ran a tight ship, quickly and efficiently taking everyones orders, and getting breakfast out fast so everyone could take on their day. Every person got a plate of freshly cut fruit to start, and then their choice of hot breakfasts. They offer the same menu everyday, Banana Pancakes with coconut syrup, Ham and Cheese Omlettes, Breakfast Sandwich, Eggs Ham and Toast, and a breakfast wrap. It certainly made for some big decisions every morning!

Breakfasts aside, Cabinas Eddy is really an amazing. It’s truly a family run establishment which makes the atmosphere warm and loving. The whole family pitches in and you can tell they really care about every guests well being.

We had a stow away the day we were leaving!

We had a stow away the day we were leaving!

Guests of Cabinas Eddy can book all their tours right at the front desk. This makes it a wonderful hub for anyone’s stay in Monteverde.

I nearly forgot to mention one of our favourite parts…LUNA! This little furball belongs to Eddy’s daughter. Although they have a couple cats as pets, Luna stole our hearts. She was all black, like our bearcat at home, but a big fluff ball. I’m sure it was against the rules, but we invited her to our room on more then one occasion. Her presence made us feel right at home and we had so much fun playing with her.

Sleepy sloth friend

Sleepy sloth friend

I have a last little insider tip on Cabinas Eddy. As you leave the property and start walking up the hill to town, make sure you look in the trees on the left hand side. There is a mama sloth and her baby that hang out in the trees.We passed by then every single day! It was a very memorable part of our stay!

If you are staying in Monteverde and are looking for a place that is central, affordable, has a great atmosphere, and delicious breakfasts, I would highly suggest Cabinas Eddy.

Don’t forget to say hi to Luna for us!

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour, Costa Rica

As many of you know I have been working with the fabulous people over at My Costa Rica. I’ve got a bunch of great articles in the works, and will be sure to link to them as they get published.

One of the best parts of working with them has been being introduced to the amazing team over at Desafio Adventures. They welcomed me with open arms and have created some amazing opportunities for me.

With offices in La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Samara, they are a one stop shop for all your tour needs. If you’re looking for tours in these areas, check them out, you will get all star service.

The tour in today’s post was made possible by the team at Desafio, Monteverde.

Bundled up and ready to hike!

Bundled up and ready to hike!

After leaving La Fortuna, we made our way higher into the moutains towards Monteverde. After checking in to our awesome hostel, we headed over to Desafio to see what was in store. Turned out we would be heading on a tour of the Cloud Forest first thing in the morning.

Monteverde has two forests, Santa Elena Rainforest and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. We were heading to the latter. Our driver picked us up bright and early, and took us on the 20 minute drive up into the mountains. We arrived at the entrance, and were introduced to Rodrigo, our guide.

Our AMAZING guide.

Our AMAZING guide.

Before he even spoke, I instantly liked him. He had these light blue eyes that sparkled as he looked into the treetops, searching for birds and other wildlife to show us. He explained that he has been doing tours since 1986, and practically grew up in the forest. In fact, many of the trails had been built by members of his family. We knew we were in good hands.

The excitement began immediately as Rodrigo spotted Quetzels milling about the parking lot. For those of you who don’t know (as I didn’t) seeing a Quetzel is like striking gold. Many avid bird watchers come to Costa Rica just to see this illusive, and breathtaking creature.

Ummm...ya, impressive eh!

Ummm…ya, impressive eh!

I was immediately caught up in the papparazzi like energy, as crowds of people pointed their cameras towards the trees in an attempt to capture the birds on film. Once I spotted them, I could see why. Their iridescent blue green feathers, deep crimson chests, and incredibly long tail feathers make them seem like something out of a fairy tale. It’s no wonder that both the Mayan and Aztec worshipped them as a god.

Taken through the telescope!

Taken through the telescope!

I snapped a couple photo’s, and Rodrigo set up his telescope so we could get an up close and personal look. He even taught me how to take photos through the telescope, a trick that I absolutely loved!

After the excitement died down, we continued on our walk, entering the gates of the park, and starting out trek through the cloud forest. We watched as many guides showed their tours various books, and pamphlets explaining about the various creatures in the jungle. Rodrigo didn’t have to do that, he had a story about everything.

