Through my study abroad program I was given the opportunity to go on a weekend excursion to Arenal Volcano.  The hotel accommodations were covered by the cost of our program, and there was plenty to do since we stayed in a vacation resort with a pool, hot springs, and a few different animal exhibits.  However, we were also given the opportunity to choose between two different excursions for an extra cost.  We could either go canyoneering or horseback riding.  Canyoneering was twice the cost, but I chose to do it because it included activities that I may never have a chance to do again in my lifetime.

I do not regret my choice at all and highly recommend this excursion to everyone with an adventurous side, or even someone who just wants to try something new and exciting.  Our canyoneering experience began with repelling down a waterfall.  It was terrifying when I first swung out over the platform, but it was an exhilarating feeling all the way down!  The adventure continued with hiking through the stream between the other activities which included two more repel sites, a zip-line, a Tarzan swing, and a few small cliff jumps into large pools of water.  At one of the repel sites we had the option of going upside down since it was away from the canyon wall.  I debated back and forth about trying it the entire time I was waiting in line.  Several other people we doing it so I decided to just go for it!  It was extremely fun!  The excursion ended with a hike out of the canyon and lunch.

If you do decide to go canyoneering I recommend wearing some type of workout pants or knee length shorts because you wear a harness that fits snugly around your legs during the entire excursion.  A lot of girls wore short gym shorts and they did not work very well because they rode up above the harness.  It was uncomfortable for them and some of them were even sore from the friction of the harness against their skin.  I wore yoga pants and while they didn’t dry fast, I was very comfortable!  I also suggest wearing hiking sandals or an old pair of tennis shoes.  You want to wear something that has good traction for hiking in the water and up out of the canyon.  However, if you wear tennis shoes just make sure they are not your main footwear for the next few days because it will take them a while to dry out.

Experiencing all that your host country has to offer is an important part of studying abroad.  If you have the funds to cover an excursion that you may never have the chance to experience again I encourage you to go for it, even if it scares you!  You will only regret what you didn’t have the courage to do.  Studying abroad pushes people out of their comfort zone, so you might as well take advantage of every extraordinary opportunity you are given.  Memorable moments only occur when you take the leap to live in the moment.

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