Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio

Trip Start Sep 17, 2010
Trip End Oct 03, 2010

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Coco's Sunset

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Monday, September 27, 2010

I decided to try again for the Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio, in spite of the fact that the overcast was solid. The rain wasn't completely continuous, though sometimes it came down in sheets.  After the two hour trip out to the dirt road that led to the park I wasn’t so sure I’d made a very good decision to try coming out.  But, in spite of the fact that the road has been pounded by a hurricane for the last few days it looked to be mostly rock so, if that held true, I was guessing the car wouldn’t get swallowed up in a giant mud puddle.

The road turned out to be mostly rock, most of the way.  It was like trying to drive on a river bottom and progress was agonizingly slow (it took another hour to get to the park), but I made it.  As I was slowly jouncing my way along there was an old lady with a plastic bag of fruit, standing in the road at an intersection flagging me down.  I stopped and rolled down the passenger window and she asked for a ride to the next village.  Actually, it’s hard to know what to call it.  It’s smaller than a village.  What you see along these roads is the occasional isolated "finca" (farmhouse or ranch house) then, you periodically run into a collection of maybe half-a-dozen homes all together.  The trail map I picked up at the national park oriented itself by showing two of these groupings and labeled them a “puesto” which, in this context, would translate as a post or an outpost. 

They have names.  She wanted to go to San Miguel which, she said, was on the way to the park.  I had no idea because these outposts don’t show up on any map I have.  I had difficulty understanding her Spanish.  That could have been because it’s harder to enunciate clearly when you have no teeth.  Although I can’t remember the last time I picked up a hitchhiker I gave her a ride and dropped her off at the house she indicated.

When I arrived at the park the rain was still intermittent so I gambled on the chance for sunshine, paid the entry fee ($10 US – I still can’t get over the fact that the Costa Rican National Park System charges their entry fees in US dollars) and went for a hike that followed the Rio Celeste on the southeast flank of the volcano.

This is a relatively new park in the national park system and is famous for the color of the river Celeste.  It really is that aquamarine color in the pictures.  The color is created by the many minerals brought up by the volcano and dissolved in the water as it courses down the slopes of the volcano.

Although I got rained on a lot, the sun did cooperate by coming out periodically so I could take some pictures.  That blue of the water shows up a lot better when the sun’s on it.  Although there was more to see, including geothermally active vents, hot springs, mudpots, etc., farther down the trail, it was late enough that I hiked back out so I could at least make it off the dirt road before dark.

I did make it out to a paved road before dark.  By the time I got back to the Pan American Highway it was dark.  Although this is the primary north-south artery in the country, it’s only a two-lane road.  If there’s a problem in your lane you stop and wait.  The people at the front of the line will work their way around the problem as they can and your turn will come.  That happened twice on the way home tonight.  The first time when I got to the source of the problem there was a trailer from an 18-wheeler parked in the northbound lane (no tractor to be seen) with a complete 18-wheeler (tractor and trailer) parked in front of it.  I got around them and things went smoothly for about 5 kilometers when we came to another complete stop.  We inched our way toward the front and when I got there I saw two 18-wheeler tractors (no trailers) stopped in the middle of the northbound lane.  Who knows… it makes no sense to me, though I’m sure there’s a story.
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Kathy Carter on

The only word I can come up with after viewing your slideshow is...LUSH! Have a wonderful trip. Looking forward to hearing all about it in person.

Love & prayers, Gene & kathy

Holli, Aaron and Brooke on

Steve we wish we were there! I really like those photos of the waterfall.

Roylene Valyou on

How lovely your pictures are. I hope your trip is going well for you. See you when you return.

Chris Nordell on

Looks like my comment did not post but I will write again. I love the aqua water, the photo with the wonderful vines hanging down. I also really love the colors of the rain forest flowers and fern. It must be such a visual treat to be in the rain forest. Enjoy

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