This morning, Azamara Quest is still docked in Golfito, Costa Rica. While most guests book tours through the Land Discoveries desk on board, we have gone rogue and booked our own excursion directly with a local tour company, Golfito Monkey Tours.
Disembarking Azamara Quest in Golfito
After a quick lunch in The Patio, we disembarked Quest around 1:45pm, in time to meet up with our guide at 2pm as instructed. Our guide for the day, Hariel, was waiting for us just outside the gates to the port, as was the owner of Golfito Monkey Tours, Adriana, and another GMT guide.
Our guide, Hariel, waiting for us at the pier
We all piled into a minivan, with Adriana driving, and headed off to the nearby rain forest. The drive to the horseback tour location took about 30 minutes. When we arrived, we were given helmets and soon mounted up for the ride.
Rickee gets familiar with her horse
Another local guide, probably the gentlemen who owns the horses, was the lead guide on the tour. He did not speak English, so having Hariel along to translate really helped. Along the way, he would point out flora and fauna as we passed by.
Riding through shallow river beds and on trails
After about 30 minutes of riding, we soon learned why this is referred to as a "rain forest". It began raining, then it began pouring rain. This is something we had not prepared for. Rickee and I were soaked by the end of the ride! So, it is a good idea to pack a portable, disposable poncho just to be safe. Lesson learned. Adriana also pointed out later that most people do the tour in the morning when rain is less likely. The ride ended with a short hike to a beautiful waterfall. Our initial plan was to swim under the waterfall, but we were already so soaked from the rain, we decided to forego the experience. As my primary camera was not waterproof, we had to use the GoPro to take photos at the waterfall, and the quality is not that good.
We will be posting a complete review of Golfito Monkey Tours Horseback Riding tour on CruiseReport.com soon, so watch for more photos, video (from my GoPro) and detailed information. Adriana drove us back down the mountain to the pier and got us "home" at 5:30pm, as promised. Along the way, Adriana mentioned that their company also does Dolphin tours, whale-watching (in season), Mangrove tours, and much more. Check out their website for more details.
We had only about an hour to get ready for our dinner this evening in Discoveries Restaurant. We have accepted an invitation from Phillip, the ship's Hotel Director, to dine at his table. Our invitation requests that we meet in Mosaic Cafe at 6:45pm. When we got back to our stateroom, we were hanging wet clothes any place we could find so they could dry. Some went out on the balcony. We hoped none would blow away when the ship set sail!
Table setting for Hotel Director's table
We somehow made it to Mosaic by 6:45, where we met Phillip and six other guests for before-dinner drinks. We had met Phillip on our last cruise with Azamara in 2014. I am pretty sure we were the only Americans at the table. Most were from Great Britain and Australia. At 7pm, we all headed to the large, round table in the center of the dining room for dinner. A special multi-course menu has been prepared just for our table. I had the scallops with Thai Risotto (I know, it sounds weird) which was quite spicy, but delicious. The Cream of Mushroom soup was as good as I have ever had, and the main course, Surf & Turf (tenderloin and lobster) was quite good.
Surf and Turf
The meal ended with an unusual dessert resembling a lemon panna cotta with a brulée floating in an orange butter sauce. It was very good! But, the best part of the meal was making new friends and swapping stories. We all regaled each other with tales of past travels and Azamara adventures. A great time was had by all. Thank you to our host, Phillip, for including us.
Tomorrow is an early day. Quest will be in Quepos, Costa Rica, and we have a tour scheduled for 7:15 in the morning. Yikes! The blog may be delayed a bit.