Having loved the free hot springs the day before, Anna and I decided to wake up at 6AM and head there again. Once more, we trekked down the lonely road, running into many local workers for the Tabacon resort. Work starts very early there. I noticed a lot of shops open at 7 or 8AM until 8PM. They work such long hours but they are always so nice and happy.
La Fortuna is very hot during the day but from late night to morning, it’s still cool so the heat from the hot springs causes smoke to rise out from the rainforest. As we got closer, you could see wisps of clouds hanging low in areas of the forest and we agreed that those are the hot springs area (otherwise, they were cracks in the ground we shouldn’t venture towards). The hot springs used to be monopolized by the Tabacón springs but recently, due to government intervention, they had to release some of the land, which was very good since no local would have been able to pay such price being offered by the Tabacón. It’s not to say they are the only ones monopolizing. There are many other spas who offer the hot springs for a price but Tabacón has the best location. Our tour guide told us that the locals go to the hot spring, mostly at night. I remember blushing and wondering if we could do that too, but of course, it was not safe. Alas, no skinny dipping after all on this trip.
In the morning, there are many animals still awake since the people were not there to disturb them. We saw a toucan and even ran into a white noised coati, which we kept thinking was a sloth. It had to be a local coati because we ran into it the day before. When we stopped, it stopped and stared at us. When we moved, it moved closer to us. It was a stand-off! You could practically hear the western music go off as a tumbling tumbleweed drifted behind us. Eventually, we were defeated and had to let it pass.
Once at the hot springs, we found we were the only ones there. Score! It was just two beautiful girls frolicking in what seemed like an abandoned hot springs—like some water nymphs in a forgotten river steaming with hot lust. Tempting nubiles, we were. Alas, the day was only beginning.
We journeyed the day back into town to La Fortuna’s La Cataracta (I love saying that word!). The smart idea was to take a cab up there and then walk the rest of the way down back to town. The reason for this is that the hike to the waterfall is a bit…steep and arduous. I confess, I was really out of shape since I had spent the entire month of December recovering and had not prepped myself as thoroughly as I had hoped. The entrance of the national park is at the top of a hill. Once you enter, you sign a waiver! Your life could be in danger! They even post another sign just to warn you of the danger of the hike. Good thing we were young! You hike down so it’s not so bad. From atop, you can see the waterfall in the distance nestled in the rainforest greenery. I swear, I felt like I had entered “The Lost World” or “The Land Before Time.” The walk took us 15 minute and at the bottom of the fall was this beautiful cerulean blue with undertones of jade green. It reminded me of the waters in Barbados but it is not warm. It’s piercing cold and the current is rapid since it’s falling so fast and quite heavily. The water pools to this lagoon where many tourists were gathered in so Anna and I opted to stay out and just enjoy the view. The walk back up…well, it was probably one that I blocked out of my memory as it was indeed a very rough hike back up. Thankfully, it was only 15 minutes.
Our whole body had been sore the entire trip but after we walked down the hill from the waterfall, all the aches disappeared. It’s like recovering from a hangover; you need more alcohol. To recover from muscle ache, exercise more. Once we got into town, we were going to take the public bus back. Anna is the striking tall blond girl and I’m this short Asian girl, though I could possibly pass as a local if it weren’t for my designer glasses. Suddenly a truck stopped in front of us and it was the workers at the B&B we were staying at. They offered us a ride back! Anna didn’t even question them and jumped into the back of the truck with the wooden fences around it. The driver, Esteban though said he’d come back to pick us up and Anna had to get down and she had the most disappointed face. I hadn’t seen her so excited that she had just jumped in a car like that. It was the highlight of my day to laugh at her earnest enthusiasm. In Costa Rica, hitchhiking is permitted and a very safe mode of transportation as I noticed throughout the trip. Weary as I am, I didn’t think it was possible. This was the closest to hitchhiking we did, even though the workers at the B&B have all seen us. Thankfully, we were responsible young women…well, for the most part and we weren’t the typical party girls, so it helped that they were nice to us. Good things do come to good people. You just had to wait.