by Hannah Nevitt, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad participant in Costa Rica
Remember when you were young; when you wanted to scream at the top of your lungs, when you wanted to live in a tree-house in the heart of the jungle and have wild tigers and elephants as your best friends. When you wanted to swing from tropical vines through the rainforest, to be surrounded by nature, colorful toucans squawking, curious monkeys waving hello as you swing by…Well, today I got my chance; today I got to resort back to my childhood, and “hang out” in the world of Tarzan…. “Aahaaahaahaahahh!”
Another item on my “checklist” was to “Zip-line” through the rainforest in Costa Rica. I have a book describing the 100 must-see destinations in the world, and the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica is one of them. When I was flipping through a book about Costa Rica, it mentioned the plethora of adventure activities available in the area, which was practically like reading a love letter to an adventurist.
Hiking, white-water rafting, zip-lines through the rainforest, bungee-jumping, rappelling through canyons, hanging bridges, and kayaking; it all sounded so thrilling. Being that I come from a very green part of the United States, in Washington, Costa Rica appealed to me because it also is very green and beautiful, but with new flora, fauna, and adventures to explore!
The natural beauty of this country is even hinted within its name, as Costa Rica, literally translates to mean “lovely coast”and its coasts are just that; beautiful and tranquil. With the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, the country is renowned for its lush beaches, tropical rainforests, and adventure-sport opportunities.
Being that I live in one of the most tropically humid regions near the Arenal Volcano, it was of particular appeal for zip-lining. After living here for almost a month and a half without much “tourist activity,” I was really excited for this opportunity. My friends, two other volunteers working with Proyecto Asis, Julia, who is 19 from New Hampshire, and Amanda, who is 21 from the U.K., joined in on the adventure as well.
Since we live about half an hour from La Fortuna (near the Volcano where all the activities are), we needed to get up really early to catch our bus. We got up at 5.a.m, which by Tican standards is the normal waking hour, (Ticans get up very early) to catch the 5:45 a.m. bus.
Figuring out the bus system here has been comical to say the least. There has been more than one occasion where we hopped on the wrong bus and went in the wrong direction for many hours! This morning would be a “learning moment” as well. We were just having a conversation about how much money we would need for the bus when we watched it fly right by us! Apparently there are specific locations on the side of the road where you can wait for the bus, indicated in no regulated fashion. For example, to wait on the right side of your driveway versus the left!
In any case, we stood there baffled and disheartened as our bus grew smaller in the distance and disappeared around the corner. We would either need to take a taxi (and pay some heavy cash) or take a later bus. Luckily my host mother was already waking up my host father, who sleepily chauffeured us at crazy speeds to catch up with the bus. So here we were, chasing a big greyhound –like bus, honking the horn so the bus would pull over…which it finally did, and my Costa Rican father, Roy, laughed as we jumped out of the car and ran after it as is slowed for us to jump on…hilarious! But hey, when in Rome…