I couldn't even see until I looked in the telescope!

I couldn’t even see this lil guy until I looked in the telescope!

He told us about being tracked by a Jaguar, encountering boars, and about doing the multiple day hikes to Arenal. His knowledge and experience was incredible, and Shaun and I just kept asking him questions to gain as much information from his as possible.

We stopped along the way, learning about various plants and birds. He knew where everything was, from the largest ficus tree, to the smallest hummingbird nests.

Strangler Figs RULE

Strangler Figs RULE

Speaking of Ficus Trees, let me tell you how cool they are. No seriously! Later that day Shaun even said the coolest part of the tour was learning about these trees!

The Ficus Tree, or Stranger Figs, can be seen all over the Cloud Forest. Essentially, it’s like an Ivy. It starts growing on the top of an existing tree, and slowly grows downward, until it roots in the soil. Over time, it over takes the original tree, and kills it. Once the tree is dead, it slowly rots away, leaving the interior of the Ficus hollow. Soooo cool.

Rodrigo showed us several of these trees at various stages in the process, until finally we reached a gigantic Ficus that had a completely hollow. It was amazing. He told us that when he was younger, he would often climb up into the tree, and even showed us a couple of lines he had strung across when he was younger.

Cold Tourists

Cold Tourists

The path ended at a cute little waterfall, where Shaun and I managed to snap a very touristy looking picture. As I type this at the beach, all I can think about is how bundled up we looked. The Cloud Forest is certainly not a warm place!

We headed back down the trail, and out of the park. On the way out, we took a moment to see the hummingbird garden, which was complimentary as part of our tour. I took way to many photos, and have included a bunch at the end of this post.

If you are going to the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, here are our tips

Get a Guide-Better yet, Get Rodrigo!: If you don’t get a guide, and hike the trail on your own, you are likely going to just see a lot of plants. You really need a guide who knows the trail to show you all the intricacies ,details and magic that the forest has to offer. Contact Desafio to book Rodrigo, you won’t be disappointed.

Wear warm clothes- It’s chilly in the cloud forest. Shaun and I had several layers on, and were still a little cold. The hike is really easy, so you aren’t likely to work up a sweat.

Leave the Bug Spray at Home- One bonus of the Cloud Forest? To cold for bugs! Wahoo! So don’t bother “Deeting” yourself, you won’t need it.

Stop at the Hummingbird Garden– It is sort of tucked away in the parking lot, but its totally worth checking out. I think there is a small entrance fee if you are not on a tour, but its worth it if you are wanting to get up close and personal with these little guys. There is also a little cafe if you are craving a coffee or treat after your adventure.

So there you have it, another adventure under our belt, and we loved every moment!

Have you ever had a really good tour guide? Tell us about it!

Pura Vida


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

As Promised…Here are several hummingbirds!

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Healthy Hostel Meals Part 5- My Favourite Healthy Costa Rican Snacks

I LOVE grocery stores, especially grocery stores in other countries.

Whenever we are in a new town, and I find a new grocery store, I am in heaven. I will spend so much time wandering down the aisles, looking at all the products, reading ingredients, and filling up my basket with all sorts of new things.

As a result of all this “research”, I have found a bunch of awesome healthy snacks that I’ve never seen at home.

Here are a couple of my favourite go to snacks here in Costa Rica:

Can't begin to express my love for these.

Can’t begin to express my love for these.

Suspiros: These calorie free meringues are AMAZEBALLS! Every year at Christmas, I make tons of cookies full of butter and sugar for Shaun, and I make Meringues made with Stevia for myself. They are guilt free, and still feel like a treat.

Well the lovely people at SweetWell (which is actually a Belgium company) sell a pre-packaged version of my Christmas treat. They come in Vanilla, Mint and Strawberry, and are a perfect sweet treat for dessert.

I can guarantee I’ll be lugging some of these home with me…although I’ll be lucky if they make it through the plane ride!

Veggie time!

Veggie time!

Natural Sins Beet Chips: There are some travel days where getting my servings of vegetables in can be a challenge. You can’t exactly whip up a salad when you are on an all day shuttle. On days like this, these beet chips have been a saving grace.

