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Days 1 & 2: Arrive San Jose and Sarapiqui Rafting

Rafting the Sarapiqui
Rafting the Sarapiqui
We flew into San Jose, the main international hub of the country, and drove 30 to 40 minutes north to our hotel for the night, Buena Vista Chic Hotel. This hotel is very lovely and quaint, set on a hillside overlooking the city with a gorgeous view. The small pool and open dining room make it very welcoming and offered a good night's rest after our arrival.

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast and were met by our welcoming crew to head to the Sarapiqui area further north. After about an hour and half drive and brief stop for some lunch, we meet up with the rafting crew from Flow Trips. After a safety briefing, our two guides help us into the water and away we go. My son has never been rafting so he is feeling a bit anxious and nervous. Sometimes all that talk about 'here's how you will sit if you fall in the water' causes a kid to suddenly feel like that is a likely scenario. As we get rolling though through the first sets of rapids, he quickly loosens up and realizes how enjoyable it is, and how safe he feels. We head down the river for the next two hours, enjoying fairly constant Class II and some III rapids. It is a perfect introductory river for a 13-year-old, as I think my 7-year-old would have been scared, but it is just enough thrill for my 13-year-old to be super impressed.

After the rafting trip, we get out of the boat and make our way on to Arenal Volcano, which is about an hour's drive further from the take-out.  We settle into our hotel, the Paradise Hot Springs Resort. The property is set right along the highway but very covered and secluded by vegetation to make you feel like you are entering the 'jungle' at the base of the volcano. The pools laid out on the property offer varying temperatures, and we quickly go around this evening testing them out before dinner in the dining room and retiring for bed. 

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