Last time, Kiana left you at the beaches of Tortuguero, where the culture thrives and turtles lay eggs on beach! See what Kiana discovers about chocolate and night walks in this chapter of Letters from Kiana!
Letters From Kiana- Chapter 3
We left the hotel at Pachira Lodge in Tortuguero this morning and took an hour and a half boat ride up the river. All was well until a group of militia men greeted us with guns. We later found out these were policemen who regulated the boats on the river making sure passengers had life jackets and boat permits. It’s not everyday you get greeted by men in uniform and machine guns!
We got back to the bus lugging our luggage up the muddy hill. Then we were off to our next location…. the tent suites. Oh the tent suites.
We all are really curious about these tent suites. We finally made it. Gustavo, our Contiki travel guide, answered a few of our questions and tried to calm our nerves, but it almost seemed like our fear heightened along with our curiosity. We were literally staying in a tent in the jungle!
We finally arrived. The scenery was breath taking, by my room was deep in the forest. Tent number 22 to be exact. Deep..deep…into the forest. If I were to scream, no one would hear or even notice. Scary.
To make matters even more interesting, the plastic tent around my and Meg’s beds that was meant to be a mosquito net didn’t zip all the way. Not to sure how much sleep we will be getting tonight…
After getting settled, we hurried to the cacao chocolate tour near where we were staying. We had the coolest tour guide. We called her V! Before we can actually start the tour, we hiked and walked across one of the longest hanging bridges in the world!
After a small hike, we finally got to the cacao presentation. We discovered the cocoa fruit!
The actual fruit itself is sweet and similar to the taste and consistency of rambutan. We ate the white part and left the seeds. These seeds were then left to dry and ferment.
We got to taste cacao in it’s pure form. It was quite bitter. We even got to grind the cacao into shavings from the bean.
They then added brown sugar and some heat to make it 75% cacao. IT WAS SO GOOD! As we tasted each process we were able to drink some “kaka” water (chocolate water) and add our own spices if we wanted. It was the best chocolate ever. And I’m part Belgian…so that says a lot. Haha.
We then headed back for a night walk. Yay! The swinging bridge again! It really started to storm. The night walk was quite frightening. I asked our guide how often snakes appear. Apparently every time! OK, even more scared now. V fearlessly picked up creatures, bugs, frogs and toads. She informed us of how poisonous and toxic each creature was… Cool! We walked super slow in pure terror hoping not to possibly step on a snake. Oh, did I mention that I ate some termites?! Yep! Stuck my finger in their nest and nibbled me some tasty termites. Tasted like pepper! The termites are known to help people with asthma. Super interesting! Checked eating termites off my bucket list
We finally finished the night walk and headed back to our tents. I made sure to check under the beds and the sheets for any unexpected visitors! “All Gucci!” We are all clear. However, I was still completely scared. It rained all night but when we woke up it was absolutely beautiful. I thought I was still dreaming. The lush green forest was breathtaking!
We packed our stuff and geared up for river rafting! I was so excited! Got my go pro ready for action. Life jackets, sunscreen, O’Neill 365 Hybrid shorts, and my O’Neill Lanai One Piece. I was ready for some rapid river rafting!
I sat in the front along with Chrissy. We listened to our instructor as he told us to paddle or back paddle or jump in if we might fall off. Probably one of the funnest activities I have done here! So thrilling and pure fun.
We covered 11 kilometers of the river going over rocks and rapids. At the end we got to go in a whirlpool. One side paddled forward and my side paddled back and we spun down the rapid. So EPIC! We would high five with our paddles and cheer “Pura Vida!!”
Next, we stopped at an amazing waterfall. It was absolutely breathtaking.
It was a small hike about 635 stairs to get there. The scenery was amazing as usual.
Awesome day once again. Love it here!
We finally arrived at our hotel. We settled in and two more people joined our group! Annette, from my O’Neill family & Heidi from Shape Magazine!
We had all had a lovely Costa Rican cuisine together and geared up for tomorrows shenanigans. Ready for some culture learning!
P.S. I would like to say aloha to Mrs. Paik’s class from Hanalei Elementary School in Kauai!