Central America Costa Rica

Exploring Ricon De La Vieja, Costa Rica


We board the bus and set out towards our next stop, Ricon De La Vieja. I use the time to write in my journal. The scenery surrounding us looks the exact same, as though we were driving in circles, lush green grass and rolling hills. It continues this way for a while until we reach Liberia where we stop for lunch. The temperature has suddenly risen and there is finally no dampness in the air. We opt for a cheap lunch. I purchase corn chips, an avocado and a litre of coconut water. An easy chill meal. The group sits at a soda and scoff down lunch before the bus is boarded again and we continue driving further into the desert landscape.


Hiking through Ricon De La Vieja National Park

We soon enough arrive at the National Park, Ricon De La Vieja, and suit up ready for a hike through the hot grounds. We are split into two groups, but not before using an interesting bathroom with no toilet paper. I set off with the rest of my group led by the tour guide, Irene. She talks about local plants, animals and her own experiences. We spot a couple new animals, see bubbling mud and interesting trees. Closely coming towards the end of the hike we stumble into a crowd, a man has passed out and his wife is freaking out. Irene stays behind while we continue on, eventually meeting with the other group and telling their leader what has happened in broken Spanish.  After that drama is over and the ambulance has arrived, we board the bus and head to the mud spa down the road.


Spotting animals in Ricon De La Vieja National Park


Spotting animals in Ricon De La Vieja National Park

Changing into our togs and walking through the bush we arrive at a couple hot pools with mud pots and a river running through the middle. We soak in the hot pools and begin using large hardware paintbrushes to cover each other in mud. The next twenty minutes was spent awkwardly standing in a chill breeze waiting for the mud to dry. Afterwards we inch ourselves into the freezing river and wash off, trying to quicken this part of the experience as much as possible. A jump back in the hot pools was definitely necessary to warm back up. With the sun setting and temperature dropping we all board the bus to reach our last destination of the day Hacienda Guachipelin.


Exploring Hacienda Guachipelin

When we arrive it is pitch black, though being greeted by locals playing instruments and some sort of alcoholic beverage quickly warm us up. The girls and I head to our second to last Costa Rica hotel room on our adventure and change for dinner. Arriving in a big open restaurant we sit down on our large table seating at least thirty people. It is a buffet full of pasta, salads, beans and rice and a tortilla station. A delicious meal to end a wonderful day.


Group photo at Hacienda Guachipelin

The Next Day

 I wake up early as usual and decide to go for a walk around the large premise. It smells of horses and cows, a lot like New Zealand, reminding me of home. Soon enough I stumble along the source of this scent, a large fenced area fill of horse being saddled up and feed for today’s journeys. I change and head to a buffet breakfast of eggs, pancakes, beans, rice and tortillas. Eating up then preparing for the activities I chuck on togs beneath my clothes. Time to head to where the horses are kept. As I have ridden before I am placed with those more experienced and am given a large white horse.


Horse riding at Hacienda Guachipelin

We trot off down a gravel road and into the bush. Though, slowly due to my ankle pains. Arriving at a waterhole I decide not to swim, rather photographing those who do. Jumping back on we continue down the track. Though now, I have found the whip which the horse is very responsive to. I begin to lead the way up front. Heading into a paddock my horse begins to canter. I attempt holding on with one hand with a bad ankle. Soon enough we arrive at our next destination for white water tubing.


River tubbing at Hacienda Guachipelin

Due to the lack of rain in the area the river is low and calm. Though, it still makes for a fun adventure being thrown carelessly down the water. A mixture of calm and rapids, a nice way to take in the scenery. We board a bus, get changed and have another buffet lunch. That afternoon is a snake exhibition and I even held one! It felt strange like having a heavy scarf around you which moves by itself. I spend that afternoon sitting in the garden writing, reading and drawing. Also thinking about my experiences while listening to Taylor Swift serenade my ears.


First time holding a snake at Hacienda Guachipelin


Also first time holding a frog

Another buffet for dinner. That is definitely something I will miss when I return home to the real world.

I am travelling all through Costa Rica with International Student Volunteers (ISV). This is part of the two week adventure tour which all take me from the rainforest, to desert landscapes and even the Caribbean Coast!