Unlike lots of the vegetable based chips you find at home, these ones are totally clean. The ingredients are just beets!

Natural sins also sells dehydrated pineapple,mango, orange and coconut, but I’ve steered clear of those, as I’m sure I would just eat the whole pack in one sitting!

Guanabana, you're my hero

Guanabana, you’re my hero

Pops GuanaBana Light Yogurt: Oh Guanabana, how I love thee. This yogurt is hard to find, so when I track it down, I always pick up a couple. Pops is a big ice cream chain here in Costa Rica, and although they make some sinfully good ice cream, they also have a great line of lighter products as well.

This yogurt has a rice tangy taste, with less guilt then the non-light version. I usually split the container in two and add it to my oatmeal in the morning. I know I’m going to miss this little beauties when I get home!


pipa on beach with straw

Pipas: Oh my Beloved Pipas, what am I going to do without you.Over the past few weeks, I’ve developed a plan of attack. I’m having a pipa every day until I leave. My thought process is that I will overdose on these awesome budget friendly, healthy snacks, so that by the time I leave, I won’t crave them anymore.

That being said, I can totally see myself getting home and buying whole coconuts in an attempt to recreate the magic. I wonder if Shaun will invest in the machete necessary to open them for me??


So there you have it, my favourite healthy snacks here in Costa Rica. What are you go to healthy travel snacks?

For more Healthy Travel ideas, check out my Healthy Hostel Life Page!

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Baldi Hot Springs, La Fortuna

As you may have read in my accommodation review for La Fortuna, we ended up on some tours that weren’t really what we expected. Baldi Hot Springs was one of them.

Luckily, Shaun and I managed to make the most of it.

Our tour started around 2:30, with what we thought was a volcano tour. What we ended up getting was a nature hike around the base of the volcano with a guide that spoke very little English. We wandered around for about 2 hours, and all we saw were two different kinds of worms. It was odd, and Shaun and I were quite happy when it was over.

Ready for some hot springing!

Ready for some hot springing!

We weren’t too concerned with the lack of excitement on the first part of the tour, as we knew we had the hot springs to look forward to afterwards.

There are several hot springs to choose from in the La Fortuna area, but our hostel recommended Baldi. Our book describes Baldi as “The Disneyland of Hot Springs”, and it certainly lived up to its name.

lovely eh?

lovely eh?

Located just outside of the centre of La Fortuna, the hot springs is just as big, if not bigger as the town itself. It boasts a huge number of hot spring pools of various sizes, and temperatures, many of which have bars, and disco like lights and music.

Not exactly the relaxing soak we were looking for.

Regardless, after several days of hiking, tours, and cold showers, a soak in any hot springs seemed like a lovely idea.

Our tour dropped us off in front of the hot springs and said they would be back at nine to pick us up. We were given wrist bands, and booked in for our buffet dinner at 8pm.

The helicopter pad!

The helicopter pad!

This gave us a couple hours to enjoy the springs before cleaning up for dinner (as soppy bathing suits are not allowed).

As we entered the springs we realized…this is where the other half lives. It was super swanky, and far classier then anything we’ve seen in a long time. I was so glad I had shaved my legs!

We changed into our suits, rented a locker, and towels and went out to explore. There are maps everywhere because this place is huge. Between the multiple waterslides, sauna’s, swim up bars, and helicopter pad, it is very easy to get lost.

One of the many swim up bars

One of the many swim up bars

I decided I wanted to go into every hot spring pool, so we started at the bottom of the hill and worked our way up. Luckily, the first pool  had a swim up bar, so we decided to have a slow start, and get a drink.

We glanced at the menu and our eyes bulged. Beers were 5.50, and cocktails were 10 dollars. It was just like being back at home. We laughed and figured there were people who came to stay at the hotel in Baldi, and never leave. Therefore spending all their money on this expensive booze, not realizing that there are 2 dollar beers offered right down the road.

Enjoying one of the many falls (also hoping it washes my hair at the same time)

Enjoying one of the many falls (also hoping it washes my hair at the same time)

Anyways, we drank our pricey Imperials, savouring every overpriced drop, and relished in the deliciously hot water. We both agreed that after our lack of hygiene we were probably the dirtiest people in the pool. I joked that we should have brought a bar of soap to really get our money’s worth.

