After a couple of weeks of checking out the local life and spending our days surfing and swimming, it was time to venture out. We rented a car, which in this country is no easy feat, and headed down south to Dominical. Destination Cataratas Nauyaca. A short 2 hour drive we arrived at the ticket window. Here we learned we had 3 options, 2 of which we were too late for.
Option 1: $8 per person includes a steep, muddy, uphill walk for 12km to the falls
Option 2: $28 per person includes a 4x4 ride to the falls for 2 hrs., with only 100m walk to the falls
Option 3: $70 per person includes fresh fruit breakfast, horseback ride to and from the falls, ropes installed to climb up the waterfalls for cliff jumping, and a fantastic Costa Rican lunch in the jungle while Macaws sit perched in the trees.
We chose option 3 and scheduled for the following day.......meaning we had to scheme up a new plan for the present day. As the kids bemoaned their situation of starvation and how life as they knew it was dreadful, we headed south for Uvita. "Bahia Ballena"......whale bay, recommended to us by our REMAX agent, we decided to check it out. Petty theft is a major issue here, so we paid our $4 for parking at an attended lot and $12 entrance fee to the National Park to see what all the hoopla was about. At low tide.....which we missed by 2 hours, you can walk on dry land out to the whale tail shaped peninsula that is completely submerged at high tide (with the exception of the man made concrete pillar marking it's center). So we waded out through the small rolling waves, ignoring the paranoid couple retreating from their attempt, who claimed they saw a "shark."
After a quick sack lunch that we had packed for the failed Nauyaca hike and a google search we located Cataratas Uvita. As luck would have it we were only a few kilometers away. Pulling off the main highway and putting the Toyota Yaris sedan in 4 wheel drive we managed to negotiate the mangled road and arrived at what I would consider the "Best Bang for Your Buck" in Costa Rica. Entry into the falls was 1000 colones per person.....about $1.75 per person, and after a 50m walk down a jungle trail we arrived at the falls. We were lucky enough to have some locals show us the finer points; where to climb and jump and how to slide down the naturally smoothed stone face of the waterfall. Everyone had a great time jumping into the refreshing pools of clear blue water.
The following morning we were up at dawn and on our way to the aforementioned horseback tour, "Option 3." We were all introduced to our horses; Alastair got "Cucaracha," Maisy got "Squirrel," and Francis got "Tiny Bean." The kids were naturals. After about an hour long ride we arrived at the falls. Our guide lead us to a small 6' cliff and the kids had a heyday jumping in over and over. While we jumped, flipped, and dove they laced the ropes into the anchors for the 20' and 30' cliff jumps. 20' Cliff: Feet first, first time......check
30' Cliff: Feet first, first time.......check
All in all it was a long action packed day and not a single whimper or complaint from anyone. All 3 kids even agreed that it was "the best day of their lives!", Maisy casually stated "I guess the only people more adventurous than us, climb Mountain Everest."
The final day of our mini trip had arrived. We loaded up the Yaris, checked out of our shipping container and were headed north to Quepos. Manuel Antonio National Park. After being in Costa Rica for close to a month and taking several hikes in search of monkeys, never seeing a single one, we decided to spring for a guide with a spotting scope. As luck would have it, a large Capuchin monkey ran across the street right in front of us, and gave us a toothy growl of hostility, before ascending up the giant bamboo stalk. Inside the park with the expert eye of our guide we saw: Squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys, an eyelash viper, 3 toed sloth, hummingbirds up close and personal, whitetail deer, and flying fox bats. We spent very little time at the incredibly jam packed beach and witnessed monkeys and raccoons rummaging through peoples unattended bags, stealing food and whatever else peaked their interest. On our hike out we saw a howler monkey in the canopy. Mission accomplished.
We made it
Heading back from the whale tail
Birds eye view
Upper Nauyaca Falls
Accommodations in Dominical
Driftwood in Dominical
Happy Capuchin Monkey
Star fruit fresh from the tree
3 Toed Sloth........so cool to watch