Costa Rica Waterfall Rappelling: My Pant-Pooping Experience [VIDEOS]

When I accepted the kind invitation of Yogi Aaron to take part of a week-long yoga retreat in the unspoiled Osa Peninsula, the last thing I imagined is that I would give Costa Rica waterfall rappelling a try. It’s pretty ironic that while I consider myself to be pretty adventurous, I pee my pants whenever I think of sudden drops from higher grounds…

But there I was, hanging from a seemingly-feeble rope, over 100 ft.

Costa Rica waterfall rappelling photo

I went down THAT thing?!

It all started innocently enough, at a ranch a couple of kilometers away. We were told the horseback ride would last about 2 hours—and that we would be delighted by the open fields, jungle, and coastline.

It all sounded great! And theeeen

Costa Rica waterfall rappelling, horseback riding

Scary moment during horseback riding, beautifully captured! Haha

They forgot to tell us that because it was the rainy season, it would be a tad bit slippery in parts. They also forgot to tell us that the horseback ride alone was going to be a great adrenaline build up to the crazy adventure that awaited us at the waterfall…

So even that ride (and consequent hike) was scary to me. I felt like such a bouji city girl as I galloped through the narrow paths, way too steep for my comfort. I almost slipped out of my seat and into the abyss more than a handful of times:

Then I heard the raging river welcoming us. I started to get excited. Finally, in a good way. I was not scared, but giddy.

And then it got scary again REAL FREAKIN’ QUICK!

^ [Start at 4:30 for the crazy drop, without the hiking prologue] ^

Yeah, I did slip. And felt like I would die. But I didn’t. AND IT WAS AWESOME.

Would you give Costa Rica waterfall rappelling a try?

Special thanks to Aaron and the entire team at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat for such an incredible press trip! While tour was complimentary, this post about my pant-pooping experience is my honest opinion. And very, very real.

Corcovado School: Smiles and Hope in Costa Rica

During my stay at Blue Osa, I got the opportunity to learn about one of their special partnerships—the Corcovado School in the nearby community of Puerto Jimenez.

Corcovado School 1, Costa Rica charity

Aren’t they the cutest?

About 20 miles from Blue Osa, Puerto Jimenez is a small, tight-knit community of 1,780 (and growing), known for agriculture, commercial fishing and ecotourism. Nestled at the doorstep of Corcovado National Park, nature and adventure seekers come for the wildlife and adrenaline rush, but many tourists don’t realize the reality of the town.

Largely rural, many jobs are tourism based, which is not entirely positive because at the education level, children are affected. Public education in Costa Rica is based on learning by memorization, and doesn’t teach future generations critical thinking skills or autonomy.

Blue Osa has been working with the local school for some time and hopes to change the face of education on the Osa Peninsula.

Corcovado School 2, Costa Rica charity

Corcovado School is a privately funded school that rose out of the necessity to educate the young population of Puerto Jimenez and covers children in the preschool years up until Grade 6. If you were to meet the students, you’d find kids that are all smiles, curious and interested in the world around them.

The teachers, staff, and advising committee hope to build a school that the local community can be a part of, but also be proud of. Curriculum is place-based learning, which allows the students to experience events, building their self-esteem, confidence and cognitive abilities. Subjects are taught in Spanish and English to give the students a global education since both languages are spoken and utilized in a number of countries.

The truth is Corcovado School is in transition. The students need tools in the form of sponsorships and the teaching and administrative staff requires assistance with infrastructure. The cost to sponsor a child is $3,000 USD per year, which goes directly to their daily needs. Blue Osa is asking for a commitment of six years to sponsor a child, but even one year would make a difference.

Corcovado School 3, Costa Rica charity

If you’ve ever traveled to Costa Rica and fallen in love with it, remember that in many ways its local population is still developing and giving back in equal amounts to what the country gave you would not only feel wonderful, but right.

Want to help this Costa Rica charity? Become a sponsor!

If you want to sponsor a child at the Corcovado School visit the sponsorship page on their website or email them directly at: corcovadoschooldirector(at)gmail.com.

The Magic of Irazu Volcano National Park

One day: I only had one day in my Costa Rica itinerary to explore San Jose and surrounding areas. After debating between Poas and Irazu Volcano National Park, I finally picked the latter due to its unusual, stark terrain created by its last eruption in 1963.

