Well today was my last full day on the tour, and I am feeling fairly emotional writing this post. I can’t believe it’s nearly over!
We got up early, had breakfast and packed to leave the hotel in La Fortuna to head for our last stop – the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. However, before we reached our final destination, we had one more task to complete… White water rafting!
I honestly didn’t really know what I was expecting from the experience, as I have never done anything even remotely like it before. We were given life jackets, helmets and paddles, and after getting into groups of six to a boat we were given a safety briefing. The instructions he was giving us sounded complicated, with us needing to remember what to do if we had to run to one side of the raft, or jump to the floor if our instructor shouted “get down”!
And then we were off. I was in a raft with Andrea, Scarlett, Alice, Teresa, Natasha and our instructor, Jose. The instructors of the course were fantastic, and made the whole thing even better by encouraging team spirit and shouting “Pura Vida”, high-fiving our paddles and putting ferns in our hats. We got competitive, splashing the other boats and sitting on the front of the raft “riding the bull” – Jose even pushed Teresa in! The actual rapids were really fun, and particularly strong especially as the rain last night had raised water levels. Paddling was difficult at times, and often we all very nearly fell off, but incredibly we six managed to survive the three hours staying on the whole time. We stopped for a fruit break (pineapple, yum) and took turns jumping off high banks into the water.
We seemed to be quite good at it so Jose pushed us to the limit by making us spin round! We seemed to be the craziest boat for certain. One of the rafts with our friends in actually flipped over, which was hilarious. We helped out by saving some people and paddles, too! I really did have a lot of fun and wished we could have carried on for longer; I would definitely do it again.
After eating a lunch served to us by the instructors and buying our photos, we soggily climbed back onto the bus for a two-hour journey to San Jose. The city is totally different to anything else we have experienced on this trip – so busy and so vibrant. Of course it is not exactly like London, but its busyness reminds me of it, as everyone has their own thing to get on with and is very focused about getting where they want to go. We were to stay at Hotel Casa Las Orquideas, which I really wish I could have spent more time in as the staff seemed really lovely (the receptionist sent my postcards for me) and the rooms were huge and very clean.
Before we went out for dinner we gave Marvin his tip and a bottle of rum. He told us that he knows we think he says it to every group, but that this was his favourite trip ever and that he would travel with us for a year if he could. I’m not sure how much he really meant it but he did sound sincere: if that’s true it’s a lovely compliment. Of course I had rice and beans for dinner – a staple I am going to miss – and then we went out for our final drinks before saying goodbye. Here they even charge men eight dollars to get into clubs and women nothing, which is ridiculous. We had a good night though, and it was pretty hard to say goodbye. I know that I will be visiting a couple of people over the next few years!
I decided not to sleep and stay up for my flight. Fingers crossed it’s a smooth journey and I get home as quickly as possible – I definitely need to sleep for a long time! Check out my blog tomorrow for an evaluation of my trip.