The Traveler

Hiking the Rincon de La Vieja Nat’l Park

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The theme of our trip to Costa Rica would probably be best described as traveling on roads that screamed NO! to get to places that said YES! It reminds me of those cute little brightly colored frogs that you shouldn’t touch because they’re actually poisonous but you can’t help but want to go toward them, except in this case the roads driven were uninviting, ugly, bumpy and dangerous and yet the places they lead to were totally worth it. Completely different outcomes. The one that seemed to guarantee death actually lead to paradise.

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We decided to head out to the Rincon de La Vieja one morning. It is an active volcano and would take about an hour and a half to get to, according to Google, which was total bullshit because it took way longer due to road conditions (if you can even call them roads). Some websites say the terrain wasn’t paved but not terrible. LIES.

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The  name means “The old woman’s corner.” It refers to a local legend about a girl whose lover was thrown into the crater by her father. She became a recluse living on the mountain and is said to have healing powers. The first 30 minutes of the drive were smooth. The roads were paved and there was normal traffic. And then there wasn’t. We basically started to go off-road on four-wheel drive. We went behind houses, through backyards and on very questionable paths. The we kept going higher and higher up a mountain that seemed to look more and more like a desert in a Western. Powdery white dirt blew around the car. The only sign of life were 2 men that somehow popped up behind the car after we drove by. CreeEEpy. The closer we got to the destination, the bigger the potholes and rocks blocking the road. Lots of slow driving to prevent yet another popped tire.

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Finally, we found other cars parked in front of a visitor’s center. Fifteen dollars a person later, we started taking our own walking tour.

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After 10 minutes, we hit our first waterfall. I chickened out after seeing everyone else shiver and shake in the water. But I was surely jealous.

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The whole hike back and forth took about 4 hours. Four hours in tree covered terrain, rivers with rocks and fallen trees we had to navigate through to get to the other side, fallen branches with trails of ants and all the incline your fitness trainer could ever want for you.

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It was hot, sunny, shady and beautiful. I’m pretty sure it was my first real hike and I felt muscle aches for days to come. This is Jaime and I skipping out on the second waterfall while watching the rest of them skid down the cliff.

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Photos really don’t do any justics. This waterfall was so tall and beautiful. It looks like a little hiccup here.

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We brought enough water with us but weren’t bright enough to bring the Trail Mix on the trail. Our last stop on the hike was to the hot sulfur springs. The smell of eggs intensified as we got closer and it only made us hungrier. We are, after all, a group of eaters, eaters who forgot the damn Trail Mix! The water was separated into different pools; cold and clear water, warm muddy water and then really hot water filled with dead leaves covered with some kind of sulfur slippery film.

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I took a few photos with the TeenyB bikini I wore under my hiking outfit.

I considered putting the bikini photos in with the rest of the TeenyB photoshoot at Pacifico, but I wanted to juxtapose them next to the hike. People see photos in pretty places and never really think about the journey it took to take them.

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After dipping in the hot springs, we were tired, hungry (always) and it was getting too late to hike all the way to the summit of the volcano. Near the end, I didn’t even bother trying my hand at balancing on tree branches and slippery rocks to get across a river. I proudly got ankle deep and walked right on through.

THREE CHEERS to Kevin, who drove us the entire vacation! And didn’t get us killed :o)

Tourist Info

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

+506 2666 0630