After our bevvies, we moved on to the next pools. I stuck to my word, and went in every one. Although the cold ones I just dipped a toe it.

That counts right?

Make sure you hug the infamous "Fat Lady" at the entrance!

Make sure you hug the infamous “Fat Lady” at the entrance!

Some of the pools were hotter then others, but the vast majority were really nice and warm. If someone had told me the week prior,while I was roasting away in Panama, that I would soon be enjoying a hot tub, I would have laughed. But there we were!

We made our way through all the pools and sauna’s, pausing to relax in some of the less crowded ones. At the top of the hill is the buffet, and the waterslides. I had read all sorts of things about these infamous waterslides, mainly that they are pretty dangerous. Just Google “Baldi Hot Springs Waterslides”, you’ll see what I mean.

We opted out of this part of the adventure, and headed back to the lockers to change for dinner.

At this point we were pretty raveous, and ready to get our moneys worth at the buffet. And let me tell you, they could have rolled me out of there like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka! After a week of salads, chickpeas, and eggs, having such a huge selection was so awesome.

Shaun and I started with soup, chicken for me, and cream of vegetable for him. Then we rocked a salad bar, with this amazing plantain ceviche (which we went back for seconds and thirds of). After that, we went and sampled a little bit of everything for our mains. Seafood jambalaya, Chilli, Pork, Beef, Chicken, some good, some bad, but we tried a little bit of it all.

After fruit, and a little piece of chocolate cake for dessert, I went back for more jambalaya, and Shaun went back for more soup. Can you tell the food was a real highlight for me?

We managed to waddle our ways back to our shuttle, and then back to our hostel. We woke up in the morning so full still, and puffy from all the salt we had ingested!

Baldi certainly is a once in a lifetime experience. If you are looking for the exciting hot springs, this if the one for you. If you are looking for somewhere to relax that has a more serene spa like experience, I would check out some of the others.

Have you ever been to a hot spring?

Pura Vida


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Our Favourite Places in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

As I mentioned before, we were kind of grouchy during our stay in La Fortuna. That being said, we did manage to rustle up a few of our favourite places for you to check out.

The entrance, I loved this little patio.

The entrance, I loved this little patio.

My Coffee: Seriously, what would a “Favourite Places” post be without a coffee shop.

Being away from the beach certainly had one huge perk, we were now in the land of coffee! There were coffee shops everywhere in La Fortuna, some of which even grew their own beans. I was a trooper, and tested out three different shops before deciding on my favourite.

I had to put my glasses on because I looked so tired, this coffee helped!

I had to put my glasses on because I looked so tired, this coffee helped!

My Coffee is centrally located right across from the central park. It’s actually a nice combination of restaurant and coffee shop. I could have easily gone there for a glass of wine and dinner, but I also didn’t feel bad just ordering a Cappuccino and sitting down.

Their service is wonderful, and it is apparent that the owners take a lot of pride in their establishment. Little touches like bringing you water, and playing ziplining videos on their flat screen really make them stand out.

If you are looking for a delicious coffee in La Fortuna, I would highly suggest My Coffee.

Doesn't look like much I know!

Doesn’t look like much I know!

Soda Sabor Tico: I can’t take credit for this place, it’s all Shaun. During our time in La Fortuna, Shaun was definitely getting sick of chickpeas and eggs and was on the hunt for some delicious, and cheap grub. He struck out one evening on a quest for a burger and fries.

When he returned, I could tell he struck gold. Not only had he found a soda that sold a burger and fries for 5 dollars, but it was half a block from our hostel. This soda sold both typical Costa Rican, and western food. It was always packed, a sure sign that it is a good place to eat. If you are looking for a bargain, this is a great place to go.

It was a cloudy day, but I swear there is a volcano there!

It was a cloudy day, but I swear there is a volcano there!

La Fortuna Park: This park isn’t hard to miss, it is literally the centre of La Fortuna. Like I said in previous posts, there isn’t much to do in La Fortuna outside of tours. So, I ended up spending a lot of time in the park. It’s not huge, but it has a lot of benches, and other places to sit, enjoy a coffee, and marvel at the Arenal volcano looming overhead.

