November 21, 2011
By Judy Pinegar
Waking in Dominical, Costa Rica at 6:45, far before our usual time, at first we thought that the rain that had poured down during the night was still with us… but no, it was gone and the weather report said clear, but we knew better than to expect that by now.
So we packed our daypacks and waited on the veranda for our ride to the gates of Cataratas Nauyaca. It was a $50 fee for each person consisting of a full day’s tour, horseback riding, breakfast, horseback riding, hanging at the waterfall(s), horseback riding, lunch and more horseback riding back to the entrance!
But the trail (though awful, rocky and wet for the horses) was beautiful, in the virgin rain forest jungle, crossing a very green river (over a bridge) and through at least three additional streams flowing into the river. Upon arriving at the waterfall, called Santo Cristo Falls, we discovered it was a two level fall, the higher was about 200 feet high with several tributaries into a very rocky basin. You got wet from the mist, just standing there.
Walking a fairly steep trail to the lower falls, which were broader and not so tall, but falling into a swimming pool area, the adventurous (not John and Judy) jumped right in. (I would have if it had been warmer but the temperature was in the low 70’s and the water was a little cooler). The guides set up a rope and inter-tube relay to the far side where the really adventurous climbed the cliff through the spray of the face of the waterfall, and jumped to the left, falling into a pool, reentering the swimming area. By this time it had started to rain, but everyone was so wet from the mist off the waterfall or the swimming that no one seemed to mind.
Breakfast was good, although simple, fruit and bread; lunch the typical “casado” of Costa Rica: chicken, beans rice, potatoes and salad. At the meal station they had a bunch of monkeys that they fed with bananas in the morning, and also two beautiful scarlet Macaws.
But the horses!! I swear everybody had a good one except me, and she was a devil!! Her name was Tequila and she acted like she had had a few shots! She did not like ANY of the other horses… If one tried to pass her she would bite, or lunge in front of the other horse to prevent overtake. If they even got close from behind she would sort of walk zig-zag in the trail to prevent either from passing us, and when they tried we would be into a race!! The first half of the trip (this being maybe my second time on a horse), I sort of let her go, but that just made her worse, so in the last half I was pulling on the reigns and shouting (in Spanish)!! Luckily we got back in one piece.
Judy Pinegar is a writer and her articles have appeared in numerous publications.