Horseback riding while the others in my group went snorkeling. I didn't know what to expect. Had seen several other groups on horses the day before. The manager at the lodge said I could go on a half-day (2 hours up and down the beach) or a full-day. The full-day was down the beach up into the country and included lunch with a Costa Rican family. Okay I'm in, but I'm on my own.
My guide Diego spoke a little bit of english and helped to point out a few things along the way. On the road on a horse with no name. He may not have been happy to be on the road, but went along in auto-pilot. The initial paths were so narrow and steep I never would have walked those on my own, so 5 feet above the ground was treacherous.
The first few hours went by peacefully along the beach, some monkeys and pappagallos. The dog hanging at the lodge followed me most of the way on the beach. Then all of a sudden we were going up. Now this is the native Costa Rica I was hoping to see. The one lane dirt roads, an occasional house. After maybe 2.5 hours we got closer to the destination. Houses became more common. Then a path down a very muddy wide road in the forest. The trail narrowed and all of a sudden through a gate we were there.
The owner of the horses family ranch. A daughter in the hammock on the porch. The wife/mother cooking away in the kitchen. No one spoke english and my spanish was not up to conversational skills. Waiting patiently in a rocker in this large dining area and kitchen. Watched the daughter shred carrots. What were we waiting for?
Finally about an hour into the wait, about 6 teenage girls walked into the compound. They greeted the daughter in spanish and French (what?). Then I thought I heard a german dialect. Lunch was on. Buffet style traditional Costa Rican meal. Started with soup of some sort. Then rice, black beans, beef sauteed with potatoes. Delicious.. At one point I could tell they were commenting that I didn't speak Spanish but they were speaking three languages, none English. Very lost in translation.
The ride back to the lodge was steep and muddy. The trail the guide new had been closed so the horse reluctantly went down a hill of mud. Leaning straight back the whole way down. Boy what a day.