Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rio Celeste

I woke up around 6:30 to get ready for picking up the rental car with the German sisters at 7:30. We had a reasonable size mid size car with small tires, whole town has only this rental car left, but the road to get to Rio Celeste is poor the last 10km or so. Hope we make it!

Christiane decided to drive as she had her driver license with her (Susanne left hers at the dorm). The fist part of the drive was straight forward with few mis-turns here and there, with quick correction or guide from local people. Christiane spoke very good Spanish (spent 3 months in Spain study Spainish before). We stop by a town midway to get breakfast. Once we got on the unpaved rough road, we quickly realized that with our small tires, we will have a slow journey from here on out. But after about 3km or so we came to a bridge under construction and was told the way to the Rio Celeste is not possible from here and we have to go from another direction. So heading back out to the main road and went on another dirt/rocky road. It was another slow ride up the mountain. Finally around noon we arrived at park entrance. After paying for the entrance fee, we are on our way to see the blue water and fall.

We walked through dense cloud forest and soon arrived at a waterfall with the blue water. I have seen many colored river/lake water before, but this river's color I have never seen before. After taking some photos we headed back up the hill to the small thermal hot pool. We had our lunch here. It was cloudy so it was nice and cool by the river (except near the hot spring). I got bitten by few black flies here, but over all I have not been bitten that much during my current trip, I had worst, like that of the 2008 trip. After lunch we headed for our final destination to see the source of the blue water. It was a strange place where the normal color river water become blue at a very defined line in the river. They said it is from the mineral seeping out the ground at that location. My guess is that someone put some coloring agent at that spot :) On the way back to our car, we detoured a little and saw some bubbling hot water. Just when we about to reach our car it started to rain heavily. We ran to the park restaurant and was relative dry, very lucky!

Christiane was too thrilled about the driving back in the poor road in the rain, but the rain stopped as we get further down the mountain, but then she miscalculated on a concrete path and the left front wheel dropped into the 'ditch' to the right and the car bottom scrapped the concrete and soon we were a little stuck. We got out to assess the situation, decided backing up is the best option and tried to get the right front wheel off the ditch and get on the concrete. But soon the front wheel start to spin and we are stuck again. Luckily couple local folks heard what happened and one guy suggested that we lift the front of the car while Christiane backup the car, and wola, we were unstuck. Good thing we were only lightly stuck and that the car is small and light. We thanks the local profusely and Christiane gave them couple kisses and we are on our way back to La Fortuna. Susanne and I felt asleep half way into the ride and poor Christiane had to keep awake. She was extremely tired mentally when we got back, I can understand that because the dirt road requires extreme concentration to avoid potholes, big rocks at all time.

Back at the hostal, I had a quick shower and caught up with Vanessa, Luke on each others adventure. Vanessa went for horseback riding to waterfall and a farm, while Luke and Abby went for a hike to the same waterfall. Abby was asleep by the time we got back, she slept for 12 hours that night. Christiane and Christiane and I had dinner at the hostal as it was raining. It rained all night and still raining the next day. They said it is dry season. All it means is that the rain is not downpour and not for 5 consecutive days. I bought Christiane a beer (and with happy hour, buy 1 get 1 free, I got Susanne one too) for her hard work of driving. Christiane called it a night arounf 9, and me around 10.

Next morning with rain stilling coming down, we all got ready to leave La Fortuna. Christiane and Susanne are heading to the beach. They have to drop off the car first as the office was closed last evening, but the office was still closed at 7:20. Vanessa, Luke, Abby and I are catching a van/boat/van transfer to cloud forest of Monteverde. The journey wasn't too eventful other that everything is damp or wet with every transfer of backpacks from van to boat, boat to van. There was not much of a view either with heavy wind driven rain cloud. On the van ride from the boat to Monteverde, the sky started to clear a bit, we were all happy.

I decided to stay Pension Santa Elena where Vanessa is going to stay. Luke and Abby already booked a hotel closer to Monteverde Park. I also decided I wanted private room with bath for last 4 days of my trip and paid $20 a night for that privilege. The room was small but it has nice bed/sheet/pillow and clean. I upacked all my stuff in the room to dry them out!

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