The morning was spent driving from Sarapiqui to La Fortuna for a short hike (more like stairmaster) to the famous waterfall. I think Mario said there were something like 500 steps? My calves were trembling, but it was definitely worth it and it felt good to have some form of exercise after sitting on the bus. The stairs were fairly steep on the way down, but that didn’t deter anyone – most people were swimming in the basin of the waterfall or the second pool or scrambling among the rocks, slippery with moss. Blue water surrounded by bright green foliage, like something you’d see as a computer background. The cold mountain water was so refreshing with the humidity everywhere else. You could see the fish, meandering in the water around people’s legs.
After hiking back up the 500 steps and getting onto the bus, we stopped at a coffee plantation on the way back to the hotel. Down to Earth Coffee, “the best coffee in Costa Rica.” Mathias, the owner, was amazingly charismatic. His family has been growing coffee since the late 1800s, and after taking a detour with marketing, he inherited the business. He talked a lot about how he uses the fruit of the coffee bean, cascara, as a sweetener and to make tea, sweet coffee, and eve to eat it as a dried snack. He could relate coffee to nearly any subject – biofuel, fertilizer, business and the economy. We would return later in the day to buy our own coffee from him and to enjoy chocolate banana coffee shakes.
We dropped our stuff off at the hotel before heading to kayak on Lake Arenal, which was it’s own adventure altogether. Besides the fact that it was on a volcanic crater lake, and that we got to swim init, it just so happened that once we started to paddle, the afternoon storms rolled in. But not just rain. Thunder, streaks of lightning, and winds gusting so hard the rain stung your face. Not to mention you couldn’t really see where you were paddling. We all managed to make it back alright, and at that point, just looked forward to those coffee shakes and getting dry.