Jungles , Hotspirings and Cloudy Volcanos

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
hostal Johova

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 1 - Transit, Arenal Volcano Hike, Baldi Hotsprings
Headed out to the bus station for an 8am bus bus but found I had misread the schedule and had 1.5hrs to wait. Found the bus I was on had individual seats but like any good chicken bus, was willing to pile people into the isle. Thankfully got on early enough to get a seat.

Found that once again the bus took longer than expected to get to the destination. Since I had no real idea about my orientation to te map I had, decided on catching a cab to the hostel. Hostel I arrived at looked more like a resort than a hostel and was full of young american kids. Found that it is definately the busy season here since the hostel was full. Ended up leaving my bag and walking back into town to look for the hostel I had passed in the cab. Thankfully it was off the central parque so I didnt have to much trouble finding it.

Hostel I found was pretty much empty so went back got my bags and checked in. Door to the room was a bit dodgey since it was half broken and wouldnt take to much effort to kick down but decided to risk it.

Town is place is definately a tourist town. Lots of american tourists all over the place. Prices of things in town also tend to be quoted in $US more so than colons and I found its interesting the kind of exchange rate difference there is between the rate they use when charing for a tour compared to the once they use for giving change. Guess they{ll try to make money in any was they can and it seems that in general its cheaper to pay in $US.

Once again found that the locals in general dont seem to friendly and those that are doing tours or dealing with customers that they want to tip them seem to be forcing a sense of friendliness that doesnt seem genuine. Maybe im being a bit harsh but Costa ricans dont seem like a particularly happy bunch of people in general.

While the weathers gotten even more crappier (with it raining every couple of hours or so) and the volcano is shrouded in clouds, decided to do the afternoon volcano hike and Baldi hotsprings tour. Didnt really feel like killing another day doing nothing.

Took the bus out to the volcano with a bunch of american kids out on vacation. Volcano hike basically just took you near the base of the volcano and followed a trail through the jungle that lead to a lookout spot for viewing the volcano. Appears that the volcano is still pretty active at the moment and its illegal to climb it since its possible to get cooked by a hot gasses that can sometimes come tubling down the slope of the volcano.

Nice walk through the jungle even with the bad weather. Got a history lesson on the volcano (it had been just a mountain some 50 year earlier) and talk about some of the plants medicinal properties and how tapping on on your clothes left an imprint. Watch the sun set from the lookout point and saw a cloud covered volcano before heading back to the van.

Next stop was Baldi hotsprings. This is basically a resort like complex with bars, restaurants and lots of man made pools where local hot water is directed. Started the visit with a buffet dinner at the buffet bar before hitting the pools.

Most of the springs near the entrance felt a bit cool at the start of the night and I ended up walking towards the back area where there was a large water fall you could stand under. bloody hot. took a couple of minutes before the water stopped feeling as if it was scolding me. After roasting for a while, had to lie on a deck lounge to give my body a chance to cool off before going under again.

From here decided to try the water slide. The two main slides were one super fast one and one circling one. Went down the fast one and given it was a tube with a few small holes in it, the ride was completely in the dark. had no idea what turn or dip was coming up next. at the end the water just suddenly fell down beneath me and I got spat out the end.

decided to head straight back up and managed to hit the water at the bottom just right to aqua plane a good distance from the slide. Tried doing it again a number of time but was unable to hit the water at the right angle and never made it as far again. Also had one go on the twisty one which given you had no idea what bend was coming next was a lot of fun.

Finished with another dip under the hot water fall and a soak in the warm water pools before heading outback to the van.

Day 2 - Walk to La Catarata de La Fortuna Falls
When leaving the hostel the owner had mentioned something about some
cascades further down the road and while I thought about hiking down
there the weathers still crap and its raining more than its not. Decided to save some money and have a quite day doing laundry, trying to recover and reprocess lost photos and use skype to rebook flights.

Decided to also take the tour I had seen the day before that went out to Tortuguerro and then take the free transfer to Puerto Viejo since it meant an easy crossing over the border to Bocas Del Toro. More importantly it also meant I could avoid more visits to San Jose than were required. Only down side was that I would be able to do a canopy tour in Monteverde which a number of people had previously recommended was worth doing.

Spent the morning doing internet and was still raining when I got out so after wandering town for a bit went back in to do some more. Headed out again around 2:30 to do some laudary and found that the sun had decided to come out. could even see the volcano at the moment with only a little bit of cloud hiding the top of it.

Had planned to do laundry and return to the computer but decided to hike out to the falls I had been told about that morning. at least this way the day wouldnt be a completely do nothing day.

Walked in the direction I had been told and used the map i had picked up the day earlier to find my way there. Had expected it to be only a couple of Kms but it ended up being at least 7km. Lots of nice views along the way and could also see the volcano with only a little bit of cloud on the top of it.

Got to the entrance at around 4:30 pm so only had about 30min to do a quick dash around the place and check out the falls. Also had to be quick since I needed to walk back to town before it got dark. If i had realised earlier the walk was goingto be so far i would have got a taxi to give myself more time at the falls.

Ended the day having dinner in town and once again had to adjust to the fact that the price you see is not the price you pay. Once again you need to do the american thing and add the tax and a compulsory service fee onto the price. Wander if its always been like this or whether its a result of all the american tourists.

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