Wednesday 3/15: Pool Day + (amazing) Venado Caves experience!!

Wednesday 3/15, Day 5 in Costa Rica:

Started out the morning, as usual, on the patio. Check out the cool clouds around 7 a.m:

30 minutes later, it looked like this:

The weather is very changeable in Costa Rica! The clouds come and go very freely. 🙂

We went off to breakfast, also as usual. It was just a beautiful morning!!

I carb loaded for my big upcoming race. Oh wait, no. I’m not running any races. I guess I just carb loaded for the sake of carb loading. 😅

The Plan for Wednesday involved just staying around the resort in the morning, followed by a caving tour in the afternoon. My “original” plan had been to maybe do one of the volcano hikes in the morning (there are many hiking trails in the area that follow lava trails), but we decided that our resort was really nice! And we wanted to just relax and enjoy the pools.

The latest cave tour was offered at 1 pm, but as the place was almost an hour away, that wasn’t going to leave us a ton of time in the morning to swim. I messaged them to see if by any chance we could do 2 p.m., and they said sure! Score.

Resort Trails

While the boys got ready to go to the pool, I took my dad on a walk through the various trails on the property. (Ivan and the boys and I did this the other day, but my parents weren’t with us.)

We spent a long time watching the very active turtles swim around and try to get up on this log to the sunning area.

The baby turtle never made it up there, and NONE of the grown up turtles helped it!! So rude!! It finally swam away.

I tried so hard to capture a picture of these beautiful blue butterflies in the butterfly garden, but this was the best I got:

Pool Time

Eventually, we joined everyone at the pools. The boys hit the water slides on repeat.

The adults landed in this pool- a warm pool but not hot hot. Perfect for extended floating. It was very warm outside, so this water felt almost too warm in the sun, but great in the shade.

Attempting to get a little color on this pale Wisconsin skin… kinda worked, but mostly added some red splotches to my legs. Lol!! It is fading to a little tan…

After a while we went to this other smaller pool which had a cold waterfall pouring into it, mixing the hotter water into a nice medium temperature.

By 12:30 or so we had to get out and get ready to go… I lingered til the last second here, just loving this volcano view and the water…. Mmmm it felt so good!

Drive to Venado Caves

By around 1 we headed out to drive the hour to the Venado Caves. It was again a fairly rough drive, through big unpaved sections! It was so pretty though. And it really is interesting to “get off the beaten path” and travel those back roads. I’m grateful we have a car here!!

Green, green everywhere!

Watch out for cows in the road…. Haha.

Cow is totally giving me the side eye.

Venado Cave Tour

Arrived right on time at 2, and got suited up with our helmets and paid. This was going to be a cave tour like no other we had done!! We have been to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky (which is amazing- highly recommend), but you can’t touch anything there. Here, we were going to get to REALLY explore. As in, crawl on the ground, climb the caves, traipse through waterfalls, etc.

My mom was unsure about this, but they assured us that she could “bypass” most of the really challenging parts.

We hiked down about ~10 minutes or so to the cavern entrance.


Got some great pics!!

Then, off we went, just us and our guide! We immediately started walking through water, which was already different than other cave tours we’ve done. Also, the only lights in there were from our helmet headlamps.

I was immediately glad I chose to wear a swimsuit under my shorts and tank top. 🙂

The boys were very excited right away! “This is cool!!”

After a little bit the guide stopped and said we had arrived at our first “optional adventure”. Ok… He pointed down this little hole and said to “follow him”. He was bigger than I am, so I felt assured I would fit, but this was exhilarating!

We squeezed through the small opening and were deposited into a very small other area that we had to essentially crawl through. I was actually worried that I would feel claustrophobic, but I did okay!

Asher squeezing through one of the openings!
Being hoisted up and out by our guide, one by one.

My parents skipped this part and just waited in the main cavern. Once we were out, we all continued.

Neat little cave waterfalls

There were some more challenging sections that my mom couldn’t really bypass… so she crawled through with the rest of us! Proud of her! Not bad for 72, eh?!! 😍

I had my phone in a waterproof case around my neck, so I got tons of cool pictures. And the guide kept offering to take pics, too.

I love this picture of Ethan!!

We saw lots of bats!

In one part (another optional adventure), we has to climb up this ladder before going up to another super tight, longer cavern.

My dad did this one!! It involved a bunch of crawling on hands and knees, almost slithering on our bellies, through the cave!
The boys were small enough to sometimes “duck walk” through some of them.

