Above: Our kayaks sitting on the beach during our excursion in Marino Ballena National Park

Our excursion with Bahía Ballena Kayaks in Costa Rica’s Marino Ballena National Park started out in a relaxed and tranquil fashion. Paddling along a quiet mangrove channel, we spotted herons and sandpipers. We had our knowledgeable and very funny guide, Anner, entirely to ourselves, likely because we visited during shoulder season. But even in the placid mangrove, adventure wasn’t far away. In order to cross the occasional floating log blocking the creek, we charged at them as fast as we could so that the kayak’s momentum would carry us over. Who knew that blasting over logs in a kayak could be such fun?

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