In fact, scientists and researchers alike called such eruption the “highway from hell,” as they believe it happened due to magma that took a nonstop route from the mantle over just a few months. I knew I would take some stunning pictures there, so I went for it!

Irazu Crater Lake tour, Cartago, Costa Rica

What I thought Irazu’s crater would look like… [Photo: Wiki Commons]

Irazu Volcano via Public Transportation

The owner of the Monkey’s Tribe Hostel and fellow Couchsurfer Hazel was gracious enough to take me to Irazu Volcano National Park despite my tight schedule. I was skeptical when she mentioned we were taking public transportation there, I’m not going to lie. Yet, I was wonderfully surprised once at the bus stop! The coach was unusually comfortable, with reclining seats and large picture windows. It was also a pretty direct, stunning route, which made it the best Irazu Volcano tour on a budget.

Cartago and Irazu via public transportation

Cartago panorama enroute to Irazu volcano

To get to Irazu volcano from San Jose, just go to downtown’s Central Avenue: right in front of the National Theather. From there, you will see a bus stop called Volcan Irazu. The first bus leaves at 8 AM every day and costs less than USD $1.

The ride takes about two hours and best of all? The bus drops you off inside the National Park (by the souvenir shop) and entrance fee is only USD $10 for foreigners. You will have a solid 2-2.5 hours to explore, as the bus won’t go back to San Jose from that same spot until 12:30 PM.

The Crater Lake (That Wasn’t There)

Spectacular scenery: green rolling hills, puffy white clouds, light blue sky. “Are we really going up to Irazu Volcano National Park? Doesn’t feel like it!” exclaimed Hazel upon our arrival. We were being blessed with an unusually-sunny day, as the way up is typically foggy (such is the volcanic climate).

As we finally reached the summit though, the city of Cartago below was slowly covered by a gentle mist. This only added to the incredible landscape.

The stark contrast of beautiful flowers and oddly-shaped leaves against the dark gray ashes left me in pure awe:

Irazu volcano landscape

the barren terrain of Irazu

I kept walking, thinking we would be trekking for at least 30 minutes before anything “exciting” happened… Boy, was I wrong! Just a few minutes in, I was slapped in the face by the sheer size and depth of Crater Principal (“principal crater”):

Irazu crater Cartago Costa Rica

Irazu crater during a drought: NO LAKE! But stunning nonetheless…

Irazu crater Cartago Costa Rica

I was flabbergasted: WOW

Sadly, the province was experiencing a drought during my visit last month, so Irazu’s crater didn’t have its characteristic green-turquoise lake. At all. It had DRIED, fully!

Blame it on climate change.

I tried to look on the bright side though: this gave us the rare chance to admire the volcano in all its glory. The uneven surface, barren walls, and ashy bottom. In turn, we could also focus on other often-overlooked gems around the National Park, such as the unique flora and fauna that play with visitors (whether they like it or not!):

Irazu wildlife Costa Rica

This little fella stole food from other tourists having a picnic! VIDEO coming soon 😉

Irazu National Park wildlife Costa Rica

while THIS fella stole MY snack! 😛

Irazu National Park via public transportation, flora

exotic flowers you may find at Irazu

Irazu Volcano tour, Costa Rica flora

Unique plants by the entrance of Irazu National Park

The Irazu Volcano National Park might be relatively small, but its close proximity to San Jose, ease of access, and rich landscape make it a must-see attraction when visiting Costa Rica — whether you go by public transportation or book a guided tour.

For many more pictures of IRAZU, check out my Central America album

Have you gone on an Irazu Volcano tour? What did you think?

My Costa Rica itinerary: Adventure & sustainable tourism in 9 days

The past 3 weeks have been insane: from packing up my entire life out Florida to coming to Puerto Rico to visit family before I head out to Central America and onward to Asia. AH! Barely any time to breathe. In fact, I’m posting this during my 4-hr. layover, since the Costa Rica itinerary you see below kicks off TONIGHT!