The church in the background is also worth checking out. I popped in one afternoon while I was wandering around and It is gorgeous inside.

So there you have it, anther edition of “Our Favourite Places” is complete. As always, if you have questions about this area, or any others we’ve visited. Feel free to ask in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

10 Things That I Miss

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and we’ve all had time to reflect upon what we love. While there are soooo many people I miss (I’m looking at you Bean), there are a few creature comforts I miss as well. Here is a little run down of the top 10.

10 Things that I Miss

  1. Pickles and Mustard- They are expensive and hard to find!
  2. My Wedding Ring- I left it at home, but I miss the bling, and people knowing for certain that I’m a Mrs.
  3. Always being sure that you are allowed to put toilet paper in the toilet- It’s a constant battle
  4. Hoodie pockets-I never realized how often I walk around with my hands in my pockets, you better believe I’ll be buying one in the airport on the way home!
  5. Hot Showers- Or more so, always knowing when your next hot shower will be, and when your hair will be clean.
  6. Having two fluffy pillows every night-Unfortunately for Shaun, he probably misses me having this more then I do #pillowgrump
  7. Green Juice every morning- I’ll be hugging my juicer when I return
  8. BC Wine-Speaking of juice
  9. Wholly Fit Workouts-No brainer!
  10. YOU!! (well, mostly likely if you’re reading this it’s true!)

i-heart-picklesWhat do you  miss when you are travelling long term?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

If waterfalls had personalities, La Fortuna would be an attention seeking drama queen.

It is easily accessible, and insanely dramatic.

For most visitors to La Fortuna, a trip to see the waterfall is a no brainer. It’s much closer to town then many of the other attractions, and with only a $10 entrance fee, it is one of the more affordable activities you can do in the town.

Heading to the falls

Heading to the falls

Shaun and I decided to venture out to the waterfall early in the morning. The waterfall can attract over 400 people a day, so we wanted to beat the rush.

Although the falls were only 5km away from our hostel, we decided to take the $7 cab ride. We were sure glad we did, as the entire ride to the falls was uphill. Not exactly a leisurely stroll for first thing in the morning.

Shaun the climber

Shaun the climber

We got to the park, paid our entrance fee, and started down the steep slope to the falls. You may have read, that I kind of really love waterfalls, so my excitement level was growing by the minute. We stopped for a couple of quick photo ops along the way, including one for my Brother, the rock climber. See Sean, Shaun rock climbs too!

Yes they have the same name… I like to keep things simple.

So powerful

So powerful

We finally made it to the falls, and it was everything I had hoped it would be.  I sometimes find that when I’m faced with these powerful wonders of nature I get a little wobbly. My knees felt weak as I was faced with the intensity of the water falling right in front of me. It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before visiting this country.

We poked around for a bit, climbing rocks, and watching a few very brave souls jump in the water for a swim. No one that I saw got even close to the waterfall as the current would just push them away. Regardless, I was not remotely tempted to take a dip.

I told Shaun about a picture I’d seen of Beyonce at these falls. We decided that my own photoshoot was in order. So I climbed onto a rock, and Shaun started snapping away. Here are a couple of my fave shots.

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I feel so vain, but hey, it is not often you have your own personal paparazzi present.

After about an hour we started the climb up the stairs. Although we tend to think that we are pretty fit, we had to take a break at the half way point.I didn’t mind, it gave me one last chance to see the falls before leaving.

Once we got to the top, we decided to save our $7 dollars worth of cab money, and walk the 5km back to the hostel. Much easier going downhill then up!P1020384

If you are heading to the La Fortuna Waterfall here are a couple tips:

  • Go early, this place can get really busy!
  • Wear good shoes, there are lots of rocks to climb over near the bottom
  • Bring your suit if you feel brave, unlike many of the waterfalls we’ve visited, swimming is allowed here.
  • Embrace your inner tourist, and get those corny waterfall photos… we did!



Another tour down, many more to go!

