Saturday 25 February 2023 – After the early morning excitement, I think we could have been forgiven for simply going back to bed to catch up with our kip. But no – the desire for relentless tourism drove us ever onwards.
I spent a little time writing up stuff for these pages. This had to be done at the Casitas lodge, where they have an internet available. They also have bird feeders, and so I was able to catch up with a few more species of the local wildlife, among them a Blue-crowned Motmot
These bird feeders gave us the opportunity for pictures of many more species, which I will come to in due course. But the next activity of the day called – a visit to the Tenorio National Park, which actually borders the Tapir Valley reserve, and is reached by simply going a litttle further along the road, past the reserve. (Tenorio is the name of the volcano at the centre of the national park.)
We’d read in the Pura Aventura notes that since it is a popular spot, it was best to go towards the end of the entry window so that we would get to the various sights after most people had left. The last permitted entry time is 2pm, so we bowled up to the entrance at about 1245 where we made the first of two important discoveries – if it’s crowded (e.g. a weekend such as today), they only let people in in bunches. So we had to wait until 1pm until they let us in.
The second discovery was one we made almost by accident. The main attraction of the place is a waterfall, and apparently most people simply go up as far as the waterfall and then go down again – but there are attractions beyond the waterfall, and we decided to go right to the end of the trail and work our way back along the other Things To See as well, rather than taking them in on the way up. For reasons which will become clear if you read on, this was a wise decision and is my Tip For The Day to anyone visiting – go to the end and work back. You’ll thank me.
The trail – there is only one – starts off as a formal path
before going on to less formal surfaces
which don’t necessarily hold up too well to the exigencies of thousands of feet and feet of rainfall in wet season.
Some it is quite steep, both up
In fact, I took a stumble going down one of these stretches. But it was OK; my phone broke my fall. It’s tougher than I am, so no damage done except to my pride. And as I got up and dusted myself off, I caught sight of this colourful little fellow, a juvnile Central American Whip Tail Lizard.
The trail basically winds its way along in approximate company of the Rio Celeste river. You can see various viewpoints on the the way, but, as I say, it’s good to see them coming down, i.e. effectively going down stream.
At the end of this formal trail is a remarkable sight which kind of sets the scene for the other Things To See on the way down, which anyone walking the trail will have caught some glimpses of already. But this is how it all starts.
This is the “Teñideros” where two rivers – Rio Buenavista and Quebrada Agria – meet. The pH change at the meeting point increases the particle size of aluminosilicates already present in Rio Buenavista. The waters of what is now Rio Celeste are then turned blue by sunlight scattering from the fragments. Some are also laid down as sediment – the white bar across the river. The myth runs that when the gods were painting the skies blue, this was where they washed their paintbrushes.
Moving further down the trail, you cross a bridge over the wonderful blue river.
until you come to a pool labelled “Borbollones”. You get no prize for working out how this translates to English.
Beyond Borbollones is the blue lagoon, a pretty reasonable description, I guess.
After some (quite stiff) more up-and-downery, you get to the most popular visitor spot. The signage for this quite fails to prepare you for what you’re about to undergo should you wish to visit.
“Catarata” is Spanish for “waterfall”, and it’s only 150 metres away. What could possibly go wrong?
Here is a clue.
It may be only 150 metres, but it’s a long way down. This is the view looking back from the bottom.
That awaits you for when you’ve drunk in the very considerable sight that you stumbled down all those steps to see.
Spending several moments there, trying to ignore the gurning selfie addicts (admittedly there were only four, but that’s because we got our timing right, courtesy of Jane’s researches) and absorbing strength from the natural beauty and energy of the scene might – just – prepare you for the journey back.
Jane took this photo of me plodding up the steps – 253, I counted ’em – to the top. (She was resting at that point. Hah!)
This is why it’s best to get to the top and work down. Had we visited the waterfall on the way up, I doubt we would have had much enthusiasm for the further ups and downs that lead to the end of the trail. It is quite a stiff walk. For four and a quarter miles, I would normally expect to expend 425 calories or thereabouts. This walk scored 825 on my activity monitor. No matter, it took us past some memorable scenes.
It also took us past a viewpoint where you could in theory see the Tenorio volcanoes.
One of them is Tenorio 1 and the other Tenorio 2. I don’t know which is which and the clouds got somewhat in the way. Ho, hum.
The park had one more treat for us as we went along.
Our fears of the place being overcrowded turned out to be unfounded, and all in all it was a very pleasant second excursion, albeit quite hard work. In fact, such hard work that we realised there was only one thing for it – pizza and beer. Fortunately, we had a recommendation for a pizza place in Bijagua (this is their Facebook page), so we hied ourselves there as fast as the speed limit and speed bumps would allow. There, we had a very good pizza and some very welcome beer with a little cabaret which took place beside me as I ate pizza, and which Jane recorded.
before heading back to the Casitas to relax for the rest of the day.
I have a heart of stone – the dog remained unfed despite its cute trick.
We had a couple of very contrasting activities scheduled for the following day, both of which turned out to be more fun than I thought they might be. So, please come back and see what we got up to. Hasta luego!