Weekend Edition // San José & Rafting with my Family

Buenas 🙂 Todo bien!?

I hope you guys are doing well, I for sure can’t complain because my last few days have been super adventurous and fun. On Thursday afternoon I checked into a hostel in San Pedro, San José (University area) and met up with a friend from school – Anna! She has been volunteering in Mexico for almost a year now and was spending some time traveling through Costa Rica before heading back home to Germany. I approached her online and we decided to meet up for dinner – and that’s what we did. We went to Arbol de Seda, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant and had a great time catching up and exchanging our experiences of the last couple of months…but also it felt so unreal to meet someone from back home on literally the other side of the world! Anyways, we had a good time and are hopefully gonna see each other soon in Munich. On Friday I met up with Lina and we went to another vegan restaurant called Mantras Veggie Café. We also hadn’t seen each other for a while (if we don’t see each other for a week, that’s already long!) so we also just kept talking and eating, sharing new stories and thoughts… then we just hung out at my hostel and waited for Wiebke (the new intern at our school) and Charlotte to arrive, when they got there we went out for dinner to Luv Burger, another awesome vegan place here. Our plan was to go out afterwards so we walked around trying to find a good spot. We ended up drinking some beers on the street, which by the way is illegal and we did know that  before the police officers approached us – but we just pulled the “foreigner card” and said that we’re not from here and that we had noooo idea  that it was illegal and they were just like ‘no problem girls’ haha. Charlotte and Wiebke were kind of not feeling it anymore so they split an uber back to the hostel and Lina and I ended up going to Casa Felix – a very big and awesome club. They have different bars and dance floors with different types of music and an inner courtyard to chill out. We ended up dancing until 3am, and then Lina went back home to Heredia and I went back to my hostel in San Pedro, SJ. I can definitely recommend this place because it has somethig for everyone in it and they let anyone in, no stupid dress code or nada! Saturday – Charlotte, Wiebke and I ended up eating out again (at this point I really don’t care about my money anymore cause I’m already broke af haha) at the other location of Mantras Veggie Café and afterwards we split, Wiebke went to a phone store to fix her phone and Charlotte and I met up with Lina to go to Freakz, our youth group where we practice aerial silks. We had a great time as always, but let me tell you it’s definitely super exhausting! Afterwards we just hung out with our friends at Taco Bell, like almost every Saturday, and later that night I went back to the hostel while Lina and Charlotte went back home. Guys, I was so happy to have been able to check out San Pedro’s vegan options because y’all know I love vegan food so much and inlcusion is so important! Yes I spent some money but it was worth every bite. If you are vegan/vegetarian or are looking for some yummy healthy food, then San Pedro is the area you wanna go to! It’s basically the University area, with the UCR (University of Costa Rica) and the UA (Universidad Americana) – there are a bunch of cool, ‘hipster’ and alternative bars, restaurants and cafés as well as cute little shops and lots of street art, which makes it one of the prettiest if not even the best area to hang out in San José (in my opinion).

Sunday. 6:00 am. I got picked up at the hostel by the rafting company my mom has booked – Exploradores Outdoors. After a 2 hour ride to Siquirres, Limón I met up with my family at the company’s meeting point. They had a bufet style breakfast to prepare us for the adventure ahead, so I really tried to take advantage of that. We drove another 30mins up the river to the starting point and we were assigned a group, a boat and a guide. Our guide’s name was Santiago (I think) and we were a group of 6 people – my mom, my sister, my brother and I plus an american couple. My brother and I were sitting in the front of the boat, and my sister and mom in the back. We started paddeling and tried to synchronize our movements while listening to the commandos of our guide. We hit a lot of different currents with different types of levels – we were told that on the Pacuare river the highest level is 4 ( 6 is apparently a waterfall), and we definitely paddled through some rough waves, really putting in a lot of work. It was very exhausting but to be honest so much fun, kind of like a rollercoaster ride but actually way better than that. After about 2 hours of paddling through currents and stunning scenery (we saw waterfalls, birds, monkeys etc.) we had a lunch break in the middle of the jungle. Under some simple, wooden huts our guides started prepping veggies that they had brought with them in a container, then we all ate in a bufet style – burritos and/or sandwhiches. After eating and a bathroom run, we all started paddling again, with about an hour left towards the base. Then this happened – were in a heavy current (I think it was a 3) and we were struggling with our paddles when the guide in the boat in front of us started yelling: “Snake!! Snake!! Watch out for the snake!!”. And I was like yeah whatever because before him, all the other guides had made jokes and told us “look there’s a Tucan (or another animal)” and then we would look and they splashed water in our faces, so when this guy told me there’s a snake, I literally thought it was a joke. Well, turned out that it wasn’t, I looked to my right and the american guy behind me was trying to throw the snake off of his paddle, as she was climbing up on it. The snake was relatively small and brown but it was crazy fast. We were still in the current when we got showered by a massive wave, and the next thing we realized is that the snake got thrown in with it! It landed between the legs of the american woman, she started screaming out of shock and stumbled back and fell into the space between my sister and my mom. We all freaked out and were focused on the snake, trying to throw it out again with our paddles but it was so difficult because there was water in the boat and the snake was moving extremly fast in it. As we struggled, our guide started yelling: “Kill it! Kill it!”, and my brother and the american guy tried strangling the snake by pushing the paddle against its neck. The safety guides that follow the rafts in single-kayaks came closer and tried to help us but it was too difficult, and it took a very long time to kill the snake because we were literally moving so fast, hitting lots of rocks riding through the current. Then finally the water was calm again and we were out of the current, I saw the blood spilling out of the snakes neck and I closed my eyes for a second. It was very painful to see her get killed I must admit… but I know there was no other option. Guys, what are the chances that something like this happens? They are very very very low, yet it still happened to us. We threw out the dead snake, washed off the blood on the boat and kept paddling. We were all still in shock, and just so grateful that nothing worse happened because our guide told us that this type of snake indeed was poisonous! *Sigh* – what an adventure that was! Nevertheless we had an amazing time rafting and I recommend it to anyone really. It is definitely a lot of work but you don’t really notice it, because you’re having so much fun riding in the currents. Once we got back to the base my family and I split up again, I took the company’s shuttle back to San José and my family continued their trip, driving towards Arenal (Vulcano) next.A few hours later I was finally back home in Poás – I laid in bed for a while, reflecting on the crazy day it has been…

I had an amazing time that weekend, and I was super glad to have been able to spent more time with my family and experience this crazy adventure with them! To many more adventures.. but hopefully without snakes…

 

//Olivia

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