Woke up with a minor headache, probably from drinking last night. Got ready for rafting and met everyone in the lobby to catch our van to the rafting starting point. For some reason, everyone in the group was wearing flip flops. The guides just gave everyone 2 pieces of string to tie their flip flops to their feet. It looked like they had gladiator sandals on. Make sure to wear closed toe shoes when white water rafting. We stopped at the Iguana Cafe along the way to stock up on some water. They had a tree full of Iguanas hanging out on the branches, there were a couple of huge ones. We finally arrived at the starting point where we met a whole bunch of other groups. We all received a life jacket, helmet, and paddle.
Then we walked over to the demo raft where one of the guides went over the basic procedures. We divided our group between girls and boys. Then we met our guide Brian and hiked down to the rafts.
I had gone white water rafting once before in California on the Kern River, but the rapids in Costa Rica were 10x better. The rapids were really good, I was getting soaked at every rapid. We started off with the first rapid called Morning Shower. Our guide was pretty fun, he kept yelling out "oh my god," which caused all of us to say the same thing. There was a point where we crashed into the side of a giant rock and it tipped our raft to the side causing 3 of us to fall out of the raft. It was pretty crazy falling out of the raft, they tried to pull me back into the raft as fast as they could.
I felt like a beached whale when they threw me onto the raft, it was difficult to get up. The rapids were really awesome. There was one point where I just flew to the other side and almost fell out again. During the El Toro rapid, our guide told me and Becs to ride on the front of the raft and hold on tight to the ropes. It was like we were riding a bull, it was so awesome. Luckily, it wasn't too rough and we managed to stay on the raft. When we got to our rest stop, our guide decided to throw each of us into the water while he parked the raft. While we were taking a break, my legs were shaking from having my legs positioned awkwardly on the raft.
The second half of white water rafting was just as awesome.
There was a point where our guide jumped out of the raft onto the shore and we almost tipped over. Luckily I had a good footing this time or I totally would have gone in the water again. Our guide jumped into the water to catch up with us and pulled himself into the raft. Toward the end, when the rapids started to calm down he let us take turns steering. Steering a raft is pretty hard, it was cool to be able to try it out. The surrounding jungle was so amazing. However, we were so focused on the rapids that there wasn't much time to take in all the views. The tour ended after about 2 hours of rafting and they gave us some pineapple to snack on. We showered off and drove over to where we were having lunch.
It was a buffet style lunch with delicious chicken and beef curries. After lunch they drove us back to our hotel where we relaxed for a few hours before heading to our Pizza party at Arenal Volcano and then the Baldi Hot Springs.
Met everyone at 5:30pm at the lobby and then we drove over to the Arenal Volcano viewpoint. We picked up our pizzas on the way. We had some pizza, liquid lava (rum, guava juice, and a red colored juice), and a great view of the Arenal Volcano. It was pretty dark as we stared at the volcano trying to catch some lava sparks. I managed to see some lava rocks rolling down the side of the volcano, it was pretty cool. There was a car parked next to our van and they were playing some Michael Jackson songs.
We started dancing to try to keep the bugs off our legs. Make sure to put on bugs spray or where pants because I got bit up by sand flies. We all saw one more lava spark before we headed over to the hot springs.
The hot springs were absolutely amazing, I highly recommend it. I would have liked to have spent more than 2 hours there to explore the many different pool areas. We got changed and lost half of our group. I just followed our tour leader because she knew the best pools to go to. The water temperatures got hotter and hotter as we moved higher up. The hottest pool was at the very top and the water filtered down to the lower pools getting cooler. The water was naturally heated by a nearby hot springs and full of minerals.
Supposedly the minerals in the water naturally cleaned the water and there was no need to add any chemicals into the water. The water felt so good, especially after a day of white water rafting. We checked out about 4 pools, one had water slides that led into the pool. I've never actually been on an enclosed water slide in the dark, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The slide on the left was a lot faster than the one on the right. The slide had a pretty steep drop and I got some major air in the tube because of the drop. I flew down into the water pretty fast and gave myself a major wedgie. I was pretty disoriented when I came up for air, but it was pretty damn fun. One of the girls flew out of the tube so fast that she skid across the pool and ran into a kid along the way. It was hilarious. I tried out the other slides before checking out another pool. I think I spent the most time at the second hottest pool that had recliner chairs immersed in the water. It was perfect, I loved it there.
Arrived back at the hotel and literally passed out, I was so relaxed from the hot springs.