Volcán Arenal

Trip Start Dec 27, 2005
Trip End Jan 29, 2006

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Happy Monday!! Well, I spent this past weekend in the town of La Fortuna at the foot of Volcán Arenal. I was traveling with 7 other volunteers that are staying in San Ramón and the neighboring town. The weather was beautiful and we had a pretty nice hotel, the guys stayed in an apartment on the first floor with a kitchen and us girls stayed in 2 rooms upstairs and just used the kitchen and living room in the apartment, each room even had its own bathroom and cable TV, and it was only $18 per person for the whole weekend, you'll never find that in the states. Haha. We arrived in La Fortuna at about 4pm on Friday afternoon. We checked into our hotel and just kind of explored the town, found some dinner, and played some cards. We also booked some tours for Saturday, so we decided that we would turn in early so we would be rested for Saturday. Saturday 6 of the volunteers went to the waterfall in the morning, but I had been there over the summer so I stayed in town with 1 of the volunteers (from Holland) to do some souvenir shopping since it was my last trip before I come home. We spent the morning going from shop to shop and found some really neat stuff. Once the other volunteers returned from the waterfall, we grabbed some lunch and left for our tour. We were driven to the back entrance of the Volcán Arenal National Park, where our guide (also the owner of our hotel) took us through the trails and around the volcano. We started off through the rain forest and got to see some monkeys, a sloth, and a toucan (they were too far away to take pictures, but we could see them well through binoculars). He then explained why the Volcano is shaped the way it is and kind of a history of eruptions and general information about the volcano which was a lot of stuff I didn't know before. The "lava" that we see coming down the sides of the volcano sometimes is not actually liquid magma, it is rocks that are over 1000 degrees hot tumbling down the sides, and there are sometimes so many that it looks like a river of lava...hmmm, interesting. We then walked over the lava field from the 1992 eruption. It looked kind of like a scene from Lord of the Rings. From there we had an awesome view of the volcano in front of us and Lake Arenal behind us. We hung out there for a little while and even got to see some small eruptions of the rocks I explained about, but it was pretty cloudy around the top of the volcano so it was hard to see a whole lot. By that time it was getting pretty dark so we pulled out the "torches" as the English call them and headed to the other side of the volcano to the main entrance where the van would pick us up. Apparently at the entrance, some kind of itty-bitty, but very poisonous, snake has made a home is the Park sign that is off to the side of the entrance. The guide took everybody over to see it, but I opted to stand by the van because I don't deal well with poisonous creatures so I can't tell you what it looked like. From there, we went to Baldi's hot springs, which consists of about 10-12 pools that are heated naturally by the magma below the surface. It really nice to explore all the pools and pick a favorite to relax in and relieve sore muscles. We got picked up from there at about 9:30pm, went back to the hotel, took showers, grabbed dinner, and went to the discoteque, which is supposedly the 2nd largest disco in all of Costa Rica. That was fun for a while but we were so exhausted from the day that our beds sounded pretty appealing. On Sunday, we got up, packed, grabbed some brunch and headed back to San Ramón. I spent the evening watching most of the NFC playoff game between the Panthers and the Seahawks, but finally turned that off in the middle of the 3rd quarter when the Panthers were losing 27-7...how pitiful! (The game ended with the Panthers losing 34-14). I guess our hopes for the Superbowl are shot! So here I sit at work now, ready for another week of helping get the office organized and caught up before it's time to head home on Sunday. Hope everything is well, and I will try to get some pictures posted from the weekend a little bit later this week, so I will let you know when I get that done. Have a great week, and don't work too hard. Amy.
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