I spy... a volcano!!

Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
Trip End Aug 17, 2011

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Monday, September 6, 2010

Today was awesome, but it started waaaay too early. We teamed up with two new friends from the hostel, Julia and Carlos, to visit the Poas Volcano. Adrienne and I woke up around 6:00a so we could catch an early taxi to the bus station to take the only daily bus to Poas. 

First, the bus schedule the hostel had available indicated that the bus left the Coca-Cola terminal at 8:00a, and the staff suggested we get there about 7:30. The taxi, scheduled to come at 7:15, showed up at 7:05, and we were still eating breakfast, and we scrambled to get the dishes washed and finish stuffing our faces. When we got to the terminal, the man at the station said the bus wouldn't be there till 8:30. By this time, we had about 45 minutes to kill, and we went in search of coffee.

It was a beautiful day, nice and sunny! We walked up the street parallel to the central market and found a soda, a small restaurant, where we ordered " cafe con leche" and pastries to supplement our breakfast. The soda gave us the two coffees in cups then put the cups in a plastic shopping bag. This was a first for me, I've never had coffee in a bag before. Once we had the food and heavenly coffee in hand, we walked back the few blocks to the terminal, and waited some more. 

When the bus arrived, we paid for round trip tickets to "Poas Volcan". the drive out of San Jose was very beautiful when we could see the sweeping views of the city in the valley. About a half an hour later, the bus stopped in Alajuela to pick up more visitors. The drive from Alajuela to Poas was absolutely gorgeous! We passed mile after mile of coffee, and the mountains got bigger and more beautiful the closer we got. Even though this part of the trip was beautiful, it was SLOW!!! I don't think we went over 50kph most of the way up the mountain. When we were about 3km away, we stopped at a souvenir shop/soda for twenty minutes so the bus driver could eat, and the passengers could use el bano. 

The souvenir shop had a large display of fresh fruit and cheeses available for purchase. I was quite sad that there were no pineapples. I didn't get any fruit, but I did take some pictures! :) The best was smelling the fresh strawberries. We hit the road again soon thereafter, and drove for another 30 minutes to the volcano. 

When we got to the volcano, the four of us walked the short trail to the crater. If you notice the earlier pictures, it was nice and sunny. However, two hours later at 8,900ft above sea level, the clouds had set in and we could barely see anything. It was also about 15 degrees colder up at the crater. So, we were all bundled up looking at a wall of clouds. It felt like we were looking at the end of the world! I had a hard time making sense of what I wasn't seeing. We joked that if we blew really hard, the clouds would move, and they did! Not by blowing of course, but they did move! When we actually saw through the clouds, the view was absolutely breathtaking. It was hard to believe that I was actually standing at the rim of a crater of an active volcano! Woah!!   

After we admired the volcano, we decided to hike the trail that lead to the rain-made lake, Botos. The hike really wasn't difficult, but I was having a very hard time breathing hiking up at that elevation. I was bringing up the rear, and just as I was feeling miserable from the hike and the downpour, we found the lake! The lake was even more beautiful than the crater, although slightly less impressive. We continued the hike around the loop (which really was beautiful) and got thoroughly drenched, frozen, and in desperate need of something hot to drink. At the cafe/gift shop area of the park, we sat and talked for a few hours to kill time, because the bus wasn't scheduled to leave for another two hours. 

The ride back to the city was uneventful and wet, and when we got back to the hostel, we decided that we would all grab dinner together to keep hanging out. We went to Cafe Mundo where we had a very delicious dinner! Carlos was very generous, and bought the group a bottle of wine to split to celebrate Adrienne's 21st a day early! 

I am so glad we met Julia and Carlos. Going to Poas was much more enjoyable with more people to keep you company, and we were able to network at the same time! I forget that you meet so many interesting and different people while you travel, and it is one of the best aspects of the travel adventure.

We are off to the airport at 4:30a tomorrow. :( It's been a wonderful trip, and Adrienne and I have decided we will actually plan a trip next time we take a foreign holiday together. :)

Buenos noches!
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Betty on

How cool is it that my umbrella went to a volcano? :)

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