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Today, we are further afield, opting for a full-day eco-tour

to the Rincón de la Vieja National Park area, available for

participants aged six and up. The horseback ride is an

immersion into the region’s diverse microclimates. Beneath

a towering tree canopy, as we climb the vine-draped hills,

the air becomes much cooler than it had been in the

sun-baked corral at the start of our adventure.

Our first stop is a natural hot spring in the middle of the

jungle. Hot mud bubbles out of a volcanic geyser and

we slather ourselves with the thick, mineral-rich paste

discovering it to be surprisingly soothing to the skin.

Holding my face to the sun until the red mud dries into

a grey mask offers a boost of purifying wellness.

Rinsing off beneath an outdoor rain shower, we then explore

a series of steaming volcanic thermal pools. We soak in

the warm effervescent waters as blue morpho and brilliant

emerald malachite butterflies flit above us.

Heading back toward Buena Vista restaurant, we immerse

ourselves in Guanacaste culture at La Fonda, a recreation

of a traditional hacienda kitchen. Locals demonstrate how

to use clay ovens and

comals

(griddles) to make cornbread

and handmade tortillas of maize. The kids are fascinated to

learn how generations of indigenous Chorotega artisans

have crafted pottery featuring intricate designs.

Fuelled by a hearty lunch of stewed chicken,

gallo pinto

(rice and beans), farm cheese from the town Turrialba, mugs

of organic coffee brewed in a chorreador (a traditional Costa

Rican coffee maker) and kid-friendly

agua dulce

(sugar cane

juice), we head to our next adventure, a 12-zip line circuit and

Tarzan Swing.

As we walk toward the platforms, we spot capuchin monkeys,

crested caracara birds and towering

matapalo

(strangler fig)

trees. The forest silence is punctuated by deep growls from

the tree canopy above. “Howler monkeys,” says our guide as

he leads the way. “They’re everywhere here.”

Soon, we’re gliding along the zip line circuit. Featuring seven

cables with lengths from 90 metres to 425 metres, I glimpse

a sea of clouds and then a waterfall cascading through

emerald cliffs. “I just saw a toucan!” whoops my grandson

as he glides to an easy landing on the platform.

Next up, is a 426-metre water slide where participants rocket

through a winding chute filled with cool water to plunge into

a rainforest pool. It’s an exhilarating, refreshing way to wrap up

a full day of outdoor adventure.

Back at the resort, a night hike beckons. Although it’s tempting

to imagine encountering tapirs and opossums on a quiet

forest trail, we opt to enjoy a folkloric performance of the

Punto Guanacasteco

, a traditional Costa Rican dance where

young girls twirl in beribboned dresses while courted by

young men in cowboy hats.

Designed with families in mind, the theme night with

communal tables under the stars is an ideal setting for

trading tales of the day’s adventures.

ZIP-LINING IS A THRILLING WAY TO EXPERIENCE COSTA RICA'S RAINFOREST

©MICHELE PETERSON

MAKING COFFEE IN A COSTA RICAN CHORREADOR ©MICHELE PETERSON

14

Ultimate Family Vacations | FALL 2018

FALL 2018 | Ultimate Family Vacations

15

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