La Fortuna

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End May 02, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Alajuela,
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wished I hadn't got up so early and got the 8.30 bus to San Carlos as the road was almost completely blocked by a jacknifed pineapple truck after about an hour and the bus was stuck. Nobody was doing a thing to shift it and the police were looking on, like the huge collection of locals who would jeer/cheer every time someone managed to get past the obstruction through the deep muddy ruts in the verge.

As my destination was still 2 hours away and my luggage heavy decided not to hitch - told the driver we should swap with the people on the bus on the other side of the jam, walking the uphill km or so of the queues/blockage. 2.5 hours later this is eventually what we did! Didn't get to San Carlos until 1.30pm, tired, thirsty, hungry & in desperate need of a piss!

Plenty of time for that and chop suey lunch in the food court before taking the 3pm bus to La Fortuna.

The pushy touts did not go down well - neither did the bad LP info or The Gringo Pete Too rudeness. As getting dark & I was exhausted settled for an overpriced place but quiet except for the everpresent uncontrolled dogs & roosters!

For an ugly town, it had a huge amount of overpriced eateries, leaving only the gallo pinto joints at my price point. Rather have a bag of chips than pay $5 for the same old same old flavourless stuff- my bag of seasonings helps but the stuff is still wanting.

Manana I was ready to brave the touts & sorted a Volcan Arenal tour for the afternoon/eve. Saw a large group of coatimundi begging for food from passing motorists and a minor eruption of ash en route. It was supposedly a fairly easy hike uphill to the skirt of the volcano (they forgot to mention the sheer vertical bits you need to haul yourself up using a rope - in other places tree roots or bare hands have to suffice) to see & hear it in all it's glory. Every 5 minutes the volcano would toss out a lump of lava or 2 - the sound of the falling lava rocks (which don't look red in daylight) was really loud.

Then back down in near dark to the observatory to see the nighttime lava show - ha, ha, ha! All the guides have pictures of spectacular eruptions with streams of lava & sparks high into the air but the reality is a small lump of lava here and there, so far away to be barely visible & certainly no chance for the camera to pick up the damp squib of a show. Very thankful for the rum drinks to get us through the boring fly bitten hour!

The dip in the free hot springs was better than expected - water an ideal 37 degrees and very rustic - just strip of and jump in the river. Beats paying the $60 the swankiest places are charging for the aguas termales!
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