Hitchhiking Guanacaste, Part 3: Cascading Waterfalls, Free Coffee, and Angry Monkeys

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“You know when they show someone on TV washing their hair under a waterfall? That’s bullshit, man, because that thing would knock you on your ass.”

Wise words from the late comedian, Mitch Hedberg.

This is exactly what I thought when we got to the waterfall. It’s right off of the main trail and easily accessible if you’re daring enough! Were we daring enough to stand close to it? Do you even have to ask that question?

But first, the others.

Colin and I came upon the waterfall and stood there in awe of it. We were in the process of looking for a place to relax and eat. I was craving my second peanut butter and jelly sandwich and we were both a little dehydrated. A day of hitchhiking and uncertainty makes you tired and hungry!

We sat down on the most comfortable log we could find and in that instant, some ticos showed up to the waterfall and ruined the view in almost every way possible. They took pictures, joked around, and we had to wait for them to finish. Even worse, one guy tried to get a picture of himself under the falling water, which takes me back to the intro to this entry.

That thing knocked him on his ass!!

He was obnoxious enough already but now that he had to slowly walk away from the waterfall, slightly injured, made things so much worse. Did we hope he was okay? Of course. Were we annoyed? Oh yeah.

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Regardless, they left after 30 minutes and we managed to get some pictures of the cascading wonder. We both got pretty close to the waterfall, and in the tico’s defense, I slipped and fell too. It was slippery, the rocks were so smooth from the constant effect of water erosion.

After that we took another hour or so to explore the trail. Along the way we encountered rivers, lizards, open dry areas, and a few other things.

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There were also “mud pots”, which are pools of burning hot water infused with sulfur from the volcano. They stunk so bad! The fumes kept rising and I had to turn away multiple times.


And then there were the monkeys.

I wish I had pictures of them, but there was a problem. They were high atop the trees, and I’m pretty sure they were sleeping.

How would you like it if you were sleeping and a group of strangers came into your room to wake you up by clapping? You’d probably hate it. You’d probably throw things at them so they’d get out and leave you alone! “Leave me alone asshole, I’m sleeping!” Who wouldn’t have that reaction?

You probably just guessed that’s exactly what happened. Monkeys have a reputation for being mean in Costa Rica. They bother you, steal your things, and throw things at you. But this time they were justified in being angry. The ticos from earlier walked right up to the trees and started clapping loudly so the monkeys would move. In retaliation, they were flinging small fruits at us. It was an assault! An assault that was well-deserved. Colin and I got the hell out of there.

We made our way back to the entrance of the trail, enjoying the solitude of the rainforest. The trail was over but the adventure wasn’t!

We saw Victor again in his little cafe, serving more coffee to guests. He smiled when he saw us and knew his opportunity to practice English again was here. We talked with him some more, taught him a little bit more English, and got some coffee on the house. Much needed! Then Colin and I said goodbye and made our way down the road.

Along the way we found another trail that led to a smaller waterfall, one which was still amazing. The trek to get there was even better. It was down a hill surrounded by all the green you can imagine, and a descent down a hanging bridge. It was worth it just for the pictures!

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After we took our pictures our problem hit us like a bolt of lightning. Our adventure was coming to an end and we had no ride home. How were we going to get back to Liberia, 25 kilometers away??

The answer is coming in the final part to this adventure, complete with easy bargaining, polite Germans, and a free dip in a beautiful pool.


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