La Fortuna: Arenal and Hot Springs

Trip Start May 10, 2010
Trip End Jun 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Villas Eco Arenal

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Left Casa Yoses via taxi and got dropped off at the bus station where we took a bus to La Fortuna. After getting off the bus in La Fortuna, we walked across the street to a series of tour companies. We chose Red Lava tours and made plans to visit the Arenal Volcano and hot springs with them the following day. They also had one of their tour guides drive us to our villa which we mentioned we were staying at and did not have a taxi ride to get there. Again, nice people and always willing to help! Pretty sure he didn't charge us either but mom gave him money anyway.

So we arrived at our second accommodation, Villas Eco Arenal, which is more pricey than a hostel, but it was our one night of luxury. We had our own cabina and the grounds were beautiful! Surrounded by wild flowers and plants and bright green grass, was an inviting outdoor pool. Birds filled the outskirts of the villas and there was a nearby stream where mom and I found blue jeans dart frogs!

I was glad for a hot shower after two full days of travel and being on that cramped bus in the heat for hours.

The next day, we were picked up at our villa to go on our Arenal Volcano tour. They brought us along with 2 other couples to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. We had the most awesome guide! We got our first view of the volcano, though a bit cloudy, so we went on a hike to La Fortuna Falls. We saw two howler monkeys on the way there along with a chestnut toucan! We swam in the falls and a few people jumped from the top. Another group met up with us and our guides put mud all over our faces to dry and wash off (Yay mud!) and then we hiked back to the observatory lodge where we watched a beautiful sunset over Arenal Lake and the volcano. We even got to see some red lava, which took me by complete surprise since our guides Screamed "RED LAVA!!!!!!!" every time they saw a burst from the volcano.

We then drove down the road and pulled our vans over and it was announced that we would be discovering some hot springs right there on the side of the road! Our guides gave us flashlights and we got into our baithing suits and walked down a path and took our shoes off. Our guide took us one by one into the hot spring level 2. Mom went first and our guide helped her on the slippery springwater ground and told her to sit down. We had no idea what was going on, she thought that was it and that he would go for more people but then he asked her 'Ready?' and she said 'For what?!' And he slid her off a mini waterfall into the lower portion of the hot springs! It was like a hot spring slide! We all soon joined in and the springs felt amazinggggg! It was neat to float backwards while looking at the night sky, the jungle canopy above, and the steam from the springs encircling you. Our guide even took me under the mini waterfall which was a bit scary at first (I have a thing with water, almost a fear but it depends on the contributing factors involved), swimming under after him and having him guide my head to an airspace on the underside of the waterfall, but really cool to experience! We also got to explore an upper portion of the hot springs before heading back to our vans.

Our guide invited us all out to dinner at a local restaurant with him. My mom and I were the only ones who joined him. Best fried plantains there, and some great conversation with a local.

The following day, we got a ride to another tourists house where they needed to be picked up for a ride to a boat with us. While waiting, we had to have our luggage stored in someones bathtub in their bathroom since our other ride would be a few hours late and we were going to walk around town until it got there. Kind of an odd experience climbing into a random bathtub to fetch your suitcase. 
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