Have you ever seen something in nature that has had a big impact on you? Lets hear about it?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

5 Items I’m So Glad I Packed

As many of you know, I spent A LOT of time planning my packing lists. I even gave a full run down of everything I brought here and here.

I think I did a pretty good job too. I would probably have packed more underwear, and less dresses, but other then that, everything else has worked out well.

All my stuff has been pretty essential, but there are a couple items that stand out from the rest. Things that I often think to myself “Oh man, I’m so glad I packed my…”

So without further ado, here is my list of 5 things that I am SO happy I packed:

P1020680Electric Toothbrush– I have my friend Shauna to thank for this one. She recommended this cute little toothbrush to me, and I’m so glad I listened. It’s battery operated, and keeps my pearly whites, pearly white. The fact that they come in all sorts of funky colours is an added bonus.

Yes, mine is zebra print…jealous? I also feel I should point out that the brush head is not as yellow as it looks, its just the lighting. Stop judging.


Hat- I was on the fence as to whether I was even going to bring this hat. It’s hard, and doesn’t pack well, which means I have to carry it whenever we are travelling. I decided at the very last minute to take it, and that I would ditch it if it proved to be a problem.

Well, I am SO glad I did. I literally wear this hat everywhere (as I’m sure you can tell from my photos). It keeps the sun off my whole face, and breathes well so my head doesn’t get all sweaty. It’s getting pretty beat up these days. It’s full of sand, and some odd stains, but I love it, and just hope it lasts me the whole trip

P1020682Old Navy Bag- This little shoulder bag looks like It’s gone through a war. It has a huge rip on each handle, there is gum stuck in the pocket, and marker leaked on the inside so there is a giant green stain covering the entire bottom. Yet it just keeps on trucking.

I originally bought this thinking I would use it just as a beach bag. You know, throw in a towel , and a book and head out the door. Well, it has become so much more. We literally use it for everything. It’s my grocery bag when going to the store, it’s my purse for going out, and most importantly, it is the bag we use to lug all our food around in. It’s been through so much, and is in such rough shape. If it actually makes it to the end of the trip, I feel like I should frame it.

P1020681Lots of Sunscreen- I think in total we brought 6 containers of sunscreen with us. All of which were various strengths, and types. Although this may seem excessive, I’m so glad we did. Sunscreen is uber expensive down here. If it’s between lugging around an couple extra containers, or spending 18 dollars on a new bottle, the decision pretty much makes itself.

The real test will be whether or not we can make what’s left last the next two mos!


Towel- Some of us packed a towel (me), some of us didn’t (Shaun). This was actually a seriously stupid point of stress for us at the start of the trip. One our first hostels didn’t supply towels, and we were both sharing mine. Every day I would say that we should go find Shaun one of his own, but it took over a week before it happened. By that time my towel was rank. I would find myself glaring at him every time he came back from a surf session, and wiped himself off.

It was around this point in the trip that I realized I have a serious emotional reaction to dirty laundry. After that, I made sure my laundry was done regularly, and Shaun went and bought his own towel.

Also…I should point out that these are not our towels. I forgot to take a photo, and am too lazy to go back to our room to do so. It would be sweet if these were our towels though!

What are your travel must haves?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Rio Celeste, Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica Part 2

Now where were we…

The view from the mid way point of the stairs, lots more to go.

The view from the mid way point of the stairs, lots more to go.

There are five different things to see during the Rio Celeste hike: the waterfall, the lookout, the hot springs, the blue lagoon, and the river mouth.

When we left off, we had just arrived at the staircase down to the waterfall. The stairs are well maintained, but there are A LOT of them. Many guidebooks I’ve read suggest skipping the waterfall at first, and visiting it on your way back. The idea is that the will tire you out for the rest of your hike. I disagree. I was so tired by the end of the hike that I don’t think I would have fully appreciated the sight of these majestic falls at the end.

Killer boots man

Killer boots man

As I made my way down the steep slope, and caught my first glimpse of the water, I knew going on this tour had been the right choice. Never in my life had I seen water that blue. It didn’t even seem real. Jessica was kind enough to take a picture of me, and my wicked boots.

