- Costa Rica Logistics
- The Other San Jose
- Arenal & La Fortuna
- Horses & Waterfalls
- Hanging Bridges & Toucans
- The Big Day
When it comes to the Hou family trip planning, Hong usually decides on the things that we must do. So here we were – guided horseback riding tour at 8:30 on our very first morning!
Lots of places in Arenal offered horse-related activities, including our resort and the Mistico park that we’d later visit. We chose the nearby ranch: Cabalgata Don Tobias. $65 per person for three hours was quite cheap. There was an option of prepaying online with a credit card, which in retrospect I probably should’ve done. We opted to hand the guide a wad of Franklins and Jacksons at the completion of the trip. It wasn’t clear if anyone there even kept track of who had paid and who hadn’t.
My horseback riding skills were as plentiful as my Spanish vocabulary, but having done similar tours in Half Moon Bay and Maui gave me the legitimacy to claim being experienced. Of course, these were very well trained horses who followed the guide like disciplined soldiers. Given that I did not fall off my ride, I consider it yet another accomplished horseback campaign.
I recently bought an SJCam (GoPro competitor) and a bunch of accessories, and this tour was a great opportunity to try out the chest strap.
William, my horse, did not seem amused to carry a dork.
All lined up and ready to go!
Rain forest trail
We went by cows, horses, sheep, and other animals that the ranch owned.
My favorite part was when all the horses drank from the same bucket at the same time, bumping the riders against one another.
Up the mountain we went!
Baa baa black sheep!
Heading toward the volcano.
View from the hill.
During a break, we were treated to a tasting of queso fresco made on site, from the cows that mooed at us earlier.
I’m not a cheese person but that stuff was good! Lemonade was tasty, too.
La Fortuna Waterfall
In the afternoon after the horse ride, we went with a big group to La Fortuna Waterfall. Situated at the base of Cerro Chato (a dormant volcano next to Arenal), it was a short drive from downtown. Various websites cite it to be 65-75 meters tall, which is impressive considering that Niagara Falls is only 51 meters.
Selfie at the park entrance, way above the waterfall.
After paying a $15 fee (price in USD only), it was a continuous descent on 400+ steps of stairs down to the base of the waterfall. Sounded daunting but it was an easy, comfortable hike.
Time to head downstairs!
La Fortuna Waterfall.
The pond of water was about waist-deep and people loved going in for a dip or a swim.
This trip was killing two birds with one stone: guests including us were eager to see this major Arenal attraction, and the wedding party planned a photo shoot here. Then we were informed that the professional wedding photographer made a boo boo with his schedule and did not show up as promised. Imagine that!
Amber and IndraNeel were completely unfazed, and started doing the work themselves. Combining their friends’ skills and some serious equipment, the photos turned out indistinguishable from professional work.
He went down on one knee in front of her, and pulled out… a camera.
They shot some gorgeous photos here.
I’ve been obsessed with the Fitbit that Hong gave me for Christmas. One stat I love looking at is the number of floors climbed per day. On this day, while riding the horse, Fitbit counted 85 floors! Then there was the return trip of the waterfall visit, amounting to 30 floors. While I manage 5-25 floors on a typical day, this full day in Costa Rica ended with 123 floors, going way off the charts.