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Day 4: SkyTrek Zipline, El Silencio, La Fortuna Waterfall, Cooking Class

SkyTrek Zipline tour
SkyTrek Zipline tour
Today we started out with an early AM around the volcano and up the mountain a bit to the location of the SkyTrek Tram and Zipline Tour. For this tour, we take an open-air basket tram up the mountainside to then zip back down the mountainside. My son is excited as he has done a milder zipline tour before, but I keep telling him that the ziplines in Costa Rica are the best he will ever do. After getting geared up with about 12 other people, we load into the tram for the 10 min ride up. We have amazing views from the top as well and some people choose to just take the tram back down if they don't want to zipline. We continue on to our first cable, and short and easy cable to help us all get the hang of our positioning when we brake so that we don't skin our knees on the cable.

Next, we continue for five zips across the canyon between two ridges. We send off in the midst of clouds and fog rising from the rainforest, which creates even more of a sense of suspense as you can't see the other side where you will land. After each zip we complete, my son just keeps saying, "Wow, that one was so good!" One of the last two is the longest ride, up to almost half a mile, and the other is the fastest, up to almost 60 kph. At the end we land on a hanging bridge overlooking the lake, then walk down the tower for the last zip to get off the structure. We spend some time at the restaurant overlooking the lake, and then drive off to El Silencio trail, which is an entry point to the park where you can hike up near the lava flows. I had not done this on my previous visits so I am curious to see the terrain. We arrive and see that the park area offers a vast array of trails, some uphill, or you can drive up to the top and hike downhill. Since we are in a bit of a time crunch and my son would prefer to get on to the waterfall, we opt to driveup near the base of the volcano and do a twenty-minute hike up to see the lava flows in greater detail. The terrain is uneven and the path windy, but we make it up to the top and take some pictures as the volcano shows her cone through the clouds. We continue the hike down to the entrance where we meet back up with the driver. 

We continue on to La Fortuna Waterfall, around the other side of the volcano from where we are located. This has attraction has seen an increase in popularity and the park service redid the entire trail down to make it much more safe and sturdy, so a lot of people are there to see the waterfall. We take the 500 steps down to the base of the waterfall, hop in the pools, and try to swim towards it. The force of the water is so strong that it pushes you back to the rocks. We spend some time swimming in the calmer pools around the bend before returning up the 500 steps, taking a few rest breaks along the way. We then enjoy a nice lunch at the fusion restaurant at the entrance before returning to our hotel for a free afternoon. 

This evening we are picked back up again to head to el Fogon de Chela, a local woman's open-air dining room with an open-fire stove where we learn how to make a traditional Tican meal. We are joined by a family of 4 partaking in the class as well, and have a wonderful time. The meal is wonderful and we feel we earned every bite! We return to our hotel for the evening to rest for another early morning.

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