For more details about my Latin American adventures, check out my Nicaragua itinerary as well. It’s fun, I promise 😉

My Costa Rica itinerary: Details of my adventures

Costa Rica itinerary, Cartago

Beautiful province of Cartago, Costa Rica, Wiki Commons

I flew out of Puerto Rico this afternoon, but due this inconvenient layover in Fort Lauderdale, I don’t get to Costa Rica until well past midnight (so technically tomorrow). Thankfully, I’ll be Couchsurfing with a wonderful lady named Hazel, who also happens to have her very own travel agency and hostel in downtown San Jose! I’ll be taking a bus from the airport to downtown, where she will send one of her taxi drivers to pick me up 🙂

I better sleep well on those flights, because it is up to a VERY early start that Wednesday, August 6! We’ll be taking a half-day trip to climb Costa Rica’s highest, and one of its most active, volcanoes: Irazu. Its stunning crater lake graced the intro of this blog post 😉

On the way, we will also be visiting the historical ruins of Cartago. This province has some beautifully-decaying colonial architecture, in addition to rich ecological diversity.

Costa Rica itinerary, Heredia

Heredia, Costa Rica by Erick Hit, Flickr

Unfortunately, I had to cut this day short, as I will also be doing some medical tourism while still in Costa Rica. That afternoon, I will be getting my typhoid fever shot, as it was way too expensive in the states + I wanted to ensure I had it before getting to Asia. There will be plenty of time for some sightseeing around the Ticos’ capital though, plus even some salsa dancing or foodie experience or 2 at night with my host Hazel!

Then, on August 7th, I take the TicaBus to Nicaragua, with the aforementioned adventures taking place until August 15th. IF I still have energy by the time I’m back to Costa Rica that night, I plan on going out and experiencing the nightlife with my Couchsurfing host PELUK! He is a bboy dancer and will be interesting to learn about his style and his suburb, Heredia.

DAYS 12-18: Blue Osa Peninsula yoga retreat

Costa Rica itinerary, Blue Osa yoga retreat

Backyard of the Blue Osa by Jessika F, TripAdvisor

What started this mammoth of a Central American trip: Aaron, the owner of the Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa! He invited me to his property’s PRESS WEEK, in order to experience his beautiful hideaway in the Osa Peninsula. It is one of Costa Rica’s most unspoiled corners, close to some world-class reserves and wildlife. Because of this week-long stay is that I decided to come to the continent a little earlier in order to enjoy not only CR, but also Nicaragua.

My getaway in Costa Rica’s south Pacific region includes:

  • Round Trip Airfare from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez
  • 7 Days / 6 Nights Accommodations
  • 3 Farm-to-table meals, 1 Yoga Class daily
  • A 60-minute Spa treatment
  • One special Farm-to-table cocktail each night before dinner
  • 2 Eco-Tours
  • Still tentative: 2 days of diving, Isla de Cano expedition with local dive shop

I chose to go Waterfall Rappelling / Tree Climbing one full day; then tackle the Matapalo half-day hike, as I hear that its proximity to celebrated Corcovado Reserve should afford us with some spectacular wildlife sightings. the rest of the time I plan to be on the beach doing absolutely nothing. Except for maybe posting on Instagram once a day. lol.

DAYS 18-19: Golfo Dulce and departure

Costa Rica itinerary, dolphin watching

I really hope I get to go on that snorkeling/dolphin watching tour! Photo by Philipp Figueroa, Flickr

My last day in Costa Rica will be spent in downtown Puerto Jimenez, to see if I can take part of a dolphin and whale watching / snorkeling tour in Golfo Dulce! I still have to wait for a couple of more travelers to meet the minimum, so crossing my fingers tightly. As far as accommodation goes, I will be staying at cozy La Choza Del Manglar: a prime wildlife viewing spot in itself.

~ * ~

And this is IT! You probably won’t hear from me through the blog well into September, as I settle into my boarding house in Indonesia. This is why you should TOTALLY follow me through Instagram & Facebook, as it’s likely I will update those every couple of days as I stumble upon Internet between beaches and the jungle 😉

I’m scared and sad and anxious and excited as I leave my beloved island and continent behind to embark on new adventures and thrills. Wish me luck — and keep me in your prayers — as I trot through this intense transition… <3

Costa Rica itinerary, Golfo Dulce beach

Golfo Dulce’s beaches look STUNNING, too! (Scott Ableman, Flickr)

Got more tips for my Costa Rica itinerary? Tell me below!