The famous tapir photo

The Blue Lagoon

After spending some time enjoying the falls, we made our way up the zillions of stairs, and back onto the trail. We had about 750m to go until the lookout. Jessica was right in encouraging me to rent the gumboots. I watched so many people trying to dodge the puddles and thick mud. It was so nice to be able to just trudge right through the muck, and not have to worry about getting dirty.

The next stop was the lookout. On some days you can see the volcano mountain range in the distance, but today it was too cloudy. It was however, a good vantage point to catch my first look at the wispy rain of the cloud forest dancing through the trees, a sight I would become all too familiar with in the days to come!


The famous Tapir photo…to be clear, this is not my photo!

Another 250m down the trail, and we arrived at the Blue Lagoon. Jessica asked me if I’d ever seen the Blue Lagoon movie, because it was filmed here. I totally believed her until she started laughing. Silly tourist. I could hardly imagine Brooke Shields trudging through the mud every day to get to set.

While we were there Jessica told us a story about the infamous Blue Lagoon Tapir photo. A Tapir is an animal that sort of looks like a cross between a gray pig, and an ant eater. They live around Rio Celeste, but are fairly elusive. Seeing one on this tour would be like striking gold. I had noticed in the advertising for the tour that the photos of the blue lagoon have a Tapir front and centre. I assumed it was photoshopped, and was used to lure tourists into thinking they would see one.

Well apparently the photo IS real (see above) and was actually taken by one of the women who works at the soda we had lunch at. She was hiking the trail one day, got to the blue lagoon, and there was a Tapir, taking a dip.

Egg Salad anyone?

Egg Salad anyone?

Luckily she had her camera with her, because now this photograph is famous, and used all over Costa Rica!

Not far from the Blue Lagoon was the hot springs, a bubbling corner of the river that wafted the smell of sulpher into the air. I knew I was getting hungry as it made me want an egg salad sandwich really bad!

Although everything we’d seen was really neat, I thought the final stop was the coolest.

Wonder if Shaun thinks this is up to code?

Wonder if Shaun thinks this is up to code?

We crossed over a couple rickety bridges, and came to the river mouth. This is where two rivers converge, and the chemical reaction that creates the colour occurs.

Okay, so here is my attempt at a chemistry lesson, bare with me:

People used to believe that the colour is caused by a chemical reaction between Sulphur, which is emitted by the volcanic activity, and Calcium Carbonate. This is the information you will find all over the internet, but it is wrong. A study completed in September of last year found that the colour is actually an optical illusion.


If you look at the photo, you’ll see two river intersecting, one straight, and the other off to the right. Take a look at the whitish hue that covers the rocks on the bottom of the river. This is a combination of Aluminun, Oxygen, and Silicon, and its suspended in the water. When the sun hits it, it creates the illusion of the celestial blue waters we see with our eyes. That’s why if you take the water out of the river, it looks clear.

Clear as the mud on my boot eh? You can read more about it here.

I much prefer the legend which believes that when God painted the sky, he used Rio Celeste to dip his paint brush into. A much lovelier sentiment if I do say so myself.

After taking it all in, we started the big hike back to the van. Although the trail is only 2.5km both ways, the terrain is challenging, and with the rain it made for a long haul. By the time we got back, washed the mud off us, and got in the van I was exhausted, and SO ready for lunch.

I did bring my camera to the restaurant, but was so hungry by the time it arrived I snorfed it up before remember to take a photo. It was salad with fish, and vegetables.  After lunch we got back into the van for the 2 hour drive back to La Fortuna. I’m pretty sure all the guests, including myself, napped the whole way.

If this is a hike you are interested in doing, here are a couple tips:

  • Wear long pants, and bring rain gear, regardless of the season there will be mud
  • Rent the boots, not having to deal with muddy shoes when you get back to your hotel makes it well worth it
  • Bring a snack, an apple of something small will help keep you stamina up during the long hike
  • Although bugs weren’t a huge problem, it’s probably good to have some bugspray handy just in case.
  • Get a good guide. Jessica was amazing, and I would highly suggest requesting her from Canoa Aventura.
  • Ask your tour company about the conditions of the river before booking your tour. You want to make sure it’s in its brilliant blue form.


So there you have it, my first big epic tour adventure. I’m so glad I went, as it was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress