Adventures in Costa Rica

I’m a believer in living out loud and that extends to exposing my kids to new experiences that push them outside their comfort zones and learning about different cultures.

Such was the case with our trip to Costa Rica this July.  We were there because I was in an international Musclemania bodybuilding competition (BTW – I won Ms. Costa Rica Sports Model!) so our trip started in the city of San Jose.

We won!

Everyone was really nice and helped translate to our family.  One of the bikini athletes taught me the Costa Rican philosophy: Pura Vida.  It means essentially live a pure life; live your life to the fullest.  In our limited time, that’s exactly what we did.

One of the best parts was doing a full day of thrill-seeking at Canyon de la Vieja Adventure Lodge.   We bought a travel package walking along the beach where we rented a VRBO in Tamarindo.  Normally the price was $150/person but we got it for $105/person.  The trip included:

  • Transportation to the lodge
  • Multiple zipline rides
  • Repelling down a cliff
  • Rock climbing
  • Lunch
  • Horseback riding
  • Tubing
  • Volcanic mud bath and hot water springs

OMG this was amazing!!!  I was a little nervous going into it because while my son is a little daredevil, my daughter is more tentative.  The tour guides were incredible with both kids.

My daughter was a little nervous

Our group consisted of several families with kids ranging from about five-years-old to thirteen, couples on their honeymoon and a retired couple on vacation.  There was a bit of hiking to each zipline but nothing too strenuous.  This is the type of day trip that is perfect for people looking for something active but still doable.

The first part was ziplining.  We didn’t just do one, we did like nine different runs.

Great view from up here

My eight-year-old son ended up being too light and got stuck in the middle at the first one, so he had to zipline with a guide after that.

Henry’s only solo run

My daughter hurt her finger and so she ended up getting a guide ride too.  But the both had fun and my daughter got over her fear of heights – by the end she was looking down like it was nothing.

Rylee and Henry with the guide

The view was amazing.  We crossed through the mountains and over the river, taking in the raw beauty of the place.  We even saw monkeys!

Pura vida!The next part was repelling down a cliff and rock climbing back up.  The guides didn’t think little Henry would be able to do it, but we convinced them that he’s been rock climbing since he was three and his nickname is Spider Man.  So they let him go and oh!  The look of pura vida joy on that kid’s face was priceless.

Pura Vida!
Little Henry climbing

My daughter was icing her hand at the time, so she got a get-out-of-rock-climbing-free card and enjoyed lunch while I took some pictures.  (Most of these pictures were taken by the photographer at the lodge.)

Lunch was Costa Rican fare – Casado (rice and beans), pork, plantain (cooked bananas) potatoes and salad and some sort of fruit drink that tasted really yummy.

Then it was on to horseback riding.  This is where my daughter had the best time.

Rylee horseback riding

I was expecting a short little jaunt, but no, it was like a 45 minute trail ride.  We were able to see the volcanoes from the trail, which was pretty novel.

My son, racing to the front

At the end of the trail was the base of the river where we went tubing.  There were level 1 and 2 rapids, so pretty mellow, but there was one waterfall that took all of us out.  It seems so nice at the start…

All smiles at the top of the waterfall

But then…


Again, tour guides to the rescue!  They had a firm handle on everyone so even when we fell over we felt safe.  One rapid was too big for my son, so they took him out of the water and waked him to the safe section.

Actually, I think he preferred falling into the water.  You can’t fake a smile like that.

Enjoying the rapids

The tubing part lasted almost an hour and a half, again, much longer than anything I expected.

We ended in a spa area where we sat in a dry sauna for about 15 minutes, which was perfect because even in July that water made us start to get cold.

After we heated up we got to paint each other with volcanic mud and then wash it all off in five different hot springs (each pool got hotter).  By this point my cell phone ran out of power, so no mud pics to share, but it was ridiculously fun to do something like that.

This day trip was absolutely worth it.  Here is the link if you are in Costa Rica and want to go:  Canon de la Vieja Guanacas

Just so you know, no one paid me anything, I just really liked the trip and wanted to share.  Hope you get out there and enjoy your own pura vida!

Lisa 🙂

Want to Train with Me?

If you are interested in signing up for my online personal training programs, click here to order now: SLI Method.

Local to Austin?  Email me at

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!




Leave a Reply