After almost 2 hours, our tour ended. This was seriously SO FUN and I would highly recommend it!! I kept thinking, This is why I work out! To be strong and healthy and fit to do cool stuff like this, hopefully for a long time. 🙂

Back at the cave entrance, we found it was pouring outside!! Ahh!! We still had the 10-15 minute hike out.

But, since we were all pretty much soaked anyway already, we headed out into the rain!

This was also kind of exhilarating! I can’t remember the last time I have freely walked through a downpour. 🙂

The guide handed us these big leaves to use against the rain…. Hahaha! I was like, umm, I think that ship has sailed…. We were already totally drenched, so there was no point in avoiding it.

I love this pic of my mom! Haha! So cute.

Fortunately, we had planned ahead and had bags of dry clothes waiting in the car. They also had changing rooms with showers for us to use.

Once the rain stopped, we started our drive back to town.

We chose a wood fire pizza place for dinner. For some reason, wood fire pizza seems really popular here. (I am aware we are totally eating at touristy places… if Ivan and I were here alone I am sure we would hit up more local places, but this has been nice with our whole group.) Plus some of these places have decent craft beer and IPAs, which is a big draw for some in our group, too…ha. 😉

The food was good, but the service … not so much.

After dinner, we went back for more hot springs time! Hard to believe, but Wednesday was our 5th and final night at this location (La Fortuna) already! 😭 Thursday we would head to Monteverde’s cloud forest region for 3 nights.

9 thoughts on “Wednesday 3/15: Pool Day + (amazing) Venado Caves experience!!”

  1. first of all, omg I can see the genetics at work with you + your parents! LOVE IT. second, i didn’t think I was claustrophobic but upon seeing those cave pix I am not entirely sure I could handle it. finally, vacation is an excellent reason to carb load. the cave climbing was almost like a race 🙂


    1. same here… i dont’ think i like being caged in a cave with bats and all.
      carb loading.. ahhaha…. that’s why I will ever pay for hotel breakfast anymore (unless we have no choice to have it included) because 99% of breakfast food is carb. nothing wrong with it, I just feel like needing a nap afterwards. By the way, you look amazing in the bikini! and love love love the blue butterfly. so cool.


    2. Haha, yep, you can definitely tell we are related!! 😉 I thought in some of those tight spaces I might suddenly not be able to breathe or something, but surprisingly, once I was in there, it was totally fine! It was super cool!! If you ever get the chance to take your kids to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, they would love it- it’s a super fun shorter trip. We did a several day trip to that area over spring break when the boys were younger one year and it was so fun. No claustrophobia involved in those tours though. 😉


  2. Between the bats and the tight spaces, I was seriously freaking out just looking at the photos. I think you’re definitely more adventurous that I am and I’m seriously impressed with your parents for hanging in there.


    1. Haha, well, I think I am adventurous so long as things feel safe and I don’t experience any extreme “feelings” in my body. E.g. I will never bungee jump, or sky dive, or anything of the sort.


  3. I am really enjoying following along on your travel adventures. I have two kids close in age like your two, but they are just a few years behind (9 and 10), and I can tell from reading about your travels that you and Ivan have a similar travel style to my husband and me. We went to Costa Rica for our one and only kid-less vacation five years ago and we have always wanted to bring our kids back there someday. It will probably happen in the next couple years so it’s awesome to see where you’re going and what activities you’re doing with your kids to get ideas! We didn’t have very long when we went so we stayed in only one town (Santa Teresa on the Nicoya peninsula). There’s so much more I want to see! I’m also totally stealing your Acadia NP itinerary for when we head there, likely next summer 🙂


    1. Yes, your kids are getting to the perfect age for a Costa Rica adventures trip!! We have seen some people with really tiny kids and I’m like, ummm… sorry, that doesn’t look fun, and the worst part- the kids won’t remember it!! I think it’s best to save this one for older kids that will really experience it. Plus, Costa Rica is an expensive trip, no matter how you slice it. Everything you want to do costs $$$… not like in the U.S. where hiking trails or waterfalls etc are often free. Nope, literally every single there here costs money. So, best to really live it up and enjoy. 🙂 And please take any Acacia ideas from me! We had an amazing time on that trip, too! Another one your kids are great ages for!!


  4. I’m coming up from air from another busy day at work to live vicariously through you! I would love to do a trip like this with my family in maybe 8-10 years when the boys are older. Right now we are in the super low key stage of travel so we’ve only done low key beach vacations with Paul and our Mexico trip was very low key with no adventuring, which is not typical for us but was what we needed. But I look forward to having the energy to return to fun, adventurous types of vacations! All of your planning paid off as it sounds like you guys are having an amazing time!!


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