March 30–Tuesday we started off with our breakfast buffet. I want to mention that EVERY meal had rice and beans, which are obviously a staple in Costa Rica! It was usually served with lizano, which was a sauce they put on many dishes. We also had the most wonderful fruit, which I miss now that I’m home. Other foods we saw at many of the meals were heart of palm and plantain’s, which are both plentiful in Costa Rica. The lady making the eggs and omelets didn’t speak English, so you pointed and hoped you got something close to what you wanted. But she always did it with a smile, so you didn’t really care what it came out like. After breakfast we boarded the bus for a 2-hour ride (these rides were getting awfully tiring and hard to sit on!) to a pineapple plantation. We first had to don hairnets so we could go into the factory where they box up the pineapples. They put them in boxes according to size, so they went from 4-8 per box, then they put stickers on them for whichever company they’re boxing at that time. It amazed me at how quickly they could do this! From there we went outside to where they bring them from the field and run them through a washing process before they go on the conveyor into the plant to be boxed. Our guide was great—informative and funny. He said that the way to pick pineapple in a store is to look at the “eyes” which are the sections around the pineapple, the color of the base and the crown to be sure it stands straight and looks right. The bottom part of the pineapple is the best part of the fruit. Basically, though, he said any pineapple in a store should be ripe, as they shouldn’t ever get shipped unless they are ready. He said people want them yellow, so they treat them so they turn yellow, but that doesn’t really matter. We then boarded a truck to ride through the pineapple fields, where he stopped and picked pineapple for us to eat. Wow, nothing is better than totally fresh pineapple! I could have kept eating as long as they kept it coming. I’m sure local pineapple will be a disappointment now. We went back to the main building where they had pineapples filled with pina colada’s (non-alcoholic) and pineapple snacks as well as more fresh pineapple. Along with the pineapple’s they also grow ornamental pineapples, which are a very small version—very cute!
After our snack we boarded our motorcoach for a short 15-minute ride to the Rio Sarapiqui, where we had lunch prior to our whitewater rafting adventure. This meal of tacos was excellent. The rafting is the one thing I wasn’t sure about since I’d never done it and could just picture flying out of the raft. We were divided up with 6 to a raft and off we went with our raft guide. He gave us instructions on what to do when he gave commands and off we went. It wasn’t long before we were drenched, but were laughing so much that we didn’t care (plus the cold water felt really good since it was so hot!). We went down the river for about an hour when we pulled off on a piece of land where the guides cut up fruit for us to have as a snack. Some people swam there as well before we headed on to complete our journey. As much as I dreaded it, I was so sorry to have it end. We had such a good time! This was classified as a Class II, which is probably enough for me, but I would certainly do it again. We were able to see parrots and monkeys along the way.
Our last long ride was the 2 hours to get back to the hotel, where we again dropped off some of the people before we went around to see if we could see some lava flowing. This night was clear and we did get to see lava flowing on 5 different occasions. It was such a thrill, but too far away to get pictures (which made it hard to convince some that had stayed at the hotel that we really did see it!). Another thing I wanted to see marked off the list.
We went back to the hotel and were on our own for dinner, so we ate in the restaurant there with a few of the others from our group. The dinner was on Disney, just not organized for everyone to eat together. Some opted for room service as it had been a very tiring day. Again, no one backed out of rafting, so it was another successful adventure!
You can see pictures from the trip here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/themouseforless/albums/72157662447955234