Friday, February 26, 2016

Ziplining high above the canopy

Zip Lining: The minute one foot steps off the ledge, you'll understand the remarkable difference between standing on the edge of something beautiful and actually taking off into the clouds soaring like a live and breath it! 

By far Costa Rica's most popular adventure sport to indulge in...this one calls for some stomach although it handsomely rewards you after! There are many outfitters in almost all the popular travel destinations in Costa Rica. If you really want to feel what soaring like a bird feels, then my recommendation is to go for it either in Arenal/La Fortuna or in and around the Monteverde/Santa Elena cloud forest. We chose the latter and boy, were we in for a ride of a lifetime!  The two largest companies here are Selvatura and Sky Adventures...both equally good and very comparable. You couldn't go wrong with either. My reason for picking Sky was because it included a tandem ride and what better way to experience unbridled joy and the adrenaline rush with a loved one. 

Sky also has a gondola/tram ride that takes you all the way up more than 10,000 feet building up serious anticipation along the way. It also gives you the time needed to strengthen your guts or chicken out (just kidding)!! 

The pre-flight training instructions lasted all of 4 minutes...not what I was expecting! And just before stepping off the ledge....the instructors tease you about having signed the life or death waiver! As funny as it sounds the first ride was scary as hell. But the second got better and the third even more. After that, I found myself wanting to do this all over again and couldn't get enough of it. 
Its one of the most exhilarating experiences we've had - Zip lining high above the tree canopy meandering in and out through the clouds, feeling almost bird like. I'm sure fellow sky divers and zip liners can relate. Zip and zoom and try a canopy tour once in your lifetime. You won't regret it. 

Going solo has its ups! Hiking at La Paz waterfalls

 The La Paz waterfalls, outside of the city of San Jose, CR are spectacular, hands down! But what made it even more extraordinary was that it was my solo adventure there and I picked possibly the wettest rainiest day to hike it. But guess what, I wouldn’t change anything! If you ask me, I would say, go, particularly in the rain…and have the best experience of your life! If you don’t come back smiling, then contact me, I know some seriously good shrinks!!

The thick mist, descending clouds amidst a rain forest buzzing with activity was actually out of a movie scene. From croaking frogs and fluttering butterflies to fleeting hummingbirds, there are plenty of creatures to be found in this wildlife-lover's paradise. And for a nature-lover like me, the five flowing waterfalls were reason enough to want to see it. The green poncho made do for a sexy hiking outfit, one that perfectly fit with nature and made me feel a part of it. And once on the trail, I soon realized that I was the only one there, probably crossed 3 other people in total over a time period of 3 hours! Even better!

The riverside concrete trails lead steeply downhill to the waterfalls. Standing on the viewing platform at the Templo Fall, you’re pummeled by spray blasted from the base of the fall. Poncho or not, you are getting wet! Guaranteed! At one point you can almost go behind the waterfalls…I was beaming with delight like a kid in a candy store! Continuing downriver, a metal staircase that clings to the side of the cliff descends to the MagĂ­a Blanca (the largest cascade), Encantada, and the La Paz falls. From here you can actually see three waterfalls simultaneously. 

It was a thrill and the rain actually accentuated the entire experience! It’s a daunting climb back, steep and hundreds of steps but oh so worth it. Your sore legs the next day remind you of what a great time you had! Definitely a must-do.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pura Vida Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an amazing country and the best gift I received from it was conquering my fears!! Yes, plural! A very dear friend, philosopher and mentor once drew on my white board that in order to grow, you have to step out of your comfort zone and sometimes that would mean stepping into the terror zone! (Yes, you know who you are…and I’m ever grateful to that pivotal moment in my life). If something terrifies you, you should totally do it BECAUSE it terrifies you. And then you'll do it and you'll realize what you're capable of.

So on this trip, I literally stepped in with both feet forward and climbed atop an active volcano, walked on swaying monkey rope bridges, climbed tall steel towers, went for a midnight forest walk to experience the reptilian genus and zip lined high above the tree canopy – all for the first time and almost all that I would gladly do over and over again (minus, you guessed it …the reptilian adventure)! And through it all, I realized that if I would not have done something, right now, I would never get to live my dreams in waiting! I also realized that it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. I discover a smile I didn't know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn't know existed in me... I see myself. I also let out that bit of crazy that lies dormant within most of us….and was amazed at how the most ordinary day could be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye! 
This trip gave me a gift, one that is infinite and infinitely rewarding – conquering my fears and I am proud and ever thankful for it! Maybe it’s time to contemplate sky-diving!