As we were driving to La Fortuna and Vulcan Arenal, I was talking with Victor and learning about the land (solamente en espanoll). I was asking about the different trees and plants that fruits grow on, and Victor proceeds to tell me about the sugar cane fields
. As we pass by the sugar cane fields, he points out the factory that converts the sugar cane into a liquor called "Cacique". Awesome! Along the way, we take take a break at a small convenience store and I ended up buying some Cacique. I proceeded to tell the bus driver that my brothers would be proud of me. I began telling him about Chuckie and how he had done the same trip that I'm doing now, four years ago. He looked at me and asked me what my brother's name was. I said "Carlitos" and his face lit up with a huge smile while he said "Tu hermano es Carlitos?" Instantly the two of us were on another level with eachother because we had something in common: we both knew Chuckie. He told me that I need to pull out my Cacique and take a sip "por Carlitos!!!" So I pulled out the liquor, declared with pride "por Carlitos," and took a sip (just for you chuckie). Cacique is actually pretty good! Apparently it goes well with fruit juices, coca cola, ginger ale, or with salt and lime (like tequila).
An hour later, we were in La Fortuna and I proceeded to get some coconut juice to mix with the Cacique. The combination of the two was excellent! I had myself a very relaxing evening with my newly found drink and my fellow students. We went to the hot springs in La Fortuna, which had some crazy slides and hot waterfalls. It was pretty nice, but its definitely really expensive (~$200 to stay the night - no thank you)
. After the hot springs, we hung out at the hotel with a deck of cards and attempted to play "Kings". It turned into a night of silliness, bonding, and late night conversations, which was perfect!
The following day, we woke up at 7:30 for breakfast and headed to La Catarata de La Fortuna (La Fortuna Waterfall) on horseback. The horseback riding was fun, but it could have been better if it was not wet/raining and if they would have let us gallop more. Either way, the waterfall was beautiful! We went swimming in the area where the waterfall comes down, which was not dangerous at all. You couldn't approach the waterfall even if you tried because there was too much force from the waves pushing you away. The water was chilly and refreshing, especially with the warm/moist air here in Costa Rica. The 15 minutes of swimming in the water was not enough. I could have hung out there for few more hours, made a little fire for myself in the rocks, and made a whole day out of it. But we had to go, so my play time was cut short.
Shortly after getting back to the hotel, we were heading into town for lunch and leaving for Lake Arenal and Monteverde. Oh yeah, by the way, there was no visibility of Vulcan Arenal because it was covered by clouds and it wasn't errupting, so that was kind of disappointing
. As the day went on though, I did get some good pictures of the lower half of the volcano. To get to Monteverde from La Fortuna, we did a jeep-boat-jeep tour. Meaning, we took a van to lake Arenal, jumped onto a boat to go across the lake, and then we took another van up some Costa Rican mountain roads to Monteverde. It was a pretty scenic trip with the lake, the mountains, fun mountain roads, and a beautiful sunset! We arrived in Monteverde as the sun disappeared. The hotel we stayed at had a nice balcony where we spent the rest of evening wrapped up in blankets drinking and chatting the night away...
to find out where I was dropped off the next day, read the next entry!
I was pumped up for my first excursion with the school for 3 reasons: I had just finished my first semester of spanish class (one month), i was sitting next to the bus driver (victor) to practice my spanish, and I was gonna get dropped off in a random town on my own to test out my spanish skills! My trip was going to last from Friday to Monday, while all the other students were returning on Sunday. I had asked other students if they wanted to join me for an extra day, but I got alot of responses along the lines of "How much is it gonna cost?" and "What's your plan?". My response was something similar to "I have no idea!" Like I said, I was pumped for my first adventure in which I have no plan or don't know what I'm doing.