After sailing all night long, National Geographic Sea Lion arrived on time to Coco Beach. This Costa Rican town where our buses picked us up to venture inland in order to reach Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and Hacienda Guachipelin. Horseback riding at a traditional ranch in the land of cowboys of Costa Rica, ziplining, where this adrenaline activity was invented and hiking to the volcanic mud pots and bubble springs was a perfect offer for our guests in order to explore the beauty of this unique landscape.
On our way up, we drove by the closest environment that we could compare to a desert. White ignimbrite deposits with high contents of silica and pumice and a very acidic substrate combined with an extremely dry season, do not allow species of flora grow, as they would normally do under non-extreme conditions.
The amazing gorge of the Rio Blanco is a beautiful setting for the zipline that transports you to an unreal surrounding and our guests got to soar over the river, swing from one wall to the other and climb the eroded formation. At the same time, others explored the Hacienda by horse back through dry forest and pastureland, overlooking the volcano.
Afterwards, they went hiking through a magnificent transitional forest observing ctenosaur lizards, magpie jays, heliconius butterflies, turquoise-browed motmots, among other species. The main attraction of the park was the mud pots and bubble springs that reach up to 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit as prove of the reason why the Electrical Company of Costa Rica is taking advantage of geothermal energy as a source of electricity.
During the hikes, the show was put up first by the acrobatic spider monkeys, who are always a sign of a healthy forest, since they split up into smaller groups of four or five to cover more territory during their explorations and need larger extensions to survive. We learned about the sustainable practices of food production at the Hacienda walking through the green houses, while others learned about snakes at the serpentarium.
Typical dances and a delicious lunch closed our Hacienda experience and we returned to National Geographic Sea Lionto have our traditional session of recaps and social hour followed by a delicious dinner on board.